Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ramos Mejia- Week #51

Mini General Conference

Hey Family and Friends,

Does anyone get tired of these letters I write? I know my family doesn’t but after ONE YEAR of writing letters I wonder if they are still interesting. Anyway, here it is, letter number 52. Cheers to another 52. I got about a million letters from people congratulating me on my year here. So on Thursday is my official one year mark, and I have no idea what we will do, but surely Elder Sabey and I will be exchanging gifts of some sort. It is our one year anniversary together… Also, as to the burning of clothes…I consider that, as the Book of Mormon instructs us, “false traditions of our fathers” and I will not be burning any article of clothing. I need all the clothes I can get. If I do happen to participate in something like that, it will not be my clothing…there are a bunch of spare shirts in our apartment, because every Assistant ends his mission there and leaves a ton of stuff. As to the international driving permit, Dad, I guess it would be good if you sent another one, because mine is about to expire, and I like carrying it around, even though nobody here in the offices uses anything like it. There aren’t really any traffic laws in Argentina, or if there are, they are only enforced in Capitál. We actually just received a “Drive Safe” DVD from the church about guidelines we should follow, and I have to say that it is a pretty sweet movie. It features segments from M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, Jeffrey R. Holland, and President Uchtdorf. Basically straight Apostolic testimony about driving safely…don’t mess.

Speaking of being instructed by General Authorities, this past week we had an interesting little experience. Last Sunday was stake conference here in Argentina, except it was more than just one stake, and by that I mean it was the whole country of Argentina receiving a satellite broadcast direct from Salt Lake. We were instructed for two hours by four people: Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy, President Osguthorpe of the Sunday School, Elder L. Tom Perry, and President Henry B. Eyring. It was SO GOOD! It was basically another general conference session in the middle of June, and I pretty much loved every minute of it. They made jokes that only make sense in Argentina, like about local soccer teams and foods and stuff so it was really great for the members to feel a little more personal with them. I really enjoyed it. Elder Perry and President Eyring had translators, so we heard in English, then Spanish, then English, then Spanish, which was a little distracting, but at least for me I got to hear twice and take deep notes. It was also the greatest inspiration known to man by President Eyring because he personally invited all who had not done so already to be baptized and take the first step to return to their Father in Heaven. Luckily, we had four investigators there listening and they all felt so strongly about the talk that they all now want to be baptized. I don’t think I will ever figure this work out, or life for that matter. The Lord really just takes care of everything. When I think it will happen one way, it doesn’t, and then when I am least expecting it, four of my investigators are invited personally by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to be baptized. Two of them, Fiorella and Sandra, will be baptized this Saturday, because they have been doing everything right for a while, but just needed to take that next step and decide to be baptized. The other two are still working to get some stuff in order. Sandra is really a choice lady. She is about 30 has two kids with her boyfriend, but has done everything we have asked her in the last three weeks. We taught Word of Wisdom and she quit smoking. We taught Chastity and she kicked her boyfriend out of the house to obey the commandment. We taught Sabbath day and she quit her job. We were sitting in her house last night and talked to us all about her life in Brazil (she is also fluent in Portuguese and it is sooooo cool to hear her speak it when she gets flustered) and how she had to go there and her and her boyfriend (who also wants to be baptized but is quitting smoking, he is down to 1 every three days from 20 every day) would live on trains and in the Amazon and stuff. I was sitting there and thought to myself, “This is insane. I can’t believe that I am listening to this woman who has gone through so much in her life, and Sean Gilmore from Lakewood, CA, the little boy who always wanted to go on a mission, but never knew what it actually was, is sitting in a small humble house in Ramos Mejia, Argentina with this woman, this sweet daughter of a Loving God, that he is teaching to help receive the restored gospel of the Savior in her life. What are the odds? How is the Lord not the Creator of the Heavens and Earth? How does God not know who I am? How is this not the kingdom of God on the earth? It just all kind of hit me…I loved it. It only happens every once in a while, but I try to soak it all in when those moments come.

So if you are wondering why I am writing so late, it is because today was the “Conferencia de las Hermanas”…Sisters' Conference…all the sister missionaries had a big conference with President and Hermana Benton today…and it was time to put on the house elf hat and serve food, clean up, and make sure everything went off without a hitch. Basically…goodbye P-day. When it was over, my office was infiltrated…and bombarded by sister missionaries with raised voices, basically demanding that I give them what they want, because they couldn’t wait until mail day. President walked by, looked in, kind of chuckled, shook his head and kept walking. I guess it happens often. So I grabbed my hatchet, and told them to back off if or else, and by that I mean I cracked under pressure and folded to their every will. You just can’t be mean to the Hermanas…it is morally wrong. Plenty of elders have walked in demanding things and I tell them to beat it or ask nicely or something…but with the Hermanas you just keep your mouth shut and give them all they ask for. Funny thing is, I actually do have a hatchet in my office, I really have just about everything, and most of it I have no idea why we have it, but must be for some reason.

I felt like I had more I wanted to say, but I can’t remember any of it. Oh yeah, the weather, seeing how it is winter here. So right now would technically be called December 16th in the States, because we are in complete opposite seasons, so here in the offices we are only playing Christmas music, also patriotic music because the 4th of July is coming up, so it is a pretty interesting mix. It actually is not that cold outside, and usually I don’t wear a coat until night time. Also, I wish you could watch what goes on in here in a movie, because I promise it is exactly like the Office. Today we had an office moment, where we all ordered Chinese takeout, but huddled into a little room, too small for all of us, to eat it because we were hiding from the sister missionaries. So we were all eating having a good time, and every time we heard voices, all got quiet, and we looked at each other and fear filled the eyes of the Assistants, while Elder Woodmansee whispers, “the others!”…oh uh…guess you had to be there. Also, President Benton just called my cell phone and we were just shooting the breeze…and by that I mean I have to do something right now for him, so take care everyone and have a great week filled with fun summer activities…ah kind of sad…but it’s ok, I have fun office activities to do. Love you.

Love Sean

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