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.

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: