Monday, June 27, 2016

Tolhuin, Zona Rio Grande - Week 7... AWESOME Surprise in this post!

Alright, where do I begin.... This week has been hectic! After the last P-Day, they put me in a trio for 2 days with Caceres and Torrez and I HATED IT. They were just walkin' and talkin' Spanish to each other, and I was just walking behind kicking rocks the whole time. Plus we weren't in my area, and overall it just sucked haha. 

But it's okay, because Elder Hernandez arrived, and we got to go back to Tolhuin. Elder Hernandez is pretty dope. He doesn't speak a lick of English, but I've already learned a load of Spanish from him. I know that my Spanish in the vids totally sucks, but it's because I felt pressured to speak Spanish for you guys. Know that I'm doing a bit better than that haha. But yeah, he's definitely different than Wilhelm, good and bad. He's having a reeeeeally rough time adjusting to Tolhuin because all of his other areas have been centros, so it's way different for him. Plus Tolhuin is just hard, and his abuela passed away last week, so it's just the perfect storm working on him right now. I'm trying to have all the sympathy I can, but it's a bit difficult cause he's really irritable. But it's okay, I can tell that he's trying, and I've been mas o menos where he is right now, so I'll be patient. It's just kind of hard cause I'm this brand new missionary, don't know jack squat, and I have to be the senior comp for now. BUT WERE GONNA MAKE IT. 

On the bright side, the problems with the members are toning down a lot. We made a really big effort to visit all the families, and I think they responded well. We had around 20 at church this week. None of our investigators came, so all fechas dropped which sucked, but it's okay. Really awesome experience that happened, yesterday it was raining way hard all day. So at 7pm, our last cita fell through (like always lol), so we were just out in the cold, with nothing to do. So we started walking, and the streets are straight half foot deep mud, and I see the casa of some menos activos. These guys never let us in, but I just felt like we should try. So we go up to the door, clap, and the Hermano comes out, first time I've met him. He tells us que podiamos pasar otra dia (We can come visit another day). FAAAAAAAAAH EN SERIO?????? So like always, we start walking away, but when we we're halfway across the street, he came back outside, and told us to come back. They invited us in, and he essentially apologized for being so frio (cold) with us in the past. They're converts of Elder Yapias' (a recently returned elder in David's ward or stake that Alex met before the mission). Anyways, we got to know 'em, and to wrap things up, I shared a scripture that I think really resonated with them. Then we got to trudge straight home. It was awesome. Tender mercies man. 

Anyways, as I'm sure you can see, some of the dogs are starting to grow on me. Others I still want to punt a mile. My heart is broken by COPA. Not sure if there's anything else worth noting... Milka Torta Oreo is the new king over Pepitos (I'm gonna get soooo much crap from Elder Wilhelm for saying that). 

I think that that's pretty much todo for now. I miss you guys a ton!!!! Tell Sofia she's a capa, tell Dad and Nikki and Kevin I love em. Tell Abuela thanks for the letter, it lifted my spirits! 

I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!!!! - Elder Jimenez




​And the pic is by the sea in Rio Grande while I was in the trio




This is me with handshake dog (I named him Mano-el lololol)​.


And this me with Mooch. 
He's a perro de calle that lives by the pensh. 
I'm sure you can tell why we call him Mooch :)​



Dad, 

I just love your emails, even when they totally suck. The Shankies totally choked on me, and not only did Argentina lose, CHILE WON. En serio... Anyways, still awesome to hear from you. 

Sucks that you don't get to go Moab, but we don't play hard till after we work hard right? Temple Square literally sounds like the Celestial Kingdom in comparison to where I am right now, so totally jealous of that. 

As far as presidential news, an abuelita referred to Obama as el negrito this week so that was hilarious. And seriously, can the second coming just happen already? Id like to see Abuelo again, plus if it happens any other day than Monday, we might get a special p-day out of it, which I could always use haha. 

Thanks for the animo, your council each week really does make a difference for me. I'm doing my best to stay healthy down here, losing a bit of weight, but not a ton. Elder Hernandez could definitely use some strength, he's straight weeping at the other computadora. That was me week 2 though, so no judging here. 

I love you Dad! You're my biggest role model in life, and this whole mission things is finally helping me to figure you out. Eat a burger for me, Ill eat an alfajor for you. 

Muchisimo amor - Elder Jimenez, Aguante Familia Jimenez+2Muncy y espero que 3Muncy por el tiempo que regreso

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tolhuin, Zona Rio Grande - Week 6... Cambios!

Alright time for the weekly update... I'm trying to think of a couple cool things that happened this week... I legit hitch-hiked to the cyber (the internet cafe where they are writing emails), so that's the first time I've done that in my life. I'm in Rio Grande by the way (: Elder Wilhelm left Friday night, so I stayed the night in Austral with Elder Pymm's comp - Elder Caceres. Pymm finished too. 

Anyways, we were in Austral for Saturday, then we returned to Tolhuin for church, then we came back to Rio again, so that's where I am now. On the combi (collective bus/taxi) coming back from Tolhuin I totally sat next to two guys who speak English. They were world travelers that had been travelling for 6 months, through 25 countries, and they are getting close to finishing their trip, so they had a ton of cool stories. Horrible language and smelled like weed, but still cool that I was sitting next to a dude that had been at Everest Base Camp like 4 meses antes (4 months ago).

I also gave my first blessing in Spanish this week, only consecrated, but still dope. The Spanish is definitely coming along. I understand a ton more, plus after I was done talking with the guy from Florida he was like, "dude you speak straight Spanglish." Turns out I had been saying ton of words in Spanish accidentally and I forgot a lot of words in English, and I was like "I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MY ENTIRE LIFE!" Copado. 

Last night in Austral, I met the coolest family on the planet. It was this like 35 year old menos activo (less active guy) living with his 88 year old abuelita. She made us popcorn and was a total capa (boss) the whole time, and he's a convert from a long time ago. He was very, very gay before he got baptized, but he stopped that, got baptized, went through the temple, and then served his own mission by going out with the missionaries all day every day for months, and very frequently for years. He's menos activo because he doesn't really trust the people in the church because he's still a total flamer and he thinks they'll judge him. But the guy has the testimony and dedication of a general authority coupled with the personality of Cam from Modern Family. So imagine that. A flamin' feminine apostle and an 88 year old abuelita who reminds me of the grandma from Mulan with the cricket, millions of animals in the house, popcorn, and chocolatada. Best freakin' night ever. 

I'd keep telling awesome stories, but I actually got a monton (bunch) of emails this week including two from SOFIA and BENTON. So por fin on that one. Soooo pumped. Email me guys! 

But yeah, there were more people at church this week, but zero investigators, so that was hard, but in Tolhuin... WE GRIND. Elder Hernandez, one of the elders from the office is gonna come down, and were gonna wreck Tolhuin. Shamu was a bit shy this transfer, but I've got a feeling that Elder Hernandez (who slept in the bunk above me in the bunk bed tower my first night in Comodoro, btw) and I are gonna be able coax her out. So keep your raincoats on. 

Love you all, especially you Mom. Go Cavs. Aguantes Tolhuin!!!!!!

PS: Elder Hernandez is from Uruguay and he doesn't speak English, which means I'm gonna be a Castellano capo by area 2. I'm not sure how much time he has, but the LZs (Zone Leaders) say about a year. All of the guys say he's a capo, so I'm super pumped. The music in this cyber is making me trucho haha. And yeah, you should ask Uncle Mark about his story, it's really helping me. I'll forward the email.

This is the AWESOME letter that Uncle Mark sent to Alex... just like Alex, I loved the experiences that he shared, and thought that the family would enjoy it too!

Alex,

We are sorry it has been so long since we wrote. We have been reading your weekly reports and are enjoying all you describe. We are loving our mission and enjoying both the temple and Brazil. It did get cold here but our cold would be your warm, 5 degrees C.

