Monday, August 28, 2017

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 2... Getting the hang of things

Well, you officially made me trunky with that P.S. jaja! (I told him that David is home, and Mark and Ive get here on Wednesday, so he'll be the only one in the family out on a mission!) Nah, but it's okay, I'm used to being a missionary :) I'm really happy that you're liking the teaching job, because honestly, I was worried that you were going to have to deal with a ton of stupid kids, but if you're liking it, I'm happy. Bien alli BYU, it was a good warm up, now they've got to beat them Tigers! (I think...) It sounds like overall, the family is doing really good, so that makes me happy! 

Down here at the bottom of the earth we're also doing good. It was an interesting week for sure. Earlier in the week, we had consejo (Mission Leadership Mtg), my first consejo as an assistant. It went really, really well. It was weird, because I felt like the Herriman High Spirit Officer all over again jaja! Igual (Even so), it wasn't so much getting the missionaries super pumped up and wild. It was more pumping them up spiritually. It was cool though because I was able to recognize that I have a bit of a gift sensing the general feeling of a crowd, like if they're bored, if they're paying attention, or if they're feeling the spirit. I think it's really going to help me as an assistant. We gave a great training, and from the feedback we received from the zone leaders, it really got to them. If they can transmit it to their missionaries, we're going to have a lot more animo (enthusiasm, encouragement) than before! 

After the consejo, President wanted us to take a visit to Trelew Norte to encourage the zone because they've been a bit bajoneado (down) lately, and when he asked us if we could, I was like "Ooooooooh, yeah I'll take that one for the team ;)" (that was Alex's zone two transfers ago.) I got us a lunch with Familia Millan which was soooooo awesome. I LOVE THOSE GUYS! I also got to visit Enzo Rapiman, Luisa (who absolutely loved the carta (letter) from Abuela!) and of course, Mathew. 

Familia Milan

It was cool because in all the visits I was able to share the gospel and strengthen the faith of someone who was in need. It was great! 

We came back to Comodoro on Saturday, and got to work a bit in our new area. It's full of chetos (wealthy people), and it's going to be hard to find investigators, BUT I HAVE FAITH! We're so going to baptize in September! It'll be hard, especially since we're hitting the road for about 3 weeks on Thursday, but still, I believe in a God of miracles who rewards the diligent! So we'll see how that goes... 

Yesterday there was a conference transmitted to all of Sudamerica Sur (the South America South Region of the church) in which a couple 70s and Elder Rasband spoke. It was mainly addressed to the members to give them animo (encouragement/excitement). By the way, Craig C. Christensen has a way gringo accent :) 

After the conference, we helped some elders in Comodoro Sur to find new investigators. It was really cool for me, because I prayed that we might find the escogidos (elect) quickly, and we only had to do 4 contacts to find 2 new investigators. It was a miracle! It was also really nice because the elders from the area are working really well, getting along, and trying to be obedient. The elder that I worked with, Elder Torres from California, is also my tocayo (Alex) (namesake). I really enjoyed the division. 

We finished the night contacting in our area, and it was pretty standard for a cheto (wealthy) area. Lots of doors in the face. But it's okay, we're going to keep trying nada mas! It's interesting because it's an area that hast been touched (like ever) so there's no area book and no miembros (members) live there, so our only option is contacting. Pray for us! 

Last night, after the contacts, we had a really awesome companion study. We read the Book of Mormon, and it led us to a great discussion. Overall, this week helped me get used to the life of an assistant. Slowly, I'm gaining the confidence of the missionaries, and I feel that as the time passes, Elder Popa and I are going to be able to be instruments in the Lord's hands, and change this mission. 

I know that God listens to our prayers, and He does answer them, so please, pray for my area, and pray for my mission. 

FAMILY! Like I said before, I'm so glad that you guys are doing good. I'm going to continue praying for you all, so that everything continues to go well :) MOM! You deserve your own special part until the end of the mission :) 

I LOVE YOU! Cuidense :) 
- Elder Jimenez

Monday, August 21, 2017

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 1... Mission Adventures

Yes, I know, I'm writing suuuuuuuper early today. It's because we had to wake up at 6 to take Elder Goltz to the airport, and when we were driving back, we decided to "ya fue" it and write :) It sounds like this week is going to be pretty crazy for the family. I'll keep you guys in my prayers for sure! This past week was also interesting for me... 

On Monday, we supervised the interviews of the retornos, which was pretty much just sitting around, doing nothing, and telling people to leave the office. That night, we had a dinner for them. We ate asado and I'm pretty sure it was the best asado that I've eaten in my mission! 

The truth is that Tuesday, I actually have no idea what we did. I try and try to remember it, but I just can't. 

Wednesday, the refuerzos arrived. I'm pretty sure that training the refuerzos was the funnest part of last week. They come in from the MTC with a ton of animo, and they're so new and pure, and it was awesome to give them the bienvenida. We ate another big meal that night with the refuerzos, also in la casa de la mision. If there's one thing I learned this week it's that I'm going to be gaining a bit of weight. We don't walk a lot, and we eat. A LOT. But I'm going to try and manage it haha! 

On Thursday, sadly, we had to send some people home. I don't think I should give lots of details, but safe to say that it was really ugly. The night before, they stayed in our pension, and it was just sad to see them. They totally brought it upon themselves, but igual, it was sad. As I was praying Wednesday night, I felt like God let me have a little bit of compassion for them. So after praying, I got up, went to the other room where they were, and told them how they're still good people and need to stay active in the church when they get home. I hope it helped them a bit. 

Friday morning, we trained the new district leaders, and it was one of the best trainings that I've ever given. It just flowed really well. After the training, we grabbed the companion of one of the guys who got sent home, Elder Goltz (the companion's name) and we took a ROAD TRIP! He had left his bags in Las Heras, and the elders of Perito Moreno needed a baptisimal font, so we road tripped it out to them. 

We went from Comodoro, through Caleta Olivia, and stopped in Pico Truncado to pass by some of the old investigators of Elder Popa. After passing about 20 minutes there, we continued to Las Heras. In Las Heras, we picked up the font, and helped Elder Goltz to pack his bags. He finished super quick, and we continued to Perito Moreno. We were driving, and it was already super dark (10:20 por alli) and we saw a sign telling us to turn to get to Perito. So we turned. Then we drove, and drove, and drove. After 15 minutes on that road, I decided that a lot of time had passed to cover the last 12 kilometros that we supposedly had. So I offered a prayer in my heart, asking the Lord to help me know if we were headed in the right direction. The other problem was that we didnt have any service out in the route, so if we got lost, we were fried. After the prayer, I didnt really feel anything. 5 more minutes passed, and I offered another prayer, asking the Lord to give me a sign as to where we should go. About 20 seconds later, I saw a sign going in the other direction. I told Elder Popa to pause, give a u-turn, just so we could look at the sign. When he turned around, the sign said "Perito Moreno 39". We had been driving in the wrong direction! So we drove all the way back to the turn, continued in the right direction, and arrived safely in the town. It was really cool to see how the Lord answered my prayer. I know that he really does listen to us, and loves us a ton. If we pray to him, He WILL guide us. 

We passed the night in the 3rd hotel we found, because the first one that we had a reservation with, was CLOSED. We ended up saving 100 pesos and had breakfast though, so it ended up being a blessing :) In the morning, we went to the pension of the elders and had a nice study with them, imploring them to be obedient although they are in a city that is very apart from everything else. We left them the font, and then it was back to the road. 

Before leaving Perito, we passed by this really sweet tower that I'm pretty sure is the same tower that King Benjamin used to give his speech. We also passed by Lago Buenos Aires, which was really pretty. Then it was back to work. When we passed through Las Heras, we briefed the Branch President on the situation of the elders, then we grabbed lunch (A huge sandwich called "Pata de Elefante" that we shared between the three of us. It was ginormous!) and then continued to Pico Truncado. In Pico, we checked up on the elders and sisters, which was mas o menos, then we returned to Comodoro. All in all, it was a trip of about 2 days. We got a lot done, and had a good time as well :) 

Sunday was awesome because I got to see Daniel y Jose, two of my previous investigators. They're both doing well. The second half of the day, we did divisiones with the elders in Centro. Elder Mendez, the junior comp, thanked Elder Popa a ton. He told him that the first time he got really down, I came to do divisiones with his as his zone leader, and this time he had also gotten down, and we came, and Elder popa did a division with him the really helped him. It was sweet! 

