Where do I send letters?

Elder Joshua D. Wartena
Casilla de Correo 70
Bahia Blanca 8000
Buenos Aires

Saturday, October 15, 2011

He's Home

It was a long week waiting for Josh to get home, but he made it at last.  Josh asked us to tell everyone he was arriving home on the 30th cause he wanted some quiet time alone with us.  He was scheduled to actually arrive home on July 27th, but when the missionaries arrived at the airport on July 25th the garbage in the air from the Chile volcano was still busy messing up air travel in Buenos Aires.  He and the other missionaries ended up spending two days waiting in Buenos Aires for the air to clear (but it didn't).  So they traveled by plane to Santiago, Chile; caught another plane to Atlanta, Georgia; caught another plane to Salt Lake City, Utah.  As a result we did not get him home until the 29th.  He was tired and well worn from all the changes in his travels.

For days ahead of arriving at the SLC airport I just kept telling myself I would not yell when I saw him -- HA!!!  What a joke.  The second I saw him peek around the corner at the top of the escalator I yelled, "It's Him!!!"  Everyone in the waiting area turned to see what crazed missionary mother was a yellin'.  Yep, me.  Oh, I just couldn't help it.  I was shaking and crying and just W A I T I N G.  No biggy, all his brothers and father were feeling exactly the same way.  He smiled at his crazed mother, realizing that anything else would just not have been possible from me.

But what did the silly boy do when he saw us?  He disappeared back around the corner out of view.  I wanted to run right up those stairs and grab him, but it was okay.  I knew he was at last back in Utah and it would only be a few more minutes till we could hug him.

I just can't express the joy at being able to once again hug your child, to see them in the flesh, to just be together.  We all missed him soooooooooooooooooo much.  We thank the Lord above for bringing him home safe and sound.

Please enjoy some of the pictures we took.  I've tried to think of more to share, but it's all just to personal and emotional.  Just know, it was all worth it.

What a cute guy I snagged.  Pretty cute kids.
Waiting, waiting ,waiting, cause we're early.

Blonde and blonder excited to show Josh
they are taller than him.

We couldn't be more excited.

Jo and Mom

Yep, we made a sign.  Any minute now.

There he is at the top on the righthand side
of the escalator in the suit and yellow tie.

Halfway down the stairs . . .

At the bottom on . . .

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, he's here!

Yes, right into the Momma's arms.  I love that boy. 
He was just a shaking and crying -- so was I.

"Hi, Dad."

Hugging Dad, but no one even thought to grab
the camera and take a picture of them.   
"Wait, you aren't Chris, you're Nate.  My gosh, you got tall."

You're Chris.  I missed ya, bro.

Ben -- you got tall, too.

Matt's a hugger and could hardly wait his turn.

Jo, jump on up. 
OOOOOOOO!  This is fun.

It took a minute, but Jo did remember his big brother.

That's it folks.  The gang's all here again.

Let's just sit together.  We like it that way.

Shoes off on and enjoying the carpet as he unpacks.  Lots of  fun
souvenirs but no many clothes came home from Argentina.   

Watching the unpacking.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Not ready for this.

Ok, so, hmmmmmmmmmm . . .
Totally not ready to do this.
I will try again later.
Emotions too near the surface.
I would never have guessed two years ago that I would not be ready to end this.
Go figure.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, July 25, 2011

No Email Today

No email today.  Josh warned us that he would not email anything the final week of his mission.  It has been a very surreal Monday.  I don't quite know what to do.  You see I keep finding myself at the computer checking "just in case" there is an email message.  I did send him one because I committed to an email every week for two years.  Did pretty good only missing one week.

He will be cleaning and traveling.  I can't imagine how he must be feeling.  One of the biggest goals of his entire life, so far, is about to come to a close.  How that must feel.  What will the future hold?  What changes are in store in the coming year for our now "man" son?  Change is in the air and it is full of possibilities.  We're looking forward to watching his journey in life continue to unfold.  Our Father in Heaven's Plan of Happiness is sure an exciting journey.

Best wishes to all.  I will post a final email next week and have Josh post some thoughts as well.  Here's looking forward to a big hug, soon.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Can't believe the end is here already.

Dear Mom

Haha, I don't have to change your title, you'll always be my Mom.
OOOOO, Sarah was in Argentina, methinks I'm going to visit her soon...

