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Monday, April 28, 2014

Well.....April 28, 2014

Yaboii got transfered! Transfered to the one place that everyone says you don't want to get transfered to. IBARRETA! Fontana, to be exact. All of the Ibarreta zone is without water. There isn't enough for everyone to have all that they need, so people have these big containers or wells where they collect rain water haha. We use a big above-ground swimming pool to get our water. I guess the city does supply a little water, but it's nowhere near enough for families here. We're okay because there are only two of us. Straight nuts out here. But, even though everyone says you don't want to get transfered here, I have loved it so far! Fontana is suuuuuuuuuper small. About 8,000 people. Our area also includes a colony of natives. Their little colony is called Bartolomé, but we pretty much just refer to it as la colonia. Also, because I'm in a really small town, there may be times where I can't write. There's one cyber but there are always kids playing games on the five computers here. That or the Internet is down haha. I'm PRETTY sure that I'll be able to Skype, though. Hopefully. In the house of the branch president. I think. Hopefully. Pray for me.

Also, I am now a counselor in the branch presidency! Yay! Haha it's a little weird. Oh, how could I forget? My new companion is Elder Kevin Zivic from Buenos Aires. He speaks porteño so hardcore haha. He's pretty quirky and funny. He also studied English for a pretty long time so he can speak pretty well. But I still try to always speak in Spanish.

Sooooo a couple weird things. Monday night, I saw my first live tarantula here. I forgot that they just roll around out here, so that was scary. Then since I've arrived here in Fontana, I've seen a bunch more. I'm currently in what they call "campo," just fields and stuff. There are also a lot of rats, frogs, and dang crabs! Street crabs! They just roll around the streets, man. Wild. Also, the mosquitos here are absolutely awful. There are some that are about the size of a quarter. They are especially bad out in the colony.

This week has been pretty good. I'm getting to know all of the members and investigators here. The colony is about ten minutes from our area by car. We go there FridaySaturday and Sunday. On Sundays, we have our regular church meeting and then we go to look for investigators in the colony and have sacrament there around 5. It's so so sweet. The people there are awesome.

But this week really has been pretty humbling. I thought that Clorinda didn't have a whole lot but I was sorely mistaken. There is nothing here haha. NOTHING. La zona de Ibarreta is the other hottest part in the mission. It's cooling off a little bit, but the mosquitos are starting to come out with incredible numbers. It's a battle.

One of the days that we went to the colony, we visited this investigator Julio. He is currently building another house next to the one he has. It's a small brick house, just like his other one, but just a little bigger. He was telling us how this new house is his dream. He said, "I've always dreamed of having a house like this. This has always been my dream. My biggest dream is to have A/C." Straight up humbles. This guy's ultimate dream is to have A/C. I wanted to cry when I started to think about all of the things that I have totally taken for granted my entire life. The people in the colony have next to nothing. Most of their houses are made out of sticks and other pieces of junk. But, I love being here and having the opportunity to teach them.

Anyway, kind of a cool experience. I had to present myself and give a talk in church in Fontana on Sunday. It was the first talk I've had to prepare so far on my mission haha. I've gotten up and borne my testimony before, but I hadn't had to give a talk until now. But that wasn't the cool experience. The cool experience was church in the colony. We went before church started to pass by investigators and remind them about church. We walked soooooo hard and I was so sweaty. The mosquitos were biting like crazy and I had blood on my shirt haha. When we got back, we were getting ready to start when this nice new Toyota Camry rolled up. It ended up being the first president of our mission, his wife, and a man from Buenos Aires who served here in 1990 when this president was serving. President Wilfredo Lopez from Chile. Anyway, they had been visiting the area and they had been trying to find Bartolomé. They were lost and finally found it...just in time for sacrament meeting. There are two leaders (or something) of the tribe here (who are members) and when President Lopez, his wife, and the ex-elder saw them, their mouths dropped. They all hugged and whatever else and had an emotional moment. Really really really cool. They came in for sacrament and each of them gave a little talk. President Lopez gave a pretty long talk haha...which is why I didn't have to speak! He talked about Jesus visiting the aboriginals here in America and stuff. Super spiritual. Started to get pretty dang teary. Anyway, that was awesome. That was the first time that they had been back after 23 years.

