Quote of the week:

"The Lord doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 13 Santa Fe, Argentina


So probably the biggest thing that happened this week was a...FLOOD! Haha seriously! On Monday night we were walking and talking and after an appt we went outside and it was POURING SO HARD!! We hid under a little patio thing and talked to a lady for about 20 minutes hoping that it would calm down. Yup, it didnt. We tried calling a taxi but they were busy, so we ran back to the apartment in the rain/waterfall from heaven. We were pretty far from the apartment so we were SOAKED and the streets were already starting to flood! We got back to the apartment just in time to save the others elders stuff that was on the ground. We have a little patio in the back but the drain didn't work so a bunch of water was coming in! After all, about an inch of water was in on the ground. We quickly got their stuff upstairs and then... the power went out. ha it came back on about 20 min later and the rain stopped. Pretty crazy stuff! When I got here I hoped for a flood cuz I wanted to go swimming but after that I think I'm good without floods. Ha

This week my big AH-HA moment in the scriptures was about Jesus walking on water. I was reading in Jesus The Christ, and it said that the apostles had been at sea all night and the storm was so bad that they had barely moved anywhere when in the middle of the storm they saw somebody walking towards them and naturally got scared. Then Jesus said, "Peace be still." And Peter walked out on the water but then started to fall and Jesus saved him, pulling him back up. I never realized how much symbolism is involved in this! Life is full of difficulties, struggles, and challenges and usually when the first sign of help comes we get scared and turn them away. Then we realize that we need their help and boom...peace. But we have to go out on the water a little bit and show our faith. Obviously we dont have perfect faith so we will fall from time to time but I know that Christ will always save us from our struggles and usually lift us higher. We gain peace when we come unto Him because the closer we get to Him. the closer He gets to us. I know that whatever afliction that we go through in this life can be helped through the Atonement of Christ. In Moroni 7:41 It says that we should hope through the Atonement of Christ. But how do we hope through the Atonement? For me it's the knowledge that He has felt every single pain that we will ever feel. That no matter how hard it is, we share that pain with our Brother, Jesus Christ, and through that knowledge we can have hope that it will be ok. I love in Alma 7:11-12, it says that he succors the people according to their infirmities. I know that we can be comforted at any time if we just show our faith and pray for comfort. I know that Christ suffered for everybody personally. I don't know how, but He did, and He knows us personally and loves us personally.

So Diego is doin good! I feel like that he trusts us a little more and he has started reading the book of mormon! We're pretty excited for him! We're not finding much success lately so it's a little rough but it cant knock me down. I know that it's our time to learn and progress. My comp has been a little depressed lately though so I've been trying to be SUPER happy, which I like. I'm a firm believer in choosing to be happy, like I said before. It's so true! My comp gets discouraged easily and his family doesn't write him and that just makes me so sad. I always tell him that he's the beginning of the chain and to look forward. I think I can do a better job at helping him, but It's hard in spanish. haha

So speakin of spanish, It's pretty crazy how I speak it every day for pretty much the whole day. It's a complete miracle. Thank you everybody for praying for me and my ability to speak. I can't understand everything but I feel that I can always get the just of it. I'm improving little by little! It's weird too that I'm actually a missionary. Haha I think of that almost every day. Like, whoa! I'm a missionary! ha

So weird things this week that..were weird. haha
1. We saw 2 dogs that were joined at the hip. One was a big dog and one was smaller. My comp said one time he saw the big dog bookin it down the street and the little dog was just getting dragged on the ground. haha
2. Breastfeeding. Other elders had told me that it's not a big deal here to do it in public but I hadn't seen anybody do it until this week. We were contacting and a lady let us in and we were just talkin to her when her baby ran up crying to her and next thing you know I am looking at the ceiling. Luckily the baby wasn't hungry, cuz that was weird.

We got our hair cut this week too. That was sketchy. There's a lady in our ward that said she'd cut it for cheap so we went. She didn't do perfect but It's all good! No girls to impress so I don't really care. haha

My favorite songs this week are: I will not be still by Kenneth Cope and Every Word by Debra Fotheringham.

Thank you everybody for all your support and love. I love you all so much and count your blessings! We're so spoiled in the U.S.


Elder Hjelmstad

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 12 Santa Fe, Argentina

Beloved Family,

I love you guys so much! This week has come and gone! The missionary work here is a little slow but were learning a ton! I refuse to blame the people or the area or anything. I know that I need to be a better missionary and representative of Jesus Christ! I have a TON to learn. I have a bunch of time!

It sounds like you've had a great week! From Tatums baptism to hearing Bro Wilcox! I love Bro Wilcox! I knew you guys would love him. His analogies are so amazing. And I totally agree with everything he said. I'm so proud to be a MORMON! haha we are so so so lucky!