We spent most of pday putting in a roof for the part member family of the girl we hope to baptise this sunday. A pretty good way to end the mission if I may say so.
That's what I hope to do this week. :D

I would love to go to the SLC temple and walk around temple square very much!

So, I said the email would be one scripture, I repented, sorry.  

But, I'm not responding to everything you said, and keeping some good stories from the week to tell you! Next week I will be traveling, so you'll have to go without unfortunately. I'm not sure how many missionaries are traveling, I know that several sister missionaries leave as well, but am unaware if we meet more in the Buenos Aires.

And yeah, just, thanks for everything Mom. I love you so much. I always looked forward to pday because I got to hear how my parents and little brothers were doing. I don't think a p-day afternoon passed were I didn't proudly tell my companions about something my family did. Thanks for being such great writers and always encouraging me, even when it sucked!

And, for the final missionary, official line.

3 John 1:13-14

I love you all very much and will see you soon.

Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Joshua Duveau Wartena

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

He's almost done.


It sounds like a construction site there at the house. Leave something for me to do, alright? I've never installed hardwood floor, probably interesting.

The ash from the volcano returned yesterday, but will probably calm down in a few days.  Coincidence? I think not, Elder Decilia and I were talking about the records in the book of Mormon this morning. Can you imagine the massive job that Mormon and Moroni had? Think about England, what would the combined records of the country over a period of 1,000 years look like? Probably a lot of reading material the Nephites had.  Tthen you've got to include the ENTIRE gospel in that record, as well as making it an accurate historical record. We think Mormon had a good idea of what the gospel principles were, maybe just a little...
I'm finishing 2 Nephi again, and enjoying it as always.

Thanks for being proud of me, Mom. :D

Elder Decilia is good, no worries. Elder Guevara, too.  I talked to me Peruvian-Japanese friend this week.  He's training in Patagones (down near my beloved Viedma, Elder Ramires is a District Leader, as is Elder Walker, and Elder Christianson is a Zone Leader in Mar del Plata. Elder Paredes is still in Santa Rosa 1, and Elder Decilia is, well, with me obviously.  That's a nice thing about being with new missionaries for most of your mission.  You get to see them all later. Elder Decilia was with old misisonaries most of his mission who are nearly all home.  Different views.

The Hourcade girls came to church! (Lionela and Yaqualin) Finally. They are our progressing investigators, those with whom we will be focusing to get baptised. We taught a mini word of wisdom lesson over a lunch appointment. The member aunt with whom they live started smoking again, and she had to eat a little crow for that. They are progressing well, reading, etc. Prayers would be welcomed. They really need the support from the aunt more than anything, because les cuesta entender. Sorry, I can't think of how to express that thought in english. I've been with latin comps for the past 5 tranfers! That's over 7 months, with 9 tranfers in all, over a year.
Ugh, spanish :D:D:D:D

The week was good overall.  The entire zone is having difficulties, and one of the zone leaders is kinda getting frustrated. It's odd when the ENTIRE zone is down.  Happens sometimes...

The week pased by like a blur, I honestly don't remember much of what happened.  I sent you guys a ton of pictures! We carried around a camera the other afternoon to grab some pictures of our area. You see, we are never there P-day because our house is so far away. Speaking of p-day, we slept, yes, slept for several hours. After I made a big pot of lemon chicken purlo.

Pictures of the castle, chapa houses (yay for references) green and pink houses, we're not sure where the got the sign, but it now forms part of their house (the old branch pres lived next door, probably helped) looking at a few pictures with our ward mission leader after a meeting we had last night, with the Hourcade girls, the bottle house (yes, wine and soda bottles form the entire house) our church building, the trees by the horse track that make the lion king theme pop in my head every day, and that should be it.

What can you do to help me? Well, I'm good for the last 2 weeks. I would like to go to the temple when I get back if that's at all possible, or go to temple square in SLC, ya know, we'll be right there after the airport.

But yeah, I am going to write Dad now. I love you Mom, thank you for the wonderful emails every week, I will see you soon!

Besos and abrasos from Argentina,
Elder Joshua Dueveau Wartena


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

Dear Mom,

Alright, here we go.

