That After Christmas Feeling-Week 26 (Mitre-Salta)

Hola Familia y Amigos!

So this week was the first of 2 christmases in the mission field. It all went super well! My mom sent me a package with presents, we got to eat dinner with an awesome family in our ward on Christmas Eve (they do all their festivities on Christmas eve) and I wasn´t even sad or super homesick or anything!
Then after the skype call… the after christmas feeling hits. We all know the feeling. When you just know that all of the fun is behind you and the only thing lying ahead is work and some stress and “the old grind”. It stinks but it’s all good because I´m in a cool country helping people, and doing the most important work that has ever existed or will ever exist. And its fun too!!!!
So yeah. I was dreaming of a white christmas and we got one!! Yuliana and Jaquelin Tejerina were baptized on Saturday!!!(they are pronounced Juliana and Jack-eh-lean. Yuliana is 11 and Jaquelin is 8)  It was the best! They were so happy and so were their parents! I baptized and confirmed Yuliana and Elder Erickson baptized and confirmed Jaquelin. Funny story, after I baptized Yuliana I looked at the witnesses (our Bishop and ward mission leader) to make sure we didn’t have to do it again and they were like yeah it’s all good. So we left the water and then another elder comes and says we have to do it again because her foot poked out and her foot poked out because she didn’t bend her knees like she was supposed to. So we were like ok and we got in again and did it again.
A baptism Christmas is awesome but what’s even more awesome is having more baptisms waiting for you after! We have more people in the Familia Tejerina that are going to get baptized before the next transfer and some other really good people that can be baptized if they can progress these next 3 weeks. So we´re super excited because the chances are one of us is going to leave the area the next transfer but we´ll see what happens!
Guys, I love missionary work! Remember that God loves you and I love you too!
Livin´ the Dream,
Élder Brundage
P.S.  The week in review:
Monday- Pday and we bought our gifts for the Christmas conference
Tuesday- We did splits with the Zone leaders and I stayed in my area and we killed it so the day went by super fast
Wednesday-The christmas conference until like 4 in the afternoon! Super fun!
Thursday- Christmas eve that we spent with a family from 8 to 11 more or less
Friday- Calls to the fam
Saturday- Baptisssssmmmmmm
Sunday- Confirmatiiiiiiooooooonnnnn
Whoo hoo sweet week
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All of his christmas gifts!

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The baptism of Yuliana and Yaquelin with their mom and dad!

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A photo of the family and us where we spent “Noche Buena” (Christmas eve)

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Christmas-(Mitre-Salta) Week 25

Hola familia y amigos!

Well there`s not too much to report from this week. Some struggles, some success, all that jazz. Out here the weeks seriously blend together haha!
The only big piece of news really is that we`ve got baptisms this Saturday! The familia Tejerina is still progressing so it’s all good. The 2 that will be baptized are Guiliana and Jaquelin (I’m not sure how to spell it but they sound like Juliana and Jackelyn). They are 11 and 8 years old respectively. So, after we found out that the parents weren’t married we knew that the mom’s baptism was going to be delayed quite a bit and we were positive that the kids weren’t going to be baptized without their mom so we just kept teaching without setting a date. They all came to church and then after 2nd hour we leave the classroom and Guiliana just says “Porqué no anunciaron el bautismo?!” (Why didn’t they announce the baptism?!) And we said “what baptism?” and she and Jaquelin basically said “Duh our baptism this Saturday!” And we were super surprised because I guess we underestimated how important this really was to them and that they were going to do it even if their mother couldn’t do it with them. So basically they are just super stud muffins and they’ll be baptized this Saturday! Meeeerrry Chriiiistmaaaass!
Argentine Christmas: Christmas in Argentina is weird and it fits what I thought it would be basically. In the US we decorate after Thanksgiving and its all out from there. Here they decorate after Dec 8. I can’t remember exactly what the  holiday is called but if I`m not mistaken it’s called Dia de la Virgen de Milagro (celebrated the virgin Mary). That holiday all the “catholics” go and march in like a parade type thing and they believe they get forgiven of their sins. Anyways the people decorate with their small fake trees and Pesebres (translated that means manger I`m pretty sure but they`re actually nativity sets). Los Pesebres start out with a little stable with like fake grass/straw and Joseph and Mary and the 3 wise men. So you have that and then year after year you buy another animal to put around it that faces the manger. So in the lead up to Christmas they don’t have the baby Jesus in there. At midnight on Christmas eve they put the baby Jesus in his spot in the manger!
Christmas Eve: So it’s just a normal day until around 8 when everybody leaves work and starts to party. The night from like 8 on Christmas eve to like 4 or 5 in the morning they call “Noche Buena”.  They make a ton of food (asado, empanadas, pizza, etc) and just eat, get super drunk, blast music (literally everyone in this country has HUUUGE speakers) and just have a good time. Then everybody gets ready for midnight and when the clock hits they put the baby Jesus in his manger and they light off a HUGE amount of fireworks. And then they just keep partying and exchanging gifts until like 4 or 5 in the morning when they finally go to bed/pass out.
I will be spending Noche Buena in the house of a member until 11 at night when we have to be in our apartments!
Christmas: Super normal day. They all just like walk around in their new clothes and that’s about it. Nothing Special.
So yeah everything is good and I love you all!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Livin` the Dream,
Elder Brundage
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The view outside our apartment

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The Christmas packages arrived in time for Christmas!

