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.

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: