Monday, May 16, 2011

So they love fútbol in Argentina

Hey family and friends!

Yet another week has come to an end in Argentina. And what a great week it has been!!!! Ha it has been great but in reality it is about the same as some of the other past weeks.

We had a huge rainstorm this past week. And those are always fun because I get to use my boots! The storm was thursday and friday and basically all of my dirt streets turned in to muddy rivers! It was a great adventure to try and get to peoples houses. We arrived at one house but realized we were on the wrong side of the ¨river¨so we had to walk back two blocks where there was a place to get to the other side so we could get to the house. The storms are also reallly fun because the people always give us hot chocolate with bread or cake. The hot chocolate here is really delicious. My companion hates the rain. He was sick on the first day of the storm but I eventually got him out of the house at late afternoon.

We didnt find any new investigators this week so that was kind of frustrating but we also had a bunch of miscellaneous chores to do such as go to centro and pay for the rent and my comp and the other district leaders had training tuesday. That was when i got to work with the new Elder, Elder Proctor. He is a really awesome elder. Last semester he was at university of Iowa on wrestling scholarship. Even though he knows very little spanish he is not afraid to speak up... he set a good example for me. Many times i am afraid to speak up because I don´t want to say something wrong but the only way I can learn is by making mistakes first and learning from them. But we taught two lessons that day and set up a bunch of appointments for the rest of the week so i felt pretty good about our day for the experience we had between us. All the trainers and new elders received training this week to adapt for the fact that they dont teach language in the mtc anymore. In the mission now the trainers and new missionaries study all morning. 1 hour personal study, 2 hours comp study, and 1 hour language study. they dont get to work until after lunch. And it is that way for the first 12 weeks.

For food this past week I have made lots of pancakes and eggs for breakfast. and for lunches or dinners i have had noodles or chicken. Oh we also made pizza again. The food here is great. And i think i actually lost week this week =) But its been fun to have a companion from uruguay because i have been learning how to cook more local foods so that is fun.

Yesterday was a day of soccer. The biggest rivalry in all of Argentina was yesterday Boca vs. River. Boca won 2-0!!!! We got to watch the end of the 2nd half at a members house because we weren´t able to do any work because people would start yelling at us when we knocked on their doors. After that the team from Bahía played in their rivalry game and we saw most of the first half of that in an investigators home. It was really fun to see that part of the Argentine culture. I miss soccer. I really want to play it again someday. But yah we werent able to do much work yesterday. But we did end up having lots of little lessons with the members.

Well that is all for this past week.


Elder Vaterlaus

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So I just started my second transfer today and a lot of things are going to be different! My companion Elder Milne was transferred up to Mar del Plata to be a new zone leader. And in from Necochea is my new companion Elder Ramirez from Uruguay. My first latino companion. He is going to be my district leader and he is pretty cool even though I still dont know too much about him because we can´t communicate that well but I am excited for my castellano to get so much better! I am excited to be with him. It seems like he has a great desire to work and to be obedient so it should be good.

I decided I hate transfers though... We went to the bus terminal at 9 last night and most all of the elders and hermanas in Bahía were there so that was fun to get to know some of the other elders. but after most of them left on their trips at 1130 it was super boring and i was super tired. after midnight me and Elder Angle went and bought a choripan in something like a taco truck but with argentine food. It was just a chorizo sandwich but it had incredible salsa on it so it was great to a intense flavor in food once again. At 2 in the morning an elder finally came who is going to be with us until wednesday. When he came we went back to our house to sleep a little bit. and at 6 I went back to the terminal and picked up my companion. We came back in a taxi and he got settled in and we did some shopping and i did some laundary and slept! This past week was alright. It was really fast. We didn´t have too much success. But it was fun getting all of the tortas from members for Elder Milne´s birthday. it was pretty fun.

And on saturday we found an incredible lady. i think she has around 23-26 years. And she is very intelligent. her name is carolina. When we were leaving her a chapter to read in the book of mormon she said that she didn´t want to just read one chapter, but she wanted to read the whole book. She has a baptismal date for the 28th de May. Right now we have about 6 investigators with baptismal dates right now so hopefully we will have some baptisms coming up.

We had 5 investigators at church yesterday which was awesome and we had a class with all of the investigators and a couple of members about the gospel of jesus christ... faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was really good. Well sounds like everything is going well. I have gotten everybody´s letters letters just now that were written at the end of march and beginning of april and the dear elders up until i think two weeks ago. So i am glad to hear from you guys!

yo tengo pictures but the computer is being really slow so maybe next week!

Love Elder V

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Hey Family and Friends!

What a great week it has been! Time really flies by so much here in Argentina. It feels like every other day I am writing an email for ya. But I love it; I love the work, I love the people, and I just love the mission.

I went on divisions in my area this week with Elder Jones for two days. He has about four months in the mission and I only have one so it was really interesting to be two rather inexperienced missionaries. But it was really fun. since it was my area i was in charge of the schedule and everything so that was pretty fun too. We had a rough first day. We did a lot of tracting and went and found ex investigators all with no luck but we still ended up teaching 1 lesson with an investigator and member present. On Wednesday we did awesome! we had 4 lessons (which is the most i have had yet in a day) and we found 2 new investigators! It was a really exciting day.

Then I got back with Elder Milne on Thursday and we had to plan for our Easter activity for the next day. its near the end of the transfer so we barely have any money left so we had to get creative with what we were going to do. The activity was really fun though. about 20 people showed up (which is a lot for our barrio) and we started out hiding candy outside in the church grounds and gave everyone a bag and we did kind of an Easter egg hunt. It was so funny because everybody got way into it. The adults here act just like kids... its great. We then strapped balloons to our legs and played stomp each others balloons to be the winner. we also played pin the tail on the bunny (I destroyed.... I got it perfectly... and i didn't even cheat like i normally would've) and then we did egg in a spoon races. After all the games Elder Milne and I shared a spiritual message and opened it up for testimonies. It was such a great experience. Something that couldn't really happen in the states. Everybody brought cakes and we made brownies so we were well fed. It was a successful activity.

Then on Saturday Elder Milne got food poisoning from an egg he ate Friday morning i think so I had yet another lazy day because he was in a ton of pain. I ended up reading almost all of 2 nefi in castellano... it was awesome!

For Easter itself it was a great day. It was kind of weird because none of the talks were about Easter or Christ so that was kind of sad... we didn't even sing an Easter song until the very end of priesthood meeting. but we got chocolate eggs and bunnies. I thought this was going to be a crazy party week for the Argentines but whenever there is a holiday they just sleep... Argentina is a very lazy country.
Tomorrow is Elder Milne´s birthday so we threw him a surprise party today. We went out and got my first haircut in Argentina today and when we got back the other elders had bought all the stuff we needed for an asado. so we just had a delicious feast. Then after that we colored eggs and did egg fights with them and just had a fun p day.
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

en 2 Nefi 23-25 23And they would have had no achildren; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no bjoy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no csin.

24But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who aknoweth all things.

25aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.

I really like this scripture. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. Our lives are supposed to be filled with joy. We can go day by day and always think about the negatives and be sad because there are a lot of sad things in the world... OR we can go around day to day and look for the joy in our lives. This is what I am going to be focusing on this week and I encourage all of you to do the same. We are on earth to have joy and to make the most out of life.... so just do it as Nike would say.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like winter...

