Monday, January 27, 2014

"Conmigo todo esta bien"

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

como le va? conmigo todo esta bien. Villa Montoro wasnt that much of an oven this week and we had some super cool thunderstorms that would go on all night. My week was filled with all sorts of adventures that are normal in the life of a missionary in Buenos Aires Sur. I got spit on by some punk (good thing Im a representative of Jesus Christ because i know like 4 months ago i would have handled it so well), some dude was selling bows and aroows to cars passing by in the streets which were pretty sweet. I got to wait in the DMV of argentina to do my papers to live here and other adventures like that. 

It was a good week. Things have been going really well in our ward. We are finding people to teach we are making progress with people and helping people come closer to the savior. I have had a number of spiritual moments just thinking to myself what Im really doing down here and being able to see the spirit work through me and my companion. There have been a number of times this week when I am teaching a certain doctrine or bearing my testimony where i feel the spirit overwhelming my heart with an indescribable good feeling and i know that my words aren´t just my words but also the spirits because he is bearing witness unto the people i am teaching. I love the little moments like that where i know that im doing something good and making a difference.

I love see the way the spirit can bear witness to somebody. One of the important things that makes our message different than others is that we dont want people to just believe us. we want them to know for theirselves and they can make the decision. Yeah if i wanted i could persuade people why im right but God doesn´t work like that. If anybody wants wisdom, they can ask god and recieve it because god is a loving heavenly father and wants us to have the fulness of his gosple because with the fulness of the gosple we can have true happiness. I was teaching gustavo the other day and he just started telling us how he has been changed after attending church and the feelings he had when he took the sacrament. As a missionary im just here to invite people to come unto Christ and help them learn. It their job to learn and follow the path Christ has set for us. Seeing that has been awesome for me.

For me the thing i have been focusing on in my mission is just trying to become a tool in God´s hands so i can accomplish what he has for me to do here. There are two hymns that have become like a motto for me. "how firm a foundation" (especially verse 5) and "Savior, Redemmer of my Soul" (especially verse 3). It is a process but worth it. 

Well Im so greatfull for all of you and the letters. I love hearing about back home. Its weird that i have been gone almost 4 months. crazy stuff! well exito for all of you back home.

Con amor, Elder Whitaker

Also from a personal note he sent to me:

Hi momma! I love you! Im so happy everything is going well at home. I know the Lord will be blessing you while im away as long as im faithful and you guys are as well. I read this talk that was super awesome and i want you and dad to read it. Its by D. Todd Cristofferson from the january 2012 ensign. I read it in spanish so im not exactly sure what the title is in english but its something like "recognizing the hand of god in our daily blessing" Super good. Im doing good down here. A lot of good work and a lot of progress. the only thing that im sad about is that there is a chance that i will leave this area in 2 weeks and wont get to see the fruits of all my work. im praying to stay but its what the lord wants.  

Bueno, if you could tell all those people those things you would be the best mama ever ;) jk you already are. Well im happy you guys are happy and you are in my prayers. love ya big momma

Elder Whitaker

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Another awesome week in Argentina!"

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Another awesome week in Argentina! It was super hot but awesome. Two days ago it was 42 C which im not exactly sure what that is in farenheit but it felt like 110 with humidity. As my friend Elder Beckett would say, " Its hotter than Satan{s steakhouse down here!"  It was one of those weeks that was really hard but we also saw fruits from our work.

We have been changing up the way we are working in our ward and because of that we are teaching a lot more people but also the down side is that our appointments are a lot less sure so there were some days where the odds just werent in our favor and a bunch of our citas would fall through, which left us walking all day in the super hotness. Also the other two guys in our ward have the bikes until we get 4 bikes. Hopefully that will be next week. Vamos a ver. 

But the good news is that when did get in to teach, the lessons went really well. Mari, the lady I was talking about in my letter last week is progressing super fast. You can literally see the happiness the gosple is bringing to her life. She doesn{t cry during the lessons anymore and  is always smiling. She feels the spirit so strongly. We had some really good lessons with her and she came to the ward family home evening with us. She has also gone to church with us the past two weeks.

 Also we have Gustavo who is pretty much an argentina version of morgan freeman. He is a man in his 60s that is a stud. He is a really good guy and has a lot of questions. He went to church with us last week, and it wsa the first time he had ever been in a church. He told us that he felt something really good " here and here" pointing to his head and his heart. I think as members of th church we take for granted the spiritual expirience church can be. I have seen in the lives of Mari and Gustavo how they have been deeply effected by the feelings they have while in church with us. For me it has been awesome to really ponder the feeling i have at church and realize what a blessing we have. Well anyways with Gustavo, yesterday he came to church again and he brought his girl friend. They both loved it again. After Church we had a cita (appointment) with gustavo to teach him again. We were going to teach abouth the plan of salvation. Instead of finishing the whole lesson we focused in on how we were sent to this earth to learn and be happy, and that the way to have true happiness is through following the teachings of Jesus Christ. I invited him to be baptized and he said yes. He is going to be baptized on the 25th of February!

Apart from the joy of seeing the gosple change lives I have been having fun. Living with Elder Carvallo, Elder Peterson, and Elder Myers is so fun! All of them are studs. I could stay in villa montoro with these guys my whole mission, but i know i will have to leave eventually. It will be a sad day when it happens though! They are just cool guys and we can joke around a lot and between the two companionships we have some funny stories. Yesterday  there was a hermana that thought there were spirits in her house and she wanted the help of Peterson and Myers, just stuff like that. Well Im about out of time but Life is great, argentina is great, and the message i am here sharing is great! I love you all and keep writing!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

No idea why Ty is sending me this picture of a ward members pet, when I only want pictures of him!!!!!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"A lot has changed for me...."

Hola mi Familia y mis Amigos,

This week was awesome. A lot has changed for me and I feel like my mission is changing as well as I come to better understand what I need to do here. The other week my Dad asked me to write more about how my investigators are doing and what kind of expiriences I have had watching the gosple change their lives. This question really made me think. Yeah I was busy. We were teaching and finding all the time, but as I thought, I really hadn´t been seeing the gosple changing lives. I thought to myself, " well, theres nothing wrong with the gosple, so there must be something wrong with the way I´m doing it." As i kept that in my mind, this week was awesome. 

One of the things that has changed is that now we have half opf our old area and because of that we have twice the amount of time to focus on people. With that time to really focus in and help people with our teaching instead of just teaching everybody the same thing because we are to busy to focus on helping them I have seen a huge difference. Now we are really planning on teaching things that will help our investigators overcome their trials in life, and feel closer to God and their Savior. 

We have one investigator, Mari, who we were about to stop passing by her becuase she wasn´t progressing at all. She was actually the very first person I gave a book of mormon to on my second day, in the worst spanish ever. Everytime she starts to feel the spirit something bad has always happened to her and made her fall back to where she was. She has a lot of hard things in her life. Well anyways, this was going to be our last lesson with her so we were just going to go in there and teach the importance of faith, and how faith really isn´t faith unless you act on it. During that lesson the spirit was so strong. She changed from being hardened by her expiriences to being open to the gosple of Jesus Christ. In that lesson we ended up commiting her to be baptized on the 8th of February. One of her main problems is that she would never gop to church. She says she loves the spirit she feels their but she lives a couple miles from the church and the only way for her to get there is to walk. So we went there a couple days ago and taught her again, with the spirit. During the lesson i had scriptures and thought come to my mind that i hadn´t even thought of sharing with her. Elder Carvallo said that when I testified of the doctrine, I did it in perfect castellano, which is a miracle right there. To say the least it has been amazing how the doctrines of faith and repentance have changed a woman hardened by her trials into someone with hope that feels the love of God. We had some other good lessons as well that have really come from following the promptings of the spirit.

Also we have been doing more to work with the ward. Last friday we taught a bunch of the guys from the barrio how to play basketball and we played with them. Its so funny because thay are all super cordinated with their feet but they never learned how to use their hands so to say the least it was interesting. then to make things fair we played futbol after and they are insane hahaha. One of the kids that is like 8 is way better than me. I just play goalie haha. 

Well it has been a good week down here on the other side of the world. Its super hot everyday and then there are thunder storms most of the nights which is pretty sweet. I hope everyone is well. Feel free to shoot me a Dear Elder or a letter so i can know how life is with all of you back home. hope all is well.

con amor, Elder Tyler Whitaker

Ty sleeps on top bunk at home & on mission! (and still doesn't clean room, or make his bed!!)

Ty says "the bidet" is better than t.p
This pension is one of the nicer places he will stay.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"I am now in my 'black year'..."