This week we had interviews with the mission president (love him!) and what I got out of it is that, I am seriously SO BLESSED. From being ok in spanish, to having a loving family, to having a great companion, I am so blessed. We are so blessed! When we can recognize this, we want to share the gospel! I know for a fact that the best way to do missionary work is through members and their friends and family! We need to share our happiness. Because it's not just pleasure. I found this amazing quote in Jesus the Christ by James Talmadge. ¨Mere pleasure is at best but fleeting; Happiness is abiding, for in the recollection thereof is the joy renewed.¨ I LOVE THIS! Every week we get to go to church and renew our Joy through the sacrament!

So, 2 days ago I got to be part of a miracle! In the morning in personal study, I thought that I should probably study how to give a priesthood blessing in spanish, just incase someone would need one. I realized later that It wasnt just a thought but a prompting. And fortunately, I followed it and studied the vocab and later that night we stopped by a members house and little did we know that he was counting on us to give him a blessing! It felt so cool to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands! It strengthened my testimony that as long as were doing everything that were supposed to, the Lord will direct us without us even knowing! It was definately a special experience.

So my favorite tree here is called the Jazmin Paraguayo. Thanks mom and dad. Im turning into you. haha

My struggle in my mission so far has been giving my heart to Heavenly Father and completely giving all my thoughts and efforts to the work. I don't want to waste the Lords time. I'm here to help people come unto Christ and I want to give it everything I've got! I realized this week, that I'm never going to be perfect but I'm really going to try to be. I don't want to have any regrets or anything to blame.

So the culture section of this letter is as follws: haha
-It is totally normal to walk by a person, say hola, and they say adios. haha yup. like HI!, BYE! It took me some time to get used to!
-Next, Everybody drinks MATE! Look it up. It's crazy but everybody drinks it! haha
-Lastly, I always say "Aycurumba" and NOBODY says it here. My comp said that it's my word. I like it. ;)

The heat is pickin up here and so are the number of mosquitos! I spray my arms, ankles, and neck every day. And I still have about 15 bites. I'm going to die in the summer. ahhhhhhhh I definately wil use the mosquito net some time.

So, Diego is doin good! We talked to his wife about getting married and they just dont have the money but were going to try and set some goals with them so they can get married! He wants to take it real slow, so were trying to go his speed. He's a work in progress but we just need to be patient.

The only things that I can think of that I want are some pics of me playing polo and maybe some pics of my baptism! I want to send pics home really bad but all the computers we use are really slow! It's annoying cuz theres some great pics.

Another cool thing this week was that we got scripture covers! It's hard to describe but they're leather covers and you can ask this guy to draw stuff on them! I got the strippling warriors and Christ coming to the Americas on my BOM and 2 paintings of Christ on my bible. They're pretty dang sweet! OH and I just saw a mini cockroach on Elder Hulls computer. Cool. haha

So..Til next week! I love you all so much and never stop thinking about you and praying for you. Thank you for praying that I can be able to speak the language. It's coming! Little by little!

I love you so so much! Miss you tons!

3 Nephi 18:21.

Elder Hjelmstad

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 11 Santa Fe, Argentina

Another week in Argentina! Crazy stuff! The week goes by so dang fast cuz were constantly doing stuff.

Happy Mothers day Momma! haha on Sunday it was mothers day here so we got to tell all the moms "FELIZ DIA"! I asked if I could call home... they said no. haha but a little over 2 months until Christmas! But with all the families we visited we shared Alma 57:21 “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their Mothers had taught them.” I’m so grateful for Mothers and the influence they have on the world. I learned once that "Behind every great man is a great woman." I’m so thankful for you mom and the love, service, and care that you have shown me. I was thinking about you all day yesterday!

k so First off my area is great! I’m going to die in the summer because of the heat and the mosquitoes, but its good! We walk a TON. It literally takes us 35 min to walk to the farthest part of our area. My companion said that it’s the biggest he’s been in. Since it’s so big we have to plan where were going to go and "find" people around where our appts are. We don’t have that many investigators right now which is really a bummer but were working with the ward and trying some new finding techniques so we can teach some people! Some ideas are an ENGLISH class, movie night, and FHEs with families. This week is gunna be better! One of our investigators is Diego. His wife and 2 of his kids are baptized so we’ve been trying to teach him but his schedule is all crazy so it's a little hard but he’s a really great guy. The only problem is that he’s not married to his wife! haha so we have to help him get married first, and then get baptized!

