Where do I send letters?

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

Monday, December 27, 2010

The P-day after Christmas

Dear Mom

Haha, yeah, not much of anything left to say after calling! You even know my transfers. Santa Rosa 1, with Elder....starts witha G and is an odd Peruvian name. He has 1 transfer...yup, I'm with a newbie again, should be fun. We'll see if I start forgetting english again hardcore. It'll be bad if I end with a latin american companion...shiver. I'm excited to go up to santa rosa though, even though it's 110 degrees at the moment. Elder Torres and Elder Frias are gone! Back to Peru, along with Hermana Vazquez, well, she's in Cordoba actually. And Elder Van Wagenen is going next transfer. 
I'm being left all alone!
But hey, the bus ride in the middle of the night was fun, the best part was waiting for other elders to get there until 4 am, then starting to sleep on the mission office couch around that time. I'm looking forward to sleeping on the bus tonight. Yup, I'm still in Bahia Blanca. Most of the pday has been hanging out in the office with the office elders and elder Wilks (Elder Christianson's new comp, he's waiting to go down to Veidma)
I got like 7 ties as christmas presents! Woohoo, I was starting to look at buying some more, hehe. Elder C bought me a cool Beatles tshirt, he got a Thor shirt. 
I'm pretty content to go to a new area, should be fun, everyone says the ward is great and my comp is good as well.
Well, that's about all I can think of to write that we didn't talk about! Thanks for the updates on everyone and the emails every week Mom. I love you too!!!!
Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena

We are looking forward to hearing all about his new area, his new companion, and his new adventures in Santa Rosa.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just want to wish a Merry Christmas to All.  Josh is doing well.  The Christmas call was just as wonderful as you can imagine.  It only took 4 or 5 times to finally connect with him and all was well.  In fact, the cell phone proved to be the best connection.  We got to talk with him for a while, and then the Papa and the Mama spoke with him again.  It was fun to joke around and hear his sweet laugh.  Pres. gave them permission to do a video conference call which would have been fun, but we didn't know and didn't have it set up to go.   No worries--just hearing his voice was wonderful.

He gave us vivid details of the pig brain dinner they were recently served.  UGH!!!  Says that has got to be the grossest thing he's been served yet.  In fact, the Native Americans may have used all the parts of the buffalo, but the Argentines seem to use all the parts of everything.  Josh informs us that when he gets home he will be teaching us how to make delicious homemade BBQ, homemade refried beans, and homemade tortillas.  What an accomplished cook he is becoming.

Josh's younger brother is sitting here reading over my shoulder as I type.  You should be here listening.  Let me share with you his comments as I type.  Teenagers have such active imaginations.

     "Just imagine driving up to Taco Bell and ordering a pig head.  Later at home you split it open on the                                                   kitchen table to dig in and gorge yourself on brains.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm."

The missionary has received a transfer to Santa Rosa, in the Pampas.  He moves Monday I believe.  This transfer is going to be hard on him.  He has loved working with Elder Christensen immensely.  They have just clicked together.  The way they both serve--obeying the mission rules, loving the people, working hard--has made a remarkable difference in the area where they've been serving.  It will all be well though.

Josh is loving serving the Lord.  He even wishes he could extend the mission, but we all know how that goes.  There is a time and a season for all things.  This is still the season for the mission.  We wouldn't have it any other way.  So, until next time . . .

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, December 20, 2010

A letter to the Papa

Well, the Mama was delinquent this week, what with getting ready for Christmas, the Christmas program and church, and EVERYTHING ELSE.  I got my email off to Josh a bit later.  I hope he still sends one, but if not we do have the phone call on Saturday.  Yeah!!! So, we will share a letter to the father for week.  The papa letters have a different flare.  Enjoy!

The sun and tempurature are up!
But it's been a good week. I'm glad to end Viedma well, we've had 6 baptisms in the past 2 weeks, and it is so nice. After so much time teaching working and just kicking your own butt, it pays off.
I hate learning humility and patience, not gonna lie. Mostly the proccess that is uncomfortable actually.
I forgot my card reader, and am waiting to borrow another elder's camera to send you pictures.
Eduardo and Ruben were baptised, and it was amazing. Both wives/families were just ecstatic to see the miracle they didn't think was ever going to happen.
Eduardo is going to be a memeber of the 70 I think. ok, maybe not, but I love the guy so much. Just, lots of faith manifest by his works and willingness. Remind me to etell you more about him saturday.
Speaking off, 10 am is great.
I'm so glad to hear the ward is doing well! Mom has told me about hte young men and youth in general a few times, and it sounds like everything is just moving ahead.
Don't take the advantage of living in the US/Utah for granted. We have 2 branches of about  60 people (on a good week) combined in a city the size of Orem. It's wonderful to see the growth of it though.
But gosh dang it, transfers are this week, and I may be going to Santa Rosa, that's the word on the street. We'll know saturday.
I'm praying for the family, thanks for the update on the gpas stuff.
Your package is waiting in Bahia Blanca for me to pick up on wednesday. We're going up for another super pday (4 hours on a bus tomorrow at 10 pm...ugh) I'm actually really excited for it.
Thanks for the advice Dad, we're putting alot of effort into finding new people (we baptised all of our investigators, the Lord really gave us amazingly prepared people to work with)
It's hard, always has been and I don't think it is going to get easier anytime soon.
How did you guys find new people in your mission?
The book of mormon! I need to finish it by the end of the year, where am I? 3 Nephi 7. I got distracted reading Jesus the Christ again and got behind. Mom said you threw down a challeng with the ward to read the Book of Mormon? What was it exactly, I'm still a member of the sharon park 6th.
Anyways, I will talk to you saturday Dad, thanks for the update, I love you.
your son
Elder Joshua Wartena

Merry Christmas!

