Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Elder Gilmore Returns With Honor

We are anxiously awaiting Sean's arrival at the Billings, Montana airport

Can you see that Mom didn't forget the maple bars?


Sean finally arrives, coming down the escalators


Sean flew all night from Buenos Aires to Atlanta, then to Salt Lake and arrived in Billings at 12:30 p.m. He had a long night and day of travel, but looked great. After lunch in Billings we headed home to Powell, where he was released by the Stake President.

Well done, Elder !

Monday, June 14, 2010

Parque Leloir- Email #103

The Last Epistle

TAKE A DEEP BREATH!!!!!!!

I will start with your questions. I am not panicked, although it is a little surreal sitting here writing my last email in the mission. Next week I won’t receive your emails, because I will be in transfer meeting all day, then go straight to the mission home for my exit interview with President, and then to the airport. This week I won’t be in my area very much, but I plan on working hard until the end. On Wednesday I go on the tour of Capitál with all my group. After that President has given Elder Sabey and I permission to go visit all of our converts in Ramos Mejia together, so I am WAY excited about that. We will spend Wednesday night doing that, we will be seeing Bryan, Fiorella, Carmen and Luis, all of them. Remember them? I do. Then on Thursday, Elder Sabey and I are going to be hitting up Villegas together, so I can see the Fernandez family, and he can see all of his converts from when he was there. He was there at the start of our missions when I was in Merlo. Then on Friday, Elder Hinton and I will be with the Henderson family (senior couple) looking for a new apartment for Parque Leloir. Just a few hours in the morning. So it is going to be a packed week, but there will be time for the work. Yes, we go to the Boca (colorful village place) where supposedly tango was born. World Cup fever has spread and infested the country. People can’t understand how we don’t watch the USA games. It is like a sin for them. “How can you not watch your own country in the Cup?” Even the members who know we don’t watch TV question us. “Yeah, but you can’t even watch your countries world cup game?” People were not satisfied with the Argentina game, they thought they should have won 5-0, and everyone can’t believe how lucky the US got with the goalie error. But life goes on. I probably won’t call in the airport…that would kind of be anti-climactic…if I had to request a food waiting for me in the airport…I think we all remember my nickname from my childhood…1 dozen donuts please…I will have already bought the root-beer in Atlanta. I have no preference for first meal back.

This past week has been probably one of the most eventful of my mission. It started with interviews with President on Tuesday. Great stuff but no time to tell right now. I did some divisions in Rivadavia with a new missionary who I predict will be AP someday. We had been trying to have the baptism of Maxi but the whole Dad situation was impeding him. Well, after he fought with me that one night I wrote about last week, he started to see black demon spirits in his house that were driving him crazy…Elder Hinton offered to bless his home so we kneeled in prayer and dedicated the home. After that he was our best friend… until the next time we went over…haha I am sure he is bipolar or something. So we were trying to get him to sign the slip giving permission to Maxi to be baptized. Elder Hinton battled with him for a good 40 minutes, was unsuccessful, and basically condemned him saying that he didn’t love his son and the sins would fall on his head…so we were walking out and he said to me, “You seem to understand me better than the other guy.” At this point I just wanted to get out of there, so I just rubbed his shoulder and said everything was fine and not to worry about it. He said he wanted to show me something, and brought out all of Maxi’s birth certificates and stuff. I told him they looked great…and then he said, “Can he get baptized if you have all of these documents?” “Yeah…” “Oh ok, well, I will sign your paper then…” I was confused, but didn’t ask more questions. So we showed up yesterday to pick Maxi up and his Dad was crazy again, and said that they were moving that day and he wouldn’t be getting baptized. It is just a sad situation, because Maxi is completely normal and loves the gospel, but his dad is a loony bird.

Which brings me to the climax of the week. I just want it known that without a doubt the greatest souvenirs that I will be bringing home are the relationships that I have with my converts. I love each and every one of them like my own family, and with some of them I feel like we are best friends. Remember Raquel Lobo that just got baptized in April. She is like my best friend in Parque Leloir. In the words of Anne Shirley, we would be “kindred spirits”. She is 73 but it really feels like we are both 5 years old when we are together because we make each other laugh so much. I will probably miss her most of anyone here in this area. She always gives us food when we go over there. We ate lunch with her on Friday, and she invited us over for an “asado” on Saturday, so we were pumped. The buzz was in the air for the Argentina game as we headed to her house. It was so crazy. Fireworks were going off, gunshots; people were running past us to get to their houses before the game started. It was kind of exciting. So we got to her house and the gate was open as usual so her dogs could run in and out, and we clapped. She didn’t answer so we clapped again. With all the fireworks she probably didn’t hear us, so I walked in the gate and knocked on the door. It was pitch black inside, but I could see that the back door was open. It was obvious that she had run to the corner to buy bread or something getting ready for us to come over. We went back out into the street to see if she was coming, but didn’t see her. Then it dawned on me that her grill is in the back yard, so she was probably out there cooking the meat still. So we went around back laughing about something, and got to the back door that was open. The smile on my lips slowly faded as I saw her feet, and then her hands, and then the blood…SHE WAS DEAD ON HER KITCHEN FLOOR!!!!!!! I felt my heart sink into my stomach and I almost started screaming just out of shock. It was the most eerie thing that has happened to me in a long time. She was just lying there. My hands were clasped over my mouth and I couldn’t believe what was happening. I yelled to the neighbor and he came running over and slowly all the neighbors made their way over. The ambulance and police were called. She was dead…but a neighbor had just seen in buying some food a few hours before. We had just eaten with her the day before. We found her body! We had to give a statement to the police and they took down our information. It was a natural death so we aren’t suspects. She had a heart-attack. It must have been right when she got back from buying the food and she walked into the door. I still am in shock a little bit. So we called President, and he told us to tell our bishop and offer our help with the funeral and stuff. It reminded me a lot of my experience with Garland Fairchild, and Elder Hinton and I became once again “the church boys”. All the neighbors and family members were talking about how much she talked about us, and the church, and how happy she was these past two months she has been going. They said she has been a fanatic, and she invited everyone to come over with the “muchachos” were over to listen to the message she had found peace in. Just a few weeks ago I gave her some pictures we had taken together, and the niece said that they were her most valuable possessions, and that every time they visited her she showed them our pictures. They were looking for them like crazy to put into the casket with her. She kept them hidden I guess so they wouldn’t get ruined haha, but the picture of her baptism was on her nightstand. In Argentina they don’t do the whole embalming process so they bury the people right away before they start to decompose. Before Church started yesterday, she was buried. That is less than 24 hours! Her grave was dedicated by the bishop. I can’t really believe it. We are kind of the celebrities of the neighborhood now because we found a dead body. In church the members kept praising us saying how we were guided by the Spirit to find her…I had no idea what they were talking about, why would the Spirit guide us to find a dead person? To say the least, it was an interesting way to end the week. It just happened two days ago! I just saw her and she was fine! What a blessing it is to know that she accepted the gospel in her life and found joy in the church these past two months. I can’t wait to see her again. I know we will see her again, and the plan of salvation was created so that we can have this hope. So in answer to the question, how are my emotions holding up? All over the place…haha. Well, I will see you all soon! Remember the donuts; my favorite is maple bars…

Love, Elder Gilmore

Monday, June 7, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #102

The Aidukaitis Effect

Hey there family,

Well, this week was certainly an interesting one. It started with the Elder Aidukaitis conference. Let's just say that he took the mission by surprise with a complete cane dropping on everyone. Back story: Since President Benton came two years ago the mission has seen a huge spike upward in the datos, obedience, diligence, baptisms, and really just everything. He really has been inspired by the Lord to take the mission to a new level. So in the mission we have felt pretty good about ourselves as the most successful mission in Argentina. We were all kind of expecting a pat on the back from the member of the Seventy visiting us. It was more like a slap on the back of the head...haha, but in a good way. The theme of the conference was, "God is happy with your work, but He is not satisfied!" It was intense! He is way energetic, raises his voice a lot, and is very direct. Another direct quote translated into English: "Can I speak with you clearly and directly? Yes? Ok, just know that I am not mad, but I will speak frankly. If the sisters start to cry, I will start to put some more sugar on my words." I really wasn't sure if that was a moment to laugh or not but I did, and then the repentance process began. Elder Hinton and I were called on to give our presentation of the zone's datos first of the three zones there. So we got up and started to give our datos. We said that our baptismal goal for the zone is 30, and that we ha...we were interrupted..."Elders, how many areas are there in your zone?" We answered ten. "Ten? Do you believe that God can work miracles in your missions?" Of course! He then directed himself to the whole audience. "Do you believe that you can baptize every week in this mission?" A unified "Yes!" sounded from the crowd. He then looked straight at me and asked me, "Elder, do you believe that you can baptize every week?" "Yes." "You believe that?" "Yes." "You really believe?" (And then he used some piercing gaze that left me disabled for a few seconds) "Yes?" "Elder, you don't believe that, and neither does anyone in this room." "Oh..." hahaha Let's just say that I think I saw everyone's jaw hit the ground, including President's, the Assistants', the missionaries', and my companion's. "If you really believed that, you goal would be 60, meaning each area would have at least 1 baptism a week. But with a goal like 30, there are weeks when the goal must be zero, and tell me Elder, why would God give you more than you desire?" I think Elder Hinton and I were just the guinea pigs. It wasn't personal. I could feel his love, and his desire for us to improve.
So he gave us a ton of great ways to improve, which I cannot write in this email because they are too numerous. However, I have copious notes in my study journal which I can share with you later. Anyway, so we got a call on Saturday that there was a secret urgent emergency meeting with all the zone leaders in the office Sunday night. So we showed up in Ramos Mejia Sunday night and President and the Assistants revealed the new vision of the mission. Everything has been revamped! I am kind of bummed that I am going to miss this new era of the mission. The new focus is baptizing every week. Everything is changed now. I am still trying to process it all, but I will follow the counsel of my leaders and put it all into practice these last two weeks.

