Saturday, September 26, 2015

Feliz cumple-año! PERO FELIZ

I did it guys! 1 YEAR DONE! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by! It's hard to believe that only 1 year ago I was walking into the MTC completely clueless as to what I was doing, not being able to speak Spanish at all. It's amazing to see how much the Lord has blessed me in such a short time and how much I've grown spiritually. Anyway, those were just some things I was reminiscing on this week. 

Alright. Let's talk about your guys' week! Thanks for the dirty dash stuff you sent through dropbox! I like having this kind of accessibility in the offices to stuff like that. I hope we can find a way to get a cow shirt here. Is it already Homecoming over there? Who's Jayson taking this year? And what does his new choir suit look like? I hope it's better than those tuxedos we had... I was honestly not a huge fan of them. But I suppose you can chuck that thing now :) And Kyla's got a gymnastics camp... Sounds fun! Just as long as it's better than football camp. But I think anything is at least 10x better than football camp. So you should be good ;) 

So this week I did all kinds of things! The excitement started on Wednesday, when I got to take a 2 1/2 trip up north to San Juan with Elder Romero and Elder Jacobsen for work... We had to do some stuff like apartment inspections, drop some supplies off for some zone leaders, and we also dropped off a mattress for Elder Mortensen who's up there right now. And due to the fact that President only wants us outside of the office for 1 day now if we're traveling for stuff like that, we came back that night. On Thursday Elder Benedict went with Elder Romero down South to San Rafael for similar reasons. It's about a 3 hour drive down that way. Then on FRIDAY we had to take another trip up to San Juan because we couldn't get everything done that we needed to on Wednesday, except we also had to go to this place called Valle de Uco, about an hour drive south of Mendoza. (Valle de Uco is VERY pretty by the way, it recently snowed a ton in the Andes so the mountains were WAY dope) So we went down there in the morning really quickly to leave some water filters with the zone leaders, then drove UP to San Juan because we had to drop off a new contract for one of the pensions that the missionaries over there are going to rent, among other things that we had to drop off up there for missionaries. It was a long day of driving.. And I was the only one in the car that had a license, so I had to be the driver. I was a little tired when we got back at like 10 o'clock, but it was fun! I kind of like road trips. I just hope I don't have to drive next time.

Pero BONUS! To get to San Juan, you pass RIGHT next to Pocito (my last area) if you're coming from the south. You basically go through Pocito actually. So, when we went through on Wednesday, we were talking to the Hermanas of Pocito, Hermana Workman (she was there my last transfer in Pocito) and her new comp. And they told us some very exciting news! I don't know if you guys remember the Bravo family that I was teaching my whole time in Pocito. They were the ones that were trying to get re-active so that their 9 year-old daughter Eloisa could get baptized. Well, Eloisa got baptized last Saturday! Which also means the Bravo family is now active! And even better, the Hermano Bravo is actually the 1st counselor in the branch presidency! So I'm pretty sure that means they're actually REALLY active now. I was so happy when I found out! We took advantage of this while we were up there and got the Hermanas to set up a surprise appointment for us for when we came back up on Friday. So while we were up there we passed by their house for a little bit to congratulate them. It was way cool. 

The entire Pocito branch is actually doing way good right now, which makes me really happy. when I left the church attendance every week was around 17, including the missionaries. And we had a branch president that didn't really do anything. But both of those things have changed now! The attendance now is around 30ish, there's a new branch president that used to be a stake president and is WAY awesome apparently. He's united the branch a lot apparently. And the hermanas up there are baptizing a ful. They've had like 3 baptisms recently. Part of me wishes I was still there for all this excitement, but I'm still just way happy that all this stuff is happening over there. 

I'll try to send some hump day pics, they'll explain my day about just as well as writing would. It was fun though. It involved burning a shirt and eating take-out chinese food. Or at least the best chinese food we could find here in Argentina. 

I love you all! Have a great week!

-- 
Elder Bingham
Secretario de Finanzas
Misión Argentina Mendoza

Basically a copy of the photo I sent like 2 months ago, but it's the Bravo family! And this time Eloisa is in the picture. And they're now active :D

These are our traveling hats. And the Hermanas we picked up from Pocito for out appointment with the Bravo family.

Panorama of the nothingness we drove through to San Juan

Trying to talk on the phone while driving... I've never had to do this while driving stick-shift before

Stopping by to see Elder Mortensen in his new area! And dropping off a mattress. And he wanted to drive.

Pre-burning shirt pics....


Burning a shirt. I was a little excited.


EATING CHINESE FOOD. YUM. 

Just heading out to the cold Valle de Uco... with our awesome traveling hats.

Just a closer up pic of the Andes mountains :D

a couple panoramas of Valle de Uco. The mountains are way pretty! And gigantic.



Just driving around with the coolest zone leaders in the mission... Elder Cuessy and Wilson.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

It's my birthday!

Hello everyone! Elder Bingham here, just writing in about another spectacular week in Argentina. This week really was though, I'll tell you all why later. Anyway, I enjoyed all your letters this week. I'm jealous you guys got to go on that Sundance zipline! That looks like some crazy fun. Let's do it when I get home. And Elder Benedict is coming as well. And you guys are all doing the dirty dash as I write this... Send me a cow shirt! But I'll tell you how later, cause if you don't do it right it will never get here. Elder Romero the pensionista figured out a way to get packages here a lot easier. And I heard from a couple of you guys about the regional conference broadcast. We just got one of those here about 4 weeks ago, which basically talked about the same things. I kind of forgot about it until you guys mentioned it. They broadcasted speakers from this tiny little chapel thing in Salt Lake I'm guessing, based on the room they were in and who was speaking. Elder Hales presided the meeting, and Elder Cook was there as well. Then there were some seventies a sister from one of the general women's presidencies, I don't remember which one. It was really good though! It also mentioned a lot about sabbath day worship and missionary work. Sounds a lot like yours at least. 

This week really felt like my birthday here, for many reasons. And I think the feeling will continue this week as well, because this week on Thursday I hit 1 YEAR IN THE MISSION! I can't even believe it! Next Saturday I'll send some good shirt burning pics and stuff. Anyway, back to why it felt like my birthday this week. First of all, I've got a new comp! I'm in a trio now! His name is Elder Jacobsen. He's got about 19 months in the mission, and he was a zone leader in Mendoza recently, but then for some reason a few weeks ago he broke his foot. Just got a stress fracture suddenly. He's been here for awhile, but it was only until this last Sunday that President decided what he was going to do with him. Now he's just going to finish his mission here in the offices working as what is called the matieralista, who basically is in charge of getting supplies and stuff the mission needs like scriptures and pamphlets and stuff. Normally the pensionista (Elder Romero) does his job as well, but it is really two jobs. And he helps us with all of our jobs. He's way cool, and he's helping a lot here. We're all working our butts off right now actually. Ever since he got his job title he's been doing his job PERO BIEN. We've found out recently that all the pensionistas/matieralistas before Elder Jacobsen have been ordering WAY TOO MUCH CRAP. We've been doing a deep cleanout of our extra stock. His office is way trashed right now. But here's an example of how we have too much crap. We have two shelves full of every single lesson pamphlet (there's 6), totaling about 250 packets of like 20 pamphlets. And then about 6 more entire boxes full of more of each pamphlet. So we've decided recently that we are never ordering things again for about 3 years. Basically. 

Reason number 2 that it's my birthday: WE GOT NEW COMPUTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not that our old computers were even bad at all. Just about a month ago Buenos Aires told us that they were buying new computers for all the missions in Argentina. So on Tuesday or Wednesday they finally got here! And I kid you not... I don't think the computers in our house are this nice. Except for the part that they're Apple computers. I'm enjoying these computers a lot :) They're a lot faster, they have updated software like Excel 2013 (which I've been having a lot of fun with this week) and wait. Did I forget something? A ver.......... Ah yes. That was it. THEY ARE TOUCH SCREEN COMPUTERS. Hee hee. We are enjoying ourselves PERO BIEN here in the offices. None of us even imagined that they would be this nice. 

That's about it until Thursday, when I celebrate my year mark. Then my birthday is over. But it's been a great week-long birthday. 

Other thing! Next week we might be doing a SUPER EPIC P-day. So epic that I might not get to write you guys. Like literally epic, as in really long, taking up all of our p-day. We might be going to ACONCAGUA, only the tallest mountain in the world outside of Asia, inside of our mission borders. Cool right? This is like a once in a life time opportunity, so I figure if it comes to it I can skip writing you guys for a week. We obviously aren't hiking up to the top, but I think there's a pretty big ski lift we can ride. So I'll send some sweet photos. I'm way excited.

Have a great week everyone! Love you all!
-- 
Elder Bingham
Secretario de Finanzas

Misión Argentina Mendoza

Oh P.S.! That earthquake in Chile? I totally felt that from over here. Praying for the people over there, but it was way cool to actually feel. That was like my first in my life I think I've felt one. I just had to add that in to my letter. 

Did someone say LETTUCE WRAPS? Made by someone with ancestors from Korea? That's right. The Hermana Pyper who shares a ward with us (who honestly doesn't look Korean) made these today. We wanted Korean food. Apparently her mom is from Korea, but I think she's from Oklahoma or something. Anyway, WAY GOOD. :)

PLANK WAR! I kind of forgot I wanted to do this. But here's plank number one. Bring it Hailey.

Just cleaning out the matierialista's office! That's my new comp, by the way. On the left. Elder Jacobsen.

Just setting up for playing Angry birds. Video to come. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Videos!

As an added bonus, here a a couple of videos Bryce has sent home this last month. Enjoy!
video

video
They may be missionaries, but they are still boys.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Finishing up my business/busyness

Hey everyone! Exciting news this week from your end I guess! I've got a new cousin? Congrats Beccy and Austin! His name is so close to mine! I think he'll be way cool just for that. It's also cool that Mom is doing her own drug busts.... Way to go. I thought it was actually a little funny :) Good work. Also, I remember hearing about that zipline at Sundance! Except only that they were building it! How did it get done so fast? I'm totally down to do that when I get home, just don't make me do a deep house cleaning before. Please? And also you should get me one of your dirty dash animal shirts. And somehow get it to me here. Like a cow or something. We'll talk about how you can maybe send me one later. Hee hee. 

This week wasn't too bad actually. The part that honestly made it less stressful was that Elder Benedict wasn't here. And he knows it, haha. When he has things to do, we ALL have extra things to do. But he was in San Luis doing super tramites for a lot of missionaries. It sounded way fun actually. But I couldn't take vacation days off work... My job is too important. If missionaries don't have money, they aren't very happy with me. Anyway, he went and got a lot of people legal clear over in another province. I stayed here and finished up paying people's rent and figuring out how to send Elder Benedict gigantic amounts of money. It actually turned out to be pretty complicated! In total I had to send him about 109,000 pesos. I was going to send half with him in a check and half to this senior missionary that was going with him through an electronic transfer. The problem was, The electronic transfer ended up not working. So this senior missionary had to make a 2 1/2 hour drive from San Luis to Mendoza to pick up another check for Elder Benedict. Also I sent money to Elder Benedict's card but it turned out I accidentally maxed out his monthly card limit, so it never sent. It advised me of this 2 days late. Also the first check I tried to make to Elder Benedict never went through because I GUESS there's a limit on how much money I can take out on a single check. I was 5,000 pesos over that limit. So yeah, there were a lot of complications. But we got it all worked out and he got like 30 people in the mission legal. In 2 weeks we get to do it again. Even with all those complications, (and I SWEAR there's complications in everything we do in our jobs.. Nothing ever goes completely how we want it to here) we definitely saw the hand of the Lord in our work. Somethings went completely wrong at the worst moments, but somethings went incredibly right! At least on Elder Benedict's end, but that was all that mattered. And it all worked out in the end. 

Hmm... Anything else? Oh yeah! We finally got out to teach this week! For the first time this transfer, sadly. But we did it! We had a lesson with Ariel last night, our only investigator. But he's doing well! More or less. He's still got as many problems as always, as he tells us every time we're there, but he's making an effort to come to church and read the scriptures at least. And praying. He actually came last Sunday without us even sending him a text message or calling him or anything! It was way cool. But yeah. He's doing well. 

I'm glad to hear you guys are all well though! I'll talk to you next week! 
P.S. Just felt like adding my financiero signature to my personal email as well, cause it looks so official :) 

-- 
Elder Bingham
Secretario de Finanzas
Misión Argentina Mendoza


Elder Benedict has a slightly stressful job. 
Wine anybody? Just kidding... It's actually just grape juice. No alcohol involved.

Another elevator to President's house selfie? Yes.

Meet the Beast. Only one of the biggest burgers I've ever eaten.

Zone conference! Just realized this is my first pic I've sent home with President and Hermana Goates in it.

Me and Elder Benedict just have so much fun :)

A little taste of Argentina. Motorcycles are very common, because they're way cheaper than cars. And then people will carry their whole family on them, or just incredible amounts of luggage like this. Photo credit: Elder Romero

Sunday lunch/dinner at the Warner's house! These are some of my favorite people in the mssion. They are really like our parents here :)

Just some giant pizzas we bought. I accidentally bought 10 though. My bad... I'm just the guy here with all the money. It was for like all the new Elders a few weeks ago though, so we're good. 

