Sunday, September 28, 2014

The fun and stress of office life

Hola Familia!

It’s been another great week down here in Argentina

First off, Rodrigo got baptized last Sunday! It was a beautiful ceremony, and it all went according to plan. Afterwards, another recent convert who attended it said that her testimony grew even more just by the spirit that was at the baptism. We talked with Rodrigo’s parents and his Mom is curious about what we believe (just like we wanted), so she will be coming to Rodrigo´s confirmation tomorrow (Also what we wanted!). She noted a change in him, and that sometimes she finds him reading the Book of Mormon outside of the house. It’s a great feeling when you see people change, especially 14 year olds. We are really happy with his progress. So we are thankful to be apart of that experience and help him come to Christ.     We are looking forward to tomorrow when he gets confirmed! The ward family that is fellowshipping him has already made plans to take Rodrigo to the temple soon. How cool is that? This is when I feel the best about the mission and what I am doing!

As far as the office goes, it’s been a super stressful week. We ran out of Restoration Pamphlets and Book of Mormons which are the most important tools in the mission so we got to deal with angry missionaries. Part of it is my fault for not ordering them early enough from the distribution center, but then again, the distribution center is taking longer than it used to for the pamphlets. Our job is to maintain and distribute supplies to all the other missionaries. Each transfer, the missionaries send us a form that shows what they want. Then we put it into a little baggy and send it with President to his zone conferences or interviews. With over 245 missionaries, we always make mistakes on the order. It’s just a big dilemma. We are also in charge of cell phones, which is a big deal because every week somebody gets one robbed. There has only been one point in my office time when everyone had a working phone. We are also in charge of Datos, all of the lesson numbers and baptisms that happen come to us and we organize it and give it to President. We also put Baptismal Records into the system and send them to area offices. There are just a lot of projects and not so much time to do it, mixed with me just being tired. It is exhausting work and sometimes I struggle because I see the mistakes that I make. At the end of each day I look back and I’m very happy with what we’ve done. It is all good things.

We also do other projects that the president wants to give us.  This week President sent us a request for a report that was super complicated and one that I have never done before. So after a lot of headache, and manipulating the system, we were able to give President the Report he wanted!  Let’s just say we were happy when we woke up this morning to P-day. Luckily, President Thurgood is probably the most patient person I have ever met, and he is super nice. I enjoy serving him because he is enjoyable to serve.

Through all of that stress I learned a valuable lesson. While I didn’t know what to do to produce the report or get all that we needed to get accomplished done, my Heavenly Father did. The whole time we were trying to figure out what to do, a little thought would come into my head that would tell me exactly what needed to be done. The Lord guided me and my companion so that we could fulfill President’s expectations. God is always caring for us; all we have to do is to listen and to trust Him. He will never lead us astray!

So that’s just a little bit of what I do! It’s fun and keeps me busy, but we still find time to go out and preach at night, or at least we make time to do it! It’s a nice area and lots of work to be done. A lot of people think that because it is a richer area that nobody would listen, but there are always ears ready to hear!
Chapel at sunset

Anyway, Life is all good here. We’re halfway through the transfer already and starting with the month of October. I don’t even know what happened to September, I felt like it just barely got started. I’m approaching my 1 year mark in Argentina! And General Conference is already coming up! How fun is that? Plus I turn 21 this month, which is funny because I still feel like I’m 19, but I guess I don’t really get to choose my age. 

Sounds like all you had a great week! I mean, any week that Mountain Vista beats Thunder Ridge in Football is a good week right? That’s also cool to see Allie run so well. Maybe you should just tell her to win the state meet and she will! It wouldn’t surprise me if she did!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support! I love you all and hope that you have a great week!


Elder Chipman

 Ps: Thanks for the new running shoes :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tomorrow Rodrigo will be baptized!

How is it going?                                                                          

It’s been another great week in Adrogué Argentina

This week has been really busy. We’ve had to prepare materials for all of the missionaries. It’s always quite a process and it takes some time, but its fun! We even see miracles in the office though. Right before we ran out of Restoration pamphlets (Our most important pamphlet), we received a new shipment the day we would’ve run out. So it takes some stress off when we know that we aren’t by ourselves in the office.

