Where do I send letters?

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

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Count Down Begins

Dear Friends and Family,

Some people probably start the countdown to the return of a missionary the day he leaves on his mission, but not us.  That would have been too hard mentally to handle.  A wise woman in our ward warned us against the countdown calendars, and I am soooooooooo glad we took her advice to heart.  The younger siblings did construct their own countdown chain back in February; but I, the Mama, refused to have it out in the main part of the house where I could see it.  It has been hidden away in the older boys room. Every few weeks I would notice it getting shorter, but I never paid attention to the dates on the chains or counted how many were left to go.  Now, here we are, a mere month till he returns.  I can hardly believe it.  The countdown can no longer be avoided when your missionary starts to mention it in every e-mail.  True enough, though, I'm not as excited as I expected to be at this point.  Receiving the weekly e-mails, learning about other people, hearing of the gospel changing other peoples' lives has all been quite enjoyable.  On the other hand . . . I miss him and will LOVE having him back in our lives in a more physical way, so to put it.  

Now, without further ado,  the e-mail.

Dear Mom

Yeah, and every missionary that we see, woah, it's the last transfer for you guys! One nice thing about ending together is that we aren't always bringing it up in conversation.

I'm doing well, it is true. Freezing cold. The temperature has dropped to, well, I think the plates have moved and we're in Antarctica now. And with 95% humidity, it is COLD.  Which is a good sign, the earth is still moving in its prescribed course bearing testimony of the Creator.

Well, the conferencia was awesome. Elder Arnold, the area president 70, just blew all of our minds and told us that we knew what to change, now change it. Then told us how. The best part was when he asked if we had any questions. Well, I've been wondering how I can improve my prayers for quite a while now, so I asked that. 
Ever had someone look into your soul? Yeah, that's about what it felt like. I'm going to give you 3 things, Elder, and I'll explain it afterward in English, so that the new elders can understand.  You all need to know how to pray.
1-Don't kneel in your bed
2-Don't make it the last thing you before you crash into sleep. Pray so that you can be awake. For example, wake up, brush your teeth,  wash your face, something, prepare, He's your father
3- Pray like you are praying to your father.  He loves you. Then a 15 talk on how God is our father in heaven and we need to learn how to address him in this manner and have a personal relationship with him.

It was really nice to get a specific answer, that covered what I needed to change.

Then we got back from the conference, and found 2 more families to teach the next night, great experience. We were looking for their neighbor (false address) and knocked on the door of a very well to do Catholic family's home (the kind that NEVER let you in with good results) and the mother cordially let us in. When Elder Decilia said that he was from Salta, she went off about their recent trip to Salta to see the Cathedral of the Virgen. Not a great start. Well, we got the daughter (Maria, suprise surprise) to come in and listen as well, and the father came for the last part. An amazing lesson actually, they had good, honest questions, and were very excited to read the Book of Mormon (which was a surprise).  The Dad tried to be all macho and say that he was ok; but his wife and daughter told him to stop it, and that they were going to read the book. The father talked to us outside afterward (walked us to the door) A great, humble guy, that thanked us for the visit and talked about his life and work. Some guys are like that.

Then, we found the lady who may have the most medical problems in the entire world --cancer, diabetes, a couple other medical terms that threw my vocabulary off, and it's all terminal, with a few years left of life.  Her husband has stuff too. That was a spiritually impactful visit.  Don't think we would have mentioned the word baptism more often in a lesson, and both families accepted the invitation to be baptised after they gain a testimony.  The kids weren't able to be baptised this weekend. They still have some problems understanding the word of wisdom, but love the Book of Mormon, and pray like champs. The mother also got alot more on our side this week, as she is trying to spend more time at home, and animating her sons to be in the church. If we can only get her. At least she accepted a visit with us finally.

Not sure if I've told you, but Joaquin, the young single adult who came back from the drugs and awful life.  He now has a mission date goal after an interview with the branch president. 2013 for the medical stuff, school, and funds. He is excited and offers to do visits with us all the time. It's a good time.

