Monday, June 22, 2015

Third Quarterly Update: 18 Months and Counting

Well hello friends and family, Here we are with a much more significant update than perhaps ever before-

18 month mark quarterly update

So, three days ago- 19.6.2015- I passed 18 months in Argentina, in the mission. A year and a half. Three quarters of my mission. A pretty big milestone that I passed in a pretty quiet evening in the apartment writing in my journal, Thinking about how things have changed- mostly me- since I started the mission what seems like not so long ago.

Long reminiscey paragraph go:

I remember the first day of my mission, Getting off the plane 28ish hours after leaving Edmonton, hitting the wall of heat and humidity that was Buenos Aires. I remember some of the MTC, vaguely the mental struggle of trying to grasp Spanish, the frustration and also satisfaction that I felt as I made menial, insignificant progress. I remember the day that I came to Mendoza, and rio plata changed to Andes and humidity to dust. The heat stayed basically the same. I wish I had a picture of the day that I stepped out of the airport with president Avila- the vista of the mountains, the cap of clouds that lay over the city letting through a few stray beams of sunlight onto the city and the foothills, an incredible blend of subtle greens and browns. I remember that I slept on the bus to San Juan. Here and there I remember some of the hottest most miserable days some of the more funny butchered conversations in my first transfer. I remember the service projects. I remember that time seemed to speed up every day. Suddenly I was with my second companion, then my third and fourth. From San Juan to San Martin, from San Martin to San Luis, from San Luis to Mendoza, back to that grey-brown vista of the clouds becoming the mountains. I remember that at some point the Mendoza bus terminal started to feel like home to me. I remember a lot of different people, stories, lives that I sort of peeked into for an instant before moving on. I remember a whole bunch of different proselyting techniques, to try to find more investigators- And I also remember that ironically it never seemed to be by the way I tried to find people to teach that we found people to teach, but they did show up. And now I'm here, another Monday, another weekly letter, time is still flying by.

Alright, long reminiscey paragraph behind us, let's talk business.

First- How is Elder Backstrom of health? he had bronchitis and was in the offices for 8 days. we're very very worried.

I'm fine. My lungs are responding well to the medication that I'm taking right now, the bacterial infection part of the illness is long dead, and I am working again. The doctor said there will be no residual effects in my lungs; I will be able to work normally regardless of location; and that I need to stop being macho-Canada man and put on clothes when it's cold. even if I don't feel it, because I'm dis-accustomed to the cold and will get sick, regardless of the fact that I don't feel it. :P

Second- How is elder Backstrom looking?

Way Good. According to this artists impression,

​Elder Backstrom is very good at keeping his face very still for long periods of time. Gracias to Elder Moita for the drawing.

Third- How does Elder Backstrom sound?

mp3 attached.

No attached MP3 because blogger does not allow me to upload sound bites, but the recording is goofy Dallin saying, "this is how I sound now" you can use your imagination!

Alrighty, let's make some lists.

Who has been my companion?

Elder Spice (trainer) (California)
Elder Veintimilla (Spain/Ecuador)
Elder Ortez (Honduras)
Elder Fernandez (Peru)
Elder Inca (Peru)
Elder Enriquez (Peru)
Elder Saavedra (Chile)
Elder Paz (Uraguay)

>Fun Fact: every one of these elders except Elder Paz and Elder Inca are currently finished their missions.

What foods have I learned to cook?

Ñoquis (potato pastas)
Chori-pan (german sausage on bread)
Asado (Beef smoked over coals)
Pizza (Argentina style)
Milanesa Napolitana (Like shnitzel)
Ensalada rusa (a salad with eggs and potatoes and things)
Ensalada de tomate y cebolla (Tomato and onion salad. good with asado.)

>Since we have little time to cook and eat, the majority of the things that I actually end up cooking are sort of just quick-n-easy inventos, so as to have time to eat them.

What crazy things have I done in missionary efforts?

Building houses for free
Washing car windsheilds at a stop light
Making food-based prizes for those who keep their comitments to come to church
uno tournaments
surveying people
Handing out pass-along cards in buses
English classes (failed)

>Funny how the most normal seeming technique that I have listed here, English classes, has honestly been the hardest to realize. I have tried it many times. 

Important things that have happened:

  1. I no longer have the chubby face that I gained in San Luis
  2. I have achieved humor in Spanish. I can make people laugh! it's really quite important for me. Well, I mean, I can't make everyone laugh. but at least some poeple
  3. I speak like a combination of porteño argentina BA accent and centro-americano papa-en-la-boca butchered pronunciation (this will mean nothing to you if you do not speak Spanish)
  4. My beard grows faster now due to what I presume to be a gillette conspiracy to put growth hormones in shaving cream.

Well, I think that's about it.

Honestly, in these last six months the most notable thing that has happened to me is a significant increase in my personal understanding of the role that faith plays in every moment of my life. Through a collage of small spiritual experiences I have had questions resolved and have come to feel more happiness due to the influence of the spirit. I have also come up with a new moto to wake up to every day, o sea, I thought a lot about what I need to be achieving as a missionary and realized that really, I need to, more than anything else, be allowing the master to shape me into what he wants me to be. I will go where he wants me to go and say what he wants me to say in order to allow him to make of me what he, and, ultimately, I, want me to be.

I only have until the end of the year to enjoy this precious experience. I only hope that I can take full advantage of the time I have left. I feel tranquil and prepared. It'll be good.

We'll see each other,
Take care of yourselves in these next six months,
Don't run with scizors,
Apologies for the bad spelling and all,

Elder Backstrom

Lame Weekly Update

So, sorry that this weekly update is sort of lame. I promise that there are good reasons; 1- it's not my p-day since that was moved to Saturday and now I have 2-little time to write.

So due to an inconvenience I am in the mission offices currently. Hopefully that gets solved soon but this whole week I have been pretty bored being cooped up inside here... ah well. That "inconvenience" is maybe asthma so hopefully it's not that but honestly if they could give me a puffer today for the rest of my life and I was allowed to leave the offices or tomorrow I could leave without asthma I would probably in my folly chose option one. (Haha. it's not that bad actually but it is frustrating not being able to work!)

So this weekly update email is lame. Sorry about that. Hope you all are having better weeks than I am.

Elder Backstrom out!

Note from El. Backstrom's mother: Elder Backstrom was diagnosed with recurring bronchitis and was put on medication and is now back in his area working.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The best weekly update email that any of you receive from a handsome man in south america

Well, the subject line just about says it all.

Hello everyone! formalities aside, because I have little time to write, I'm going to dive right into my week. This week we had a ward activity on Saturday! It was a lot of work to organize, and not everything went quite according to our plans, and sadly many of the people we invited missed out on the super-duper fun game evening we did, but everyone who came had a Great time with a capital G! It turned out really fun and we even had a lot of activities left over that we didn't fit into the time we had. Hopefully our efforts to coordinate with the ward leaders and continue doing activities like this will really help the kingdom of God to grow in la Favorita. Apparently there had been no ward activities in a really long time so the fact that we had a really good one should get everyone a little more stoked.

Another less mission related story from this week is about my new shaving method... safety razors. and can I just tell you all that they are eating my money. You have to buy cream, you have to buy razors, you have to buy replacement cartridges, blah blah blah... Yeah. I'm also pretty sure that Gillette shaving cream contains growth simulators because two weeks ago when I started shaving with actual razors I only had to shave every second day, and now I am shaving every morning and with a good deal of stubble! And yes, that's with a brand new razor to boot- FC Barcelon champion's edition mach 3 turbo whatever. bah.

Well everyone here is a picture of the district- it's the only new picture I have since last week.

Cool. Have a great, safe, happy, exciting, success-ridden week

Elder Backstrom

Friday, June 5, 2015

Weekly email? yeah, missed a week...

...because I was sick! It was a good reason.

Mom don't freak out.

So: the whole story: (pictures included) last p-day we went to cerro arco, a really big foothill just north-west of Mendoza. Turns out that the air was really cold. it was also a rather large hike, and we ended up making the fatal mistake of waiting for the group of members we had invited to come with us on the descent. and they went really slow. So we got down and I was feeling pretty congested and so we headed back to the pension to change hoping to squeeze in cyber in a place just close to where we live, only to find that it was CLOSED because it just happened to be independence day in Argentina.

And then, to top things off, the next day I woke up with a really high fever (employ your not freaking out skills mom) and have spent the rest of the week until yesterday (Sunday) in the apartment resting. which means that this week was super super ultra lame for me. Luckily I'm well recovered now and this week we will be able to work normally.


So, back to the regular update part.

We are planning a ward activity with our ward mission leader. getting a date for it is turning out to be a difficulty but it's going to be a game evening to bring friends to- we've planned activities like potato sack races and blind handball, so it should be bucket loads of family fun when we finally pull it off.

The eek before this last one we also started teaching the "girlfriend" (I mean, I don't know how they consider their relationship especially in this moment) of one of the ward members, and she has shown a lot of desire to learn and interest in what we teach. Right now she has a "baptismal date" for the 27th, so we'll see if that actually happens- it seems probable since we didn't even know that she wasn't a member since she came with Jesús every Sunday since we arrived in the area.

Well I'm going to try to answer some of the other emails I received.
Elder Winter Backstrom!