Saturday, August 29, 2015

Literally the most stressful week of my life

HEY fam.... How's everything? Sounded fun... Weeding, near-flooding, also BOULDER MOUNTAIN. Sorry Dad about never mentioning that last week... After that big long message I wrote last week I kind of forgot to write anything else. It looked way cool... I still want to know how Jayson got out on that giant pillar thing. Looked intense. I see you got my dropbox link? I'll be trying to put more things in there now... I'm glad it worked. I don't know if you've seen my new video from Tuesdayish... We went and ate at this grill place under the highway and found this crazy guy who started singing The Beatles and Michael Jackson and Eminem. Definitely worth watching, I promise. Speaking of videos though, to answer your question Dad: Of course I have a movie list of things I want to see when I get back. Only like every missionary I know does... Haha. Also I have a list of things I want to do, music I want to listen to, first foods I want to eat when I get back, also foods I want to be able to make when I get back... Stuff like that. I've still got a ways to go in the mission, so I haven't really thought about it for awhile. 

So... Why was this week the most stressful week of my life? TRANSFER WEEK. Also it's THE END OF THE MONTH. This means two things. Transfer week means there's a bunch of dying missionaries that we have to worry about getting to the airport and stuff, and also the new missionaries that are coming to the mission. I personally have to do a training about finances in the mission and then later I have to help get everyone to their areas. We're busy with transfers like the whole week. Especially Elder Benedict, geez. He's the one who really has to worry about that stuff. I just have to make sure everyone has to get their money or nothing gets done. Alright... Second: The end of the month means that I have to start figuring out how much everyone needs for rent next month and sending it out to them. Something that can usually take a very long time. And these two very stressful things don't always happen at the same time. But this week they did... My first week alone in the office, by the way. Elder Mortensen left on Thursday morning. OH! Other stressful thing I just remembered. This week we also did our over-the-phone training on our new medical insurance program we're getting in the mission. So yeah... That was a workload. I'm actually still not done! I've learned something this week as well. Maybe not everyone would agree with me, but something I've learned while being here at the offices is that as a missionary, you literally have NO REASON TO STRESS about anything unless you're working in the offices. Learning the language can be stressful, I'm aware. But in the offices, if I don't get all my work done the entire mission doesn't work. It doesn't exactly happen like that in the field, I think. 

Sorry for venting. Venting to the people in the offices doesn't really seem to work, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because we don't have time to vent. I don't know. 

I'm going to make you all understand how the mission works. Imagine the whole mission is in a parade, and we have this giant float. On top we have the Asistants, the faces of the mission. They stand there and wave to the crowd, showing everyone how great we are. Walking around the float we've got all the normal missionaries, organized into their districts and zones and stuff. They're having a jolly good time out there. What you don't see is under the float, the office workers. We've got all of us down there banging around making sure the float stays together. Elder Benedict, the travel secretary, is there turning all of the wheels by himself, making sure that the float gets where it needs to go, and he makes sure that all the missionaries are marching the right direction. He also makes sure that all the missionaries outside are legal so that they stay in the parade. We've got Elder Romero, making sure we've got the proper licensing to be able to run our float, and making sure that we have all the supplies we need to fix it. We've got me, I have to make sure that everyone under the float gets all the money the need to do their jobs and that all the missionaries outside have enough money to keep walking. Oh by the way, every 5 seconds missionaries from outside peek in under the float and ask me how much money they have on their cards. And we've got Elder Solomon, who's in charge of making sure the float still looks nice and pretty. He's gluing on sequins and ribbons and painting stuff. And I forgot someone! President. HE IS THE FLOAT. He's got the biggest workload of us all. Without him there is no parade. He is also the driver of the float, dragging this mission along to where it needs to go. He is also doing all the the office Elders' jobs simultaneously, because everything we do has to go through him. 

This is the mission. I hope that enlightened your understanding. 

One last thing. One other stressful thing happened this week here in the offices, but President asked us not to say anything about it to anyone. I just wanted to say that the offices could really use your fasting and prayers right now. I might tell you guys after the mission, but right now that's all I wanted to say. 

Sorry for venting, once again, I think this week should hopefully be better. I hope all of your guys' weeks were better than mine. Love you guys!

Elder Bingham

Elder Inca's gone! I got to take him to the airport on Tuesday. This is Elder Cahoon as well, the new AP and the comp of Elder Inca before me.

Who knew that they had a prayer room in the airport?
I have no idea what I'm doing in the prayer room....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Airports, stick shift, blah.

Why hello everyone! It was just a lovely week in the offices! More or less. I can't believe everyone's going back to school already. And Jayson's on his SENIOR YEAR! Sounds like everyone's pretty busy. And Hailey's in the MTC, it sounds like she's having a good time, judging from her letter. That's good to hear. That "Get out Games" thing sounded way fun! I'd be down for doing that when I get back! I liked all your crazy hats and stuff. Sounds like my kind of game :) 

So we're nearing the end of this transfer already. Actually today we get all the transfers. We get to see them earlier than the rest of the mission, which is way fun. I'm obviously not going anywhere, but Elder Mortensen and Elder Lawrence will find out where they're going today. Anyway, the reason I brought it up is because this week I felt like I was at the airport a bunch. I'll probably be there way more next week when the whole going-home group actually goes home, but this week we sent a couple people home. One Elder went home early for some health problems, and one Hermana went home like 4 days early because she's going to study. But I bring this up because we had a way cool experience taking the Elder to the airport. It's a little long, so bear with me. 

So, it was kind of short notice that this Elder was going home. So the morning of, me and Elder Lawrence went and paid some quick fees so that this Elder could be legal to go home. We got that done at like 9ish. After that I got back to the office and me and Elder Mortensen decided to go the bank to take some money out for things we needed. Here's where it gets exciting! Back at the office, Elder Lawrence receives word that this Elder had to be in Buenos Aires at 8 that night to fly back to the states with this other elder that was going with him. The problem was, like every possible flight to Buenos Aires was full, I guess because this weekend there was a big holiday in Argentina. So Lawrence said a prayer asking what he should do, and then he gets a phone call from somebody saying that they could get him on a flight going to Chile and then to Buenos Aires before then, but the flight left at 11:30, and it was already like 10:40. Him and Elder Child booked it outside to our parking lot only to find that there was no cars, me and Elder Mortensen had the only one that was there that morning. So they tried calling a taxi, which didn't show up for 20 minutes. They're flying down, and then Elder Lawrence realized that he didn't have this Elder's passport. I DID. He gave it to me to hold that morning when we were paying for fees. So they call us, and we're just getting out of the bank with our money and his passport, and hardly any gas in our tank. Sounds like we're screwed right? Yep. We were. We all got there at 11:15, way too late for the flight. They wouldn't let us put him on. But wait! When Elder Child was in highschool he took a class on travel and tourism, and learned that it's very common for airlines to overbook their flights. And so he asked the people about it, and they said that they did have one available spot on a plane going to BA at 11:40, but that we'd have to pay $1.800 pesos in cash. And that's a lot of pesos to have on you in cash normally. But surprise! Me and Elder Mortensen just went to the bank! And we had a TON of cash! And so we paid the ticket and got him on his plane, and got back into our car. It said we only had 5 kilometers left in the tank. That was scary. So we're driving looking for a gas station, and we just happened to find one when I had 1 kilometer left. It was actually in my old area Algarrobal, funnily enough. So I actually knew it was there. BUT IT WAS CRAZY! So many things just fell into place for us that morning! If I hadn't gone to the bank with the Elder's passport, we wouldn't have had an excuse to go to the airport and go pay for that ticket. If we hadn't been there to try and get on the flight to Chile first, we would've never known about the flight to Buenos Aires 10 minutes later. So I learned that day that God works in VERY mysterious ways. Sometimes very bizarre ways in our eyes. But he knows what he's doing, we just have to let him guide us. 

Sorry for the long story. I'm going to try to end quickly now. I finally got to drive stick shift this week... Our truck has been getting some maintenance done on it recently so I haven't had the chance. It was way fun... Learning how to drive it in the big city... I only killed it like 12 times. There were lots of angry drivers. I got a little better at it later. So... That was fun. I still don't understand why you'd ever want to make a car that works like that. But yet every Argentine drives with a stick shift, so I guess I'll have to deal with it. 

Anyway, I'm tired of typing. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Bingham

Elder Benedict finished a year! That's me in 6 weeks!

We were a little homeless this week... We didn't have electricity in our pension for a few days. It sucked. Had to sleep in the offices a bit.
We went to the casino with a lot of money! And we were left with 5 pesos.... Actually joking. The bank we went to is right next to the casino. Darn.


More selfies

Last pic... It's Lawrence's birthday today! Just hangin with the office staff and the sick kids

Saturday, August 15, 2015

My-Poo Pants!

Hey everyone! Getting ready for school and stuff now? That's weird. I'm just getting ready for, well, I don't know. Transfers are coming up soon! Not that that means anything special for me, just that Elder Mortensen is leaving the office. I'm glad you guys enjoyed the last week of summer. It's been like forever since I've been to Park City, I was kind of jealous about that. And also the Hell's Backbone thing Dad and Jayson are doing... Sounds fun. I want pics! By the way, congratulations to Jayson for getting his patriarchal blessing! It's about time! Just kidding, I got mine way late too. I should read mine again... I used to read it quite frequently but I haven't since I've gotten to the offices. I will get on that :) 

And congrats to Hailey for starting her mission! That's way exciting! Personally Mom, cinnamon rolls sound great :) Also I really enjoyed that carmel/cheddar popcorn stuff... It reminded me a lot about Grandma's house! 

Anyway, what happened this week? Honestly not much... It was a pretty tranquilo week. A few weird things happened, I suppose. On Tuesday our day suddenly got very busy. I don't know if you guys ever heard about the sister missionary that died serving in Resistencia Argentina a few months ago. She died from ecoli. Kind of way sad. But anyway, her family decided to come visit Argentina/Chile, cause one of them also served in Chile. But they were in the Mendoza terminal and the mountain pass to Chile got snowed in, preventing their bus from leaving. So they were stuck in the terminal for a very long time. Finally President Goates heard about it and went and picked them up with one of the matrimonio missionaries, cause there's like 7 of them. And they were all going to stay in President's house overnight, so we got called on to go move a bunch of mattresses and sleeping stuff to President's house for the night. It was fun. They were a way cool family! And they all seemed way happy, in spite of their daughter recently dying. Sounds like a way hard thing to me, but just goes to show the happiness that the gospel brings! We also had to go help reimburse their bus tickets and carry them to the airport at the buttcrack of dawn, which ended up being way complicated, but it was great to help them out. 

We found a new investigator this week, and he's way DOPE! He's this guy called Alexis, about 20ish years old, lives by himself, seems slightly better off than most people, and he speaks WAY good English! Right off the bat basically he told us he wanted us to talk to him in English, which was honestly way weird. I was stumbling through phrases in English figuring out how to talk "gospel spanish" in English, which sometimes translates really weird. But he understood really well! And he talked to us in really good English as well, with good grammar and stuff and a decent accent. Apparently he learned basically all his English when he spent 6 months in Turkey? Weird, but whatever. It was a great lesson as well, we just introduced him to what we do as missionaries and shared a scripture with him cause we didn't have a lot of time. But I hope he turns out. Ariel is doing pretty well this week as well. He's got like 4 attendances to church, which is way good. We just need him to quit smoking and drinking.... Praying for him. 

Maybe I should explain the title of the email before I end? I thought it was clever. So there's zone/city in the mission that's close to Mendoza that's called Maipú. Pronounced My-poo. I've always wanted to go there, just so I can tell everyone that I finally got to see my-poo! And I drove there like 3 times this week. So now I can say that. "I FINALLY GOT TO SEE MY-POO!" 

And the pants part? There's this kind of pants here in Argentina that basically all the gangster guys where. And can you guess what they're called? Poo-pants. I'll send pictures, cause I found a really awesome pair of poo-pants. They're basically sweat pants, but they've got a really low inseam (like low enough you could poop in them and hold it there and nobody would ever know, unless they smelt it of course) and they've also got a ridiculous number of pockets on them. I told myself that I had to get them eventually, because it's something I can wear in the states and everyone will just be like "WHAT IN THE HECK ARE YOU WEARING?????????????" So yeah... I bought them. I told myself I wasn't going to buy them right now because I don't have a lot of money, but I couldn't resist. Maybe don't send me any more money for a while Dad, on second thought, cause I don't think I actually want to buy anything for awhile now. 

Anyway, enough of my-poo pants. I was ranting a little bit. I hope everyone has a great last couple days of summer! See you next week!

Elder Bingham

Elevator to president's house selfie!

Poo-Pants! Me and the AP Elder Child both got them... We couldn't resist....

