Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mauro's Baptism

Dear Family, Hey it is good to hear from you! First I would like to thank the Cope Family for the very nice package! It is filled with some very good stuff, thanks! The pictures were nice, everyone is looking great and those kids are growing up fast! Also, I was able to receive a dear elder from Aunt Diane and Justin Brooks. Everything is going well here in Argentina, yes it is starting to heat up here. Mom, thanks for the updates in your email. Sounds like you had a little missionary week as you were able to have dinner with my last companion, Cameron Grant as well as attend Shane Palmers homecoming, that is pretty nice! This week we had a baptism for Mauro who is eleven years old. Mauro comes from a family who are also members but have been in-active. As we have been teaching Mauro we have been able to not only see the change in Mauro, but also in his family. Mauro is awesome! Mauro loves when we come over to teach. Mauro has been an example to me since I have met him. Every time we come over he is ready. Also, he makes sure we have something to drink so he usually makes us some juice, and when we finish a glass he is right there to refill your glass with more juice. The baptism went well. Not many members were able to attend but we had enough and Mauro had great support from his family. One of Mauro´s family members was able to baptize Mauro. The next day Mauro was confirmed a member of the Church and was able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Also Sunday I had the opportunity to give a talk in church. I was given the topic of the Restoration. I tried tying the message of the restoration with the baptism of Mauro. I felt like my talk went well and received a few compliments. So Christmas is coming up soon and as you know we have the chance to call home. I believe I will be calling home on the 25th of December and I will try and let you know a time around which I will be calling this next week in my e-mail. I am going to buy a phone card like I did with our call on mothers day. What number should I call? Please email the information such as the number. Remember we only have 40 minutes to talk so if you have questions right them down. For Christmas I am not exactly sure what we will be doing but on the 21st we will be meeting together as a mission to eat and celebrate. Thanks for all of your support. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanks to all our Mother's!!!!

Hi mom and thanks for your wonderful letter it is always good hearing form you! Sounds as if you had a pretty enjoyabe Thanksgiving. Tell Aunt Diane Happy Birthday / Feliz Cumpleaños! Sounds like the new ward is hanging in there. Are we still known as the Palo Verde Ward? I enjoy that you share the activities you have in the young womens program with me. I remember the activities i had when I was in the young mens program, they were always amazing. Thanks go out to the leaders i had as they also were able to have great activities which brought great experiences, and most importantly the spirit. Its fun to think that you are now one of those leaders. I know you are a great example to those young women and am sure you are having fun as well. I know it can be stressful at times with everything going on but if you continue making your to-do lists, yes you know those lists you used to always give me, things will get done. One thing that I have seen while on my mission is the importance of being organized and having plans. In the mission there is always something for us to do, even when we feel like we are just walking around tracting all day. I believe the better we are organized, the more we give ourselves to be guided by the spirit. It may be hard to understand the young women at times, and not just because they are girls with all that comes with those teenage years, but as you have been set apart for this calling the spirit will guide you to their needs. Also, looking back on youth activities I can see how greatly blessed I have been. In the area I am serving now, as a new branch, there are not many members which does not give the youth, which also there are not many, many opportunities to have activities. However, I have been very impressed with the faith of the youth here because although they do not have many of the same opportunities i had, they still make the most of what they have and continue to attend church as much as possible. Mom I am very grateful for all that you have given to me and also all that you have taught me, it has really helped me during this time I have been serving. Everything is going well here in Billinghurst. Elder Garcia and I, we are getting along well and working hard. We are pretty excited for Mauro´s baptism this Saturday. Tomorrow we have a zone conference, so we are also looking forward to that. I will let you know when I receive those packages and also I will let you know when I will be calling home for Christmas. Tell dad thanks for the updates and I will be looking for his dear elder letter. Have a great week, look forward to hearing from you soon! Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Music To Our Ears.

Dear Family and Friends, It is always good to hear from everyone and sounds as if you enjoyed the Thanksgiving Holiday! I am glad to hear you were able to attend Cameron Grants homecoming and sounds like he did a fine job. If you get the chance to speak with him tell him thanks for the shout out and also thanks for the picture! So this past transfer we were blessed and ended with five baptisms, and so far we have one planned for this transfer. His name is Mauro, he is about 11 years old and is a child from a less active family. However, as we have been teaching Mauro his family has been getting more involved and have also been attending church with him. Unfortunately this past Sunday he and his family did not make it to church along with many other investigators and members due to the rain. Elder Garcia and I left the apartment early Sunday morning to go look for some of our investigators we invited during the week to go to church with us. We passed by a few of our investigators homes but no one answered. We then decided to start walking towards the church in order that we would make it there on time. Due to the rainstorm some of the streets were rivers and we had no choice but to walk through them. Maybe if Elder Grant was here I could have used him and kept myself a little drier. We ended up paying for a remise (taxi) to take us to the church. Although we were soaked we arrived just in time for church. Elder Garcia and I had a pretty productive week. Working with a new branch and just a few members keeps us quite busy. Although there are not many members they are always willing in trying to help in any way they can so we are very grateful. Right now we are searching diligently to find some new investigators to teach. We have been fortunate enough to find a few investigators, so we are looking forward to see how they will progress. The other day Elder Garcia and I were walking and passing by the people we planned the night before to visit. We went through our list of visits pretty fast, no one was home or no one wanted to listen. We decided to walk to towards a different area in our zone. After quite a bit of walking, a kid from the street shouted, “hey elders.” Music to our ears! We went over and began to talk and came to realize that he and his mother are members of the church but it has been a while since they have been to church. What a blessing! We look forward to helping them and bring the gospel back into their home. Thanks for all of your support, it is always great to hear from you. I am still working on writing letters so I will try and get some out soon. I hope you have a great week, i look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Special Visitors.........What a great gift for my B-Day!!!!

Dear Family and Friends, Hey thanks for all your letters! Unfortunately I was only able to read a few of them, basically from mom and dad. The other emails i was not able to be read, I think one was sent from a blog and with this email its unable to be read, also I believe you sent pictures too but for some reason I was not able to see them through the email. So I had a pretty good birthday here in Argentina. This morning Elder Grant finished his packing to go home. I received a call from President Benton and Sister Benton, wishing me a happy birthday which was very nice. President Benton is amazing but during our conversation he told me who my new companion was going to be, so it kind of ruined the surprise. It was ok, as I love President Benton. Also during our transfer meeting we went up to shake President and Sister Bentons hand and when I went up to shake President Benton's hand everyone began to sing happy birthday to me while I was up there! So today Elder Grant is on his way home, we had some good times, I am very grateful for the opportunity we had to work together. Are you going to go to Elder Grants homecoming this Sunday? I think you should go. I was not able to send any letters with him but I am getting ready to send a few, I just have to finish writing them. Also, I received my new companion at our transfer meeting, Elder Garcia from Salvador. It is pretty interesting because Elder Grant trained Elder Garcia, then Elder Garcia was companions with Elder Gneighting, two missionaries from Las Vegas. After which he had two other Elders; Elders Kirkham and Peterson. Elder Garcia has about six months in the mission. I have been called to be senior companion, but we are both young in the mission and excited to get to work. Also this past week we had the opportunity to see and hear from Elder Bednar and Elder Snow, with a special guest Elder Ludwig and Elder Olds! It was amazing! Elder Bednar and Elder Snow along with their wives spoke to us and we were taught by the Spirit. It really was a blessing to have that opportunity and I can not express how grateful I am. Instead of just giving us a talk, Elder Bednar first explained how to ask good questions. Elder Bednar has a great personality and a pretty good sense of humor. After explaining how to ask questions we had the opportunity to ask questions to Elder Bednar. At the end of the conference Elder Bednar left us with a blessing. I am truly grateful for this opportunity I have been given. I appreciate your love and support. I look forward from hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sometimes getting WET....... is a good thing!