So with that little meeting, we figured we needed to baptize someone this weekend. We had everything ready to go with Maxi to get baptized, and I went in divisions with one of our District Leaders, Elder Callejas, from Chile, to do the interview. We show up and the member in front told us an awful story. Earlier in the day she had gone back to Maxi's house to get the rent money or something, and there was music playing really loudly. She knocked on the door and it swung open and she saw Maxi on the floor with his Dad beating him senseless. He had the music blasting so that no one would hear Maxi screaming. So the member ran back to her house and called the police, the whole while Maxi's dad trying to break her door down to stop her. He said they were just "playing". It made me sick. So we went back there to talk to him, and he opened the door and was really nervous. He can easily beat up a 13 year old, but he was pretty small standing next to us. He was out of his mind talking about how we were obligating Maxi to go to church, and how they are going to baptize him in the Catholic church whether he likes it or not. We told him that would be obligating him, but there was no reasoning with this man. So Maxi didn't get baptized, and we aren't really sure what is going to happen. I think it is in the hands of the legal authorities. Hopefully they can help Maxi out of the nightmare he is living. I thought Elder Callejas was about to wail on the guy...I saw his arm flinch once, so I moved in front of him because we didn't want the throw ourselves into the mix. But it was a really sad ending to the week.

It is starting to ding at my heart that I am leaving. I don't like it. I am afraid to go back into the world. It is too easy to fall, but at the same time, I thank my Father every night for this mission that has prepared me to take on the challenges that will come to me in the future. I would have surely fallen long ago if I hadn't decided to serve this mission. It is no coincidence that Heavenly Father has his 19-21 year old sons spiritually remove themselves from the world and dedicate two years to the studying and preaching of the gospel. I love Him for the uncountable times He has stretched forth His hand in these two years to encourage me, to correct me, to lift me, and to heal me. I know He lives. I know that I am His son, and I know that the precious blood of His Only Begotten Son was spilled for me, so that I could have these experiences, and help my earthly family, as well as my spiritual one, in our progression back to Him. As a child of God I know this truth: A family is forever! I am going back into a dark world, but as President Monson said, "The future is as bright as [my] faith." I think that was President Monson anyway. Well, I am going to close this one up...until next week when I will be writing my LAST EMAIL ON MY MISSION OH MY GOODNESS I CANT BELIEVE IT CAN YOU? I AM NOT TRUNKY THOUGH IT JUST KIND OF DAWNED ON ME RIGHT NOW I HAVE TO THINK OF SOMETHING PROFOUND TO WRITE NEXT WEEK 14 DAYS AHH....dad gum caps lock got stuck. I can't wait to type on real keyboards.

Love Elder Gilmore

Monday, May 31, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #101

Well family,

This week went really well for us here in Parque Leloir. The bicentennial thing was crazy. There was no one in the street on Tuesday. We walked into one house and they wouldn't let us talk because in downtown Capital they were putting on a huge artistic parade of the whole argentine history. I learned a lot at least. Also I watched Maradona live say that he was going to the obelisk naked if Argentina wins. Except he used some vulgar slang and everybody just thinks it is funny, and the doctor’s advice to the team is all in the news as well. Everyone is pumped about the Canada thrashing that occurred. I totally know who Gary Coleman is and we used to watch Different Strokes on Nick at Nite...also there is an Elder Gary Coleman in the Seventy. I already got some magnets. I got the Pringles. I bought Ebin and Rhainanainainain Messi jerseys for the Cup, but I don't have any idea if they are going to fit. I am actually not trunky, despite last week's email. A sister missionary at zone conference told me that it is a girl car, and she drove it before the mission, I told her she was just jealous that she doesn't go home until 2011. She apologized, and I accepted.

So, today Elder Hinton and I went golfing. It was really fun. We had to go onto an Air Force Base. It was intense, and we were going to take pictures, but were afraid that they would shoot us with their big guns. It looked almost exactly like Barksdale, except it is a lot easier to get into...haha...we just walked up and the 20 guards looked us up and down and asked what we were doing there. I said that we had heard there was a golf course nearby and asked if they knew where it was. They said, yeah it is on base...oh...it is open to the public? He was like, yeah just go down a few blocks and to the right. It was weird. Basically anybody could just say they wanted to play golf and get onto a national air force base. Luckily we really did just want to play golf, so we did, and I had a lot of fun. The course wasn't very good and it just rained a ton last week, so it was interesting, but served our purposes.

Tomorrow we are having our meeting with Elder Aidukaitis. I am kind of nervous, but it is going to be great. Right after the normal meeting, we are having a meeting with just him and the zone leaders. So this should be a really good week. Yesterday I was also pleased to baptize Leticia Rojas. It was a great service, and she looked so happy all day in church. We are hoping to baptize her parents as well before I leave, which would be great. We also have another date with a kid named Maxi who we just found two weeks ago, but already has come to church twice and wants to get baptized. He is 13, and understands everything! He should be getting baptized as well before I go home, so we are looking at some success to end my mission. I am kind of living in a surreal moment. It doesn't feel like I am leaving in 3 weeks, so I am not sad yet, but I guess it has to hit me sooner or later. I would prefer later than sooner, but it’s all good. I don't even know what to write anymore...I am doing great and will have more to say next week about the Elder Aidukaitis visit!!!

Love you bye

Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy 21st Birthday, Sean

This is the reason Sean is so excited in his letter today. He will get to drive it in 29 more days!

Parque Leloir- Week #100

My birthday is a national holiday!!!!

Hey family!

I think Elder Hinton's arm is bruised pretty badly from how many times I hit him in the arm from the pure excitement that was running through my body as I looked at the pics of my birthday present. Now just put some beautiful spiritual girl in the front seat that is willing to marry me, and I think I will be set for eternity. You outdid yourselves parents! Thank you! Also, I took some money out of my 1st national bank account. I don't think I will be taking any more out. Also, FELIZ DIA DE LA PATRIA!!! It is the 200 year anniversary tomorrow of the start of the revolution here in Argentina. Let’s just say it is a really big deal right now. So that mixed with world cup excitement is making the end of my mission pretty interesting. We just got back from the ward party they were throwing and it was pretty fun. I love this ward. I am blessed that it is my last ward. The members are just great. We had permission to play soccer with the members so I jumped in and showed them how I won a trip to Disneyland from my Dad. They also had an improv talent show where they pressured people to get up and sing something acapella. They obviously twisted our arms so we gave them a little show on the spot. They wanted to hear songs in English, so we sang My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion to show them our range, and then Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles for some novelty. They were screaming for an encore. Everyone knew it was my birthday, and I got a ton of birthday wishes, so that was nice. President Benton called me to wish me a happy birthday, as well as the assistants, and then the secretaries called me and told me that Elder Sabey called them to call me and tell me happy birthday as well. So it has been a good day.

Yesterday wasn't the best day of my mission, but life goes on. The baptism didn't happen, but it will happen this week or the next. Everything was going perfectly. She passed her interview and everything, but on Sunday Andres showed up and said that the mom, Alicia, got mad at Leticia and so for punishment they went to a friend’s house instead of church so she couldn't get baptized. Juvenile? Yes, but what can you do? So we will be trying to work everything out so that Alicia calms down and realizes that this isn't a game. IT IS ETERNAL SALVATION!!!! Plus, Leticia is bomb! She already has started Personal Progress in Young Womens, and wrote a 5 minute talk on Faith without help that she is going to give. I think she is ready for baptism. So that is how that went. Other than that, the week went well.

