Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!

Christmas Celebration
Well, How’s it going?

We had a fantastic week this week! I mean, Christmas time is the greatest time of the year anyway, right?

Its always fun to spend Christmas in a place different and see the differences in the way we celebrate, but we all celebrate the same thing. While we ate different foods, did different things, we were all centered in the same thing, which is the birth of our savior. Every country around the world reads the same story about shepherds caring for their sheep, when an angel appears, bringing joyous news, Wise Men from the east, bearing gifts for the Son of Man, and a baby, Savior of the World, born in the humble setting of a manger, because the world which he created, had no room for him. While we are in different pàrts, we sing the same hymns, tell the same stories, and in the end, share the same gift. What a unifying time of year.

Now we are preparing for the new year. In La Plata, they have the tradition of making sculptures out of paper mache, and filling them with fireworks. At New Years, they burn them up and the fireworks go crazy. While it is fun, there are always a few injuries that occur every year. But we are walking in the streets seeing giant Mike Wazowski´s (from Monsters Inc) Minions from Despicable me, and Mario! It is fun to see, lets just say, we will take pictures!

Well, it’s definitely not cold here like it is in Colorado.  It’s super hot, and we are sweating like pigs, but worse! The sun here is super strong, so while the temperature might not show it, it feels like I'm under a heat lamp all the time, but it’s the summer. Whatcha going to do?!

Happy Anniversary mom & dad!  I think you should celebrate by going to the Hickory House restaurant.  If you go there, all of your problems will go away :) Haha, It always works for me!

Lately, I’ve been reading the Old Testament. It is a lot harder than I thought, but I'm learning a lot. I read Genesis to Exodus in about a week and a half, but its taking me about 3 weeks to get through Leviticus. I find it slow with weird stuff, but it helps me understand that God is the same for ever, and He has always had ceremonies and symbols for his teachings.

I grew a ton this week. I have been struggling the past few weeks with homesickness, fatigue, Christmas, and everything. Overall, I was just disanimated. I would work and do what I was supposed to, but not with a lot of feeling. But this week, I was able to put things into perspective. I realized that this is like I´m on the last lap of the mile race, with about 300m left. This is where every runner has the decision to either coast to the finish, or push and give it all you got. This perspective helped me understand that what I was feeling was normal, but I had to make a decision, and it’s a decision that every missionary has to make too. So, I decided I was going to kick it in, and give it all I have, and so that´s what I´m going to do! I feel better, and we had some great days this week, and we are animated and ready to go!

I hope we take the time to make goals, and see what we can do better in the upcoming year. It’s a great time to reflect what we've done, and how we can improve.

For me, its been an amazing year. I've been able to dedicate all of my time to the Lord, and I feel blessed to be able to continue doing it for a while longer!

Love you all, thanks for all you do! I’m sorry for the short letter, but I'm always short on time!

Elder Chipman

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Shoes for Christmas!

Hola Todos!

First off, Merry Christmas! Its super hot right now, but there is still a lot of Christmas Spirit! It’s a little different down here, but its still fun and enjoyable. The biggest celebration is on Christmas Eve where they stay up and eat dinner at midnight, share a few gifts at midnight, then dance and party until who knows when. Then for Christmas day, they just sleep in until about 3 in the afternoon or more! It’s fun and it’s Christmas all the same.

So the whole world is gearing up for Christmas!

I'm super grateful for the shoes! I tried using the other two pairs to finish my mission, but it got to the point where I had to put cardboard in my shoe because the hole was so big that my foot was walking directly on the concrete and destroying my socks! So I'm glad I was able to buy some new ones! Thank you. I bought them for about $900 (Argentine Pesos) so that is about $90. The shoe store guy said they were as indestructible as Superman, so they are meant for walking.

Honestly, the shoes are the only thing that I really want for Christmas. It makes me a whole lot happier. But since I´m coming near the end of my mission, I might buy a few more souvenirs. And if there is something in specific that you want from Argentina, let me know, and I´ll get it for you.

To answer your question about exercise dad, in the mornings we sometimes run. I at least do 40 push ups and 100 crunches daily. It’s not a ton, but it keeps the “fluffiness” at bay.

This week was full of walking, but we were able to see many miracles. Ignacio is getting closer to quitting cigarettes. He´s made a lot of improvement recently, and his baptism will be in just a few weeks! We were also able to find a new investigator named Elsa. She has a son who is a member in a nearby stake, and she is interested in what we have to say! All of this leads up to good things and miracles.

It’s a great time to be a missionary! I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!


Elder Chipman

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas lights around the windows and little trees

How's it going? Dec. 15, 14

Sounds like a fun exciting week at home!

Its been a beautiful week in Tolosa Argentina! Everybody is getting ready for the holidays, and we are enjoying all of the little trees and lights around the windows. They don´t deck out their houses like the do in the states, but they still show their Christmas spirit!

With that, we had a great week with our investigators. Ignacio is only getting closer to quite smoking, our investigator Claudio couldn't come to church, but he is still moving forward, and a new investigator named Antonia accepted a baptismal date for the 3 of January. We are starting to see many fruits from our work, and I'm excited to see what will happen these next few weeks!

On Thursday we had a giant 3 zone, zone conference about Christmas. We had a devotional, an asado lunch (Argentine Barbecue--really good!), and afterward each zone did a little skit about Christmas. Our zone made a Christmas Carol but missionary style. It was about two missionaries who didn't want to work  so they had visits from three ghosts.  They saw the past, present, and future. It was fun, I think we had the best one in my opinion. Me and my comp were the ghost of Christmas Present.

I learned a very valuable lesson this week about my thoughts and being too self-critical. While it is important to be humble and willing to make changes, it doesn't mean that we need to find every little things and beat ourselves up about it. I was just sitting in the bus thinking about all of these thoughts about how I'm failing. Then a thought came into my head that said," Do you really think that this is from God?"  "Would God correct you like this?.” I  then decided that it wasn't good for me to think like that, and so I started focusing on the good around me.  I also realized, like you've been telling me all along mom, that I am doing a good job, that the Lord is happy with my work. I am not perfect, but at least I try to be the best that I can. After I was able to clear the dark clouds in my head, I was able to feel God´s love better.  It is all because of how I think.

This city is beautiful though. La Plata is probably my favorite area thus far. It has big beautiful parks, stadiums, statues, and cathedrals. If we ever come back as a family, I'm taking you here. We went to the La Plata Museum the other week and it was really fun. It is not as good as the Denver Museum, but really fun! It is super old so there are a ton of old paintings and the architecture, but that makes it fun. Outside the entrance,  there are two Saber tooth tigers by the stairs like they have lions outside of libraries. It was a lot of fun. It closed before we could see it all, but I enjoyed it.

Just want to share a quick testimony about our Savior, that he really does love and care for each one of us. No care is too small, nor affliction too big for him. While we remember his birth, life, suffering and death, it would all be for not if he did not resurrect and live again. He lives, and each of us can grow closer to him as we search for him. I am learning more about my Savior every day, and I am so grateful for that.

Enjoy the holiday season, because that´s why we have it, to enjoy, and not to stress. Let me know what day and what time you want to skype and I'll be ready for you! We are going to a members house who majored in computation, so we should be ok!

I love you all, hope you are all happy and well!

Have a great week!

Elder Chipman

Monday, December 8, 2014

Investigators pop up like whack-a-moles!

The snowman we made while defrosting the fridge!
It’s been another amazing week in Tolosa, Argentina!                       

The temperatures are steadily getting hotter and hotter as we get closer and closer to the middle of summer. We find ourselves not exactly walking down the quickest route, but the one that has the most shade cover! We return back to the pench sweaty and sticky. But tis the season!

My companion is great! He has about 9 months on the mission and he is from El Salvador! Pretty cool place. It’s funny because he is learning English (a little) and knows little words like “awkward” and “epic fail”! Lets just say with me as a companion, he says those a lot!

My Spanish is struggling some still, but I will consider myself comfortably “fluent-ish.” I understand almost everything, and say what I want. I don’t worry about it too much because I can say what the Lord needs me to say, so I’m where I want to be with that. 