The week started off well with service, roofing the house of our ward mission leader. Who knew that longer sheets of steel could cut your hand right open? Luckily it was cold, so I didn't notice until I felt my hand getting warmer (it was full of blood, that was the reason for the sudden warmth) No stiches necessary, and my hand is nearly completely healed now. I like to think I'm a little bit wolverine and have healing powers.

Speaking of physical infermities (I don't even care about spelling), don't eat bacon if it smells funny. You may get food poisining with rather nasty side effects.

4TH OF JULY!!!!!!!
We ate hamburgers, french fries, and related everything to america in our house while speaking English loudly (to the annoyance of our Latin American companions)

Rejection still hurts just as much the 24th month as it did the 1st. Not just an I don't want to hear, but hard, don't ever come back to talk about the church, we've decided not to read, nor listen ever.
That hurts badly. 

But, that same day, we found a family of ex-investigators that want to be baptised and couldn't figure out why the missionaries had stopped coming. Well, Sergio and Rosa, we are here now. Unfortunately, there may be a small problem with a divorce and remarriage.

The Hurcade girls are finally on the boat with progression towards baptism. YAY! Yaqualin and Lionela will pull through! 

Joaquin still insists on going out to work with us whenever he can and telling everyone how we helped save him and how now he is back in the church getting ready to go out on a mission.
We don't mind.

Pres is driving all over the mission to interview the missionaries in their houses. It was alot of fun actually.  He said that he has never seen me as an ''older'' missionary. That I always just keep being a young, excited missionary. However, my Spanish and teaching have progressed significantly. He talked to Elder Decilia and I alot about leadership and the importance of what we've learned on the mission being applied at home.

2 more p-days anyone? Yeah, that's weird.

It snowed Sunday! Ok, not really snow, more of 5 minutes of weak flakes. But, it never snows in Tandil, you would have thought it was an arctic storm, everyone was so excited.

Missionary stories are just cool I've decided. So excited to be an RM.

There is alot to do here before we leave, we're trying to organize and get everything in so that the missionaries coming in have a good base off which they can continue what we started. Lots and lots of planning and fast walking this week.

The books of KINGS are finished, read, woohoo! Talk about long, tedious war chapters. A little harder than the Book of Mormon, but I will try to throw out a spiritual thoguth from them. King Josiah, why was he spoken of so highly? Not only did HE follow the Lord, he also placed the entire kingdom under covenant, and utterly destroyed the idols, groves, etc. We can't just be half into the gospel. Get all the way into the work, don't just sit on the sidelines or be content saving yourself. It won't work!  In the end, King Josiah and his kingdom were destroyed by the Babylonians and carried into captivity. But, it was written that no king before or after was like unto him in devotion and full zeal to the Lord.  Wouldn't that be nice to have written of us?  Food for thought.

D&C 121 is amazing. It has been written in the back of several of my planners, and I read it again this morning. Thank you Joseph Smith, for being in Liberty Jail so that we could have these sections.

Just leave lots of work that requires me to be outside. The level of ''not tan'' is actually quite impressive at the moment. 

Haha, I'm glad that Nate is planning my life, and who will be the favorite uncle of my future children...

I saw a movie poster the other day, and not to say I'm unfocused or anything, but captain america coming out the end of july?

Well, I am going to run, I get to help a young man with english, finish an activity for a ward FHE tue and we're off to teach some peoples. Oh, how grateful I am to be with Elder Decilia.

Thank you so much for everything you do, Mom. I love you, and everyone else too, but you're Mom, so you get it first. :D

Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Joshua Wartena

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Count Down Begins

Dear Friends and Family,

Some people probably start the countdown to the return of a missionary the day he leaves on his mission, but not us.  That would have been too hard mentally to handle.  A wise woman in our ward warned us against the countdown calendars, and I am soooooooooo glad we took her advice to heart.  The younger siblings did construct their own countdown chain back in February; but I, the Mama, refused to have it out in the main part of the house where I could see it.  It has been hidden away in the older boys room. Every few weeks I would notice it getting shorter, but I never paid attention to the dates on the chains or counted how many were left to go.  Now, here we are, a mere month till he returns.  I can hardly believe it.  The countdown can no longer be avoided when your missionary starts to mention it in every e-mail.  True enough, though, I'm not as excited as I expected to be at this point.  Receiving the weekly e-mails, learning about other people, hearing of the gospel changing other peoples' lives has all been quite enjoyable.  On the other hand . . . I miss him and will LOVE having him back in our lives in a more physical way, so to put it.  

Now, without further ado,  the e-mail.

Dear Mom

Yeah, and every missionary that we see, woah, it's the last transfer for you guys! One nice thing about ending together is that we aren't always bringing it up in conversation.

I'm doing well, it is true. Freezing cold. The temperature has dropped to, well, I think the plates have moved and we're in Antarctica now. And with 95% humidity, it is COLD.  Which is a good sign, the earth is still moving in its prescribed course bearing testimony of the Creator.

Well, the conferencia was awesome. Elder Arnold, the area president 70, just blew all of our minds and told us that we knew what to change, now change it. Then told us how. The best part was when he asked if we had any questions. Well, I've been wondering how I can improve my prayers for quite a while now, so I asked that. 
Ever had someone look into your soul? Yeah, that's about what it felt like. I'm going to give you 3 things, Elder, and I'll explain it afterward in English, so that the new elders can understand.  You all need to know how to pray.
1-Don't kneel in your bed
2-Don't make it the last thing you before you crash into sleep. Pray so that you can be awake. For example, wake up, brush your teeth,  wash your face, something, prepare, He's your father
3- Pray like you are praying to your father.  He loves you. Then a 15 talk on how God is our father in heaven and we need to learn how to address him in this manner and have a personal relationship with him.

It was really nice to get a specific answer, that covered what I needed to change.

Then we got back from the conference, and found 2 more families to teach the next night, great experience. We were looking for their neighbor (false address) and knocked on the door of a very well to do Catholic family's home (the kind that NEVER let you in with good results) and the mother cordially let us in. When Elder Decilia said that he was from Salta, she went off about their recent trip to Salta to see the Cathedral of the Virgen. Not a great start. Well, we got the daughter (Maria, suprise surprise) to come in and listen as well, and the father came for the last part. An amazing lesson actually, they had good, honest questions, and were very excited to read the Book of Mormon (which was a surprise).  The Dad tried to be all macho and say that he was ok; but his wife and daughter told him to stop it, and that they were going to read the book. The father talked to us outside afterward (walked us to the door) A great, humble guy, that thanked us for the visit and talked about his life and work. Some guys are like that.

Then, we found the lady who may have the most medical problems in the entire world --cancer, diabetes, a couple other medical terms that threw my vocabulary off, and it's all terminal, with a few years left of life.  Her husband has stuff too. That was a spiritually impactful visit.  Don't think we would have mentioned the word baptism more often in a lesson, and both families accepted the invitation to be baptised after they gain a testimony.  The kids weren't able to be baptised this weekend. They still have some problems understanding the word of wisdom, but love the Book of Mormon, and pray like champs. The mother also got alot more on our side this week, as she is trying to spend more time at home, and animating her sons to be in the church. If we can only get her. At least she accepted a visit with us finally.

Not sure if I've told you, but Joaquin, the young single adult who came back from the drugs and awful life.  He now has a mission date goal after an interview with the branch president. 2013 for the medical stuff, school, and funds. He is excited and offers to do visits with us all the time. It's a good time.

It sounds like you are all doing very well back on the home front. 3 more P-days after this one if I'm not mistaken, which will be weird. It's been awhile that communication has been once a week through email.  People are old now, once again. 

I finished the New Testament this morning! WOOHOO! Hoped to give my mind a small break from thinking purely in symbolism in Revelations by reading the Book of Mormon, but to no avail. I'm smack dab in the middle of Nephi's Isaiah chapters. But, reading the books of Kings helps me to see what Isaiah was trying to say, and D&C 77, definitely nessesary for Revelations.  The main theme, just do what you know you are supposed to be doing, and everything will turn out alright. That seems to be the message I'm getting over and over again wherever I read.

War chapters are some of the best in the Book of Mormon, enjoy them!

I'll be putting the blessing in my journal, thank you Mom. Thanks for the email, and always being faithful telling me about everyone back home. I love you all so much, thank you again, and have a great week! 

PS, thank you for the photos, Jo.You're still cute

Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Wartena

To every man there comes a time in his life when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him uprepared or unqualified for what would have been his finest hour.
-Winston Churchill  

May your week be full of joy and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost leading you along life's path. 
Signing off for now,
The Mama