Where do I send letters?

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

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