As far as the work goes, we are really beginning to have some success. First week of the transfer is a little difficult because after all the changes, you have to get things moving again! That being said, we had 2 investigators in church! Ignacio is still trying to drop those cigarettes, but we are working with him a lot. He is honestly more active than a lot of the members, so we are very happy to see his progress. On Saturday we visited him in his home and there happened to be a friend of Ignacio´s family there. He always commented on the progress that he is making, and the change that he sees in Ignacio. Let’s just say, I’m proud of him and what he is doing to grow closer to the Lord.

We also had Claudio in church on Sunday! We found Claudio a couple of weeks ago in a member’s home. He was a Jehovah’s Witness but has since grown unattached. At church on Sunday, we had a class about the Creation in gospel principles. He was able to participate and we could see that he liked sharing what he knew about the Bible. After the class he came up to us and asked, "What does one need to do to be baptized in the church" We explained to him about the lessons, church attendance, and receiving a testimony of the Book of Mormon personally. He then said "Good, because I want to be baptized". I don’t know if there are any words that could’ve made me happier in that moment!

That being said, we are grateful that the Lord has blessed us to serve in this beautiful area of Tolosa. Elder Orellana and I love it here and the work. While some days are full of walking and walking, I know that there are many ready to listen, because they seem to pop`up like whack-a-moles. We just have to be ready and worthy to act when the spirit tells us too.

I’m so grateful for my mission and for the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord. What a blessing it has been to be placed in the middle of miracles, and witness the blessings of the gospel first hand. I love being a missionary!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the kingdom of God restored to the Earth, and the Living Christ guides his church in our day. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are true holy scripture, I have read them, and there is no doubt that they were divinely written. I know that Christ lives and loves us, personally. Thanks for everything that you guys do. Keep Moving Forward!


Elder Chipman

PS: Only one picture, sorry.  It’s a snowman we made while defrosting the fridge!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Turkey's don't exist here, so we ate chicken

How´s it going?                                                                                   

It’s been another fantastic week in Tolosa! We just finished another transfer up and Elder Johnstun left and I received a new companion, Elder Orellana from El Salvador! We are expecting to see miracles this transfer and many new baptisms. The work is moving forward even when there are transfers.

This week we were able to find a new investigator! His name is Claudio, and he has been living with some members in the ward for a few weeks. We began talking with him and he started to tell us his religious past and how he has always felt like something has just been missing. As missionaries, we love to hear that because we have the answer! We were then able to teach him the Restoration, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Word of Wisdom. He is very interested and he has a date for the 20th of December. 

We also had Ignacio come to both the General, and Adult sessions of Stake Conference, and he even wore a shirt and tie on Sunday. We are happy with his progress and we expect to see many miracles with him!

Austin´s description of the mission to you is very accurate. People here are short, so they usually don’t have things meant for my height. The sidewalks are bumpy so I have to look down, and more often then not, I bonk my head on something.  No medical problems have resulted from it, just some bumps. I haven’t had any trouble with dog bites, but my companions all have. And while I tell you lots of stuff in my letters, I will certainly give you a more detailed description when I get back in a few months :) It’s all fun though!

You are probably wondering what a Thanksgiving is like in Argentina. Well, we were fortunate enough to have a family in the ward with many connections to the states, so they made us a Thanksgiving dinner. We had Chicken (Turkey doesn’t exist) Rolls, pumpkin and apple pie, and mashed potatoes! It was delicious, and we enjoyed the feast. Maria told me that she tried to find Marshmallows like in the recipe you sent, but just couldn’t find any.  Even at Wal-Mart! But she made a super good pumpkin pie with a chocolate layer! I’ll send pictures next week because this week, it’s not working. But it was delicious!

It sounded like you had a great Thanksgiving with the Burgoynes, even if Megan did get sick. The new Christmas tree looks very nice, along with the display outside. While we don’t have lights, apparently La Plata makes a bunch of Statues out of Paper Maché and then on New Years, light them all on Fire! Sounds like fun!

With the passing of Thanksgiving we are heading into Christmas time. I invite all of us to look at the new church video ¨He is the Gift¨. http://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HPFR112814529
It will get the Christmas season started on the right note!

I love you guys, thanks for all of your support. Hope you have a good week!


Elder Chipman

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm very happy

Hola todos! Como andan?                                    

