Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

Sean shows off the Thanksgiving meal we mailed to him. Mystery meat?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Christmas Videos

Here is a video of Sean decorating the Christmas Tree

Here is part two of Sean showing off his Christmas gifts

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rafael Castillo- Week #31

And thus begins the end of my stay in Castillo....

Hey Everybody!!!

Well, this is almost officially my last week in Castillo, because nothing is official until next week's meeting, but Pres. already told me and Elder Fox that he is pretty sure we are out of here. I'm not expecting much, usually at this stage of the game, Elders go to their new areas as junior comp still, and continue learning in a new area. Roxana and Daniel haven't come back. They extended their vacation...which means no baptism while I am here, but that is fine with me because once again the Lord has shown me the best thing that ever happened to me in the mission, o sea, Ciris! He totally blessed the Sacrament for the first time on Sunday; he was nervous and gave me a thumbs up right before the Sacrament hymn. Then, he did the blessing perfectly, but didn't say "amen" at the end...haha so he stood up and the Bishop had to tell him to do it over again. Let's just say that made him a little more nervous...and THREE tries later he finally got it right. hahahahaha it was sooooooo funny. I made fun of him after, and we just laughed together, then I told him that I thought it was bad that I had to do it twice my first time, but now I am grateful that I didn't have to do it four, he just told me to shut up ahaha. What probably made him nervous was that HIS ENTIRE FAMILY WAS THERE IN SACRAMENT MEETING!!! We finally got them all to go for the first time, and by that I mean Ciris did it all! Let’s just say that I realized how much responsibility I have because things weren't going so well in his family and I taught him one night all about being an example, and the Savior's analogy of the city on the hill, and letting your good works shine forth, and he totally applied it. He listened to what I taught him. HE DOES WHAT I SAY! He said that he started to talk more with his family about the church and they took notice, and they are all going to church now! I don't know, it doesn't sound as good writing it, but I was so proud of him, and how he is converted to apply the teachings of Christ in his life. It was so simple what he did...he applied something in his life...but for some reason it is harder for other people.

So I was pretty pleased with Ciris. A great quote from General Conference describes these small things we can do to help the work of the Lord. "The Lord isn't asking us to load up a handcart; He's asking us to fortify our faith. He isn't asking us to walk across a continent; He's asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn't asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He's asking us to give of our means and our time, despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and to attend regularly the temples already built. HE ISN'T ASKING US TO DIE A MARTYR'S DEATH; HE'S ASKING US TO LIVE A DISCIPLE'S LIFE." -Elder M. Russell Ballard Really puts things in perspective.

So in other news, I have to ask forgiveness of Michael Caine, because I compared Rolando to him, and we found out this week, through a series of amusing visits, that gay. HAHAHAHAHHA His "brother" that lives with him isn't his biological brother we found out. Which makes me wonder why he told us stories of the affair with the woman in Greece...anyway, I realized that he reminded me of Michael Caine's performance in Miss if you want to meet Rolando watch that movie...I haven't gotten the package yet, so at transfers I will get it. I didn't realize how much I might miss Castillo, when all the members heard I will be leaving, they all started fighting over who gets to give us lunch this last week. It is a strange feeling, this has been my ward for about 6 get attached...but the work rolls on. Also, some young women in my ward found that video of my comp and me singing on YouTube...why is it on YouTube...oh well they liked South America doesn't use pass a long cards, and most people have DVD so we show church movies sometimes. Your testimonies were great, but I haven't heard from Roxana y Daniel so I don't know if they were a hit or not. glad to hear Dad finally got Cafe Rio! and go Andy Roddick, people here like Obama too, but more important than that, I love you, and the church is true!

Love Sean

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Videos of Christmas Party skits

This is the skit that Zone Catan performed at the Mission's Christmas party. Sean is in this skit. During the last song "Joy to the World" he is in the front row, 6th from the left.

Here is Zone Castelar's skit at the Mission Christmas Party. Sean really liked this skit of the Grinch.

