Monday, November 24, 2014

It's a wee bit hot down here

Hola people! Sounds like ya´ll are doing well. And Happy Thanksgiving this week! I think my district is going to try and make a slight Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. So that should be fun. St. George sounded pretty fun! I´ll bet it´s nowhere near as hot as it is here. Luckily we´ve been blessed with couple cloudy/windy days this week. I found out today though what kind of tempertatures I can expect in January and February. 45 degrees Celsius, or like 113 FLIPPIN DEGREES FAHRENHEIT! Luckily it´s not humid here. I almost died yesterday though, it was pretty hot yesterday and we had lunch at a member´s house, and I was really surprised when she served us soup! So that was fun. 

So, to answer mom´s many questions: First of all, mom, we´ve got 3 piano playing missionaries in the ward. We live with two other Elders in our pension. But me, Elder Stocks, and Elder Nelson all play the piano. And he´s been here longer than us. And the ward knows we play the piano. So I´m not sure if the crazy kid is the real reason, but we still use the boombox. 2nd question: we just read our emails at the internet cafe. Not really a printer here. But it´s fine with me. 3rd question: We do pretty much wash our clothes in a bucket. It´s a really big bucket, that also kind of rotates the clothes back and forth, but usually I just use my hands. Then I have to drain the soapy water and fill it up again like 2 or 3 times for the rinse cycle. But whatever. 4th question: We do have running water! And a hot water heater! Unfortunately the hot water heater has been known to make the water boiling lava hot! Like the first week here I was trying to use our beday (I think that´s how you spell it? and yes we do have a beday) but the beday like scalded my butthole. Now we have toilet paper.So there´s a laugh for you.  5th question: we have done quite a bit of service. We´ve been helping these members build a house right next to our pension! It´s kind of fun! And last question: I do think my language is improving. I came to a realization this week that I have improved significantly since the first week. I remember the first day I couldn´t even pick out words they were saying, but now sometimes I can get the gist of the conversation! If the spirit´s there. But I am getting way more words out of all the people we talk to. So wahoo!

This week was really good though! Unfortunately I´m already having knee pain, just in my left knee, that sometimes makes it difficult to walk at all. I think it´s probably very minor, nothing to really worry about. I´ve just been walking a lot.  I´ve been doing stretches and stuff to try and get it feeling better. But I´ve noticed that when I´m focused on serving other people I don´t notice it as much! So that´s cool. But we had a pretty successful week! We got something like 21 new investigators (the standards of excellence for new investigators in our mission is like 8) and 10 lessons with less actives. And we´re finally getting some progressing investigators. It´s really tricky to get second appointments with people because they´re never there when we try to show up. They´re totally willing to hear us again, but they´re just never there. But we did get some progressing investigators this week. So yeah! Good week in general.

Thanks for all the letters! I love you all!

Elder Bingham

 My second "asado!" Or in other words, Argentine barbecue! Apparently these don´t happen very often. This one we did with the district last p-day, but pretty much all they do is get the biggest hunk of cow meat you can find and throw it on the grill, and that´s all you eat! It´s super good, if the person grilling knows how to do it right. Which fortunately they have every time for me. I had like 3 pieces of meat about that big. And me and Elder Stocks are going to another one today! Wahoo!

This is my new distict! From left: Elder Breinholt, who apparently I´m going on an intercambio with tomorrow; Elder Lujan, from Bolivia, who is also new like me; Elder Hawes, from Utah; Elder Andrade, from Brazil, who also lives in our pension; Elder Stocks, my companion obviously; Elder Castro, our district leader; and Elder Nelson, from Idaho, who lives in our pension with us. And on a side note, all 5 of us gringos are also Virgin Lips! The Latinos are going crazy. Haha.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hola from Argentina!

Hola everyone! It was great to hear from you guys! Things are still going great here! It´s super hot, but we do have our sombreros now! And apparently we haven´t even hit the worst of the heat yet. Everyone keeps telling us that it´s the hottest in January and February. Luckily we do have AC in our apartment, but most of the time it´s still super hot in there, because our house is made out of bricks. Wahoo. Dad, the place where we bought our sombreros is actually in the bigger city about 30 minutes from our area, called San Juan. We have to take a bus down here to use the internet cafe. Our area Cuacete is much different, and much smaller. I don´t have an address really besides that, so good luck on the Google Maps stalking.  

I guess I´ll start from where I left off last week, Elder Christofferson! (I realized that I also spelled his name wrong last week) It was a super great experience. All the missionaries in our mission came down to Mendoza to hear him speak. He started it all by letting each of us come up and shake his hand, tell him our name, and where we were from. I can tell you that as soon as I grabbed his hand I could feel his spirit. It kind of made me a little giddy! He then spoke to us and talked to us entirely in Spanish, and I kind of got from his talk how important it is that we use the Book of Mormon in our teaching. I wish I could´ve understood the whole thing, but I think the Spirit told me what I need to hear. 

But back to this week. It was really good! I don´t know if it´s just the area I´m in or the people or what, but I´ve been super surprised here to see how many people we talk to about  that are just like "Sure! Come by our house sometime! We don´t have a problem with hearing your message!" And stuff like that. Given, there are still people who are like "Nope! I´m Catholic! Bye!" But I was totally expecting to get the majority of our answers like that. So we´re still getting lots of appointments. Oh, and random trivia because Mom asked: My trainer has been out for 18 months. 

The members are really awesome and willing to help here too. We´ve gotten to know most of them and we get lunch with a family like every day. They feed us well. Mom, I´m not sure if you got that pic over facebook? We were at one of the member´s houses on Thursday or Friday and their son got a picture of me eating flan and tried to send them to you, but we went by again yesterday and he said that you hadn´t seen it yet. I hope you did. But anyway, the ward is a little crazy sometimes. There´s a few kids that are CRAZY during sacrament meeting, one in particular who likes to run up on the stand and mess around with the boombox we use for music and tries to eat the sacrament bread. I think he´s the reason why we don´t use the piano.    

One appointment in particular I´ll share with you guys: On about Friday we went down to like the bottom end of our area trying to find this member we hadn´t met yet. But we get there and it turns out the man´s daughter and her husband are living there! She´s an inactive member who kind of stopped coming to church like 4 years ago when she kind of had a kid with her future husband, but she still had a testimony and everything. He´s slightly Catholic but doesn´t really attend much. But they are married now, and totally want to hear our message, So me and Elder Stocks are all like "Golden Investigator! Booyah!" I was grateful for the Spirit guiding us that day. 

Hope that was enough info for you guys! Love you!

Elder Bingham
The view from right outside our pension, if you zoom in you can kind of see what most of the houses look like. 

Sombreros! We had do take one quick in the internet cafe because we forgot to during the week. So sorry for the selfie. And also, I never imagined looking like this as a missionary.

This is kind of what this area looks like when you aren´t in town. It´s super desert-ish and stuff. And I don´t know if you can see it in this picture, but there´s like grape fields everywhere around here. Oh, and there´s some of the Andes in the background. 

Monday, November 10, 2014


Wow! I finally made it! Sounds like ya´ll are doing pretty well! I was glad to hear Alex opened his mission call to Madrid! That´s super sweet! Give him a high five for me. Things here have been slighty overwhelming. Where to begin? Well, we made it into Argentina with no problems. And it turns out I didn´t have to take a 12 hour bus ride. We actually took a domestic flight from Buenos Aires to Mendoza. But our flight wasn´t until very late in the day, so it pretty much took just as long as the bus ride would have. We had a nice dinner in the mission home that night, and stayed in a hotel until morning. 

The next day was full of training at the offices. We were trained on stuff like "how to not get robbed as easily" and "how to eat healthy" and stuff like that. Speaking of eating healthy, I already think I´m going to get fat down here. Pretty much all I´ve had to eat so far has been rice, pasta, and not very many vegetables or fruits. It´s been super good, but I´m totally going to get fat. Oh and also, there´s this drink down here that ya´ll need to try. I don´t know why America doesn´t have this. Pretty much all it is is vanilla yogurt mixed with milk. IT¨S SUPER GOOD! Anyway, finally around 4 or 5ish I met my trainer, Elder Stocks. He´s from St. George Utah, and I´m his third "child" I guess. He´s trained 2 other elders before me, so he´s a pretty good trainer. We´ve gotten along pretty well already, and he´s taught me a lot. That night we left to our area, and arrived around midnight. So I was running on pretty much no sleep. 

Finally in the morning we got to work. Our area is in the San Juan province and it´s this little town called Caucete. Apparently it´s a really great area compared to some others. It gets really hot here in the summer unfortunately, so hot that we get to go buy sombreros! Apparently it´s a neccessity. We´re going to buy them today sometime. Luckily we also have air conditioning in our apartments, (we call it our pension here) and all the people here are relatively friendly. We haven´t even gotten chased by dogs yet, and there are many. We live pretty much right next to all the members in the town, and these first few days we´ve just been trying to get to know them. We don´t really have any investigators yet, but we´ve been doing a lot of street contacting and we´ve got quite a few appointments set up for this week. So that´s good. 

So I´m doing pretty well here so far. I´m a bit overwhelmed about learning how everything works down here and stuff like that. And also I´m pretty sure the Spanish here is not what they taught us in the MTC. I can´t understand a word of what anyone is talking about. But luckily I can still speak pretty well. I think I´d rather be able to understand people, but that will come. All the members we talk to compliment me on how well I can speak already, so that´s been nice. 

I almost forgot to tell you guys! We were lucky enough to have Elder Christopherson come and speak to us on Saturday! I can´t believe that I arrived just in time to hear him speak to us, but I´ll tell ya´ll more about it next week! It was a super awesome experience!

Well, that about sums up this crazy week. ¡Les quiero mucho!

Elder Bingham
We made it to Argentina selfie! 
Me and Elder Stocks! My first day in the field!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Last Week in the MTC

Hola people! This week has been kinda crazy. Not really because it's been super busy or anything, but because all of us want to get out of here. You guys looked great in your Halloween costumes by the way. Dad actually looked a bit scary. I actually dressed up for Halloween too... I dressed up as Elder Pyle from our district and he dressed up as me. It made for a lot of confusion yesterday, because we were wearing each other's name tags. I picked up my suit from the dry cleaners and she's like "it's for samuel, right?" She had looked at my name tag, and I was super confused for a minute. Then I realized that I was in fact NOT Elder Pyle, but I did get my suit. It was kind of funny. Anyway, I can't believe Kyla was chosen to paint that quote at the school! That is so cool! Send pics when she actually does it! And I still haven't heard a word from Jayson, just sayin. (hint hint) It's weird that Charlie is home already. And that Amaya gets home in 7 weeks. Amaya, don't get married or anything. Or have kids. That'd be weird. 

So not much happened this week except for yesterday. We didn't have any TRC investigators, which was kind of sad. We did do a lesson with a member in Argentina over skype, which went pretty well, except for the part that we couldn't hear a word she was saying. Not just understand, but we could hardly even hear her. The parts we heard though made us really excited to start speaking Argentine spanish, because it just sounded so pretty! I think it is definitely the most pure form of spanish. So sorry Mom and Amaya, but your spanish isn't as cool. So we hoped that she got a good message out of it. Yesterday was in-field orientation though. It started at like 8 in the morning and went until 5, with only about an hour and a half of breaks in between. They did it really well though. They had us up and doing stuff if different rooms and we definitely learned a lot. But then I realized after that I had been there for 8 hours, and just the thought of that kind of drained me for the rest of the day. But it was good. 

Today's our p-day obviously, so we are just doing laundry and packing mostly. I got the packages and the letters you guys all sent, so thanks for that! Thank you Grandma for the nice handwritten note! And p.s. Dad, the talk you sent me printed on like 7 pages, so all the Elders in the district were super jealous yesterday when I got 8 letters and none of them got any. It was fun. I'll be sure to read it on the plane. Oh, and speaking of the plane I did buy a calling card at the bookstore here. I think I can make up to 3 calls, and I've got lots of time to talk. I think I'll call in Atlanta, and I have a 3 hour layover. I'll be there at around 5 in Atlanta time, so I think it'll be around 3ish in Utah. So I need to know what time you guys want me to call, and if you need me to call you guys on different phones (if dad's at work at something). So try to give me that information by tomorrow, I figure I can get permission to check. 

One last thing: 2 Nephi 22:2. We had a devotional this week from the President of the Primary and she shared that with us. It's super cool, and I wish I could change it to my mission scripture, but ya'll go read it! 

Talk to you guys on Monday!

Elder Bingham
Just a really funny looking picture or Elder Taylor

Last lesson with like the best teacher ever,  Hermano Wolfe.
Unfortunately, he is not very photogenic.

Me and Elder Kimber

Halloween! Elder Pyle is wearing my cardigan, tie and tag, and I am wearing his. It was fun.