More Poo Pants

Elder Romero... I love this guy. I think he's the only office Elder I don't have a picture of. He's from El Salvador. He actually started the mission with me too!

Giant catholic church we found in Maipú... No pun intended
Another golf picture

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Hey guys! Did someone say SCHOOL IS STARTING ALREADY? Geez! That makes me feel like I've been out here forever! Actually in two more weeks I'll hit 11 months... So I guess I have been out here for almost forever. Anyway, school's starting. I thought someone told me that Jayson wasn't doing choir? I guess Mr. Bills changed his mind? I guess if it gives you an excuse to buy a new suit, why not? Now you guys are going to get super lucky and Jayson will get his mission call to somewhere like Africa where they don't have to wear suits at all. That would be funny. That would mean I could just steal the suits when I get back! Since Jayson's stealing all of my clothes anyway. Jerk. When does school actually start exactly? I'm curious. 

So Mom... Speaking of mail. I got my driving permit! No signs of the package though. Cause Argentina's mail system is dumb. We actually did go and get it on Tuesday, right when it arrived. And now I'm driving. But it's actually not all it's cracked up to be. In fact it's actually like WAY stressful. If you guys remember anything about Costa Rica, the drivers here are basically the same as there. Except wait! I'm literally driving in the big city. I've never had this kind of driving experience before... Even SLC isn't like this. For one, I really hate one-lane roads. They can make getting to places really complicated. Plus, there is also never stop signs here basically. On all the main roads there's stop lights and stop signs, but on all the tiny streets that aren't on the main roads there is never anything. Literally every intersection I have to slow down a little bit to make sure that no crazy Argentine is about to speed right through. It's annoying. I will never live in the big city in my life. At least out of my own free will. I can tell you that. And soon I'll be starting to learn how to drive stick shift... Luckily our two Toyota Corollas are automatic. But the truck is stick shift, and if I ever want to go on crazy road trips with the pensionista to fix up people's apartments, I'll probably have to know stick shift.  Elder Mortensen will probably be teaching me this week. We already only have like 2 weeks together. This transfer is flying by. 

Oh. Other side note: About the mission blog. Back in January was when our last nurse left, and she was the one in charge of the blog. And we as normal missionaries apparently don't have permission to do the blog. I think the area seventy set that rule, so I'm not going to argue that one. So, if one of the matrimonio missionaries decides to keep doing the blog, they will hopefully update it. But right now I don't think any of them are very tech savvy.... So it's a little bit of a stretch. 

Anyway, this week was good besides that. We've finally finished up getting everyone's monthly rent taken care of. That was a lot of work. We were doing that like all this week. But now that's done, so this week is going to be pretty tranquilo. We should be pretty free this week to get out and get some more work done. Like REAL missionary work. 

We did have a good experience with that though, speaking of missionary work. We don't get these opportunities very often, so the ones we do have I usually remember pretty well. So we're teaching this investigator Ariel (honestly about our only investigator). He's this guy who smokes and drinks and has lots of kids, but he's really a pretty good guy. But there's a lot of problems going on in the house right now. His wife is absolutely crazy apparently, and she's spreading all kinds of bad rumors about him and stuff, and she's basically abandoned him to take care of the kids alone. So, he's got a lot of problems. And without fail EVERY time we visit him he tells us about all the problems he's having. He doesn't really understand why all these things are happening, when he didn't really have anything to do with it. On Thursday we had a really intense lesson with him. After him basically complaining to us for 15 minutes about all of his problems he was interrupted by a phone call from his work, which was actually a huge blessing for us. We took the opportunity to pray silently to figure out how to respond to him, and a scripture passage came to me, D&C 121. That's where Joseph Smith is in jail and all the saints are suffering, and the Lord gives him that awesome answer to his prayer that's something like "these things will be just a small moment, and if ye endure it well, ye shall be exalted on high...." something like that in English. And it just worked so awesomely! And Elder Mortensen made it even better by relating it to the plan of salvation and how the best way to endure these trials is with the teachings of the gospel, and that we can be happy through our trials if we live the commandments and stuff. I'm hoping it got to Ariel. Anyway, cool story! We're praying for Ariel.

Wishing best of luck to Hailey this week as she goes into the MTC! That's ridiculous! Let the planking war begin!

Anyway, hope you all have a groovy week! Love you all!

