Monday, March 31, 2014

Argentina is awesome!

Wow, what a week in San Fransisco!                      

Argentina is awesome. It really is. I love it, even when it is hard. Sometimes the people are hard to work with and it seems like nobody is actually married, but it’s just a great place to be. You should see how the people get excited about soccer. I’m actually getting pretty good at that sport myself. I scored numerous goals today when the missionaries played together, and even had a sick header for one of them--just so you know. It was fun.

We are still struggling to get this area off the ground. It’s a difficult area, but we’re working as hard as we can to get it going. I learned something interesting. In 3 Nephi 11: 10-11 Christ is introducing himself to the Nephites after his resurrection.  When he describes his atonement, he says that he took their sins upon him. I really like the word “take”. It shows that he willingly did it. I then began to think about the atonement and about what he was thinking about during it. He was in extreme pain; in fact we cannot comprehend the amount of pain.  My question is was he suffering?  He knew what he was doing. He knew it would free all of us from the bondage of eternal death, and he knew all this while he was experiencing it. I just think that he knew what he was doing, so it was worth it to him. So while I am not comparing the difficulty of a mission to the pain that he felt, I see a common theme. The mission is hard, I know that, but I also know what I am doing. I know that blessings await me for my service, and it will all be worth it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that is just some of my thoughts.

We have always been working hard, but this week, we realized that the branch was struggling and needed something more than just two hard working missionaries, so we went crazy. We came home each night to our Pench exhausted every night. It was amazing and we really saw a lot of miracles --not just tender mercies, but the literal hand of God, putting us where we needed to be or God helping us out in some way. Literally lessons would come out of no where, and investigators would just pop up, ready to have us come and talk to them.

We found a family this week and when we were talking about the first vision, I pulled out my gospel art book, and showed them the picture of the first vision. Then the mom of the family told us that she has seen that picture before in a dream. She then gave us an account of a very vivid dream that she had, and she said she could distinctly remember that same forest in the picture. It was just a cool experience that the Lord blessed us with.

It was really good week, and we are set to do it again. We plan on working our tails off this transfer, and it’s going to be fun! I really look forward to it. Plus it’s already conference this weekend! That marks my 6 month mark in Argentina!

For the first time in 2 weeks, we didn't get sick or have an activity or conference or nothing and we saw tons of miracles. One was on Saturday when we were biking next to the Highway and we passed a boy that looked like he was looking for something. We stopped to see what he needed. He was riding his uncle’s bike from a friend’s house and an important screw came loose and fell off. Now to paint a picture for you, this is in the side of a busy highway in the middle of farmland. The side of the road has a skinny path that bikes can use, with tall weeds on either side. At first we tried to help him find the screw. Then my companion asked him, “have you tried to pray yet?” The kid was about 10 years old, and gave my comp a funny look. After some convincing, my comp was able to say a prayer for him.  Five minutes later, the boy stooped down and held up his screw. What a relief! But wait, it ain't done yet! The boy said to us, “great, now I just need the nut” THE NUT! That little tiny piece that could've fallen off miles back! So we continued our search, and we were praying in our hearts. Then, like it always does, the miracle came. The kid stooped down, and found the bolt to the screw only a few steps further down the road!

God hears our prayers. There are a lot of big life and death problems in the world , and many people have real needs. But God knows when a sparrow falls, or how important is for a little boy in the middle of San Fransisco, Argentina to find a screw and a bolt to his uncle’s bike. We have a loving Heavenly Father, who loves each of us. The things that are important to us are important to Him. He cares. Sometimes He won’t always give us what we want, but He will provide us with what we need.

In other news, there was a huge soccer game last night. There are two teams that are hugely popular in Buenos Aires and they are Boca and River. This rivalry is more intense than anything in the United States. This rivalry beats Utah/BYU, Michigan/Ohio State, Yankees/Red Sox, everything. Every person that I have met cheers for one of those two teams in every area I've served, and they squared off last night. Even though we couldn't watch the game, we knew when someone scored, because the whole world outside our pension was screaming and fireworks were going off. No joke. It would be completely silent, and then suddenly screaming would just fill the air as well as fireworks.  The World Cup will be something else. I can’t wait!  River won, just in case anyone out there knows what that means.

Sounds like Andrew and Connor are getting off to a great start for the Vista Track season. I won’t trash talk because I don´t want to get them too motivated. I’m not going to lie, this week I’ve been missing high school sports. They were so much fun, so I've gotta do something athletic when I get back home. I used some of that pent up energy today when I played soccer. My companion and I are still running and either exercising or playing basketball in the mornings. So that has been good.