Hola, Can you believe that I have already been in Argentina for 1 month! Time is flying by WAY to fast. It got pretty cold this past week in Argentina. I absolutely was frozen all of yesterday. But today has been a really nice day outside. The cold here is so different. I shouldn´t be cold... just the humidity cold goes right to my bones. But winter is definitely setting in. Apparently most missionaries get really fat during winter because the members and the people always give us malta con leche (kinda like hot chocolate) and bread and cake like they do now.... but times 10. I need to start exercizing because I already feel a little chub on me :) The work has been picking up. Right now we have six investigators with a baptisimal date and probably have about 15-20 investigators... which is both doubled from last week. This past week I was on divisions with Elder Thomson... he lives with us so i didn´t have to travel and we worked in his area. He is a really cool elder and has a great area but I definitely liked working in my area much better. Oh this is for Mitch... Elder Thomson is from Canada and his grandpa was a stake president or something in your mission and he just wrote Elder Thomson and said he remembers you. I have divisions again this tuesday and wednesday but I get to stay in Maldonado! A miracle happened this past week. Elder Milne y I were walking down a street and were walking around a corner and a guy passed and I said Hola and he just kept walking. We started knocking on doors and contacting people when the same guy walked by us again while we were waiting for somebody to answer and I turned around and just said hola again. He stopped and asked us if we could walk with him. It was incredible. He basically told us he wants to be baptised. So that happened thursday. We met with him again on Friday and met his family (its huge so hopefully we can teach them too) and invited him to go see a baptism on saturday... but he wasn´t there so we were a little bummed. But we finally got somebody to come to church with us! He loved it and we had a mini sunday school class with him after Sacarament meeting... and he basically told us that he knows the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and that the spirit told him to come talk to us and all... truly a miracle. The only thing is that he smokes... but we are going to teach him the word of wisdom and he said he will do whatever to be baptised. Saturday was quite an interesting day. We were going to do some suprise service for an investigator who is a fisherman but didn´t get called this month so he´s been doing a ton of work in his house. We were almost there when we got a call from the President´s wife that we needed to take an elder in our district to get a surgery to get his wisdom tooth out. It was pretty sweet.... the dentist let us come in and watch and he was using these huge pliers and a screwdriver and was just yanking and pulling on the poor elder´s jaw. It was awesome... make sure eric ballou hears this story... thought about him this whole time ha. It was pretty legit. Today we went to a restaraunt that was a buffet called New For You. and it was all these different Argentine foods. I had finally for my first time real asado! I have missed eating delicious steak and the flavor on it was just super great. I also ate some intestine ( i forgot what the foods are called) but that was kinda nasty because the things being digested were still in it so it had a super weird texture.... but the flavor was alright. They also have this thing where when they kill the cow they put a bucket under it to capture all the blood... they coagulate the blood and insert it into some fat (almost loooks like a chorizo but its black) and they cook it... that was pretty nasty because of the texture. But all the other stuff was absolutely delicious!!! My castellano still needs improvement but I still understand so much more than when I first got here and I am starting to be able to put sentences together much more easily. So i will keep you updated on that. The work is moving along... hopefully we will have more success. But we have done very well at getting the members excited about us as missionaries and missionary work. the members love us and we know that because we are getting chubbier and we are getting tons of sweet references! We are planning an activity for our ward this Friday for Easter. Last Thursday we made some sweet invitations and we are planning on doing a lot of games from the US and also Easter traditions from Argentina... we still haven´t planned it that much so hopefully it all turns out! I will have pictures of it next time hopefully! With Easter coming up I just want to say how greatful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesucristo es my Savior and Redeemer. I know that through Jesucristo all of us can return to live with Heavenly Father once again with our families for eternity. Thats been one of the biggest blessings of my mission so far is learning about the Atonement and about how it can change people´s live and how it can make us stronger and progress to who God wants us to become. I want to share two scriptures that I love that I read this week that goes with the Atonement and with Easter message. Primero, en Ether12: 26-27 talks about how the Lord gives us weaknesses so we can be humble and be strengthened. I think the way that we can overcome our weaknesses is by the atonement of JesucristoaFools bmock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; 27And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them. Segundo, I found this scripture when Elder Milne and I were looking for scriptures for Easter to share with members and investigators.Doctrine and Covenants76:22And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the atestimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he blives!I know that my Savior lives and that Jesus is the Christ. Have a great Easter!!! Con Amor, Elder Vaterlaus

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life in Argentina:

Hola family and friends!

I hope all is well and that everybody is doing well.

