Can’t think of a Clever Subject Line – Week 7 (Tucuman)

Hola Everyone!

So this was a good week! Elder Huaman and I  are definitely working hard! We wake up at 7 (we go to bed at 11 and wake up at 7 in Tucuman, it’s a rule), exercise, get ready, study, and work! It’s tiring but never boring!
Random stuff that I don’t know how to write so it’s in a list:
-I once asked Elder Huaman why he decided to serve a mission and he said: para tener siete esposas. (to have 7 wives) 2 nephi 14:1 and I died a little bit. (for non-LDS people reading this…obviously that is a joke haha)
-Remember how I was like “what if they don’t have toilet paper??” and we all laughed because of course they have toilet paper….. well they use bidets and communal rags sooooo
-We have this big hole in our bathroom floor that if we use too much of the water it overflows with poop water. So we clogged (purposefully with trash sacs)the drain in the shower and after we shower, we scoop all of the water out of the shower and dump it in the toilet with a blue plastic bowl. Every morning!
Anyways I have one or two stories:
-One of our longtime investigators is Silvia. She liked the church and believed in the message but was unable to give up smoking. When I first met her my first night she was very ill with bronchitis and she said that she hadn’t smoked in two days. When we left that night, i called it. I said “if this disease gets her to stop smoking then it is actually a gift and blessing from God. Well it was. She hasn’t smoked and says she never wants to smoke again. She´s to be baptized next month!
-So saturday was kind of crazy but great. Everything was pretty normal up until about 8. So a good number of our teaching appointments fell through so we were just knocking doors/ clapping at gates and having a less than normal amount of success (people are very very open to talk here but those catholics are a little bit less open around here “Soy catolica””no no somos catolicos”). And then we were about to walk past this one house when we both felt that we had to contact there. So we clap and explain ourselves and talk about our message. At the end of the conversation she says “When you clapped at my gate I was praying and asking God to send me help. I know that you are sent from God.” ………….uh. What a miracle huh! I can’t wait to visit her!
I know that this is the work of The Lord and that we have his spirit to guide us in it. I´m so grateful to be a missionary for my God and his son Jesus Christ!
Livin´ the Dream,
Elder Brundage
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I LIIIIIVE!!!!!! – Week 6 (First week in Argentina-Tucuman)

That subject is mushu from mulan if none of you knew haha!

Anyways…. ¡Hola todos!
So I´m here in Argentina. My flights to get here were way messed up! My flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires was delayed 9 hours so we slept in the airport! All of us missionaries! So I get to Buenos Aires and a whole lot of stuff happened and I didn’t understand anyone but we stayed the night in a hotel in BA and left for Salta the next morning at 3:45 am. When we got to Salta, we were greeted by our mission president, Presidente Chaparro (who speaks absolutely FLAWLESS English by the way! Like literally he sounds like a token white dude when he speaks English) and his wife and took us back to the mission office. I was promptly hugged by about 25 elders and shook a bunch of hands and did some legal stuff for my stay in Argentina. We got trained for like 10 minutes then were put into our companionships and areas! Then we went to the mission home to eat and we were off to our area!!
So, my trainer is Élder Huaman (pronounced Waw-mawn) and he is from Peru! He is 26 years old (he was baptized 3 years ago) and these are his last 3 months in his mission! He´s a cool dude and a really good teacher! He doesn’t know much English besides some vocabulary he studies during Estudio Idioma. I know enough Español to talk with him and understand him.
My first area is in Tucuman Oeste (west) and its called Parque Guillermina which is the ward I serve in. There are parts that are nice (in america that means the higher income part of the lower class) and then the rest of the people. Think of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America and you basically have most of the people in my area and a lot of people have less than that here. Very very humble people here. Basically everyone is Christian in some way shape or form but most don’t attend church regularly (for example, we met a woman on the street who said she was catholic but didn’t know what the new testament was and if it was part of the bible). Oh shoot I have like no time left! Next week I´ll write my letter beforehand and just type it here.
A few things before I have to go. The language is difficult, of course. It literally is not Spanish, its Castellano. People don’t say spanish. They say castellano, like even the ATMs only have options for English or Castellano. And its especially difficult here in Tucuman. This place is notorious for the accent. People don’t pronounce hardly anything they say. Elder Huaman says it’s sometimes a little hard to understand the accent for him too! But I have heaven’s help and I understand more and more everyday.
A thought on thoughts. There are 2 kinds of thoughts in the mission field:  Good and bad (God and Satan)
Thoughts of Satan: “I can’t understand anything, why am I even here? I´m not helping these people right now because I can’t say anything.”
Thoughts of God: “Man I love that family. Their faith is amazing. Keep trying Elder Brundage.”
Missionary work is hard, but this isn’t for me. It’s for these people who we visit and teach. Their lives can be better because we take the effort to visit and teach a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God loves us and I know he won’t let us fail. I love you all!
Livin´ the Dream,
Élder Brundage (Broon-dawje aqui
Braden with Pres. and Sister Chaparro

