Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Question

Someone recently posed the following question to me, "So, what do you have to say after being in the mission for one year?" That is not a question you can answer easily or without some thought. The answer is pleasantly complex. Here are some thoughts that at some point could and probably should be crystalized:

1. I am glad I am here.

2. I feel fortunate to be experiencing this with my wife.

3. I have a deeper faith in God.

4. My hope in the leadership capabilities of the next generation is renewed.

5. I miss being with my family.

6. I love meeting, working with and serving people from all over the world.

7. Socialism dampens motivation.

8. A lack of education is more crippling than a lack of money.

9. Everyone has a life story to tell.

10. You can not replace time.

11. 90% of communication is non-verbal.

12. There are always good things and bad things happening in life and attitude is determined by which things we focus on.

13. A good listener will learn more from listening than a good speaker will learn by speaking.

14. There is not an overpopulation problem in the world, it is a distribution problem.

15. Crocodile does, in fact, taste like chicken.

16. Impure water makes impure ice cubes.

17. There really is a difference between a dry heat and a humid heat.

18. Chances are if you can hear them in the next room, they can hear you.

19. There is something different about praying while kneeling than in any other posture.

20. There really is a "law of the harvest"...that which you sow, you reap.

Etc, etc, etc!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bienal 2012

Resistencia is the sculpture capital of Argentina. Each year it hosts a week long festival where sculptors from all over the world come and create in a park, and where the public can watch and interact. I really wanted to go and see what it was like on the first day. Our friends, Pte. y Hermana Fernandez from the Resistencia Stake agreed to show us around. Here we go...

Diane with the Fernandezes at the entrance.

Sculptors submit beforehand their idea and preferred media. Based on that a select number of sculptors are invited to come and participate. These signs explain who the sculptor is, from where, the title of the work and a drawing of what it will look like when finished.

A wood sculptor.


The frame of a metal tubing sculpture.

Marble sculptor from Japan.

More marble sculptors.

I like how you can see this one taking shape.

And my personal favorite is this sculptor from Syria...check out his marble dust encrusted headwear! We hope to go back next Saturday to see the final products (we are traveling as usual this week)!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thank you, Barbara!

No matter how old you are, your big sister is always your big sister. So, Barbara, my big (petite) sister came all the way to Argentina and Resistencia on her own to visit us. Pretty daring, but tons of fun. A little recap might give a glimpse of her Sunday night to Thursday night whirlwind.

She came full of energy and ready to experience it all.

She shared her thoughts and feelings (and a few little brother stories) in Spanish with 60 missionaries at our Zone Leaders and District Leaders Training Meeting!

She went with Diane and I to Roque Saenz Peña and spent time visiting with the missionaries there. And then she sat in on Diane's visits with missionaries in Resistencia.

A little outdoor exercising with Diane in the median of La Avenida Sarmiento on the way to Corrientes.

We checked out the fish for sale taken from the Rio Parana (we have been here over a year and passed this little shack hundreds of times but stopped for the first time with Barb)

We checked out the Costanera in Corrientes, including our Church building there.

We even came across two of our missionaries talking with a man on the street! (unfortunately we received a call later in the day that the missionary in the blue sweater was bit by a dog sometime afterwards)

And we concluded the tour with a shopping trip to Walmart and lunch at the ONLY McDonalds in our mission! It was a great time. We were sad to take her to the airport so she could take the long trip home. I will let her tell the story someday of the delayed flight from Resistencia, the missed flight to Miami from Buenos Aires, the overnight stay at the hotel and her eventual return to Arizona. (To minimize the suspense, I arranged to have a car and a hotel for her in Buenos Aires with a woman waiting at the airport to take her to the hotel who speaks spanish and english) Thank you, again, Barbara.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where Has The Time Gone?

July 12, 1979: Mesa, Arizona

July 12, 2011: Corrientes, Argentina ("The" McDonalds)

July 12, 2012: Formosa, Argentina (Lunch with Missionaries)

Of course we had to let the missionaries see that old people who love each other still can kiss...

And then this little surprise at our "private dinner" at the Hotel around 9:30 pm...

Our waiter, who has become our friend, had the chef bake this vanilla cake with dulce de leche and creme, and presented it to us as our gift from them, "on the house"!

Can't wait to see where we celebrate in 2013! Feliz Aniversario, mi amor, te quiero mucho.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The New Tablero

I like to visualize. In the mission we currently have 212 missionaries divided into 15 Zones with 32 Districts. We also have 9 member Districts with 40 Branches. I assigned Elder Irene the task of putting together a new tablero (picture tablet) with pictures of every missionary by companionship, district and zone. And, each member District Presidency and Branch President by District and Branch (with phone number). I can not even begin to tell you how impossible of a task I thought that was. Everyone is spread out over 5 Provinces and cameras and internet (not to mention phone numbers) are not available everywhere. So, you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I finally made it back to my office and saw this...

A remarkable accomplishment that earned this Missionary...

This award!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Have Not Fully Experienced Life

Until you have spent the day driving through the jungle during a rainstorm!
While outside the car it looks like this...

From inside the car it looks something like this!

So, you drive a little slower, blink a little less and look for that solid white line on the shoulder of the road...that is while there is a line!