Monday, March 29, 2010

Parque Leloir- Week #92


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 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 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 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 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 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 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.