We have 3 dates right now, so we are looking good for this last month. Oh yeah, really important news. Remember that story Dad always tells about his mission and the Member of the Seventy that visited his mission a couple weeks before he went home? Well, guess who is coming to our mission on June 1st? Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis! Unlike Dad I will be sure to shave and put an extra glob of gel into my hair. I am really excited. What a great way to end my mission. Elder Hinton and I will have to give a small presentation for him on the zone and how we are doing. Uh...things are looking up? haha no just kidding we are doing well right now, so I am excited. I got all of Grandma's letters, and they made me smile because I could totally hear her voice as I read it. Tell Grandma Sherry not to worry. I am not judging her, and she is missed and loved and see you in a month and I love you and bye. All of that. Also, how big are Ebin and Rihahanahonohn, because if they are going to spend quality time with me it will be watching the World Cup and they will need Argentina jerseys. I am loving every minute of this time that I have in Argentina. I kind of wish I could start my mission over with the attitude I have at the end of it, because I have learned so much and come so far, but now it is ending, and I have to say goodbye. Ok well this is the most random email ever, but I couldn't help it. you ruined me with those pictures haha. but I am still working hard. Love you bye

Elder Sean Mazda 3 Gilmore

Monday, May 17, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #99

Don't get trunky...

Hey Mom and Dad,

I got your package! Thank-you, and I already ate all the mango licorice…don’t send more…or the addiction might get worse. Well, today I am pretty trunky…we made the mistake of going to Jumbo today and there is a movie theater inside, where I saw the posters for all the cool movies coming out…next month…when I will be home…anyway, I also went to a sweet store and dropped some major cash on souvenirs. Elder Mackay wrote me and said he is engaged. I think he gets married in Newport in July. He wanted me to go, but we will see what is going on. Dad, my jersey has Messi on the back, and everyone is very displeased with “Diego”. They say he should go back to playing and give up the coaching bit. Elder Hinton and I had a great week. He is a pretty relaxed guy, and a big Beatles and Bob Dylan fan, which kind of sums him up in a nutshell. We are going to have a great transfer. I don’t see anything that will be a problem as far as getting along goes. Also, my grandson is Elder Shepherd from Las Vegas, who is from the same ward as Elder Gneiting (in my group), which is a ward Elder Naylor served in during Christmas of 2008…small world…also “Shepherd” is “Pastor” in Spanish…which is what we call all the missionaries going home, but with Brett, I’ll digest.

We had the zone leader’s conference on Friday, which was interesting, and my last one. Everything this transfer is going to be “my last one”. Sometimes that is exciting, but most times I don’t like it. Everything in the area is going well. I was honored to confirm Beatrice on Sunday, which she really enjoyed. It is really so amazing to have converts. Well, they are the Lord’s converts, but you know what I mean. After her baptism last week as she was walking out of the chapel she turned around just before leaving and said thank you again to Elder Hinckley and I, and said, “You two really are my angels sent from God.” No better feeling!!!! So we went by this week from Elder Hinton, and she was telling him about her conversion, and she said, “I didn’t want anything to do with religion a few months ago, and then he (points at me) just started to talk to me one day about religion in the street, and it all started making sense. So many times I wanted to argue or prove them wrong, but he is more convincing than a Nike salesman!” (That is an Argentine thing. Everyone sells fake nike socks here and they just keep bugging you until you buy them, so they say that like you can sell anything if you are better than the nike guys. Also I bought the nike socks once, they are nice.) I was just laughing the whole time, thinking of her weird random doubts she always had that we always answered with the Book of Mormon. So she got confirmed, and I felt really good after the confirmation, like I had really said what the Lord wanted me to say.

The Rojas family came as well, and they are still trying to get their papers together for their marriage. It is coming down to the wire. However, drumroll….their daughter Leticia is going to be baptized this Sunday!!! We walked in this week, and the first thing she said was, “This is going to be my third Sunday, so I am getting baptized, right?” RIGHT! I have a theory that the Lord makes it easier for the missionaries going home, or else we might say that this is too hard and we are going home soon anyway so we will just give up now. So my fear of not having a baptism my last transfer could be soothed by next week. It would be like a birthday baptism. My last day of being 20, I could be down in the water performing a saving ordinance, or Elder Hinton could. Alicia was completely fine, and she gets better every time we go see them. I think the influence of the Spirit is really chipping away at the bad influences in that family. Also, they feel really bad because we went by last week and while we were clapping at the gate, someone threw a huge rock at my head, and it whizzed past my ear…close one. I guess the neighbors make fun of them and stuff for going to church, but they are intent on staying in the Church. So a few more rocks to the head shouldn’t do too much damage in the long run. Well, that is it for this week. Elder Hinton and I are making some great birthday plans for next week, besides the baptism. I love you all!

Elder Gilmore

Monday, May 10, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #98

Demon Kidney Stones and I'm a Grandpa !!!!!!!

Hey Family,

Well, I just got back from transfer meeting with my new companion,
Elder Carlton Royce Hinton. He is pretty cool, and my fears of having
an awful companion to end my mission have been put to rest. He has
lived in a few places: Utah, Idaho, California, Indiana…but his
parents are currently back in Lehi, Utah. This is his first transfer
as zone leader, and he goes home one transfer after me, so we are a
pretty old companionship. He went to BYU before the mission as well,
so we were there at the same time. Also, I just love his name.
Anyway, it was a great meeting! I am now officially a “pastor” which
is what we call the missionaries going home. Elder Sabey came in from his area as well because his companion got changed, so it was really fun catching up with him. Today is our last first day of the transfer…TRUNKY!!!!! Anyway, President, during his message had all of us in our last transfer stand up, and exhorted us to give it all we have. We are 16 in our group, and we have 1 AP, 1 Branch President,
10 ZLs, and 4 DLs. So everyone is a leader, and pretty much the whole
face of the mission is going to change when we go home. There hasn’t ever been such a loaded group. The mission is really young right now, too. So President had us stand up, and said that we are the best of the best, and that the mission needs us right now to teach the missionaries and prepare them for leadership positions. I can’t really express it well in writing, but in short it was like an
inspiring war speech. Kind of like in the Lord of the Rings when
Aragorn gives his pep talk to the small army of men about to take on
the orc forces of Mordor, and in essence, all the forces of evil. It
sent chills up my spine. I am a leader in this mission. People are
counting on me to act, and to succeed. I have never really felt the
pressure like that until after the meeting. This is my last transfer
to leave it all on the table, leave it all in the street, and give it
my all for my missionaries and for the Lord. It has definitely
heightened my sense of dependence on the Lord. President really
inspired me to sprint to the finish and work until my last minute in
the field.

So in other news, I also got my flight plans. How do they expect me
to be a focused machine when they throw trunky stuff like that around
in front of my face? So I get into Billings on the 22nd at 12:37 or
something like that. I go from Buenos Aires to Atlanta to Salt Lake
to Billings….fun fun fun. But I guess I will suffer it if I have to.
Obviously the best news I have to give is that my hijo, Elder Latorre,
is training this transfer!!!!! My posterity continues in magnificent
glory!!!! I am a grandpa!!!!! So the Gilmore curse really HAS been
broken, Dad, and I will meet my grandson before I die. That was about it for transfer meeting.

So I already told you the story about Beatrice. For the rest of the
family I will quickly tell what happened. Beatrice was baptized on
Sunday, but not in our chapel. We got to the chapel in the morning
for PEC meeting and Bishop said that there was no water, because the
pipe was cut or something like that…for the record it is hard to have
a baptism without water. So we kind of sit there dumbfounded and ask what we could do. He just looked at us and said, “Call another
building! Tell them to fill the font! We are going to baptize
somebody today!” It was kind of dramatic. So we knew that the
Hermanas in Ituzaingó 4 had baptisms so we called Hna. López and Hna. Hobbs to see if we could crash their service and baptize someone as well. Obviously it was fine, so after sacrament meeting a fleet of members took us all over to the other chapel to perform the baptism and everything turned out great.

The Rojas family came as well, but unfortunately Alicia, the mom, is
crazy…haha. We think she might be possessed, because something is not right with her. In the middle of Sacrament meeting she got up
screaming, “God help me!!!! It hurts!!!!! It hurts!!!!!” over and
over again. Then she started crying, and trying to make her way to
the door. A hermana tried to help her and was supporting her to the
door when all of a sudden she just passed out and hit the floor face
first! It was crazy!!!! I don’t know why I didn’t remember to tell
you on the phone. This was all when the deacons were passing the
water around during the Sacrament. So she obviously gets swarmed by
members wanting to help, but she is out cold! I thought she literally
died. After about 30 seconds she came to and they helped her out
where an ambulance came to check her out. The cause? Elder Hinckley
and I say a demon…the medics said kidney stones. Either way, it was
an interesting experience.

Well, that is all the time I have for this week! Here goes nothing!
6 weeks left…

Elder Gilmore

Monday, May 3, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #97

Go Team Win !

Hey Team,

I just got back from another fun zone activity. We played volleyball
and soccer. I have a love-hate relationship with competition. In
some of those matches my heart was beating so hard, and I think I was
a little too into it. It was definitely a surreal experience as well,
because I was watching everybody play, and I came to the realization
that this is all about to end for me. I am not trying to be sappy or
poetic or anything, but it was a weird feeling. With the cool
breeze blowing wistfully through my crusted gelled hair, I realized
that I have one zone activity left. Obviously I am so excited to be
with my buddies again in BYU, but I have some good friends here as
well, and it might be hard leaving. Oh well, I have time still before
I have to fully come to terms with the whole thing. Speaking of BYU
buddies, I have gotten letters from Brett, Joseph, Zach Smith, and
Brenden Abbot, and I just wanted to say that I love them, but I will
not be writing back…haha…I don’t see the point. I’ll see them soon.
I never was good at keeping in touch. As for Kyle, he has only
written me once my whole mission like a year ago…but then again I have
only written him once, so it’s all good. We are lucky that we can
email, or else I probably would never write home. Transfers are next
week, and I will probably be getting my last companion of my mission.
It could be anybody.