I'll include some pictures of my new area. But seriously, I love it so much. Just this little tiny town. SO quiet, too. I thought Clorinda was quit and tranquilo but this town is the definition of tranquilo. There is never anything going on haha. Walking around is so awesome, especially at night. There are these big fields with those classic huge trees that you see in the movies. You can see the milkyway really well and it's just darn peaceful. The people are so awesome and humble. Our branch president is President Sire. He is a really really really cool guy. He served in the Rosario mission forever ago and his mission included all of this area. He is from la provincia de Chaco, but after his mission, he stayed here in Formosa and married one of his converts. His family is pretty much the whole branch. His son, Christian, just turned 20 and is waiting to receive his mission call. SUPER awesome family.

Anyway, that's pretty much all for now. Don't have a lot of time...but yeah...really hope that I'll be able to write consistently. I love you all so so so much! Peace and sweet, sweet blessings.

-Elder Sipple


I don't have time so I'll have to send more pictures of my new area next week. Sorry!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Struggle is REAL

April 21, 2014

So this week, I found myself in one of those classic "landlord's dog ate my boot" situations. What happened was my landlord's dog ate my boot. Classic. Which was perfect, because we had a big huge rain storm! Yes! It's this huge dog named Liam. He's actually been pretty tight and he's always really nice to me. Sometimes a little TOO nice. But I think he was mad because we never let him in our apartment or something. I dunno. Also, one time, he followed us while we were out working and got into a huge fight. No lie, like 20 dogs ran out of their neighborhood and attacked him. He's huge so he just kind of trotted along until they acutally tried to bite him. Then he just got buck and started swingin' on fools. Ended up getting chased out of the neighborhood, though. Anyway.

Boy do I have some funny experiences. Alright so Monday night we went and vistited a reference that we received from an inactive member. We were finally able to catch this lady, Rosa, at her house. She has talked with the missionaries before apparently, but her kids wouldn't let her get baptized or something. Anyway, we sat down with her and it was kind of weird right from the get-go. She seemed a little uneasy and she had two really snakey daughters who kept giggling and looking at us. One of them was like 28 with a baby, so...yeahhhh...ANYWAY. So we start teaching about the restoration. I had just finished up with a beautiful "First Vision" and the Spirit was comin' in hot. Rosa kind of sat there for a second, mumbled something, then her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she was OUT LIKE A DANG LIGHT! Just straight up passed out in her chair! Head flung back and EVERYTHING! We had a real "Alma the Younger" situation on our hands. A real "King Lamoni." So here I am, thinking that I'm the greatest teacher ever because I just made a lady pass out from the Spirit. But what we were really thinking was that she was either dead, was going to start having a seizure, or she was possessed! I'm trying to remember my CPR training and stuff, just straight up in schock because this lady just went out like a candle. Her daughters just sat there laughing...I'm sure because Elder Buckles and I looked super surprised haha. After a good awkward couple of minutes, her daughters started to burn the ends of her hair and stick it in her nose. This apparently wakes people up. But it didn't. So, after another couple of uncomfortable minutes, we asked if they needed help or something haha. We helped them carry her to her bed where we just kind of dropped her hahaha. Oh my goodness she was heavy and still just out cold. So, we talked with the daughters for a little, mostly them just asking us if we would give them our CTR rings when we finished our missions. Said no, obviously, because it was a gift from mom (shout out to Mama Sipple, love you). They told us that this has happened before, but they didn't really tell us what was going on. Then we left. Heck of a night.

Elder Buckles straight up Ryan Seacrest'd a blind guy. Straight up tried to give a blind guy a high-five hahaha. Ohhhh my goodness it was fantastic. One of the top three most awkward experiences of my life.

Like I mentioned earlier, we had a big rain storm. Also, on a VERY related note, we have a pretty leaky ceiling. So we just had water pouring into our bedroom and our kitchen haha. We were up until about 2 in the morning trying to put buckets or other related items where the water was coming in. That was fun.

I can now whistle through my teeth and do the finger-flap thing. Where you hit your pointer finger against your middle finger really hard and it makes a snapping sound. Everyone does it here. I'm pretty much a latino now.

Oh yeah, due to the rain storm, that road that I sent a picture of, the one that was pretty much destroyed, is now completely destroyed and it has a cool river of sewage running through it! Pictures to come! Also, after the streets were done flooding, we found this big eel flopping around in the gutter. Pictures to come.

This week was la Semana Santa. But it's only Friday and Saturday. Anyway. It was super hard to find people because 1. they have the siesta here, 2. there was rain and mud, and 3. it was la Semana Santa and people just stayed inside with their families watching "Passion of the Christ" all day. I'm still not really sure exactly what la Semana Santa is haha. But yeah, interesting. BUT, Pabla Ascurra invited us over to help them prepare some food for that night. We we helped them out in the morning and then they gave us lunch. We had gizo which is just like rice (or noodles) and chicken or beef with a really good sauce on top. It was fantastic. Then we came back that night for dinner ate chorizos, a rice, egg and tomato thing, sopa paraguaya (which actually isn't's like cornbread) and this meat/vegetable thing. It's this big, long piece of meat with a bunch of different vegetables wrapped up inside. Super good, super righteous.

