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. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

These three photos are of the bathroom and bedrooms.  Just what everyone wants to see.

These two pictures  show the living room and kitchen.  It is a 2 bedroom one bath apartment.  We use one of the bedrooms as a study room where we have the computers set up.

These two pictures are of our 14 story apartment building.  We are on the 9th floor.  They really call it the 8th floor because the ground floor is 0.  The apartment buildings are very secure.  You have a front gate where only the people that live there have a key.  They also have a door entering into the building that is locked.  Our apartment building is called "La Torre de Palmeros" or "The Palm Tower".  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We are finally at a point where we can build upon our blog.  We got the internet going yesterday and can now post.

 We keep very busy but it is so rewarding to see lives change through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been involved in interviewing all the Elders and Sisters when President Benton has his missionary interviews. We do this on two fronts: on their needed apartment repairs and cleanliness as well as motivating them on the English Companionship Study Program.  We have met with about 90% of the missionaries.  Tomorrow and next week we go to the campo (country side) and meet the rest of them.


The church has approved this program for the native Latin missionaries in Central and South America to study and learn English. It will eventually go world wide. It can easily triple their income and bless their future families. We believe it will also spiritually bless them as they get off their missions and serve in many leadership capacities within the church. There will not be a better time for them to learn English than now in the structured environment of a mission with the added power of Holy Ghost. They are making tremendous progress, we are very proud of them. We have had our first painting party! I've been doing lots of cooking. The sweetest experiences are bearing testimony and meeting with investigators and members in their homes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Week in the MTC

This week end was very special and spiritual in our lives.  On Friday, March 13, our youngest son, Scott, received his Patriarchal Blessing. In preparation to enter the Missionary Training Center we were set apart by President Bill Young, the President of the Utah Orem East Stake.  We were set apart on Sunday March 15, 2009 at 8:00 a.m.  President Young gave us many wonderful and marvelous blessings as he set each of us apart.  It was a very emotional and spiritual experience and one that we will always remember.Also on Sunday, Brennen spoke in sacrament meeting about the priesthood.  Later that evening Wayne was privileged to ordain Scott an Elder.  What a great blessing in our lives to have the Priesthood of God in to perform those sacred ordinances and blessing for the benefit of man. 

The week before entering the MTC we called the Missionary Travel Dept. in SLC to check taking Nita’s oxygen concentrator with us on the flight.  They gave us our itinerary for our flight.  They told us that we would fly out of Salt Lake City on March the 20th.  Originally we were expecting to fly out on Monday the 23rd.  This meant that we would lose Saturday and Sunday to finish up some final details before flying out.  Panic time!!! We adjusted our schedule to meet the Friday fly out date.

We entered the MTC on Monday March 16, 2009.  What a great and marvelous experience.  The spirt is so strong there.  As we received instruction you could feel the spirt testifying to the truth of the Gospel.  

It was impressive to see the number of senior missionaries that had served several missions.  They told us that once it was in our blood we would also want to serve several missions.  There is such a great need for senior missionaries in the field.

One of the highlights was the Tuesday night devotional where Elder L. Tom Perry spoke to the missionaries.  He talked about companionship.  He told of his experience with his first companion and how they grew to love each other and served some time together.  As they were completing their missions the war was going on and they decided that they would both join the Navy with the chance that they could serve together.  As Elder Perry went to sign up to join the Navy he said that he saw those white bell bottom pants and said I can’t wear those.  Then he saw a man walk through wearing a Marine uniform.  He joined the Marines.  During basic training Elder Perry requested time to attend church services.  As he walked into the building he saw his former missionary companion that had also joined the Marines.  Elder Perry said that a few months ago his son invited him to his home to visit with someone.  That someone was his mission companion that had cancer.  While visiting with him they decided that they would also serve together in some capacity on the other side.  Elder Perry then talked about building a strong and loving relationship with companions in order to be effective and serve the Lord.

Thursday we had two great presentations.  In the morning Brother & Sister Burns spoke to us about reactivation.  They talked to us about not pre-judging and being persistent.  They talked about some of their conversion stories.  It was very inspiring.  In the afternoon Ed Pinegar spoke to us about the spirit.

On Tuesday we called the mission president and left a message that we would be there on Saturday at 7:55 a.m.  On Wed. we received a message that he had called and ask us to get our International Drivers License.  We had to leave Thursday afternoon to get the license.  We checked out of the mission home Thursday evening and slept at home to get ready to go to the airport Friday morning.  

We arrived at the airport an Nita had her first missionary experience.  As we were unloading and taking baggage in there was a lady that appeared to be from India that asked if we were missionaries.  Nita said that she was.  The lady asked if we could pray for her son who was dying and she did not know if they would arrive at their destination before he died.  Nita told here that she would pray for them.  "You Never Know".

We presented our  to check in and they told us that they did not have a reservation for our flight.  They checked a little further and found that they had us flying out on Monday the 23rd. and that the church had changed the flight.   We found our lost weekend.  In reality it is a blessing.  We get to rest up before the big flight to Argentina and we also had the opportunity to attend the Draper Temple Dedication on Sunday.  

Our next update will be from Argentina.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Two Weeks to go

We have finished our tutoring classes at the MTC.  At the right is a picture of Hermana (Sister) Vargas.  She has been a great blessing in our lives.  We are hoping that she will be able to work with us when we go into the MTC on March 16th.  This has been a great and wonderful experience going to the MTC for these classes.  We went to the MTC three days a week for one hour.  Nita went on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and I went in the afternoons.  Hermana Vargas started working with Nita to learn the language.  Nita has progressed  very well.  She understands most of what she hears and reads.  The Lord has blessed her a great deal.  She is saying prayers and bearing testimony in Spanish.  She feels that she is not doing as well as she should but I believe that she is doing well and that once we get to Argentina she will blossom in speaking the language.  I have completed the first two lessons in Spanish and am now working on the third lesson.  I hope to have the four lessons down before we go to Argentina.  We talked with Brother and Sister Rawson (the couple we are replacing) again last week.  They helped us to get into the computer program to track the progress of the missionaries with their English lessons.  They told us a little more about the apartment and the area that we will be living in.  We will be about two miles from the mission office.  They said they walk there all the time.  It will be good exercise for us I am sure.  

I was looking on the web for blogs on the mission and found one for a Elder and Sister Peterson from the Buenos Aires West Mission where we are going.  He looks to be an older gentleman (yes older than I am).  He is a physician and is the medical director for the South American Area.  I believe they are the only other couple missionaries in the mission.  There may be one more couple there but we are not sure. 

We are tying up loose ends in the next two weeks.  We have moved some of our stuff out to a storage unit.  We are looking forward to the night we get set apart as missionaries.  

Monday, February 16, 2009

As many of you already know, we report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo on March the 16th to serve in the Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission.  We will serve for 18 months.  We are busy getting our affairs all taken care of before we leave.  We have been going to the MTC three times a week for language lessons.  We are being tutored by Sister Vargas from Brazil (she speaks Spanish).  She is helping Nita learn the Spanish language.  I am working on presenting the lessons.  I have passed off the first two lessons.  It has been a delightful and rewarding experience.

Many of you have asked about our speaking assignment in church.  We will be speaking on March the 8th at 1:00.  Our chapel is located on 600 North and 1120 East in Orem.  

Our assignment will be maintaining and inspecting the missionary apartments.  We will also be working with the missionaries to help the non-english speaking missionaries to lean English.  

We have been contacted by the couple we will be replacing about the program and how it works.  We have also been working with Von Packard (who helped develop the program with Glen Probst a professor at BYU).  Brother Packard was a mission president in Chile.  The program has been approved by the missionary committee for use throughout the missions in the world. We will also be assigned to one or two wards to assist with re-activation and proselyting.

The following information may not be of interest to most of you but for those that are interested the following are the addresses to send letters and packages to. Letters are to be sent through the pouch mail service.  Each country regulates the pouch service differently.  Only post cards and letters that are single sheet, folded into three-panels, and taped at the top should be sent (no envelopes).


Elder Thomas Wayne Smith

Sister Juanita Wilcox Smith

Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission

POB 30150

Salt Lake City Ut. 84130-0150

Packages that are sent should be addressed as follows:

Elder Thomas Wayne Smith

Sister Juanita Wilcox Smith

Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission

Ballesteros 1076

1706 Haedo

Buenos Aires


This information is going out in a mass e-mail and we don’t want anyone to feel obligated because of the e-mail.  We appreciate all of our family, friends and co-workers for their love and support and pray that the Lord’s choicest blessing may be upon all of you.

Love, Wayne & Nita Smith