It sounds like you are all doing very well back on the home front. 3 more P-days after this one if I'm not mistaken, which will be weird. It's been awhile that communication has been once a week through email.  People are old now, once again. 

I finished the New Testament this morning! WOOHOO! Hoped to give my mind a small break from thinking purely in symbolism in Revelations by reading the Book of Mormon, but to no avail. I'm smack dab in the middle of Nephi's Isaiah chapters. But, reading the books of Kings helps me to see what Isaiah was trying to say, and D&C 77, definitely nessesary for Revelations.  The main theme, just do what you know you are supposed to be doing, and everything will turn out alright. That seems to be the message I'm getting over and over again wherever I read.

War chapters are some of the best in the Book of Mormon, enjoy them!

I'll be putting the blessing in my journal, thank you Mom. Thanks for the email, and always being faithful telling me about everyone back home. I love you all so much, thank you again, and have a great week! 

PS, thank you for the photos, Jo.You're still cute

Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Wartena

To every man there comes a time in his life when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him uprepared or unqualified for what would have been his finest hour.
-Winston Churchill  

May your week be full of joy and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost leading you along life's path. 
Signing off for now,
The Mama

Monday, June 20, 2011

3 Baptisms End of This Week

Dear Mom,

As a matter of fact, I do feel older. I now have to shave at least twice daily to maintain the missionary appearance and found that I sing a beautiful bass line this sunday in church.  
Yeah, not really. Church was a grand total of 18 people. You see, the TORRENTIAL rain of Friday night and Father's Day  -- HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! --  combined to drive away most of the members to BBQ's, naps, and etc.  
But, I got to give a talk and it went quite well.  
Yeah, it was some pretty crazy rain, following and preceding the 

now current 93% humidity according to local readings.  
You get used to humidity, it's weird. Why am I all wet, it's freezing . . . Ahhh, condensation.

The kids are doing well, the young men, 3 should be baptised this weekend, which will double our young men-s quorum. Then in July we-ll do the same to the young women. Yes, the chicas Hurcades finally accepted a baptismal date.  
Joaquin is my hero here in Tandil, he's becaome the Heleman to the young men here in the ward.

You all sound so darn old. Matt is coining philisophies, Ben is going to join the Marines or something, Nathan is on Trek, Chris is 18, and Jo is fully mobilized on 2 wheels. Whaaa. . . 
Well, I'm excited to party, not to be trunky or anything, but I'm excited.  Are you ready to go biking?

We're going crazy, just trying to get every person in we can teaching wise before we head out. Goal, baptise the last week here.  
However, this week wasn't the most fruitful, with the holiday, weather, going out to Rauch to help them *(it wasn't pretty) and service several days, we didn't teach nearly as much as we would have liked. This week we travel up to Olivarria for the conference with Elder Arnold of the 70. Woohoo. I've heard more 70 in the mission than ever did at home.

To Kill A Mockingbird, ahhh, what a wonderful book. History in general, good subject.

Thank you all so much for the b-day cards!

Alma is a champ. I'm finishing the New Testament right now and Paul strikes me as the B
ible version of Alma. Same kind of conversion, etc. Just amazing people that show their love through their works and remain faithful forever. I think it's interesting, too, to think about how there were 3 generations there *commented on this before( Alma the elder, Alma the younger, and Coriantumr. 3 real, well, not living up to their callings, who repent and become powerhouses. Alma the younger probably felt a great love and appreciation for his father as well when he was put in a similar situation.

I feel like I've gained more love, of course. But I think as well I've learned alot more of how the Lord loves us, and because of that love does so much, mainly John 3:16. But the amount of sacrifice one will give for that thing called charity. Now, not that a mission is a huge sacrifice at all, but I've learned alot more about the value of a person and the absolute necessity of the gospel.

How great is email, it just saves your letters in case of a power outage.

If you haven't darsed cuenta, not much happened this week writing wise. The ping pong & pancake activity went well, and the American pancakes were a hit. Argy pancake is something that resembles a wet crepe with no flavor.  
Carmel covered pancakes, mmmm.

And, that's all folks. I will let you know how the baptisms and the huge conference went next week! Thanks again for the cards, the emails, the updates, and all that. Have a great week, I love you, family!