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, December 13, 2010

4 Baptisms in One Week

Dear Mom,   :D

So, I'm not going to write everything these next 2 weeks, that way I can tell you the exciting stuff that has happened recently over the phone and not have it be, 'Oh, we already knew that...''

But, we had 4 baptisms this week.  Here are the pictures!

It was great, the kids were all excited to be baptised, especially since they were going out to Mar del the next day and will be confirmed this week.
The older couple (ok, they are...really old, and really small, we were afraid of breaking them...) was baptised with both of us in the font. Elder C lifted and I spotted, it was fun. Francisco was so short that he just sat down and went right under. Victoriana was nervous about going under and floated, so EC put his hand on top of her head and dunked her!
Yeah, it was cool.
Sunday was great as well. My class, Principles of the Gospel, was the largest class! Hahahaha, it was fun, all of us in a tiny room. Taught about the scriptures, then explained how we need to look at the scriptures more as one tool and as the word of God than as just The Bible and The Book of Mormon. Showed how both books support each other and teach us about Christ. No one knew that the Bible mentioned the Book of Mormon, and the wife of an investigator didn't take to well to the idea...nor to the video about the miracle of the Bom, how incredible the BoM is and all that.
Oh well.
But, good news!
Ok, remind me to tell you about Eduardo's quitting smoking story, it is quite remarkable and impressive. The man is studying like a fanatic and loving every bit of it. Stoked to get baptised sat, with a full week free of cigarettes. Reuben as well, he and Hna Requilme are getting married thsi fri and her will be baptised sat!
Carlos as well, but it is not sure yet. He was brought to church by a friend and loves it, wants to continue, and is studying. The odd part, he hasn't recieved a full lesson from us yet in his house. He leaves up to a small city in Buenos Aires on sunday, adn we want to baptise him before he leaves, aka, this week. Being gone for 7 months will be easier with the holy ghost, especially as he is very receptive to it. God prepares people,. our responsibility is to teach and baptise them.
Oh, a brother a a member will be baptised next tue as well, I forgot to mention that. He is a widower of 2 years and has been staying with his brother. Think...meek, that is a good explaination. Just like a sponge ready to soak up living water.
The daughter of hna REquilme is out of the hospital, which is definitely a good think. The baby was born with liquid in his lungs and was in ICU for 2 days. But, a beautiful baby bot is home now. And his mother is now starting to come back to church. Scared into humilty? Yes.
Oh, yes, next wednesday I will be in Bahía Blanca. WHy do you ask? Well, it's another one on those super Pdays. I literally am expecting someone to tell me that it's a joke and we're only in April, not December...
The hot water in the font wasn't warm enough, so we were boiling pots of water on the sink to help. We ended up having to leave, so we prayed that the cold water would miraculously be warm with the 1 hour of hot water going into it. (you see, the older couple couldn't handle a cold baptism)
It was toasty warm. Small miracles
Yoru Christmas package is off as well! I hope it gets there by Christmas. Sorry there are no letters this year, but we've been busy the last week. Enjoy!
The new elder from el Salvador is doing well, good kid. As is my companion, he's pretty happy at the moment, we're having a good time.

Thanks for all the info! I'm stoked to hear about Stuart. Good luck in the musical number.
I will try to accompany you in the BoM read.
Want to see if we can finish it before I get back? That gives you 7 months.
I'll race you!
Calling here? Would it work to call after you wake up and open stuff? Probably, how about 10:30 ish MT? That would be 2:30 here.
The Christiansens will be calling you this week
Well, that was the exciting week down here in Viedma, enjoy the library and say hi to everyone on my part. I love you all and will talk to you next week! Enjoy your semana, and IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!!

Love you all!
Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena

It's good to be a missionary mom.  I love P-days.  I love this son.  Happy days to you.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Call is almost here and he is well

Good day to You,

Just a few explanations.  Josh called yesterday, Sunday morning, at 8:45 a.m. to try and get us set up with the phone number we will need to call on Christmas day this year.  Back in May it took over 3 hours talking with 4 different international operators to figure out what was wrong with the number he had given us.  We ended up calling a cell phone a member let him use and spending quite a chunk of money, but it was wonderful.  For Christmas 2009 he called about a week early to make sure all the connections were going to work out okay.  

For this year we expected a call in about two weeks to work stuff out, but he surprised us, again.  He said they are so busy with baptisms and teaching for the rest of the month that they decided to just get this taken care of now when they had the opportunity.  So he called to give us a number to call back.  It didn't work.  He called Jeff's cell two more times, and we tried two more times.  After that we called and worked out the numbers with the operator yesterday, so now we know the connection will be good.  He, however, did not know, so he called again this morning.  Someone was at the church and offered to let him use his cell phone to contact me to make the test call back to the church phone.  After the shock of hearing his voice, taking down the number he has for the church, giving him the correct number for the church, calling him back, connecting with the church phone, hearing his voice, working hard not to cry, and taking down three phone numbers for contacting his current companion's parents to make sure they have the information all right, we were at 3 min. 42 sec. on my cell phone.  If my calculations are correct, that took about 100 minutes of my prepaid minutes.  UGH!  Alas, I won't complain one bit.  It was a fun little unexpected joy for the day.  

Enjoy the email.  His spelling is indeed getting worse and worse.  On the bright side, his Spanish is getting better and better.

Dear Mom,

40 min late! Haha, I'm sorry for causing such a tardy bishop thsi week, but am glad to know it is all figured out.  

(We were VERY late to sacrament meeting due to the call.)

Number 7? Whaaaaaaa?!?! When did they have number 6?
So, we was smart missionaries this week and made a list over lunch to email home about. The things that happened this week.
Eduardo moved out on his own so that he and Noemi could have more respect for each other and he started to quite smoking so that he could meet his goal of 1 week smoke free before his baptism. This was before we taught him anything abou the commmandments. He's pretty stoked.
As is Rueben, who went and got a date to be married in 2 weeks because ''the elder with glasses said I needed to do it soon to be baptised'' That's faith
I'm also expected to bless the third child of his daughter in law that we helped come backed to church. The baby is expected via C section this thursday.
Jorgelina is amazing. As I have siad before, the real change in a person after baptism and the holy ghost is amazing and visibly noticable.
Cruz and Fransisco are getting baptised this week, as are the kids Camila and Alexadre. The kids were going to getr baptised last saturday but a family friend was murdered and it wasn't able to happen....yeah. But they are still awesome. They were both able to complete assemble the plan of salvation and explain it after being taught said plan once.
I finished Alma!!!
And got new soles for my shoes. Big ol doc martin styles...they are pretty awesome.
Oh, how could I forget. Some memebers brought friends to church this sunday and the guy loved it. We went over to his house later and he wanted to know how he could get one of the books we kept talking about the whole meeting. We promptly handed him a copy. He says he has what he thinks is a testimony bvecause he feels so good aobu tit.
Remember Claudio? The guiy with the awesome dogs? He wanted to know more aobut what happens after this life. You see, when he was younger he had a heart attack or something and flatlined. They sent him to the morgue because, well, he was dead. He woke up a few hours later on a stainless steel bed with a sheet covering him and a tag on his toe.
They are now reading the book of mormon and want to know more about the mormon church.
Taught prophets in Principles of the gospel. WEnt well.
IT?S HOTTTTTTTTTT!!!!! Luckily it's usually windy as well..
Hit 500 days in the mission. It was written in my planner, I don't remember doing that.
Had a nail go through my foot, but instead of the blood filled shoe we expected, there was not evven a mark on my foot. Little miracles.
AND THAT! Is the week.
Thank you Mom, I will be sober. But really, thank you.
Question for you, scripture study. Why do you think Mormon included all that stuff about the judgement seat in Hel 1-2?
You have like...your own connections in the missionary world...by the time Jo is out here it's be like a missionary mom Mafia.
Ok, I have to go write Pres, and finish the christmas card to send to you (that is why the email is shorter this week)
I love you all!
Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, November 29, 2010

Time for the missionary update

Dear Mom
It was when I read about trees of lime that I remembered that poem. To quote an MTC teacher talking about journals
I think one reason we keep journals is to look back and see how stupid we were and be glad we moved on.
Thank heaven sometimes it's nice to read and laugh at journals.
Wow, I am impressed by the improv talk Mom, yes I am.
Baptisms! Well, Jorgelina was baptised this week, Camila and Alexander next week, and Veronica with her husband Fransisco the following week. Camila and Alexander are two grandchildren of a menos activo that ran out of her house calling us in as we walked by. ''Elders! God sent you to my house!'' We weren't overly suprised by this statement. She was thinking about coming back to church after years and we happened to walked by. Well, her grandchildren came back with her and are not baptised. They are saying their prayers every night and Camila reads every chapter along with the folletos we give her (she's 11 and he is 8)
Veronica and Fransisco are the older couple we found through the members (great uncle and aunt) and they love us. :D We love them too. They both keep going on about how much better their life has gotten since they started haveing the lessons (home, fighting, health, etc) and are as Elder Christiansen said ''the bells of the ball) whether the come to church, a baptism, or an activity.
And Jorgelina got baptised! 

We ended up making no smoking signs and putting them in her house to help her. It always suprised me the change in countenance of a person after their baptism and confirmation. I am sending the picture.
We finally got Claudio and his wife interested in having us over for lessons. (Claudio=the dog guy) We had not gone over in quite a while and decided that it would be productive to see how they were doing. Had some questions about the BOM and what happens after death. Yup
Rueben is getting a marriage date today down in Centro and Eduardo is finishing his divorce papers. I'm praying and hoping for a december date.
Speaking of december, it's getting ridiculously hot down here. Argentina weather is more sporadic than Utah, we have hail the size of...hmmm....the size of....large rock salt...in the afternoon after a 100% day. Fun times here.
The first week in several that I haven't traveled, it feels nice.
So, I miss playing the violin. We were visiting a member and he asked if I knew (just by chance) how to tune a violin. He bought a student instrument to learn how to play and wanted some help.
I was sick on thanksgiving! Food poisoning, it was horrible. But, that is what severely uncooked meat will do to you (I didn't realize in the moment, I promise) 
Would you send me a copy of the conference edition of the ensign in the xmas package, if you haven't sent it already?
That's a really cool thought Mom. Makes sense, if you look at Ether 12:6, faith is the HOPE of things which are not seen. We had to have faith that this world would be what Heavenly Father said it would, we had to have faith taht we could get back through Jesus Christ. It wasn't a lack of belief on either of them, we had a perfect knowledge of their existence, we had to have faith on what they said. Another reason maybe we we can't remember from before? We have to grow in faith here, if we started with that part of a perfect knowledge it would kinda frustrate the plan.
Little scriptural thought for the week, it really isn't very deep or anything though. We always read about Alma's son Coriantumr, and how afterward all of Alma's sons went out and preached again, but what happened to Cori exactly? Why have I never seen Alma 49:30 before? It was just a good feeling to see how the missionary got back up.
I started reading the war chapters in Alma (finally, hahaha) and Jesus the Christ again.
Took naps today after taking a couple hours to make huge burritos. Slept like a rock.
Pictures on flickr.
The ward is doing well, Damian Hernandez (kid waiting for his mission call) was made Ward Mission Leader, so that will be good. It'll help him alot for his mission as well. About 35 people in the ward. It's nice to see a ward with a large part made up of your investigadors and families you helped come back. I teach Gospel Principles right? Well, this week was about temple work, and one investigador got slightly upset abou tthe fact that some people were just sitting up there waiting for their work do get done after they had accepted to gospel being preached to them. She thought that would be horrible to have to just sit waiting for someone down here to do it, what if no one knew who you were and there was no record? You would have to wait until the millenium!
It was a pretty good observation to say the least.
So, is the new family search just amazing?!?! We had a slight intro on it in Priesthood and it looked way good, alot better than the old system.
Anyways, that's about the extent of my week, thank you so much for the email Mom, glad to know you guys are doing well in the snow. Usher in December with something fun, make a huge snowman? Or just a huge snowball, always seemed to be what we ended up doing. I love you! Tell all the brothers and family I love them too. And have a great week!
Your missionary son
Elder Joshua Wartena