Dear Family and Friends, It was great to hear from you! Everything is going very well here in Billinghurst as we had the baptism for Daniel this past Saturday! Saturday we also had an Elders quorum activity for our branch and had a great turn out even with not having many members in our Elders quorum. For our activity we cooked some Argentine food (asado and chori pan) which are two types of meat that are very popular here in Argentina, I am a fan of them both ! After we ate, they ( the members ) played some soccer. We as missionaries have a mission rule that we can only play soccer with other missionaries, so Elder Grant and I just ended up watching. It was pretty funny though because as we were watching I was secretly cheering for Daniel and hoping that they would let him score a goal. You know what I am trying to say…so that he would feel good and get even more excited for his baptism! Anyway he played like a champ, so I was content. Also this week we had interviews with President Benton. He is amazing! I had a good interview, he is very happy with the success we are having here in Billinghurst. Just before we were leaving our interviews to head back to our area it started to rain again, like I have never seen before. Within minutes the streets were flooded. We tried waiting for a while but it was not looking like it was going to stop any time soon, so we left and headed for the bus stop were we waited an hour for the next bus to arrive. It was late due to the rain. We finally arrived in our area and the streets there were even worse. All the water flows downhill into our area, the side walks were covered with water, and even some houses had water enter them as well. We tried taking different streets but there was no way we were able to make it to our apartment without walking through the river in the middle of the streets. We decided to go for it, I was able to make it to the apartment a little dryer than Elder Grant, you will have to ask him why. I know I still have quite a few people on my list of those to write and I am going to try and write some letters and give them to Elder Grant and he can give them to you. I will let you know how that goes, it all depends on if I have any time. Elder Bednar and Elder Snow this Thursday! Thanks for all your love and support, I am going to try and send a few pictures so I hope you get them. Take care, I look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks. Mom- sounds as if your talk was awesome, glad to hear that. Thanks for your suggestion as to items that i may need , but looks like I am good with everything, I have enough clothes for P-days, and I have a hand gripper, just some things like crest toothpaste, Listerine, visine, pictures, thanks mom love you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Book of Mormon, a Powerful Blessing!!!!

Dear Family and Friends, It sounds like eveything is going well. We also had a good week here in Billinghurst as we were able to have the baptism for Veronica and her two children, Nahuel and Belen! The baptism went really well and I was privlidged to baptize Nahuel, he is awesome, he is 11 years old and about to turn 12. It is amazing to see the change in the lives of those that we are teaching, they are definitely examples to me! We also have another baptism planned for this Saturday for an investigator named Daniel! Daniel is in his fifties, and has a burning desire to learn about the gospel like I have never seen before. The first few weeks we were teaching him he did not come to church but now he is coming to church every week, participating in all the classes, attending baptisms, and most importantly reading in the Book of Mormon. He is anxiously waiting for his baptism this Saturday along with us. Also some more good news from this week is that I received a package from Mom! I received the package Tuesday at our district meeting which was also the day of Veronica, Nahuel, and Belen´s baptism, lets just say Tuesday was a really good day! I will admit that night after the baptism we went home to open the package and celebrate. It definitely was a package from my mother, it was perfect, she knows me too well! Thanks mom. Mom- I love you! It sounds like you have your talk for conference ready, that’s awesome. I am sure it is stressful with everything going on but hang in there mom, you were called to give the talk for a reason, someone needs to hear your message. The only advice I have for your talk is share something from the Book of Mormon (scripture or story) and bear your testimony. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and testifies of Jesus Christ, it is very powerful and a blessing in our lives. Do not worry mom you are going to do great! Alright so last suggestions for the Christmas package: Crest toothpaste ( they have toothpaste here but not Crest) any kind or flavor, Listerine ( they have it here but its an item I use a lot, and pictures ( maybe some of the pictures we took from the MTC or whenever, I still do not have pictures of my family and people always ask) I appreciate the pictures from the emails but there is not really a way to print them off I think it would be easier if you sent some. Well mom thanks for everything look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks. Dad- Hey dad thanks for the dear elder I received one this last Tuesday. I was thinking if you could send one dear elder every month or so of a story, maybe from something that you have read or heard (sports, church,…) that can be applied to the gospel, and then I can use it in my lessons and such. I think it would help and make some of the lessons a little more interesting. I appreciate all you have done for me dad, your continual support and love. Take care, and have a great week, I look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Still Raining, or rather i should say " Pouring Blessings" !!!!

Dear Family and Friends, Hey sounds like everyone is doing well and had a pretty good Halloween. Honestly I forgot all about Halloween, we have been busy working here in Billinghurst and also they just do not celebrate Halloween here. Well the baptism was very nice! Susana, well here actual name is Mercedes, was able to get baptized this week, receive the Holy Ghost, share her testimony in church, and complete her first fast as this past Sunday was fast Sunday!! She does it all hah! She really has a lot of faith and is a great example. She is our newest member in the Billinghurst Branch and she is going to be a very strong member. Like I have mentioned she fasted this past weekend and bore her testimony during the sacrament meeting. The weather has been changing on us pretty good here in Buenos Aires, it has been pretty humid and rainy. This past week was the last week to go to the temple here in Buenos Aires as they well be closing it for quite some time as I think they are looking to expand and add more to it. The members were trying to go as much as possible, trying to go and visit one last time. I got thinking of how sometimes we do not really realize our blessings until they are taken away. Everyone knew that the temple was going to close so everyone tried to make it their priority to go. What if they did not know that the temple was going to close, would it have still been their priority? What are our priorities? I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve and for those who have given me this opportunity. This transfer we have the opportunity to hear from Elder Bednar, as he will be coming to our mission and will speak to us in Ramos Mejia, November 19th! Things are going pretty well here in Billinghurst. Elder Grant and I continue to work hard and find those who are ready here in Billinghurst. We have a baptism planned for tomorrow. A mother, Veronica, and her two children, Nahuel and Belen. They are pretty excited for their baptism just as we are. We have also been able to find a few more investigators so we are interested to return and help them get to know the gospel of Jesus Christ. I appreciate your love and support and look forward to hearing form you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks. Mom- speaking in stake conference? That is pretty nice. Christmas, I am not sure what to ask for, still looking for the birthday package. I know that I do not need music , maybe some peanut butter since its been a while since I had a PB& J sandwich. I love you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rain Delay.

Dear Family and Friends, Hey, what do you know the weather in Argentina is warming up. This past week we had a baptism planned for one of our investigators named Susana but unfortunately we had to postpone the baptism for this Saturday. There is actually quite an interesting story to why we had to postpone the baptism I will try and fill you in. Susana had a baptism interview Thursday with our district leader and then we had to plan another for Friday with one of President Benton´s counselors. The interview was planned for Friday night at the church. Friday morning was one of the hottest days since I have been here in Argentina. However, the temperature can change rather quickly here in Argentina. Well,it began to rain later in the afternoon. Our plan was to go to Susanas´house, which is close to where we live, call a “remise”- which is basically a taxi and go to the interview together with Susana. It was raining pretty good when we were on our way to Susanas´ house and it did not stop raining. The interview was set for eigth o´clock. We arrived at our apartment to call Susana to see if she was ready to go but she was not home yet. After a little while she arrived and we called for a remise. Unfortunately there were no remises available, it was about a forty five minute wait. We were not able to think of any way to get to the church, it was stilling raining pretty good and there was no remises available. We decided to call the counselor to see if he could come to Susanas´ house for her interview, unfortunately he does not have a cell phone, the number that we have was his house phone. We thought we could try and have the interview Saturday morning but Susana already had plans and was not going to get back to her house till around five o'clock. We could have tried and planned the interview right around five or six o´clock but that would have been pretty close and a lot for Susana. Therefore, we decided to plan the baptism for the following Saturday. Susana handled the situation very well. Elder Grant and I were able to finish the week strong. We were behind with some of the goals we planned for the week because Thursday we had our zone conference but we were able bounce back and finish strong. Zone conference was really good. Our zone, “Oeste”, and another zone from the mission, “Castelar” met in Ramos Mejia for zone conference. As Elder Grant and I arrived to the stake center/mission offices in Ramos most of the elders were already there. There was a couple of elders standing together and started yelling my name, Elder Brooks. I went over to see what they had to say, two of them were the zone leaders from the zone Castelar. One of the zone leaders is Elder Gneighting from Las Vegas, Red Rock Stake. Elder Gneighting and his companion Elder Grange called me over to ask me about some of my high school baseball records! I did not know they knew hah! Well that is my update for this week. Thanks for your love and support, I looking forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Taxi Man Beware !!!!!!