Video: Rafael Castillo

Here is a video of Sean's apartment in Rafael Castillo and his new haircut

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rafael Castillo- Week #30

I turned 7!

¡Regocijad! ¡Mi e-mail vino ya!

First thing is first, if you are about to send that package, please add the following items: My gold tie that I wore on the day I went through the temple the first time...I love that tie and want it...and a washcloth...that is all...i have looked around for washcloths all over the place but there aren't any good ones, here they are all thin and feel like they are going to fall to pieces in your hands...I can't remember if I came with wash clothes, but as of now I don't have any, haha so please send some. Go Cardinals! Suerte a Obama. I love Lacey. Your trip to Utah sounded pretty sweet! Not going to lie, Mom's description of the Utah winter day, Music and the Spoken Word, visitor's center and Christus statue all kind of made me trunky...but not in a bad the way that all things gospel remind me of home, just because in the US and especially Temple Square it is basically "sanctuary" but here, even with the gospel, we are on the front lines of the battle ground fighting tooth and nail to establish the gospel. There are so many great members here in Argentina, but still, the church is weak compared to in the States, but it is really satisfying to help fortify and stabilize it. So yeah, I loved hearing about your trip. Also, President Eyring's article in this months Ensign was BOSS about warning your neighbors...everyone read it...and then live it...

Well, Daniel and Roxana are on vacation, so it is kind of like we are on vacation from them, but we still plan what we want to do with them every day, because it is going to take some planning and skill to get them in the water by the 31st. They come back on Friday, and so we will have a week to teach them the rest of the lessons. I'm confident that the Lord is working with them while they are away. They were going to be gone for 15 days, and we were praying a whole bunch that they would come back, and even Elder González one time said, Please don't let their vacation be more than one week, well we went by the day before they left and Roxana said she thinks we put a curse on them because something came up and they can only go for 7 days...answers to prayer people, answers to prayer. Plus, I look at it as more of a blessing than a curse.

Well, I have to tell you this story because it pretty much made the whole week for me. Let's just say, the houses in Castillo aren't that big, or nice, or even completely constructed for that matter, but there are a few places in the area where there are some nice big...but the people never let us never...until this week...ROLANDO!!!! Rolando is just some old man that is loaded, and I have come to find out he only lives to spend money. His house is about the size of Grandma Sherry's, which is pretty big for here in Castillo...lets just say too that he is a collector of art, like real art, classic stuff that I was afraid to walk by in fear of damaging it with the air that my drift left. He took us on a tour of his house and it had 14 beds in it...not counting the numerous hammocks throughout the yard and balcony. I was loving it! If there were two words to describe him it would be : Michael Caine... but seriously he was great. The story goes that one day he was walking in the street about 30 years ago, and a boy tried to sell him a lottery ticket, but Rolando had never played the lottery and didn't want to buy it at all, but the boy insisted to the point that the boy followed Rolando around for FOUR HOURS wherever he went, insisting that Rolando buy the ticket, so Rolando finally caved in and bought it, which was the Jackpot Grand Prize ticket worth who knows how much, but enough to live off of the rest of his life. He also has photos of almost every country in the world because he has been there before, but his favorite was when he went and spent a month on the beaches of Greece, where he had a passionate affair with a black woman he said was "divine"...he then went on the describe some of the intimate experiences he had with her...luckily I haven't studied that vocabulary yet so I was lost most of the time, but Elder Gonzalez looked a little uncomfortable. Anyway, so Rolando is just my favorite oldman Argentine. He loves wine and champagne but also our message of the restored gospel haha. The second time we went by he said, I was just reading that pamphlet you gave me and I want a Book of Mormon. How much do they cost, and when can you get it to me. I pulled one out and said it was free, and he just threw his arms into the air and said "¡Fantatisca! ¡Me ENCANTA los Mormones! (Fantastic, I love the Mormons) I was sitting here thinking that I wanted it, and like magic you show up to give it to me!" He is quite the character. He likes the Book of Mormon because he has done a lot of research on the Mayans and Aztecs and couldn't figure out why they were already waiting for a bearded white God when Cortez came. They were already waiting, they knew someone like that would come, so we were like YEAH BECAUSE SOMEONE LIKE THAT HAD ALREADY BEEN THERE! se llama Jesucristo...