We had an amazing week here in Tolosa! We were able to meet with many less active members, and find many people who are interested in learning more. The area is growing and we are finding that we have a lot of people who we need to visit. But this makes a missionary very happy!

As far as our investigators go, Ignacio is still coming to church every Sunday; he just needs to continue working with a few more addictions that he is battling. We also found a woman who is interested enough to hear what we have to say. Her name is Marisol, and we were able to have a very good lesson with her about the restoration. She promised to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

In this lesson with Marisol I was able to learn a very valuable lesson. I learned that literally every single question that we have can be answered with the Book of Mormon. Marisol had a lot of deep questions, about how to raise a family, whether it is ok to pray for others and ourselves, and where we go after we die. Every question could be answered with a story or scripture from the Book of Mormon, and every personal question we have will also find an answer if we read and pray about the Book of Mormon. What a rare possession we have and valuable it is. 

The work is moving forward, the leaders in the ward are excited to help, and honestly, because of it, church attendance is increasing rapidly. Every week we have more people in church, and it’s mainly because the leaders are willing and ready to work. It really is a great ward here in Tolosa. 

So overall, I am super tired, but I get up in the mornings ready to work. The weeks go by so quickly now, so that motivates me to work all the harder. There is lots of potential, and I think in a few more months, there will be many baptisms! I don’t know if I will be here to see it, but it will be great anyway!

Other than that, it’s been a very normal week! We are happy and healthy and ready to work! What more can I ask for?

Dad, you asked about my district leader duties in the mission. On Tuesdays, We prepare district meetings which are 1-1.5 hours. We plan it, direct it, and teach it. We can ask missionaries to participate, but it depends on your choice. It’s great but a little difficult to stay entertaining and keep the spirit. (Now I understand a little bit of what you felt as a seminary teacher) We also make calls twice a week, do exchanges with every Elder companionship in the transfer (I only have one in my district so that is not so hard), and all baptismal interviews. It keeps me busy, but I enjoy doing it! Over all, the work is a difficult work, especially for someone as imperfect as me, but I try, and I enjoy many things about it and the people we meet.

For Thanksgiving, we will have to do something, but we do have dinner planned with a family who has lots of USA connections. They haven’t mentioned anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a very nice dinner that night :) so I am excited!

As far as La Plata goes, it is a nicer city than others in the mission, so I am happy with that! The Museum and Cathedral are on my list of P-day activities! We have transfers next week, so I hope that I can get another transfer here to see them!

It sounds like you all had a very fun weekend! I love the Arizona race! It’s the best! And I’m glad Allie ran so well! It’s great to see her finish the season like that, plus with both Allie and Parker both running so well, there are great days yet to come for Vista Nation!

I love you all! Thanks for the Support!

Elder Chipman

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Crying over Wal-mart glazed donuts

Hola Todos!                                                                            
Well while you’re freezing, I’m burning up, but it’s all good! I’ve always liked the heat more than the cold anyway, so I’m happy! As long as the members give us juice, I’m ok.
It’s funny because Tang is a huge thing here. They all buy little Tang packets and literally have it all of the time. I think it’s because the water is so bad they like covering it up, but it tastes good. I just think it is funny because before, I never really thought of tang.
It’s been an event filled week with an apostolic visit, a baptism in the district, and an open chapel. All of that added together means that we really just didn’t have a lot of time to work in our area this week, but we all feel spiritually charged and ready to go.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the 12 Apostles came and spoke to us on Thursday, and what a visit that was! It made this an awesome week.  His wife also addressed us, as well as Elder Zeballos of the seventy and his wife. We all left feeling spiritually uplifted and ready to work. Elder Nelson mentioned many things in his talk, and many specific statements he made seemed to be specifically meant for me. We were also able to shake his hand and meet him personally. His wife’s talk really stood out to me. She talked of our pre-mortal life and what we did before we were born and the promises we made too. It really changes my perspective.
With all of this, it only strengthened my testimony that prophets and apostles are still called by God today. They lead us and help us with our very personal challenges in life. What a blessing it is to be here serving the Lord.
It was also a great opportunity because all 248 missionaries in our mission were able to attend and we were able to eat lunch together. It was great seeing so many friends from literally all over the world, be at the same place at the same time. It helped me realize how great of a mission we have. 
And to make things better, we went into Wal-Mart today and they sell Donuts there! Like real glazed donuts! Never thought that I would cry about food, but it happened!
As far as exciting adventures, I was able to see downtown La Plata this week.  It is a beautiful city and a lot different than Buenos Aires. There’s a giant Cathedral in the middle that is down right stunning, and many European style buildings. Truly a great place to be! Around town many of the wooden posts or electric posts are painted white with either a red or blue stripe in the middle.  These indicate the favorite soccer team in the area. There are two major soccer teams in La Plata. Estudiantes de La Plata, and Gimnasia. Estudiantes is Red and has a lion as a mascot, and Gimnasia is Blue with a wolf for a mascot. That’s why you will see a lot of wolves and lions painted on the walls because they represent these two teams in La Plata. So the electric posts also follow this same pattern. Kinda fun don’t you think?
Thank you for all of your prayers and for all of the support! I know the Savior lives and loves each of us. He has a plan, all we need to do is trust him, and do what he has told us to do, and we will all be happy in the end.
Thanks for everything!
Elder Chipman

