I am writing this letter on one of the worst computers I have seen in argentina. It only has Internet Explorer (won't let me download anything else), runs Windows XP only in the basic, gray ugly mode, and the internet is slower than molasses. Because of all this, my email account is acting weird, so I hope this gets there ok.
I have a new companion! His name is Elder Tejada, from San Juan, Argentina. He has been on his mission for 8 months. I have now had companions from the 4 major groups in our mission: American, Argentine, Chilean, and Mexican. He was actually in the same ward with me in Adrogué for 2 transfers, so I know him already. Chascomús is going to be weird without Elder Lopez, but we'll just have to get over it. We are in Banfield right now (where the mission home is). We are traveling back later tonight. Mom, I have pictures but my camera is in my area, so I will probably send them later tonight or tomorrow morning. I don't want to use up my full writing time here because it is a very uncomfortable experience (did I mention the keyboard is horrible as well?)
Dad, I'm not sure what you mean by the 3:00 testimony thing. Is that on Monday? President Stapley said he was going to send you an updated letter about parents coming, did you get anything like that? Can you send me a copy if you did? If not, then the way it is done is that on Monday, you can go to transfer meeting at 9:30, which is where all the missionaries going home bear their testimony, and then you have to go do something else for a few hours while we eat lunch with President and Hermana Stapley, finish up some final administrative things and do some other stuff..., and then when the other missionaries are ready to be taken to the airport, you come back and pick me up. As far as Sunday, I would like for you guys to at least go to church once here, for the experience. If you want to fly in on Sunday morning and miss that one, it might be better because after church you have to go "away" again while I finish out my last day of missionary work anyway. The next Sunday though, we choose where we go to church, and stay together after. So that is my opinion. Today I had the opportunity to talk with the parents of Elder Taylor, who was my Zone Leader, who came to pick him up. They came on Saturday, and apparently just cooled their heels all day. They told me some interesting things, like the fact that you each will have to pay about $140 USD to enter the country when you get to the airport, just so you know. Also, it cost them quite a bit to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. For them it was over $100, but they brought their other two kids with them, so they had to take a little shuttle bus type car. For you, it will be less with just the two of you, where you can take a normal car. They said the only reason they didn't rent a car is because it would be too hard to find their way around. With me, that's not a problem. Everything would be much easier and faster with a rental car, but cheaper to do it the missionary way. I believe we already decided against renting, as it is expensive. Maybe Lance knows more about that, and can shed some light.
Ok, I am going to cut this, and finish it later. I can't handle this computer!!!!
Dad I just got your note where you realized about the meeting Monday. I stick to my opinion stated above. If we were to to use a rental car, we would not need a GPS for things in the mission, and some places in the main city of Buenos Aires. I think we could manage with my knowledge and Google Maps. Going to Iguassu falls doesn't seems worth it to me, but who knows. They it's pretty impressive, but for some reason, flying and spending money and a whole day or two for a waterfall doesn't seem too exciting. If it's something you guys really want to do, let's go for it. If not, I say skip it. We could save that money and go to a tango show, and visit other historical places.
I am working on a budget for food. I should have it done next week. I think you meant the mission home and church, not the mission office, when you mentioned getting there by train. I think you could handle getting there by train. You just have to know where you are going, which I can help you with.
Mom, I am normally fine for food money. My only money problems are with little unexpected expenses like fixing a bike, or having to travel for a meeting. And anyway, I am used to living off eggs and rice towards the end of the month.
As far as who we are teaching, our teaching pool is kind of dry right now. We are working on getting it back up, and with my new companion, we are going to work harder than ever to find new investigators. One who we met recently is a friend of a recently reactivated member. He just showed up to church a few Sundays ago saying he hadn't been to church in years, but decided it was time to go back. Then we had a sports activity to play soccer, and he brought his friend. At one point his friend (Daniel) told me he didn't actually like soccer, so I told him (honestly) that I didn't really either, so we sat and watched. Then I sneakily snuck out some Restoration pamphlets and taught him the first lesson right there! We are waiting to hear from his member friend (Ernesto) for when we can go by his house to teach him more. He seemed interested, so we will see where that leads.
We are also teaching a friend of a member family named Fernando. I may have mentioned him before. He has a lifestyle completely oppposite of the gospel principles, but wants to change. He has addictions to recover, and quite a change to make, but we are working with him to show him that it is indeed possible. He also went to our sports activity.
We are also working several inactive members and families. Since a few weeks ago that we talked to her, we haven't been able to find Rosa Alluson, the inactive sister I told you about. We have a list of more names to go and find that the branch gave us, so hopefully that brings about some fruit.
I'm not sure if I mentioned our Ping Pong Playing to you guys? We play quite a bit, every P-day and after district meetings. I never really like ping pong, and it has been more difficult since my accident, but it turns out that it is really fun, and I only whiff it once in a while! (And that may not even be because of my eye!) We have all gotten pretty good, and we have little tournaments. We play doubles alot, and it is way fun! Herman Rios and I were teamed up two weeks ago, and at the end of the day, we had 9 wins, while everyone else had 2 or 3! It is one of the only things we have to divert ourselves down south. So that is what we do!
Well, I just had to finish this up, and I will "see" you all next week.
I would like to send a huge thank you to the Summit Ward, and the Andersons. I got two amazing packages last week! And thank you to everyone who writes and contributes to my mission. I love you all.