Where do I send letters?

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

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