As I have followed your mission I want you to know that what you are experiencing is about the same as most of us.  I left Idaho in November and arrived in my first area, the city of Araracuba. It was considered the hole of the mission. It was over 90 degrees and around 90% humidity almost every day for the six months I stayed there. No air conditioning. I about died from the heat. I got all kinds of fungal diseases. The branch had about 20 members and we met in an apartment above a bakery. There were conflicts with the members and the spirit was not the best in the branch. We baptized 5 in six months and I was sure that place would never grow. I was depressed for the first few weeks and contemplated going home. Then I had a spiritual experience and I never looked back.

This past week I took your Aunt Ivelisse to visit the same city. In the past 50 years it grew from a small branch to two stakes. The leadership of the branches are strong. We tried to count the number of stake presidents, mission presidents, and Area Authorities that came out of that city. There has been one Area Authority and one wife of an AA, who was one of my baptisms. There have been several stake and mission presidents. While we were there they got together a group of some of descendants of three families who were there when I was. It was wonderful. All the children and grandchildren in those three families are active. That is the picture I am sending. So you never know what may happen in the future.  The difference in that place was the baptism of one very incredible leader, who was the husband and father of the Japanese members in the picture.


I love that city. It will always be mi lugar en el mundo. So do not give up hope. You never know what will happen.

So eat for us some Argentine Beef, dulce de Leche, empanadas, milanesa, pomelo con gas, gnocchi, and pasta. We pray for you every night. Ti queremos mucho.

Uncle Mark and Aunt Ivelisse

Elder Mark Grover
Sister Ivelisse Grover
Campinas Temple

Brazil

I'm pumped :) alright pics...


The splinter from a bush that I got during the hike last Monday that was killing me and the tools I used in my mini surgery to get it out. (Actually the picture of the splinter was way to blurry to include...)



The last fried chicken with Elder W 
and my piece that legit looked like a chicken! It was crazy!!! haha



A couple more mountain sunshine pics that were dope from last week at Laguna Esmeralda.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tolhuin, Zona Rio Grande - Week 5... Wowza!

Wowza. This week was nuts, but I'm alive, so that's good. Yesterday (Domingo) was suuuuuper rough for most of the day. Church was Elder Wilhelm and I with 2 of the men from the ward. Hermano Sieles was on vacation, and none of our investigators came. Also, an hermano arrived this week, the husband of one of the hermanas in the ward. He and one of the other hermanos have been causing a lot of problems because they're super zealots who believe that they're better than everyone else because they've been to the temple, and they don't like Hermano Sieles, so they're causing a lot of turmoil. I'm actually starting to worry that the Church is gonna die in Tolhuin. The only members we have are starting to come less and less because of the two hermanos. So I'm honestly worrying. And for the first time in my life, on Domingo, I was mad at God. I was mad at him that I was in Tolhuin, because with the church group struggling so much, we can't bring any investigators to church, and they don't even come anyways. I was mad at Heavenly Father for putting me in Tolhuin because I believed that there was no success to be had, but then I prayed, repented, asked to have more humility, and now I'm good haha. I just need to keep grinding, and look for the miracles out here. 

As for other work related things from last week, we dropped four fechas (baptismal dates) in one night earlier in the week. We also had a zone meeting this week in Rio Grande, where we learned that Tolhuin has 5 out of the 9 active fechas in the zone, and over half of the new investigators and contacts. So boom. Take that Satan. 

Today was cool, because it's super PDay, and I'm actually in Ushuaia right now. (Now meaning he's on the computer about 2pm instead of his usual 7:30am - thus the late posting of this blog. Ushuaia is about 1 1/2 hours southwest of Tolhuin - and really is the "end of the world".) It's really beautiful, and a ton richer that Tolhuin. I saw a three story building, so that was crazy haha. We started the day going on a hike up to Laguna Esmeralda, a frozen lake and glacier, which was legit one of the most dangerous things I've ever done, but for some reason, I was actually totally tranqy the whole tie, so that was dope. I've got a lot of sick pics from that. 