Your missionary son and brother,
Elder Joshua Duveau Wartena

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Adventures a Plenty

This is a particulary long post that I loved reading.  Unfortunately I don't have time to proof read it for you this week.  Josh only have 30 minutes each week for the typing so he does it quite fast.  Enjoy it in it's original form.  If I get the time Sunday I will try to add the photos that came with the email.  He's having a pleasant time serving with the missionaries in Tandil.

Dear Mom,

I'm tired too. But I think it has more to do with playing soccer for 2 hours with our soon to be baptisms and walking all over the hill calvario today.
Pictures attached. Included the traditional 13 catholic stages of the passion of the Christ, on the path to the cross. Also included are pictures of the whole of Tandil, a huge cliff (with me interpretating Lord of the Dance) Those hills are supposedly some of the oldest in the world.
Your weeks sounds like it was dominated by the summerfest. I showed my comp the pictrures and he immediately said ''BOCA, yeah'' OHS has the same colors as one of the largest Argentine futbol teams.
I didn' trecognize the brothers, and thought Nate was Chris, and was quite confused as to why he was wielding cymbals.
Thank you for the photos.
alright, I won't be responding much to what you sent, sorry. 
Finish Alma, we'll talk about it when I get home. But not the house, that way I have some way with which to occupy my time, physical labor.
Umm, food is pretty much the same at this point. Noodles, rice, Milanesas, Empanadas, lots of Oatmeal, the whole house is hooked on it.
We bought a vaccum cleaner this morning. What happens when you get a whole bunch of old elders in a house together. ''hey, Wartena, let's buy a vaccum''' alright, call the offfice. ''hey, e garcia, we need 450 pesos for a vaccum, thanks''
AHHHHHHHHH No more sweeping carpet, no more buckets for clothes. Not to complain, but laundromats are so expensive, and a washing machine is nice.
Like I said before, the young men are getting baptised in 2 weeks (we got another 2 of their friends too) and are pretty excited. Still trying to get the Mom invloved. Alfredo is having some problems with the sister, and yeah, kinda can't talk aboiut it, but he probably won't be baptised this week.
The branch is doing well. We had an area conference via sattalite yesterday with E Anderson and E Packer. 50 years as a gen authority. He said right there that he won't be coming back to Arg, but will have to pass over as he leaves this life. Amazing talk on the holy ghost, and all the speakers (including sis Wixon and E Civic) mentioned tithing and taking the gospel seriously. Excellent.
Then we went out to work, and were contacted by a small man who had met the missionaries before and wanted us to come by. Well, we grab Juaquin in the street, and head over. He informes us that it is a bar and a ''house of services'' as the door opens and they tell us that is a club. But, the guy appeared and invited us in. 
Sure enough, a prostitute invited us to dance right there, but we followed Miguel into his ''room'' and began to teach. Ummm, here is where we realize that we are IN a, well, brothel, for several clues inthe room and such. Then the girl (alma) walks in and begins to teach us about the evangelical church and her testimony (her being drunk didn't help) and we end up listening to her prayer and cutting her off because we had to go. It gets better, while we were praying, another girls came in (who had tried to come in earlier, holding her clothes on, and then walked out) and was putting on makeup. Informed us that she didn't believe in God, but we could come back that night. It was a transvestite. So, in fin, we taught a gay prostitute, a straight prostitue, and a transvestite prostitute in the brothel. Not exactly the situation you try to get into. It gets better, leaving the bar, we met a man who is apparently a murderer.
Yeah....the adventures of a missionary. Then we saw a drug addict, another homeosexual, and several drunks that same day.
It was quite the interesting day of rest.
We also walked acroos 40 minutes of ''private property'' to knock a door. Were intereseted by the 10 meter portcullis and towers that were in the middle of a field and decided to meet the owner. The groundkeeper (a very nice lady with a shotgun on her back, apparently they have frequent problems) came out of the servants quarters of what is literally the largest house I have ever seen. Not really a house, more of a mix between an english castle and a chalet. Like, the count of monte cristo's house with battlements. We gave her a book of mormon, but she asked us to leave. It belongs to an ''italian society'' Either the mafia, or vampires.
It was quite the exciting week, and we taught alot of lessons, found quite a few new people (but nothing really mind boggling) We start the last transfer today, we're still together. Actually, no missionaries in Tandil changed, which is kinda nice.
The Volcano in Chili affected the weather here, we had a few days of ash falling. It was cool.
D&C 88 in amazing.
And, yeah.
That's about it, and I ahve to go write pres and run. Thanks again for the email. Ï love you all too, have a great week, and say hi to everybody back home.
Your missionary son and brother
ELder Joshua Wartena