Dear Family and Friends, It was good to hear from everyone and sounds like everyone is doing great. Well Elder Grant and I started off the transfer very well this past week. After the transfer meeting we went to Rafael Castillo to pick up all my bags and then we left for Billinghurst. Before we even got to our area we had taught our first lesson, we ended up teaching the driver who drove us to Billinghurst the first lesson! We took down his name and information and will pass it off to the Elders in his area. So as I mentioned Billinghurst is a new area, just opened last transfer. Our apartment as well is pretty new, and I must admit pretty nice, we live in an apartment attached to a house of one of the members in our branch, the Valle family, its kind of set up like the room attached to dads house. The Valle family is amazing, they help us out a lot, always making sure we are well taken care of. They also have a son serving a mission, the Argentina Salta mission. Elder Grant and I are basically bringing Las Vegas to Billinghurst this transfer hah! We are excited to work hard this transfer, we would like to work 24/7 like Vegas but according to the mission rules we are not allowed. Elder Grant and Elder MacKay, the Elder who finished his mission last transfer have been teaching a lady named Susana and we are continuing to teach her. Susana has a good understanding of the gospel, however she is passing through a difficult time right now and we know the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless her life and give her the help she needs. This pass week we set a baptism date with Susana for this Saturday, it is pretty quick but we feel she is ready. We do not have many other investigators but we are working hard to find them. This Sunday we had a total of around fifty members who attend church. It being a new branch there are not that many members, but from all those I have met they seem to all be great and are willing to help us out. I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve in Billinghurst and to help get this branch started, with faith in Jesus Christ everything is possible! Today Elder Grant and I went to the Capital because he had to go to the dentist. Capital was pretty sweet and pretty big, it was good to be in the city and to get a different look at Argentina. However, I am glad to be back in Billinghurst, we have a lot of work to do or you can say a lot of people waiting for us. The mission is amazing, this is the church of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all of your love and support. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Mom, I love you. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It was raining cats and dog bites

Dear Family and Friends, It is great to hear from you and sounds like everyone is doing great. I appreciate all of your emails and letters. I apologize if I do not comment on everything you ask me but with the limited time I do have it is hard to do so, plus I have a lot to write about today. Elder Tate and I finished this past transfer strong and it was not that easy. Saturday we went to go pick up lunch and as we passed by a house a dog jumped out and bit my leg. Lucky for me it was only a bite to my pants but he was able to rip a pretty big hole, if there is time I will send you a picture. Mom, I was able to get my pants sewn so do not worry and as for my leg, it is fine. Also, this past Saturday for most of the day the temperature was really nice , but all that changed really fast during the evening as it rained harder than I have ever seen it rain. We did not have the right clothing or I should i say we did not have anything to keep us from getting soaked but we enjoyed it hah! Elder Tate and I and also the other elders Elder Brown and Elder Unker all arrived to the apartment soaked. If I have time I will also send some of these rain pictures. Saturday night Elder Brown and I received a call that we would be leaving and we were able to say our goodbyes Sunday. It was tough leaving the members, converts, and investigators, you truly come to love those you serve. Today we all went to the transfer meeting. Elder Tate, Brown, Unker, and I all sat together with great anticipation. My transfer was one of the last to be announced. My new area will be the town of Billinghurst, andt is located in a city called San Martin. Billinghurst is a new area that our mission president just opened up last transfer prior to this transfer. It is located in more of the city, where there are no dirt streets. The apartment is brand new and very nice, I feel very humbled. Also I have received a new companion, Elder Grant. After the transfer meeting we met and came to realize that we are from the same hometown, Las Vegas! We went crazy as we were both very surprised. Elder Grant attended Bonanza High School and has been serving in the mission for quite a while, he will be leaving after this next transfer. We are very excited to get to work and continue to develop this new area, Billinghurst. Also, not too far from Billinghurst is the Buenos Aires North Mission, it is actually across the street from where we are typing our e-mails. Well that is my update on what is going on here, the mission is amazing I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve and for all of your support, I look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks. Dad thanks for the dear elder Mom I do not really need much for my birthday the only suggestions I have are ties, deodorant (right guard), plastic disposable razors to shave, or candy. Thanks mom love you!

Friday, October 9, 2009

World - Wide Church

Dear Family and Friends, Sounds like you enjoyed general conference, it truly was amazing. I do not have much time to write so I am apologizing early for the rush. We were writing our emails in a place but the computers were just not working, I had my email almost done but I just was not able to send so we had to find another place to write and now we are short on time. I was able to watch most of the conference in English, however the Saturday morning and afternoon I had to watch in Spanish, but I was able to watch priesthood in English. Due to the time change priesthood ended a little late here, we arrived back to the apartment from the stake center at midnight, and we were pretty tired. We went right to bed and then woke right back up. Sunday was a big opportunity to bring some of our investigators to the conference and we clutched up and were able to bring ten of our investigators. During the sessions members brought food and we relaxed and went outside to eat. The mission is amazing, I know I might say that a lot but it is true. I can see and feel the gospel of Jesus Christ change my life. I am grateful for your love and support. I am grateful for a prophet that lives today, President Thomas S. Monson, who also loves us. This transfer is coming to a end this next week, so it looks like this could be my last week in Rafael Castillo. I have truly come to love those I have been serving, it might be a little hard to leave. I hope we can remember the feelings we felt this conference and continue to better ourselves and those around us as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Dear Family and Friends, Sorry that I was not able to update you and let you know the President moved P-Day this week, but the reason he changed our P -Day this week was so that we could go to the temple today. Our P-Days are still on Monday. It’s a little sad but this was probably the last opportunity for the Elder's to go to the temple here in Argentina as they will be closing the temple for quite awhile ( between one and two years), but I am grateful for the several opportunities provided me to attend the BAW temple. It sounds like everyone is doing great, it also sounds as if mom had a enjoyable trip with her family to Ohio. Everything is going great here in Argentina. I had the opportunity to speak in church this past Sunday and it went really well. I was able to talk about the importance of missionary work and the blessings we receive as we share the gospel. As I have been sending pictures home I try to include who is in the pictures with me in the email I send. Mom often asks who are the other individuals in the pictures, i am not sure if you have been receiving this information when I send the pictures, if not let me know. I will try and send some more pictures today. This past week for Elder Tate and I was rather productive, including quite a few spiritual experiences.There is one experience in particular that I would like to share with you.This past saturday night as we were leaving one of our appointments and heading out to our next appointment, we for " some reason or OTHER " ended up taking some different streets than we usually do to our next appointment. As we were getting ready to turn a corner we faintly heard someone calling out to us, so we stopped and turned around, it was a member from our ward calling to us. The member is an elderly lady and a convert to the church. We came up to her house and she quickly invited us in. She explained how earlier she had cut her foot, as we looked we were able to see it was pretty bad. She explained how she had been trying to get a hold of some of the members in the ward all day but nobody was answering. We came to find out later that most of the members were at the temple all day with the youth doing baptisms for the dead. She told us she had said a prayer that the missionaries would pass by her house ( i soon came to realize that this answer to her prayer was the" for some reason or OTHER ", that Elder Tate and I took a different route to our intended appiontment ). Her prayer had been answered and she began to break down into tears. The spirit was very strong and we were privledged to give her a priesthood blessing. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father and his children here in Buenos Aires. Thanks to everyone for your love and support. I look forward to hearing from you soon, con amor Elder Brooks. We were not able to receive pouch mail this week but I will let you know when we do receive it. Also I was able to write E. Ludwig back.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Everything is awesome...2 more!