What do you all think?  Take a look at his pictures.  I think he looks thinner.  The hard work and the stress do it to him every time.
Have a great week.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanks for all the support here on the Blog

Dear Friends and Family,

Here is a little pre-pday post from The Mama.  I just wanted to thank all those people who have supported us here on the blog.  There are so many more of you than I realized.  Just this afternoon I found how I could view all the comments that have ever been made about the blog.  It blew my mind to see how many people have visited here that I never knew about.  Many of you I don't even know.  You just found this blog.

Sister Cox commented over a year ago about a post.  Turns out she found the blog while surfing the internet, and her son was Josh's companion.  Just an update.  Elder Cox WAS receiving packages from his family, just not from his friends.  She reports he is doing well.

Two other dear sisters were surfing around and found us here.  They were looking for information about the mission.  Both of them have sons now serving in the Bahia Blanca mission.  Who knows?  Maybe they will be companions with Josh at some time.

The world is getting smaller and smaller each day.  With our modern technology to link us we can be such support for one another.  When I first began the blog I figured family would check it out occassionaly for an update on our son.  Turns out others have come to visit as well.  I hope that something we share can help another person to have a good day.  I hope that others will be inspired by our story and feel a desire within to serve a mission for the Lord.  Perhaps something we share about our life will encourage someone else to learn about the restored gospel and be baptised. 

I want to thank all the family and friends who are keeping their blogs up for us to share.  It is such fun to take a few moments each week to learn what is happening in your lives.  We can't visit or call you every week, yet we feel a part of your lives with this online adventure called The Blog.  We love you.  May the joy of the season be with all of you.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, November 22, 2010

Busy week, again. That's good news.

Dearest Mother,
It is one of those good old weeks that I am sure you remember from the first 8 months of the mission when I only have about 15 minutes to write you, and President...why?
Well, I'm in Bahia again. Got on the bus at 1 and now a, with the zome leaders doing internet in a little concrete room that has a band saw in the back.
Exciting stuff that happened as I will not be able to respond to any of your email.
Jorgelina is getting baptised saturday, then the little old couple we found the week after along with 3 grandchildren of a less active that we reactivated, ''Elders, the Lord sent you to my door.''
Doing divisions in San Antonio, I had my first baptismal interview excperience. Kinda just walked in and the lady said she was ready to get baptised and wanted the interview righht then. To which Elder Aldridge replied that that was convenient.
Yeah, alot has happened, and I honestly don't really remember most of it, and if the next week is a packed as this one was, you will probably not know any until I get home...interesting thought.
But yeah, I am going to go write Pres. before I hop off. Thanks again for the email, even though I don't say much about them. I love you all.  Have a great week in Utah, enjoy the snow! And tell Chris I am jealous, he knows what I mean...
Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Wartena

It's short and sweet and to the point.  How exciting for a missionary to have a baptism scheduled.  Now that's joy.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, November 15, 2010

New assignment

We're having a guessing game and a reading challenge.  Read on to get the information.

Dear Mother
Well, it has been an interesting week. First ofall, there isa certain key on this keyboard that is broken. We will see if you figureoutwhich one it isby the end of the email.
Trip backfrom Bahia was uneventful, then we did divisions with theothermissionaries i n Viedma so that Elder Thomson could work. You see, elder Risenhoover isn't able to walk, so we took turns being i nthe house with him so that his comp could get out for a while.
Sebastion is being very difficualt to find
But, we are getting Eduardo, Rueben and Julio married to their member spouses so that they will be able to get baptised.
It's a pretty good time.
As well asJorgelina. She recieved thelessons awhileago, but we ''refound'' her and we are trying tog et her in thefontas well. She will be going in for surgery on her spine soon adnd wants to be baptised before the procedure. Time is the problem.
That isthe exciting news in thearea, other new people, but we'll see what happens.
Nearly all thepeople we ahve are from the members. I heard astatistic that only 1to 2 percent of tracted investigators actually reach baptism. I think that lack of being able to really anchor people in the ward is a huge factor oin the ''fizzling out'' When the ward is struggling, it is hard to throw extra people in and excpect a huge support and effort. As a result, we have many less actives to work with, and part member families. It works out though, because the ward gets stronger, and the mission wrok progresses at the same time. However, once again, the time is the real problem. One of the reasons Pres is having missionaries stay in areas for 4 transfers as much as possible.
Yeah, I'm here for a 4th transfer, but I was made dist leader of Viedma (which is 4 hours away from the zone...crazynezz)
Honestly kinda stressing about it, but it should be fun. I'm going out to San Antonio Oeste this week for divisions.
Answer to your question. We have a house heated by natural gas, as is the water heater, fridge, and stove. But a few things
1) It's about 100000000 degrees, so we don't use the heater
2) One of the enforced laws is to have gas escape things in the walls so you don't die
3) The mission supplies carbon monoxide alarms
4) The kitchen still doesn't have a window. It has bars though, so a good breeze is prevelent most of the day.
That is why I stopped taking my camera to zone conferences,. In the leadership conference 5 cameras were stolen and they are trying to find out who did it.
I took personal money out to fix my shoes today. I have a pair that is my main working pair and another that I keep nicer. My foot came out the bottom last week in the first pair and they are sitting in a Zapataria being fixed as we speak.
We had an asado for pday to celebrate thanksgiving. But I Think EC and I are going to buy a chicken like Dad said and have dinner on the actual day.
Thanks forthe animo, Mom, I'm havinga great time here in Viedma. I love my mission, wouldn't tade it for the world.
Thanks agagin for the emails, and everything else you do for me. I love you, Mom, and the wholefamily. HI!
Sorry for a shorter email week, have a great semana and I will talk to you next pday!
your missionary son and brother
ELder Joshua WArtena
Study hmework: Alma's admonitions to his sons, Heleman, Shiblon, andCoriantumr. Compare them with Lehi's blessing to his sons in 2 Ne 1-3
This applies to everyone who reads this email :D Chau!

