Where do I send letters?

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Dear Mom,

Weird, Memorial day. I always associate that with mine and Nathan's birthday. And heat...but it's not very hot at the moment.  In fact, it's about to start pouring rain. The morning fog was a sign we thinks.

Zone conference ROCKED. If Pres. doesn't get off topic on old testament imagery and how genesis applies to missionary work, he is explaining the meaning of the atonement and pratical applications towards eternal life.
It makes me wonder what I missed when I couldn't understand a word.  But, the mission reached 101 baptisms, which is the highest in nearly a decade. It's a good thing.

Oh, yeah, we had 12 people sleeping in our house for zone conference, and 1 of them was sick. You know what that means, we were all fluish for about 2 days. But, the house has been rebleached and everything but us in said house is dead and down the drain.  Apart from cleaning, Pday was spent eating, sleeping, laundry, and oh yeah, getting permission to come whenever we want and play basketball at the indoor court by our house.
Why email is cool. Power surge in the Ciber, but the email auto saved.

So, Alfredo is getting baptised this month, he's pretty stoked about it. He is the man marrying the member and yeah, its' a good time.
The Jehovah's Witness unfortunately had no interest and wouldn't read. So, dropped.
But, the Hurcades are having a large focus of prayers and work placed on them. The cousins of the member lady who lost their mother and now live with their aunt. We finally got them interested in something we said with the plan of salvation (not suprising) They actually smiled.  Yaqualina and Lionela
The daughter of sister Hurcade as well, came to the activity in the church and is recieving the lessons. Camila

Speaking of the activity, the branch president and I are the official ping pong champions.
''Hey, elder, do you want to paint?'' (service activity)
Yeah, sure, where is the paint?
''did you ever paint before elder?''
Yeah, once or twice.
We're finishing the ward mission leader's house this week, while he and his son are in Buenos Aires for the transplant tests.

Church went well here too. The brother Barrasa came, shich was a little miracle, considering that he was excommunicated while they lived in Spain. But, he's nearly done with the BoM he informes us and seems alot...well...not the normal excommunicated member.  And Barcelona won the champions league game against Manchester United. Since Messi plays for Barce, that was a HUGE deal.

I'm looking forward to working out again, I'm glad to hear that you're doing well there. Keep it up, Mom.
Palmer married, it still hasn't clicked. Someone with whom I lived 24/7 for more than 4 months.

Yeah, and that's about all the advetures here in Tandil. Doing well, working hard, and yeah.
You all sound busy. I realized that I'm coming back to little brothers who aren't so little anymore, and a house that I won't recognize. Oh, and from winter to summer.
Maybe I'll stop off in Buenos Aires and just ''get lost''.  Just kidding, Mom.  I got your letters! Thank you all so very much. It made my week to get something from ya'll.

And thank you for the faith principle. I was praying this week to learn how to gain more faith. Thanks for being an answer to my prayer.

Have a great week, don't get flooded, that would be a very bad thing. I love you all, thanks again for everything and will talk to you soon!

Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena

P.S. 1 and 2 Corinthians are some excellent reading, if you were looking for something.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dear Mom,
This is big.  I want to climb it--oh, wait.  Look at my pants.  I already climbed it and it was awesome!

Ok, there were a couple Aaron's at the OFC, but I am 95% sure that I know to whom you are referring, thanks!

Your attempts at humor remind me of mine, and are quite funny, not gonna lie, I do enjoy them.

Haha, well, I am going to be suprised by the paint color, sure sounds exciting...  But really though, did you let them make the Mordor/Gondor mural that we were trying to do a couple of years ago? Please say yes.
Josh's latest investigator

I think I'll put the rock right here.

We had an exciting week here. A whole lot better than last week. Not hard, considering that we had about 3 full work days last week, and that tends to get you down.

The branch is great. Great new leadership that is taking the new plan to heart and doing their best. The members are actually very animated as well. It isn't a ''sleeping'' area like Santa Rosa was. Reminds me more of Viedma.

Big story: The 2nd counselor's younger brother is 22 years old and has been in ''the world'' for 2 years. o sea - partying. He was baptised at 8 and worked with missionaries, the whole 10 yards, but just fell away and nobody had any real hope for him honestly. Well, Jaoquin comes to us and says that he wants to repent and come back. He said that he is sick of the cruddy life and wants the Spirit back. He's a stud. Working with the branch president, and listening to the missionary discussions again. Showed up to church in a suit with his shirt ironed asking for help with a tie, scriptures in hand. Sure, he had 2 huge earrings in, but no one cared, everyone is just happy to see the prodigal son coming back. 
The city of Tandil

Josh and Elder Decilia

A solid foundation.  Does this make him the Wise Man?

We have an appointment with the Jehovah's that we found last week tonight, wish us luck. We think that he got frustrated last time because we wouldn't give him any answers that he wanted, just kept going back to the Book of Mormon.

Church went well, except for the the member of the dist presidency who had the Moses staff and Christ analogy symbol mixed up. The story was all fine, but he seemed to think that the US medical corps symbol, the caduceus, came from that story, and that he had discovered a secret of symbols taught to him by the Spirit. I didn't know how to tell him that it was actually the sybol of the pagan god, Hermes, and had nothing to do with the Bible. Whatever, sometimes stuff like that happens, just laugh it off. He called someone to a the elder's quorum and had only the men sustain, because it was a calling in the priesthood.......yeah.
Oh, how lovely was the morning . . .

I am not playing piano. We are trying to encourage a lady in the ward become proficient enough that she can play at least the melody line for the meetings.

Our ward mission leader is having the inspection on his house for the transplant this week. It has to be in optimal conditions for him and his son, the donor. Giving his Dad a kidney. So we've been over there several times to help finish a room that was half constructed.
another rock

Elder Decilia

Another surprise, Anai, the daughter of the Hermana Hourcaidi read the chapter we assigned her! She wasn't what you would call the most accepting investigador, so we were quite happy to hear the, "Yes I read."
Alfredo, the future husband to one of the ladies in the ward, is all ready to be baptised. Just has to sign a divorce paper and take out a turn to get married as soon as possible. Easiest commandments lesson of my life. ''Yeah, I'm all fine with those, don't intend to start drinking or anything either'' He is a truck driver of 22 years and ready to retire and just live happily.

That's really the most exciting news of the week. I believe that I already told you about Noelia and her father, the family for whom we are praying out our guts. Appointment tomorrow, please read! A young lady of 21 years with her father. WE need to teach the mother that wasn't there and the son who doesn't really want to listen. She is the friend of the 2nd counselor. We just can't take him along with us. He is about to get married, and it appears that Noelia wouldn't mind having him as her boyfriend, so he can't really help us.
Elder Decilia reading about the rocks

Elder Decilia okaying the rock placement

Divisions with Elder Hardman from Spanish Fork went well. An ex investigador gave us 8 litros of powdered milk...so we're good milk wise. She couldn't meet with us, but wanted to help us out. It was nice.

The pictures are from today. We took a little paseo out to the piedra movediza. I explaned what it is in the video.
It was nice to be outside, with big rocks. Stange how some things help you relax--climbing trees.
One of them is a tiny little obolisk thingy. We coulnd't figure out what it was for. My companion has a glass eye, he lost his left eye when he was 2 years old. Kinda cool, good for jokes.

Well, now I'm rambling, but thanks so much for the email and the thoughts. Tell everyone high for me.
I'm in Samuel, Acts, and 1 Nephi still. Just kind of reading and trying to soak it all in for once. It's nice to see how the gospel is just once big whole.

D&C 76 ROCKS. I highly recommend it.

Anyways, until next week my wonderful mother. I love you all back home. My comp. says hi. :D
Your missionary son and brother, who is is quite tired and actually took 2 hours of p-day to nap while his comp did laundry. Best news of the week, The zone leader Elder Gaughan asked the office and now, because we are 4 in 1 house, we have a brand new washing machine.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Goodbye to nearly 2 years of buckets and sinks.

Elder Joshua Wartena

PS. I made guacamole today, Dad would be proud...

PSS.  The highest thing I've seen in just about FOREVER.  Don't worry, I was at least 10 feet from the edge.
The Mama here just saying if I can get the pictures to cooperate I will upload them a bit later.  They are just giving my fits, and you all know how skilled I am with the computer.  Anyhoo, he's happy and relaxed enjoying the new companion and the new area.  I can imagine the joy those missionaries must be feeling with a washing machine in their apartment.
Happy days to you.
Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, May 16, 2011

Alright, alright.

Dear Mom,

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.
My flight plans arrived in my inbox today.
Slightly nervous, yes, but it's kind of a good feeling.
Kind of like when the call got there, except this time it's not just 2 years.

Elder Decilia and I are still getting along great. Really, it's probably the best companionship I've been in. Not that I don't love Elder Christianson, but training was a little bit different than being with an Argentine when you both have time.

Haha, it's funny to hear about the hot weather there when here it is starting to get really cold. Nothing near what mar del or rio negro was. I think the hills help to block the wind, and the lack of an ocean right next to you at all times is relieving.

Well, it finally happened, a Jehovah's Witness was prepared with an entire magazine about anti-Mormon literature. Not a very common accurance here. Most people when they want to prove a point about their church don't pull out actual firepower AGAINST our church, and so it's normally a calm change of ideas and answering questions, bible bashing isn't a common at all. Well, this guy sure wanted to. So, we did what Hermano Oswald and Preach My Gospel said to do, put all the weight on the Book of Mormon. I didn't know that you could answer questions about the Church's political position in the 3rd Reich during WW2 with the Book of Mormon. But it's true, everyone's questions, doubts, etc, all boil down to whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet, or, if the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be. I ended up standing up, taking a copy of the Book, and putting it in his hand telling him to read it, because our answer was going to keep being the same. A good guy though, very polite.

A recent convert, Elizabeth Vasquez, has a daughter, about the age of 17 (more or less) excpecting next month, and VERY evangelist. We taught her this week, and got a baptismal date fore the beginning of June. She was actually quite receptive to the idea of the restoration and very willing to answer questions and accept commitments. Her name is Sophia.:D  The daughters and friend of the other recent ronvert sister continue the same, we can't really catch them in the house.

Traveling back to Tandil was uneventful, except that my cold went away, which was quite good. My guitar has been sold, yes, it's true. Sold it back to a music store for a good price, which means that now I have some extra cash to buy leather scripture covers for English scriptures (English and Spanish copies of the scriptures are different sizes)

Thanks for the scripture thoughts! There are 3 basic commitments we have as missionaries, read, pray, and go to church. Whether you be less active, inactive, investigator, they are the same. Why? Because, keep it simple, silly. The small and simple things, the primary answers are, I have learned, the foundation of a person's testimony. You build on those, and form that foundation that heleman gives to his sons in Hel 5:12.
Speaking of scriptures, studies are going well. Finished Joshua and John in the bible, and am once again well into 1 nephi (spanish again) still busting out a section a day in the D&C. Learning alot. I recommend reading Joshua, very cool book. If you can weed out all of the names in the dividing of lands (unless that just intruiges you of course) and you learn alot about how the Lord will bless you based on obedience. I really enjoyed finishing John as well, started Acts this morning. What was the purpose of the apostles missions? To be special witnesses of the RESURRECTED Christ. That really hit me this morning, the resurrection is a reality. As we were in the catholic cathedral (easily the most elaborate I have seen in Argentina) with dozens of crucifixion scenes and saints, with the 80 ft crucifix up the street, I became alot more grateful for the restored gospel and the knowledge of who christ is and why it's important. Clarity is comforting.

Ummm, I have no idea what I'd want, I'm coming back the end of July, so I can't really think of anything, sorry!
Lie, I just asked Elder Gaughen, and he is a genius. Reese's peanut butter cups and beef jerky. And a little flash drive. Elder Guevara had his camera stolen, and I think I am going to sell him my old one with the card, and would like something on which to put pictures. Yeah.

Your literature adventures sound thrilling. Skip right to to Kill a Mockingbird, it's literally a book that changed my life. Why? Not sure, but it sure did....

Well, we are off, off to the kill arctic thrill of missionary work, searching out those broken in heart and the contrite spirits. Or at least the close ones, we'll do the rest of the work to make up the difference. Thanks again for everything, I love you all so much, have a great week.

Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena

P.S.  Oh, I forgot, I will forward the flight plans to Dad, but the arrival day is Saturday, 30 of July.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Day After the Mother's Day Call

Dear Mom,

Well, as was stated last night, I have nothing to write to you!

