Hey, thx everybody for posting such great photos -- what a bunch of good lookin' kids and parents !! You guys look like you're just having altogether too much fun. Glad you're enjoying the summer so much -- and you still have half of it left !! (Oops, sorry mom's -- those of you who have all your kids home under foot.)
So this week's segment is about Argentine weddings and funerals.
First, weddings -- engaged couples do send out wedding announcements with stores listed where people can go buy gifts for them, and the strores display little announcements in their windows that so-and-so is "registered" there. But beyond that, they include their bank account number in the announcement so people can deposit cash gifts right into their accounts !! Trouble is -- they don't know who deposited anything until they get their bank statements and then it doesn't identify who deposited the money, only how much. So the idea of sending out thank-you cards is a new concept -- they just don't do it. Pretty funny. I told them (the folks who were explaining all this to us) that in the States NOBODY puts their bank account numbers on anything -- it's called identity theft and we're very careful about it. But they didn't seem concerned at all -- I guess thievery here hasn't reached the level of sophistication it has in the States.
Next, funerals -- we went to a funeral recently and it was another interesting lesson in local culture. The body of the deceased was first just wrapped in a decorative blanket and placed in a temporary casket in a "salon de velatorio" -- a municipal viewing facility since the surviving spouse was basically penney-less. The next day the body was placed in a nicer casket purchased with donated funds and taken to the public cemetary where it was slid into an above ground cement tomb already occupied with other remains, but not before the casket was soldered shut on-sight by a team of grave attendants with a portable soldering iron and propane tank. The family then had a "grave side service" conducted by an evangelist preacher (who carried on at length) after which one of our priesthood brethren at my suggestion pronounced the grave dedication. The whole cemetary was a sight to behold -- large and small above-ground tombs of all different designs and finishings depending on how much money the family has. Those with no money get buried under ground with nothing more than a stake to mark the spot.
All in all, it served to give us a renewed appreciation for the gospel and our eternal perspective of both marriage and death. In the meantime, we've been busy gathering people up trying to qualify to become a stake. One family we visited the other day had a dog that chased bricks and rocks instead of balls and sticks since the former were in much greater supply. We've had some sweet experiences though giving distressed people priesthood blessings and encouraging them to persevere.
Well, after I wrap this up, I'll try to attach some photos and hopefully show you some of what's it's like here in the mission field in south America !!
Love you all very much !! And thanks again for all your posts -- we really appreciate them.
Dad and Mom/G-pa and G-ma