Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weekly email from Tres Porteñas

Well hello everybody!

Here we are in Tres Porteñas , San Martin, Mendoza, Argentina! And with bikes! I'm going to get home fit & skinny after all!

What a blessing! we have the matrimonio (senior missionaries) Rogers as our  branch president, and they bring us around in their luxury Peugeot 408 all the time- It's almost like having a car, with private chauffeur! since the area is so huge, it's super duper helpful.

Wow vehicles

I don't even remember anymore. are there Peugeots in Canada? It's a french car brand, and I think I remember having seen some, but maybe not.

In more relevant photos,
there is a cool multi photo panorama, my new companion (elder Puyol), and the Australian (elder Debono,)

Me and my new companion

Me and Elder Debono
 Have a great week everybody!

Oh wait! I need to tell you about the area! Well, look on google maps and find Tres Proteñas. it's in the middle of a lot of vineyards and farms that grow veggies. It is a very very small town, and everyone knows everyone. we have the whole northern area of the San Martin district (I'm not sure if that shows up on google, gut its about 45x80km if my memory and map guessing skills serve me right.

I just did a little square in google maps and it says that my area is  (Approx.) 1200km square.
so it's big.

Anyways, we are teaching some families, I'm still getting to know them, but it appears that a family of six who were already coming out to church when I arrived might be getting baptized this Saturday. So that would be pretty cool.

Have an even better week now that you know more of the life of elder Backstrom!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The begining of the end: The last bag pack

Well, today I am beginning the end. I am packing my bags for what should be the very last time before I come home.

I am going to Tres Porteñas, San Martin (close to my other area, San Martin 1). Maipú will be washed. One last area, one last companion- elder Puyol, from Argentina- and officially I will have no gringo companions my entire mission since my trainer.

Included are some photos of the baptism of Gisela Muñoz. She got baptized on her own steam, really an admirably self-sufficient person. The bishop baptized her, and then there are some pictures from afterwards and with me, Gisela, sister Trigo (bishop's wife), Florencia and Camila (bishop's daughters).

Well, I wish that I could write more, but I really don't have the time. We have to pack today because tomorrow we are having a meeting with the entire mission and two seventies in which the transfers will also be effectuated which is CRAZY also really soon after receiving transfers, so we have to prepare for that.

Okay well Look forward to my next quarterly report in about four weeks, that's going to be a great email surely.

The Happy Elders with Gisela

Elder Backstrom, the bishop's wife and daughters with Gisela

The Bishop and Gisela

Weekly Email Tuesday?

Well everyone, Here I am, in a strangely rainy Mendoza Argentina- on- Tuesday of all days. we had interviews with the mission president yesterday so p-day was moved to today.  I'm also writing in the afternoon because I woke up today with a really sore throat and congestion, very suddenly- and so I was resting in bed in the morning. Hopefully it will go away soon though.

So, we have some exciting news- Do you all remember that I told you about two weeks ago that a young lady named Gisela had arrived all on her own at the chapel, and that we had started teaching to her the gospel? Well, she has accepted a baptismal date for this coming Saturday, the 14th. It has been quite the miracle- we've hardly done anything except for teaching her the missionary lessons- and she has put in her part and has progressed amazingly. It's not very often that you find a person who is so auto sufficient- who does things for themselves proactively. It's inspiring to see someone finding joy in the gospel and immersing themselves in it.

Apart from that we also had the experience this week of talking to a lady who is confined to a wheelchair after falling down some stairs and also recently lost a brother, and to a young fellow who repairs photocopy machines- both of whom invited us to come back to their homes to teach them more about the message of the restored gospel.

In the interview with the president, he exemplified what my last transfer in the mission, coming up next Sunday, might feel like. he said, when a runner runs a marathon, or a swimmer swims long distance, they have to conserve energy or they will not be able to finish the race. you have to pace yourself throughout in order to not fall down in the middle. however, when the finish line comes into sight, when the last hundred meters are near, the last reserves of energy that the athlete has saved through the entire race can be expended to bring them to the end in the best time possible. ironically, in the moment in which they are most tired, they can afford to expend the largest amount of energy, since when the race ends they can rest and recuperate from the tiring event. He told me, "Elder Backstrom, these are your last hundred meters. Make them count. Don't listen to the adversary, who will try to tell you, "you are tired, you are almost done, just don't work." make the best of your last hundred meters." I can say that I sure plan to.

When I first arrived in the mission, it did not seem real that I was a missionary; that I was one of the guys with white shirts and ties that I had seen all my life in church; now it does not seem real that there is a date that will be the end of all of this. Well, there is, and it comes. So I will make the very best of what is left.

Elder Backstrom

Monday, November 2, 2015

Found: Canadian money in Argentina

Well, we have no photos this week.
unless of course you would like photos of my gas bills that I have to send to the mission office.

This week we had a pretty great time- we found three great new investigators (Milagros y Daniel, y aparte Gisela), we had three investigators come to church, and today we are going to eat asado. It's just all round good.

Alright! Well, I don't know exactly what stories to tell.
Hm, here's one- an investigator in another area- colonia bombal- found out that I was from Canada when I did the baptismal interview for her and said that she had found a ten dollar Canadian bill in a university textbook, but that it was way old.

It was one from 1981 or something like that. It was real, though, had the raised printing and everything. It was quite goofy. Who'da thunk? I bet it's worth a bit more than ten dollars if you could sell it to someone who collects old currency.

This week we had a lesson with Gisela in the bishop's house and that was quite great. I just appreciated how important it is to have members contribute their thoughts and testimony to be able to strengthen the teaching that we impart.

Well, have a good week everybody, we're off to eat.
Elder Backstrom

Argentina experiences a second winter!

Sorry, there are few photos this week because it rained last p-day so we did basically nothing. (Due to the big earthquake in Chile, apparently the seasons got pushed back because the ocean currents were affected dramatically or something to that effect- pretty crazy! it's like it's winter again [Argentina winter, which is more like fall])

But on another note it was a great week! quite fantastic to be honest! We had a companion exchange with colonia bombal, a very agricultural area that is one of the few in the mission where we use bikes- it's a place dominated by immigrant families from Bolivia and Peru mostly, lots of people who work in la cosecha (and make a lot of money doing it, too!) they have the biggest trucks of anyone here. A lot of people are racist against them though, because they consider them uneducated or something because they are willing to do that hard work with their hands. Ironically, they have their reward- farm work pays well, and, while the rest of the county suffers economic shrinking pains, they, and their families, are fine.

Hm, we also had a way cool miracle this Sunday- A young lady named Gisela arrived at the chapel after some friends in university invited her. We had no idea that she was going to come, but apparently her friends had given her a Book of Mormon and found out the address of the chapel so that they might invite her to church. One of the bishops' daughters, who has about the same age and is also in university, sat with her in the meetings and they seemed to get along quite smashingly so we planned to meet with her to share our message in the bishops' house on Saturday. Quite the occurance!

​Here is a picture of a mate cup or  matero that I obtained in the supermarket recently. Mate is a traditional herb infusion drink (composed principaly of the mate herb that grows close to the borders of Brasil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, but usually with several other herbal additions depending on the type of  yerba that you buy) that is drunk hot from the matero using a metal bombilla (straw-type thing); the mate is prepared placing the herbs directly in the matero and pouring boiling water onto the pile of yerba that should be about half of the matero. sugar can be used or it can be drunk bitter. the wood used in materos is porous, so that with time, it goes absorbing the flavour of mate and contributing to the flavour of the drink as well.

We're not allowed to drink it while in the mission, so, for home....

Anyways, I hope you all have a great week! later everyone!