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.

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: