Monday, March 31, 2014

Pictures from 3/31/2014

March 31, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
We have water bottles with filters but we still shower, wash dishes, brush teeth with the regular water. I do not think it did it to me. I believe it is the milk and other foods. Oil and fat and whatever is in EVERYTHING. They think oil is seriously a flavor here. Its gross but whatever. I will live. 
Today Hell broke loose in our house when they replaced our broken window because about 15 spiders and 50 ants crawled into the house and we had no spray left so tonight we are sleeping in the kitchen and going to kill them for fun. Its terrifying. We already killed 5 spiders. Only like infinity more.
This week I also had my first two baptism which I hope the pictures will send. It was awesome and I was first to baptize which was a little scary but great. I did everything fine and it was just great. The second woman being baptized is great but very big and decided not to wear a bra to the baptism so everyone starting cracking up after she was baptized. My companion couldn´t figure out what happened to a little while after. It was so awkward and funny. Kind of innappropriate and I am sorry but it was so funny I couldnt resist writing about it.
Last Saturday we also had the opportunity to help build a house for a member with like 15 of the branch members which was way fun! Who can honestly say they have helped build a house? Not many! It was way cool and a nice break from studying. 
Today we had an awesome crazy P Day again and are emailing during proselyting time because we had to work today. Today I was a witness to a marriage paper thing for a couple who are getting married to get baptized! Sick huh? They are extremely poor so they got money from the branch and live in a shack literally made of metal sheet and wood. Its sweet, and I will send pictures when I can. 
Bread here is everywhere and so good. We almost get homemade bread on a daily basis. The members are the best. But the best meals are from the two rich families in the ward where we get incredible salads, homemade bread, ice cream, and really expensive sausage. It is so good. Today we went bulk shopping since it is so expensive and bought 10 pounds of frosted flakes and corn flakes. It is awesome. I will try to send a pic. 
Here it is normal to breastfeed everywhere and anywhere which is so awkward. I have now seen six women breastfeeding. In yards, the bus (popular for this) and one member just started in the middle of a lesson. Super awkward and I cant even describe how weird it was. Me and my companion just stared at each other and the ground. Anyways... Our mission broke our record for baptisms EVER this month with 178 baptisms from 260ish missionaries. And me and my companion helped with two of those! We call ourselves studs a lot. Its pretty funny.
Instead of ice cream trucks here, they drive around with trucks filled with propane cans and play the most annoying and loud song ever. It is awesome. Instead of wonderful ice cream, its disgusting gas cans. How awful. 
I forgot to mention, one of our baptism, we found out four days before the day of their baptism that she smoked but we helped her and now she has quit smoking! How crazy! The faith of some people is incredible.
Also, in the cyber cafe here, kids just sit here and play CoD, look at Facebook, and one stud is playing Warcraft which is awesome. Far too tempting though haha. But yeah, I hear a lot of gunshots right now.
I was also standing in a bus just waiting for our stop, and I let go for one second. Then, all the sudden we came to a crazy stop and I flew four rows back, grabbed a pole, flew over a seat and landed on some dudes lap and smooshed his face into the window. My Branch Mission leader and companion were dying while I awkwardly got up, said sorry and went to the back. It was absolutely hilarious. They call me the Chocador which means the crasher. It was beyond hilarious. We still laugh about it and it was like last Monday night.
WHat is also funny is kids here put their facebook names on bus stops, benches and everywhere for people to friend them. It is really funny and kind of sad. I am very confused about my emotions on it. 
Every few days it rains, and when it rains, it pours. The river about 20 feet below the bridge once filled completely and flooded the bridge. CRAZY rain here.
In church, the Branch President and his parents are the only rich people and during the lesson on fifth sunday this last week, the Branch President who is great but very demanding and a little rude, shushed his mother and others during the lesson because he didnt agree. Then when people said what he liked, he said muy bien like they are children. It was so funny and so hard not to laugh. He is crazy. But great guy nonetheless.
Other people are still nuts and splash water on us with their bikes and cars when its raining which is always fun. But whatever. We were wet already anyways.
Overall, a very productive week and great. I can´t wait to tell you guys about all my experiences so far when we call home for mothers day. It is just so funny and crazy and wonderful and stressful. Still difficult but getting better. Especially when you rely on the Lord even more than you do already. 
Love you guys! Thanks for everything you do! 
Elder Moss