Dear Family and Friends,
It"s good to hear from everyone sounds like everyone is staying busy. Mom, sounds like your class reunion went well. That's pretty exciting that you, uncle Steve, and aunt Diane will be heading to Ohio to visit family; I'm sure you will have some good experiences. Happy birthday to Nellie; she is growing fast. I wasn't able to see the video you sent and I am not sure if it’s the computer or our email system. I do not really know, but I think just pictures are good enough. Dad mentioned something about someone writing, but I don't think I have received the letter. I will try and let you know what emails I receive and when I receive them from now on. So this week in Rafael Castillo we had two more baptisms! Deniss who is fourteen years old and her boyfriend Lucas who is seventeen. Deniss has a lot of family who are members, but a few are inactive. The baptism went great, no problems, and it was really good because maybe it can get Deniss´s family back to church so we'll see. Lucas is a really good kid, he works in the army here and basically provides for his family. He has desires to serve a mission. Also, this week we were at the Celle Family´s house and E. Tate and I learned how to make empanadas. We look forward to trying it on our own soon. Tomorrow we have interviews with Pres. Benton. I guess you heard what happen, but I'm sure everything is alright so do not worry. The weather has been changing a lot and not sure when winter will officially end, hopefully soon. Other than that everything is going great, the mission is amazing and I am grateful for all those who have played a part in giving me this opportunity to serve. Thanks for all your love and support; I hope you have a great week. I look forwarding to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grateful to Serve.......

Dear Dad, Its good to hear from you, sounds like everything is going great and your still trying to lose weight!hah that’s what I like to hear. As for me and my weight I am doing alright. I do not think I am losing weight I think I am filling in. The weather is getting better here so I am pretty excited, it seems like winter as lasted forever. Today we are getting together as a district and we are going to the church to play some fútbol/soccer and handball. With the weather is getting better I think I will be able to get out and exercise a little more like go running because lately I have just been doing exercises in the apartment, push ups, sit ups, arm exercises, and stretching. The mission is amazing and it looks like we will be having two more baptisms this Saturday. I really am grateful for this opportunity to serve and represent our saviour Jesus Christ. I appreciate your love and support. Hope you have a great week, continue reading in The Book of Mormon as a family thats really important and can really bring the family together, also continue to do things as a family that invite the Spirit. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks. Tell Beckie thanks for sending the pictures and for all her support

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's a dirty job...but someone's gotta do it!

Dear Family and Friends,
Hey sounds like everyone is doing great. Also, it sounds like you have received the pictures I sent through the mail and also the ones I emailed that’s great. I did not realize I wrote the address wrong but I am glad you were still able to receive it. Of course you have questions about the pictures with the mud, that was quite a story. I will try and describe what went down….me hah. The streets were covered in mud due to the rain and we were going to our appointments as normal. As we headed to our last appointment we reached a street covered in mud. Long story short I tried to jump to a different area of the street. However, the part I was jumping from was also muddy. I took a step back to get some momentum. Then I took about two good steps forward and planted my foot to jump. As I pushed off to jump, my right foot totally slipped out from under me and I clearly was not able to make to the area I desired. I ended up covered in mud but I was able to clean the clothes later, so mom do not worry. So as you know we changed our preparation day to Monday. Due to the temple closing soon is the reason for the change. I was able to attend the temple last transfer and we are scheduled to go again this transfer before it closes. I will still be sending the weekly newspaper but you will be getting it a week later because they send it to us on Thursdays now. Thanks for emailing more pictures, I have not looked at them yet but will when I get the time. Dad thanks for the BYU update that’s pretty impressive. Elder Brown one of the other Elders in our apartment from the last transfer received a new missionary straight from the MTC, and made me think about when I arrived here for the first time. We are doing our best to help him get adjusted. It seems like we have not had a regular p-day forever. We had a zone activity one day, we went to the temple another day, and now transfers meetings which are on Mondays take up half our p-days as well, but it's ok. Short story, usually we went to transfer meetings, not knowing who is going to change areas. I was thinking I was going to leave Castillo this past transfer because I have been serving for about four months. We told some of the recent converts and members so I could have them write in my journal and such, because usually you would find out in the transfer meeting on Monday and have to leave to your new area Tuesday. As I told the Celle family, they were a little sad because they did not want me to leave yet, and neither did I. It was an amazing experience to hear them say in their prayers, Please let Elder Brooks stay. It was also an amazing experience to have them receive their answer when I went to this past transfer to find I would be staying here in Castillo for this transfer. This mission is amazing, I am very grateful for all your love and support. I look forward to hearing from you soon, con amor Elder Brooks.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mission Records !!!!!!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,
We just finished the end of another transfer. We had a lot of success as a mission and set a few new records! The biggest record was a total of 192 conversions this transfer, it was the most we have ever had here in the Buenos Aires West mission. My companion and I worked very hard this transfer, and we were greatly blessed with results. We ended up with 13 conversions, which I believe is also a new record for the mission! We were able to have three more baptisms this past Saturday, which gave us the total of 13 conversions for this last transfers. I am so greatful for the opportunity to particípate in this work, it truly is the work of the Lord. Elder Tate and I were able to participate in the transfer meeting that took place yesterday by speaking to all the missionaries about the success we've had. The spirit was strong as we explained and testified to them. After we concluded our message, Pres. Benton came up and stopped us before we could leave. He expressed his love and told us how proud he was for our work this past transfer. He mentioned how I only have 6 months in my mission, and used me as an example that anything is posible. It was a really humbiling experience and I am very greatful for it. We truly worked hard and received the help of the Lord. Almost everyday this past transfer I came home physically and spiritually tired, but becasue of our obedience the Lord blessed me with the strength to continue each day.
So now it is a new transfer but Elder Tate and I our still companions here in Rafael Castillo. Elder Rivas got transfered, and Elder Brown is recieving a new missionary today. Also there were some changes made. Our preparation day has been moved to Monday, so please write your emails before Monday if you want me to read them. Also I would like to know if Brother Bulloch has received any of my cards I have sent him so if you find out please let me know because its hard to send and recieve mail here. I am trying to write everyone but its been hard lately because I hardly have any free time, the work is just too important. Also please send Elder Ludwig my address or send me his. I appreciate your love and support. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Take care and have a great week, con amor Elder Brooks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 25, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
First I want to say thanks for sending pictures and the information where my aunts and uncles served. I think I forgot to say thanks. As I informed you, this last week was pretty crazy planning and organize a baptism for 12. However, I loved it! Unfortunately 3 of the 12 did not end up getting baptized. One of the investigators had to go out of town and two other boys we are teaching backed out. We are planning to have a baptism this Saturday for the 3 that were not able to get baptized. The baptism ended up being just for the Celle Family which consisted of 9 people including the grandmother and aunt! It was an amazing baptism and President Benton and his assistants were able to attend. I baptized 4 members of the family, my companion baptized 3, and a member baptized 2. The day of the baptism was quite an adventure. We went to the grandmother's house first, her name is Juana. She is quite old and is not able to walk so we usually call a remise or “taxi” for her because they live pretty far from the church. We went by to make sure she was almost ready to go. Juana was excited and ready. We then left to make sure they rest other the family was almost ready (they just live a block away from each other). As we were leaving her house, two other missionaries from a different church arrived and were in front of her house. They told us they were friends of Juana. We invited them to the baptism but they did not seem too excited. We quickly went to the Celle´s house which is just one block away from Juana´s house. We arrived at the Celle´s house hoping they were all ready to go. Everyone was ready to go, that is everyone that was there. The four youngest kids were across the street at a birthday party. We explained how we had to arrive early with them in order to change into the baptismal clothes and take pictures. They understood and went to gather their children. As we were waiting, we decided to call for the remise to come pick up Juana, however her cell phone did not have service. We went back to Juana´s house where the aunt who also lives there had a cell phone. We returned back to Juana´s house and the missionaries from the other church had left. We were able to use the cell phone and call for some remises. After all of this we finally arrived at the church. The baptism turned out perfect, even the water for the font was ready to go this time. As I explained, Juana is not able to walk. Elder Tate and I carried her into the baptism font, I said the prayer and we baptized her. It was amazing. The rest of the baptisms went well and the Spirit was present and strong. We had a lot of help and participation from the members and had refreshments after the baptism. Pres. Benton called us the next morning and told us it was one of the best baptisms he had seen. The Celle Family is amazing and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to teach them and bring the gospel into their lives. This mission is amazing and I am truly grateful for this opportunity to serve. I am grateful for all of your support. Take care, I look forward from hearing from you soon. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

El Sol 8-18-09
(Double-click to read article)

This is a Google version of an English translation. For those Spanish speakers who read this, if you have corrections, please email it to me and I will repost with a more correct translation. Thanks!
The spirit has the power to change people's hearts. The chosen of the Lord be willing to make the changes necessary to join the Church of Jesus Christ. We saw this in the life of Julia, a single mother with a small daughter. She had several obstacles. One obstacle was big enough that she doubted everything or always had questions and doubts at the beginning of each lesson. However, we testify to the truth and challenge in each lesson to make changes and although they did not understand everything, followed our advice in faith. While working on Sundays, changing her schedule to attend church was a pretty big sacrifice for being a single mother. I still had doubts and with the pressure of her brothers who did not want to compromise. She read Alma 32 and was shocked his soul left him. She decided she needed to follow her feelings and accept a baptismal date. The spirit acted within her hears and although still in doubt, went ahead with faith. It was to our surprise when we learned that she had quit smoking after our first visit, which was not easy. It is true that the elected voice of the Lord was recognized and approached no matter what the cost.

August 18, 2009

Dear family and friends,
Everything is going well and we have a big week planned. I appreciate everyone's support. To answer questions about letters, I have received a few dear elders from Mackenzie, Uncle Ben, Aunt Diane, and Justin-I think that covers most of them. There might be a few others. I know I told you I would be sending a CD of pictures but turns out I needed my passport to send a letter of that size so I did not end up sending it. However, you do have the opportunity to see a picture of me. I have been sending our weekly newspaper which is called El Sol to dad every week. If you check out this weeks newspaper I will be sending, you will find a picture and an article about the baptism of Julia! It is quite an impressive story, but yes it is in spanish so you will need someone to translate it for you so that you will be able to understand it. Let me know if you receive it and what you think about it. Also, I would like to know if you have been saving the others I have been sending? This past week we had three baptisms planned, Cristian and Frances, and Omar, but we unfortunately had to postpone them for this Saturday. We also have planned this Saturday the baptism for the Celle family. As you can see we have been blessed by our heavenly father with these amazing investigators. Elder Tate and I have to make sure everything is planned and organized perfect for their baptism because they definately deserve it. We also had the privilege to have our interviews with President Benton this past week. I am very grateful to have Pres. Benton as my mission president. His example, personality, and love for us is incredible. He has also planned to attend our baptismal service this Saturday with the assistants. The mission is amazing! I am truly grateful for all of you and your support. I know that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and that he loves us. I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Take care and have a great week, I look forward to hearing from you. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 11, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Seems like everyone is doing well. Everything is going well here in Argentina. I want to thank mom again for the package I received as everything turned out perfect, thanks a lot. I also want to thank dad and beckie for sending some photos and would like to know if you can send some more next week, maybe some of my farewell or the mtc. The memory card reader however does not read my memory card so I am not able to send any photos through the internet. However I stopped by a photo shop and loaded all my pictures from the memory card onto a cd and I will be sending the cd today when I stop by the post office. I will be sending it to dads house, let me know when you receive the cd that way we can tract how long it takes to send mail from Argentina. The photos are from the day I left the mtc until this baptism we had this last weekend. I hope you receive the cd and I think you will enjoy it and also have more questions, hah. So as I mentioned this past Saturday we had a baptism for Julia. The baptism went really well and I was able to perform the baptism. Julia has a lot of faith, and I am very grateful she chose me to perform the baptism. Getting the baptism to start was a different story. We stopped by the chapel Saturday afternoon to start to fill up the baptismal font which was scheduled for 7:30. We then left the chapel because we had some appointments and returned around 6:30-45 and the font was perfectly filled and heated. Everything was organized, all we had left to do was wait for Julia and the members from the ward to show up. Now this is when it starts to get a little interesting. My companion E. Tate suggested that we empty the font a little and refill it with hot water so that it would be perfect by the time the baptism starts. I was not too sure of the idea but we did have about 45 mins until the baptism was supposed to start. E. Tate began to drain the font and set his watch for 10 mins. We came back to the font after the timer went off and found that almost all of the water was gone. I was shocked, E. Tate quickly began to refill the font. It was now past 7 o' clock and Julia still had not arrived. We tried calling and received no answer. Then came 7:30 and Julia still had not arrived and the font still had a ways to go. The members began to arrive. Finally around 7:45 Julia arrived. The rest of the baptism went perfect, it was just getting it to start that was interesting. The font was filled back up just in time and I was able to baptize Julia. It was an amazing experience, hard to describe with words, but the spirit was strong. The next day was Julia´s confirmation. Here we have another interesting story. Before church we went and walked to our investigators houses to wake them up and bring them to church. We passed by The Celle Family, which is the family we have been teaching. Not all of them were awake so we told them we were going to stop by some other investigators and return to pick them up. When we returned back to the Celle´s house some of the kids and also the dad were still asleep. We did not have much time until church started so I suggested we go in an wake them up. Long story short we went in the house, woke everyone up, and got them ready. Unfortunately we showed up to church a little late and ended up missing Julia´s confirmation. I felt bad we were not able to make it for her confirmation but Julia was ok and understood. Well this was just a little of what took place this last week. This week we have interviews with President Benton this Friday and also three more baptisms planned for Saturday. I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve and appreciate for love and support. Take care and have a great week, con amor Elder Brooks.
Reminders, if you can please continue to send those other pictures and I would also like to know where Uncle Jim, Uncle Ben, Uncle Steve, and Aunt Amy served their missions. I know the country but would like to know the cities as well. Mom, I received packages B and C and everything listed in them, package A is the one that we were told that got sent back.

August 4, 2009

This past week went really well especially yesterday when I received mom's package at our district meeting. Thank you very much for the package, I believe I received everything you listed. Everything seems to be going well between Elder Tate and I. I am not exactly sure where he is from in California. He told me but I did not recognize the city. I think its somewhere near San Bernadino. We have been working hard and trying our best to be obedient so we can make the best use out of our time. The experience without water and light was interesting. Without the water we were not able to shower, but if it would have lasted longer we would have went to a members house. Our investigators are doing well and seem to be progressing. This past Sunday just about all of them attended church with us. We have been teaching one women named Julia, and she is going to be baptized this Saturday. She is a single mom, in her thirties and has a little girl. We began teaching her a week or two before Elder Lloyd left and have continued to teach her. She has really come a long way, she has had some doubts and always has questions for us but she received the answer she was looking for the other day, as she has been reading and praying. We have also been teaching this family of ten. They came to church for the first time this past Sunday, and they all loved it. They are amazing, our biggest obstacle with them was our lesson with them yesterday. We were not sure if they were married so we had to talk to them about the law of chastity. They told us they are married and Elder Tate and I were so excited because we were not sure if they could have been baptized because we set a baptism date for the 22 of August with them the other week. Sorry to hear about Rose. I will be praying for Tom and Pam. Sounds like you are enjoying your calling, mom. I am glad to hear that. I did not receive a email from dad and I do not have enough time to write another email but tell him I am doing alright. I appreciate all your love and support mom. I look forward to hearing form you soon, take care and have a great week. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 28, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Hey sounds like everyone is doing great. Everything is going well here in Argentina. Sounds like some of you are a little disappointed with the package situation, I will try to explain what I know. So I guess if a package is left in the post office for a month, it gets sent back home. The elders in the office go every two weeks to pick up the packages, from what I was told. They called and told me I received my package and they were going to pick it up the following week. However, when they went that week the post office was closed because of the flu. They went back the next week to get my package and were told that it was sent back. We should look at the bright side of this situation and see that hopefully you will be receiving the package and we will not lose any of the things that were sent. I appreciate your concern for me and know it’s a little expensive. So Elder Tate my new companion, is from California. We had a pretty impressive week. I am not sure if you read the Sol, which is our weekly mission newspaper. I send it to dad every week. It's in Spanish but you can also look at our numbers for the week. Receiving a new companion has kept me busy, and so far we have been getting along really well. I have been planning out our days and appointments myself until he gets familiar with the people and the area. However, I know it was the Lord doing most of the work this week. We did our part by being obedient and diligent with exactness and the Lord prepared the way for us. We have found some new investigators and have even set baptism dates with a few of them. I am starting to be able to enjoy the lessons more as I am able to participate and focus more on the investigator and not so much on myself and the language. I know that prayer is a gift that we all have and that we can use it at any time. I know that if we are doing are part and living the gospel, we can ask specific questions and receive specific answers. One of my favorite things to teach is prayer. To hear someone pray for their first time is an incredible experience. We are really teaching them to speak with our Heavenly Father. I was thinking about this and have thought of the many times I just went through the motions of praying like everyone has. I want to continue to not just pray to my Heavenly Father, but communicate with him. It’s like communicating with Dad, you know, how he is “usually right” hah. Our Heavenly Father knows us the best, he knows what is best for us. Another interesting thing about this week is that we have been without water and lights for the past couple days. So mom, in your next package if you could send some water and some lights that would help hah. That was a joke mom you do not really have to send another package, I am fine. They are coming today to fix our apartment so that’s some good news. You are able to send pictures through email from what I heard, just send it in a separate email than your letter. If you can find a picture of my old scion tc, please send one because there is a inactive member who is really into cars and he wants to see a picture. I am grateful for this gospel and for the light that it gives me throughout my days here in Argentina. Thanks for your support, take care and have a great week. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 21, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Let's just say we have a lot to talk about. However with my horrible typing skills, broken keyboards, and trying to think in English I am a little slow but here we go! Alright so first I received some very nice letters this week: Aunt Diane, Uncle Jim (I can understand all out now), the Ludwigs, and a few others. Yesterday was the end of my second transfer and there were a lot of changes that took place. One of the assistants to the president Elder Pollock, who picked me up from the airport with his companion Elder Woodmansee and my trainer Elder Lloyd, finished his mission. Along with Elder Pollock my first zone leaders Elder Singleton and Elder Chehda finished as well. The big change was receiving a new companion, which I have not received yet…I'll get to that later. My new companions name is Elder Tate and I believe he is from California. What happens is the day after the transfer meeting all the missionaries have to leave and be in their new areas by 10am. So this morning Elder Lloyd and Elder Ranquist got called to new areas so they left this morning. Elder Rivas also received a new companion named Elder Brown, from Idaho. With the strong rain it has kept some Elders from leaving so that is why I am still waiting for Elder Tate to get here. Until then Elder Rivas, Brown, and I are still doing the normal Preperation Day routine. Also, I have some other news. I did not end up receiving the package. What happened was that one of the elders in the offices went to go pick up the packages but because my package had been there for a month the mail service sent it back. So maybe you will receive it, hah. So that means I do not have any way to send you my pictures for the story, so you are going to have to wait to hear the story. I'm sorry but you can't tell the story with out the pictures, its just not as good. So if you are wondering about how the language is going I guess I can say it's going good. I am able to carry on basic conversations and explain and teach in the lessons. I have even taught a lesson in our district meeting. The picture that dad saw where me and a few other missionaries are sitting in the cement pipe was from last transfer as we were waiting for the zone leaders to arrive for our zone activity. I have a few pictures from my camera as well. As far as the missionary work goes things are going well. We have some investigators we are teaching and we had a few investigators visit church last Sunday so that was key. Mom: Lets see if I can answer some of your questions, hah. Last week you ask me about rain boots and if I need any or if elder Ludwig should get any. We have pairs of rain boots in the apartment so we are ok. Now actually wearing them is a different story. Elder Ludwig should not need them and if he asks for them do not send them hah he will be fine. The weather changes frequently but I have everything I need to stay warm. Thanks for your love and support, I look forward to hearing from you soon, take care and have a great week. Charity- “Give a hand and touch a heart” Mackenzie sounds like your talk went well but I am sure you could have used this line hah.
Love, Elder Brooks

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Hey it is good to hear from everyone. And it was good to hear that my package has arrived! Yes the one that mom sent a while ago. I received a call the other day from one of the elders who works in the offices and he told me that he received a notice that there is a package for me to pick up, so now I am just waiting for him to bring it to our next reunion which should be this next Monday at our transfer meeting. However it sounds like mom sent out another package already...I told you to wait, have faith hah. But it's ok, that’s mom and I love her. So as I mentioned before, this is the last week of my second transfer. It's just going by too fast. Elder Lloyd and I have been getting along grea and he has been a good trainer. Also the other two Elders, (Elder Rivas and Elder Ranquist) we have been getting along great and have really come closer as a district. We are always serving each other and just trying to enjoy everyday. Elder Ranquist has an ipod with over 300 songs of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (that's the only music our mission is allowed to listen to) and it has been a change to be restricted listening to only that because I really love music, but I have come to enjoy it. We all have a favorite song picked out and we listen to them everyday. I guess you could call it a ritual that I started. What can I say, some things just carry right over from baseball, hah. If you are interested in listening to my song it is called, “I want Jesus to Walk with Me” and I believe it is from the Mormon Tabernacle CD, Come Thou Fount. However some of us will be leaving this next transfer. I'm pretty sure Elder Lloyd will be leaving because he has been in the area for a while, so it will be interesting to see who I will be working with next. A couple days this week the lights went out in our apartment so I had the opportunity to study with a flashlight. So as you may know the flu is pretty bad here, but don’t worry I am doing just fine. Today we got together as a zone and played ping pong, soccer, and then made lunch. It is something we do every last week before the end of the transfer. I have a story that I know that you will enjoy but I am going to wait to tell it until I receive the package with the camera cord that way you can see the pictures that go along with the story. Mom, don’t worry it's more of a funny story. I appreciate your support, and mom I appreciate you resending that package, even though I told you to wait I knew that wouldn’t stop you, hah. Look forward to hearing from everyone. Con amor, Elder Brooks.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prayers for the Elders in Argentina and around the world

In regard to Elder Brooks information about people being sick in Argentina, he mentioned several of the church meetings being cancelled as well as school. We went online knowing that Elder Brooks may not want his mother to worry. We found that Argentina has now taken over as the third leading country in total deaths of the swine flu and is now approaching 100 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) said, "In the case of Argentina, it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and the flu season is in full swing." The Health Minister of Argentina, Juan Manzur, said that, "the situation in the country is serious and difficult." Please remember Elder Brooks as well as the other missionaries in your prayers so they may spread the gospel, not the flu.
Sincerely, The Brooks family

July 7, 2009

Thanks for the letter, sounds like you enjoyed your fourth of July! We celebrated by listening to American songs from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and that was about it. Everything is going great here. We have a few people we are teaching right now but nothing much. A lot of the people are sick here in Buenos Aires. They have shut down most of the schools and even some of the churches. Our area is not doing as bad as the other areas. We still are able to go to church in our area but there are no other meetings or activites throughout the week. I'm doing fine and im staying healthy. I do not really need anything right now but thanks for always asking. So I'm guessing someone else ended up with the package you sent. I have talked with some of the missionaries and I'm sorry to say but I guess that happens a lot. I think the main reason was because of the medicine in the package. Especially with a lot of people being sick someone else took it. But I will let you know next week for sure. Also I need to know the address you sent it to and the type of service you used. Sorry but I'm not able send any more pictures from my camera because I don’t have the cord. I heard there is a cord you can buy that you plug your memory card into, you might want to look for one of those. Other than that everything else is going well. Everyday I feel I'm learning and progressing in the language and also the gospel. We are getting ready to finish this transfer in 2 weeks, and I think my companion Elder Lloyd will be leaving to another area after this transfer because he has been here for quite a while. We have been getting along while and he have been able to help each other. I'm going to try and write a few letters to people such as the Bullock's when I find time. Right now when I have any free time I take the chance to study the language but I'll try and get a few letters out. Also just to let you know I had my interview with Pres. Benton this past week and it went well. He said I'm looking great so I hope that makes you happy, hah. I wasn’t able to write a general email or another letter to dad but let him know I'm doing alright. I know he might begin to worry hah. I will let you know next week for sure about the package. Con amor (with love) your son, Elder Brooks