Lie, that lost voice turned into a slight cold, and I'm all stuffed up again. Thank heaven for benadryl and a bus ride, nap time.  Bus ride? Yes, I am in Rauch, the 12x12 town outside of Tandil. There was a leadership/trainers and trainees conference in Bahia and that meant that all the elders in Tandil are gone (first conference in like 9 months I haven't attended.) And the zone leaders didn't like my idea of having me stay with the sister missionaries for a couple of days, so I am in Rauch. Nice little town, very green.  Bleached the house today after waking up. I am pleased to announce clean floors, kitchen, bathroom, and hard surfaces in general.

Tell all the family that I say hi back.

Ok, so you asked for my book list, here you go. The list made during the ''Guevara month":

The Trial of Jesus From a Lawyer's Standpoint--Chandler
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
On the Physical Death of Christ
The Joseph Smith Papers
Doctrines of Salvation
The House of the Lord 
The Miracle of Forgiveness
Mormon Doctrine
Articles of Faith
Jesus the Christ
Lectures of Faith
The Infinite Atonement
Mediation and Atonement
HIstory of the Church 
Jounal of Discourses
The Koran
The Screwtape Letters
Mere Christianity
Harry Pottter
The 3 Musketeers
The Count of Monte Cristo
Don Quixote in Spanish
Wind in the willows
Calvin and Hobbes Collection
Eragon series
The Bronze bow
Johnny Tremain
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World
Tom Sawyer
King Arthur
Quick and Effective Way to Public Speaking
How To Win Friends and Influence People
The Great Apostasy
To Kill a Mockingbird
An Inconvenient Book
Chronicles of Narnia
The Hiding PLace
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder
The Road
Our Search for Happiness
Abhorsen Trilogy
The 1st thousand years (and the rest)
Black Hawk Down
The Art of War
The Communist Manifesto
Little Men
Little Women
God vs Science
Tale of Two Cities
Little House on the Prairie
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Oliver Twist
Boxcar Children 1-5
The Golden Goblet
The Bronze Bow
Sign of the Beaver
The Search for Delicious
The Giver
Tuck Everlasting
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Dr. Dolittle
Grapes of Wrath
Edgar Allen Poe
Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage
Animal Farm
Lord of the Flies
Faith Precedes the Miracle
The Origin of Religion
Winnie the Pooh
Golden Compass
Vitality of Mormonism
The Westing Game
Dead Sea Scrolls
Transel Safa
The Merlin Conspiracy
Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Zombie Survival Guide
Marriage and Divorce-Kimball
Our Lord of the Gospels
Messages of the 1st Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Cost of Discipleship
Massacre at Mountain Meadows
Mormonism Unveiled: The Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee
Pilgrim's Progress
Pathways to Happiness
Adam, Who is He?
Answers to Gospel Questions
Doctrines of Salvation
Gospel Truth-Cannon
Ender's Game
Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites-Nibley

And yeah, I hope you guys haev a spectacular week. I love you so much, it was greast to hear you all.

Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Joshua Wartena

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Transfer to Tandil

Dear Mom

Haha, after nearly haf and hour of walking looking for an internet place here in Tandil we are here! Yes, you heard me correctly, I am in Tandil, what is generally admitted to be the prettiest area of the mission. Not that that matters, but it sure makes life more enjoyable. I looked at the horizon and saw a mountain, nearly cried. (ok, mountain, it's a hill smaller than one of the foothills, but hey, it's something, and the city is quite hilled)
Santa Rosa got pelted, then drowned. Hail the size of marbles, followed by 3 days of rain. Luckily we got transfers on day 2 so I got to spend most of a day washing the rest of my laundry and packing. Thanks for the prayers, they help. Eler Guevara needs the prayers too, he's down in the south of the mission (by Viedma) and is probably freezing! 

Tandil, is gorgeous, you can tell you're back in the province of Buenos Aires, a different look.
My companion (and this may be the best news of all) is Elder Decilia, from Salta, Argentina. He has my time, we will probably be ending the mission together here. Now, at first this may seem like a downside, being with someone who has your time. But, since Elder Palmer went home, I have been with elders who were new in the mission (and training once) so I was hoping to have a companion this transfer who could ''share the yoke'' as you could say it. Decilia is known as a stud missionary who works hard and has a great attitude. Needless to say, I'm quite relived. Other good news, I'm no longer dist leader, or zone leader. It seems as though unless you are assistant, Pres lets you finish the mission just enjoying being a missionary.
Really been blessed, I'm grateful. 