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
Thanks so much everyone for the constant mail. It really does help. After a hard week, hearing about your guy´s similar  hard weeks, successes and happiness helps me. Thanks!
This week has been very rough. I first got like 6 spider bites or milipede or centipede bites that reacted pretty bad. Got some bad swelling but we have a sister in the mission who we call to know what to do so that has been getting better. But then I got a food poisoning of sorts and that was truly rough. I had the worst stomach pains ever but what was incredible was the strength from the Lord. It started at 11 AM and I just felt terrible but pushed on. We saw dfferent appointments and it just kept hurting and then when I thought I could truly go no home. And when it hurt that bad, all I could honestly think about was going home( home home). But I pushed on with His help for one last visit for a truly poor, broken, loving couple. At the end of the visit, I couldn´t feel my arms, I was shaking badly because it hurt so bad but then the poor sister asked for a visit. When she did I knew I was able to push on for a reason. We gave the blessing and then I just cried the rest of the way home. We called the district leader and he gave me advice so I got better within 24 hours again but that was rough. It was a long 24 hours but that was a crazy experience that I won´t forget soon. I can´t thank the Lord enough for my mother and father. If it wasn´t for them, I would not have all the first aid stuff I have already needed three times this week for three different things. I don´t know what i did to recieve such incredible inspired people. I never thought i would get sick in certain ways but I have in every single way I wouldn´t have planned for. Hopefully my whole mission won´t be filled with allergic reactions, bites, and food poisoning but if it does, oh well. 

Living conditons in my area are comparatively great because we have a mini fridge, stove, microwave, and oven but no AC or heater. These winter months will be Hell for sure. The humidity kills in every aspect here. Heat and cold. Couldn´t be more grateful for your tiny sleeping bag dad! I almost wasn´t going to take that too! You are the man dad. Thanks for everything. To answer a couple questions mother, my companion, the best companion ever, does play soccer. He also did Brazilian Jut Jitzu so I feel safe too. Lots of thieves and hoodlums here so that´s nice! I haven´t used the bug spray actually... I forgot I had it. Oh well. Now I do. But also, on Google Earth, we can see the airport from our area easily. So just look at the area near the airport and that is us. It is called prosperidad. I don´t know much else, sorry! 

The rest is just average news. Our branch is awesome and the members are great. They even made me a simple meal so I could eat without upsetting my stomach on Sunday so that was awesome. Bland food but it didn´t get upset. The days are hard still. The beginning is the worst but it will get better. I miss you guys more than I wish but I just pray that the Lord will bless you guys. Everything is going well now. My companion is still awesome and we still dance around at night to Disney music Josh Groban and what not because he has an MP3 so that is always fun. We struggle with investigators

but then new ones come and confidence is restored. I always complained back home about the ignorance of Americans and felt this place would be way better but it´s just as bad. The world is just becoming ripened for destruction and all we can do is help them, our families, and ourselves. Hope you all are doing great and don´t envy food poisoning too much ;) I pray for you guys always! Keep it real back in the US. I figured out that I like the US and it´s commodities than I always thought. I guess this is payback for all the negative comments I made back home. Oh well. Other than that, these computers are hilarious. Basically 15 years old running xp. 