Elder Bingham

Some cool graffiti art we found pretty close to the offices today! It's way huge too, one of the pictures has me and Elder Mortensen standing in front of it, so you guys can see the comparison. Way cool!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

So...My elbow is fine

Hey family! First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I maybe should have said this in my letter last week, but I couldn't really decide which week would have been better. I now wish I would have said it last week, cause it's been on my mind FOREVER! So happy birthday! I hope it was just splendid! I want to try this Samoa cheesecake... Cheesecake itself is a luxury down here. I think I've only had it once, which was a miracle in itself.  Anyway, hope your big 50 was great! Sounds like you guys had a good week though. It's weird that we're already in August.. School's going to be starting soon then. And then I'll be like halfway through my mission! That's crazy. I don't feel like I've been out here that long. And it's even weirder to think that once I leave the offices I'll have like 15 months in the mission. Well, enough of that. I'm getting bored talking about this. 

So yeah... My elbow is fine. Just so ya'll know. It was just inflamed/swollen, which was restricting movement. That's all. But today it feels completely normal again, with no movement problems. It was really great, cause we went and played some golf! It was a blast! It was WAY expensive too, but way worth it. We just went to the driving range and hit like 4 buckets of balls, and then did some putting for awhile. It wasn't a bad golf course either... I was expecting worse honestly. I mean, it's the middle of winter here so the grass really isn't that green, but it was decent. I hit some solid shots today too. And we're probably playing some more soccer later, so hopefully I don't fall really hard and hurt my elbow again. 

Answers to questions: International driving permit. Still hasn't come, but that could be because we only go and check the mail like every once in awhile. When we went and got mail on Tuesday it wasn't there... Which is only like a weekish after you sent it, so we're probably still fine. The other package thing hasn't got here yet either. I hope the driving permit comes soon though, cause I want to learn stick shift! I've already learned how to do a Rubiks cube while being here in the offices, so let's get on with the harder stuff! 

Well, to tell you guys a little about the week. Being in the offices is kind of fun/stressful on the last weeks of the month. For the financiero at least. It's fun cause the week at the end of the month all the zone leaders and sister training leaders in the mission come up here to the offices for consejo, or just the big meeting with President and the asistants. And so I get to see a bunch of people I know and meet a bunch of other cool people. Unfortunately, all these cool zone leaders/hermanas like to bring reimbursements and stuff from all the people in their zones, which gives me a lot of work to do. That part isn't very fun. The other stressful part about being financiero is having to figure out everybody's rent costs for the next month, and making sure they get their monthly allowance. It worked out all right, but I was very busy this week. We haven't had a whole lot of time for teaching this week, unfortunately. But I hope I can remember how to do this stuff when Elder Mortensen leaves. I'm pretty sure I have the hardest job in the office. 

Well, that's about it. Except for one more quick story! It's about my x-rays... It's kind of funny. So when I went and got my x-ray on tuesday the doctor guy has me stick my elbow out under the x-ray, obviously. It was kind of an awkward position though, cause I was sitting up on this tall stool so I was way slunched over. And I almost photo-bombed my own x-ray, with my head! That might have killed me, or at least given me a really bad headache, but the doctor guy saved me and got my head out of the way. Also, here in Argentina, they must not care a lot about my future children very much, cause they didn't even cover me up with the giant lead blanket over certain parts of my body. I think I'm fine... I guess I'll find out later. ALSO, when the x-ray was done, the guy told me to just go wait outside, but just kind of left me there in the room. And I kind of forgot my way out, so I opened up the door that I thought was the exit, and SURPRISE! It's a tiny closet with a lady in there, and I'm 90% sure that she had just gotten done changing clothes, cause she was wearing this weird hospital pillow case thing for a shirt. It was WAY awkward... I'm just like "This doesn't seem like it's the right door..." and I quickly ran out. Like I said. WAY awkward. 

I hope that made you laugh. But I'll talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Bingham
Stuff that just happens in the offices... Who knew that you could make your mouth look like this by inflating your cheeks on a window? That's Elder Benedict. 

That's me... Swingin' away.

Nice pic of Elder Mortensen.. He was probably the only one of us who actually looked like a real golfer. 

Golf! Group pic. From top: Me, E' Solomon, E' Mortensen, E' Lawrence, E' Benedict, E' Child, E' Vallecillo.