Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trip to the Campo

While at General Villegas we were treated to a gran asado (great bbq) by the Cruz family. The above picture is of us with Brother and Sister Cruz by their mud oven. He started the wood burning outside in front of the oven. When he had hot coals with fire, he put them in the oven. When the oven was white hot inside, he put the grill and the meat in. He was cooking sausage and the traditional cut of the back. He then blocked the opening with a metal door and propped it closed until the meat was cooked.
Above is Brother Cruz with some of the meat he cooked. It was delicious.
We are all eating and enjoying the great meal with the Cruz family and the Elders. Along with the meat, Sister Cruz served an Argentine potato salad, chicken roulade and salad with cooked beats. For dessert we had a delicious layered torte with dulce de leche and fresh strawberries.
A picture of us with the Cruz family in front of their home.
This is a picture of the General Villegas Branch after our Sunday meetings.

We were asked by President Benton to do five things at General Villegas:

1. Review the finances and help them set up a proper system and complete their reports

2. Help them find a new pension (if necessary)

3. Visit various families and stay for Church and give some talks.

4. See that they are using the new chapel area and what physical needs they may have. We brought them an additional 15 chairs for this first Sunday in their new chapel area.

5. Check up on the English studies of Elder Alvarez, the Branch President.

The Elders were prepared and excited to have us. We were able to fulfill all of the President’s directives. We concluded they definitely needed another apartment and agreed on their choice, after viewing several possibilities. On Saturday we visited with the Edelio and Monica Moreno family and their eight children who have been members for about a year. We were touched by their humble circumstances and their strong testimonies of the gospel. On Sunday, the Elders and us were invited to eat an authentic Argentine asado (bbq) with the extended Cruz family. The father is a real gaucho (cowboy).

The branch has been open about three years. When the previous Mission President (President Ramos) served, he found himself always thinking of General Villegas, which had no missionaries. He felt impressed to travel there with his wife and to stop in the main plaza. She was hungry and wanted to get something to eat. He told her “No, we need to stay here longer.” Soon a young woman approached them, noticed their name tags, and said, “I know what church you belong to, because it is our church too.” This was the youngest daughter of the Jose and Graciela Cruz family. She is now married and the YW President in the branch. The Cruz’s had moved from Ituzaingo (a suburb near us in Ramos Mejia). They had been without the church for seven years. This is just another example of how our Heavenly Father is mindful of his children and how we can be in tune to the Holy Ghost and act on his promptings. They are a stalwart family. There are currently a little more than thirty members in the branch.

It was a wonderful experience to visit General Villegas. The spirit was very strong and the members are very dedicated.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Recoleta

The end of April we had the opportunity to visit the Recoleta District in the City of Buenos Aires with Brother and Sister Henderson. The Recoleta is an upscale neighborhood. The picture above is a picture of a banyan tree that was planted in 1800 by some priests. Notice how the branches grow horizontal.
The picture above is a pile of rocks that they use to build cobble stone streets and walks. They were in the process of rebuilding some walkways in the park. I thought it was interesting.
They were just starting to set their stands up when I took this picture.This is another picture of the banyan tree and how they have to put supports under the limbs as it continues to grow. The upper left hand corner shows the size of a limb.
While at the Recoleta we visited the Recoleta Cemetery. They build crypts where they put the caskets. They are usually for entire families and may have several caskets in them. Some are very elaborate and some are very simple.
While there we found where Eva Peron is buried. Many deny she is buried here because she was not born into the aristocratic class. She is supposedly buried thirty feet underground because her body was exhumed and disappeared after her death. This time they made sure she would be left undisturbed.
This is the entrance to the crypt where she is buried. The picture below is typical of the stain glass windows they use .

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baptism of Bryan and Martin

This is the second baptism that we attended on Saturday 6 June, 2009.  This one was in our ward here in Ramos Mejia.  Martin (the older gentleman) was introduced to the church through Fransica Marquez, a ward missionary.  She invited him to attend the ward with her and he came to a sacrament meeting and enjoyed it.  He agreed to have the Elders teach him the discussions.  The young man is Bryan Figueroa.  He is the young man that Elder Smith challenged to prepare to become a missionary before he was even baptized.  Elder Smith thought he was a member.  He is a cousin to the Cruz family that we have been helping to re-activate. Elder Sabey on the left baptized Bryan. Elder Harper on the right baptized Martin. 

Baptism in Lujan

This is a picture of the baptism of Pedro and Lidia Vargas that we attended in Lujan on Saturday.  Elder Henderson (the Branch President) is in the white at the left, on his right is their daughter Prisila.  Sister Henderson is on the right.  Elder Hinkley is kneeling on the left and his companion Elder Gonzalez is on the right.  We met Hermano Vargas last week when we attended the 25 de Mayo (25th of May) celebration.  After the fiesta Herman Vargas came up to Elder Smith and said "he could feel that he (Elder Smith) was a man of god"  Elder Smith told him, Pedro,  that he knew that Pedro knew that the church was true and that he needed to act on it and get baptized.  There was a strong spiritual connection between them both.

Elder Henderson told us how he met this family.  He walked by a peluqueria (barbershop) and felt he should stop there to get his hair cut.  He did not stop and went about doing other things.  The next time he passed the shop, he received the same feelings that he should go in to get his hair cut.  This time he went in.  Both the husband and the wife are barbers and own the shop.  They will be a great additions to the branch in Lujan. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

We invited the Elders from the office over for dinner. They are from left to right, Elder Sabey, (the new mission secretary) Elder Harper, in charge of mail and receiving,  Elder Wright  (in the middle) was the secretary and is going back in the field to prosolyte, Elder Frost, (Financial Secretary) and Elder Archibald (Pensionista, in charge of apartments).  The two Assistants to the President, Elder Pollock and Elder Woodmansee, were not able to make it.  They had a meeting with the President.  

We had a big painting party.  All of the Elders in the Catan Zone met at one of the apartments.  We painted the apartment in about 5 hours.  Not the most prof
essional painters but the apartment looked a lot better afterwards.  Mom cooked up a roast and we had roast sandwiches, pasta salad, honeydue and cookies after the painting was completed.  We all had a great time and were back to our apartments by 3:00.

I forgot to show a picture of our laundry room.  It is just out the kitchen door on to a little patio.  There is a scrub sink on the right that you can't see.  The washers are very small and use very little water but clean the cloths really well.  As you can see we hang the clothes out to dry.  It is a lot cheaper than using an electric dryer and works well.