Love you guys and all the letters. THey help me a lot, keep doing what youre doing. Endings are always awkward. Sorry. Love you guys!
Elder Moss

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17th, 2014

Today at 1:11 PM
So having strictly and hour out here to email sucks. 
SO please send me addresses and I will definitely write and send letters and whatever else. I feel terrible that I can´t personally write everyone back but I do love every single letter and I love hearing about everyone´s lives and how everything is going. You guys are seriously the best! Keep doing what you are doing. Send pictures and stories and whatever. It`s so great to see them every week.
Uruguay is absolutely crazy. Everything about it. I uploaded a ton of pictures to my skydrive for mother to upload so I hope she posts them!
The first few days were really hard because you are just so far from home, you don`t understand what anyone is saying and all you do is walk, teach and repeat. 
We are also strongly disliked here which is quite funny. Most people ingnore us (about 70%) and then most who do, call us names once we pass them. They also yell insults I won`t repeat out the windows and some kids chucked rocks at us. The big ones didn`t hit us but one of them got me with a little one. It`s pretty funny. Another huge group of like 22 year old men were just causing trouble and when we walked by and said hi, they shook our hands and one grabbed mine, pulled me back and started mumbling spanish and seemed mad. He had a crazy grin. It was scary. I pulled away and we walked away quickly. Crazy kids here. Always seem to be causing trouble. 
As expected everyone seems to play Soccer and very good at it. We played an intense district game of soccer today in the stake center about 40 kms away so that was awesome. Very talented latinos at soccer. 
We also walk for what seems like eternities but it`s getting better. Mother bought me great shoes, slacks, shirts etc so the heat and walking is bearable. We also take the bus a bunch because that is a big thing here and all seats are full and then people pushing and shoving on the bus. It is ridiculous how many people are out and about. My first area isn`t too poor(here. Relatively speaking.) but it`s nothing like home. 
My favorite investigator, Miguel and his soon to be wife Allison, lives in a metal shack. They are getting married so that he can be baptized. She was a member but probably went inactive so now they are both coming and getting married so that he can be baptized. He is such a stud.  It`s crazy. We helped them unload a bunch of really old not in good condition things yesterday and taught a little lesson. The lessons are always great because everyone is so unkind, but then those who are, are extremely kind. We taught a (first) lesson and at the end asked her to be baptized and now we are preparing her for her baptism on the 30th! Crazy huh!?
The members are crazy awesome though. Our ward mission leader Juan Carlos is so great and helps us with everything. We great great meals in this area and only get a lunch because that is the big meal here. We get 3200 pesos a month which sucks. It`s about 150 dollars but everything is terribly expènsive here. A liter of milk is like1.5 dollars. So shopping is a struggle. 
A bunch of members and missionaries here have tattoos which I think is awesome. It seems to be a lot less judgemental here which is sweet.
The motorcycles are terribly annoying along with the three thousand dogs. 
My companion is the best because he speaks just enough english so it is frustrating to not know spanish but we get along just fine. All Peruvians I have met are just studs. 
I love that the church is the same everywhere. In Priesthood we are talking about Joseph Fielding Smith, songs are the same (different languages) and sacrament, relief society and so forth. I love this church dearly and how it is always the same. That`s what makes us different! We are only in a branch of 60ish people but we filled the chapel and got four investigators to go this last week! It was great! 
I am quite anxious about changes arçlready because I love my companion so much already. I should just request it of our president. (Joke) Our president is also brand new, only a week here just like us! He is great though and so loving. 
There are probably more mosquitos in one neighborhood here than people in the world. It is AWFUL. Always have bug bites. When it rains here, it pours and we got drenched this last week but we loved it. It`s better than this killer heat and humidity. 
We also see roosters, cows, sheep, dogs, cats, chickens, naked children sometimes etc. There are a wide variety of living things here which is hilarious. 
We email in this cyber cafe with computers from the 90s. Like the huge 30 pound monitors and huge towers which is hilarious. They are like 15 years behind the US here which is hilarious. 
Other than that, I love you all and hope you enjoy hearing about first impressions. Sorry it was all muddled, it will be better next week. I will be more specific and organized because it won´t be first impressions anymore. Love you guys. It`s hard out here but very worth it. The missionaries are beacons of light and hope here so it`s rewarding. We have already given three blessings in one week. The people need us so it`s great. Help the missionaries in your area! They need help, love, care in concern! 

Elder Moss

Our address is Domingo Mora 8015 Montevideo, Uruguay if you can find it and check it out!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014

Dear mother,

I have arrived safely in Uruguay and am in a kind member´s home just writing a quick email that I made it safely. It is crazy being here and the crazy emotions with it. It is very hard but I got yours and Aaron´s packages today and they lifted my heart like crazy. I can´t thank you guys enough. Especially the letters from Ella and Adrienne. Tell them I appreciate their kind letters immensely. It is tough here. Of all the Americans I am the only one who got a latino companion which is tough but great. He is so kind and knows a little Spanish. He is from Peru and is a trainer at only 4.5 months! His name is Elder Torres and of all 260 missionaries, for the five of us gringos arriving, he is training me. At only 4.5 months! He is great and everything but it´s tough, no doubt. Everything here is hard. I will write more Monday. If you can send international stamps through the mail. We only get an hour here compared to two back at the CCM. I can only read them and reply with a short mass email. So letters will be used much more. I love you all and appreciate you immesnely. You have no idea. Need to preach the gospel, love you!

Elder Moss

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014

¡Buenos Dias familia y amigos!
                This week has seriously flown by. Every week gets faster and faster but now it´s the end! I only have 4 days left here which is sort of really terrifying. No more language instruction or study or whatever. Just a bunch of training for the field and proselyting and church and packing and whatever else. So I´m a wee bit nervous. But you know, if I have faith, I will be able to teach and testify of this gospel so that is good. Hopefully God loves the people of Uruguay and wants them to receive the Gospel or else my tongue won´t be loosed. I have obtained the word and now I seek to convince men of the gospel. See D&C 11:21. You guys wouldn´t believe how many fold my testimony of the scriptures has been greatened. Also, I apologize for my English from now till the end of my mission. Sentence structure is wack in Spanish and now all my language speaking is confused and what not. It´s just a big mess. Somehow I am supposed to teach to real people in four days. Who knows how. Anyways…
                I told you guys that Elder Evans was to come last Thursday and he did and it was incredible. One of the best experiences of my life by far. I am so sorry but I don´t have my notes with me. I would write about what he talked about, impressions that came to me during the talk, and notes on his wife´s talk etc but alas, I cannot. We all shook their hands, told them where we were from etc. I can´t remember anything about it right now but be assured, it was awesome.
                While still on a spiritual subject, today we watched another rerun of a Provo MTC devotional. This devotional was one of the most, if not the most, powerful devotionals/talks I have ever seen. Elder Bednar is most definitely my favorite apostle now. He bore the most powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon I have ever seen. If there is somehow a way you guys can obtain this MTC devotional, do it. It was January 14th 2014. It will be worth the effort of searching for.
                Last Saturday we once again went proselyting and had funny experiences. One guy we talked to was extremely drunk and rambled on to us about something along the lines of, ¨I drink, want wine?¨ And all the sudden I heard the word Satanás which is Satan in Spanish so we started saying we need to go. Then, we started a search for a bathroom. After unsuccessfully finding a public restroom, we decided to ask a nice old man. After about 15 minutes of small talk about us, the gospel and such, we said we need to go to the bathroom. 2 of us out of the trio companionship that I am in needed to go so he said yes. I forgot to mention we were talking through his gate. Everyone has gates here. EVERYONE. So he let one companion in and then said, ¨soló uno¨ and closed the gate which worried us exceedingly. So in my awful broken Spanish, I said ¨Necesitamos vamos tembien y ser en la mizmo lugar.¨ Which means we need to go together and be in the same place which was not what I should have said. He then asked, in the same room!? You guys are homosexual!? So we quickly said no no no and cleared it up but it was still weird watching our companion leave with an old man. Thankfully all went well and we got to go the bathroom, give him and Book of Mormon and leave safely. We are guessing he just didn´t want to be robbed by three large white people. There are also cows, horses, and ponies that chill in the middle of the road so we petted a pony and just kept going. Little kids seem to enjoy poking horses in the face for fun which was hilarious to watch.