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dogs, garbage, and trying to think outside of the box!

¿Como le va?                                                              Nov. 10, 2014

It’s been another successful week in Tolosa La Plata! The sun is definitely beating down and summer is well on its way, that being said, its better than the rain that we had a week ago, so we are all pretty happy with that. The work is also progressing. This week Ignacio came to church again, but this time with a white shirt! We are working on the tie, but hey he came! We also had a surprise; a woman with her daughter came also. They were once in a lesson about 3 weeks ago, and honestly didn’t, we thought that she didn’t even pay attention, but she was there on Sunday and was able to enjoy it! The work will always move forward!!!

Funny stories of the week--well there weren’t too many.  I had a good laugh when my companion wanted us to knock on the door at the same time. I didn’t want to do it, so he said "come on, you gotta live up the thrills of missionary life Elder!" If knocking on the door at the same time is considered a thrill, I think we need to think a little more out of the box!

Here is some information about the area I live in and Argentina in general:

 We really don’t have an address because we literally live in the Garage of a house. It’s cut off from the house by a homemade brick wall, and we have a door in the side, but that’s about it. It is on Road #117 between 4 and 4bis if that helps to look it up on Google maps. I think the houses are about in the 1100´s. The houses have metal baskets on poles in the front and they  are the outdoor trashcans. They aren’t very big, and the dogs have easy access to them, so there is a ton of trash everywhere in the street. We use grocery sacks for trash bags,  then put them outside, and usually 3 times a week, someone comes by to get it! Everybody everywhere has bars over all their windows. We live in a pretty calm area, but there are always those types of people. That being said, La Plata is one of the safest cities in the mission. Graffiti is everywhere, but usually it has statements about local soccer teams. Some people get very artistic, others, well…..don’t. If someone puts a "Don’t graffiti" sign up, people usually leave it clean! Dogs are everywhere, and there is a ton of poop too. Not much you can do about it though. Stray dogs are always nice; it’s the family dogs that aren’t well trained.

The types of transportation we use are bus, train, remis (independent taxi companies, a little more expensive) or walking. I like walking because it’s the cheapest and I then get to keep more money for food!

The chapel that we use is also used as the stake center and that is why it is really big. Another ward meets in there too. We average about 40-70 people a week in church. That is probably the average for the mission as well. There is a lot of inactivity of the members and honestly there are a lot of people who come every other week.  If everybody just came every week, we would have more than a 100, but it seems like they like to take turns.

I’ve never thought to tell you these things before because they are everyday things that I don’t even think to write about. I hope this helps you get a little more information about the Argentine culture. They are a great people who have a fun culture. I like it!

This week I read ahead for the lesson in Priesthood in the Teachings of the Prophets book. In the lesson, Joseph Fielding Smith teaches us that the church doesn’t tell us to leave what we hold dear and true behind, but to take it with us and receive more light and knowledge. With this in mind we were able to have a great lesson with a family who hasn’t exactly been progressing because they are very Catholic, but like listening to what we have to say. When they realized that we weren’t attacking their beliefs, but helping them receive more, they changed, and decided to finally accept our invitation to go to church. This gospel changes lives, and I get to see it everyday!