Did you figure out which key on the keyboard was broken?  Post your guesses and I'll let you know next week if you were correct.  Also, anyone who does the homework study and posts their experience with it will get something from me.  Have a grand week.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, November 8, 2010

Travels galore.

Dear Mom and Dad
I will tell you why you are getting an email late, it is a good story.
I am in Bahia Blanca. Well, that is the story.
No, kidding, here is what happened.
So, our dist leader Elder Thomson had to come up here for a leadershi`p conference today and since the last leadership thing had the trainers in it, we thought I had to come too. One of the assistants told us that was probably how it was too. Well, I thought he had called to double check when I went to get the tickets yesterday, and we bought two. There was no call made.
So, about an hour away from Bahia we get a call from the zone leaders telling us that I actually didn0t need to be there. I was quite upset. But, we stayed with elder sands that night and looked forward to spending pday in a conference. 
The missionaries training in the transfer that is coming up and all the current leaders were there. I was the only one out of place. No big deal though.
Well, One of the assistants tells me later that he was glad I made it up. So I am quite confused at this poitn ''wasn't I not supposed to be here?'' ''No, Pres told us the other day (meaning the assistants) I want Elder Wartena to be here for the leadership conference...''
So, I was supposed to be there, even though we all thought I wasn't. Yeah...I think transfers are going to be interesting fri...
Apart from that, it was actually the second time we came to Bahia this week. We ahd our zone conference on saturday, so fri was traveling. 
Conference=awesome. Both of them.I would tell you more about it, but we have to go get a bus, so this is actually the only email I will be able to write, and it won't be very long. But hey, Chris, thanks for writing me such a long letter. I am going to be writing a response on the bus ride home. :D
The week went well though, we had 10 member present lessons in spite on conference.
The family (Natalia and Juan Pablo) are having problems with us coming over. He really doesn't have interest, even though she does, and it is getting impossible to find them home. We'll get them though.
Sebastian still going. :D
Eduardo, the husband of the member lady who is reactivating, is still amazing. Reading and praying. aCtually called me in Bahia to reshcedule our appointment tonight, but he is still keeping commitments. 
A member couple brought 2 young ladies to church, friends of their son (one is a girlfriend of a friend or something like that) ANd in the lesson (princliples of the gospel, which I teach) I knew I had to tie it into the restoration. Teaching about how families can be together forever, went into the restoration of said priesthood power, and from there explained about Jose Smith. One of the girls was was into reading for the class, and started crying and smiling during the jose smith story. She wants us to come over and teach her. :D:D:D:D:D

Elder Christianson and I ate pig brain a few nights ago. We were having a bbq with the dog guy, and he pulled a pig head out of the fridge for us to eat (yum....) you just cut parts off the head, and eat it. It's like french fries. 
Well, he pulls out a big knife, says just a second, them cuts the head in half. It looked really cool, like an anatomy book or something, and you just stuck your fork into the side of the brain, pulls some out, and ate it.
Pig brain, and pig ear, are probably the nastiest things I have ever eaten.
Blood sausage is up there though...nasty.
Oh, we also found an ex investigator who is getting baptised now. She is the sister of a member, and knows it is true, is reading the BoM, and wants to get baptised before her spine operation. We will know the date of the operation tomorrow, wish us luck!
And the other husband of the other less active we reactivated, is still good, and is progressing to baptism. (next transfer, like...5 people are already lined up and ready..it's kinda cool)
I had something else to say, but just forgot it.
So, in case you haven't noticed, I really haven't responded to anything you wrote me, sorry. 
Oh, we had about 40 people in church sunday, and last week there were 52. Big change from my first week here having 20 max.
Christmas? I would love a few cool ties actually, I'm still good on the stickies you sent me in the MTC! And everything else you can really get here. But it's nice to have ties from home...
The wal mart (well, it's like an off brand wal mart that wal mart put in Viedma) had Peanut Butter! So, we had PB and J. It was great.

But hey, I have to run to go catch a bus. Thanks again for everything, I love you all, sorry for the past few weeks not being the best email wise, I will improve. 

Your missionary here in Argentina
Elder Joshua Wartena

Happy week to all of you.  May your travels be safe and happy.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spring has sprung in Argentina

I decided to share the emails sent to both  the Papa and the Mama this week.  He is working hard.  Thus there is little time for typing emails to us all on pday.  He likes to divide the info between our two emails keeping each short and to the point; then we share with one another.  So this week we will share both with you as well.

Email to the Papa
Spring, rocks in Argentina
Winter, ridiculously cold, Summer, boil your brains hot, but Spring, really nice.
So, the investigators are all doing really well. Maria dropped us, and Juan Pablo is having a hard time paying attention or really caring about the message, but his wife Natalia loves it and is enjoying praying and putting forth the effort to read the Book of Mormon. Sebastian is just a stud. We were teaching him about the gospel of Jesus Christ, baptism, etc. And he really wants to do it all; but honestly has a hard time believing in God. Not that he doesn't want to believe, but he just never had any kind of base and doesn't know right now. He has a huge desire, and is reading and praying. Time for impromptu scripture application, Aaron and the King. He really loved the story and is doing alot better now. A sister who has been inactive for quite alpong itme decided to come back to church to join her son (Ezequiel and Luciana) and brought her boyfriend with her. HE asked us to come over and give him the discussions so that he can get baptized as soon as possible after they get married. He told us that he had had contact with the churh before but was unable to follow through with it but is so excited now to get married and in a year go through the temple. Well, we picked our jaws up off the floor to tell him that we could do that.