( A side note, I am a giant here! It is so dang exciting. No joke, a lot of people, guys and girls alike, are about 4´8¨. No joke. Brandon is bigger than most adult men here. It is so awesome. I can´t imagine being Steffen´s height here. Everyone is tiny!)
                This last Sunday we went outside to nap since it felt good for a little while but then the sun came out while I was asleep on my side so I have a half sunburnt face which is pretty dang funny looking. And no, I will not send a picture!
                I also gained the desire to start Jesus the Christ which is huge and daunting, but I truly want to know my Savior better so I am going to do it. I just finished the Book of Mormon a few weeks ago so I started that over again, so I am trying to read Jesus the Christ, Book of Mormon and New Testament because I enjoy Pauls epistles so much. I finished Romans which is an incredible book so now I am reading Corinthians. The scriptures are just packed with cool things! Who knew! (Answer, everyone besides me and I didn’t believe them.)
                Anyways, other than that, I bought these things called alfajors here and I bought them for a peso and a half which is like 10 cents! (I bought new garments at the distribution center for 10 pesos each which equals about 1.25 dollars a garment. What a steal!) They are delicious and I am so excited about it. I just bought a bunch of oreos, soda, alfajors and Kinder chocolate. German chocolate is quite prominent here. We also got ice cream with Dulce de Leche in it which was also incredible. They are obsessed with this thing called Dulce de Leche which means sweet of the milk and is extremely similar to caramel. Almost all sweets here have it in them. Ice cream, cake, brownies, alfajors etc.
Important! On Monday (I believe afternoon here so anywhere from 10:00 to 2:00 PM at home) I get to call home for a few minutes before we leave. The president figured we would waste too much time at the airport trying to figure it out in a different language so we get to call from here on Monday in late morning or early afternoon so someone should be home then. If no one is home, I assume I will just try to call dad´s cell phone and at least say goodbye to someone. Next time I get to call home is in like four months so someone should definitely pick up the phone. Don´t forget!
Also important! Mother, please prepare my debit card for use in Uruguay. If I need extra money I need to pull it out of an ATM and it might reject it if you don´t let the bank know beforehand. PLEASE DO THIS. PLEASE, AND THANK YOU.
Mother, regarding a early care package if you love me, a few things I would enjoy are Nutella or candy or something. American food is cherished here by the Americans. Sorry for the redundancy. We miss our fatty candy, chips, and variety or food. Not that it´s bad, it´s just different. It´s actually quite good. We had steak again yesterday. We get steak about once a week but most every meal has plenty meat. Also, a necklace (I´ll send Steffen what I would enjoy) to attach my vial of oil too. I just want my vial of oil on my person. If it is possible which is probably isn´t based on customs of Uruguay for packages, I would love another bottles of Kyoku facial lotion but it´s all good if it doesn´t work or you don´t want to take the risk.Also, more pens. I really want some more pens; preferably fine tip and don´t bleed so much. Dad gave me one silver heavy one that I enjoy. So maybe refills for that or multiple colors, or more pens in general. I just want some nice pens that are skinny, don´t bleed so much and whatever. Through email, I would appreciate if dad would send my Priesthood line of authority so I can carry that around and show people. If I can´t print, maybe you can send it in a letter one day. Also, I still haven´t gotten your letter mother. I hope it gets here before I leave!
Reguarding the decision to get glasses. I am very grateful I got glasses before I left, and I sit like 8 feet from the board. Because of dim lighting and our markers are not strong, especially the color red, I can´t see anything. I actually need glasses now and use them every class. Terrible but good thing I got them after all.
I forgot to mention that since there are only sixteen of us North Americans, our Sunday classes are hilariously small. Priesthood is seven people and sacrament is sixteen. How funny right? Way different than home.
Anyways, love you guys, and hope you are all doing fine! Please email me if you guys need anything or want to know about anything specific! I wish I could get souvenirs from Argentina but no shops in the suburbs have stuff like that. Let me know what you want from Uruguay. Don[t forget about my call on Monday and preparing my Debit card for Uruguay mother. Thank you. Have a great week!
Elder Moss