The bus ride was...fun. Long, but good. Another all night bus ride. Thank Heaven for pday being the transfer day.  Nap time anyone? We also took a good chunk of time cleaning the house. We're 4 missionaries living here (we live with the ZLs, who are great, 4 old missionaries in a house) and the previous tenents weren't what you would call the cleanest people. We have carpet, which is interesting, the house reminds me kind of like the house in Tres Arroyos, just a whole lot newer with good water pressure. 

Sergio is back on track. (Flashback to Santa Rosa) He told us that right now he still doesn't think that he is able to just dump his girlfriend (even though she doesn't like him taking th lessons) but realizes that that is what he must do to be baptized (came to that conclusion himself) and decided to read more and pray so taht he can do it. Told us that what made him call us again was that he picked up the book and realized that this was his life and he wants to do what God wants of him. Great guy.

Jessica, the young girl who has 3 children and her husband in prison, reacted amazingly well to the 1st lesson. We went by the next and she responded that she had read and prayed the night before (rare, that) and yeah. Just a quick visit, but she will get baptised. Put a baptsimal date for the 20.

The ward was very sad to see me go. They had one of their best families move from the ward this week, and the daughter gave her testimony as she is going to Cordoba on a mission this thursday. Great familiy, they even came to say goodbye to me at the terminal! Apparently I helped the family alot, sometimes stuff like that happens and you don't even realize it. The oldest daughter just had her baby and she and her boyfriend (peruvian, he's cool) are getting married so he can get baptised, and the Dad has come to church several times after a decade of inactivity.
The bishop said thanks for the work I did and when I responded that I only had 1 baptism, he said ''are you kidding? You helped the ward so much, and the baptism was a huge miracle, thank you elder.''  Not to be prideful at all, all we really did was what a missionary should do and loved people, but it's so wonderful to see the Lord work a miracle with you as the tool. Sometimes we don't realize in the moment.
Thanks for the patience. :D

Alma, wow., I think he understoof that scripture of the word changing your heart more than most people. And his father must have been so happy to see him unconcious. remember that Alma sr. didn't have the most inoccent past either, and Alma jr had the same thing with his son coriantum later on. Lots of love in taht family.
I'm reading duet. and D&C still, nearly finished with Mark. I am realizing once again how important Jesus actually is in EVERYTHING. I've said it a thousand times, but it really in the center of EVERYTHING. Marking and looking for statements that Christ makes about himself in D&C, it's humbling. Read the section 42 and tell me your thoughts on it! One of my favorites.

Ok, I am going to explain pictures that are attached.  Holy cow!  That's a lot of pictures.
Last dist meeting (Elder Christianson, Elder Peterson, Elder Paredes, and Elder Wartena

An inactive memeber that asked for a little help with english and ended up letting us play his guitar and sing, it was fun

The same man also had cool stuff from all over the world and we took the time to wear a sombrero (this was divisions with Elder Peterson, the half mexican canadian)

The Bishop (in the tan boots)

The Maldonado Family

Awesome streets.  Yes, John Schmidt Street.

Sister Formia, who made us HUGE amounts of food every week.

Elder Wartena and Elder Paredes at the terminal.

Elder Wartena and Elder Peterson at the terminal.

Elder Christianson and Elder Wartena at the terminal.

Guess who the new dist leader is? Elder Christianson! We were all suprised, but I'm so proud of him.
Well, I have exceeded the file limit, I will send you the videos of the new house, other elders here, and pictures that we will undoubtably take next week. Along with the info on Tandil, the beautiful.
Oh, and 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!! 

Speaking of Mothers, I will be calling you this sunday around 7:00 7:30ish pm here. That would make it between 4 and 4:30 there if I am not mistaken. A call will be made before to make sure that the card works. Not sure of Tandil's codes or the church's number or anything really, so I will just call you guys this time alright? Any problems, we'll figure them out when I call you before.

I love you all so much, thank you for the constant help, prayers, and emails. Have a great week, talk to you soon!

Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena
PS: some of the pictures refuse to load, oh well