Had conferencia de distrito this week. President Heyman came on Sunday to speak to us. It was awesome! That was his last conference here because he'll be leaving in July. But yeah, real spiritual, real powerful. All of the Elders needed to wear suits because President was coming, but we didn't want to walk around in the mud in our suits, so we carried them to the church in Elder Buckles suit-bag. We were hoping to run in and change before we saw President Heyman, but right when we got there he was there to shake our hands haha. So we went and changed then came back out and said hi to him just to let him know that we had changed. Close one.

We find out about transfers tomorrow, so...who knows what will happen! I might leave because I have been here for three transfers, but you really never know. So wild.

Sooooo on a more spiritual note, I have been reading through the Book of Mormon again. Today I was reading in Mosiah 4 and I had kind of forgotten how powerful this part of the Book of Mormon is. I'm going to post the scripture here:

"And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come..."

So, I was just thinking about what it says about remembering the goodness of God. It's almost unbelievable to think that we can forget God after all that He has done for us. But, the natural man is an enemy to God and the natural man tends to forget the source of all of his blessings and becomes prideful. I thought that this was pretty fitting for this time of year when we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his triumph over physical and spiritual death and His sacrifice for all of mankind. As we have come to know the goodness of God, received forgiveness of our sins through His infinite mercy and seen the blessings brought through our faith, we should ALWAYS remember what God and Jesus Christ have done for us. We should "humble ourselves...and call on the name of the Lord daily." We have been given so much and the least we can do is remember the source of our blessings, give thanks daily, and show our love and appreciation through our actions. I have tasted of His love and felt the joy that comes from receiving a remission of sins and I know that there is no other way to receive lasting and eternal joy in this life or in the next. Thank you all for your examples to me throughout my life. I love you all so much and hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter! We out here.

Elder Sipple


                                                             The destroyed road
                                                                       The EEL!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Buenaaaassssssss April 14, 2014

Alright gang, I'll start out with the funny stuff.                                                       April 14, 2014

On Thursday morning, Elder Buckles and I were walking back to our apartment when the ZLs called us. Elder Beach said he had a question about something that happened. He said that him and Elder Sotelo had put hydrogen peroxide in their ears to clean them out and now they were hurting really badly. He said that Elder Sotelo was laying on his bed and couldn't walk because of the pain haha. We thought this was weird because normally, you can clean out your ears with hydrogen peroxide and everything will be just fine. We had to go to their apartment to get our list of members in our area, so we started heading over. When we got there, Elder Beach told us it looked like they were doing drugs or something in their room haha. So we walked in and Elder Sotelo was sprawled out over his bed, there was a stack of burnt paper cones on the floor, barbeque sauce in the corner, meat spread and butter on the floor, and ibuprofen and "hydrogen peroxide." They had to go get something from a store, so they left for a minute. As we inspected all of the above listed items, we realized why their ears hurt so badly. Their "hydrogen peroxide" was actually crema oxidante. Side note - I bought some hydrogen peroxide last week because I was rockin' dual canker sores on the bottom lip. Big huge akimbo cankers. I think that's why Elder Sotelo wanted some. Anyway, so we call them and harrass them a bit for not reading what the bottle said. But, we still didn't know what this "crema oxidante" was. The ZLs were too embarrassed to call Hermana Heyman or the area doctor and explain the situation, so I did it for them. I tried to find out if either Hermana Heyman or the doctor knew what this stuff was, but neither of them knew. So we took to the street. We went to buy them some Q-Tips (because Elder Sotelo couldn't walk) to clean out their ears. We ended up in the same pharmacy that they had visited. After buying some cotton swabs, we went back and asked the guys working there if they knew what crema oxidante was. They asked about the other missionaries and then told us that it's used to BLEACH HAIR. I had Elder Beach on the phone in my pocket and he started yelling when he heard that hahaha. Apparently, Elder Sotelo had asked for hydrogen peroxide and they guy kept insisting that crema oxidante is what he needed, so he just took it without even reading the bottle. Which is weird because Elder Sotelo always says that he's "Sherlock Holmes" and "Scooby-Doo"...anyway. The worker gave us some other liquid to clean out their ears. So, we got back and told them what happened. Elder Sotelo was pretty mad at the guy, but really it was his own dang fault haha. He was the only one that knew Spanish perfectly. Beach just blindly trusted him. So, Papa Alec had to help them out by holding their ears open and turning the sink on full blast to try to rinse out the hair bleach. Don't really know why washing their ears out was the last thing we tried, but oh well haha. Anyway, all is well now and their ears and squeaky clean. Thank goodness.

