Monday, June 23, 2014

Everything is New!

So, what's new?

New area! (San Martin 1 A. San martin is located in mendoza province, about 1 hour from the capital. or less if you do 140, which we did in a puegeot 505 from 1970 on the way out. Argentina life.)

New companion!

​Elder Ortez is his name. He is from Honduras! He is super cool

New pench!

From left to right, yours truly, elder Trelease from Utah, elder Torres from Paraguay and Elder Ortez from Honduras.

More pictures!

Elder Backstrom and Elder Ortez

Elder Backstrom and Elder Torres

Elder Backstrom and Elder Trelease


Saying Goodbye to San Juan

Familia Diaz. Juana, Ruth and Juan. Ana is missing, only Juana is a member, she is a recent convert. We helped Juan add a second story to his house.
Familia Maldonado

Familia Malki (Hno. Malki is branch president) 

The district, as well as our zone leaders: (left to right) Hna. Reyes, Hna. Sorenson, Hna. Guavera,
 (above) Hna. Norr, Elder Bair, Elder Backstrom, Elder Valencia & Elder Ventimilla

That's it for the pictures for now.

My scripture highlight this week is the book of first Nephi. It's frequently where we request our investigators start reading in the Book of Moromon (seeing as it's the beginning) And so I decided to read through it this week, trying to find things I could use to teach out of the begging of the book, where there a slightly less confusing names to keep track of. There is a reason first nephi comes before all the other books: It is rich with simply explained doctrine and easy to understand but also deep parables, stories and visions.
Particularly, Lehi's vision of the tree of life in first Nephi 8 stuck out to me. It's one of the best summations, or explanations, of the work of salvation that we find in scripture. I would invite you all to pass over it today.

Anyways, have a good one. Everyone, you should all know that there is a new zelda game and I'm excited for it since it should come out just after I get home. Everyone freaks out when Argentina wins but people in San Martin are less excited about the world cup than in San Juan,

El. Backstrom

Saturday, June 21, 2014

1/4 Report

From the desk of Elder Backstrom!

I am pleased to announce to all of you good friends and family and whoever this email goes to anyways, I have reached 1/4 completion of my mission, or will on the 19th of this month, which is this week. This email will contain a brief report on the first six months of my mission.

Also, I am pleased to be finally headed of to a new area, after nearly double the time it is normal to spend in one place. (I will be going to San martin in Mendoza. Not exactly clear about where that is, but, luckily, it sounds like I will still have a washing machine in the pension.)

So? How were the first 6 months? you ask. Well, I say, reclining in my large office chair, That's a longer story than I think you realize; however, I'll resume it in compressed form.


Elder Harris (Mission: Argentina Bahia Blanca), MTC
Elder Ford (Mission: Uruguay Montevideo), MTC
Elder Spice (Trainer), Progreso San Juan
Elder Veintimilla, Progreso San Juan


Progreso branch, San Juan stake


Mission President:

Presidente Avila

Well, there it is. Basically I have meandered about, learning Spanish and talking to people and doing things and drinking an unhealthy amount of mate. Fun stories that happened:
-Walking through a line of rioters
-Building houses
-Going to the San Juan planing and development department office

Lists of top ten things!

Favorite things
3-pretty places
4-nice members
5-people who are willing to help me speak spanish with them
6-difunta correa idol worship
7-Mission president
8-other missionaries who are chill

Least favorite things

1-Cumbia ripped from youtube videos that has random pauses in it because of buffering
2-Difunta correa idol worship, when it's an actual thing I have to address in my teaching and not just something we laugh about
3-not having a piano in the pench
4-Alfajores, because they make me fat
5-Mean people (who are luckily few and far between)
6-Being with a companion LITERALLY ALL THE TIME
7-not sleeping nough
8-being sick
9-cumbia in general
10-Zonda (Hot, dusty wind of misery and death)

Yeah.  mean, that's really all I had to report, I think.


Pictures, but first a story.
Dallin with a map!
So, my father is a city planner, by the by, so that this makes sense, if you didn't know. (Sorry this is a boring story about city planning. But I do have a soft spot for municipal politics.)

There was a big earthquake in San Juan about forty years ago, and since all the things where made of adobe, they all fell over and, more or less, the entire city was completely destroyed. So, on the chance that there be another earthquake (They're quite frequent here) they decided to start building things out of actual bricks. this meant (Also the fact that everything got trashed by the earthquake) that they needed to start from scratch, essentially, so they set up a planning department and result being, san juan is a very well planned city, and also relatively new. And we went to this planning department to get maps because we didn't have any maps and it reminded me of where my father works. Just proves, there are planners in all places. hahah. I almost bought a big 1.5m X 2m roll up map of san juan city for father's day for my father, but it was a little big to fit inside of an envelope.

Yeah. On a slightly more spiritual note, I was readying in Moroni 7 this morning and found a couple of verses I liked a lot:

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

 41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

 42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

Faith and hope are two of the Christlike attributes in the chapter 6 of Preach my Gospel that I've been focusing on this moth, because they are so absolutely essential for missionary work, and also so tightly intertwined.If we don't have faith, we don't have hope; if we don't have hope of something better hereafter, what are we sharing with people anyway? something of no worth. The light of the Gospel is "A perfect brightness of hope... (that we may have) eternal life".

Anyways, signing out for now,

Elder Backstrom

Monday, June 9, 2014

Advice on preparing for a mission

Hello my good fellow people.

first of all, I have bronchitis. And have had it for like three weeks or so. I am now taking an antibiotic to kill it out of my lungs. Good.
Dallin with his lungs!
Dallin's Bad Lungs!

Otherwise the week has been mostly as normal, except of course, the days I was constrained to my bed, when we did not leave. the surgery for the mother of Juan went well. I was, evidently, not able to donate blood due to the fact that I was sick. They told me that 21% of the blood cells in the sample they took where white, which is very high. I also learned that I am A+ type, but I really don't know what that means.

Currently as a mission we are doing a thing with our ALB, which is the key indicator for street contacting. Basically The mission president has asked all of us to do 10 street contacts every day as a companionship, 5 each, in order to find more news and obtain more references e&c. It's something that I find to be rather hard, since I have difficulty know what to say to begin a conversation with people. Mostly we just offer people a pass-along card with a picture of Jesus and go, "Hey, can we give you a picture of Jesus?" and then if they take it and run away, so be it. Some people listen though, maybe half of the people we talk to every day. Which is actually a lot harder, because then I have to think about the things I'm going to say.

I'll probably leave this area in this next week that is coming. I've spent almost a quarter of my mission here. it will be interesting to see another part of the mission (I'll probably go inside of Mendoza province). I hope I get another Spanish-speaking companion, my Spanish has improved dramatically since I started working with elder veintimilla.

Speaking of almost a quarter of my mission, next week will be my 1/4 email. I'll probably wax philosophically about the meaning of life and bread products.

On my scripture-study highlight, this week I was particularly impressed by the fifth chapter of Jacob, and several of the cross-references to doctrine and covenants, especially D&C 33. They are bout large blocks of scripture, so i'll leave you to read them on your own if you so desire.

and something more:
at mothers day, my father asked what I thought was important for someone who was preparing to go on a mission. I never properly answered that, so, I'll do it here, because some of you are preparing for missions & it might be cool but if it does not interest you, you need not read it.

-Know what a mission is. Be familiar with the purpose of missionaries as stated in the first page of Preach my Gospel. Read all of the first chapter of PMG, and, time and motivation permitting, study the accompanying scriptures and complete the study activities. If you so wish, you might memorize the missionary purpose word for word. This will help you have a clearer understanding of exactly what is expected of missionaries, what going on a mission even means, and why missions are so important.

-Go to Seminary. I know that before I left on my mission I did not have tons of motivation top study scriptures on a daily basis, but seminary attendance will grant not only a strong foundation knowledge of key doctrines, but also provides a well structured study routine that helps you learn how to study well. also seminary teachers are usually super cool and have lots of wisdom to laser into your minds.
Wisdom lasers

Those would be my top two pieces of advice. Also, stay classy, Read Moroni 10 regularly and take advantage of the cause-effect promise in verses 3-5, and gain a testimony,

El.Backstrom out.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

9 days to the world cup

I have a cold STILL and it is super lame. so the mission nurse told me to take 2g of vitamin c every day,and they are these dissolve-in-water tablets that taste super nasty. eurgh. and the other thing is like a tylenol cold pill, which isn't bad.

I'm going to go donate blood tomorrow for the sick mother of one of our investigators. (she has cancer and is like 89 or something, not super unexpected or anything) It's actually a very common thing to do in the mission, because there are big blood shortages here.

hmm, what else? Oh yeah. there a bakeries everywhere here, that are super cheap, and they sell delicious baked goods, and I purchase them frequently for breakfast and supper, and it makes me fat. ah well. delicious.

Additionally, 9 days until the world cup. Aw yeah.
However Argentina an Brasil will not play each-other unless both make it either to the final, which is unlikely. But that would be a game to see. (Brasil would crush Argentina, Messi is good and all, but he doesn't have his team to back him up is what everyone says)

On a more spiritual note, over the past three days, I read the entire gospel of John, and was impressed by the number of times the word love occurs, especially in reference to Christ. While many of his teachings,such as the sermon on the mount and all of his parables are missing from john's account of his life and ministry, the gospel of john does an excellent job of illustrating who each of Christ's actions where motivated by the love he has for all men.
I was particularly impressed by chapter 15, which is an account of certain things Jesus said to his disciples at the last supper.

anyhow, that's about all I had to talk about today.
Hope everyone has a good week,
and listens to lots of smooth, smooth jazz,

El. Backstrom