Life is always hard, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy and enjoying it.  I’m realizing that I really don’t have that much time left on my mission, which is weird. I’m still working hard, but I’m getting to the point where I miss you guys a lot, and so I’m ready to finish up too.  I know I still have lots of work to do. Luckily I have a hard working companion who is willing to help me, and honestly, together we work very hard. Elder Johnstun is a nice kid, I like him.  He is really calm and nice, we enjoy each other’s company. We usually don’t eat dinner because we just don’t have the time.  I usually cook up rice or pasta for a snack just before bed.

Being a district leader is fun but weird. I can’t do too much because I have so many sisters in my district, and Presidente is really focusing on us not getting too close with them, but yet I get calls from the office asking about how they are doing. I guess I will learn the balance here in a little bit.

On Pdays, we can’t do much because we lost our privileges to play soccer. What happened was that some missionaries played soccer all day, and wouldn’t write the president until after 7pm.  Pday ends at 6pm, so now we have a rule that we can only play once a transfer.  I’m bummed about that and it stinks but that is what happens when we can’t follow the rules. We find ways to stay active though by choosing to walk instead of taking bus.

This is a long letter this week, but I know you like it mom. If you have any other questions let me know.

I love you all and hope that you are enjoying the oncoming winter! 

Have a good week!

Elder Chipman

Ps: Wish Allie luck for me and tell her to kick some butt in Arizona!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Watermelon Jack-o-lanterns

¿Como Andan?                                                                                       
Well, it’s been a super wet week in Tolosa! It’s been raining for about 3 days now, and everything is soaked! So it’s been a fun, but an interesting week! When it rains, everybody in Argentina shuts down. Church attendance plummets, and people just sleep all day, which means that we are in the street all day. We did have fun though, and so we are happy.

We work hard and are having success. I learned a lot when talking with people on the street and we have lots of investigators to visit right now --which is good.  There’s a lot of work, because there have been 3 Elders who have finished their missions here, and honestly, 2 of them just kinda slept the last little bit, so we are trying to get things up and running again, but the Lord is helping us a lot with that, and giving us people to teach.

Next week, an apostle is coming to talk with just our mission! Rumor has it that it is Elder Nelson, but they can’t publicly announce it until right before it happens. I just hope that he doesn’t come to drop the cane, because we kinda have a lazy group of missionaries here, or maybe that is just what happens when a bunch of 20 year olds do this type of thing. In either case, I’m excited, it should be fun!

I’m learning that being a district leader is harder than I thought it would be, but I hope to get the hang of it soon. There are lots of questions or lots of people wanting to do things they really shouldn’t do, and so I have to be the bad guy. So Mom, now I know why you never liked being the bad guy at home.

Miracle of the week had to be our investigator, Ignacio, came to church on Sunday even though it was pouring rain. Ignacio was satanic just a few weeks ago, but his friend showed him the video of Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration, and it made an impression on him. Ever since then, he has been making a ton of changes! Right now he has a date for the 22 of November for baptism, and only needs to quite smoking in order to do it. So we are very excited for him.  We have been blessed in so many ways with the people we have been meeting and teaching, and with the less active members that are finally getting back to church. It's great serving here!

For Halloween we decided that since we wouldn't be able to eat a lot of candy, we should go to the bakery to get something sweet.  So we did.  We bought a BIG something called a Factura. Usually they are about the size of a donut, but these ones were about the size of a loaf of bread. A Factura is a type of sweet bread with chocolate, jam, and a creamy paste that’s super good. Let’s just say, we satisfied our sweet side.  I’m sending the pictures right now! Yes, I ate the whole thing. Yes, it was delicious!

We also wanted to make Jack-o-Lanterns. The problem is that it’s the summer here, so pumpkins are hard to find. Luckily we found that Watermelons were a good substitute, and carved them up this morning! Happy Halloween!  The People here don’t really celebrate Halloween, but then again, they do. It’s a very selective holiday. Some kids go trick or treating, but the majority does not, so it was weird.

Thanks for all of the love and support! I love and miss all of you guys!