So I have also learned to not have any idea what to expect when I
open my emails. Send pictures of the wedding I guess? I just have no
idea what is happening at home, or with anyone in the family. Talk to
you on Sunday! That went by quick. Don’t worry, Dad, I wrote down
the number haha. Anyway, enough of that kind of talk.

So my interview with President was SO GOOD!!!! First of all, he gave
me the trunky questions to think about for my last interview. He
talked a lot about my first year back from my mission, and how to set
good goals for my life so I can progress. I can tell you more about
it on the phone. What else…….

I can’t think of anything to write about…oh…the investigators…we are
doing really well right now in Parque Leloir. We have a few potential
baptisms for next transfer. La Familia Rojas that I wrote about last
week all came to church this week, even the “satanic” ones. They went
today to go get a date for their marriage at the…civil register? I
have no idea how to say that in English. Courthouse? Anyway, I just
hope that the calendar is open and the county gives them a day before
I go home. Bryan’s parents got their date for a month and a half
later…so if the Rojas family got one for a month and a half later it
would be my last week. That would be awesome. They are progressing a
lot right now, and the ward has just totally surrounded them and made
them feel welcome. Andres, the dad, loves it, and now refers to the
ward as “our family”, or “our church”, instead of “your church”. He
includes himself in it. It is great to hear. We also have a
potential baptism for this weekend. Beatrice! I don’t know if I ever
told you about her, but she went to General Conference by herself, and
was smoking 40 cigs a day. She is the one that we have seen so much
progress with using the Book of Mormon. Last Monday she smoked her
last one, and she hasn’t touched them since. So she has one week down
and one to go. I think she can make it. The only downside was that
the addiction is unleashing fury on her body. She has a horrible
cough, and she had to leave church early, because her blood pressure
shot up at a rapid rate? And she couldn’t walk without almost falling
over. That is at least what the Hermana Vera said, and she is a
nurse. So hopefully it wasn’t like a bad experience for her that
causes her to have doubts about her baptism. Carlos has completely
disappeared! They had to check his wife into the hospital and he
hasn’t been in his house for a week, so we have no idea what is going
on with him. Other than that, we are pressing forward. I just want
to do my best, and show the Lord that I am not letting up, and
whatever else happens doesn’t matter much. He will take care of
everything.

So that is about it for this week. If I forgot something ask me on
Sunday. Elder Hinckley will be calling around 5-6 my time and I will
go after him, so yeah just be by the phone I guess. Love ya bye

Elder Gilmore

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Zone Leader Conference Photo

Here is a picture of the Zone Leaders at a recent Zone Leader Conference in Buenos Aires West. Sean is in the second row, third from the right (just at Sister Benton's left) with blue suit and burgundy, blue and black striped tie. You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #96

A Bazaar Turn of Events

Hey Family,

Random things happen at home when you are on a mission. Aunt Kim is getting married…I mean that is awesome though. At least we are kind of still in wedding mode this summer? Let’s go to Disneyland when we are there! I am seriously happy for her though. Also, that is great that Chris got a job. I don’t have travel plans yet, Dad. The offices already have them, but they don’t give them to me until Transfer Meeting on the 10th of May. Don’t worry Mom; I wouldn’t waste the room in my suitcase on a girl, when I could fill it with cheap soccer jerseys, alfajores, and random wooden trinkets that all say “Tango” or “Argentina”. I thought about it though…tomorrow we have interviews with President, so I will ask him what I should do. Also, he still has yet to answer my question about what to do with my life.

So this week was pretty interesting. We had divisions with the Assistants, and I stayed in my area with Elder Sheldon Evans from Wyoming. He is the only other person I have ever met in my life that lives in Wyoming. We talked for hours about all the things we love about our home state. Haha ok maybe that last part was a little sarcastic. The divisions went really well, and I learned a lot from him. You know, you can feel kind of guilty when you realize you haven’t been doing some things in the most efficient way, but you find out at the very end of your mission. Oh well, there is always room to improve, and I will definitely be improving these last two months.

So there was definitely a miracle that occurred this week worth telling. On Wednesday, Elder Hinckley and I took our ward list around with us and were visiting random families to see if they had any kids that weren’t baptized or something, and we ended up at one house. We clapped at the gate and waited, and out walked an older chap, who sometimes can be cranky when you try and talk to them about religion. We introduced ourselves and he presented himself as Carlos. We chit-chatted for a little bit and he invited us in to share our message. He wasn’t cranky at all, probably because he had already taken his siesta. We sat down and noticed his wedding pictures that were taken over 40 years ago. Carlos is Catholic like a lot of people in Argentina, and was a good hard-working man that is now retired. He seemed like any other old man in Argentina while we were teaching the first lesson. He was kind of listening, and told us a few stories of his youth, his perfect love with Lydia his wife, (Most Argentines are overly dramatic romantics…I love it) who was sick in bed, and what life used to be like before all the filth and drugs infested the society. Good stuff. So we teach the lesson and Carlos asked a question that transformed him from being a nice old gentleman to a golden investigator. We talked about everything and he asked, “Terrific boys! How many times do I have to go to church before I can be baptized?” …what? Nobody ever asks that! Who are you!?! Ha, it was pretty shocking. So I went by again with Elder Evans, and he was STILL GOLDEN! It wasn’t a fluke. We walked in the second time, and before we said anything he said, “So I can get baptized in three weeks, right?” RIGHT!!! He asked all about how baptism is and what he has to bring and everything. Then he asked, “What do we wear? Are we naked when we get baptized? I mean, I don’t have a problem, but I thought I would ask.” HAHAHAHAHA WHAT? That is faith people! We thoroughly explained that we wear white clothing and are fully covered the whole time. He still would have done it if he had to do it in the nude! Oh Carlos…

So I don’t have time to write about another investigator we have, but here is an excerpt from Elder Hinckley’s email home about Andres Rojas: “There is another family that we had found named the Rojas family. The dad is named Andres and E' Gilmore and E' Evans also took out a baptismal date with him in divisions. He promised he would come to church and he did come all the way to the church on his bike alone. He has a wife and a daughter (although they are not married....dang it!) too that were going to come with him so when he walked in the door I asked him where they were and he said they didn't come b/c they are "satanic." haha. It was funny too. It doesn't seem like he has the best relationship with his "wife." But he is awesome. We gave him a Book of Mormon in church and he started crying and saying how he just felt so good being there and how he could just feel so much peace. When you hear that from an investigator's mouth it makes the whole week's work worth it. So yeah he is a BALLeR but he is just not married so we have so see if they can get married, but I don't know if he is going to want to marry someone that he calls "satanic." So anyways we'll see what happens with that too.”

Also, today for P-day we went to a swap-meet / fair type place that sells all kinds of stuff for almost nothing, and I was violated. Elder Hinckley and I were walking and these two ladies were walking A GOOD DISTANCE behind us. Then we stopped to look at something, and one of the ladies ran right into me from behind and was like, “Oh sorry, excuse me, sorry, sorry, excuse me!” and as she “brushed” by me she grabbed a handful of my backside! She just walked away laughing. She must have been like 30 or so. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. It was the most random thing that has ever happened to me. I had been taken advantage of in a foreign country in a little bazaar that sells fake Nike shoes, and bootleg DVDs. Also, I saw that iron man 2 is coming out…anyway, back to the story. Well, that was the end of the story. Good thing I have an interview with President tomorrow, because I need to talk to someone to help me get over that traumatic experience. Well, love you all!!!!!

Elder Gilmore

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fotos

Baptism of Raquel

White Chocolate Easter Egg


Eating at Chinese Restaurant after Zone Leaders Conference

Elders Bunn, Gilmore, Hinckley, Klein and Lee

Sean, the Argentine

Monday, April 19, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #95

The Traffic Wolf !!!!!!!!

Hey mom and dad and lacey and grandma and grandma,

No I did not know that the 18th of April was such a significant date in family history, but I did know that it was my 22 month mark! I only have one MTC stay left…heavy stuff dude. Just kidding I don’t say things like “dude” anymore…just sometimes. Haha, actually I was thinking the other day, after being with Elder Sabey for so long in the office, I now have the habit of saying “Elder” after every sentence. I will probably be calling all of you elder when I get home. Also, Mom that was a pretty awesome story you told me in the email, and I vaguely remembered it from when Grandma Sherry would tell us all about “Big Mama”, but it was a great refresher for the memory. That is a great family story we should write down or something. Glad to hear that things aren’t as rocky at home. I’m sure things will be fine.