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June 30, 2009

Dear Family and Friends, Hey it is good to hear from everyone. I received a few dear elder letters this week and sounds like everything is going well. However, I did not receive the package. Please do not resend another right away. Give it another week or two. I hope Elder Ludwig starts feeling better. I want to write to him and keep in touch but by the time the letter gets there he will probably be in Argentina so I am thinking I will wait till he gets here. But tell him to keep working hard. There are a lot of challenges in the mission and the best thing to do at times is just smile and laugh about it. Everyday there are new challenges. Right now it seems to work when I just smile and laugh about it, why not. Due to the cold weather, there are many that are sick and the work has been slow in our area. We do not have any investigators that are really progressing. Right now we are focusing on the ward, many are inactive. Those members that work, work all day so it's hard to meet with them. When things are hard, you just have to work harder. One day this past week we spent just about the whole day walking. We left our apartment at 10:30 taught two short lessons in the street and had lunch from 1-2. We had a few return appointments but none went through. We do stay pretty warm though. However we do not really wear gloves because most of the houses are fenced, so instead of knocking or ringing a door bell we have to clap in front of the house. It would have been easy to just get frustrated but I choose to just laugh and smie about it. I also kept a prayer in my heart that we could at least find someone to teach. The Lord answered that prayer in our last hour of the day. I suggested that we clap in front of a house where an inactive member lived, who just the other day, wasn’t at home. My companion was not too excited about stopping by but he didn’t refuse. We went and clapped. She was there and let us come in. It was a blessing to sit down for the first time since lunch. We had a great lesson and they asked when we could stop by again. I also have to tell you about yesterday. We got some rain which meant the streets were going to be interesting. All the streets were muddy and there was no way to get around it. But with a few jumps here and there we were able to avoid the big puddles. But later that night we were teaching a family and the power went out in the area. It was so dark I couldn't even see my companion, who was sitting right next to me. Someone found a candle and lit it and we were able to finish the lesson. We then had to leave to our next appointment and there was still no light anywhere. There was no way to avoid the big mud puddles and our shoes became covered in mud as we tried to find our way around. It was hilarious. Hope you have a great week thanks for the letters and support. Take care love Elder Brooks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 23, 2009

Dear Family and Friends, It is good to hear from you. Everything is going well here in Buenos Aires West. It's starting to get a little cold here but we are doing just fine. I'm sorry to hear about Elder Ludwig, I hope he gets better. I will be praying for him. Actually a lot of people are sick in our area here as well. So I thought I would fill you in a little more on the type of area I am serving in this email. I am serving in Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina, but my area doesn’t cover much of the actually capital of the city - that would be the north mission. The area I am in is also heavily populated. Our streets are full of suprizes and you never know what you are going to see next. Our apartment is located in Castillo but that’s not really our area. It’s the area of the other missionaries in our apartment. We have to walk a little extra just to get into our area everyday. As you leave the apartment you start to leave the paved roads and start walking on the dirt streets. At first this was quite a change for me, I told my companion I would be able walk all day because of the shape I had to be in for baseball and I was also used to being around dirt all the time but I just needed my baseball cleats, hah. Soccer is pretty much the only sport here. They play all day every day, anywhere with anything they can use. The other day we taught a family on their porch. As we were teaching I noticed one of the kids playing on the side of the house. He was playing with his brother and they were just playing around trying to keep the ball away from one another. As I looked closer I noticed they weren’t playing with an actual ball, it was actually a plastic trash bag filled with old clothes and trash. They were still having fun, and I wanted to play with them but resisted the temptation. It made me think... how content are we with what we have? Right now having the gospel in my life is more than enough and I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. I received mail last week, thanks for the Dear Elder Dad and Sister Ludwig. This week they did not bring us mail so I am not sure if I received any other mail. The package has not arrived yet so I am going to keep praying for it to come one of these days, hah. Thanks for your love, support, and prayers. Take care, love Elder Brooks. P.S. - When you send dear elder letters, please type the date at the beginning or end of the letter. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 16, 2009

Dear family and friends, To answer the questions mom gave me in her last email, yes I am safe, comfortable, happy, eating well…and also a lot this past week, keeping warm, and yes being led to those ready for the gospel. It's good to hear Elder Ludwig has began his journey. Do you know who his branch president is or his teachers? And that is crazy Justin is back in Utah. How is Phe doing? Tell him I am praying for him. Every Monday we have a district meeting at the stake center in Catan and all the districts from our zone meet there, go over things as a zone, separate into our district, and at the end that is also where we receive our mail. However, because we have a zone conference this Wednesday we didn’t receive mail on Monday so I am thinking we will receive it on Wednesday at the conference so I'll let you know if I receive anything next week. I enjoyed the baseball update. Bryce Harper, that’s pretty impressive. Tell him congrats if you get a chance. Not everyday is easy here in Buenos Aires. Lately, we have been walking a lot trying to find new investigators and people to teach. It is easy to have a negative attitude but I haven’t reached that stage yet nor will I. I have no reason to complain. Serving a mission is a blessing and I want to take advantage of everyday. The Spanish continues to progress. The members here are amazing and are always looking out for us and making sure we are taken care of. I can't wait till I can really communicate with the people and share experiences and knowledge I want to share with them. Who would have thought being able to talk and communicate is such a blessing and weapon when used correctly with the gospel. Tell that to Isaac, being able to communicate is a blessing…but don’t say anything stupid, hah. Thanks for your prayers and support I look forward to hearing from everyone have a great week, love Elder Brooks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 9, 2009

Dear Family and Friends, It is good to hear from you and read your letters. This week I received a nice dear elder from Sister Tyndal so please tell her thanks for the letter, and tell her to tell Tyler to keep “swinging for the fence.” Yesterday we began a new transfer. All the missionaries met at the chapel in Ramos Mejia where the mission offices are located. During the transfer meeting we heard talks from some of the missionaries, reviewed the mission numbers, and also heard testimonies from the missionaries that we leaving this transfer. Also, some missionaries received new companions, but not much changed in our area. Elder Lloyd and I are still companions and Elder Ranquist and Elder Rivas are still in the apartment. This last transfer we had a total of 172 conversions! It was great to get together and continue to meet the other missionaries. This last week we had divisions again with the zone leaders. This time I stayed in our area and worked with Elder Chehda who is from Cordoba. We had a experience I would like in share. As we were ending divisions we packed up Elder Chehda´s stuff and started heading to his area, Catan. At the first bus stop we were waiting for the bus and noticed this girl also waiting. We all got on the bus and headed for Catan. As we got off the bus to catch the other bus that would take us to Elder Chehda´s apartment this same girl got off and was waiting at the bus stop with us, along with many others. As we were standing waiting for the next bus we noticed she was crying. The bus pulled up and we all got on. The bus was packed, like it is most of the time, but this time it was really packed. I was the last one to get on, it was so packed they couldn’t close the door, because that’s where I was standing on the last step! This has happened a few times, hah. After some time we got in the middle of the bus and I noticed the girl again. There was no way we could have talked to her or got to her because the bus was so packed. We finally reached our stop and got off. As we walked away we noticed the girl got off at the same stop. Elder Chedha explained how we needed to talk to her. I looked at him and started walking towards her, Elder Chehda followed. She was three blocks ahead of us but we caught up with her. We introduced ourselves and explained how we felt like we needed to talk to her. She responded by telling us she felt like she needed to talk to us as well. With tears falling down her face she explained how her husband just kicked her out of the house. Her name was Noel, she is 22 years old, her husband is 44 years old. Noel is now taking the lessons. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve. I appreciate your support and prayers. I look forward to hearing from you, take care, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2, 2009

