Tuesday, April 1, 2014

¡Feliz Día de San Patricio! (Sent March 17, 2014)


Yep, I remembered Saint Patrick´s Day. Don´t worry. Luckily Argentines have a weird habit of celebrating everything the day before: Christmas, New Year´s, even Saint Patrick´s day. So yesterday, when we saw all the green parties in the plaza, we realized that we had to wear ties the next day. All except Elder Molina. So we spent all morning pinching him relentlessly while he was screaming ¨FREAKING GRINGOS!!!¨

These Elders in our apartment are studs. I don´t think I´ve stopped laughing yet. They were together last transfer too, and are constantly sharing the most hilarious stories about it. With 3 yanquis and a Chilean that understands English, we speak in a perfect 50-50 split of Spanglish, so more awkward silences!

The biggest thing I´ve learned this week is that there are a whole lot of liars in my mission. Haha, during transfers, practically all I heard from other Elders was them whispering rumors about Villa 31 and all the craziness that happens in it. Pffffttt! Sure, it´s the biggest villa in the city, but as far as being the most dangerous, that´s a joke. It literally is the coolest place in Buenos Aires. The streets are tiny, absolutely nuts with bustling people, and with colorful but tiny houses that are stacked like legos. The people are very humble, and about 90% from other countries. Practically every person knows the Elders because they´ve been here for so long. Even the drunks, cops, and Jehova´s Witnesses greet us with a friendly smile. :)  It´s the greatest thing ever, and a huge difference from the porteños (rich city slickers from Buenos Aires) right outside the villa.

The ward is a mix of the people from the villa and the porteños with a ton of people from the US or Europe, and other people who speak English. My companion Elder Critchlow and Elder Molina are both District Leaders, so during Sunday School, us four Juncal Elders were out in the hallway talking to the Zone Leaders on the phone. This random lady from the street entered the building yelling all kinds of profane gibberish at Elder Molina. When a member of the Bishopric tried calming her down, she only got more infuriated and more explicit.

No one really understood what she was talking about, but she kept telling us that we brainwashed her son to become a Mormon. She finally left with the Police escorting her out as we just stood confused. Then we found out that her son was the 2nd counselor in the other ward. Haha- what? I was expecting like a 5 year old, if there actually was any credit to her hysterical screaming. Interesting. I wish there was some kind of significance to the Gospel, but if there is, I haven´t found it. I´m just going to keep praying for her.

On a different note, I still can´t get over how thouroughly God prepared this blessed part of His vinyard. The recent converts are already incredibly excited to learn more and share the gospel, the members are firm and steady, and even the less active members call to us in the street to give us referals. I can´t help but feel like there´s an immense amount of responsibility on my shoulders to be entrusted with such a prepared people. Of course the work is still a challenge, and we have to work 100% by the Spirit to get anything done, but I´m so excited and a little anxious to keep working here. I´m excited to see what the Lord has in store for Villa 31.

While comparing this area to others while I´ve been serving a mission, I´ve come to recognize two things. One, that no proselyting area is spiritually dead. There is always work to be done no matter how apparent or hidden it seems. And two, absolutely no effort in Missionary Work is a waste. Everyone has their own agency to choose to accept the Gospel. That will always be 100% their own. Our job is to provide as many opportunities to do so, and create as much good influence in the world as possible.

Qué tengan una semana tranquila y feliz. ¡Hurrah para Isreal!

-Élder Goff

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