Well, this week started kind of shaky, but ended on SUCH A HIGH NOTE!!!!!! First off, we had zone conference and our presentation of the Book of Mormon went well. Then I had divisions with Elder Heims from Reno, NV in his area, Ituzaingó 1. He is going to be such a good missionary. He is in his second transfer and already speaks really well. That reminds me that one time in divisions with Elder Gneiting from Las Vegas I was looking at his pictures and saw one of his family at Christmas time with the missionaries at their home, and wouldn’t you know it, Elder Naylor was smiling up at me in the picture. I think it was Christmas 2008, though. So anyway, another great moment this week was the 15th birthday party of the bishop’s daughter at the church. Here in Argentina, a girl’s 15th birthday is like sweet 16 in the States, so it was a pretty big deal. They invited us, but we had to leave almost right when it started because it was late. However, we did get to see a little bit of the culture and traditions of Argentina. So I guess it is like the girl’s social “coming out”/”becoming a woman” event. It was interesting. All the young men formed a line at the door, and each had a white rose in their hand…or teeth…haha but only the jokesters…and were waiting for her. Then the lights went dim when she arrived and a song she previously selected started to play. I was loving it. She picked “My Heart Will Go On.” PERFECT!!!! I love Celine. So Celine is just belting it and the girl walks into the room in her formal dress, escorted by her father. He lets go of her hand (symbolic?) and she walks down the line, accepts the rose from each muchacho and gives him a kiss…on the cheek. Then one of the boys dances her “First Waltz” with her, and then we had to leave so I don’t know any more of the traditions. I was just loving the titanic song though. Some of the young women made fun of me for knowing the words. They were just jealous they don’t understand Canadian.

So that was kind of fun. However, the best experiences of the week are always BAPTISMS!!!! Raquel del Transito Lobo entered into the healing waters of baptism and had her sins washed away. First off, her name is Rachel of the Traffic Wolf…I am not sure how someone gets so lucky to have such a sweet name, but she has the character to go with the name. She is awesome. I had the privilege of baptizing her. It was as always a great experience. We had practiced a few times before in her house, showing her how her hands should go, and practicing plugging her nose and everything. Haha, so we get into the water, and I say the prayer, and start to lower her down in the water. She plugged her nose like a champ, but then got really tense, and kind of resisted. She was fine though and went under, then I pulled her up and she kind of choked a little bit. She was laughing though, and said, “I was so focused on plugging my nose; I forgot to close my mouth.” HAHAHA it was so funny. Everybody laughed. She is going to make a great addition to the ward. She is really social, and makes everybody laugh. We have dinner with her on Wednesday, too. She is going to invite a friend as well, so she has already got the fever for the work! Elder Hinckley confirmed her the next day in Sacrament meeting, and she officially became a member of the Church. For the closing hymn we sang, “Called to Serve”, and she loved it! She couldn’t read it fast enough, but she got the chorus down by the fourth verse (there are four in Spanish) and was singing at the top of her lungs, which still wasn’t very loud haha. She is great! I love these people. I love that we connect so well regardless of language or nationality. I love my converts!

Well, that is all for this week. Also, for my birthday I think it would be best if you don’t send me anything and just save the money for when I get home. What would you send anyway that I would use for three weeks? Also, now that you don’t have other large expenses to pay for during the summer, I guess you can come pick me up, or have a Porsche waiting for me at the airport. Also, I have learned here on my mission that the material things aren’t what matter MOST in life. Haha ok just kidding. But I am serious about the birthday thing. I don’t really see a reason in sending me something three weeks before I get home. Love you all, have a great week, don’t buy stuff on Sunday.
Elder Gilmore

Monday, April 12, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #94

Into the depths of eternal doctrine !!!!

Well,

Wow…ok that was interesting. Don’t worry; things will work out like they are supposed to. Stay faithful, and HONOR THE COVENANTS you have made, and see the promises of God fulfilled. He doesn’t promise something and then say, “Just kidding!” “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” Pretty simple if you ask me. Remember that the consequences of two principles are taught there: Obedience and Disobedience.

Sounds like you are doing well keeping me socially active on Facebook, Dad. Good job! No, I haven’t heard from anyone from my past life for months, but then again, when someone does write me, I am pretty bad at responding, so I’m not complaining. I figure I can answer them back in a couple of months. Also, did anyone realize that I call home again in less than a month? I am not sure how that happened. Other than that…I am not sure what else to write.

This week was pretty good. Elder Hinckley and I got a lot done, and we are pretty pumped for all the success we are seeing in our own area and the zone as a whole. Raquel is still doing great. She came to church this week and they had her stand up as her baptism was announced for this weekend, and she just started laughing and waved at everyone and said, “I’ll be there, and I’ll see you there.” The funny thing was she said it under her breath and no one could even hear her say it, so I started laughing. When we got to the chapel in the morning the power was out, so all the classes were in the dark, and there was no microphone during Sacrament Meeting…so that was interesting, but it was a good meeting anyway. Raquel really is a great lady. If we ever go over to her house around lunch or dinner time she automatically starts cooking for us. Sometimes we have to get creative to get out of it when we already have lunch appointments…or we just eat two lunches…mostly I am just always full. So everything is looking good for this weekend. Tomorrow we have zone conference in Ramos Mejia, and Elder Hinckley and I have to give our whateveryoucallitinEnglish on the Book of Mormon, and how to use it more effectively in the work. It should be good.

So Beatrice now has a baptismal date for May 1st, as well. I don’t know if I already told you that. She is more prepared that almost anyone I have met in Argentina. The only problem is that she smokes 40 cigarettes a day…haha but other than that she is good to go. This week I was on divisions in my area with Elder Marshall from Vernal, Utah, who is in his second transfer here, and we went by to teach Beatrice. Elder Hinckley and I had taught her Word of Wisdom two days before and she walked out and immediately told us that the day before she had only smoked 20, and she hadn’t even smoked her 10th that day. It was the late afternoon…so that is progress. It was a really funny/spiritual lesson for me though. (spiritual things are usually funny for me in the sense that they give me joy…and I laugh when I feel joy) We could see her understanding increase right before our eyes. She explained how she has looked for the true Church all her life, and that she has been to various, but never has found what she was looking for. She explained to us how her head is filled with a ton of different theories, and we need to break through it. So I got out my sledgehammer (Book of Mormon) and got to work. She had a bunch of questions about random doctrines and for every one we read a passage from The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ together. It really does answer every question. Beatrice proved it. So finally after one question she just looked at me and squinted at me…like saying in her look, “how in the world does this 20 year old kid know so much about religion?” I said to Elder Hinckley the other day, “You know, when you think about it, we really are some religious freaks. How many twenty year olds would choose to do this?” Anyway that is beside the point, back to the story. She then brought out the big guns. She said, “Ok, one more question?”

Me- “Sure.”

Beatrice- “This is the most messed up question of all that I have asked. I am sorry if it is too profound, and I don’t ask it to shake your faith, or make you doubt what you believe, but…what happens after death?” She then sighs and covers her face in her hands.

Me-First I chuckled, then I said, “Uh…we actually have a whole pamphlet that talks about that. Here it is.” I then handed her the pamphlet of the plan of salvation and read Alma 40 with her. I have never seen anybody’s eyes get so big. She loved it! I don’t think she thought we would have an answer. I learned that in primary…it was really interesting. So it was a great lesson, and she is progressing really well. Viviana is about the same. She is a great lady, but likes to pick and choose commandments that apply to her. So that is the update on my week here.

I love you all.


Elder Gilmore

Monday, April 5, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #93

Conference Weekend makes me trunky....

Hey Family!!!

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW THE BIG 6-0!!!!!! Ha…ha…just kidding, I haven’t been in the mission THAT long. I hope your day tomorrow is a blast. Any plans? Work? No work? Alright my gift to you is…MY CLASS SCHEDULE!!!! It might be good for you to do it, since I can’t be getting on all the time. So here it is. Also, this is just a rough outline that I will probably be changing later when I have time, but for now these are what I am looking at. Some of them will be full already, but you just have to play the poaching game and check in randomly to see if someone has dropped it. Go ahead and sign up for the twins religion class, but not American heritage because I already took it. Why are we doing it at 9 in the morning, because the same guy does it at 10 as well…and then we could use that extra hour…more effectively…but whatever, 9 is ok with me I guess if they will wake me up? I already had a religion class planned but if is probably full already. We will see what I do. REL C 324 Instructor: Bott (supposedly like byu legend celebrity guy, it is already full because everyone signs up for him, but maybe if you keep checking you will find an opening somewhere) SPAN 321, ECON 110, MUSIC 113…and that is it. Obviously I will take something else, but I haven’t decided on a few classes so just try and get those ones for now, and I will figure the rest out. Tell Brett to sign up for the same Spanish class if he can and wants to. Maybe his schedule will conflict or something, you never know with those engineers. If you notice Dad, I have artfully created a schedule so that I don’t have to go to school on Friday. So never fear, even though I have been through two years of Refiner’s fire, there is still some kind of juvenile teenager in there somewhere. The pictures of the wedding were cool. Ebin looks like a stud in his shirt and tie!