Oh so this week we had a special zone conference with Elder Arnold of the Seventy! It was so good! I loved every single second of it! He talked a lot about obedience, which was really good. He also talked about how we need to give our HEART to the Lord in these 2 years. We don’t need to focus on anything but the work. Every second of every day should be devoted to Him. I know I can do a better job at this. I find myself daydreaming about memories or just random stuff. Elder Arnold also said that we need to be bold and bear testimony at every chance we get. We need to look for every opportunity to teach. And our purpose is to baptize, to help people invite the happiness of the gospel into their lives. Overall it was really good and I learned that I need to be smarter with my time and give it my all. I LOVE studying the scriptures and I’ve been reading Jesus the Christ too.

My thought this week is on Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”. I think this we so cool because it says that we need to come unto Christ to feel peace and rest. I know that all of our pains and struggles can be comforted though the atonement of Christ. In Alma 7:11 we read, “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people”. I also found it interesting that Christ says that we need to take upon ourselves HIS yoke, or His gospel to feel this joy! I’m so thankful that we have the gospel! I’m a firm believer that the gospel doesn’t limit us, but instead enables us. If we do all we can to keep the commandments and live in the way that Heavenly Father would have us live, we can witness the happiness that comes from it. In Mosiah 2:41 we read, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it”!

Spanish update.... My spanish is coming along! I’m starting to understand things that I didn’t and can understand most stuff when we talk about the church but when people are just talking I have NO IDEA. haha but I have hope that with time and consistently learning words and grammar, I’ll be just fine. In the lessons I can fully participate and my comp and I switch off and we do pretty good but we feel that we can do better so were trying to incorporate more examples and questions to help the people we teach.

Something fun that we did this week was service! I love service! We helped a member paint a room that he just built to add on to his house. I took pics! :) He´s a really great guy and I just listened to my comp and him speak spanish for a good 2 hours. Spanish lesson! haha

The food isnt that bad at all yet! Besides the heart or liver last week we usually have pasta or milanesa! Down here they’re on the Siesta Schedule! Which means that from 2-5pm everybody is sleeping or eating. They’re lunch is our dinner! Dinner for them is like a little snack before bed! haha so all our appts are lunch appts. Usually at the apt I eat either cereal or oranges. They have cereal and its not bad! and they have oats too! I love it! Dad I hope you’re proud! My health is doing just fine! I have a little cold but my knees are doing fine!

Overall I’m doing great down here! I’m choosing to be happy! That really is so powerful.

I love you so much!

¡Les amo tanto!

Your missionary,

Elder Hjelmstad

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 10 Santa Fe, Argentina


K I don’t have much time today because it’s a crazy holiday here in Argentina.
 I have asked like 20 times what the holiday is and still don’t know. haha (turned out it was Columbus Day!) but 
everything is closed so we're at a members house right now and I have to hurry 
cuz my companion still needs to write.

So this place has the most random things ever....

1 - Geese in the Street

2 -People blasting Justin Beiber, and ¨It’s the final countdown¨ haha

A lot of stuff has happened in the past week but one of the main points was the 
rain. Rain and wind are not very fun to walk in. Seriously, we got soaked! My
 umbrella broke too! But it’s all good! So it’s only spring here and already the 
mosquitos are out to get me. I have like 10 bites already. Somebody told me 
that the area I’m in is the hottest in the whole mission and has the most mosquitos!

So this week we had an appointment with a lady we found when knocking
doors and when we showed up she had invited all her Methodist friends! We
 thought we were going to be able to teach all of them but they had a lesson and 
everything and thought it was fascinating that we had the same bible. We didn’t 
get to share anything and I was pretty disappointed, but before we left I asked if I
 could share my testimony and they said sure... I testified of the restoration in 
my testimony and found a way to teach the whole lesson! It wasn’t me, the Holy
Ghost gave me the idea.

Oh and the fun thing I did this week was MILK AN ALFAJOR! I took pics! What you do is bite the Alfrajor on both sides and stick it in some milk and suck the milk through the Alfajor! Haha. I guess it’s tradition for all the newbies. And yesterday we ate heart or liver with pasta! crazy! I asked my comp what it was after and he was all calm and said, ¨I don’t know, heart or liver.¨ ha so.... ya. not bad! We also had pizza this week! Good stuff!

My spiritual thought this week is about Alma 5. I love this chapter because it talks about repentance and how it is a change of heart! I know we can all turn

ourselves a little more towards Heavenly Father in our lives and make better decisions. Remember that there’s always 2 sides to every decision! I suggest

everybody read it! Also, I love the way he presents it because he says that he has been called of God to preach the Gospel and also because he loves the people.