Then another less active who we reactivated (actually the lady who I commanded be healed in a blessing) brought her husband and he told us in a very manner of fact way that he needed us to come give him the dicussions too (a miracle seeing that he wanted nothing to do with the church before).
And we have found some other people, but that is the real exciting stuff going on.
So, I sent Mom the address for Elder Christensen in the last email, and am going to go write her right now. We have 4 family home evenings tonight and are kinda short on time. But thanks again for the email, keep up all the good work, and tell the ward hi from me and that everything is doing well. Hope you liked hearing about the work. Love you Dad
Your son
Elder Wartena
PS: Training ROCKS! It helps that my son is a stud missionary.
PSS: An all you can eat restuarant in Argentina run by Chinese people and is less than 30 pesos is always a bad idea. 

Email to the Mama

Dear Mother
Ok, so we have a ton of stuff to do tonight; as such, combine your's and Dad's emails to form one big email, deal?
This week was good, I will tell you about the cool stuff that happened.
I got sick on...Thursday? Yes and spent the weekend with Elder Risenhoover who has been ordered by Pres to stay off his knees. We had a grand old time popping pain killers and cleaning the houses in Viedma. But, it was a torrential downpour the entire weekend. As such, our comps got drenched, and we made them good food, hot chocolote, and all that.
So that was fun. I told Dad about the great success we are having in the work, which is always a great feeling. Elder Christensen and I are still doing great, apart from the growing heat of summer :D
Today was a good pday, I think we met the Argentina Mafia. I will tell you more about that next week, remind me, I'll have more time. Suffice it to say, they will do dollar to peso changes, no questions, names, or documents asked in less than 30 seconds. Something that usually takes a bank account, passport and visa, reason for being in the country, and lots of time.
It was fun....
Still no progress on the Radio thing.
And Maria dropped us, she doesn't want us coming by anymore.  That was a bullet, but hey, what can you do?  We found another lady that had the lessons awhile ago and now is ready to be baptised, knows it is true, and all that. It's pretty cool.
We finished reading chapter one just awhile ago (of Preach My Gospel).  It is my favorite, if I may say so. Also the most talked about in the MTC, teachers, everything is about ''the purpose''.
Reading assignemt for you then! Read about the sons of Mosiah and their missions. Alma 17-26. Look for people in your life that need what they gave to their bretheren the Lamanites.
Oh dear, time is up, I love you Mom.  Have a great week, and thanks for the emails every week. I will print this one off and answer all your questions...eventually.
Hugs to all! 
Your missionary
Elder Wartena 

There you have it.  He is busy, happy, working hard.  He loves it.  We love it.  Please pray for his safety and pray for the investigators.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, October 25, 2010

An email to get you all choked up.

Yup, we have haircut apps at 5, so you get to read an email earlier than normal!
First of all, thanks for the email last week, I printed it off to read it at home. Thank you!
Let's give you the rundown for the week.
Our family of 7, Juan Pablo and NAtalia, are sitll doing very well. They don't have much knowledge of Christ or anything religios, and love hearing about Him and everything.
Challenge, they aren't married, and don't really want to be.
Plus, no problems whatsovever with the BoM, or having the spirit in the lessons.
Enter, Sebastian. If you can guage how much the Lord trusts you by the sisuation of the people he gives you, we're doing alright in that regard. He has been raised by the street in Buenos Aires since his parents died at age 8. He is now 21, living in the garage of the mother of a member, working 3 jobs, and is a massive cocaine addict that wants to change tso much it is impressive. He has no where else to go but God now and that's were we found him, after 550 pesos of cocaine.
The kid is awesome, to say the least. Heavenly FAther loves him so much, and is using us to show it, it feels SO COOL! Imagine just being filled with the most pure love while looking and listening to someone you don't even know and then being able to tell him.
YES; email from you, let's go read it.
You got it all right for the primary, I like it.
Back to the week.
OTher big news, we are going to start teachinga young man who thinks there is no forgiveness for what he did. You see, he caused his girlfriend to have an abortion, and now is tortured every day by it 9 months later. Alma the younger anyone?
We just teach screwed up situations, guess that's the best to teach about the atonoment to right? We are spending alot more time explaining the actual gospel this transfer than we are about convinving of the bookm of Mormon or the restoration. People are just accepting it.
Except for 50% of the people we find. 8 new investigators this week, but most of them really just let us in to be nice and ahve interest in listening or having us back, ever.
Oh well.
Still knocking a ton of doors. We're thinking of getting every door knocked in the area by the time we leave is a good goal. Oh, we're also going to be talking on a radio station either this week or next week. I'll let you know how it goes.
Sac meeting was only 40 minutes long this week. The son of a member was shot by a police officer. Be glad you live in the states. His body was in a coffin slightly stronger than cardboard, sprayed down with lysol for the smell, and placed in a local gymnasium for viewing.
Needless to say, we're avoiding that area for the next little while.
And, it's time to go get haircuts, but thanks for everything Mom, and family.
Thank you Dad for the email, I will be studying the scriptures when I get home!
Love you all!
Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena

I just read the whole thing and cried.  Our dear son seems to have entered a new phase of the mission.  He seems to really be there in a new way. 

