Monday, December 29, 2014

Didn't I just talk to all you guys?

Hey ya'll! I could've sworn I just talked to you guys... That was so awesome though! It was weird being on the other end of the call though, like Amaya said. And our call was actually a lot better than the other Elders' in our pension. I thought our connection was great, even if you guys didn't. They had problems understanding each other at all. Elder Stocks and Elder Johnson even had to just make a call instead of a video call because the connection was so bad. So I was pretty lucky! 

I'm still having a hard time believing that my younger siblings got iPhones for Christmas too. That's a little crazy. But I really didn't get to hear what everyone got besides those and that helicopter thing and a robot vacuum! So tell me! Especially my younger siblings who I haven't heard from in 8ish weeks, besides from skype, but that doesn't count. And also I want video proof of this robot vacuum thing. It sounds awesome! 

So this week is probably going to turn out to be the same as last week for the most part. As far as New Years goes. We don't have a mission New Years party, unfortunately, but we are pretty much locked in our pension for the afternoon on Wednesday and all of Thursday. Apparently New Years can be even MORE dangerous than Christmas. So we'll probably just play Magic the Gathering again or UNO or something. Who knows?

It was a good week besides being locked in the pension though. The days that we weren't we actually had a lot of success! Mainly with less-actives this week, but with our new key indicators that we have it feels like there's a new emphasis on them! Because they really are just as important as baptisms! We taught something like 11 less-active lessons this week. One in particular to this guy named César. He's this super awesome less-active returned missionary who even speaks a little English! I'm not exactly sure the reasons why he's less-active right now, other than that he works a lot (because I still can't understand spanish), but our main focus with him has just been to get him to remember his time as a missionary and the testimony he had. We really believe we can start getting him back to church. We've had a couple really good lesson with him and it sounds like he wants to come back. We're such good friends with him already that he invited us to play this kind of racket sport they have down here with him for his birthday this morning! But unfortunately his sisters kidnapped him or something so that kind of fell through. But pray for him and pray that we can help him! Cause his returned missionary skills are super needed in this ward!

That's about it for this week! It was great to hear from you guys!

Elder Bingham
GIANT HAMBURGER! For only 40 pesos! That's like 4 bucks! I enjoyed it very much. 

I like this picture of me with the hamburger more, but the other one I sent you shows more of the magnitude of the burger. So I thought I'd send both. 

Family pics! I got to meet all my brothers at the Christmas party. I'm Elder Stock's third son. 
Elder Moita is the oldest, (and the shortest) and then Elder Moody, and then me!

Parrot! His name is Lorenzo! Now me and Amaya are twinners! Sorry that that was the best lighting I got! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holy Crap It's Christmas!

Hola people! And HOLA AMAYA! Welcome home. It's crazy that you're back already. I'm sad that I wasn't able to be there for it, but I guess I'll get to see you in like 21 months or something! And great testimony by the way! I enjoyed hearing that! It was great to see how much you've grown on the mission. I can't believe 3 months have already gone by! And I feel like once I know the language a little better it will only fly by faster. But I'm still loving it here, as always. 

To answer Mom's questions again real quick: Glad you liked the pictures! We try to do service like once a week, usually on Saturday mornings, and it's usually helping someone build a house. Actually, that's about all we've done. I have gotten to play a little of the Christmas music, and that's been fun! I usually play a little right before our English classes start, which is twice a week. I still haven't gotten any of your snail mail, but I did get a letter from Kaila Olsen! I think she sent it on like Nov 24? But I'd like to send her a reply, prefferably by email because I don't want to deal with sending real mail here. If you could get her email that'd be cool. 

This week was a little hard, I'll be honest. At least as far as numbers go. We tried so hard to get lessons with members, and and actually just lessons in general, but whereever we went the people we wanted to teach were never home. I guess everyone's working really hard to get some money for Christmas. And plus me and Elder Stocks had to travel all the way to Mendoza Wednesday night for a capacitación for all the training missionaries. All of thursday was pretty much another training session for us, and then we left that night. So that whole day we couldn't teach or anything. And then friday we had a ward christmas party, but I guess because everyone works during the day they did it at 9 o'clock at night! We got permission to be there of course, and it was really fun, but I was nearly dead in the morning of exhaustion. I'm never staying up past midnight again. Haha. But yeah, pray for us that we can teach these investigators more! Because that's the thing about this area. We find so many people to teach, but it's super hard to get them to progress because we can't see them very much.

 And haha this next week is only going to be harder to teach people. We've got p-day today, a Christmas party tomorrow for like half of the mission in Mendoza, and then Christmas Eve and Christmas we can't really do a lot of work, because apparently everyone drinks so much on Christmas Eve night, that night and all of Christmas day can be a little bit peligroso (dangerous). We are in the wine capital of the world, after all. So we can go out to members houses and stuff those days, but we can't just be walking around. We're probably meeting up as a district and playing games and eating food. It'll be fun! But also not very productive. So that stinks. 

We've got a new Elder in our pension! The Brazilian Elder Andrade left, and now we've got another gringo! His name is Elder Johnston from St. George, and he's only got one more transfer than me. So we're both pretty new! It's pretty fun.

I'm looking forward to skyping on Thursday! I think we're planning on skyping at 3 in the afternoon, which would be about 11 in Utah? Sorry I couldn't do it sooner, but we've got lunch at a different member's house before that so that's the soonest we can make it. 

Love you all! And have a super mega fantastic Christmas!

Elder Bingham
Another asado! I ate cow intestines and heart! The intestines were kind of weird, but not too bad! 

Got a picture with President Monson in the mission offices! Or rather, a cardboard cut-out of him. Whatever. 

My traveling group reunited! Mostly! Elder Clarke for some reason wasn't in the picture, and a couple Elders couldn't make it to our training thing, and also like 4 elders have already gone home from our traveling group. Kind of sad. 

Our Christmas tree! Elder Nelson cut down a palm leaf right outside of our pension and we just hung a bunch of random crap on it. But there's our christmas card pic I guess!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Done with my first transfer already?

Hola familia! Just another great week for me. It's crazy that I´m already done with my first transfer! Time here seemed to fly way faster than it did in the MTC. And it´s also crazy that Amaya´s like going home this week! I'm only going to get one more letter from you from the mission Amaya, so make it good! I'm sad I missed out on the Angel tree thing this year, I'm only now realizing how cool it was. I'm glad you guys were able to spread some Christmas cheer! And you can spread some more with that "He is the Gift" video Amaya mentioned! We are also working hard on using that in our proselyting efforts, except here it´s called "Él es la Dádiva." And the funny thing is that nobody uses the word Dádiva down here, so we have to explain that it´s actually a "regalo." But share that video on Facebook and stuff if you haven´t already! 

To answer your questions again Mom: The language is coming along much better. When I think about it, the first day I couldn´t understand a word of what people were saying, but now I can usually get the gist of the conversation. Most of the time I still don´t know how to reply, but there has been a dramatic improvement. Thank you, don de lenguas. 

Also, teaching is still going pretty good down here. The problem that actually kind of bugs me a little bit is that we don´t have problems finding people to teach. People are always like "Yeah, come on by sometime! No hay problema!" But it´s just so hard to get more than a few lessons with people! Even some of our best investigators that we probably found in week 2 or 3 of this transfer we can´t see more than like once a week, if that. We try to communicate with people, but people either don´t have cell phones or they don´t use them when they do! So that´s frustrating.

I can´t really think of very many specific teaching experiences this week, just that we focused really hard on getting lessons with members. We had some success with that. Whenever we go out to this place called Las Viñas there's this member that lives there named Ramón. He just barely ended his time as a recent convert unfortunately, so we can´t count lessons with him as recent convert lessons, but he helps us so much! He has such a strong testimony, and he helps us find so many people to teach out there, and he goes with us to lessons, and he sets up Noche de Hogars (Family Home Evening) like every week for us and invites nonmembers to them. So we get so many lessons with him, and they´re so much more powerful when he shares his testimony. I think we got like 5 member lessons with just him this week, and we had like 7 total. And we got references from him too, which turned out to be very good contacts. 

I haven't received any of the snail mail yet.... We only get mail at zone meetings or zone conferences, which are like once a month. And we just had ours last week. So I have no idea when it´ll get here. 

I think that's all for this week though! I guess just pray that we´ll be able to get more lessons with the good investigators that we have right now. It'd be much appreciated! Cíao!

Elder Bingham
I decided we need a picture with this dog! We named it Gruff, and it´s like the most annoying, smelliest dog ever. But it like lives at the church, and every time we pass by or try to get in the church it tries to like jump on us and stuff. And we had to use a timer to take the picture, so that´s why it´s off center. And I definitely washed my hands after. 

Servicio! We helped build a house on Saturday, and got pretty sunburned! It was fun.