Ha so we're teaching a bunch of people. We're teaching some recent convert little girls and they’re so funny! Every time, they have me sing in English. Haha. It’s really fun cuz they’re like WHATTTT!?! Haha. and that’s how I am every single day! My Spanish is getting better! Just takes time!

K, I love you all so much! I never stop praying for you guys!


Elder Hjelmstad

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 9 Santa Fe, Argentina


K this week has been absolutely insaneeee. I don't even think I can write all the stuff that I've seen! seriously.

K First off the plane ride actually wasn't that bad. I sat next to Elder Hull and we talked for a while and then TRIED to sleep but guess what? I actually fell asleep! We woke up and we were landing in 30 min! When we got the to airport we had to go through customs and that stuff which took foreverrrrrr, but its all good. After we met up with these guys that took our passports. They did something with them but we got out and then were on the way to the mission home! We stopped at a gas station and the missionaries that were goin home were there, so we got to talk to them. It was so weird to see them leaving, because that will be us in 22 months. Overall the bus ride to Rosario was like 4 hours I think, but we just talked the whole time so it was fun. When we got to the mission home we were met by all the office elders and the Mission President. He and his wife are both really nice. I had a quick get to know you interview which was great. We ate choripan? its like a sausage hot dog, I was scared it was going to make me feel sick but it didnt! We had orientation and heard all the rules and then went to bed. The next day, wed, we met our trainers! My Companion is ELDER RIVERA. He is from Chile and doesnt speak english! haha but He´s seriously the nicest guy. He's a convert and likes martial arts. He's gunna teach me how to speak spanish and I'm going to help him be a little more confident. He's really good at talking to people, he's just a little shy and a little awkward but Its all good, everybodys different and I'm so grateful for him. He's a great Elder with Great intentions! We are serving in the Sante Fe North zone in the Liceo ward. The members are awesome, there's just a TON that are inactive, but were gunna help that. OH! Our area is a white wash, which means that were both brand new to the area, usually one elder stays, so one is familiar with the area and stuff, but we dont know ANYTHING! And it doesn't help that I dont know spanish! haha but it's all little tiny houses and they look super poor on the outside but on the inside they're all really well taken care of and always have a tv. haha but its pretty crazy! I LOVE AMERICA!!!!

We live in an apartment with 2 other elders, Elder Hull and Elder Artunduaga. Elder Hull and I always love speakin english to each other! haha they're a white wash too. The apt isn't that bad but is REALLY dirty from the last elders. The shower isn't too bad but you have to play with the hot and cold knobs the WHOLE TIME. There isn't that many bugs yet but I have gotten bit like 5 times already. And there are dogs EVERYWHERE. Some are really cute but most, 98% are not. haha but we haven't had a problem with them and haven't gotten robbed yet. We've had lunch at a few members houses so far and it's not bad at all! It is a little bland most of the time but we've already had pasta a couple times and milanesa which is dang good. The people here are very very friendly, which is great! They have cool hand shakes. ha my favorite thing to do is wave to people and smile because I have no clue how to speak yet. Their accent is really weird but I'm already getting used to it, it's just weird cuz my companion doesn't have it, cuz hes from chile. haha so it throws me off a little. Everybody asks me questions but I can only understand some of the questions.

I feel pretty good, just a little overwhelmed with the language, but I need to be patient I know. It's already been a roller coaster with feelin depressed about family and then feelin good. But it's all good! I'm trying to CHOOSE to be happy!

We don't have any people that we're teaching right now but we have a bunch of appts set for this week, so I'll let you know how it goes!

I washed my clothes in a bucket today! It took forever but they're clean!

Ok so when were "finding" theres always kids playin soccer everywhere, seriously, and they just have goalposts in the most random places. They love their soccer! They all have their favorite teams, in Sante Fe its either Union or Colon.

So we watched conference at the stake center and they didnt have an english room set up, so espanol it was! haha I didnt get much out of it, but I did have some divinely inspired thoughts! Ha I could understand parts but it was really hard. We did get to see priesthood session! from 9-11! We were allowed to and it was good! well the parts that I could understand! ha

Well overall its been an insane week. It's weird to think about all the time that I'll be here for. I dont really have a spiritual thought... except that we all need to be good examples and treat every person like a brother or sister. We're all sons and daughters of Heavenly Father! He loves us so much!

I love my family so much, and I'm so grateful for the chance I have to be here in Argentina. I love all of you so much it's insane. I wish I could write all of you back but I dont have time! Thank you for praying for me. I pray for all of you as well.

Shout outs to.... The Dohrmans! thanks for the package! That was such a nice surprise! You're great!

The Taylors! I got your letters the last day in the MTC! Thank you all!