Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!

Christmas Celebration
Well, How’s it going?

We had a fantastic week this week! I mean, Christmas time is the greatest time of the year anyway, right?

Its always fun to spend Christmas in a place different and see the differences in the way we celebrate, but we all celebrate the same thing. While we ate different foods, did different things, we were all centered in the same thing, which is the birth of our savior. Every country around the world reads the same story about shepherds caring for their sheep, when an angel appears, bringing joyous news, Wise Men from the east, bearing gifts for the Son of Man, and a baby, Savior of the World, born in the humble setting of a manger, because the world which he created, had no room for him. While we are in different pàrts, we sing the same hymns, tell the same stories, and in the end, share the same gift. What a unifying time of year.

Now we are preparing for the new year. In La Plata, they have the tradition of making sculptures out of paper mache, and filling them with fireworks. At New Years, they burn them up and the fireworks go crazy. While it is fun, there are always a few injuries that occur every year. But we are walking in the streets seeing giant Mike Wazowski´s (from Monsters Inc) Minions from Despicable me, and Mario! It is fun to see, lets just say, we will take pictures!

Well, it’s definitely not cold here like it is in Colorado.  It’s super hot, and we are sweating like pigs, but worse! The sun here is super strong, so while the temperature might not show it, it feels like I'm under a heat lamp all the time, but it’s the summer. Whatcha going to do?!

Happy Anniversary mom & dad!  I think you should celebrate by going to the Hickory House restaurant.  If you go there, all of your problems will go away :) Haha, It always works for me!

Lately, I’ve been reading the Old Testament. It is a lot harder than I thought, but I'm learning a lot. I read Genesis to Exodus in about a week and a half, but its taking me about 3 weeks to get through Leviticus. I find it slow with weird stuff, but it helps me understand that God is the same for ever, and He has always had ceremonies and symbols for his teachings.

I grew a ton this week. I have been struggling the past few weeks with homesickness, fatigue, Christmas, and everything. Overall, I was just disanimated. I would work and do what I was supposed to, but not with a lot of feeling. But this week, I was able to put things into perspective. I realized that this is like I´m on the last lap of the mile race, with about 300m left. This is where every runner has the decision to either coast to the finish, or push and give it all you got. This perspective helped me understand that what I was feeling was normal, but I had to make a decision, and it’s a decision that every missionary has to make too. So, I decided I was going to kick it in, and give it all I have, and so that´s what I´m going to do! I feel better, and we had some great days this week, and we are animated and ready to go!

I hope we take the time to make goals, and see what we can do better in the upcoming year. It’s a great time to reflect what we've done, and how we can improve.

For me, its been an amazing year. I've been able to dedicate all of my time to the Lord, and I feel blessed to be able to continue doing it for a while longer!

Love you all, thanks for all you do! I’m sorry for the short letter, but I'm always short on time!

Elder Chipman

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Shoes for Christmas!

Hola Todos!

First off, Merry Christmas! Its super hot right now, but there is still a lot of Christmas Spirit! It’s a little different down here, but its still fun and enjoyable. The biggest celebration is on Christmas Eve where they stay up and eat dinner at midnight, share a few gifts at midnight, then dance and party until who knows when. Then for Christmas day, they just sleep in until about 3 in the afternoon or more! It’s fun and it’s Christmas all the same.

So the whole world is gearing up for Christmas!

I'm super grateful for the shoes! I tried using the other two pairs to finish my mission, but it got to the point where I had to put cardboard in my shoe because the hole was so big that my foot was walking directly on the concrete and destroying my socks! So I'm glad I was able to buy some new ones! Thank you. I bought them for about $900 (Argentine Pesos) so that is about $90. The shoe store guy said they were as indestructible as Superman, so they are meant for walking.

Honestly, the shoes are the only thing that I really want for Christmas. It makes me a whole lot happier. But since I´m coming near the end of my mission, I might buy a few more souvenirs. And if there is something in specific that you want from Argentina, let me know, and I´ll get it for you.

To answer your question about exercise dad, in the mornings we sometimes run. I at least do 40 push ups and 100 crunches daily. It’s not a ton, but it keeps the “fluffiness” at bay.

This week was full of walking, but we were able to see many miracles. Ignacio is getting closer to quitting cigarettes. He´s made a lot of improvement recently, and his baptism will be in just a few weeks! We were also able to find a new investigator named Elsa. She has a son who is a member in a nearby stake, and she is interested in what we have to say! All of this leads up to good things and miracles.

It’s a great time to be a missionary! I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!


Elder Chipman

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas lights around the windows and little trees

How's it going? Dec. 15, 14

Sounds like a fun exciting week at home!

Its been a beautiful week in Tolosa Argentina! Everybody is getting ready for the holidays, and we are enjoying all of the little trees and lights around the windows. They don´t deck out their houses like the do in the states, but they still show their Christmas spirit!

With that, we had a great week with our investigators. Ignacio is only getting closer to quite smoking, our investigator Claudio couldn't come to church, but he is still moving forward, and a new investigator named Antonia accepted a baptismal date for the 3 of January. We are starting to see many fruits from our work, and I'm excited to see what will happen these next few weeks!

On Thursday we had a giant 3 zone, zone conference about Christmas. We had a devotional, an asado lunch (Argentine Barbecue--really good!), and afterward each zone did a little skit about Christmas. Our zone made a Christmas Carol but missionary style. It was about two missionaries who didn't want to work  so they had visits from three ghosts.  They saw the past, present, and future. It was fun, I think we had the best one in my opinion. Me and my comp were the ghost of Christmas Present.

I learned a very valuable lesson this week about my thoughts and being too self-critical. While it is important to be humble and willing to make changes, it doesn't mean that we need to find every little things and beat ourselves up about it. I was just sitting in the bus thinking about all of these thoughts about how I'm failing. Then a thought came into my head that said," Do you really think that this is from God?"  "Would God correct you like this?.” I  then decided that it wasn't good for me to think like that, and so I started focusing on the good around me.  I also realized, like you've been telling me all along mom, that I am doing a good job, that the Lord is happy with my work. I am not perfect, but at least I try to be the best that I can. After I was able to clear the dark clouds in my head, I was able to feel God´s love better.  It is all because of how I think.

This city is beautiful though. La Plata is probably my favorite area thus far. It has big beautiful parks, stadiums, statues, and cathedrals. If we ever come back as a family, I'm taking you here. We went to the La Plata Museum the other week and it was really fun. It is not as good as the Denver Museum, but really fun! It is super old so there are a ton of old paintings and the architecture, but that makes it fun. Outside the entrance,  there are two Saber tooth tigers by the stairs like they have lions outside of libraries. It was a lot of fun. It closed before we could see it all, but I enjoyed it.

Just want to share a quick testimony about our Savior, that he really does love and care for each one of us. No care is too small, nor affliction too big for him. While we remember his birth, life, suffering and death, it would all be for not if he did not resurrect and live again. He lives, and each of us can grow closer to him as we search for him. I am learning more about my Savior every day, and I am so grateful for that.

Enjoy the holiday season, because that´s why we have it, to enjoy, and not to stress. Let me know what day and what time you want to skype and I'll be ready for you! We are going to a members house who majored in computation, so we should be ok!

I love you all, hope you are all happy and well!

Have a great week!

Elder Chipman

Monday, December 8, 2014

Investigators pop up like whack-a-moles!

The snowman we made while defrosting the fridge!
It’s been another amazing week in Tolosa, Argentina!                       

The temperatures are steadily getting hotter and hotter as we get closer and closer to the middle of summer. We find ourselves not exactly walking down the quickest route, but the one that has the most shade cover! We return back to the pench sweaty and sticky. But tis the season!

My companion is great! He has about 9 months on the mission and he is from El Salvador! Pretty cool place. It’s funny because he is learning English (a little) and knows little words like “awkward” and “epic fail”! Lets just say with me as a companion, he says those a lot!

My Spanish is struggling some still, but I will consider myself comfortably “fluent-ish.” I understand almost everything, and say what I want. I don’t worry about it too much because I can say what the Lord needs me to say, so I’m where I want to be with that. 

