Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sleepy Saint Joseph

Dear Family,

Hey guys how’s it going?  I hope that you all are doing as well as I am.  We had a really awesome week this last week here in Dean Funes.  It sounds like you are having a pretty fun time too.  I really love Mondays to hear how everything is going.  Ok I really hate to admit this but I just finished writing the email and it somehow erased.  All of it but the first three sentences.  I really hate every single computer in Argentina – haha.   Oh well, I’ll see if I can rewrite what I already did....  I was really hoping that Caitlin would have had her Baby by the time you emailed!  I am way excited!  Caitlin and Tyler you are in my Prayers. (p.s. - Catlin you need to slow down a little bit so that mom has the strength to help with my kids when my wife is pregnant).

I was so sad to hear about Joseph needing surgery!  I hope he is doing ok and that he is taking the news ok.  We are really blessed to have the technology that we have to correct these types of problems.  But Dad is right maybe he’ll be left with some black man hops. Tell the Doctor to study the leg structure of MJ or Lebron James.  You may as well go extreme with this haha.  I hope that the kids help Dad out around the house.  Surely he has already gone to the store and bought pop tarts and captain crunch.  I wish I was there to enjoy it haha. I hope you guys have a great week.

We had a good week. I still feel like we take 5 steps forward and 4 steps back. But I really appreciated the scripture in Nephi that Dad shared with me (2 Nephi 28:30).  Line upon Line is so true.  A lot of time we forget that the members here have only been members anywhere from 3 weeks to 9 years maximum.  Sometimes as the missionaries we expect them to know everything.  We expect them to act as if they have been members for generations and generations.  The people are awesome here.  They are so different. So distinct.  Sometimes when I get frustrated inside for what they do, or what they don’t do or for laziness, I take a look at their neighbors and you can truly see the difference in the lives of the two families.  It’s obvious which family has the Gospel.  I really am learning a lot from them.  In Priesthood a Brother said it perfectly - Somos Pocos, Peros Somos Buenos. We are small, but we are good.  There was only 4 or us.  But it’s so true. It doesn’t change the fact that the church is true.  We are good.  We are doing what the Lord wants us to do and serving him.

Today was awesome. There is a man in our ward named Goyo Cabrera. We have lunch with him and his wife every Tuesday.  He is so cool.  He is insane.  He is 65 years old but acts like an 18 year old.  He is hilarious.  He has wanted to take us to the Sierras and to tour some little towns so today we did that.  At 8 in the morning we left.  I took about 100 pictures today. It was so pretty.  First we drove through the Sierras and went to a town called San Jose de la Dormida (sleepy Saint Joseph).  It is really pretty. Not too many people live there. Then we went to Tulumba.  I have been hearing about Tulumba ever since I got here.  It’s known for its cobblestone streets, wild horses, and Cathedrals. It’s kind of sad because the river dried up about 20 years ago.  Goyo said it’s practiculy a ghost town.  I wonder if it has more than 200 people.  But it was so pretty. I felt like I took a few steps back in time.
Everyone there was so nice their and so curious as to what we were doing. They have a hill in the town that is pretty big. It’s called Christ’s hill because it has a statue of Christ on top.  So we went and took some pictures of it.  It was a way fun P day.  I hope the email sends with the pictures... I guess we’ll see.  Thanks for everything guys.  I love you all so much.  You are and will be in my prayers this week.  Have a good week this week!

Love Riley

Here are a few pictures from Argentina:

Sunrise in Dean Funes:

The first Cathedral in Tulumba constructed in 1723:

Another Cathedral in Tulumba:

Elder Mahr (the branch President in Dean Funes) and Goyo Cabrera (our tour guide for the day):

The Argentine Sierra's:

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Dear Fam,

Hey guys! Thank you so much for your emails.  I was really thinking a lot about you this last week and was really looking forward to hearing about your trip to Nicaragua.  It sounds like you had such a good time.  I LOVED the pictures.  It reminded me of going there and seeing the people with Dad.  You are so awesome to help and serve and to be such awesome of examples of our Savior.  I can’t think of a better thing to do the week of Easter (Pascua as said here).  You guys look so good in the pictures.  Alex looks older, but Mom and Dad you guys look awesome.  Ok Olivia looks older too - less like a little kid. 

Today we got a call from the mission telling us that the funeral of Sister Hatch would be broadcast via skype!  Elder Medina and I went to our church to watch it.  I sent you the link hoping that you would be able to see it.  It was really special.  All of her kids talked and the grandkids sang a song.  Wow that building was packed.  The Stake Center was completely filled with people.  I’m sure that she truly affected thousands of lives.  Elder Hatch is doing awesome.  He looked so good.  He shared some really great things about his wife and talked a lot about their mission together.  At first they didn’t want to go on a mission because they were having such a good time with all the grandkids - game after game, recitals and programs.  Finally the Stake Pres called them on a mission.  Elder Hatch said that he fell in love with his wife again.  He said that he was reminded of all the reasons of why they were married.  He gave a very nice little shout out to us here in Dean Funes and the missionaries in Cruz Del Eje where he served.  I’m sure that those people will forever remember him.  The funeral ended with a note read by the Stake Pres from President Monson to Elder Hatch.  Wow.  One thing he said was that he can’t think of a better way to return to our Father in Heaven than being in the middle of His work.  It was really cool.  And it’s so true.  This work is the most important thing. 

We had a good week in Dean Funes.  I am really enjoying my companion.  I’m learning a lot about myself and about my Father in Heaven.  I’m learning lessons of patience and of faith.  Because it was Easter Weekend we were expecting really good attendance in Sacrament.  Sadly it didn’t really turn out that way.  But we still had a really great Sunday.  We had 2 people come back that haven’t come in 2 years or more.  It was really great to have them.  The talks that were given were really special and you could really feel the spirit.  I am so grateful for the members that come every week.  I’m so grateful for the time they take to prepare a lesson even though maybe one or two people attend.  I really hope that they don’t get depressed but can keep pressing forward.  Today we went to Elder Mahrs house to wash our clothes.  His wife was a little bit down because she had done so much to make this Sunday special and only 4 sisters went to Relief Society.  She told us that she didn’t understand how it is that every single person in Dean Funes has the same excuse - I slept in.  But as we thought about it I think we found the answer.  I have been getting up early on Sunday for 19 years.  I have had good examples for 19 years. I have seen how a calling should be done right and have had the opportunities to have callings.  It really might just take a little bit of time for these things to sink in.  These people haven’t had the experiences and the examples that we as the missionaries have had.  Elder Mahr is really awesome though.  He always has so much excitement.  I think that he realizes that he still has a whole year here to serve and it doesn’t help anyone to get discouraged.  He is an awesome example.  I’m not really discouraged I just feel bad for the people.  Time passes so fast that with a blink of an eye it’s been 3 years and you haven’t gone to church. We are really lucky to have a father in Heaven who loves us so much that he gives us challenges and problems in our lives that turn us to him. 

One of the highlights of Easter Sunday was that I got to teach the primary.  There were only 7 people - 7 little girls haha.  It was a real treat.  They are so cute.  I wish I could do it more often. We sang songs and made Easter Eggs out of clay. 

Thanks so much for everything guys. I am so grateful for our family.  We are so blessed in all things. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary and to share the Gospel with the people here.  I love our Savior Jesus Christ and am eternally grateful for what he did for us.  This weekend was a great time to ponder and reflect about his life.  I know that with out him we are nothing and could never become anything. 

I hope that you all have a great week!! 

Love Riley