To finish off the day, we drew up new maps for the areas in Los Kilometros. Previously, they had taken away the area of the asistentes, because they were always travelling, and when they were in Comodoro, they never managed their time well, but after a chat with Elder Popa, we decided that were going to be the first asistants that actually work in their area. so we drew ourselves an area. We have a goal to be the first asistentes that baptize, because we feel that if we can baptize, it will give the whole mission a ton of animo. So that's the mission. Lead by example. 

I'm really glad to be with Elder Popa, because we think very similarly, and luckily, he also is an ox when it comes to working hard. Now, we've just got to put manos a la obra. So yep, that was this week. It was nuts, I slept very little, and managed a hotel in my pension, but overall I'm surviving :) 

FAMILY! I love you guys! I'm excited for Dad to finally get past this audit, for Mom to start teaching, and for Sofia to begin the great end to high school! 

Just so y'all know, Dawn Ramsey (Austins mom) is running for mayor of South Jordan, and is actually in the last round, so go her! 

MOM! You're still the most awesome mom though ;) 

I LOVE YOU! - Elder Jimenez

Saying goodbye to Elder Farabee

Check out the bags under my eyes from not sleeping - EVER!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Kilometros 5, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 6... Changes coming

Family, it sounds like you guys are all getting ready for the changes to come. Sofia will be going back to school, Mom is going to also go back to school (just to teach this time ;) ) and Dad is finally going to get a well deserved break from work! My mission also experienced a huge change this week...

Following in Dad's footsteps, I'm the new Asistente (AP). It's all kind of nuts! I remember reading that letter you sent me last week Mom, and seeing how highly your mission president considered Dad, and just thinking that I was never really going to get there, and then boom. I got a call on Friday, and President Salerno said "Elder Jimenez, you probably already know why I'm calling." "I have an idea, but I'm not sure..." I said. "Well," he said "You've already been a trainer, district leader, and zone leader. There's only one more way to go! You're my new assistant." The next thing I heard was his voice coming through the phone saying "I always love the moment of silence" and then he laughed! 

I was shocked! Of all the assistants in my whole mission, the youngest have gone up with 16 months, and there have only been two. Elder Soto, who left awhile ago, and Elder Popa, my current companion. The craziest thing is that Elder Popa said that President fully intends to keep him as AP all 5 of the transfers that he had left when he first came up, and he goes home one before me, which means that if Elder Popa stays 5, the office is officially my last area in the mission! I'm probably going to be with Elder Popa for 4 transfers! The most I've ever heard of two companions being together was 3. It's going to be a crazy ride. 

The last couple days have been really weird. It's hard to take it all in, the fact the I'm the assistant, that I no longer have an area and will almost never have time to just go out and work like I did before... I don't how how it was in your mission Dad, but here, weeks 3 through the end of 5 we're traveling. To get down to Ushuaia, we take a plane to Buenos Aires, and then another plane to Ushuaia. Weeks 1 and 2 we're planning and executing the capacitations of the re-enforcements and trainers, the new leaders (planning and giving training to the new missionaries and the new trainers and leaders), and the consejo de lideres (Zone Leader Training meetings), and week 6 is figuring out transfers. It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to the rhythm, and I was already getting stir crazy when I had to study up all the material last night in the office. But oh well, that's what I get for trying my best haha! 

Elder Farabee is finishing his mission today, so he stayed in the house last night. It was cool to see him again, I think he ended his mission very well. The nice thing about the transfer is that I'm still in the same zone, and even the same ward, so I'll be able to keep in touch with Elder Richards and my investigators up here. 

Saturday was my last day of field work, and it could actually have been my last day of field work in the mission, so we took advantage of it. We spent the day running from lesson to lesson, and ended up achieving the lofty weekly goal that we had put, and if we would have had Sunday, we might have been able to get 16 lessons, which is a great number down here. The best part is that it's not just a number either, the people we we're teaching really are progressing, slowly, but surely. Now, my days will be spent trying to convert missionaries to the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be, so I'm going to do my best. And even though everyone tells me I won't be able to, I'm going to do my best to manage our time well, and be able to get out and contact on a regular basis. 

Dad, if you have any good tips about being the assistant, I'd love to hear them. All in all, I feel very humbled by this new calling. It's given me a huge reality check, and is truly humbling. But I know that whom the Lord calls, he qualifies, so I will put my trust in Him. 

FAMILY: I love you guys! It's really crazy that the mission is going so fast! Just be patient, and we'll be seeing each other soon! 

MOM! I love you! 
- Elder Jimenez

PS: I fully expected Alex's companion, Elder Richards, to have a transfer this month because he's been in this area for 4 1/2 months. I was so shocked when I read that Alex was transferring instead. I am super excited for his new adventures... I just hope he isn't so busy that he cannot send me a good email!!! It is also interesting that last week I felt very strongly to share with Alex some thoughts that President Flake had shared with us as he thought back about the evacuation of Honduras.

And to Jose...
I love the sports news! Gah, I just love american football in general. Futbol is awesome and all, but it just doesn't get better than some good ole American football :) 

I think you'll really like my weekly letter this week. I'll definitely need some pro tips from you. The truth is that this whole change is going to humble me a lot! But that's life, and really, it's going to be sweet, I just need to get used it. The best part though is that it makes me more semejante a vos (more like you), and that means I'm on the right track. 

Love you Dad - Elder Jimenez

Monday, August 7, 2017

Kilometros 5, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 5... Carry on with Faith

Sofia said something that I hope I interpreted wrong. She mentioned a dog. And I hope I interpreted it wrong, but I believe that she said that it's living in our house. I really hope that I've got it all wrong because if there is one thing that I've learned here in Argentina it's that I. HATE. DOGS. ... 

Alright now that I'm done raging, I'm glad that you guys had a good week :) My week was... blah. It was a weird week. It's hard because I look back on the week, and I feel like we had ZERO progress. It was also hard because there were several times that I walked out of lessons, and just felt like my teaching skills have deteriorated a bit, like we just didn't teach well. I think the answer to all of this is to just humble myself, repent, and put my trust nuevamente in the Lord. Sometimes, as a missionary, you work, and work, and work, and it becomes routine. You just get used to doing the same thing dia tras dia (day after day)

It's worse down here in Argentina as well because the people in general not only don't really want anything, but they're also just kind of mean sometimes. It has a lot to do with the recent history I think. They've had a lot of governments that have taken advantage of them, and some of the older generations lived during the dictatorships, in which people often disappeared and never were found (the government kidnapped them). During that time, this culture of not trusting other people and keeping to yourself at all costs popularized, and now the growing use of technology has made it 10 times worse. A person can walk through centro for two hours without even looking another person in the eyes! There're also a ton of churches down here, and many of them shamelessly rob from the poor, which hardens the spiritual heart of these people even more. The list goes on and on, and you add that to the routine-ness that I mentioned before, and I think that the majority of missionaries down here just get used to getting the door slammed in their face all day every day. It's hard. It's hard to have faith. But that's the secret. 

I know that Jesus Christ does exist, and I know that there are prepared people in the Patagonia. They're rare, but they're out there. It's like the escritura that I found before the mission, Jeremiah 16:16. Some guys are meant to be pescadores (fishermen), they throw their nets in and bring a lot of baptisms out. In this mission we're cazadores (hunters). We need to search in the mountains, valleys, and caves, and put in a lot of effort to baptize. However, even though it's difficult, with the Lord, nothing is impossible. That's why I need to repent. I continually need to repent, but especially now. I need to stop trying to teach the lessons in my way, and let the Spirit guide. I need to take the time, and put in the effort that is needed to have the guidance of the Spirit. So that will be my task in this coming week. I'm going to humble myself, and be an instrument in the Lord's hands. He always guides this work, but we're going to take more advantage of that guidance this week.

I appreciate your prayers and fasting on my behalf! I'm determined to have success, and all the glory goes to God. 


I love you guys :) 

MOM! I'm pumped that you got a sweet new ride :) It's gonna be weird to never see the Enclave again though... But it's okay :) 

I LOVE YOU! - Elder Jimenez


Our ghetto ice destroying oven that we built to defrost the freezer. 
It was a solid block of ice XD.

I sent Alex the next picture and alleviated his concern that we got a dog... Daisy and Zeb are the crazy ones to add a puppy to their family. Sofia is thrilled to be able to love on her every Sunday. Anyway, here is Alex's response... OH THANK YOU! OH I AM SO HAPPY YOU GUYS DIDN'T BUY A DOG! Those animals are the worst!