Quote of the week:

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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Week 21 Santa Fe, Argentina

The twin boys, Benjamin and Israel.
(Notice how dirty Josh's shoes are???
Looks like they have been walking on some dirt roads!!!)

Decorating a little Christmas tree with Georgina, and her twin boys,
Benjamin and Israel.

Josh's companion helping decorate the Christmas tree

Elder Hjelmstad and his Companion

"Yesterday we had our special Christmas conference and it was perfect!"
President Giuliani and his wife Sister Giuliani


I can't wait to talk to you guys tomorrow!!!! woohoo!!!

So, I feel like I just wrote you guys yesterday and not much has happened in the past 4 days! First off a BIG THANK YOU to Lexi and the Jorgensen family for that package of goodies! I shared them with all my latino buddies and they were in heaven. haha and Addison I finally got your letter! Woohoo! and a big thank you to the Lundquists for the card! I love you guys! Thanks to the Maderis family too!

So, on Wednesday we had the funnest time decorating a little christmas tree with a less active member, Georgina, and her 2 twin boys, Benjamin and Israel. I was super excited and even though it wasnt the same as up there in America, it was amazing. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! oh and we took pics!

Yesterday, we had our special Christmas conference and it perfect! We heard from President Giuliani and I learned a ton of things that I can do better in! I'm so grateful for President and his advice, leadership, and the revelation he receives for our mission! After we heard from the assistants, Elder Buhl and Elder Troncoso. I look up to those guys so much. Elder Buhl talked about how Heavenly Father works in simple ways and talked about how basic and humble the circumstances were of Christs birth. When he was talking I started thinking about how perfect and peaceful His birth was. I think we can do a better job at maintaining the reverence of Christmas! Then Elder Troncoso talked about how we have a huge potential as missionaries and as children of a Heavenly Father! I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father that loves us so that much, that He has a plan for us to attain all that He has and more. We have so much to be grateful for and God has much more blessings to give us if we would just be obedient! Then Sister Giuliani talked about how we, like the 3 wise men, need to give Christ something. She said that we need to give Him something that would be a sacrifice, like the 3 wise men and their expensive gifts. She went on to say that what better thing is there to give than ourselves. President closed and bore testimony of the Savior and we need to make Christmas personal and and apply it all year long. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I'm so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and all the He did that we can return to live with Him and our families after this life. I'm thankful for a loving Heavenly Father, and a loving family. I'm the luckiest guy in the world!

Gracias todos por su apoyo, amor, y oraciones. Yo espero que todos de ustedes tengan una Feliz Navidad con sus familias. Les extra├▒o y les amo!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Week 20 Santa Fe, Argentina

Elder Hjelmstad with his homemade advent calendar and "Christmas tree".
(All decorated with lights and ornaments, with messages from home written on the back).

Painting houses at Christmas time!!!

We believe this is Josh's apartment?

Taking a shower with buckets... "Karma!!!!"

It’s Christmas time….

Sooooooo Transfers are today and we just found out that Elder Rivera and I are both staying! 6 more weeks of the Chile-Cali duo! Crazy crrazzyy. I will probably be here for 6 months now since Elder Rivera only has 2 more transfers after this one! We have a lot of work to do still! Oh and my American buddy, Elder Hull is leaving to a different area and another native is coming, so my Spanish is going get a lot better because I wont get to speak English...ever!

So Christmas here is going to be interesting! I can’t wait to call you guys! I’m going to cry, so have the tissues ready. Here in Argentina they celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas! It’s called Noche Buena or Good Night and they party and eat super, super late in the night! My comp said that people start eating dinner and stuff around 11 or 12! Crazy! So we’re probably going to visit some members and then take some food back to the pinch. I want to buy a watermelon. haha (Christmas colors!!) Oh we finally put up the lights and ornaments on the cooolest Christmas tree ever!! I have pictures too! NOBODY listens to Christmas music here, which is a big bummer. But I love that you guys are doing all the Christmas stuff together. It really makes me happy and thankful for all the traditions and memories that we have! I’m SO GRATEFUL for my family! I hope that we all can remember our Savior at this time of year and all that He did for us and continues to do for us.

So on Sunday, we were all taking showers and when it came time for Elder Hulls comp to shower the water just turned off for no reason. haha So he had to shower out of a bucket. It was pretty funny. haha but then... KARMA. On Monday we woke up and still had no water, so all of us had to shower with buckets and when it came time for Elder Hulls comp to go, the water turned back on and he got to take a shower. RANDOM but so funny and a memory made!

