Where do I send letters?

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Excerpts from this week's letter

Dear Madre,
I should probably say something about my week too. I put most of the info in the email to Dad, so I will not use time writing it here. I had fleas this week! Anti itch cream is SO NICE. They seem to have gone now (I think I got them from another elder…)
Argentina has orange trees! And lime, and lemon, pretty cool. Oh, I also saw a monkey climing a tree in someone´s backyard this week, that was pretty weird. We had a lunch with a nice member lady, and she had this ´´famous argentine food´´ that was almost exactly porcupine balls! The rice was in a sauce out of the meatballs, but thought you would all like to know you are already eating argentine food! Hmmmmm, the week has been pretty boring on this end, I don´t even have good pictures or anything!

Things I will never take for granted again:
Water pressure
Dryers (although using a line is nice for some reason)
Showering and using the bathroom barefoot
Peanut butter
Sliced bread (ridiculously expensive, those bagget thingies are real cheap though)
Cars and bikes
English, hahaha

These are also some of the things I love most about argentina though.

Doo de doo.
So, I´ve been studying how to gain the spirit in teaching and bearing testimony, Preach my Gospel has great stuff! Chapter 4 I definitely recommend, and ch 11. Also studying charity (yeah for charity…) and have started Jesus the Christ again. Reading the BOM in English and Spanish at the same time, the tree of life is such and amazing couple of chapters! Really enjoying it.
I´m so glad to know you´re ok physically, Mom. I´m praying for you all down here, and working hard. Hope the blessings come through! Oh, good luck with the Organ! :D

And yes, I can print out the emails, no worries.
Well, I am going to run! Not literally, we´ll probably call a taxi (yeah, it´s pretty cool to use taxis and all…) and go eat! You see, it´s 11:30 here, and way nice outside!
I love you all! Thank you so much for the letters, prayers, and just being great.

Your son, brother, and missionary
Elder Joshua Duveau Wartena

Gunnar Ekelof wrote that every human being is allowed 180 seconds of pure and unmitigated happiness--not 180 seconds at once, but total over a lifetime.  I don't believe it.  Chris informed me that Josh should write approximately 104 emails during his mission, and that that adds up to 104 moments of pure joy for the Mama.  And then, if you multiply 104 emails by 6 sons it equals 624 moments of pure joy.  Ah, he is a sweet son.  He just likes knowing what his mom will be like while he is off serving a mission in 2 1/2 years.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Friday, October 16, 2009

Josh is doing well in Tres Arroyos, Argentina. Here are some excerpts from his last
email dated October 12, 2009.
PHEW! Ok, lots to type and all, so bear with me. Apparently it´s a holiday in ARG and we didn´t get an internet cafe place until tonight, so sorry if I forget to say or reply to some things.
This week was really good! We had no investigators (yeah...) But through knocking doors, we now have 7 new investigators!
Augustine--we only taught her once, but have a return appointment this Tuesday. She is a girl who is probably 15ish and was very interested and feeling the spirit.
Familia Moro--Odd, we ended up teaching only the Dad, even though the son was who we originally taught. He was all ready to start reading the entire Book of Mormon for us, but we explained that he didn´t have to do that (but if he wanted to...) We´re excited for this family.
Tayln(spelled wrong, I know it)--Older lady who let us in because we were wet (it rained ALOT this week) She is deaf in one ear, but once she got her hearing aid in, she was happy to listen. She is catholic, but then told us she doesn´t like her religion (most people are catholic, most don´t practice).
Ailyn--Ok, so we had one kind of investigator. We started over though, and haven´t been able to get hold of her. We´re slightly nervous, but we´ll keep trying.
Diana--She is one of three teenagers who yelled at us from the street when we were walking past this little clothes shop. Ended up teaching them and giving them all BOM and return apps at their houses. She was the only one who wanted to listen though, to the point where she was telling her friend Sol to be quite and sit down.
Yeah! We had a full quarter of our zone´s new investigators. We´re also working with several inactive or part-member families. Yeah! Fun stuff, real work starts this week, when we have to keep the investigators, get them to church, find more, etc. Ok, just saying that real quick. We walk alot in our area. Unfortunately, all our investigators are on the far side of town (literally the other side of the train tracks) but my legs feel great!
We had a zone conf. this week. All in Spanish, but I actually got alot of it. After the 4th hour though, my brain was mush. Spanish is good though, I´m learning so much every day and understanding a ton. The ward members are very impressed with how much I can speak, so maybe it´s not as bad as I thought it was.
The ward is great! Well, the Branch pres. is kinda odd, and his family, but apart from that they are all so loving and helpful. I have decided no one can ever say that getting up to bear your testimony is hard in an english ward. Ugh, but it was good though!
So, random comment (these are all random, I´m writing as they come.) I went to the dist. leader zone meeting last night with our dist. leader on divisions (they needed to work in his area, so we split). Ever wondered what urinal stalls would be like without the urinals? Probably not, but they had them in the Necochea bus terminal! Yup, just water dripping down the stall wall into a channel in the floor. Kinda odd...
Thank you so much for the pictures!!!! I´m uploading pictures now online for you to see, I´ll send the link too.
Mom, thank you so much for teaching me how to shop. I have found so many different ways to combine rice, bread, veggies like potatos and carrots, meat, and eating oatmeal and eggs! We´re eating very well, don´t worry. Food is so dirt cheap here. Fruit and veggies like you wouldn´t belieive. I bought 30 eggs the other night for 8 pesos. (About 2 dollars) We even made chimichangas! And the members feed us two lunches a week, so we´re very good.
Haha, today Elder Van Wagenen (who is an awesome guy) insisted (along with me) that we clean the house. 2 hours later...I´ll send pictures next week when I get them! I have a before video, so you´ll be able to see. Elder Wiltbank insisted on the bathroom, while we did the kitchen. Yeah, our house smells so good now.
Ok, we have this awesome chrucho (aka, ghetto) washing machine in our house, I´m going to have to take a picture or something. The weather has been quite horrible until today this week. Lots of rain, and even some hail last night. But today it is nice and warm. I´m already tired of people asking if I´m North American, but everyone seems to be intrigued by my name. "Si, es Hollandes!" Also, they are really into family down here, we get showed pictures of family all the time, and I´m glad I have that little picture of you guys I carry around laminated. You´re a big hit in ARG, btw.
Hmmmm, I´m going to end this one and finish the pictures, I will send more though!
Your Elder,
Elder Joshua Wartena
Here is a link to the pictures he uploaded. Have fun viewing his new area.
Signing off for now,
The Mama

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Meeting the Mission President

About 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning we received a call from a pay phone at the Salt Lake International Airport from Joshua. He was calling to say good bye and that he would call from Dallas Fort Worth a bit later, which he did about 3:00 p.m. His plane was delayed 2 hours in SLC, but I wasn't worried. You see I learned yet another reason to be totally in love with my internet service. Did you know you can "Live Track" a plane in the air?! I knew which gate he would be arriving at, when the plane actually left the ground, and when it landed. It was fun to startle him with these bits of information. You see, he didn't even know some of the stuff I had found out. All we had known was the departure and arrival predictions. We didn't even know the airline he was traveling on. We had a nice long chat with him with lots of laughing. He said he will never drive anywhere again. Flying is the life for him. The plane from Dallas had a two hour delay as well. Well, not to worry, we just left the "Live Track" up on the computer screen so we--dad & mom--could walk in at anytime in the night and see how far the plane had made it. It was fun. Josh landed safely at 9:44 a.m. Argentina time on Friday, October 2, 2009.

This morning we awoke to a surprise. Three emails from the mission-- one from Josh and two from the mission president. We expected to wait at least until the next scheduled p-day to hear anything. Thank you, Mission President. He is happy and well. His new companion is Elder Wiltbank. Tonight after conference they were going to move to their apartment which is 3.5 hours from the mission home. Elder Wartena promised to send additional information on p-day. Oh, what a pleasant surprise of a day in email world.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Friday, October 2, 2009

He is in Argentina.

Yesterday was spent in a fun way tracking Josh's planes on www.flightview.com. He landed safely both times. But boy did they have a lot of delays. Our best calculations are that the storm which hit the Dallas area yesterday evening caused that delay of two hours. Joshua thinks he caused the morning one when he was helping a lady passenger load her carry-on luggage. I doubt that took 2 hours, but glad to hear he is being a gentleman.

Now all he has left is to get from Buenos Aires to Bahia Blanca, meet the Mission President and companion, and go to his apartment. We don't know how he will get there and look forward to hearing from him.

Thanks for all the prayers, letter, and packages you all sent his way while at the MTC. He feels very supported. Josh is just "so completely stoked I can hardly stand it. I'm finally going."

Signing off for now,
The Mama