That went by way fast, I don't know why it takes me so long to write, but I sit and think for like 10 minutes after every paragraph. Love you all, and am keeping you in my prayers.

Love, Sean

Friday, January 16, 2009

Video: Christmas Caroling

Sean sings "The First Noel" with his companion, Elder González who is from Chile. My favorite Christmas Carol!!! They are sitting in their apartment in Rafael Castillo, Argentina. They sound wonderful. I laughed at the end when Sean says "that was English!".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner?

Argentina doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving Day like we do in the United States, but that didn't stop us in sending a Thanksgiving care package with a pre-packaged turkey patties that don't need to be refrigerated (sounds delicious, right?), a box of instant mashed potatoes, a box of stove top stuffing and a few packs of gravy mix. Oh, and a turkey centerpiece to be festive.

So this is how it turned out! Yummy? This probably made Sean "thankful" and "wishful" for his Mom's cooking.... Sean didn't call it turkey, he called it "mystery meat".

Celebrating Christmas

Here is the stocking we mailed to Sean for Christmas

Here are some of the presents we put in his stocking and a few sent by Grandma Sherry

Here is a picture of the Christmas Tree we included in his care package. I don't think those presents stayed under the tree until Christmas.

Sean displaying his bounty

We sent a CTR (HLJ in Spanish) ring too. We were afraid this item might be missing once it arrived to Sean, but everything got there in one piece.

More pictures

Here is a picture of all the missionaries of Buenos Aires West at their Christmas party last month. Sean is three rows back, second from the left looking at the guy next to him that is wearing a black suit. I know, it's hard to see.

Sean and his first companion in Argentina, Elder Torres from Paraguay.

Sean and his second companion, Elder Shields from Utah. They are holding up the mission's banner that reads: Welcome to the Buenos Aires West Mission: The best mission in the whole world.

Sean in his apartment in Rafael Castillo with the other Elders that live with him.

L to R: Elder Shields, Elder Marchello, Elder Gilmore, Elder Fox

Sean with Elder Sabey at the mission's Christmas party. Elder Sabey was in the same dorm hall as Sean last year at BYU and they were in the same BYU ward. They entered the MTC the same day. Another interesting fact, Drake Ranquist, who also is in Argentina BAW Mission, was also in Sean's dorm hall and BYU Ward but went into the MTC 6 weeks after Sean and Elder Sabey. That's pretty cool and interesting to me that three from the same Freshman Ward at BYU were called to the same mission.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rafael Castillo- Week #29

Satanic Opposition....

Hey Everybody!

First of all, there are a whole bunch of videos on that memory card; try using Lacey's camera or something, because the videos are the best part. Second, in regards to I am not going to take pictures of the grocery store I shop at and the laundromat...Mom...that would be like going to Powell and taking a picture of Blair's...there is no is a laundromat and nothing more, but I guess you are right, I don't really take pictures of the area, but I never want to carry my camera around, because it would be just my luck that it gets stolen the one day I decide to carry it with me. Plus the handbook says that we should never look like tourists, so I don't want to just be walking around snapping pictures of random houses and people. I do that part in my hair, because it was a rule of the old mission president, and so all the elders who were here with the old president get all hyper if you don't have a part in your hair. The mission manual just says groomed neatly or something like that. President Benton never really has come out with a stance on it. I was wondering too if Kyle had a direct address to his mission home or something, because all I have is his pouch address, and it seems stupid to send a letter to the US just to send it to the Philippines. Brett and I have been writing back and forth, but I wanted to send Kyle letters too. Also, I was wondering if you could send me a picture of me and Sant and Rory from my graduation in our robes to put in my photo album, with high school musical 3 out all the people here are asking me if I wore robes like theirs, because I guess they don't do that here. Also I have a favor to ask, we are working with Roxana and Daniel, and I was going to ask Mom and Dad to write me their testimonies of how the gospel has strengthened their marriage and also their family as a whole, because we are trying to work that angle right now with them. Obviously I need it in Spanish, so Dad can write it. Ciris is doing so well, he is about to get his patriarchal blessing, and he is always doing stuff with the young adults and stuff. I totally thought of something I wanted you to send me this week, but I forgot to write it down.