The Dream Team Lives on – (Mitre-Salta) Week 24

Hola familia y amigos! (I actually have no idea who reads my letters so I hope friends read them lol. If you read them write me a little bit please)

Anyways some transfer news….. THE DREAM TEAM IS STAYING TOGETHER! So yeah, Elder Erickson and I are staying here in Mitre for another transfer and we´re pretty stoked about it. We call ourselves the dream team because seriously we are working well together and we´re going to have a ton of success this upcoming transfer. It´s gonna be bomb. Also we´re like super good buds so it’s cool. We have our own handshake and everything. Can you believe that the Lord would send people as immature as we are to help save souls?  Yeah, I can’t either.
Anyways, I´m just going to describe our investigator pool.
Familia Tejerina: Suuuuper Capos (capo is basically like stud) A part-member family, the dad is an inactive member for like 30 years or so and nobody else is a member. They’re former investigators that we found randomly one day. We found them and found that the mom, Marta, has a super strong testimony and can’t wait to be baptized. She even said that first lesson “Yo sé que esta es la única iglesia verdadera” (I know that this is the only true church). The kids are also studs and they all want to get baptized. They were going to be baptized this Saturday but we just found our that they aren’t married yet so they are gonna do that haha!
Familia Sanchez: A super humble family going through some difficult problems that are excited to learn and grow. José (19 years old) is a stud and he’s gonna get baptized and go on a mission woo hoo!!
Alejandro Tejerina: He is a freaking studmuffin man. He’s super catholic.  (He even goes door to door proselyting) but also super open. His relationship with God is super open and loving. When we clapped at his gate he came out and the second we said we were missionaries he said “Do you want to come in??” It was the easiest contact I had ever done. He told us when we were teaching that he firmly believes that God sent us (he called us God´s servants) to his door because God is telling him that there is something that he lacks or isn’t doing right. Such a stud. Those are our main people, there are more but we havent been able to visit them too frequently yet.
Miracle Story time; 9 o’clock on Saturday. We’re walking back to the apartment from a barrio that’s super far away in an area that we had never been to before (after a series of circumstances that led us to this part of the barrio). We walk past a house and this angry guy yells “Vengan!” (Come here!) So we go over and say hello and stuff and he´s just standing there and says “The gate’s open” and we were thinking there is nooo way we’re going in there. We said “just come here and shake our hands”, and he said “the gate is open.” After like 30 seconds of this we both feel that we need to go in anyways. We talk to him for awhile and he was very angry and getting in our face asking us why we do what we do. He yelled “WHY ARE YOU HERE?” and I felt impressed to just say. “To tell you that God loves you”.  We talked for a bit about his life and we found out that he’s a drug addict, his girlfriend left and took his daughter with her and that when he went outside he was going to get a rope out there to kill himself. We gave him a Book of Mormon and 2 promises “Tonight, if you feel the urge to kill yourself, read that book and you won’t want to anymore” and “If you REALLY want to change, you will find the strength to do it in that book.” He promised to read it and we knew he would.
I love it here you guys! God lives and loves you!
Livin´ the Dream,
Élder Brundage

Hey Gringos-Week 23 (Mitre-Salta)

Holaaaaa mis amores!

I would just like to start off and say that the letter from last week seemed like I was a whole lot sadder and discouraged than I really was haha! It was a really rough week but we just kept going like it never even happened. We learned and we moved on. I´m not exactly sure why I wrote that way but whatevs haha!
This week was awesome and we saw some seeeerious miracles. So yeah last week was rough but we just worked and worked and worked and the spirit was with us once again!!! We found 14 new investigators, we had 5 people in church, and 3 of them have baptismal dates for the 19th.
This part member family (Familia Tejerina) 3 of the church are seeeriously prepared by the Lord to join the church right now. We found them trying to visit the Dad who is a less active member. We went there, the Dad said to come in and his family was there. We found out that they had listened to the missionaries before and they went to church and everything. After talking for a little bit she says “Yeah after we stopped going to church everything started to go bad. I think that’s a big part of the problem but I really feel like the big problem is that we were never baptized.” And we were like holy crap and said basically “you’re right. That is what you need to do” and we set the baptismal date and left. This whole lesson was like 15 or 20 minutes so yeah.
Alright I don’t have too much time but I want you know that I love you all soooo much.
Livin´ the Dream,
Élder Brundage
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Thanksgiving Dinner Milanesa Sandwich and empanadas and fries

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Asado with the zone

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Zone Elders