Monday, February 24, 2014

Life is good!

Hola Todos    
Happy Birthday Mom & Dad! 
So you got bed sheets and shoes for your birthdays? Man, maybe you are getting old. If it makes you feel any better, every time I show your pictures to the people here, they think you guys are my brothers and sisters because you look so young. Maybe its because you guys haven’t lived fifty years in the South American Sun. Seriously, I meet 40 year olds that look like they are in their 70´s.
Hey Dad, thanks for your advice. I can even start considering it wisdom from an Elder, because you are FIFTY YEARS OLD. That´s gotta hurt, I mean that, and your back, your knees, and hips, and every other things that hurts when your old.  Ha-ha
We’ve had another great week in San Francisco. Fall is approaching which means the weather is a lot cooler, but the best part is that it’s not raining, so it’s been pretty perfect. 
We were again unable to contact Pablo this week, so I guess his baptism will be this Saturday. Apparently he had a last second business trip to another Province in Argentina called Corrientes, but he is back now! We are also continuing to teach Ramona. She truly is amazing. When we ask her to read something, she reads it, when we ask her to pray, she prays. It’s no surprise that we are seeing a difference in her life, and she is seeing the difference as well. 
Elder Cobb and I are getting along great and enjoying life here in Argentina. He’s easy going and pretty funny, so it’s a breath of Fresh air. I sent some pictures of our area. There is a lot of farm land. One of our investigators lives out in the middle of no where, and that’s where the pictures are taken. There are other places where there are lots of houses, but we don’t take too many pictures of that.
We have probably seen 10 dead dogs on the side of the road which is pretty gross, and it smells really bad. And we also see some pretty weird stuff. A few days ago we were just riding our bikes and a car passed us on the road only to lose his tire while in movement. I don’t know, maybe I’m just inexperienced but I’ve never seen that before.

Life is good right now. I’m super tired, and at times wonder how I’m going to finish this thing up, but I guess those phases come and go. Elder Cobb has a harmonica too, so we are practicing hymns where one plays the melody and the other plays the base, I’m getting pretty good at it just so you know.
Honestly I am super happy. I feel the spirit in my life everyday, and we get to enjoy its company when we do what’s right. We get to share the happiest message in the world every single day of our lives, and every single time we share the first vision, a spirit fills the room. We get to help others come to Christ and see their lives are blessed. Truly a great experience.
I know these things are a reality. That Christ lives and truly loves us more than we can know. He is a real being, and he really is our Savior and Redeemer. All we need to do is accept his invitation, and Come unto Him.
Anyway, Les Amo Mucho. Tengan una buena semana!
Elder Chipman

Monday, February 17, 2014

I love the area and the language is finally kicking in

Hola Todos!                                                                           Feb 17, 14

Wow, we had a great week here in San Francisco, and it sounds like you have had a good week too. Man that skiing trip sounded awesome. I always wanted to be able to ski a bowl, but whenever I was able to go it was either early or late in the season and they usually didn’t have a lot of snow.

Sounds like the Olympics are fun and slushy. I think they should try to go to a place without palm trees next time. They had the same problem last time too. Maybe if they just went somewhere super cold, like really cold, they won’t have the same problems, because while location is important, snow is more important.  I miss the Winter Olympics, they’ve always been some of my favorite, but then again, being in Argentina is pretty cool. They don’t have much of a team, so I rarely hear about the Olympics in general.

To start, the rain has stopped a little bit which is nice, things are drying out a bit as of now, but earlier this week the roads were pretty mucky. Our bikes were having trouble because the chains would get all muddy, then we’d have a lesson, and they would dry off and have a thick layer of mud encrusted on the chain. So with that, our chain usually fell off about every block. On Wednesday we were heading down the road and the chain fell off my companion’s bike. WE were getting a little tired of always fixing up our bikes, so we came up with the brilliant idea that maybe we just needed to ride through the mud to lubricate the bike chain. So without giving it much thought, we plowed into the biggest mud puddle we could find. It was in the middle of the puddle we realized that we didn’t think this plan through very well. My bike chain fell off midway through this mud puddle and so I had muddy shoes the rest of the day.

Elder Cobb, my companion, is a great Elder and really funny. We laugh a lot and are enjoying the work. He’s really nice, patient, and easy going.  He actually reminds me of my BYU roommate, Danny. We get along very well. He’s teaching me a lot about working with members and how to just relax. I learned that obedience is important, but it’s an attitude. If I am stressed to be exactly obedient, I still can’t feel the spirit because I’m over worried. So both disobedience and over-stressing about obedience result in the same thing. I have honestly felt the spirit stronger this week than any other week.

I’m really happy. I love the area and the language is finally kicking in. I think I have more challenges in the upcoming months, in fact, I know I do, but it’s nice to know that I can have at least a small break, or at least an easier time. I still miss you a lot and had a dream that I was able to give you a super big hug. Which was nice =). There are many miracles seen every day, and we are enjoying every minute of it.

The area is progressing well. We visit a lot of members, fishing for referrals and in truth, we are starting to get some. We were unable to talk to Pablo this week so we had to postpone the baptism for next Saturday. We also have an investigator named Ramona who is progressing very well. She is on track to be baptized on March 1st.

Miracle of the week, found out that one of the Elders before we came left a bottle of Root Beer Extract, so we’re going to be making root beer tonight.

I’ll send pictures next week because I forgot my SD card today.  I learned how to make homemade pasta and a member has some super cute puppies that I need to show Allie, so they will come next week!

