Monday, August 20, 2012


No, it doesn't mean what you think it means -- it's actually the R-hen-teen word for soda pop.  I used the word "soda" one time at a fiesta and the sister had no idea what I was talking about.  And so it goes almost daily -- learning some new term and trying to remember how to use it.  Mom and I feel like we're somewhere between spanich and inglesh -- we'll probably have our own twins-type sign language or something when we get home.

Anyway, thanks for all the posts with all the pic's.  Looks like Dal and Sharla are having altogether too much fun for being such new parents.  Speaking of fun -- we were thinking of you this last weekend -- at the lake in WA and the beach in CA.  Hope everybody had a good time and got home safe and sound -- just in time to start school for some of your kidletts.  What a sweet shot of Luke, Darby and Bailie on the first day of school -- Bailie in her little tutu and rainbow tennis shoes !!  And Luke, the big brother, towering over his sisters.  We love the photos -- keep 'em coming.

Speaking of photos, here's a few new ones.



The first one captures a fairly common mode of transportation -- a horse-drawn wagon clip-clopping down the street right along with all the motos and cars.  You'd think we were still living in the 1800's.  Those folks are the poorest of the poor and make their living going around collecting stuff to recycle -- cardboard, pop bottles, etc.
The next one is another common form of transportation -- the family bicycle.  That grandmother got on her bike with her two grandkids and rode home after our Sunday meetings.  Most people have motos they ride to church.  Almost no one has a car. 
The next one is us at a sister's house in Villa Angela -- a couple hours south of Roque Saenz Pena by colectivo (bus).  She'd invited us to lunch so we went and had a great time -- afterward, her son treated us to some original Argentine guitar music.  He also cooked the meat on an open grill out in the back yard.  (We make sure we have a blessing on the food every time we sit down.) 
The last one is a bunch of us at our apartment -- bet you can't pick out the senior statesman.  The guy beside me is a stalwart member who's always helping out the missionaries.  He's a former branch president who was abruptly released after three months because he released the RS president and cut off some other members who were abusing use of the church building -- they were apparently friends of the then district president.  There seems to be plenty of unrighteous dominion to go around down here.

Wanted to share an experience I had a week or so ago.  I can now say that I have "felt" darkness.  The brother in the photo and I went to visit a family and the further we walked into the night the darker it got.  We were on a dirt road that went deeper and deeper into a neighborhood where light was almost non-existent.  We walked past people who looked like zombies -- just shells of human beings wandering in the night.  We finally came to this little brick and cement box of a house where this family lived.  The woman brought out two plastic chairs and we sat outside under a single light bulb and tried to share a message with her and her children -- of course there was no man to be seen anywhere around.  I sat there thinking what an almost hopeless situation these people lived in -- in darkness, impenetrable darkness -- like what's described in the Book of Mormon.  Yet she had joined the Church some time in the past and made sacred covenants.  I have to wonder sometimes -- we waltz into these primitive situations and present the gospel to people who don't have a clue, who's ability to understand and embrace the gospel is such a far stretch that it's almost like inviting condemnation.  The gospel is indeed for everybody, but there has to be some preparation beyond whether an indigenous native can answer a short list of baptismal questions.  That's why I have the assignment I do -- to try and reactivate enough people to qualify to become a stake -- which requires 12 to 15 MP full tithe payers per branch.  The situation can be summed up in one verse -- Jacob 5:48. 

Beyond that, we're having a great time !!  There really is no other work that can compare to the Lord's work and we hope all of you get the opportunity to go when the time is right.  So I'll sign off for now and let Mom say her piece. 

I love you very much and look forward to our reunion.  Kiss hug secret to you all.

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