We went to capital this week to pick up packages. It’s always a very fun trip to drive up there because there are lots of cool buildings and things like that. We learned that if we go on Wednesday, there are barely any lines. So we can now get in and out in about an hour, hour and a half.

As mentioned last week, we had a chance to talk with Rodrigo’s Mom a little more, and after a few answered questions, she was ok with his baptism, and she actually committed to come to church this Sunday as well to her son’s baptism. So tomorrow Rodrigo will be baptized! This is one of the cases where we were able to teach him from the first lesson to his baptism, and we look forward to teaching him more and more as he goes on! We are excited for him and we hope to teach his family soon! I’ll send pictures next week! I’m super excited!  Argentina is a difficult place to work, but the Lord will always provide ways to those who are looking right?

Other than that, it’s been a pretty normal week. Nothing too out of the ordinary happened. I’m still enjoying Argentina, and of course the food! It’s an amazing blessing to be here. Your grilled pizza sounded delicious. You can send some to me if you like, but I don’t think that it will be as good by the time it gets here. Oh well, what are you going to right? My cooking creativity hasn’t grown a ton as of lately, but I should be learning how to make meatloaf this week so I’ll let you know!

I got new running shoes today. I don’t think they were too expensive. I hope that they just last me the 8 months I have left, but thank you for sending the money. Everyday this week the Elders in my pension told me that they couldn’t wait until Saturday so they didn’t have to smell my shoes! So they are very grateful to you as well!

Something that I learned this week was that after many years of war, the Nephites returned to their homes. After nearly 15 years of constant battles, many were humbled to repentance. There were many righteous years after this war, in fact, some of the more righteous that this people had enjoyed in a long time. But like usual, little by little, pride entered in, and it described it as attacking the members of the church. As one thing led to another, after about 5 years, the Nephites lost about half of their lands because they were sufficiently wicked to lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and were left weak like unto the Lamanites. It was in this moment when they "saw" their wickedness. It amazes me how quickly they changed from righteousness to wickedness--yet it happened so subtlety that they didn’t even realize it was happening. They had to be woken up and realize the wickedness they were in.

So we as members of the church of Jesus Christ need to remember to always stay consistent. We have to always improve how we live, we always have to read and pray, and we always need to go to church. Not because we have to, but because it keeps us on the path, so that we are not subtlety led down a path that we don’t even know we are taking.

Anyway, thought of the week! I’m sorry I don’t have a lot to report, it’s just the same as past weeks. I like the office a lot, but I wouldn’t mind leaving it after this transfer to change things up a little bit! That might make my letters to you more exciting.

Overall, I’m happy and tired. Like you said Dad:  it is hard work, but if I wasn’t tired, I wouldn’t be doing it right.

I love you all and hope all is well at home!

Have a great week!

Elder Chipman

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm happy here and I love being a missionary.

¡Hola Amigos! ¿Todo Piola?                                                              
It’s been an amazing week with its ups and its downs. We are still teaching Rodrigo and have had a lot of progress with him. He is excited to be baptized this Thursday, and it’s amazing to see him grow! We had a little trouble though this week, because he has to receive written authorization from his parents. It didn´t help that he was telling them that he was going to get baptized and then leave for two years to be a missionary somewhere. Understandably his parents refused to let him be baptized thinking we were going to just pick him up and shift him off to a foreign mission. We visited his parents today and explained a little bit more about what is happening and how we baptize and basic beliefs. They are a lot more relaxed about and will talk as a family tomorrow. Let’s just pray that it will all work out.

As far as office life goes, it’s the start of a new transfer and we are busy with materials, lists, records, and all sorts of fun stuff! In the end though, its fun! We continue to experiment on new foods to cook. This week’s menu consisted of homemade noodles, hot dogs, and pancakes. The failure of the week was when we tried to make syrup and cooked it for too long. When we ate it, it was like sticky cement and so we will have to try that again!
As far as my life goes, I´m tired, but that´s just part of being a missionary. It’s been a little rough because I learned that Pablo, my recent convert from San Francisco, is inactive due to the lack of understanding he had about the gospel. It was our fault for not teaching him well enough and confirming him too early. I was thinking about it, about converts and how we know when they are ready, and I thought about the story of the building of the Salt Lake Temple. Brigham Young put so much into that building, and when he found out that the cornerstones were cracked, it probably broke his heart. I love the movie “Mountain of the Lord” during this part because you see the pain that Brigham feels, realizing he will never see the completed structure in this life, but like the movie portrays he picks himself up, and says that they need to start again. I think that I tried too hard to build a temple on a cracked foundation. Waiting would’ve ensured the fact that I would never see him baptized, but he would’ve been more ready, but I refused to look at the signs that he wasn’t ready and now I need to repent for messing up like that. It also teaches me what to look for in future investigators, and I still have hope that Pablo will come back and be a faithful member, but we just need to repair the foundation a little.
We had a great ward activity today. Someone just said that they wanted to cook everyone choripan and so we all got together and ate sausage and played soccer. It was pretty fun!
Thanks for sending the milesplit article, I sometimes feel like I get forgotten in the world of running because, well, I´m not exactly running right now, but it’s little articles like that that remind me that I was fast at one point, and I could be again :)  Allie is rocking it! That picture is amazing! She looks like a stud. I’ve shown it to those who might understand around here. Ya,  I brag about her a bit, but what older brother wouldn´t right?
I don´t have too much time to write today. Sorry! Thanks for sending me my drivers license extension because I was going to write you about that soon.  Sooooo, can I ask for some more money? Sorry. My running shoes are destroyed and smell like dead dogs. Plus I´m starting to get shin splints because they are a little worn out. Sorry, I hate asking for more money, but they are pretty bad.
I hope all is well with everyone at home. We really do have a Savior who loves us and wants what’s best from us, even if we have to be toughened up a little bit. If we are doing what’s right, everything will be for our benefit. If we aren´t doing what’s right, we can change and repent, and learn from our mistakes. Isn´t it great that we can never stray too far off the path, that we can always grab the hand that is always extended to us, repent, and return to where we belong. Christ is our literal Savior, and will help us, but we need to reach out and grab his hand.
Anyway, I miss you a lot, but I am happy here, and I love being here as a missionary. We are working hard, and doing the best we can to be obedient! I do look forward to home though, but the time is passing too quickly. Every month passes by like a dream. 
I love you all, Have a good week!

Elder Chipman

Monday, September 8, 2014

This proves that I don't only take pictures of food!

Hola Todos! ¿Como Andan?                                                              

Its been another great week in Adrogué Argentina! I just got your email about Allie! Way to go! She’s already kicking fanny.  She’ll be bored with the competition by her senior year!

This photo proves that I don’t only take pictures of food! Recently, I did joke with some Elders that about half of my pictures are about food in one way or another, but whatcha going to do?  I am learning a lot about cooking here. We don’t get lunches so we have to cook or buy. I’ve learned how to make biscuits and gravy, roasted chicken, homemade bread, mac and cheese, and other delicious stuff. The other day we had chicken quesadillas with guacamole! Very good!

We are preparing for transfers on Monday, and it looks like I’m staying put for another 6 weeks, which honestly I don’t mind at all! The office life is great, plus its still not super warm outside! We have a lot of investigators now, and it’s a fun time to be a registrador! Also we are on the verge of having a baptism which is the biggest reason why I am ok with staying. His name is Rodrigo and he is 14, and he practically lives with a member family in the ward. Last week we weren’t super positive if he was progressing, but this week during our meetings, he has been praying, reading, and growing his testimony little by little. It’s amazing how fast he is learning and it’s always a blessing to see the changes that happen to those who choose to follow Christ. It’s truly a blessing that we are able to teach him.