Thanks for all of your prayers. I love you all and hope you’re all doing well!

Elder Chipman

Monday, February 10, 2014

The days go by like hours, the weeks like days...

Hola Todos                                                                                         Feb 9, 2014
It’s been another great week in San Francisco with a few changes. I have a new companion named Elder Cobb, from North Carolina. I think we will get along really well! He plays the harmonica too. He knows how to play Piano Man on the Piano and harmonica at the same time! He has been about a year on the mission, but came the same day I did to Argentina because of Visa Problems. I’ve only known him for about 4 hours, but I know its going to be a good transfer.
We went to the temple just because the President said that we could go. The mission assigned our district a day and time and we went and enjoyed a session. I hope we can do that quite often. It was so nice to go just to feel the spirit. I Just got to sit and reflect on my life at the moment and feel peace. It was really nice.
I´m actually really happy. Sure it’s hard, but nobody said that I couldn´t be happy and have a trial at the same time. Missions are hard things because I miss being comfortable and at home, but then again, I´m learning so much. The days are going by  me as if they are hours, and the weeks  go by like days. It’s really weird.
That being said, the rain hasn’t really stopped, but we are navigating through the mud and puddles fairly well. We received a referencĂ­a from a member on Thursday. Her name is Ramona and she is super prepared. We taught her about prayer and the member that is her friend bore her testimony about prayer, by the end of the testimony both the member and Ramona were crying. Always a good sign.
We also plan on having a baptism on Saturday. Pablo came to church on Sunday, so he is finally ready to make that covenant with our Father in Heaven.
We had an interesting experience on Friday. We were just straightening things up in the pench before we headed out for the day and out of no where, the shelves where we kept our food collapsed. There was soy sauce and corn flakes everywhere. Talk about a mess. Then about 5 minutes later, our desk broke sending our books to the floor. Talk about remodeling. Anyway after a morning of cleaning, we got it all figured out.

Funny story: I was talking to a member on Sunday at church and he just pointed behind me. When I looked, I saw President Thurgood. I guess he decided to have a surprise visit in San Francisco. It was cool! He´s a really nice and loving man. We had an investigator there with us so it was all good!
Now about the Olympics.  Thanks for sending some pictures and telling me about it.  If the press is complaining about stray dogs, they should come to Argentina.  I don’t think they wouldn’t rag on Russia any more because this place has so many stray dogs.  I hate the American stereotype that we are a bunch of rich snobs, so I hope we aren’t acting like that because then we deserve the crummy stereo type.  Oh well, the Americans really showed the world our greatness with our ugly Christmas Sweaters in the opening ceremonies-- how terrible were those! I think Mr. Ralph´s Grandma must have hand-made each and every one of those sweaters, so maybe we should be more considerate ha-ha.

Hope all is well at home, stay warm. I know God lives and Jesus is the Savior of the world. Never forget that. He is always by our sides. And he will never leave. No matter what we do and say, he will always be there, inviting us back that we, through his sacrifice, can return to live with him again. I love you and hope all is well at home. I still pray for you, so don´t worry, you´ve got blessings coming your way. It just might be delayed because I´m in Argentina, but they will come =)

Elder Chipman

Thursday, February 6, 2014

There is a broken heart in Argentina....

Stephen today at the Buenos Aires Temple

Hola Todos,                                                                                         

Sorry, we have P-day today and not on Monday because we went to the temple this morning! 

The Buenos Aires temple is really pretty. It was really cool going through the session in Spanish, and it helped that I knew a lot of things in English so I could translate it when I needed too. Overall, it was a really nice and cool thing and  it was worth waiting for a few more days.

Primero, I want to let you know that there is a broken heart down in Argentina as well.  I’m sorry about the Broncos, but I’m really happy I missed it.  The Broncos had a great season and I’m sure there will be another super bowl soon! Dad, you can delete the recording and don’t buy me a season review DVD (But if you want to buy me a “Man of Steel” DVD before I get home, I’m ok with that still =) Let’s just say I’m not too disappointed that I missed the whole thing. At least they are waiting for me!

It’s been another good week here in San Francisco. We have had a lot of rain.  It is South American rain, and so it is drenching. When it’s not raining its nice and cloudy with a lot of mud. I guess the rain invited all of the mosquitoes to wake up or something because I swear I’ve lost about 50% of the blood in my body to the mosquitoes. I’m even starting to realize that there are different species of mosquitoes here--which is something that I’ve never considered. 

Other than the mosquitoes, it’s been a good week. We are still working with Pablo, and hopefully get him baptized next Saturday. He only needs to come to church! We are also finding a lot of other people so the work is continuing. We had about 18 people in sacrament meeting in total, and only 7 in Sunday school, and we didn’t have 3rd hour because we just didn’t have the numbers or the people to get it done, so we ended church after 2 hours.

I also got your package with the valentine stuff! The fudge is still good and I haven’t opened the cards, but I opened Megan’s Christmas Present (the Snow Globe). And saw the duck! I also got the letter with the comics and all of the good Broncos Articles, so thank you! Also, could you say thank you to Brother and Sister Champlain? They bought me a J. Garcia tie because they saw one in the store and thought of me. I’m wearing it right now!

I love you and miss you. I’m already a third of the way there. Its weird but true, time is flying by. We have transfers on Monday so we’ll see if I can write or not, but I’ll do what I can to make it happen. 

Until Monday
Elder Stephen Chipman

PS: I couldn’t find a basketball so I bought a soccer jersey of a team in my zone. It was only 10 American dollars. Hope you don’t mind.