Funny story: At the end of a lesson this week, we were talking with one of our investigators named Laura. She has been repairing her roof, so I tried to offer our help, but instead of saying “Necesita ayuda con su techo,” I asked, “necesita ayuda con su pecho,” which just happens to be the slang word for boobs in Spanish. My comp had a good laugh about that one. Oh well.  I am getting better.

Wow! It sounds like you had a fun spring break trip, but wow were those high cliffs at Zions!  I am, however, very disappointed that you were only able to eat 1 plate of ENDLESS Kneader’s french toast breakfast. You could’ve at least tried to eat 2. It was already paid for! Anyway, I´ll have to come home and show you how it’s done, because my appetite still hasn’t changed much.
I hope you know that the summer I get back, we're just going to be on vacation the whole summer---so don’t plan anything. We must go to Hawaii, Zions, Telluride (I really liked that place), and Atlanta. Oh, and New York City for Megan. Ha-ha only kidding!  It sounds like it was a great trip.

Anyway, hope all is well at home. Love you all, you’re the best!


Elder Chipman

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm happy and loving life. . .

Hola Hola                                                                                              March 23, 2014

Bueno, it’s been another great week in San Fransisco. Today is the start of a new transfer, and Elder Cobb and I are staying for the next 6 weeks. I’m excited because we have a lot of plans for this area, and its going to be a good transfer. 

As far as teaching goes, it was a slow week. Elder Cobb was sick for 2 days and we had an activity to plan, but the activity went really well. We made the stage of the church look like an airplane, and had security lines and everything. We then pretended that the airplane crashed, and everyone died, so we took them through the Plan of Salvation.  We toured the three different kingdoms of glory, and finally brought them into the chapel, or the celestial kingdom. At the end, we sang Creo en Cristo, or I believe in Christ, and everyone was touched. The only downside was that only 10 people showed up. The 10 that came really felt the spirit though.

Airport Security reproduced

Interior of doomed airplane

Celestial Kingdom

Other than that, we had some fun days. Elder Cobb found a dead snake on the side of the road and so he put it in an empty coke bottle and brought it back to the pench. He then decided to skin it, so we have a lovely snake skin in our pench.

Today has been really fun actually. We don’t have a zone activity because transfer meeting is today and a lot of our zone is down there so Elder Cobb and I figured out how to play a lion King duet on our harmonicas. We made an awesome music video for it. I don’t know if I’m allowed to send videos home, but it’s pretty artistic since we don’t have a lot to work with. I’ll show you in a year.

I bought a basketball and that sweet Argentina Jersey. It was about 600 pesos. If you could check to make sure it was paid for I would appreciate that. And thank you very much. We’ve started to play basketball in the mornings for exercise, I like it, I can’t play my hardest, because then it wouldn’t be fun for anyone else, but I still can run around.

Hope you enjoy spring break and you get the chance to relax! I miss you, but I’m doing pretty well. I’m happy and loving life, now I just need to find someone to baptize!

Anyway, hope all of you are enjoying life! Looking forward to hearing from you next week.

Until then!

Elder Chipman

Monday, March 17, 2014

Eating 50 facturas

Hola todos!                                                                                     

Sounds like you have a fun spring break trip planned! I was about to say that Provo in the Fall is beautiful, but I guess its not the fall over there is it? Provo’s spring are a little wet and mucky, and that’s probably why you have to go to Zions National Park to get your scenery in. The chill of fall is definitely in the air here, but it’s still hot--only with a chilly breeze. On Friday I was able to make some hot cocoa because it was raining, so there are a few chilly days, but I’ve comfortably worn short sleeves everyday. 

It’s been a difficult but rewarding week in San Fransisco. Pablo again left for a different province to work so we were unable to get him baptized this week, and Elder Cobb had a really bad cold that slowed us down a bit. We spent a lot of time trying to plan an activity for Friday, but on the day there was a giant rain storm and all of the buses in the Province of Buenos Aires shut down. We had to postpone the activity a week. That being said, we also had a lot of success.

We were finally able to talk with Ramona again. We talked with her and learned that she is addicted to cigarettes. We then gave a powerful lesson on why the Lord asks us not to smoke, and the blessings that come from it. The spirit was strong as we testified of his love for her and that he would help her. 

We also had a great lesson with a new investigator that we found last week. We shared the Restoration with her, and then asked her to pray about it to know if it was true. To our surprise she started to pray in that very moment. At first it was a little awkward because we didn´t know what to do, but we waited in silence for a few minutes, and when she raised her head again, we knew that she received her answer. She prayed and said that she felt Bien, Rey Bien. We plan on visiting her again this week.

Funny story of the week. My companion and I bought 50 facturas for the activity this Friday. Facturas are like donuts. The problem is that we bought them the day before, and when the activity was cancelled, well, let’s just say we ate facturas for Dinner, Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and another breakfast.

Anyway, hope yáll having a great life, love you all


Elder Chipman

Monday, March 10, 2014

Psalm of Stephen

Well it’s been another great week in San Fransisco.                          

First off, We Finally found Pablo! He returned from his business trip and is back for now! He is still excited to be baptized, and he wants it to happen this Saturday! How cool is that! Now we just need to stay in contact with him!

We also knocked on a lot of doors this week, and found some more people to teach. The Branch is doing well, and honestly life is good.

We had zone conference and stake conference this weekend, but I have to admit, it was hard to enjoy. I had some bad Dulce de Leche the day before, and soon after the zone conference lost my lunch in the bathroom. And of course, the leadership meeting of stake conference was about to start, so we had to quickly clean up the mess before people showed up. Luckily that was all that happened and I rested the rest of the day, and was good by Sunday.

We had a fun time last night though. We used an old table that we had and had a mini ping pong tournament after our planning meeting. The rule for Sundays is that we have to be in the pension at 8 so we had some extra time. We all dressed up and it was a lot of fun. I used one of your moustaches that you sent me mom!

That’s awesome that the vista boys are in the final four again. That’s so much fun! Now let’s hope BYU has equal success.

Zone Conference was interesting because it showed me a lot of the president’s expectations for me as a missionary. Overall, I can do better, but I’m not too far away from what I need to be. I guess it’s always a battle. But one thing I realized is the Bible and the Book of Mormon are full of stories of trials, wars, battles, afflictions, and sicknesses. They had good times yes, but they usually cover them in a verse or two because there isn’t too much to learn from them. We learn from hard times, kinda like good sports stories. The movie “Miracle” would be terrible if it was about a USA hockey team who beat the crud out of everybody and won gold. It is only interesting and inspiring because of what they overcame.

There you go! You can call that Psalm of Stephen, Chapter 1.  Or maybe you can just keep all my quotes like that and make a “New York Times Bestseller of inspiring Quotes from Stephen Chipman.”

It’s amazing how much more the gospel makes sense the more I learn about it. I don’t know too much, in fact everyday I learn how much I don’t know or understand. But everyday the spirit reveals to me simple truths that are all connected. So every day brings a blessing, even if get sick once in a while.

Hope all is well at home! Keep Moving Forward!


Elder Chipman

Monday, March 3, 2014

I've been learning how to cook

Sunset in San Fran

Hola Todos 
 It’s been another good and sunny week in San Fransisco!

We have been working hard and finding a lot of people to talk to, and we are seeing miracles everyday. We are still having trouble finding Pablo, but we heard that he got home on Saturday night, so we hope to talk with him soon! And our other investigator Ramona, had to take care of her mother, who fell and broke her hip. So we did a lot of finding this week and had a lot of cool experiences and found a lot of new people to teach. I love it when we get to teach new investigators, because usually we get to share the restoration, and every time we share the first vision, the spirit is there, and it’s always so peaceful.

That is awesome how I got a shout out at Stake Conference! --even if it is by error. Poor President Walker, there must be a lot of stress to remember all the missionaries, especially now.

I’m finally getting to a place where I understand the majority of the things that people are saying to me, and I can usually respond to their question. I do have a problem with the words cansado, and casado, one means tired, and the other means married. So the question "Are you tired?" It gets a lot more personal when you don’t say it right. But I’m learning.

I’m actually learning how to cook. I can now make pizza, pancakes, and homemade noodles without recipes, so there you go! I also tried a little bit of matté this week. We can’t drink it with members, but we can drink it in the pension if it’s in tea bags. It’s a comforting taste, but I have to put a lot of sugar in it in order to enjoy it. Elder Cobb and I also tried to make Empanadas this week for lunch. We just wanted to make about 10, but with our inexperience, we ended up making about 42. They were actually really good though, and we were able to snack on them for a long time.
The empanadas we made
I’m doing pretty well. Elder Cobb is awesome and is a lot like Danny, which is nice, and we get along well. I’m super tired all of the time, but I’m kinda getting used to it. And we’re even starting to run in the morning, which is awesome, I love it.
Me & Elder Cobb
Today is supposed to be Carnival. You know that big holiday with all the colors and everything? Well that’s only in Brazil. Here, it’s more of the same as every other holiday. Lots of beer and music, and I’m sure tomorrow, everyone’s going to sleep in all day with a hang over. But that’s how it is.

Overall, things are good. We are enjoying life here en el campo. We sometimes have to bike through cow herds and usually pass a dead dog or two every day, but as smelly as that is, we are all good. Hope all of you are at home are enjoying life!

Have a good week!

With love,

Elder Chipman