So…CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Was that sweet or what!?! I loved all of it. Maybe a little harder to relate to considering that almost all of it was about teaching your children in the home. They were still great talks though. I am not sure how Elder Holland does it, but he always just GETS THE PEOPLE GOING!!!! I love it! Every six months I don’t get my hopes up because I think that he won’t be as fired up as last time, and then, BAM! It was funny and inspiring. I loved Priesthood session as well, especially Elder Rasband who told that great experience of how missionaries are called. President Monson of course was great. Did you hear that story he told about the girl in the Buenos Aires West mission whose brother passed away? She was in the MTC with me, was on the same plane as me to Argentina, and went home a few months ago. We were all in the room watching in English, and Hermana Benton (President and Hermana were there for some reason) was like, “He is talking about Hermana Gurr! That is her brother! That is our mission!” It was kind of surreal…kind of like I didn’t realize President Monson knew about our little mission down here. Obviously he does, but that was kind of the realization of it for me. It was also interesting for me because I was in the office when her brother passed away, and was the one who picked up the phone when her dad called with the news. That is so great that President Monson mentioned them in Conference. I loved President Uchtdorf’s on “can-food Mormons”, too.

There is a problem with that here, too. People look down on others too much. Most things don’t even matter when you think about it. Who cares if someone needs some help. There were so many good talks, I can’t remember all of them, but we had five investigators there so it was great. Viviana could only come to Saturday Morning, so at least she saw all the great mother daughter talks going on. Then we had Raquel there as well on Sunday Morning, and she absolutely LOVED it! When she walked out she shouted “¡¡¡¡¡¡hermosisimo!!!!!!” which is like saying “beautiful” but with a lot of emphasis. Then she looked at me, GRABBED my hand, squeezed hard and said, “THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME!!!!!!! IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!” I almost couldn’t stifle the laughter erupting from inside of me. It was great. So that was a plus, and we are on track for her baptism the 17th of April. That is all the time I have this week, sorry it is short this week. Have a good birthday, Dad! Love you all!

Elder Gilmore

Monday, March 29, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #92

Transfers!!!

Hey Family,

Well, we had a long day at transfer meeting. After it ended it took us like 2 hours to get home, because of mixed up train schedules. I got my package, and I have to say that Elder Hinckley and I are content. We are staying together here in Parque Leloir for another six weeks together. I am looking forward to it. We have been talking about a lot of good goals we want to reach this transfer, and we are excited to get started on achieving them. We got some good changes in the zone. Two elders will be training, which makes the zone pretty young. I am now the oldest in the zone… Elder Aceituno and Varela both went home today, which was sad, but kind of a wakeup call as well. The zone leaders sit up in the choir loft thing and I was looking out on everyone and saw a ton of faces I didn’t recognize. It was just a huge crowd of young Americans that have gotten here recently. As I would walk around after the meeting people would say “Hey how is it going, Elder Gilmore?” I didn’t even know who they were…but then I thought about it and when I was new in the mission I knew all the older missionaries from stories other elders would tell. It was a strange feeling. Two transfers left. Elder Sabey didn’t come in from 9 de Julio, because he didn’t have a change in his companionship, which was a bummer. I had a ton of stories to tell him, but life goes on. It was a great transfer meeting anyway, and I had a really good time seeing all my buddies, especially Elder Thomas, my last companion, because he gave me the update on Villegas and everything. Elder Klein, my buddy who was a district leader in our zone this past transfer went to be zone leader in Merlo. My son, Elder Latorre is coming up on a year in the mission, which is crazy to me, because I still see him as a hyper little toddler running around in the streets. He still is pretty hyper, but I love him. I told him that next transfer he better dad-gum train, or else I will never know my grandson. People kept coming up to Elder Hinckley and me saying how awesome we were together…haha we were laughing about it in the train. Hermana Daniels asked us if we were going to miss each other when we were separated. In perfect unison we answered, “I miss him already.” Haha she just laughed at us and we walked away. I figured more explanation wasn’t necessary. So all in all, good transfer meeting.

We didn’t have our baptism this week. She almost dropped us and didn’t want to keep receiving us, but we were able to talk to her and she understands and recognizes that we have been helping her. She thanked Heavenly Father in a prayer she offered for us and that we have helped her so much in such a short period of time. It was really nice to hear, but she is going to take some more time to accept the entire gospel in her life and put it in practice. We did make progress with her though, because she has admitted that it is important, and a commandment of God, and that she just doesn’t want to live in harmony with it. We have some other people progressing towards baptism as well, including Raquel Lobo, who has a date for the 17th of April. She is way funny, and has been listening to us for about a month. She is about 60 years old and was one of the people Hermano Juarez (Amulek) took us by when he introduced us to all of his friends. We will be helping her a lot to reach her goal. I can’t really think of anything else to say…

I am way excited for General Conference this weekend. Other than that, hope everything is going great at home. Dad, the Semana Santa and Palm Sunday and all of that jazz is in full swing here. Nobody is allowed to eat meat or something like that, but only the truly devoted Catolico Apostolico Romanos do it, because Argentines don’t go without meat for any reason. They sell huge chocolate eggs here too that are really popular. Well, that is all I can think of for this week. Kyle, don’t be trunky…Brett, good job…haha just kidding, I only said that because I was reading that Kyle always gets teased for being old, don’t worry Kyle, I don’t think you are trunky. They are just jealous that they don’t work like you do, and that they don’t have hair like you either. Keep it up. Love you bye

Elder Gilmore

Monday, March 22, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #91

Stake Conference!

Well Family,

This week’s emails were pretty good parents…keep up the good work. Also, after living in Argentina for 21 months I have seen why socialized healthcare is the worst idea ever. People sneeze and rush to the emergency room…and while they attend to him, the man with the exploding appendix dies in the waiting room. Also there was some freaky story in the news here the other day of some girl, who went into the hospital because she had a headache, and there was some kind of confusion, she got moved into some other room, and they amputated her right arm!!!!!! Haha I can only laugh, but then when I realize it is not a joke I feel bad. Socialized healthcare? No gracias. Oh well, what are we going to do? I figure I will keep paying tithing, keeping the word of wisdom, and not worry about money or health. Yeah, Mom, I did feel weird getting onto the BYU website, but I can’t sign up until April 1st. I need someone, though, to call BYU and see what Spanish class allows you to take a test at the end to give you more credits. President said it was a 4 credit class, but the catalog doesn’t specify.

So I am writing so late because we just got back from zone activity. We played dodge ball, and soccer. I did well in dodge ball, but then not in soccer haha. Didn’t I learn anything in Pee-wee soccer? I actually was kind of getting better at the end. I scored some goals (will you take me to Disneyland?) at the end, but mostly because of my teammates setting me up really well. However, I will say that while I was playing goalie, I was only scored on once…and helped score probably the most beautiful goal I have ever seen. I had it in the goalie box and saw Hermana López down on the other side of the field, so I booted it towards her and it flew perfectly towards her, and she kicked it while still in the air into the goal. It was sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! It was like a movie or something. Well, mostly she just was good, but I’ll take the assist. She is a legit European soccer player who has probably played all her life, and I always was more excited for the orange slices and Capri sun at halftime during my career. But, for a few hours on P-day in Argentina, I’ll hone my skills and have some fun.

This past weekend was stake-conference. Hermana and President Benton were there and spoke about how the Church is our second home, and how the spirit felt and principles taught in the Church should mirror the spirit felt and principles taught in our homes. Viviana, Lucila, and Viviana’s youngest daughter Valentina (3 yrs.) all came. It was so great. She told us that her boyfriend is alright with her going now, but we will see how everything else goes. We were so glad that they could make it to stake conference. They really enjoyed it. Elder Hinckley and I got some good "daddy" practice in, because we were worried about Viviana being able to listen the whole time. We were trying to keep the two girls entertained the whole two hours, and were surprisingly very successful. Right before walking out of the pench on Sunday Morning, we thought, maybe we should bring some stuff for the girls to do. So we grabbed everything we thought might interest a little girl. We grabbed our gospel art book with all the pictures of the church, a pad of paper and my scripture markers so they color, and the only snack food we had: my coveted Australian mango licorice. I decided it was for the greater good. Luckily, though, I was blessed for my sacrifice and it didn't reach the point of having to open the bag. They were content with coloring the whole time. Finally those scripture markers were good for something. Just kidding, Mom.

Now all we are focusing on is getting them baptized. We still have to verify if she is actually living the law of chastity. She loves going to church and feels peace, and wants to continue, but she doesn't plan on leaving her boyfriend. They don't live together, so this week we are going to be getting a firm commitment out of her to live the law of chastity and then decide if she wants to marry this guy or not.
So transfers are here again. Has it been six weeks already? They are going a little too fast for me now. Well, the zone didn't do too hot this transfer, but there were a lot of good things that have happened anyway. Three of the areas are in the top 10 of the mission on average. We will see what happens. Next Monday is transfer meeting…to be continued next P-day!