So let’s just say that the subject of the email is Satanic Opposition for a reason. We are fighting to stay afloat with Roxana and Daniel. Let's just say there was a little snag with something I like to call The Word of Wisdom. Daniel completely rejected it haha and actually we haven't been able to talk to him since then. Roxana smokes, but only like 1 every other day, so she is on the brink of quitting. She started crying in our last lesson because she thought we were going to stop going by because she smokes, and said, "Even if you don't come by anymore, I am coming to church on Sundays and you can't stop me" haha whoa calm down...we want you in church. The twins are still going pretty strong, but now they are going on vacation and we don't know what is going to happen. Roxana has to be clean from smoking for at least two weeks before she will be able to be baptized, so she basically has until this Saturday to quit or the date will have to be moved back to when I will already be gone. They are golden though, they are progressing a lot, well Daniel not so much anymore. He doesn't want to give up his weekends with his friends. We are trying to get him to realize that family is more important, but it is just going to be a process. We are going over again tomorrow for lunch and they are going to teach me how to cook something, I don't know what, but it sounds like fun.

Castillo 2 had 4 baptisms on Saturday, a family, and President Benton showed up for the service, without notice, so we were all nervous. We totally brought Roxana and the twins to the baptism and they LOVED it, and President came up to me after, gave me a hug, and said, "You are doing great, Elder, you are getting it done." I have seen a lot of Elders not capitalize on the opportunity of bringing investigators to a baptismal service, so I wanted to make sure ours were there. That is a reference to the interview I had with him last Thursday. He was really putting some pressure on me, but at the same time building me up so much. He said that I have only been here a short time in the mission, but "great things are happening". He said that he considers me the leader in Castillo 1, even though I am comp menor, because Elder González is great and works hard but is really passive, and for that reason, he considers me the leader. He said I was one of the sharpest and most intelligent in the mission pshh haha, he said I sound intelligent in my letters, and that he reads some letters that sound like people are still trying to learn English (and it isn't the Latin elders), so that was nice to hear, but now I feel a bunch of pressure to get things done. He told me in the interview that "the best always find a way to get it done." Then at the baptism he said I was getting it done, so I felt pretty good, but I don't want to look like an idiot and not get it done in the end so I am redoubling my efforts. I am almost sure Elder Fox will move up to zone leader next transfer. That is weird I knew him when he had 6 months, and today he turned 11, and is about to join the big leagues.

Well, I ran out of time again. Haha my comp, just a few things, he is afraid of the dark, he told me about all the times he has encountered evil spirits, and they have tried to possess him...? don’t ask...and he loves making all his spare time he is making origami...basically it seems to me that he was pretty sheltered growing up, also he comes from a pretty wealthy family I think...he is good though. I love you all, and still am behind on letters, but maybe in a few months they will start trickling into the country. Love you,

Elder Gilmore(el divino)

that divino thing is a reference to Brett’s email because in John was also referenced as the divine, not just the fact...

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sean (front row, 5th from left) just arriving in Argentina last August. First stop... the Buenos Aires Temple

First hours in Argentina (at the temple) in August, Sean is 6th from right

Sean's Zone at the temple in December
Sean is in front with his thumb up

Elder Gilmore and Elder Sabey at the temple in December

Elder Gilmore, with the sunglasses he got at the mission Christmas party sitting next to Elder Sabey

We have more pictures from the memory card we received in the mail from Sean today. We will be posted more of them soon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rafael Castillo- Week #28

Hello, Hello

Today I am writing from, which is a locutorio that is all decked out with Simpsons stuff, because the usual place we go to is closed while the owners are on vacation. First, yes Dad, Oreo night is still in full force, and those pictures were sweet of the USC-Cal game. I got my journal yesterday, so my personal history will continue unhindered. I got about 15 letters this week all for Christmas, I guess the mail got backed up, but there was a bunch of letters from friends and Livingston Ward members, The Ortons sent me a package, and I got the Primary's cards. Yes people burn clothes here for how much time they have, but I haven't gotten around to burning a tie for my six month mark...I like my ties. We shot off the poppers mom. I've seen Elder Reno, but never actually met him or talked to him.

Alright so big news. Roxana IS married!!! This week has just been full of surprises. We went over one day with a member, and the Sister was telling her conversion story, and about how she had to get married to be baptized, then the Sister asked out of the blue, "Are you married?" Roxana said, "No, in the church, no"...Sister: "But civilly?" Roxana: "Si, I wasn't married to the father of my oldest girls, but now I am married to Daniel." ARE YOU KIDDING ME THAT IS GREAT!!!!!!! So they can totally get baptized. So that happened Wednesday, Friday we go back and the oldest girls, two 13 year old twins, Florencia and Karen, want to listen, so we taught the whole family, and then sang for them a hymn, because my comp loves singing, also making he made them origami to give to them the following my surprise they really liked it. Anyway, they all came to church! Sort of, Daniel came halfway through Sacrament Meeting, saw that everyone was dressed nicer, and had to try and escape without anyone seeing. It was kind of funny hearing him tell the story. He is just a proud Argentine man that cracks me up. He didn't want anyone to see him, so he ducked into the bathroom but then someone walked in, so he "flew" into the stall and hid in there until the coast was clear, but he is going to come this week. So then we went by again yesterday and watched the movie, the Restoration, and it was way spiritual, then Daniel told us that their family life has already changed so much for the better since we started coming by. Then Roxana told us that Sunday night she sat down to read the book of Mormon and started to pray, but couldn't finish because she started crying too hard, but she felt something rare and distinct...ever heard of the spirit delivering an answer from God! YES! I love it...anyway, yesterday we popped the question, and by that I mean invited them to be baptized, they all accepted. Roxana was like, "yes I want to" before we even got the words out...and the rest followed. This week has probably been the best week in the mission, aside from Ciris' baptism. The only thing that could hinder my joy is that they are leaving on vacation to Cordoba, and they aren't going to be back until the last week of the transfer, so we won’t see them for about 2 weeks. They leave on the 15th. However, they asked for the address to the chapel in Cordoba so they can go while they are there. yeah, I could be having 4 more baptisms if Heavenly Father blesses me with it, and I show I am willing to work for it. So now they have a fecha bautismal...baptism you know what that means, Satan is unleashing his forces, and I know we aren't supposed to ask for people at home to get involved with investigators and all that jazz but...ALL HANDS ON DECK! (the sound of sirens going off) ANYBODY! EVERYBODY! (red lights flashing) START PRAYING LIKE RELIGIOUS RADICALS! DO SOMETHING! WE GOTTA GET THESE PEOPLE INTO EVERLASTING ETERNAL JOY AS A FAMILY UNIT! ...needless to say, I had a pretty good week. Heavenly Father gave us a family. When they get sealed, in a year, I can go to the temple with them. I now see the miracle of the fourth transfer. I don't know if I mentioned that last time, but Elder Gonzàlez says that the fourth transfer in an area always has a miracle in it. In reality though, every transfer has hundreds of miracles in it.

So...sorry this one was short, but I spent time trying to send a picture, but it didn't work, ...Anyway, love you guys, I have a lot of letters to write today, it might take a few weeks to get caught up with everyone.

Love, Sean