FUNNY STORY! One morning Elder Benedict had to do tramites. (Apparently translates to procedures in English, but basically just means doing work to get people legal) And for this kind of tramites he needed two "witnesses" that were already legal in the country to be able to say that this person actually lived in Mendoza. Well he forgot to bring the other witness that morning, which was Elder Solomon, cause I'm not legal. But there was no one else in the pension, so I had to come to. But he gave us no notice when he came by, so we didn't have time to change. We just went in our pajamas and flipflops. It was fun. 
 I was catching up on sending pics cause I didn't send any last week. We're almost done now.
Just climbing up to the second floor of our pension from the outside cause our door is broken. No biggie. I just want to fix this door so we can open the door from the outside. 

Soccer ball bending?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A LESS stressful week

 Hey family! Sounds like you had a good week. I actually did as well, at least. I'll tell you all about it later. So you all are doing the dirty dash? I've kind of realized something here in the mission, and it's that when I get home I think I really want to do something like that. Especially the Tough Mudder! That has sounded way fun to me here, and I'm not sure why. Cause before the mission I never would've wanted to, I think. But let's plan on doing something like that when I get back, K? Cause I literally get back in 1 year tomorrow. IS THAT CRAZY? Anyway, let's not talk about that. Moving on. I'm so glad to hear that Mom is reading Harry Potter again! I miss that. Also, our peach tree actually has peaches now? That makes me so happy! Cause I love peaches! And that sounds like a decent amount for its first fruit-bearing year.

Alright. Way sorry for taking forever to write this. I'm just now starting basically, I've been gone doing stuff like all day. We went down to Maipu again for our p-day because Elder Cahoon the AP had his birthday this week and the bishop down there wanted to do an asado and play soccer with us. He was there awhile back. And then right when we got back things got crazy, I immediately had to start running around to do work stuff. So... Yeah. I'm going to write a quick letter. 

Okay, to answer questions real fast? Starting with dad's. So, I DIDN'T actually send Elder Mortensen home. I guess I didn't explain that very well. He just ended his time in the offices, and he left to Chimbas. Same with Elder Lawrence. I'm now companions with Elder Benedict, and I will be for two transfers, until my 4th transfer here, when I get to train the new financiero. That's how it happens with every office elder. And then I leave! But basically here in the office we're all companions. Whoever's available to go help each other with work stuff goes. And there's now just 6 of us. The APs, me, Benedict, the historiador Elder Solomon, and Elder Romero the pensionista. Hope that clears things up. 

Mom: Specific fruits to Argentina? None. Grapes are obviously popular here in Mendoza and San Juan, cause we're like the wine capital of the world here. Most of the fruit here though is basically everything you can find in the states. Expect they're dirtier and there are less tropical fruits like pineapple, mangos, kiwi, and the only berries I've seen here are strawberries. Those aren't very common either. Oh, and nothing comes seedless either. So that's annoying. Especially the grapes. 

Okay. Things were less stressful this week. At least. Still stressful, but not so much. Mostly this week I've been working on paying everyone's rent and stuff, and getting ready this crazy adventure Elder Benedict's about to embark on. Lemme esplain. So, Elder Benedict's job is to get people legal in Argentina basically. But it's like way hard to do that. I just barely got legal actually, but I still don't have my ID or DNI se llama. It actually makes it kind of difficult to do my job. But most other missionaries get by fine, they just can't get home if they're illegal. And guess what? WE ARE LITERALLY THE MOST ILLEGAL MISSION IN THE WORLD. O sea, we have the highest percentage of illegal missionaries in the world. Other places in Argentina it's a lot easier to get legal, like Buenos Aires, cause that's where all the stuff gets sent from to be able to do it. But yeah. So, the church in Buenos Aires has been fighting hard to make this easier for us. And they've had some success! It's just a little complicated to explain. But they're now sending a little help to Elder Benedict. Next week he's embarking on an adventure to San Luis, the third province in the mission that I haven't been to yet. He's going with about 70 missionaries over there, because it's way easier to do his job over there. And he's going for about 2 weeks. And he'll get them all legal! So then we won't be the most illegal mission in the world. So, we've been getting ready for that this week. It's been fun. My job is to make sure that on Monday Elder Benedict goes to San Luis with 100,000 pesos. It's fun.

I think that's it. It's already late as it is, and I've gotta go. I'll try and send some pics tomorrow, está bien? 

Bueno. Chau!

Elder Bingham