Love, Elder Gilmore

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photos from Parque Leloir

Baptism of Sebastian and Daniel

The Castelar Zone


Parque Leloir, Argentina


Lucila came to the baptism and brought Elder Gilmore and Elder Hinckley some cheese puff/pretzel men

Parque Leloir- Week #90

Hey hey hey

Hey Family,

Well, this week was a pretty good one again. We had some ups and downs, but all in all we made it through alright. I don’t really need more peanut butter, but if there is room in the package send it along. Also, to add to the list of strange physical problems that I have been plagued with, this week as I was walking some bug flew into my eye and died up there or something because I couldn’t get it out, and it hurt every time I blinked. Then the next morning it was swollen and nasty...like pink eye...but it is better now. I called Hermana Benton and she told me to go buy some eye drops, which helped it out in about a day. It was more annoying that anything. I got one of the packages with the memory card in it, but the other one hasn’t gotten here yet. However, I did get Grandma Sherry’s Christmas/New Years/St. Paddy’s Day package, which was nice. Also, when I took out money this morning the inquiry said that I had 7,848 pesos in it...which is like $ 1,800 so I don’t know what was going on with that, but I just took out what I thought I needed, because those leather scripture cases I bought are going to be about 1000 pesos. Sorry about that. Anyway, I think I answered all your questions.

This week we had interviews with President Benton, but right before we had a little meeting with him as the zone leaders to talk about the zone and its needs. About 3 of the ten areas in the zone are doing great. We are all in the top five of the mission right now, but the rest are like at the bottom of the mission...so it is kind of a struggle. So we plan on doing some lifting this week. My personal interview went really well, too. It was trunky...we talked about BYU the whole time. After I write you, President gave me permission to get onto byu.edu to look at classes and everything. Then he gave me some tips on what classes to take and how to fully take advantage of my first semester back. Then I popped the question to him: “President....what should I do with my life?” He just kind of laughed at me, and said, “Well, I always have ideas, but we will have time to talk about that later. For now just worry about your classes.” It got me really excited for BYU...which isn’t really how I want to feel right now. But ok.

So Viviana and Lucila are doing pretty well. This week I probably had the most interesting lesson I have ever taught in my whole mission. We had the Chastity talk with Viviana...for 2 hours...no exaggeration...I didn’t know you talk for two hours about chastity. She had some very complex, specific questions, and we were treading in uncharted waters. I wrote it all in my journal, so you can read it later, because it is absolutely not appropriate for this email. She kind of accepted it. She has a boyfriend that doesn’t live with her, and she was going on and on about how you can’t marry someone without knowing if you love them...so in an answer that came straight from the Spirit I said that those relations only enhance love after the love has been established. It was kind of a frustrating lesson, not because of her, but because what the world has taught her. The world teaches that you can do whatever you want, but it is really teaching you how to be a good slave, because it has been seen time and time again that today’s freedom is tomorrow’s captivity. Obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ is the wings that lift us above that captivity. So we will be continuing to work with Viviana. Also, we are with Elder Klein and his comp and we wasted a good chunk of time watching his screen saver today, because we couldn’t think of anything to write about. So time is up...love you, bye.

Elder Gilmore

Monday, March 8, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #89

The Church is true...

Hey there gang!
This week has been sweet! First of all, congratulations on everybody for their great missionary experiences this week, or planned missionary experiences for the following week. Mom! Your visiting teaching is resulting in 4 baptisms! That is legit…you are officially a useful member in the eyes of the elders. Also, I am guessing that the Academy Award went to “El Secreto en Tus Ojos”, because it is like huge here, and the only movie made in Argentina that I have ever heard of. All the rest are from the States with Spanish dubbed over it. I have not gotten my package yet, but we get mail tomorrow so I am sure it will get here. I get mail every Tuesday now, just like everybody else…so no more office privileges of opening mail on the spot. Elder Hinckley and I live by ourselves in the smallest apartment I have ever seen, but it is sufficient for our needs. Elder Hinckley cut my hair today…and my head is basically shaved. Also, what are the pin numbers to my personal credit cards? I have never used them and don’t remember in the slightest. Today I bought a Mate that is pretty sweet! It was in a nice souvenir store. I also bought postcards to send you. So be on the lookout. Elder Hinckley is a River fan, but I have never really declared a favorite team. Just know that The River-Boca rivalry is like Yankees-Red Sox, or USC-Notre Dame in the Gilmore family.

Zone Conference went really well. We were supposed to take 45-50 minutes, but we were running way late all day so they told us to do it in 25, and we took around 30. So it was actually really good, because we could cut out all the parts that were kind of boring, like reading Preach My Gospel and stuff. Ha…that was a joke, don’t worry. It was fun though, we started out using a trompo, which is a toy that for some reason every Chilean elder knew how to use. It is kind of like an old fashioned top with a string on it and you throw it down with some special flick of the wrist and it spins for years. We had an American do it first, who couldn’t do it, because he had no idea how to use it, and then we had a Chilean do it and it was cool and he did tricks and stuff. So we related that do companionship study. If you know how to study effectively with your companion, it is fun. But if you don’t know how, it isn’t fun. So most people don’t have a good comp study so they give up and don’t want to do it anymore, hence they waste time every morning from 9-10. Then we talked about how to enjoy comp study. It was funny that in Preach My Gospel chapter 2 it talks about studying and on the first page it says, “Most missionaries don’t know how to study effectively.” Ouch…ok. So it went well, and we are glad it is over so we can start focusing in on the investigators.

After the zone conference we went with the assistants and President Benton to go check out a potential new mission home. It was…massive…it looked like the White House. Not really, but I was trying to help you get an idea of what it was like in your minds. Anyway, after that we went to the meeting with the Stake President. It went really well. Stake Conference is in two weeks, and President Muni (stake pres.) asked President Benton to speak about how the Church is our second home. Great topic! President accepted, and so now we really need to get people to stake conference to hear what he has to say. I can’t think of a better topic for investigators to hear about. Also General Conference is in 3 weeks…that was the fastest six months of my life. I have to start getting questions ready! They will all probably be trunky questions.

So the baptisms went great!!!! Sebastian and Daniel are so awesome! They are going to be leaders one day. Sebastian had to be baptized 4 times…haha it was kind of awkward, because his Dad messed up the prayer, and then his foot came up, and then his wrist didn’t go under, and then his dad basically drowned him making sure he was completely under. We had investigators there watching so it was kind of interesting having to explain that. But everything went off without a hitch besides that. They both gave their testimonies after and it was soooooo funny. Sebastian went first and started crying before he could get a word out and just said two things and sat back down, so it was a really quiet spiritual moment. Then Daniel gets up to the microphone and just stands there looking at everybody, and then I think he realized he didn’t know what he was supposed to say, and looked over at the Bishop. So Bishop asks him how he feels, to which he responded, “Bien” and then stepped down and walked back to where his family was sitting. Ha the funniest part was that on the way down he looked at his mom, stuck his hands out and shrugged his shoulders like, “I have no idea why I was up there.” Haha it was great. So they are now members of the church.

Last story before I go. Our investigators at the baptism made it to church as well. Viviana and her 7 year old daughter Lucila, or Lucy for short. Lucy turns 8 next week, which I don’t know if you realize…is the age of accountability…anyway the first time we taught them they were really good. They like actually paid attention. Then the second time we taught them Viviana had a lot of really good questions, and she had actually read what we left her with. At the end of the lesson she looked at us and said, “God must have sent you here to help us.” We each then bore testimony how we are personal representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then she started crying. It was a really good lesson, and ever since then she has been willing to do everything we invite her to do. They came to the baptism and loved it, and then came to church yesterday as well. Lucy is the new love of my life…I mean…she is a cool little girl. She made us little action figure things out of the refreshments at the baptism. So we are going to keep working with them. Viviana has a boyfriend, but he lives in Capitál, so at least they don’t live together, which happens all the time here in Argentina. I hope they keep progressing. I kind of came to the realization this week that I have 3 ½ more months to find all the rest of the people I promised I would find and help. I have never felt so much pressure and urgency, but it is a good feeling. It is going to be exciting to see who the Lord will put in our path these last months in Argentina. Ok bye, I have to get out and WORK!

Elder Gilmore

Monday, March 1, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #88

Earthquake free...


Hey Family!!!
Well, this week has been a pretty good one. Obviously, we have been bombarded by news of the earthquake in Chile. Everybody is talking about it. Everybody…and we were visiting a recent convert when he decided to turn on the news to prove to us that Hawaii was under Tsunami watch, so we saw some footage of that, but it wasn’t that exciting. They looked like normal waves. I didn’t feel any kind of aftershock or anything, too far away. There are a ton of Chilean missionaries in the mission though and so naturally we were worried about their families. President Benton authorized all Chilean missionaries to call home to see if their families were even alive. Most missionaries I have talked to got through and their families are doing well. Elder Rivas is the only Chilean in the zone, but he couldn’t get through. I guess where he lives is where it hit strongest. He finally got a hold of the family last night. Elder Palacios my old companion was talking to me on the phone and told me that his parents didn’t know where his sister was for two days, because cell phones weren’t working and the road to their town was blocked. I guess she went out on a date to another city and was trying to get back but couldn’t for two days. That would be scary. So all in all, we are doing well here as far as natural disasters are concerned.