Monday, June 6, 2011


Dear Mom

Oh my, the week in which you receive sun is the coldest week here in Tandil. The official welcome to winter. Not sure what weather station is being used on that website, but I assure you that it is equivocado (wrong).  I asked Elder Decilia why and he explained that the current weather situation is due to the winds blowing up from Antarctica, crossing the Patagonia, and ending up destroying the province of Buenos Aires.  Makes sense.
Cruel, cruel, cold.

But, we found 13 new investigators this week, which is somewhat of a personal record. Probably due to the fact of many more people being home.  I'll tell you about Brian, Nahuel, Trumpy, and Edu.  The are youth about the ages 13 and 16.  We didn't have high hopes as we walked in after them. Turns out their mother went to the church when she was a little girl, and some of the boys had as well with the sister missionaries here before. They are studs, the only appropriate word. Well, not really appropriate, since they have nothing to do with, nvm.
They were answering questions with more honesty than any adult. 

''Can I say the prayer'' oh, I forgot something, I'll say another one.
Are we going to read some of the book now before you go?
Uhhh, of course
What is a servant? Oh, I know! It's an animal!
No trumpy, the other kind of servant (Siervo-servant Ciervo-type of deer)

Trumpy and Hanuel came to church. Unbathed, exhausted, and slightly confused, they came.
We have their baptismal date in 2 weeks.

Alfredo is still having problems with getting a marriage date soon. But, we have a member who is a justice of the peace, so it'll work out.

A transvestite and it's ''friend'' contacted us in the street. That was interesting, especially since I was on divisions with e Washburn, who just got here from the MTC.  Oh, and I just walked into a house and sat down, while asking permission and not getting an answer. Awkward first lesson to 4 young adults anyone? Yes, but hey, boldness?

Thank you so very much for sending me a scarf.

So dad, you know how they don't use drywall here, but once in a very great while you will find someone with a drywall roof in small rooms, and they ask for help painting.
Primer coat, nope, just go for it.  It looked so bad, I felt ashamed. But they seemed to be more interested in the large whole remaining in the wall then the paint.  Oh well.  I'm trying to respond to as little as possible about home stuff, because the constant reminders are slowly driving my insane. The last daily planner sitting in my pocket, the comments of other missionaries, etc.
But, thank you for asking, and caring, it means quite alot.
I was thining about blessings on this end as well, it was a long list too.
I don't have the card with me, I will make sure to bring it next week. 

Woah, Spencer got home. I'm glad to hear he is doing well, tell him hi from me.
I feel honored to have people praying for me, thank you.
Light/medium blue.
I like blue. If it could be a light blue stripe, white stripe, light blue stripe, with yellow somewhere in there, I wouldn't complain either...

Tandil is still doing really well. The whole district had an excellent week. We're trying to promote more enthusiastic work and charity it seems..I feel like a spy. Especially when we put on long dark coats, carry passports from other countries, and talk to people in another language.

No pictures this week. Just imagine kansas, at 0 degrees, and you'll pretty much have it.
Although I shouldn't talk, I imagine RUSSIA had some cold days, ya know, just here and there.

Well, I have to write Pres Detlefsen, so I am going to run.
Thanks for the constant updates on the brothers and home in general, I really appreciate it.
You were correct when you said you were the best missionary writer, Mom. It's quite impressive.
I love you all, have a great week. We're praying for you here in Argentina.
Thank you for the dog and car advice. Tell Chris not to lick cats.

Your missionary son and brother
Elder Joshua Wartena