As far as the work goes, we are really beginning to have some success. First week of the transfer is a little difficult because after all the changes, you have to get things moving again! That being said, we had 2 investigators in church! Ignacio is still trying to drop those cigarettes, but we are working with him a lot. He is honestly more active than a lot of the members, so we are very happy to see his progress. On Saturday we visited him in his home and there happened to be a friend of Ignacio´s family there. He always commented on the progress that he is making, and the change that he sees in Ignacio. Let’s just say, I’m proud of him and what he is doing to grow closer to the Lord.

We also had Claudio in church on Sunday! We found Claudio a couple of weeks ago in a member’s home. He was a Jehovah’s Witness but has since grown unattached. At church on Sunday, we had a class about the Creation in gospel principles. He was able to participate and we could see that he liked sharing what he knew about the Bible. After the class he came up to us and asked, "What does one need to do to be baptized in the church" We explained to him about the lessons, church attendance, and receiving a testimony of the Book of Mormon personally. He then said "Good, because I want to be baptized". I don’t know if there are any words that could’ve made me happier in that moment!

That being said, we are grateful that the Lord has blessed us to serve in this beautiful area of Tolosa. Elder Orellana and I love it here and the work. While some days are full of walking and walking, I know that there are many ready to listen, because they seem to pop`up like whack-a-moles. We just have to be ready and worthy to act when the spirit tells us too.

I’m so grateful for my mission and for the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord. What a blessing it has been to be placed in the middle of miracles, and witness the blessings of the gospel first hand. I love being a missionary!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the kingdom of God restored to the Earth, and the Living Christ guides his church in our day. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are true holy scripture, I have read them, and there is no doubt that they were divinely written. I know that Christ lives and loves us, personally. Thanks for everything that you guys do. Keep Moving Forward!


Elder Chipman

PS: Only one picture, sorry.  It’s a snowman we made while defrosting the fridge!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Turkey's don't exist here, so we ate chicken

How´s it going?                                                                                   

It’s been another fantastic week in Tolosa! We just finished another transfer up and Elder Johnstun left and I received a new companion, Elder Orellana from El Salvador! We are expecting to see miracles this transfer and many new baptisms. The work is moving forward even when there are transfers.

This week we were able to find a new investigator! His name is Claudio, and he has been living with some members in the ward for a few weeks. We began talking with him and he started to tell us his religious past and how he has always felt like something has just been missing. As missionaries, we love to hear that because we have the answer! We were then able to teach him the Restoration, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Word of Wisdom. He is very interested and he has a date for the 20th of December. 

We also had Ignacio come to both the General, and Adult sessions of Stake Conference, and he even wore a shirt and tie on Sunday. We are happy with his progress and we expect to see many miracles with him!

Austin´s description of the mission to you is very accurate. People here are short, so they usually don’t have things meant for my height. The sidewalks are bumpy so I have to look down, and more often then not, I bonk my head on something.  No medical problems have resulted from it, just some bumps. I haven’t had any trouble with dog bites, but my companions all have. And while I tell you lots of stuff in my letters, I will certainly give you a more detailed description when I get back in a few months :) It’s all fun though!

You are probably wondering what a Thanksgiving is like in Argentina. Well, we were fortunate enough to have a family in the ward with many connections to the states, so they made us a Thanksgiving dinner. We had Chicken (Turkey doesn’t exist) Rolls, pumpkin and apple pie, and mashed potatoes! It was delicious, and we enjoyed the feast. Maria told me that she tried to find Marshmallows like in the recipe you sent, but just couldn’t find any.  Even at Wal-Mart! But she made a super good pumpkin pie with a chocolate layer! I’ll send pictures next week because this week, it’s not working. But it was delicious!

It sounded like you had a great Thanksgiving with the Burgoynes, even if Megan did get sick. The new Christmas tree looks very nice, along with the display outside. While we don’t have lights, apparently La Plata makes a bunch of Statues out of Paper Maché and then on New Years, light them all on Fire! Sounds like fun!

With the passing of Thanksgiving we are heading into Christmas time. I invite all of us to look at the new church video ¨He is the Gift¨. http://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HPFR112814529
It will get the Christmas season started on the right note!

I love you guys, thanks for all of your support. Hope you have a good week!


Elder Chipman