What else...we clapped one house and started talking to this 19-old-girl. She brought us some seats and when she returned, she said her boyfriend was kinda mad. After a little more small talk, she went back inside for a minute. We could hear her fighting with her boyfriend and then eventually the door closed. The window was open so we could still hear, but it gradually just faded. So we sat there like a couple of clowns for 10 minutes, just waiting in silence haha. It was so weird. Just hoping that maybe she would come back out. I don't know, I guess you're just a dreamer when you're in the mission. We decided to write our number and the church direction on a pamphlet, leave it on the chair and peace out. The whole number thing may not have been a good idea, seeing as her boyfriend was already mad that she was talking to two handsome representatives of Jesus Christ.

Had a rain and lightning storm. There's a leak in our roof, so I woke up with a cool puddle in my bed. Closest I'll get to swimming in two years. But seriously, craziest lightning storms EVER here. And the streets just flood like crazy. So boss.

As Americans, people are always trying to confirm rumors with us about the States. The latest one was when we were teaching our investigator Jorge. He watches a lot of TV and is always talking about all of the stereotypical American things. Anyway, we were talking and he said, "Hey, is it true that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln actually hated each other?" We just busted up laughing and explained to him why that was so funny. CLASSIC.

This week, we literally helped an old lady cross the muddy street to get to the church. It was wonderful. :)

Saturday night, we taught a mom and her two sons at like 8:30. It's a tough time to find people to teach because it's dark and no one is outside anymore. Anyway, we told her we only wanted to take five minutes to talk and bless her house and she reluctantly let us sit down with her. We knew it wouldn't only be five minutes. Haha so we taught her the whole restoration and and invited them to church. The mom was really interested in the message and the kids wanted to go to church really badly. The next day when we were passing by all of our investigators before church, I just felt like we should pass by their house. At first we were kind of thinking that we shouldn't because we didn't want to annoy them, but I just kept feeling like we should pass by. When we did, at 8:15 am, the two boys came out and said they wanted to go to church! The mom let us walk with them and then she came for sacrament. It was awesome and the kids loved the church. They were so happy and I was really impressed that the mom let her two kids leave with two weird, white strangers from the "United States" haha. Anyway, that was righteous.

On a spiritual note, we had a really cool experience this week. On Thursday night, we had received a reference from an inactive member. We had made plans to contact this reference the next day in the morning. We had all of our plans, back-up plans, back-up back-up plans, and we were ready to go. So, Friday morning, we prayed and asked for the opportunity that if we couldn't find this reference to find someone who is ready to receive the Gospel. We ended up finding the hosue of the reference, but the woman wasn't there. As we sat down for a minute to empty the water out of our boots (my boots are knee high and I still got water in them), this 10-year-old boy named Johnny came up and started talking to us. After a little while, he told us that him and his brother had been baptized about a year ago. We asked him about his family and then asked if we could go visit his parents. He was really excited and took us to his house. When we got there, we talked with his mom and his sister. They said that the Elders had stopped visiting their house and they didn't know why. We asked them about what they remembered from what the Elders had taught them and ended up teaching the Restoration. They accepted the baptismal invitation, but they said they want to know more first, as it should be. They are excited to keep progressing and to be talking with the missionaries again! This really strengthened my testimony about planning and that if we do all that we can to make plans, work efficiently, and strive for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Lord will bless us with the ability to be in the right place at the right time.

Anyway, super fun week and TRANSFERS are coming up next Tuesday! This transfer fleeeeeeeeewwwwwww by. Hit my five month mark, too! So crazy. We had some good church attendance on Sunday and are looking forward to Sergio Sosa's baptism in two weeks. Had to move it back because we have had General Conference and stake conference in the mix here. Difficult month. Anyway, things are wonderful here in Clorinda. Oh yeah, gave my first blessing in Spanish! That was scary. But it went well and the Spirit was there. What else...bought a new pillow...ate the best pizza I've had so far in Argentina...think that's about it! I love you all so much and I'm thankful for every last one of you. Godspeed. Don't worry about me, I'm fine. Tell the kids I love 'em. PAZ!

