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

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