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!

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