Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 3 - Frias

Frias is pronounced the same way. Nothing special. Our area is pretty big. It would take more than 30 minutes to cross the entire area from one corner to the other walking at a pretty good speed. My companion can speak very very little English. It is pretty much just straight Spanish.

This last week we found 17 new investigators but we are really working with about 8 or 9 progressing investigators. The people here I think are a little more accepting and it is a lot easier to get into a house and teach something. Even if they dont get what we are doing as missionaries. But yes the days have been getting pretty warm. It just going to be getting hotter and hotter. 

They do celebrate Halloween here. They have been selling some stuff for it. It will be pretty interesting to see how it goes here. This year I will be dressing up as a missionary!!  About time huh? 

When I mail a letter back to the U.S. I still use American stamps. I am pretty sure that I will be staying here for a while past Christmas. But we will see.  

I have to go. Thanks for your email. I love you guys. See you next week!

Elder Dawson

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 2 - Frias

I guess on normal days we are able to email early. Last week we couldnt because the normal places they go to were closed so we went to a members house later and email. It was the presidents house...President of the branch we are in. But my time here is actually only one hour ahead of you guys so not that much of a change. I wasnt going to say everything I did this week but still just inform you guys of different things that you would like to know.
So I am in a branch. It is smaller than the Texas one. Yesterday there were about 25 people there. Me and my companion are actually the counselors in the branch. Really weird for me. Next week I am going to be conducting sacrament meeting...first time conducting sacrament meeting in my Spanish. Yesterday was actually Dia de la Madre (Mothers day). I guess this is the only other place in the world that doesnt have it in May.
This is my normal schedule here. It changes in different places in the mission. But this is it for me.
7:30 AM: Wake-up
7:30-8: Exercise
8-9: Prepare and eat breakfast
9-10: Personal Study
10-1: Out working
1: Lunch (usually with a member, sometimes not)
2-5: Siesta (It is a custom that everything pretty much closes and they go home, and sleep or do whatever at home but we do more studies during this time).
5-10: We work more, then come home (at least be home by 10:30)
10-10:30 planning
10:30-11:30: Do whatever we need to do, prepare for bed
In my missionary call packet it shows the addresses where you can send packages and letters. They are two different addresses. One for letters, one for packages. We have been told that really its best to not put a whole lot in a letter. Really just paper and like pictures or something. Not anything that is bulky or chunky. With packages, an Elder from the office goes to a place to check for packages every two weeks. Then they stick them in a black bag that they send with people around the mission. We receive the black bag I think about every two weeks.
I just got your email.

11:49 am
I have to go soon but I will just answer your questions.
Yes the mission paid for travels to our areas. We receive money every month for travels that we will be doing. We have district meeting every other week. We have a training from the zone leaders once a month, and I think there are a few others things we would travel for. But for these meetings we have to travel up to Santiago. It is a three hour or so bus ride...3 hours there and 3 hours back. We are also the only missionaries in Frias. I have no idea how far away we are from other missionaries. Our district leaders area is in Santiago. I didnt have any problems with passport or baggage. Right now I am at our church building emailing. The president has a computer we can use. Apparently the internet use to be really slow but now they just got a new thing and the internet is a lot faster. But yeah it is really starting to warm up.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 1 - Frias

So yeah things have been nuts this last week. I will answer your questions.
It took 2 hours from McAllen to Dallas, a 3 hour layover, 10 and a half hours from Dallas to Buenos Aires. We got there and had to wait for other missionaries to arrive that were going to Salta also. We waited for about 3 hours. It took all day Monday and Tuesday morning to get there. We went around to some places and then had to take a flight from Buenos Aires to Salta...2 more hours. It was crazy. There was a giant group of about 20-30 missionaries running [through] the airport because the plane was going to leave soon. We got to Salta late.
Coming off plane in Salta. Greeted by Presidente Lavrino.

On bus at Salta airport headed to ? 
We did a few things and stayed at a tiny hotel and slept. Wednesday we did stuff at the church all day.

Alec with Presidente and Sister Lavrino
At about 8 pm we got our new companions. My companions name is Elder Morena and he is from Peru. He is awesome. I like him a lot.

Alec and Elder Morena
Alec and Elder Morena

[All the pictures above were posted on Sister Lavrino's face book Wednesday morning, October 9]
At 9 or 9:30 we were at the bus waiting to go to our areas. We were on the bus all night. We arrived at our apartment at about 8 in the morning on Thursday. Super tired. But now I am still getting situated a bit and all.
But in Dallas there were a ton of missionaries. Landon did show up. I just got off the phone with you and got up and turned around when he was walking up. I just saw missionaries then took a double take and we recognized each other at the same time. It was super cool. He does look different. [Editor's Note:  Landon (Elder Cobb) is from our Stake and was temporarily serving in California while waiting for his visa to Buenos Aires South Mission. It was fun to know he and Alec were on the same flight together to Argentina].
So my area is called "Frias." It is the last area in the mission. Very bottom. From what my companion tells me it gets super hot here too.

I already miss the United States. Things are really different here, but I still like it. I already miss peanut butter and for some reason maple syrup.
The language is also different. People use the sound "shh" for all the words that have double L and double R, on y´s, and depending on the person they use it on almost all r´s double or not. It helps that I have learned some Spanish in the other mission.
It did rain on Friday and Saturday. It rained a lot. Like some of the streets were completely flooded and we could not cross. There were a lot of kids playing in it and sometimes adults would walk through it and it would be up to their knees. At one point some kids grabbed big rocks and made a path for us to cross. I didnt use my boots. I used the rockport waterproof shoes. They worked good.

[General] Conference was awesome. Missionary work is something absolutely great. Missionaries do have lots of success but if it comes through the members also there is so much more success that comes. A missionary's job is to help someone get through the gate of baptism. We are the only ones that hold those keys in the entire world. With members and missionaries together more people are able to go through. The members also help with the period after entering into the gate. The enduring to the end part. This is something I learned through Pres. Trayner. The gate and everything is in 2 Nephi 31. It is something super important and awesome.
I think that it was Elder Ballard in conference that gave a promise. He said that if you talk to and share the gospel with the people you know millions will come to know of the truth. That is paraphrasing but it is something real. I encourage you to look for that talk. I think it was him but anyways to think of something that you guys can do. Even with the entire family.
Well I got to go. I will send some pictures. I love you guys a lot. I will see you next week. I love you!
Elder Dawson

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 18 - Last Week in Texas. Argentina or Bust!

We didn't get an email this afternoon, but we received a phone call from Alec early evening from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport in Texas. We were so excited to know he was on his way to Argentina! Luckily both Neil and I were at home, and it was so good to hear his voice. We were very blessed to have been able to speak with Alec for about 45 minutes. He said that he received a call late the night before (October 6) to tell him to get packed and that he was leaving early the next morning (today). He got to McAllen and then flew from McAllen to Dallas where he had a couple of hours until his plane left about 8 pm to Buenos Aires Argentina.  He said there were a lot of other missionaries at the airport that came from other missions on temporary assignments that would be on the same flight. He said he was very nervous but also excited.  He also got to talk with Andrew, Sean, and Jared.  He couldn't believe he was talking to Sean because his voice had changed so much. We talked mostly about family and news. He had heard about the government shut down and wanted to know what that was all about.

Since he was not able to send an email, he told me over the phone a few things that he wrote down of his last week in Brownsville (which I wasn't able to catch everything he said), but here is the jest of it:

On Pday - got more ties. They went to the Downtown house where they played Nerf wars and capture the flag.

Tuesday, they had district meeting and then went to a restaurant called Rutledge and had hamburgers, chips, and soda. They had district companion study about prayer. 

Wednesday, they went to Chiles with the Castillos and had chocolate lava cake.

Thursday, they had a two-hour lesson with Miguel, who was a policeman in Mexico.  He talked about how he use to torture people and some of the bad things he’d done.

Friday morning, he went to Harlingen (30 minutes north of Brownsville) to get more fingerprints. Later went to Marquez home (branch primary president) for dinner.

Saturday for General Conference – he went to Sis. Izziguirre’s house and ate chicken and beans. They are the best . . . super good chili! After next session, they ate with ? and had homemade fried chicken, rice and salad.

Sunday, Jaine sent them with food:  Two 12-packs of soda, box of 24 crescent rolls, box of Texas cinnamon rolls, two bags of chips, two gallon ice cream, a container of chicken salad.