Braden with Pres. and Sister Chaparro

Elder Huaman (Peru) and Elder Brundage

Elder Huaman (Peru) and Elder Brundage

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Helping at a Primary Activity in his new ward Parque Guillermina, Argentina

Helping at a Primary Activity in his new ward Parque Guillermina, Argentina

On Leaving the MTC (Nest)–Week 5

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

Well this is it. My last P-Day in the Provo MTC. It’s quite a weird feeling to be honest. When I left home for my mission I was really scared (and excited) of the unknown and then I got to the MTC and everything was so normal that I got super comfortable with what goes on in mission life in the MTC. Now I am just as scared for Argentina but even more excited!! I can’t wait to see what that beautiful country (and The Lord) have in store for me.
I also have my travel plans! I leave Monday morning, have a 1:50 flight and I arrive in Atlanta at 7:40 pm. After that I have a 10 pm flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires. I arrive in Buenos Aires at 9:10 am the next day and then ride a bus for 22.5 hours to get to Salta. It sucks but I’m excited to see what the landscape of Argentina has to offer.
So the last week in the MTC everybody usually gets pretty trunky right? Normally yes, but I’m glad I was still focused on what I needed to do because I had a lot of Faith affirming experiences and answers to prayers. I’m sorry that I don’t have time to get into those right now! What’s crazy is technically we’ve learned all the tenses and ways to say stuff in Spanish. All we need now is vocab and practice! We have learned and (semi) understood Present, Preterit, Imperfect, future, positive and negative commands, progressive, present perfect, subjunctive, and past subjunctive. Spanish is one sweet language!! I seriously love it. Its so dope.
Anyways one really cool thing thing that we learned this week is what we call a drop lesson. If someone we’re teaching won’t keep their commitments they agree to (e.g. reading in the Book of Mormon, Praying, coming to church, etc.) they are not “Progressing investigators” because they want to rely on our knowledge and testimony rather than gain their own. Even though it is hard to stop visiting with someone you love it is sometimes necessary because you need to focus your efforts on those who will progress in their testimony. Anyways, a drop lesson is basically backing the investigator up against a wall of faith. Basically it is a choice. The happiness which comes from the Gospel or the sadness and darkness that will inevitably come if they turn away from God. If they won’t do (insert commitment here) then we can’t come by anymore. We let them choose to either do the commitment or sacrifice the lessons. If they choose to not do said commitment we basically let them know that their decision makes us sad, it makes Heavenly Father sad, and that their lives won’t get better. They can always come back but until they do they will experience darkness and sadness in their lives.
After that we likened it to a breakup conversation.
“You can either be my girlfriend or not”
“I don’t want to be your girlfriend”
“You know that makes me sad. I know that as you turn away from me all you will find is sadness and mediocrity. You won’t be happy. You will listen to sappy music and cry. You will eat ice cream straight from the tub for a few weeks and subsequently you will gain some weight”
Hahaha classic.
By the way, our district literally has the two best teachers in this MTC. Hermano Rasmussen is a spiritual giant, and a master teacher. When we do practices and demonstrations we are absolutely blown away by how easy it is for him to teach effectively and make commitments.
Our other teacher Hermana Martinez from Mexico City (she taught there for like 4 years before coming here) is this 4’9″ fireball who is an incredible teacher and one of the most perfect and faithful people I’ve ever met. She makes us better missionaries every time we are together. Literally every other teacher on our floor has come into our room and told us that we have the best teacher(s) in the MTC. And neither of them will be working at the Provo MTC anymore!!! They are both moving on after this next week :(((((((
Well I have loved my time here. I have learned a lot about myself, the gospel, and everything in between. I doubt I could forget this place and everything it has taught me but who knows haha!
I’m ready for my next adventure!!! The next time you hear from me I will be one of those gringos in Argentina! I love you all! I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is his son and our Savior.
Livin’ the Dream,
Elder Brundage
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MTC District

MTC District

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All the Argentina Elders

All the Argentina Elders