Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Merlo- Week #44

And unto me, a child is born....

Hello Gilmore Clan and Associates,

Well, this week has been more than surprising, so I will start at the beginning. Antonia and Mikaela were both baptized and I had the privilege of baptizing Mikaela. It was great. She was perfect, didn’t get scared, and didn’t fight it, nothing. We did a practice right before, and then we held hands going into the font. As soon as she was in the water she started holding her breath…so I didn’t waste time and went straight into the prayer. She went down, and came up without a problem; we took hands again, and left the font. Really sweet experience. Antonia was then baptized by Elder Arriola, and that is how we ended the transfer meeting our baptism goal. Then came the big day, T-Day, Transfer Meeting. Let’s just say that we knew there were going to be huge changes in the mission, because there are some areas that are not doing to hot…like Merlo…last transfer basically only our area and the zone leaders had a good transfer, so President sent some power players to Merlo. He started to take zone leaders and put them down as district leaders to supervise more closely what is going on in the areas. My old area Castillo had 8 baptisms again…so in four transfers there I had one…and in the last two they have had 16! I found those people!

So, obviously, because I didn’t write yesterday, I have a son in the mission. I am a trainer! I couldn’t believe it. I am the only one of the trainers that went straight from junior companion to senior trainer…I have no experience whatsoever as a senior companion, and now this transfer will probable determine the rest of my mission and to some effect the rest of my companion’s. President came up to me after Transfer Meeting and kind of chuckled and said, “Get it done Elder, I have confidence in your abilities.” So yesterday, I spent all day in Ramos Mejia in the offices, and basically hung out with Elder Sabey all day waiting for my son. It was SWEET, because I haven’t spent time like that with Elder Sabey in a long time. Also, I got to see the coveted transfer board, where President makes the changes…it was like seeing the blueprints of the mission, kind of cool. We showed up at like 11 in the morning, and had like a 40 minute workshop on being a leader and example, and then just goofed around for hours and hours, watched Work and the Glory, until they finally got there at like 5 in the afternoon…aka…P-day gone.

So we knew who the greenies were going to be because they are always in the Estandarte magazine thing the mission has, and so we were doing some guessing before the meeting in the pench, and Elder Mackay and Steele both chose one in secret and then I chose one in secret too…then at the same time we all said the name of the person we thought I would get…1…2…3…Latorre! We all said it at the same time! It was fate, and the rest is history. My boy’s name is Elder Latorre from Chile, and is now my second companion from Chile. He is already 21, and when I told him I am still 19 he asked if I drank a lot of milk as a kid…I said yes…and then he said…”oh, that is why…” I’m not quite sure what he was trying to say with that, but I love him anyway. He is already rocking English! This morning he like whizzed through like 3 modules in thirty minutes…Elder Arriola did like 2 his whole time with me. He is a little wound tight, but I was too when I came because I had no idea what to expect. He is the oldest in his family and the first one to go on a mission, but has been a member all his life. I will send pictures next week, but because today isn’t P-day and we are leaving straight from here to go work, I didn’t bring my camera.

So that is great to hear you guys had a good anniversary. Also, if you are looking for ways to cut spending, I am thinking not going on a Mexico cruise is one way…also that is weird about the Pig Flu…here everyone is worried about Dengue, which is being carried by mosquitoes in Buenos Aires. It is really funny because when I see a mosquito, I can say “dang it” in English, but with a Spanish accent and people are like, “Yeah Elder, watch out for the Dengue!” It is pretty entertaining. So I never have gotten a letter from Chelsie, and the Primary Letters to Sister Larson and stuff was in the Orton letter, but I never sent it again, because I didn’t know the timetable of their move…I don’t know what to do about that. Also, Karen wrote me about Sant and the family so that was nice to hear from her. I know I am bad at writing back, but it seems that P-day keeps getting filled up with stuff. It was zone activity, and then yesterday picking up Elder Latorre, also not next week but the next is Temple P-day…so basically it has gotten busy quick here in the mission.

I am really nervous about this week, because I have no idea what I am doing, and I don’t have a senior companion/shield/excuse to use or help me. Basically, it is a whole new ballgame. I mean, I know I can do it…but I still haven’t done it…so that’s how that is. Well, time is up, and I got to turn my son into a machine! I love him…

Love, Sean

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Merlo- Week #43

Interviews and the Secretary to the President

Hey Fam,

Hey Dad I got that Easter card with fruit snacks in it, and it ruled. I want black pants, black socks...I am tired of trying to match the socks. Right now I am wearing a gray and a blue one...just because I couldn’t find the matches. Well, I am writing so late because we had our zone activity this morning, where we played soccer and ping was pretty fun, but now I am way tired. I could walk in the streets for days and days without getting tired, but ask me to run for about 10 minutes and I almost died. Big news of this week was that Interviews with President were yesterday. Like always they were sweet.

We also found something out that made my world rock. I almost became Secretary to the President...but didn’t. Elder Wright, the current secretary, is really good friends with Elder Steele, who lives in my pench with me, and E’ Wright was talking with Steele, and told him that President was in the process of choosing a new secretary to go work with him in Ramos Mejia where the offices are. He said that President had narrowed it down to two people, Elder Sabey (my old MTC/BYU buddy, and one of my best friends in the mission) and Elder Gilmore! That would have been kind of cool, but at the same time...Elder Sabey is going to be in the offices for 7 months...thats a long time, and a long time of not getting to do what missionaries do. He will be leaving in November...that is forever away. It was kind of scary though...President is looking at me...but as for now, I am going to be rocking it in Merlo.

So my interview went really well. President was giving me some sweet counsel, as always. He always gives great counsel for life, not just the mission. I brought a new study plan to him that I am going to start, and he said, “That is one of the best study plans I have heard, I like it because it is really simple, but gives you room to have an effective and profound study.” Still on my quest to become a Master Teacher like he told me to become a few interviews ago, but to be a master teacher, I first have to be a master student. He said that I have done wonderfully with Elder Arriola, and said, “He hasn’t had better numbers in his whole mission. You are really helping him grow.” Then he added, “but you can do more...when he leaves, the Lord is looking to you to take the area to the next level.” What the heck, way to put the pressure on me, President! He kept saying stuff but not finishing his sentences, and it was driving me nuts. Finally he says, “Yeah, you are a great solid Elder...I think you are going to be able to help...with a little something...hmmsms mumble mumble...” I said, “What?” and he just looked up at me, smiled and started looking back on that it is funny, but I was kind of nervous in that room. He has such a funny laugh, it is like Captain Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean. No joke....haha he is awesome. Then he talked with me about Mikaela, and said that it was ok to baptize her. This is where the sweet counsel came in. He said, “Elder, if you are going to err, err on the side of mercy, always. If we aren’t sure if they need baptism, baptize them anyway for the doubt. We should never deny someone possible blessings. If Mikaela doesn’t need baptism, the Lord will figure it out.” He then talked about how it very well could be a covenant for her, because a sin is knowing something is wrong and doing it anyway, no matter what the level. So if she disobeys her mother, knowingly, she needs baptism. It was some pretty profound stuff. So last he talked about transfers next week. He said that he always go into transfers thinking he has a good idea of what the changes are going to be...but then the Lord has something completely different in mind, so he actually is in the dark until Thursday when he starts making the changes, and then we all find out on Monday at the Transfer Meeting. Elder Steele is going home, so Elder Mackay will be getting a new comp, and Elder Arriola is out of here too. There are only 4 greenies coming next week, 3 Latins, 1 North American.

Also, I have a girlfriend in Argentina now. She has blonde hair and blue eyes(pure Argentine) and her name is Morena. We dance together a lot. She always asks me for money. It is a pretty sweet relationship. Also, Morena is three years old. Elder Arriola asked her if she had a boyfriend and she pointed at me and said, “That”...yep, it is love.

Well, until next week. I send my love.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Baptism of Eduardo

Eduardo, age 9, was baptized in Merlo, Argentina on April 11, 2009

Merlo- Week #42

Why do I only have baptisms on Holidays?

Happy Easter Family and Friends!

Also, not that I am counting, but this week I turn 10 months in the mission...big deal, I know. I got the Easter package, thanks for all the stuff, it was great, also, can peanut butter go bad? Because all of those tubes you are sending dad, have an expiration date of the 30th of January...but I don’t think it can go bad...its peanut butter...also, I got an Easter card from Grandma Wilma, and a letter from Joseph...also St. Catherine protected the letter and it made it safely...glad to hear Brett got a baptism!!!! YEAH!!!

Speaking of baptisms, Eduardo’s baptism went off without a hitch. It was great, all his family came, and let’s just say, that most of his family is inactive, but his mom is one out of 15 children, who now all have their own families, and they all showed up...they may not be loyal to the church, but at least they won’t give up on family. He was such a stud, the water was freezing cold, because the hot water broke in the church, and when he came up out of the water he couldn’t breathe...but that made him start laughing, so it was kind of a mixture of both, and it was pretty funny. He looked so cool in his shirt and tie afterwards. He rocks! I love him! I am trying to attach photos, but it is taking forever, and I haven’t been keeping track of the time, so I just looked down, and realized that I only have 9 minutes left. Guess I will give up on the photos.

Also, I will be calling in about a month again, crazy, that went by pretty quick! So in other news, we have two more baptisms planned for the 25th in two more weeks, Antonia, and her daughter Mikaela. Antonia has been coming for about 4 weeks now, and loved general conference, even though she thought that President Monson was Nephi...that was pretty funny...close...but not quite. We found her my first week here in Merlo, and she wasn’t progressing very well, but now is eating the gospel up, and loving every meeting she can get to. She talked with the Bishop last Sunday about her daughter Mikaela, who has Down’s syndrome. So obviously, we know that baptism isn’t necessary for her, but Antonia wanted her to be baptized with her anyway, so she can be a member of the church. The Bishop explained to her that it wasn't necessary, but that Mikaela could be baptized anyway, but it wouldn’t be considered as her making a covenant. I assumed he checked his handbook, because I don’t know the rule about that ...and baptizing people without sin...Mormon is pretty clear about that in his letter to Moroni...but as of now we are going to baptize her. Anyway, the syndrome is mild, and Mikaela goes to school and talks with us, and just last night, she came out and wished us a Happy Easter, and gave us kisses on the cheek...she is going to the Celestial Kingdom with or without baptism. If she is baptized she will automatically be my favorite convert.

Speaking of converts...I saw Ciris’ mom and brother Luis on Saturday! They were walking through my area and saw me...and started screaming my name, which made me feel good that they remember we got to talk for a few minutes. They told me all about their goals to enter the temple, and they are excited for me to be there with them...that basically made my life! Ciris Sr. is crazy strong in the church now, which is insane, because he was totally unsupportive of Ciris Jr. And didn’t even show up to his baptism. I love them too! I love everyone! Ok I ran out of time...I love you all....what the world needs now is love sweet love


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Merlo- Week #41

Welcome to Conference…

Greetings Fellow Members of our Family Unit,

Happy Birthday Yesterday Dad! I would like more short sleeve mom, and my neck size is 16, and you can send like 4 or something...also none of that other stuff, but another towel would be nice, because I only brought one towel and so when it is in the wash...I can’t bathe myself...well I can but then I can’t dry off...and I have that microfiber science towel but I don’t like it...ok that’s all...actually maybe a couple more slacks waist is 32...or something like that. Wow I am not sure if that helped but I hope it did.

Ok...GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!! Is it just me or are the Conference talks just getting better and better. After the last session on Sunday it kind of felt like the day after Christmas. Bitter-sweet...I have to wait another six months to see another. Also, because I have less than one year in the mission, I got to watch in English...or at least was supposed to be able to watch in English, but we showed up to the Stake Center on Saturday and the technical guy was like, “The bishop or Stake President need to be here to open the library to get another TV.” Long story short, neither of them showed up, and we all had to watch the first two sessions in Spanish, but Priesthood and Sunday were all in English for me. I didn’t mind, I understood everything, but I felt bad for some younger Elders who did not understand one thing going on. Also, I kind of felt like I missed out, because you can still hear a little bit of the English talks in the background while the translator pauses to think, and I noticed that the translator doesn’t say everything the speaker is saying. For example, during Elder Ballard’s talk I never heard anything of google or now I am just waiting for the Conference Ensign. One benefit though was that for the speakers who speak Spanish, they pre-record their talks so it is perfectly translated. For example, Elder Scott’s talk he pre-recorded so it was his voice in his perfect Spanish. He speaks really well, also, Elder Christofferson. But yeah, Elder Scotts was sooooo spiritual because when he started to talk about his wife and children and the blessing of the temples, he was getting really emotional in Spanish, but it was kind of weird too because he was on the screen in English not getting emotional. That is the biggest focus that I saw in the Conference, yes, it talked a lot about the crisis and having faith not fear, and how to deal with our problems, but more than anything, TEMPLES! I loved all the talks on the temples, and I noticed that they were really emphasizing temples. Lacey-get married in the temple, or not at all... It made me think about my interview with my bishop at BYU when I sent in my papers. He told me, “Your mission is going to be one of the best experiences of your life, but the experience that should be even more special is when you enter the temple the first time, and when you enter with your eternal companion.” Also, I remember Bishop Orton telling me a few years ago in an interview that, “A mission isn’t necessary for salvation, but entering the temple is.” Now, I am not saying that missions are bad things, and everyone should go on missions, because they give you the strength and conviction to keep your temple covenants, and prepare for eternal marriage. But, alas, my favorite talk from the Conference was President Uchdorf’s Priesthood session talk. That was POWERFUL! “This is not man’s best guess at ancient scripture; it is the TRUTH OF HEAVEN, revealed by God!” I am doing a great work, and cannot come down! That fired me up sooooo much, I was actually nervous when he finished, because I thought, “Oh my is President Eyring going to get up and speak right now...he can’t maintain the power of that talk.” That is where my finite natural mind was wrong...oh so wrong...President Eyring came out with just as much power, and kept the momentum going, only to have President Monson stamp his prophetic seal of approval on it all and leave me almost translated at the end of the session. Needless to was more than just a spiritual experience. Well, I spent all my time writing about conference, but remember too, that Eduardo is getting baptized this weekend! Conference rocked...I loved it...please go fast next six months so we can have another. Also, NEIL L. ANDERSON, love him, received my testimony of his Apostleship, life is good.

Love you all,
apply the teachings of conference in your lives or it will all have been in vain!