Here's a christmas card kind of pic! Elder Stock's mom wanted one, and his camera is broken. So there's just a nice looking picture of the two of us in Argentina. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's not even close to looking or feeling like Christmas here

Hola people! And happy birthday dad! I figured I´d rather tell you that the day after your birthday than last week. I hope it was great. I probably need to see these bald guy hats you were talking about. And also, about the whole grandpa thing at work, it'd be really weird if you actually were if you were before I got back. (hint hint Amaya ;) ) Kyla, sweet gymnastics routine! I´m glad to hear you´re improving your scores so much! And ahh... the Mr. Bills Festival. Sounded like a blast. I'm just glad I didn't have to be in it this year. Haha. 

Another good week in the hottest place I've ever lived in! Haha. I think it´s definitely getting hotter. We had some people tell us that it was probably 43 degrees celsius some days this week, so those days were FUN. Mom, those leather wipe things actually sound very useful. I am constantly wiping off my forehead with my hand, it it´s not very effective. It´s weird that Christmas is in just a few weeks and it´s like summer here. On the bright side, no knee problems this week! Hopefully I don´t feel that ever again. 

I had my first zone conference this week! That was fun. President Goates really emphasized obedience and working with the members. So me and Elder Stocks have tried really hard this week to get the members down here to find people to teach and invite them to be taught at their house and stuff. This week was a little difficult to that unfortunately, we had lots of appointments fall through. But the members are still working very hard with us. So hopefully next week I´ll have a little more to report on that. 

Haha on a side note, I´m noticing that I´m eating much more down here than I did in the States. I think all the walking/morning exercise helps. For example: at zone conference I ate about 2 chicken breasts and legs, 2 servings of "salad" (which is pretty much really salty lettuce and tomatoes) 4 giant rolls, 4 apples and dessert! Haha I hope I don´t get fat down here. 

That´s it for this week! I think we probably have found a member to skype with, but more details still to come once I get it figured out!

Elder Bingham
This picture´s a little old, but I didn't really have any others this week. 

I found America! Or Walmart! 
Too bad it´s not really in our area, we just ended up there on P-day last week.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It was slightly less hot this week!

Hola familia! Sounds like ya'll are doing well! Thanksgiving sounded fun! I definitely miss being over with all the family for Thanksgiving. It wasn't quite the same here. Haha we did have our own Thanksgiving though. I´ll tell more about that later. Amaya, how did you blow your driving privileges 3 weeks before the end of you mission? Haha just kidding, I´m glad it wasn't anything too serious. Mom, I opened up your first present today and THANK YOU! I really enjoyed that. I´m hoping I´ll be able to find time to practice some of those songs sometime soon. And I was glad you sent All of Me too, because it´s been a little bit of a struggle trying to remember how that goes. 

So I was being totally serious when I said it was slightly less hot this week. Probably because I wasn't in my area for a lot of this week. Tuesday I went on my first intercambio! I went with Elder Breinholt to this area called Benavidez. It´s super ghetto compared to Caucete, and it was still slightly hot there, I was only really there for the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. But it was fun! I learned that not every missionary does things exactly the same, which I was glad for. There´s definitely different ways you can teach lessons and stuff like that. And Elder Breinholt´s a pretty cool guy. 

And Thursday was Thanksgiving! Our whole district got together in Caucete and had a "district weekly planning session." We did plan of course, but then after that we had Thanksgiving. We bought like 3 grilled chickens from some of the places that sell asado, and then we had some mashed potatoes, a carrot cake, and apple pie, and some cookies! It was pretty good for what we can get here. Unfortunately, me and Elder Lujan from my district had to leave early to Mendoza, because we had to work on VISA stuff in the morning. So another intercambio, with a latino! It was fun though. Plus I got to see Elder Clarke in Mendoza. And it was way less hot in Mendoza. 

My knee has felt slightly better this week. It´s only bothered me a couple times, and I´m doing what I can to strengthen it. And I am wearing my shoe inserts. 

As far as emailing goes, I would rather have the email than the Dear Elder thing. I have no idea how long that could take. And I do get to Skype for Christmas! More details to come, because I don´t really know all the details yet. I just know that President Goates emailed today and told us we could skype. 

That´s really all for this week! Since I was gone so much I didn't get to teach a whole lot of lessons to the investigators in our area, but they´re doing well. Oh and ALSO me and Elder Stocks are teaching an English class right now. So that´s fun. 

That´s it for this week! Love you all!

Elder Bingham
Intercambios with Elder Breinholt!

Thanksgiving! I wasn´t really ready for the picture.