Sunday, December 28, 2014

Second Quarterly update from Elder Backstrom, And a merry Christmas to all!

Well, this week my second Quarterly update and my merry Christmas email will be coming IN ONE EMAIL ONLY! How dramatic and exciting that Two such Important things could find themselves combined! into one even bigger and better thing, no less!

Well, it's been a year- just more than a year, actually- since I arrived here in Argentina, a few centimetres shorter, quite a few shades whiter, and a lot more lost. And lots has happened in the past few months! So? How will I report it, you ask? First I will briefly recall what happened in the last quarterly update (Which I presume all of you printed out and framed and put above your beds so that you can always have it to look at).

In my first update I had only had one area, I had had only two companions in the field, and I had recently recovered from bronchitis and had a few fun stories to tell about crazy San Juan.

Since then:


San Martin 1 Ward ("A" companionship), Maipu Stake-- Which subsequently became San Martin 1 Branch, San Martin District
Amppya Ward ("A" companionship), San Luis Stake


Elder Ortez (Honduras)
Elder Fernandez (Peru)
Elder Inca (Peru)

Mission President:

Presidente Goates


Technically, none but-

Juan Diaz, Ana Diaz and Ruth Diaz All joined Juana Diaz in the waters of baptism after I left San Juan and are currently active in the San Juan Progresso Branch. They are a family with whom I worked a great amount while I served in that area, notably when Juan started to lay the bricks to put a second floor on to their house. I am anxious to be able to visit with them again.

Carlina Rosario (Meche) is a friend of a very strong member of the San Martin 1 Branch (Hna. Alegria) who technically lived in the San Martin 1 "B" area, but that we (The San Martin 1 "A" companionship) taught and prepared for baptism. I have been told that both are still making the hour long trip from the small town "La Dormida" to the chapel almost every Sunday to be able to attend Church.

Other important Happenings:

Three of my previous companions are now home- Elder Spice (He became very sick and went home about four months ago) Elder Ortez and Elder Fernandez (Both finished their missions in the same transfer, about two months ago.)

Cameras so far: 3

Shoes: Still going hard

Shirts: Getting pretty yellow until I bought some way groovy magical whitening powder that has worked to a good degree

Knowledge of the scriptures: Well, I finished reading the entire new testament and am up to numbers in the books of Moses so far this week- and my head has stopped hurting because I think it is
A) no longer absorbing information or

Number of non-contact proximity reader rechargeable bus payment card types used so far: 2, one for San Luis and on for Mendoza 

I've grown about two inches? or like five centimetres? and it's quite strange because I thought I had stopped growing but then just recently I was standing beside this elder who is really tall who I knew in San Juan back when I started and I was almost the same height as him. but not nearly as muscular. He threw shot-put nationally in the sates.

Well everyone, it's Christmas time. this next week we will pass by a holiday that exists in our calenders as a day to remember the birth of Christ. What an opportunity to meditate upon the the birth, life and teachings of the master. The principles that he repeatedly taught through word and example are simple ones of love and kindness and goodwill towards all men: for me, one scripture sums up the great gift that God gave to all of us more than any other:

John 3:17
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

This scripture appears immediately after the well know "For god so loved the world..." in the sixteenth verse of the same chapter. I am particularly impacted by this scripture because it beautifully expresses the reason that Christ came to earth- not for condemnation, or to rule as a king or great officer; not to be adored or served or ministered too- but to effectuate our salvation. A selfless act of pure love and charity. What an example He laid- never rebuking those who smote and insulted and derided Him, but rather promising that even such would receive a total pardon upon conditions of repentance- and then sacrificing His own precious blood so that that promise could be carried into effect for those who needed it, for which Paul frequently expresses His gratitude in his epistles. What a wonderful standard of righteousness, even to be perfect, as He was. Unattainable as it may be for us imperfect mortal beings there is no more beautiful, beautifying thing than a man striving to be even like his God. That's one of the great reasons I love the mission so much- I get to see, from time to time, people who make the decision to commit themselves to the true path of discipleship, and to see the change that makes in them.

Well, other than that I have a few pictures to send as well.

I forgot to take pictures of the asado we made today, whoops.

here are the smoking coals we cooked it over.

This is (Left to right) Hermanan Carrillo (Colombia) and Hermanan Paulson (Utah).
They are the two new Hermanas in the punta (Hermanas Harris and Jacinto both left)

Somehow, they got my camera -.-
Here is the whole district. the bottom features a sight of the cement table the camera was resting on.
Left to right: Hna. Larios, Hna. Rodriguez, Elder Alverado, El. Backstrom, El. Pinero, Hna. Paulson, Hna. Carrillo, El. Inca.

And a few other photos of p-day.

And now I will explain why selfies with hermanas are always really awkward.
For example, some of them come out all right, like this one;

And then sometimes I get mostly cut out of the picture

Look! with elders it's fine. Because one is allowed to be touching the person one is taking a photo with.

And here, the last example. Believe it or not, I'm to the left of hermana Carrillo in this photo! but nothing.

okay this is actually also not a fantastic photo
notice hermana Larios shadowing all of the photos

Look! normal with elders

okay well that's all. have a merry Christmas everyone! happy one year in the mission me! okay. bie bie.

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