I was going to say more, but feel I should stop.  Best wishes to you all.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, October 18, 2010

Busy in the land of Argentina

Dear Mom
Well, I'm just going to say thanks in advance for your letter because I have a whole bunch of stuff to write.
You know how we've felt there was a family for us to find and baptize this week? Well, we found them. After the end of a long rainy day, the last appointment of 9 that had all fallen though (yeah, this was the one) and a nice lady let us in to teach her and her husband. They were glued to us the entire lesson and Elder Christianson cried when we left he was feeling so good. They have never gone to a church and aren't even baptized catholic. Juan Pablo, Marcela, and family.
Maria is definitely worth mentioning. Elder C didn't even introduce us at her door, jsut ''may we come in'' Well,. she let us in. Then I proceeded to feel like Abinadi teaching King Noah and the priests. Ok, she didn't want to kill me or revile against the law of moses, but I felt like I was literally on fire. No phrase there, I would not have been suprised to look at my arms and see flames going. It was without a doubt the coolest teaching experience I have ever had. She told us after that she has never let anyone into her house, but for some reason she did for us that night and loved it. Now we have to get on her athiest daughter's case.
It was pretty dang awesome. Cause, see, after reading a part of chapter 1 in PMG, we decided to pull out moroni and focus on specific spritual gifts that we want to develop. Well, EC is going for gift of tongues and faith, because he is having a time with the language and really wants to excercise faith. I am really trying to improve a gift of teaching wisdom and knowledge. Because, well, I'm teaching alot more now that I am training.
Typing was something I definitely should have worked on more before the mission. Eldedr Aldridge is here typing about 100 words a minute and I think I amy ask him to just type what I dictate.
So, ummm, how would you feel if I went to live in Europe in 2012? Specifically, Spain and Germany?
Knocking lots of doors, and contacting lots of people. like, 340, which is over 100 of what the mission asks us to get.
So, some kids were juggling outside of these appt building the other day, and I just couldn't resist going over to see them. This one kid had clubs and he told me that it would be 2 pesos to see him juggle. So I told him I would do better for free. Which I did. :D
To answer all questions in all emails, because time is a little scrunched at the moment, we have 10 appointments to run to in 3 hours after email....
Elder Christianson may be my favorite comp, ever. Yeah, Elder Palmer is getting a run for his money. This missionary is great! I would like to emulate all of his good qualities, but like I said, time. Just a kid who knows what he's doing and has a great attitidue and enthusiasm about it. Reallly helps me alot and we have a great time working and really just having the spirit like a pair of Alma and Amulek. Oh, yeah, we're really, really humble at the same time.
Paolo couldn't come to church because he had a hangover and then it just went downhill from there until one day we are informed that he has run away to Neuquen with the catholic church....yeah. We're just trying not to think about that one.
But, incoming, Sebastian! He came with a member to dist conference this week and we are going to baptise him. He just doesn't know it yet.
Ok, well, that is time up and we have to run, but there is much that happened this week, we are doing spectacular and I love you all. Thanks again for the emails and letters!
Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena  

PS, your answer was great, and Dan Jones was the early missionary who went over to Wales and just tore it up. And the Book of Mormon is...well, an ancient record of the americas...but I think I understood the question wrong.

Friends and Family (which are pretty much the same thing if you ask me),

It's days like this that I really just miss Joshua LOTS.  I miss his stories each day when he gets home.  I miss his, "Mom, want to hear something funny?"  I miss him picking up something to juggle everywhere we go.  I can't tell you how many times I was embarrassed by him picking up some set of items and juggling them in the middle of a store or someone's house.  He loves to put on a show and make people happy.  Today I'd give anything to have him here with me juggling anything in any store (besides glass items).  Well, until he is back with us again I will have to rely on the companionship of you all--and you are such nice companions.  Anyone for lunch out with me?  My treat?

To hear how much fun he is having training and working hard with this new companion is delightful.  He loves being a missionary.  And, after all this time, I can truly say we love having a missionary son.   

The people of Argentina he loves.  They seem to have a hard time hearing the gospel and accepting it.  Many of his investigators have accepted, and then turned completely away a time later.  Perhaps some prayers from us on their behalf are needed.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New PDay and a new companion all in the same week.

Dear Family and friends,

Well, well, well . . . the missionary got a new PDay, but we didn't know until checking email on Wednesday.  He is busy so he is happy.  Josh never did like to sit still and do nothing.  He made sure to send a picture of the new companion.  Enjoy the letter.

It is true, Pday is now monday again.  And, we now no longer use backpacks, Dan Jones and just a Book of Mormon.  And I am training!!!!! Apart from that, not much has happened of interest. 

Yes, Elder Ramirez is in Mar Del, and alot of last week was waiting for Elder Christianson to get here. But, now he is here with all the energy of a new elder to...well, knock doors introduce us and let me talk.  It's a good time!
But really, this kid is a stud, I already love him to death and we're doing great work.

Speaking of work, Paolo couldn't come to church because...well, he had a hangover. He is doing so great with the Word of Wisdom, but an entire life changed so suddenly is something summamente difficult. We're going over tonight and really just bringing the spirit about the atonement of Jesus Christ. That's what is going to heal him, so we figure it is what he should lean on from the beginning. Makes a whole lot of sense actually...

Luciana and Ezequiel can't get married until jan! It isn't that they don't want to get married or aren't trying, they really can't. He is in the police academy until the end of the year 24 hours a day nearly the entire week, and won't have a job until he graduates. If they get married without his job, they won't be able to recieve the financial support from her parents and will have no way to live. So, they are still getting married and going to the temple, I just might not see it.  Which is ok.

We found a few new people in the couple days we had to work, we'll see if anything happens. One older couple that doesn't know how to read, but I think some other missionaries across the river have the BoM on CD, so we are going to try and get it from them.