Ty & Elder Altamirano from Chile

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Happy 2014. Its crazy to think of all the things that happened in 2013 and where I started the year and where i finished. I am now in my "black year" or the year where i will be a missionary for the whole time! pretty crazy no? I´m super excited and hopefully we will have a lot of sucess this year.

There have been a lot of changes this week. One change is that I am living with an elder from chile which is different but he is a good guy. He has a totally different style of working than my other companion but i think we will see some sucess here in Villa Montoro. In the middle of the week we got Elder Myers and Elder Peterson who are both studs (and american) but their spanish is pretty good so we still speak mostly spanish in the pench which is good because with Elder Siler we didn´t so my spanish has been getting a lot better. I am the only one with time in the area so the first couple days i kinda had to run the area which was kinda intimidating for only having 6 weeks in the mission but all is going well. The only thing bad is that the other two have our bikes so we have to walk a lot which wastes time we could be working but overall we are getting a lot more work done and i hope pretty soon we will be seeing some fruits. Its kinda difficult that everybody is living together with out being married, which you cant have if a person is going to get baptized because wright now we have Lorena, and Juan y Ricarda that could get baptized if they were married. A lopt of this week we have been working with members to try to bring the ward together and help us as missionaries. It is super difficult for somebody to go to church without knowing anybody except to kids from a different country. Hopefully we can get that going and really get this ward going.

New years eve and New years we just stayed in the pench because we couldn´t work. It was super nice to have a time to re energize. My comp knows how to make pizza so we did that and i enjoyed alos the delicacy of a peanut butter and honey sandwich (thanks mom and dad, peanut butter was my favorite christmas present). In the night it was pretty sweet because it sounded like we were in a warzone with all the makeshift fireworks going off everywhere but i slept like a baby like i do every night of my mission but i guess my comp couldn´t sleep till like 3. Sadly i didnt get to see the burning of the 10 ft minions.

with 3 new guys in the pench everything is way different but it is a lot of fun. We still all work super hard but there is a sense of fun that goes with it because the other guys are super cool. We have a good time together while serving the lord con todo nuestros corazones, almas, mentes, y fuerzas. Its pretty legit.

Well right now we are in a transition period but hopefully we will have some sucess with our new changes! I love and miss you all! Nos vemos amigos

Elder Tyler Whitaker
A map of Ty's area- Villa Montoro

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"how crazy that I was just a kid in high school..." (last year at this time.)

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

How's everything back in the states? i hope you all had a good Christmas and have a happy new year! It is so weird for me to think about what I was doing just a year ago at this time! how crazy that I was just a kid in high school messing aroound with my friends and hanging out with my family and now I am on the other side of the world serving the people of Argentina! Well this week was a good one but a different one because of the holidays.

Ty & 10 year old Matias
We didnt have a lot of time to work because we could only work between 3 and 6 on christmas eve and Christmas but we still had a really good week. We spent a lot of time contacting references and we found a lot of people that want us to come back so that will be good! Also probably the best thing that happened this week was friday. We had a baptism of the first person i taught in Argentina, Matias, a super funny 10 year old kid. I got to baptize him and it was an awesome day. everything before the baptism went wrong but it was awesome. We have to go start filling the baptisimal font early with hot water and then leave it for a couple hours and fill the rest with cold water. Elder silar thought we had more time than we did so when we got to the font it was all the way full with scalding hot water. We then went to try to pump some out but the pump was broken so we ended up having to take buckets out and dump it down the toilet. then fill it with cold water so the baptism started like an hour late. it was an adveture.

Well today we had transfers so Elder Silar got moved and i just recieved a new comp, he is called elder cavallos and he{s from Chile. My spanish is going to get real good, real fast or else it will be kinda quiet because he doesnt speak a lick of english. Im kinda scared but Im also excited because my spanish is going to get a lot better. I am going to be able to communicate a lot better for sure after this next 6 weeks. I don't know too much about him yet but I guess we will see how we work together. 

Also its only my second transfer in Argentina, and im going to be running the area because I am the one with time and who knows the people and the investigators. Its a pretty big responsibility but I hope I will do well. We have couple good families we are working with. At the moment we are going to try to see if we can teach Matias mom which would be really good. 

Well I love you all and wish you a happy new year!

Con Amor, Elder Tyler Whitaker
Ty's xmas present from us.  Superman socks.

A picture of Ty's area near La Plata

A picture of the piƱata-like things they make to blow-up on New Years Eve.