Monday, January 27, 2014

Argentina isn't made for people my size ;)

Buenos Tardes!
It's been another great week in San Francisco, and honestly one of the fastest weeks of my life! The weather was very pleasant and stayed in a nice cool temperature this weekend, but on Thursday it was like a furnace. I was sweating more than ever before. I was probably pretty close to having a waterfall flowing down my face. At least the people we visited had compassion on me when we knocked on their doors, and they would let us in to have a glass of water.
Other than that, we are continuing to do work. We met a new investigator and have taught her the first lesson. She is super religious and has a lot of faith in God. We shared our message with her and she had the desire to ask God if what we shared was true.  We haven’t been able to talk to her since but I hope to give you an update next week.
The bikes are working fine as for now and we are using them to get around. We’ve had to do a lot to jimmy rig them to working order. My companion’s bike still loses it’s chain if he goes relatively fast.  Let’s just say, Argentina isn’t made for people my size. The bar that attaches the seat to my bike was bent at a 90 degree angle-- just because I sat on it. Luckily I was able to change it out with the old seat from another bike. The fixed seat is more comfortable anyway. 
I like it a lot here in San Francisco! Elder Yachi is really nice, and that makes it pleasant. The place is just more mellow and lighter than Budge. So I’m actually happier here. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m learning that the time will fly. 
Sounds like Denver is a fun place to be right now and I still miss home a lot, but I’m getting used to this place too. I’m starting to miss the winter. I haven't actually experience a season other than Spring and Summer since May. That’s 9 straight months! That’s a lot of time in the sun!
We have the opportunity to go to the temple next week which is awesome, and my companion has peanut butter! So yes, everything is great! Lots of bike riding, a little rain, and it’s been fun! I hope to keep moving forward in this area.
I love you and I will write you next week after the Broncos win the Super Bowl!
Hope all is well!
Con Amor
Elder Chipman

Monday, January 20, 2014

Go Broncos!

Hola Todos!                                                                            January 20, 2014

Stephen with a Bolivian Family in Budge, Argentina

GO BRONCOS!  I´m super frustrated and happy about the Broncos. I always joked that this would happen when I left, but I never actually thought it would! So yes, they will win, because it’s just my curse. But if anybody erases that recording on our  home DVR, it will be a dark day in the Chipman Home! I guess it could be resolved by some homemade cinnamon rolls. (If you want to make those anyway when I get back, that’s ok too!) Gracias!

First off, you would never guess what I found in a little shop here in San Francisco, a Duck Pin! I sent you a picture of it! It’s great. There’s a little duck holding an Argentinean Flag! Que Bueno!

Wow, its been an interesting week! I was reassigned last week to a place called San Francisco, just outside of the city of Florencio Valera. It is practically the opposite of Budge. Very few buildings are over 2 stories, there is a bunch of farmland, and we have bikes! The area is calm and peaceful. There are a lot of farm lands and things like that so it’s nice.  It is so much more peaceful here. I can wear a backpack and a watch without worrying about being robbed! So that is nice. Plus it’s really actually pretty--especially in the late afternoon on a bike going through the fields. Life is good.

My companion is Elder Yachi from Peru, but I think he said that his dad is Japanese. We serve in a small branch and share a chapel with another ward. He is a hard worker and we are getting along fine. I´m not sure how hard he worked before I came because we practically don’t have any investigators and most of our week was spent finding some. We were able to find someone and set a baptismal date! I think the people here are a little lazy.  A lot of the members are inactive solely because they are tired in the morning. So I´m a little worried about baptizing anyone, but I guess I can only do so much.

Something that I´ve learned so far is the importance of commandments. I see so many people who are living under their potential for happiness because they are too lazy. I can see that we can literally replace the word “commandment”  with “blessing”  because every commandment has a partner blessing. We just have to wait long enough to see it! 

Our pension is actually really nice but it is outside of our area. We live across the hall from other Elders of a different ward, and have to commute to our area every day. Luckily, it isn’t too far. This week though we didn´t have any water for about 3 days, and no, I wasn’t able to shower or shave. Luckily I can’t grow much of a beard. Luckily we woke up this morning and there was water in the faucet, so we all took long showers this morning!

The bikes are really fun and nice, but really junky. We usually have to put the chain back about 3 times a day. We were blessed though and got new bikes! They only have one speed and we brake by pedaling backwards, but they were really shiny. We soon found out though that one of them had a hole in the back tire. So I was on an old bike again, and my comp was on the new one. We started our day yesterday and all was good. But after about a block, the chain fell off the new bike. So my comp stopped, fixed it up, and we started again. About a block later, the chain fell off again. And it was like this for about 10 blocks. Finally we decided to walk to a members house who could help us fix it. After we worked for the day, we picked up the bike again and headed home. All was well until about 5 blocks and the same thing happened. So we play on taking the new bikes into the shop after about 2 days. But after that, all should be well.

It been an interesting week. I learned a lot about my self and how I need to change—which is hard.  I was discouraged some and I spent a lot of time praying.  Then yesterday, I remembered something that Megan taught me. She said that missionaries shouldn’t focus on being just good missionaries, but we need to love the people, and everything will fall into place. Lately, I´ve been working really hard on being a super good missionary, which in truth, usually results in feelings of discouragement, unnecessary pressure, and homesickness. So I think I´m going to try and focus less on me, and more on the people. Overall, I am tired, but happy.