What else....the heat is getting to be killer. So nice that we can't use backpacks anymore, keeps the heat down. 
It isn't going to be as hot as last summer though, that was just miserable in Tres Arroyos, here we have the ocean and river real close so it gives a nice constant breeze.  We have family home evening with less actives and investigators nearly every night this week, which is a good feeling. We made so many appointments contacting and knocking doors that we are packed every day. Not exactly a bad thing.
And yeah, that is pretty much everything exciting that has happened since last wednesday. Sorry you didn't know about the change in Pday until...well, today. Don't worry about it, I will just read your email for next week.
But, I hope you are all still doing well, having fun, and all that jazz. Here is a picure of me and my kid Elder Christianson. Put it up on the blog?
I love you!
Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Joshua Wartena

We are getting a package together to send for Christmas.  If anyone has good suggestions for a Deet product to send please let me know.  Also, we would love ideas for items to put in the package to send.  It will be summer in Argentina on Christmas day.  It will be HOT.  He has requested that we try to keep packages small because he has to pay 1/2 of whatever it costs us to send it to him when he receives it down there.  For example, if it costs you $30.00 to send the package, he has to pay $15.00 to receive it.  We try to keep enough money in the account to cover the shipping costs.  If anyone was planning to send him a package consider putting it together with what we are sending and we can cut down on the shipping and receiving costs.  

Josh has said that the thing he wants to most from all of us is emails, physical letters, and sharing the gospel with less actives in our own neighborhoods.  Just like a missionary--but so appropriate.  When you think about it, what are the things that bring the truest happiness?  In the end it will be our relationships with others and our service and sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ that last through eternity and bring us true joy.  May this Christmas be a time for the things that matter most.

Hope you all have as wonderful a day as we are.  We just love hearing from our missionary.  It really is exciting to be a part of spreading the gospel around the world one soul at a time.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WOOOOOOOOTTTTT!!!!! Yes, ask and ye shall recieve.

WOOOOOOOOTTTTT!!!!! Yes, ask and ye shall recieve.
Guess who is training, yup, me.
He gets here in about 6 hours, Elder Christiansen.....yeah, there are only 20000 Elders with that last name.
So, this week was ridiculously boring, well, half and half. Conference=Awesome. Yup, april it was all about families, here's what I got out of this one.
So, here is the plan of salvation, here are the prophets, listen to them, they know what is going on. But, you do have your agency, know that you will receive blessings or suffering based on how you use that gift.
I really liked it, even though I didn't get to hear the priesthood session.
Elder Claudio R M Costa, I always like his talks, along with Pres Uchtdorf, and Pres Monson.
Pres Packer is still my favorite, hands down.
What do missionaries do when they are bored on Pday? Well, sometimes we pull out the conference edition and try and figure out who the next prophet is going to be. The conclusion, Elder Perry.
We also make awesome Cafe Rio burritos, it's turning into a tradition for pday.
We are now no longer even a zone. We are a district and part of the Villa Mitre zone. It's only a 4 hour bus ride...we really are teh regects of the mission.
Doesn't stop us from doing kick butt work! Ok, so not much happened this week work wise because of transfers, conference, and not having my comp here. But, we did find someone new, Estellamaris. She is goingto get baptised, I'm pretty sure. She really wants to know.
Paolo is still having problems with cigarettes, but hates them and wants to change. Really putting forth an effort, he's so cool!
I was with Elder Beyer, an Elder that Elder Palmer trained, these past 2 days. He is from San Antonio, but had to be picked up here and since their area is 2 hours away and they have to come back thurday, they just stayed with Elder Robles and I so we would be able to work in both areas. (Elder Robles is training too)
I think that is everything of even moderate interest that has happened the past week. Oh, I DEEP CLEANED the entire house in anticipation for the new kid. Bleach, everything, buying new stuff to replace the old garbage (like, the shower curtain that was growing mold, we burned that. How do you know you're in Argentina? The flip flops you wear to shower are actually not always to protect against fungus, they are also good giant spider killers and you get in to shower and there are spiders on the wall.)
Still doing good down here. Finished Mark and am half way through Mosiah in spanish so my study goals are on track.
Oh, ok, you asked for a christmas list, here is a final one
1) The most powerful DEET bug repellent you can find. If it melts fabric it comes in contact with, it's strong enough. I was remembering last summer...I think I counted 100 bites on my body once.
2) Maple extract. Pancakes just aren't the same
3) Ranch salad dressing packets (2 or 3) Salad just ins't the same either
4) Tapito hot sauce. Or any ridiculously small bottle of hot sauce.
5) Twizzlers
6) A picture of you guys now. I would like to show people how big my brothers are.
Question for you to think about. Why is it the sword of the spirit? Why is everything else something you do, preparation, faith, prayer. How do you take hold of the sword of the spirit? What are you supposed to DO. (Find the verb! Oh thank you winston grammar...)
Anyways, it must needs be that I must go, but will have more exciting things next week (or so we hope)
Thank you again for the email, I love you!
Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena 

P.S.  And, there are more photos up, look and enjoy!

  Mama here,

I have decided that I do enjoy many things about being the mother of a missionary.  I love P-Day emails.  Something to look forward to on a regular basis.  It is almost like Christmas morning every Wednesday.  Learning to listen more intently for the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you care for someone so far away.  Many, many things to learn and do.  Now I am on a mission to find out info on DEET.  Not being the outdoors, up in the rugged outback type of person, I really do not know what to send him.  But never fear--I will find out and send it.

Also, please send in your responses to Josh's question about the Sword of the Spirit and what we are supposed to do.  Having a missionary who supplies you with a gospel topic to research on a regular basis is awesome.  All those years of morning devotionals are paying off as he now comes back and teaches me and guides me through the scriptures.  I've just got to add that having your kids grow up and go on is bitter and sweet all at the same time, and I am just barely beginning to learn about that part of life.  

Well, have a great week.  Embrace the changes come to you and be happy.  Each change is a gift from the Lord. He gives them to us to help us grow, learn, and be joyful.

Signing off for now,
The Mama