Elder Sipple

gross spider

Buckles administering to the sick and afflicted ZLs

me washing out Sotelo's ears haha

The "road" in front of our house after the rain

a flooded street

So these are some of the gross sewer things that I have talked about. They are called "zanjas." Anyway, they had cleaning day the other day. A big tractor just scoops out all of the junk in there. This one is about 7 feet wide haha. SO GROSS.


Bad picture, but one of the big dirt roads that has a big zanja under it collapsed because of the floods haha. 

Buckles and Sipple with Pabla and family


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hello, world. April 7, 2014

Hey, how's it goin'. Elder Sipple here with a little run-down of last week.

First, Monday night, we finally moved into our new pension. It was pretty sad because living with the ZLs was super fun and we are all really good friends. But anyway, we asked one of the hermana's eternal investigators to help us. His name is Luis and he loves showing off his little white car haha. So he helped move stuff back and forth from the pensions. When it came time to move the bunk beds, we put the long parts on top of his car and stuck our arms out of the windows to hold it in place haha. Classic moving sesh. When we finally got all of our stuff in, things really went down hill. My Cholula hot sauce that Mom sent me broke, mold was growing on our desks because of how humid it was, and I realized that I accidentally brought two fitted sheets instead of a fitted sheet and a normal one. So that was fun. Then, the A/C unit broke. So, it was three million degrees with humidity. Seriously, the air is so so so thick and wet. Some books that I had left out on my desk look like they've had water poured on them. Also, the mold thing I mentioned...seriously mold just spontaneously grows on whatever. On our chairs, my wooden Plan of Salvation puzzle, the fridge, our closets...anything. And our mattresses were/are rocks. I got humbled...humbled REAL good. It really helped me to remember why I'm here. I'm not here to be comfortable. I've been uncomfortable since day one haha. I'm not here to have a sweet little vacation for two years. We are here to serve the Lord and we can't let little problems like the ones I've described get in the way of our work. Also, even with all of those "problems," we still have it better than most of the people that live here. So, big old lesson learned from that ordeal. All we can do is be patient, be positive, bear our afflictions, and continue on with faith in the Lord. And that's what we have done! It's been a crazy week. We have since cleaned the mold off of all of our things. Don't worry, Mom.

Wednesday we had interviews with President and Sister Heyman! It was awesome. We did a practice with the assistants which was actually really helpful. We learned a really good way to effectively teach the lessons to our investigators. Preview what you're going to teach, teach the doctrine, extend a commitment, and then finalize. It was great.

Also, Pabla (our recent convert) FINALLY prayed in front of us. She has always been afraid to pray in front of us or in the church, but she finally did and it was fantastic. Brought a tear to this young man's eye. Did NOT let that tear fall, though. But yeah, that was neat!

We had a talent show which was put on by the young women of the branch. You KNOW Los Cochinitos Mojados were requested to dance (by popular demand). So we got up there and threw down some sweet, sweet moves. I'll show you the video in two years haha. Pabla tried to send it via FB to Mom, but it's too big. I have it on my memory card, though.

Friday morning, we taught a guy who is working on building the top half of our apartments. We were sitting outside doing some work in the area book and he came in and started talking to us. We taught him the Restoration and he loved it. He's a pretty religious guy, but he was saying he wanted to change and he was going to ask his wife to see what she thought. We also had to explain to him that Jehovah isn't Heavenly Father, but Jehovah is Jesus.

Just want to touch on that whole mold thing again. HOLY SMOKES. Seriously, just grows wherever and whenever it wants to. Satan is really pulling out all of the stops.

I recently weighed myself...comin' in strong at about a buck 40...buck 45 will all of my missoinary get-up on. Haha so yeah, I've shed some pounds, shed some tears, blood...blood because I always manage to hit the mosquitos in mid-drink.

Also, conference was amazing! Sooo fantastic. Got straight dogged by our investigators, but at least we were able to be edified, am I right? Just two days straight of Conference. The North Americans all watched conference in a seperate room in English while everyone else watched in the chapel. It was the greatest.

Well everyone, just another week at war. Something that I took away from Conference was the importance of loving everyone around us. Always striving to develop charity. Truly looking to serve those around us and not placing our wants and desires above the needs of others. Our little problems are so miniscule and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We should always strive to serve others because when we do, we are in the service of our God. I love all of you and I'm grateful for every single one of you. Grateful for another week of life here in this crazy country haha. Stay sweet. Until next week.

Elder Sipple


                                                                          Moving night

                                              Traditional Argentine dance by the young women

Bowls apparently do not exist here, so we make due with plastic bottles. Haven't been able to find bowls yet.