Other interesting things this week... Risk was fun, I beat Elder Wilhelm which was a miracle. I heard that there was an attack in the US, so that's no good. I'll be praying. I read this talk Purification about an Elder from Uruguay, and now I just started a 40 day spiritual fast, so well see how that goes. Hopefully I become the next Paul or something... that's what were gonna need to baptize in Tolhuin haha! We made fried chicken again, so that was sick. Elder Wilhelm gets trunkier by the day, but honestly, I don't blame him haha. I'm trying to think if there's any more... Honestly things are going slow out here, but I'm just gonna keep working. I love you guys! If there's anything else to say, I'll send another email with more, but for now, I'm gonna send some pics. 

Love you Mom!


The pics are literally taking forever, so I'm not sending them all, but just know that the breathtaking landscapes are only a small portion of the shots I got haha. I'm gonna go to my first asado (think Rodizio's... we'll have to find out next week if it lived up to the hype!) here in about 30 mins, so that rocks. 














Oh yeah it snowed in Tolhuin. And now you can see that I was literally in the misty mountains earlier. I kept an eye out for Balrogs. There was soooo much hielo (ice), so I slipped a million times, and I've got a tone of scrapes. Worth is though!!!!



Does the sun EVER shine in Tolhuin? All the pics you've sent are very overcast... Very little, but yes. It's awesome though cause every time we see the blue sky we're like "Holy cow! God is awesome!" So tender mercies haha.

Hey, so I've got to go. Mom, I LOVE YOU! Were almost an 8th of the way there haha! Who's counting though right (; Now I'm gonna go eat some asado for you! Tell Abuela that I miss her, and that I appreciate the letters that I received from her in the Zone Conf. She helps me remember that I've got a lot of support. I love that woman. Almost as much as you, but not as much so don't worry haha. Tell Sofia to be good. And Nikki and Kevin for that matter. Tell Dad that hes a capo. And you're a capa. Love you guys so much! Hopefully I'll be on at a regular time next week! 

LOVE YOU. - Elder Jimenez, aka Alex (:



Monday, June 6, 2016

Tolhuin, Zona Rio Grande - Week 4... Shamu's Splash Zone

Alright, this week was dope, kind of a blur, but dope nonetheless. 

The first highlight would have to be the Zone Conference on Saturday. We left for Rio Grande Friday night, slept at Cruz and Nelson's pensh, then had the Zone Conference the next day. Seeing Hermana Rogers and President brought me a lot more joy than I thought it would. The conference was legendary and it re-energized me to slay it out here. It was also really awesome to see the APs again. Elder Goodman trained in Tolhuin, so we've got a special bond goin' that's pretty cool. Might I just add that the most recent latin AP also trained in Tolhuin... just saying... 

The greatest surprise this week though was that right before Elder Wilhelm and I were going to teach the lesson in church yesterday, President and Hermana Rogers came walking in with the APs! They came out to our little town of Tolhuin, it was so awesome. Also, ELDER WILHELM AND I GOT AN INVESTIGATOR TO CHURCH!!!! According to Elder Wilhelm, it's the first time in over 5 months that that has happened, so BLESSINGS. Her name is Liliana, and not only did she come to church, when we met with her earlier in the week, she said she already had a testimony of the Book of Mormon. WE MIGHT BAPTIZE IN BAUTIMES (Baptism Month - President Rogers is looking for a super month of baptisms!). Heck, even if we don't baptize in Bautimes WE MIGHT BAPTIZE IN TOLHUIN!

Last month the mission broke the mission record for baptisms in a month with 43 and Zona Rio Grande had 8 of them (out of 10 zones) so the APs say that Rio Grande is the SPLASH ZONE. Yesterday, after we took Liliana home, we were walking down the road, and Elder Wilhelm said "If Rio Grande is the Splash Zone, then Tolhuin is about to become Shamu's tank!" We're soooo excited. We've also got 2 other investigators that are looking really promising, so were gonna keep our fingers crossed there. Let's get some assistencia (church attendance), then we'll talk about baptism. 

Anyways, other awesome things that happened this week, there's an investigator couple that will never progress, but they're really cool, and they took us to Lago Fagnano last PDay. The pics are legendary. I'm starting to understand why people think Tolhuin is the most beautiful area in the mission. 

Food was good enough last week, so that's still legit. There is a dog trying to walk on my keyboard right now. Get away dog. Elder Wilhelm gave me some more music on a usb, so that's legit. Ummmmmm, I stopped eating alfajores because I don't want to be toooo fat (even though down here I could probably use some extra layers). 

It snowed for the first time, but it was super weak. Pics are cool though. The roads are ICE RINKS today, but we have fun with it. Sounds like Sofia's getting a really cool experience, so that's good. I'm excited to see what Nikki and Kevin do with the apartment, and Dad continually proves that he's a capo (boss). I wish we had people like Dad out here. Oh and with Anthony's mujer (as they would say out here) is she hawt? Copper Hills girls can go either way. Find the Allens, and tell them that I love and miss them. Those guys rock. Spanish is slow, but coming, so I'm gonna keep trying. 

Anyways, I'm pretty sure that's about it. I miss and love you guys a ton. E Dubs (Elder Wilhelm) and I are gonna bring some converts home for ya'll. SHANKEYS FOR THE WIN. Really though, love you guys, keep doing whats good, and please strengthen the members around you, and pray for the members of Tolhuin. They need it bad. 

LOVE YOU GUYS - Elder Jimenez

Alex told me that they are making fried chicken today, and playing Risk. I told him to conquer - I mean convert - the world!

Here are some snow pics that are pretty nice...



Lago Fagnano pics that are legendary.


The H is for all the chumps who graduated last week. Oh and Austin, cause he's not a chump, even though he didn't email me last week so he kind of is but...

And finally that dock by the lake 
(we were up on a lookout point for the first ones, down by the lake for the dock one)


And now, in response to Jose's email...
I love reading your emails too Dad! The sports updates are straight fiyaaaah. If you can get me any weekly info on River, Boca, and San Lorenzo that would be cool too, but if you can't, that's fine. By the way Real Madrid beat Atl├ętico. So yep. 

Alright as far as your questions/comments: I totally took your advice, and I've been slappin' these people around a bit more, and they actually respond well which is hilarious. The grand majority of the people here are Cerraderos (I'm pretty sure its called a Sawmill in English, but for some reason that just feels wrong haha) but yeah everybody cuts wood. By the way, thought I'd throw this in, I just remembered that I included this word in Moms email, but didn't explain it. Shankies. It's what they call us down here. If you can't figure it out by looking at it, pretend you're Argentine and say it, and you'll know. 

Anyways, the churros are still good, but I'm trying to cut back on the throw away calories, so less is better. Sofia's trip sounds dope, so does your triathlon. I honestly don't know how you do it all at once and like it though, Dad. You work like a missionary! Have fun with the apartment, cause I'm definitely having fun by not being there. I already told Mom this, but tell the Allen's I love em and miss em. 

Go Cavs! BTW, if you thought LeBron could dunk, just wait till when Elder W and I get some people in the water down here. We're gonna splash more than Steph and Klay combined. Waters probably gonna spill over the sides though, and then it'll freeze on the street, and well have to skate to our appointments like we have the past couple days. Not fun haha. Anyways, Splash Zone for days, Shamu's about to breach. GET YOUR RAIN COATS ON. Anyways, now that I got all that out, I love you Dad. Thanks for being the best Dad in the universe after Heavenly Father of course. Keep the hard work up, and I'll keep working to become more like you. BTW, I don't know if you read the fourth missionary talk, but if you didn't, do it, then read Purification. It tells you how become a 4. 
Love you Dad! - Elder Jimenez

PS - Also tell Bishop congrats on the upcoming baby, and that the mile deep wound from him not coming to my farewell has almost healed, so that's good too!