Elder Chipman

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My new area of Tolosa

It’s been another great but super hot day in Tolosa, Argentina.                     
The hottest part of summer is still to come, but summer doesn’t seem too afraid to come a little early. The heat is really coming on. It’s 34 degrees in Celsius, I don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but I kinda get the picture.  Let’s just say we finish the day sticky with sweat and the smell of sun screen.
It sounds like a very eventful week even though Cross Country State makes things tense. I think that Allie finishing 13th is very good! She’s only a freshman; she’ll be ok, even if she is disappointed now. Seems like she has a great future as a runner and should be happy about her performance! The fact that the boy’s team won state again threw me for a whirl. I was not expecting that, and I looked at the picture of the team, and I can’t even recognize the kids. That’s amazing and a three-peat for them. I guess Coach Dalby knows what he is doing. I also have a feeling that the girls team will be up there soon as Maddie, Allie, and Becca gain more experience.
As far as my companion goes, his name is Elder Johnstun from a small town in Oregon. His family lives on a farm and he is pretty quiet, but we get along very well. He’s a super hard worker and its fun to be with him because I know that he wants exactly what I want and that is to work till we drop!
We had a great week this week as far as missionary work. We have found a lot of people to teach and we are working toward baptism with a few of them. The only difficulty is that our church building is not in our area. We share the chapel with the La Plata 1 Ward, so getting people to come to church is a little more difficult. We will just have to keep working with them until they come on a Sunday.  The area is growing and we keep talking to a bunch of people in the streets and we are doing our best to find more people. With some new investigators, we were talking about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and they mentioned that they have never heard of it before, and they never even thought that an apostasy was possible. It reminded me of the scripture that says many don’t know truth because they just don’t know where to find it! It’s a blessing to be able to see that. 
As far as being district leader goes, I’m adjusting to my new responsibilities and I find it to be mostly fun! Planning for district meetings is something that I have to get used too. Plus, I use my letter writing time to take care of administrative things so that makes me short on time. Sometimes it is hard for me because a lot of missionaries have very difficult questions, and I have to be the voice of the president in those matters. For the most part, I’m adjusting nicely to my new assignment and area.
I got your email about my low bank account mom. I will let you know next time when it’s that low. I just don’t think about it because $8 is about $80 Pesos so I figured that I still had a lot of money, but when you say $8, that put it more into perspective! So thanks for refilling it, and for the extra tid bit for my birthday.  It was very nice of you! I’ll use it wisely :)
As for me, I am doing very well. Because I was transferred just a few days before my birthday, I tried to keep it a secret, because I didn’t want anyone to feel obligated to throw a party, and I wanted to work. So to finish the day we bought a kilo of Argentine Ice Cream, (which is super good-- by the way) and we just finished it off this afternoon. It was very good, so thank you for the extra money to do that!
Funny story:  The other day, me and the other office Elder’s were getting ready for bed and one of them asked, "How many times has your bishop written you since you started the mission?" They all responded a few times or maybe once, but they were all really surprised when I told them that I receive an email from my bishop every week! They weren’t as impressed when they learned that my bishop is my dad, but hey!
 I do miss you guys and look forward to the day when I can see you again, but I am grateful that I am here right now. I see so many miracles every day. Like on Saturday night after I wrote you guys and before my transfer, we went to a lesson with a man we found in the street. We invited him to church, and on Sunday he came! He said he loved every second of it! Also, Rodrigo´s Mom came to church and loved it, Rodrigo was ordained the Aaronic Priesthood, and another recent convert got a temple recommend.  All in one day! What a blessing it is to serve and receive at the same time!
Tolosa is kinda like a suburb of La Plata. It is just outside the main downtown city and doesn’t have a lot of big buildings, but it does have a Wal-Mart! I know that doesn’t sound too cool, but it is one of the 3 Wal-Marts in the mission, so I feel pretty lucky! The only difference is that Wal-Mart’s here are like cities. Super Big! They have movie theaters and food courts inside.
Anyway, I’m running out of time, but I hope that you have a more relaxed week and enjoy Halloween. Elder Johnstun and I are thinking of things to do for Friday, but lets be honest, we’ll probably just buy some food of some kind and say happy Halloween! Ha-ha, that’s the missionary holiday for ya!
I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Elder Chipman