I don’t know if that old man’s car was a Toyota, Mom. I don’t think it had anything to do with the type of car it was, though. I think he couldn’t brake just because the car looked like it was made in the 20’s. I remember looking down and seeing the street through the holes in the floor of the car. The zone is doing better. We still need to improve in some aspects, but there will always be something to improve, so you can’t be disappointed. Tomorrow is zone conference, so Elder Hinckley and I will be trying to give the most motivating training we can on…companionship study. No, last week’s email was not a joke; we actually have to talk about companionship study for 50 minutes. Haha, no it should be fun. After the zone conference, Elder Hinckley and I have a meeting with the Stake President of Castelar and President Benton to talk about the work in the stake. They are thinking of splitting Parque Leloir into two wards, which would be interesting. Yes I remember growing pains, and I loved that show. I loved even more how Kirk Cameron (troublemaker, Mike Seaver) became some kind of spokesman of Christianity, and Alan Thicke (the responsible dad, Jason Seaver) did commercials for couple only resorts in Vegas or something like that. See Parents? Your children really were influenced by television. Watch less TV kids. Read a book…or write one…do something that requires you to exercise more than your thumb to change the channel. Our baptisms are still on for this weekend! Sebastian and Daniel Esteche will be baptized by their father (recent convert who just got the priesthood yesterday) at 7:30 Saturday night. I love baptisms.

So I did divisions with Elder Klein this week, from my MTC district. It was pretty fun, because we both know how to work, so we could just go out and learn from each other. He is training right now, so Elder Hinckley continued the training of Elder Heims, while Elder Klein and I went to his area Ituzaingó 1. This one lady rejected us hardcore, but we could only laugh and love her for it. We walked up to her to ask her how her day was going, and as always offered our hand for her to shake. “I will not shake your hand.” That is pretty serious. Argentines rarely use “will” or “will not” because their word binds them into a commitment that they might not keep, and they don’t like for their image to be tainted by broken promises. So the fact that she said that she WILL NOT do it, was the first hint that she meant business. We are more used to “I am not going to shake your hand”, or “I don’t want to shake your hand”, or “No.”, all of which seem to be softer ways to reject someone. So Elder Klein naturally asked why she would not shake our hands. What came out of her mouth next was a series of not so nice words and false accusations that we came here to steal everything Argentina has and take it back to the States, leaving the people here homeless and hungry. She capped it off with a fierce, “ANDATE A TU PAIS!” (in essence, “go back to your country”) More Spanish lessons can be learned from this haha. The fact that she was speaking in “Tu” form, implies that she was only speaking to one person, because “Tú” or “Vos” means you singular. So I thought maybe she just didn’t like Elder Klein…hence I tried to contact her…the result was similar. Elder Klein couldn’t stop laughing, after being an appropriate distance from her of course. It was kind of funny, in the sense that it has been a long time since someone has ripped into me like that, and last time it happened I didn’t really understand what was being said. I am going to miss Argentina anyway. Maybe she was just having a bad day. Elder Hinckley and I are having a great time together. I think he might go be AP next transfer because Elder Aceituno is leaving and Elder Hinckley has the perfect time to replace him. We will see though. That is probably it for this week. I realized I have like 3 video cards filled up that I have never sent home, dating back from when I was in the offices with Elder Sabey, so I will send those home I guess. Love you guys!


p.s. forgot to tell you this story this week:

We found our Amulek in the ward, which lead to almost all of the success we had. On Wednesday after lunch we had planned to visit a member we didn't know that well. We knocked on the door of Hermano Juan Juarez. Best decision we ever made. He answered and we asked a little about him to try and get to know him. He lives alone, and has been a widower for 23 years. I think he is about 65 years old. So we "shot the breeze" for a few minutes and then asked if he knew someone around him that would be interested in knowing more about we believe. He said that he had been praying that someone would come visit him, because he had been feeling alone, and then said, "I have lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. I know everybody! I'll change my pants and then come with you." Jackpot! He lead us around for the next couple of hours presenting us to all of his friends and conocidos in the barrio. He was just what we needed to get into some houses that usually we probably wouldn't have gotten into. The best part was that he was just happy to be out of his house and serving the Lord. He started doing contacts, and then would get nervous and tell us to talk to the person. It was really fun, kind of like training again, except our refuerzo was 65 years old. He went out 3 times with us this week, and we were able to find a lot of good people to teach. At first he was really blunt with people, but then would start copying what we said with contacts, so he was learning and applying what he learned really well. The very first person he was just like, "We have the word of the Lord!" Haha, we had to kind of smooth the contact over because of the strange look the lady gave us. It was pretty great.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pictures from Villegas

Sean, Fernandez family (Villegas) and mate

more mate !!!!

Fernandez family baptism


Baptism




More Pictures

Sean and Cristian

Sean and Ilumina


Sean and Elder Fox

Rain

Reason why Sean was still getting wet

Parque Leloir- Week #87

Season's Greetings from Parque Leloir


Hey Family!!!

Well, my first week as zone leader was an interesting one. It rained a lot, and keeps on raining. It is weird, because last year it was just hot all summer, but it has rained a lot this year. Everyone is surprised by it, and places are flooding pretty badly on some days. I loved the pictures of your Utah trip, and thanks Dad for the parking spot, so I don’t have to deal with iced windshields. Elder Hinckley is a baller. He is from Knoxville, Tennessee. He is in a band with his brothers, and they have like a legit CD and everything. He has permission to listen to it on the mission, so we listen to it...and they are pretty good. I was impressed. Parque Leloir is a great ward as well. It was RICH!!!!! There are some huge mansions here that I didn’t know existed in Argentina. In the middle of the area are just straight quintas (huge lots of land with huge mansions, swimming pools, guest houses, soccer stadiums, roller coasters, and airport runways) but on the outskirts of that there are normal neighborhoods, which is where we mostly work. Everybody in the ward has a car, which is nice because they can help us go get investigators. Yesterday, we went with some old man, picked up Anahí (investigator) and started driving back, when the old man started to scream that his brakes went out. NO PUEDO FRENAR!! NO PUEDO FRENAR!!! I thought to myself, “Frenar...frenar...I know what that means...oh yeah...brakes...WHAT? ¿NO PUEDE FRENAR? We started taking turns at 30 miles an hour onto slick muddy roads, with an old argentine man frantically trying to change gears and keep control of the car, and I couldn’t help but start laughing. We made it safely to church though don´t worry. He used his brakes to stop in the parking lot so that confused me, but I didn’t ask questions. It was a pretty fun Sunday morning. We worked about 4 of the 7 days of the week I would say, because of meetings, zone leader conference, baptismal interviews, and so forth, but that is fine with me, we still had a lot of time to reach our goals. We have zone conference in two weeks and we have to give a taller (workshop/training thing) on companionship study...what in the world are we supposed to talk about for an hour? Ideas anyone? How are you supposed to make that interesting?

The zone is doing alright...thanks to the hermanas...haha we gave the challenge to everyone to complete with their 140 contacts for the week, and only the hermanas, us, and one other area completed with it. There is definitely some room for some motivational work here. Elder Hinckley and I have been thinking a lot about what we can do to get everyone going. Hopefully this week will be better. We are going to be doing divisions to try and get some people excited.

We have two baptismal dates as of now. Sebastian and Daniel Esteche. Their dad was baptized last transfer and will be getting the priesthood this week to be able to baptize his sons the following Saturday. So the first Saturday in March we should be having two baptisms. Also, there is a kid named Matias that has come to church this week who is golden! He is going to get baptized! He just has to realize that first. We gave him a gospel principles manual and after ward council we came out and he was still there and had read to chapter nine. He is a reference from the Bishop’s daughter...they said they aren’t dating...but I bear testimony that something is going on. She wanted to know when we could start giving the discussions because Matias told her he is going to come every week from now on. In...the...water... So we will be working with him as well. Anahí also came, and is the niece of a member. She is twenty years old, but when we tried to take out a baptismal date, she said she wanted to but it was impossible. She is a godmother in the Catholic Church to 4 children, and if she gets baptized she will “lose them”. We had like an hour long discussion trying to convince her that she can have her god-children, and still be a member of the Church. It gave me a headache. It basically all came down to, she doesn’t believe in the Catholic Church, except for the godmother part, and believes everything about this church but isn’t willing to give up her “children”. I wrote more details down in my journal, it was just a long conversation, but for now she would rather deny the answer God gave her...oooo...ouch. She will come around, because she is really cool. Well, I will be talking to you next week, and let’s see if I can get some pictures sent here. I love you all, nos vemos.

Elder Gilmore

Ps. Also I need to know what airport I am flying into, the abbreviation and if you are picking me up you have to contact church travel offices now...it says so in my trunky papers, my day of arrival is the 21st of June...that Monday. It changed. So write me back.