There is a lot going on, its true, but I can’t put it in a single letter. Sorry!  But things are good overall and I’m really happy in this new area. I think I go for a roller coaster every time I have changes, but I am adjusting and things are getting better than ever.  I bought a bunch of food! So that makes me very happy, and I actually bought fruit, because I have been eating straight carbs for the past week.  That way I won´t get scurvy! (Megan knew an Elder in NYC that got scurvy because he refused to eat any fruits and vegetables!)

It is great to hear how well Ben Burgoyne is doing with his basketball! That´s awesome that he´s starting Varsity already! I can´t wait to play with him when I get back (and get back into shape).

The Lord has blessed us a lot in the work and all is going well! I love you all and hope you are all great!

You´re the best!

Love, Elder Chipman

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm leaving Budge tomorrow

Hola Todos!                                                                Jan 13, 2014

It’s been a great week in Budge! We had another baptism this Saturday with a nine year old girl named Saríah. Her parents were less active for a little bit, and when they were reactivated, they realized their daughter was, well, not baptized. So we were able to teach her, and her brother baptized her on Saturday.

We were also able to find many people to teach, and we are continuing in the work! We had a family home evening with the Alánez family where we played games and ate tacos. It wasn’t the same as American tacos, but still good! The bishop and his wife came with us and we had a really good lesson about the Anti-Nephi-Lehis. We told them the story how they buried their weapons of war and made a covenant with God to never use them to shed man’s blood again. So we asked everyone to write down things that they did that kept their family from being united. Afterwards, Elder Suarez took a shovel and buried the papers in the ground, kinda like a symbolic promise. It was really neat.

Anyway, Last night we got a phone call from the Assistants saying that I was going to be emergency transferred to an area called San Francisco, and no It’s not near any sort of bay. I actually don’t know anything about it other than I’m leaving tomorrow at 4. I´m sad because there are a lot of really great people and things here. But I´m ready to leave and move forward.  So maybe next week I can give you more info!

I got the Christmas Card this week! Along with letters from the High Preist Group, the Primary, the Burgoynes Christmas card, and a package from Uncle ElRay and Aunt Susie! The Ropers sent me a nice card with Gummy worms and swedish fish, so I enjoyed them a lot.

When I think about my mission, I think that is has been mostly hard, but it has had many beautiful moments too.  In Georgia, I was getting used to mission life.  When I first got sent to Argentina, I had major cultrue shock so that made things hard again.  My Spanish is no a ton better and I can communicate super well and that has made all the difference.  I still hate the fact that there are few washers and dryers here, but at least the food is really good!  Budge is awesome and I love to look over the villas at sundown.  I just feel good serving here.  I love Argentina.  After all that is said and done, this place is super cool.  I pray a lot and receive peace.  I am always happiest at the end of each lesson when I get to bear my testimony and I can see and feel a connection between me and the people I teach.  I am working hard, but it is getting easier.

Hey dad, I actually ran every day last week with the Brazilian in our Pench (apartment).  He wants to learn English so we would run for 20 minutes and I would teach him.  It was great!  I guess I need to find another routine in my new area.

Anyway, that’s it for this week! I love you all and hope that you’re all doing well!

Elder Chipman

Monday, January 6, 2014

I guess I am making progress with the Spanish!

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a very eventful week this week, but not in the way that might be normal. We started the week by finding out we would receive two more Elders in Budge. They turned out to be Elder Santos from Brazil, and Elder Hanson from Price, Utah. Elder Hanson is brand new, and honestly doesn’t understand anything, but he is lucky because his companion, Elder Santos, is probably the nicest guy I’ve ever met and speaks pretty good English. I asked him where he learned to speak English and he said that he and a friend studied it using YouTube for about 2 months before his mission, and that was it. So now I wish I watched more Spanish videos on YouTube before I left. Ever since Elder Hanson got here, I have gained a lot of confidence in my Spanish because I can see where I have come, and it has been a real blessing and confidence booster.

Anyway on Tuesday we had an Asado which was delicious, and met with a group of Elders for Dinner. Afterwards I went to bed, but was soon awakened by the sound of fireworks. Seriously everybody blew off something at midnight, and boy was it a sight!

The rest of the week was slow. First Elder Santos and Elder Hanson were sick. Then Elder Suarez was sick on Friday. I thought I was special or something until Saturday morning when I woke up. I won’t tell you the symptoms that I had-just know that I stayed in bed that day. I feel better today and I am able to eat again. So I´m all better.

We were able to visit the Alánez family again and they are doing awesome! They are still waiting for their papers and all but the Mom said to us she wants to be baptized immediately after the wedding! The rest of the family is following her lead and they all go to church and participate in the activities. Hermana Alánez even invited us over this Friday to teach her sister, so we look forward to that!


This week when I was reading the book “Jesus the Christ,”  I read a line that literally changed my perspective on the work I do. It said ´the loss of a soul is a real thing, and a real great loss to our Father in Heaven.´ I don’t understand it completely, because if I did, I think I would be and do better, but it helps work harder.

I was really surprised when you said that Sam Bertoch married Kailie Dean! If you remember, she was my TA for Calculus this last semester at BYU! That is a fun connection!

I feel happy, just tired because we work hard.

Overall it was a good week! Hope y’all are doing well!


Elder Chipman