So this week Elder Rivera had to go to Rosario to do things for his visa and the only person that I could stay with was a member of our ward! He’s like 22 and is doing all the stuff for his mission papers but is super shy. We went out all morning and taught some people and I was basically having to do everything. It was very humbling. haha We taught this one lesson to a family and I totally was tripping all over the place with my words and questions. But overall it was really good! I learned a lot and have a ton to learn.

Our investigators are doing pretty good! This week at church we saw some miracles! Graciela is really smart and really wants to receive an answer if the Book or Mormon is true but had never wanted to go to church with us! After teaching her on Saturday night, she kind of surprised us when she said that she was going to come! She came and loved it! We had the primary program, which was really cool cuz she loves kids. We also had a couple come that totally surprised us and the twins, Elizabeth and Lorena came too! I REALLY hope and pray that we will have baptisms this transfers. They’re coming!

I’ve had some pretty cool dreams this week! haha I was joking with Elder Hull about how dreams here are like the movie Inception! Were living in Argentina but at night were living back in America with our families! I had a dream that I was hanging out with Ty and we were talking about what I was doing on my mission. Then I had a dream that Dee and I were talking about all the experiences that we’ve had on our missions and then I had one that I was just at home chillin. I love dreams!! haha

So I was trying to think about something that I could share with you guys. I went through all the stuff that I’ve read and nothing really stood out. The only thing that I thought I could talk about was.... CHRISTMAS. I can still remember perfectly last year on Christmas Eve when we sat down with the lights off, candles burning, and read about Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. The girls were tired and wanted to go to bed but we focused on the real meaning of Christmas and read and bore testimony of the little baby Jesus. Afterward I showed Mom the song "Mary let me hold her baby," and then we went to bed. I remember feeling different when we were reading. I remember thinking; THIS is what Christmas was all about. I know now that the best thing we can do as a family during the holidays is focus ourselves in Christ. I hope that you guys can do the same thing this year and enjoy time together as a family. I’m so grateful for the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that loves us so much that He has a plan for us and thanks to this plan and Christ, we can return to live with God and our families FOREVER. I’m thankful for my eternal family. I have the best eternal family!

I love you all sooooooooo much. CAN’T WAIT TO TALK TO YOU!!!!

With Love and Christmas wishes,

Elder Hjelmstad

p.s. Shout out to Addison! I’m still waiting on that letter! We get mail on Friday and I’m looking forward to it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

week 19 Santa Fe, Argentina

Josh and his companion...
showing off their Christmas stockings sent from home!!!

"I scream... You scream... We all scream for Ice Cream!!!!"
(We think it's from one of the Ice Cream delivery trucks he talked about.)

Taco seasoning packets sent from home!!!!
(He's in heaven)


This week has been pretty different! On Tuesday, I had to go to Rosario to do stuff in order to stay here in Argentina. Hopefully, I wont have to do it again soon. But for tramites, or the stuff we have to do, we go to this government place that's basically is like the DMV and yes it's just as horrible with all the numbers and waiting in lines and stuff. While we were waiting there I was talking to an Elder in English and all of a sudden we hear a girl from behind us say, "Do you guys work here?" IN ENGLISH!!!!! We both got freaked out a little bit and it turns out that she was from Chicago! Pretty dang random, but cool. Then on Friday, I started not feeling very good in the afternoon. My throat was hurting, I had a headache, blah blah blah. Turns out I had a fever and was FREEZING when we were walking home at night when it's still really hot. That night we went to the hospital and waited to get a shot, but after 45 min and Ibuprofen, I felt a little better. I rested Saturday morning and was out walking and teaching Saturday afternoon! Miracle!

So Christmas here isn't the same, but I get really excited whenever I see any type of Christmas decorations! Lots of people have little tiny Christmas trees that are so simple and so great. Nobody puts up lights on their houses sadly, only inside their windows at times, but it's all good! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! AND 13 DAYS TIL WE GET TO TALK TO MY FAMILY!!! WOOHOO!

So this week I was reading in the Book of Mormon and the word "heart" really kept popping out at me. I started to realize or try to understand why in the scriptures they always use the heart to describe the desires of the people. I then realized that this life is basically a war of hearts. Every day, every decision, we're either softening out hearts and giving them to God or hardening them and turning away from God. Dad and I always talked about this and how there's two sides to every single little thing. When Elder Holland spoke to us at the MTC, he said that if we could give Jesus anything to pay him back for what He did for us, we should give Him our heart. I think that Christ never had any problem giving His heart to God. He knew His purpose and he aligned it with Gods, "This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." I hope we can all try a little harder to make our Heavenly Father proud with our choices. I know that if we do, we will be happier! I really hope to learn how to give my heart to God.

So for Christmas here everybody paints their houses! This week we're going to help 2 different people to paint their houses, in the HEAT. It's so weird that were seriously having Christmas in June, basically. But it's different and kinda cool too! We do fireworks for the 4th of July and they do them for Christmas and New Years!

So were teaching a preaty good amount of people and they're all doing way great except the challenge for everybody is to come to church!!! I've already learned that IF they have the faith to come to the church on Sunday, they will get baptized. Eva, the cute 81 year old, has a friend named Perla and she accepted the invitation to be baptized as well! We're so excited for them, but the only thing that we have to figure out is how they are going to get together the money to go to church every Sunday. They really want to go but they have to use a taxi because they live far away. We're so spoiled with our cars and such. Only two families have cars in our ward. The rest ride the bus, or a vespa to church. By the way, I saw 5 people on one scooter this week. Record for me. haha. But seriously going to church is so important and essential and not something that we should take for granted! The twins are doing great too, just their mom needs to start coming to church again! Missionary work sure isnt easy. Lots of this, "aww man." ha but it's okay! I love how it says in Alma 17:16 that they preached repentance that PERHAPS one would listen. Oh and Karina, the girl that got baptized is doing FANTASTIC!! Super strong and has tons of friends. Also, some less active families are starting to come out to church! So cool!

and last night....WE MADE TACOS!!! SO GOOD!!! Pancakes for tortillas or course.

Well I have to go...

I love you so so so much and pray for you everyday.

Love you!

Elder Hjelmstad

Monday, December 5, 2011

week 18 Santa Fe, Argentina

Josh and his Paper Christmas tree sent from home


I gotta make a birthday shout out to my best bud in France, Elder Davis! Happy birthday! and second to my BEST CUZ, TYLER!!!! WOOHOO Happy Birthday TY!

So...20 days til Christmas! Sadly, the only difference here is the little fake Christmas trees that stores put in the windows. :( But its all good! We're startin to decorate the apartment which is fun! Thank you so much mom for the advent calendar and Christmas tree! SO COOL!! We need to buy glue to put up the ornaments and lights.

This week... nothing really big happened. Just doin the Lords work down here in Argentina! We're teaching this family and they're grandma and they're so nice and listen pretty good! Their grandma is 81 years old and is so humble and sweet and feels really good when we pray. It's so fun to see people progress in their knowledge of Heavenly Father and all that they have in store for them. I know that Heavenly Father has so many blessings in store for us if we would just be obedient and ask Him for help. Another cool experience that we had, was when we passed by Natalia´s house, a girl that's 14 that weve talked to before, and we started talking about church and prayer. She's never had religion in her life and we taught her how to pray and she says that shes tried a few times! woohoo!! We then showed her the temple magazine and she kept saying Que hermosa, or How Beautiful. Then we talked for a little bit more and were about to leave when she said in the most innocent voice ever, "You guys are leaving?" (in spanish of course).. but it was so touching, how she really wants to learn more about Heavenly Father. It's really sad when we meet people that have no faith in God. We are so lucky!!! We have so many blessings it's insane. Never take it for granted.

So another cool thing, was that I finally weighed myself! And I'm proud to report that I havent gained weight!!! Pretty much a miracle because all they do here is eat bread. Carbs, carbs, carbs. It's really good though! haha but we walk a ton so it helps a little.

My favorite scripture this week was from the advent calendar. In Mosiah 3:5-8
it talks about Christ coming to the world to heal the sick and afflicted as well as atone or suffer for our sins. I definately know that we need to do a better job about focusing on Christ during the holidays. Nothing is better than a gift from God. We have already received that gift too! But each person opens it in their own time and takes advantage of it in different ways. Some dont even open it, some open it and then put it to the side, some open it and play with it for a little bit then move on to something else, and some people open it, cherish it, and use it every single day with reverence. I hope all of us can focus a little more on Christ this year!

So another "Argentine Update." I've never drank so much juice in my whole entire life. All they do is drink juice. Water and Tang (Yes they use the same Tang) It's pretty good, but most of the time I just want water! haha but it's fine. Sugars always good. haha and we saw 15 people riding in the back of a truck today. Totally legal. So is J-walking. Pretty sweet.

Elder Hull got sick this week and went to the hospital and they told him to lie down and the lady just pulled down his pants and stabbed his bottom with a needle. Then while laying there with his bottom hangin out Elder Hull started talkin to her about the church. What a champ. haha

Welllllll I hope you all have a great week! I love you all so much! Look at some Christmas lights for me!

Con Amor,
Elder Hjelmstad