1. There are missionaries serving from 20 (soon to be 21) countries in the mission.
Everywhere from Canada, the United States, Spain, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama and New Zealand. We are waiting for a missionary from Australia to get his visa and arrive. It is amazing to think that Diane and I have hundreds of adopted sons and daughters from all over the world.
2. The missionaries speak more than just castellano (and english). We have missionaries who also speak Utahn (ok, that is just a joke), Portuguese, Guarani, Toba, German, French, Samoan, Russian and Korean.
3. Some of the missionaries were students before their mission, but we also have missionaries who have been engineers, teachers, musicians (one was even in a rock band), hypnotists, nurses, sociologists, chefs, models, contractors, tax preparers, warehousemen, lawyers (not just me, another one, too), etc., etc.,...my favorite is the missionary who was responsible for creating new ice cream flavors...a close second (only because I do not think that it was his full time job) is the missionary who was a ninja. We all thought he was joking until he did a 360 degree standing jump...yes, he jumped upside down from a standing position and landed back on his feet. We told him never to do that again while he was here.
4. You can not travel from one end of the mission to the other by car. There is a point in the Province of Formosa where the road ends. It becomes a trail and then just sand. When it rains you can not even get to where the road ends. For 200 or so missionaries there are just 2 cars in the mission both based in Resistencia. The Toyota Hi Lux that Diane and I drive and keep getting stuck in the mud. And, the Ford Ranger that the Assistants and Office Secretaries use and must have an invisible bulls-eye attached to it as it seems to attract frequent contact with other vehicles and scooters (19-25 year old drivers might have something to do with that).
5. We lease 98 apartments for missionaries and about 10 other buildings for small congregations. Guess who signs the leases for all of those? Yep, I am a pretty good friend of the notary publics in Argentina. Although we do not have official branches on the several indigenous reservations we still have several old wooden buildings that were built years ago on leased land. The Church owns outright many other buildings in the 5 provinces that make up the mission. We also have about 100 cellphones (the number is constantly changing as missionaries lose their phones by one means or another) and dozens of computers.
6. At one point last year we had 212 missionaries. As some missionaries have returned home and others have been scheduled to come we have actually decreased our number to 172 right now. But, we have about 40 who are in other countries waiting for their Argentine visa to come through so that they can enter the country. They come normally with two days' notice.
7. We have various missionaries who knew each other before the mission...some from the same high school...some from the same college...some from having competed against each other in sports...and two who are cousins and actually served together as companions for a while in the mission. We also have missionaries who have had relatives; parents, brothers, uncles, sister...and even a son (ours, Chris) who have served in this mission. It is a small world.
And, since our arrival in July 2011, we have seen missionaries return to their homes and finish their college degrees, start careers, marry, return to Argentina, travel to other countries to study, teach at Missionary Training Centers in at least 4 countries and continue to amaze us. Being with these missionaries really is a privilege and to see their lives unfold is one of the great rewards of being here.