Life here is pretty fun! Elder Evans and I get up in the morning and run a little and play soccer. He’s the first comp that I’ve had in a long time that gets up on time, so it is fun to start the day like that! I think by the time this transfer ends, I will be ready to move on to other things. My mission is going quickly, so I’m excited for the new things afterwards too.

Our Hard work with proselyting is actually paying off! We are getting more and more investigators, and the Sisters are finding many to teach as well, so we are pretty excited! This ward is super nice to us, and its fun being apart of it!

We are also visiting with a few others, but most of our time this week has been organizing mail, supplies, and things like that, getting ready for Transfer Meeting on Monday. Over half of the mission is being transferred, and about 24 new missionaries are coming from the MTC, so we are super excited for that!

Overall, I’m very happy! I’m tired, but it is because missionary work is exhausting stuff. I feel the spirit everyday, I get along with my companion, I like the assignments I have, honestly, what’s there to complain about!

I hope you have a great week! I love you, miss you, and look forward to eating scones with you soon!

Just want to close this week by saying that Christ lives and loves us. He is our Savior and our friend, and he will help us if we are willing to listen.

I love you all!

Elder Chipman

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The most amazing thing this tongue has ever touched!

How's it going?

It’s been another great week in Adrogué Argentina! I’m still kicking it along in the office. We are getting out proselyting every day which is nice. Transfers are coming up in about a week from Monday, so we’ll see if I stay or go, but I wouldn’t be upset if I had one more transfer here, but I wouldn’t complain if I got sent somewhere else either. One thing that I learned from the office is that I can go wherever the Lord wants me to go, and I’m ok with it! It makes transfer week a lot more relaxing!

We have been finishing up a big inventory project of everything that we have in the Depósito (Which is the supply room) and we are figuring out how to make a giant map for the president with all of the areas and zones marked on it. Transfers are coming up a week from Monday, so this week should be another busy one!

As far as teaching goes, our original investigators were unavailable this week. We did have a few amazing experiences, however. The first was a reference that we received from a member. His name is Rodrigo, and he is 14 years old and the friend of one of the deacons. We have met with him twice and we are expecting a third visit tomorrow. It’s difficult because he is the first investigator that I have had who has doubts even the existence of a God. So we start at the beginning and we hope to be able to make our way after he has a foundational belief. 

We also had a weird contact when we received a letter that was meant for someone else. The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that it was all written in Russian. We found out that the letter’s original destination was only a few blocks away so we delivered it to the owner. We were surprised when the owner let us into his house and set us down at his table. Apparently, he is an Argentine, raised by Russians, and married to a Russian. His family goes to the Russian Orthodox Church, and his kids go to school in the Russian Embassy, and in fact, learn Spanish as a second language to the Russian. One of the kids couldn’t really talk to us because he only knew Russian. Anyway, we found ourselves in little Moscow! We talked for a bit and they said that they loved the missionaries, and will always invite us in. It was really a fun experience, and we hope to work with them a little in the future.

As far a culture goes, I finally took a picture of my favorite food from Argentina. It’s called a Choripan.  It’s sausage and if you want, you can put a sauce called chimichuri on it. It’s probably the most amazing thing this tongue has ever touched. We can buy it on the street, in a restaurant, but wherever it is, it is cheap! I’m drooling just thinking about it!

I can’t believe how fast Allie is! I took fifth my freshman year, but in the freshman race! Good for her! It looks like she is going to have a very fun Vista career! Any season that starts off like that makes it exciting! But please, when people ask if she is as fast as I was, inform them that she isn’t :) Just a little bit of Uncle Rico pride still in me! When I see pictures of Allie Running it makes me want to run competitively again.  I’ve always been like that.

Thanks for sharing the comments about what the Vista parents said about me when you saw them at Allie’s meet.  It’s good to know that I haven’t been forgotten, at least for now! It makes me feel good!

Anyway, I hope all of you are enjoying your lives. I know that Christ lives, he loves us. If we come to him, we will always be happier, all we have to do is let him in!

I love you all, I love this work, I hope all is well at home!

Until next week!

Elder Chipman