We had a member who wouldn't come to church because he didn't have black church shoes so I let him borrow mine until we could buy him a pair. When tried to set an appointment with him to go shoe shopping he refused, not wanting the Church or anyone else to buy him shoes. The problem was that I only brought two pair of black shoes - one to run around in all week and another for Sundays. So we devised a plan....we guessed at his shoe size and purchased a new pair. I wore them around for a few days, being careful to walk through mud so they would appear to be used and well-worn. We then went to his home one night wearing the shoes and offered him the new pair I was wearing that might fit him even better. We made the swap and got my Sunday shoes back :)
Our big activity this week was the "Dessert Duel (Duelo de Postres)." The YM and the YW each got together on Friday to whip up the best dessert possible in hopes of winning the contest. The YM advisor (Gustavo Painenao) is actually a baker at a local bakery and is REALLY amazing. He had the YM prepare a peach flan that was amazing. We got to the church early to set things up and brought an apple crisp thinking that not many people would participate. In the end there were fifteen entries total (we were expecting five) and the activity was a huge hit. Everyone was allowed one vote and in the end the Young Women took first prize beating out the Young Men by one vote. It was awesome!
|A sampling of the desserts|
|1st Place - Young Women|
|2nd Place - Young Men|
|3rd Place - Lujan, Iris, & Melina|
There are three big holidays for kids in this country - Christmas in December, Three Wise Men Day in January, and Kid's Day in August. All three are similar in that just like Christmas the kids get gifts and presents. What a great country! We hosted a huge "Kid's Day" party at the church with over 60 people in attendance. We made an awesome cake out of peaches, dulce de leche, and whipped cream. It was food galore, music, and games for about three to four hours. Great party!
It snowed this morning. We were going to wash the car with our garden hose, but it will have to wait until another day.
Last Monday we went to Esquel to spend a little time with one of the Elders who wanted some life advice on finances and education. On the phone we told him that we could grab a sandwich for lunch if he and his companion wanted but didn't really know if that would happen because the members feed them almost every day. We took the Sisters with us to Esquel so they could email their families and we dropped them off in the city and then went to the chapel to meet the two Elders. When we arrived there were four Elders in the room and we chatted for a few minutes and then I asked the Elder we had the appointment with if he had eaten or not. He said no and we said, "Then let's go." With that, "four" Elders stood up and followed us out to the car - SURPRISE! We piled in the car and found a pizza place. A few minutes later the Hermanas called the district leader to say that the internet store was not working and that they had nothing to do. He promptly invited them to come join us. As they walked in the Pizza place we wondered what the Sister had to be thinking...hey, what's up with this, it looks like the Asbells are taking the "guys" out for pizza today, hmmmmm, wonder why they dropped us off and didn't invite us....Anyway they joined in and we ate four pizzas. We answered most of their "life" questions, helped them prepare for the future, and dropped $100 on lunch. After that they wanted to get ice cream. We love ice cream and couldn't say no to that. We purchased a kilo and all shared out of the same bucket - hey its more sanitary than Mate! It was a pleasure to spend time with the younger missionaries and an honor to feed them. :)
On Tuesday we had two Family Home Evenings (Noche de Hogar). We brought out the projector and showed "Finding Faith in Christ" to a new less-active family that the sisters found recently. The mom and the three boys were baptized about seven years ago and then the mom was in a bad accident with the sister missionaries in the car and she was almost killed while the sister missionaries walked away without a scratch. With that, her friends and family told her it was a curse from God for hanging out with the Mormons and she stopped coming to church. I guess no one reminded her that there are over ten million people a day praying for the missionaries.... Anyhow, our sister missionaries found her and have started working with her and are teaching the youngest son (who is now 22) about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We offered to do a FHE for them and they invited the entire family - all the boys along with their non-member wives and children. It was a great evening and we had fun and connected with the family. One of the boys who just had a baby four months ago asked us if we would give it a name and a blessing on Sunday.
On Saturday, we had celebrated the Worldwide Day of Service by hosting a service project in Aldea Escolar where we refurbished and cleaned up an area used by local vendors to sell their hand-made wares and food to tourists who come through in the summer. It was well attended.
Yesterday was Election Day so we only held Sacrament Meeting and canceled everything else. We blessed Danna Flores (the 4-month old baby of Gustavo and Daiana). We had a total of 47 people at church of which five are taking lessons from the sister missionaries!
Maybe it is to early to say, but we have been out for five months as of today and it seems like we are turning the corner with the branch. The dangerous thing is the second you think that you get smacked around. Like last night, at the end of the day we were counting up all of the people who were likely to come to church today and we ended up at 40 - wow, they probably haven't had forty people at church here in quite some time. But, as luck would have it, it rained ALL night and in the morning it snowed. People don't go out here when the weather is bad because it is very messy and super cold. So we had four of us Sunday School (Gospel Doctrine) and four more in the Gospel Principles class. Once Sacrament started a few more squeezed in and we ended up at 28 which was a small miracle considering the weather. Anyhow, we are optimistic and can see some good things happening and are confident that things are looking up.