Dear Family and Friends, It is good to hear from some of you and hear how everything is going. I received a dear elder from uncle Jim just yesterday. I cannot believe Justin will be coming home with in the next couple weeks. I also received emails from Mom, Dad, and Mackenzie. Thanks for sending that package off mom, I will be looking for it and let you know when I receive it. Sounds like Elder Ludwigs talk went well, I knew you would both do a great job. It is starting to get a little cold here, but so far I am doing just fine with keeping warm. It would really help if we were teaching investigators or members all day but we have been walking quite a bit lately. Now that it has gotten a little colder there are not as many people outside. We had another baptism this Saturday and it went really great. Jesica was baptized and confirmed a member. She is only seventeen but has a really strong testimony. The story of the lady sweeping her porch is not in my area, she is the area of the zone leaders so I probably will not see her again, but Elder Singleton who I did divisions keeps me updated and is trying to get her to church. One thing I have been trying to work on lately is living in the moment. Before my mission and also at times during my mission I have caught myself thinking about things I should do or things I want to do. I find my days are a lot more successful when I just focus on that specific day or that specific task. Everyday counts on your mission. As missionaries we set and have a lot of goals. I believe if you just take one day at a time, and focus your thoughts and actions on that day, your days will be more effective. I am loving my days here in Argentina, and I love serving the Lord. I also love reading in the Book of Mormon everyday. Hope everyone has a great week and I hope you try to focus on the moments. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Take care, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/26/09 Email to Papa

Dear Papa, Its good to hear from you. Everything is going well in Argentina. It has been quite a change living in another country but I love it. Thanks for those updates. Basketball is not too popular here in Argentina, its all about soccer here. Anyway, I hope you have a great week. Tell Nana I said "hi" for me. Love, Elder Brooks.

May 26, 2009

It's good to hear from you and sounds like everyone is doing well. We had another baptism this week, which went well and we have another one scheduled this week. I'm pretty sure I have received all your emails. Hows your calling? Still the ward mission leader? We don’t have one in our ward yet. The Spanish is still not perfect but its coming. Take care, love Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19, 2009

It´s good to hear from you. Everything is going great in Argentina. We had two rainy days this week which makes the streets in my area an adventure to walk on, but it also slowed our work as many people stayed inside. I had my first baptism this past Saturday and it was great. Rocio has a good testimony and a good spirit. It was a great experience for me and I look forward to more. Actually we do have another baptism planned this Saturday as well. Veronica is the person getting baptized. This past week was amazing with the first baptism and other spiritual experiences. On Friday I had my first divisions. We did divisions with the zone leaders, Elder Singleton and Elder Chehda. I did divisions with Elder Singleton and we stayed in his area. Something interesting about Elder Singleton, he was born in Las Vegas but moved to Wyoming after a year old. We are interested to know if you happen to know any Singletons? Elder Singleton and I had a pretty legit day you could say. Everyone we stopped and shared our message with was very interested and we set up many return appointments. We also had many appointments with investigators which went very well. After ending one appointment and walking to the next, Elder Singleton and I were talking and getting to know each other a little more. As we were walking I saw this lady sweeping her porch and I thought we should stop and talk to her. I told Elder Singleton and he agreed. As we came closer to the house she went behind another building sweeping and we were not able to see her. I don’t know why but I really wanted to talk to her. We both thought she wouldn’t come back out. As we came up to the house she came back out. I immediately contacted her and we began to talk. After getting to know each other she let us in her gate and we shared a message of the restoration with her. The spirit was strong and we challenged her to pray to know for herself the truth of our message. She accepted. We also challenged her to say the closing prayer, and after some moments of silence and some hesitation in her voice she again accepted. As she prayed the spirit was strong and after she concluded we looked at her with smiles on our faces. It was the kind of smile you get when you hear someone say their first prayer. As we looked at her we saw tears running down her face and we knew she had received her answer right there. I was so grateful for that experience. I recognized the promptings of the spirit and acted on them. It is so important to listen for the spirit, I hope I can continue to do so. I went to the temple and it was also a great experience. I hope everyone has a great week. I received Dads dear elder on Monday, yesterday. Mom I love you, I'm doing good on supplies but if I think of anything I'll let you know. Take care, Elder Brooks.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 12, 2009

Dear Family and Friends, The work is going great here in the Argentina. Our misión has high standards which helps us be very successful. Unfortunately we are only able to email family. I always appreciate hearing from you so here is my address you can write to or you can use the Dear Elder. Today we were not able to attend the temple like we thought but we set up a time to go next Tuesday. Im pretty excited, its always a great opportunity to attend the temple. Its starting to get into winter but its still pretty nice weather outside. This Saturday we have a baptism scheduled. Her name is Rocio and she is 9 years olds. Everything is going well with Elder Lloyd and myself. We try and talk with everyone we walk by. For the most part everyone is excepting but there are still others that totally ignore us which is common in missionary work. I am really starting to realize I´m in a totally different country. Everything is different, and I´m trying to soak it all in. I hear the 2 years goes by fast so I´m trying to live in the moment. I am so greatful for this oppotunity to serve and represent our Savior. I have heard about the blog and it sounds pretty nice. Thanks Beckie for your help with that, I´m sure your following all of Dads directions, hah. It was good to hear from mom and the rest of the family, everyone sounds great. I think I´m pretty good with everything here but if you can send the package with those few things that would be great. I look forward to hearing from you, and I will try to write back those other family members who emailed last week. Thanks for all your support, take care, Elder Brooks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

April 29, 2009

Hey everyone I finally made it to Buenos Aires! We got on the plane today along with some BYU perfomers from the show "Living Legends." It was pretty funny knowing that most of the people on the plane were LDS. When I was on the plane my seat was however not by anyone I knew. I sat next to a man name Ralph who was also flying to Buenos Aires for business. We began to talk and he began to ask questions. It was a good conversation that addressed our beliefs. He said he knew a little about our church because he used to work with someone who was LDS. I ended up talking to him for about 2 hours and had him read the introduction and Moroni's promise. He was really interested and I asked if he would like his own copy of the Book of Mormon, and he said "yes" so I gave him one. It was a great feeling and a good way to start out. After the 10 hour flight was over we got off and made our way to our bags after getting our passports verified. I then walked through the sliding glass doors to then be met by the assistants to the president and my trainer Elder Lloyd. They were pretty excited to meet me as I was excited to meet them as well. Elder Lloyd is from Sandy, Utah. As we were waiting in the airport my mission president, President Benton called to welcome me. He was really excited I made it and couldn't wait to meet later. We then went to the car and started to drive to the mission home. I am in a totally different country, I love it! Everything is different and everyone speaks spanish. We met with Pres. Benton at the mission home and I had my interview. The interview went really well he said he loved my resume and thinks I'll be just fine. He has a lot of energy and passion for missionary work. I can tell we will have a lot of success. We then had a little lunch which was really good. After stoping by the mission offices and signing a few papers we came to our apartment and I unpacked. We live with two other missionaries. The apartment is pretty nice for where we are located. I wouldn't consider our area upper class. Most streets are dirt. After I finished packing we picked up lunch from a members house, the people here are amazing. I hope I can start communicating with them soon, hah. We also stopped by another members house including the bishops but he wasn't there. On the way we contacted as many people as we could and set up a few appointments so we'll see how it goes. Hope everyone is doing great, look forward to hearing from you. Take care, Elder Brooks.

Slideshow of Elder Brooks' Mission

Cameron reads his mission call

Flag of Argentina

Flag of Argentina
The national flag of Argentina dates from 1812. The full flag featuring the sun is called the Official Ceremonial Flag (Spanish: Bandera Oficial de Ceremonia). The Official Ceremony Flag is the civil, state and war flag and ensign. The sun, called the Sun of May, is a replica of an engraving on the first Argentine coin, approved in 1813, whose value was eight escudos (one Spanish dollar). It has 16 straight and 16 waved sunbeams. According to tradition, during the Argentine War of Independence General Manuel Belgrano was commanding a battle near Rosario. He noticed that both the Crown's forces and the independence forces were using the same colors (Spain's yellow and red). After realizing this, Belgrano created a new flag using the colors that were used by the Criollos during the May Revolution in 1810. The flag was hoisted for the first time in Buenos Aires atop the Saint Nicholas of Bari Church on August 23, 1812. - Ref: Wikipedia.com