I've gone through yet another week in Argentina and can't believe that I am already half way through my first transfer here. It´s been a great week. The work is starting to pick up a lot and we are starting to get a lot more of investigators. Elder Milne and I didn't work that much Friday and Saturday because he got really sick all of a sudden so he was in his bed for about two days straight (we still managed to work in the night for a couple of hours) But yes, i was pretty bored during that time. I washed all the dishes like twice and read Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard. So at least I kept myself somewhat busy. The book, Our Search for Happiness was awesome though. It was all about the basic principles of the gospel and how they can change our lives and it was a great testimony builder.
The castellano hasn't gotten too much better in the speaking department. But it is amazing how much I can understand when people are talking. But I am still working hard at trying to speak up and continue to practice and develop the language. I am finally able to add into lessons and basic conversations instead of just sitting there saying nothing all day so that's good.
We have a few new investigators. We met this really good guy from a reference from a member who just finished his mission in Chile a month ago. His name is Carlos Perez and I think he is about sixty or something. anyways, he has known the church for about twenty years and believes it to be true and watched general conference because he loves the prophets, he has church DVDs, listens to the hymns. The only thing that is lacking is that he isn't baptized! He is scared that if he gets baptized he would just fall away from the church after. So we are going to teach him about faith and about how the gift of the Holy Ghost can make a difference in his life. But he has an amazing spirit. Another family we are working with who are less active members is the familia Aguierre. They have a son who is nine that they want to be baptized so hopefully that will happen soon. But as we were leaving their house the other day the parents friends were coming in and apparently started to ask about us and requested for us to come over and teach them. So hopefully the lessons will help the two families and the son to get excited about the gospel!
On Thursday we got back from a district meeting and the other companionship in our house were on exchanges so one of them were en our casa for that day and the next. but when we got back they were eating our left over pasta that we were going to eat. So we gave elder Thomson a lot of crap for eating it and told him that he needed to make us pasta on Sunday. everyday before Sunday we kept saying how excited we were for the pasta. So Saturday night he got all the stuff to make it and everybody was excited. Well after church on Sunday we got invited over to a members house for lunch to have shepherd's pie. So we agreed having forgot about the pasta. So we ended up eating like 3 plates of shepherd's pie each and then when we were walking back to the house Elder Thomson called us and asked us where we were and we remembered about the pasta. we didn't want to disappoint him so we said we were just at a members house. long story short. Elder Thomson loaded up our dishes and we ended up eating a ton. I felt like throwing up... but he still doesn't know that we ate two lunches that day so shhh.
For P-day today Elder Milne and I got permission to run to Centro. It was about 4km or about 2 miles. It was nice to get out of the house and do some running and exercise. Today is yet another holiday in Bahia Blanca.... today is the 186th year of Bahia. But they seem to have holidays every other week and the whole city shuts down. But it was fun to be in Centro today because there was a lot of music and celebration. Learned a little more about the culture. But it was fun to take some pictures of the city city in Bahia Blanca.

Not much else to write but i´d like to share a couple of scriptures that have helped me out.
In 2nd Nephi 31:3 For my soul delighteth in aplainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the bunderstanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their clanguage, unto their understanding.
I like this scripture because it gives me comfort here. I can´t speak the language well. But I can speak it in plainess. The was I can do that to equal understanding in the people is to teach with the Spirit because the spirit speaketh unto men according to their own language.
And next scripture is James 1:5aIf any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that cgiveth to all men liberally, and dupbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

I love this scripture because this scripture is what ultimately led to Joseph Smith praying to find out the truth and being called as a prophet. I love that God has given us all the promise of being able to ask and receive answers. Personal revelation is incredible and has helped me out more than I ever could have imagined in my mission. I encourage everybody to seek for the things that Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ want us to know... because they will give it to us.
I hope all is well.

I love you!

Elder Vaterlaus

Monday, April 4, 2011

I eat too much

I have a feeling that I am going to be putting on a little bit of weight here in Argentina. The food is just so good and there is just so much! This past week most of our dinners and lunches were provided by members and they were all really good. They also sell popcorn kernels here so I have made popcorn just like home a couple times. I love it! Tonight I might be having my first Asada (beef barbecue) at a members house!!! But the one condition was that I need to bring my pictures of the fam and friends. They reallly LOVE seeing pictures of us. So if you haven´t already... anybody.. send me some sweet pictures of me and you guys doing stuff (hanging out, holidays, soccer, backpacking, hunting, ALL)

Pday has been really fun today. On our mission we cant do any activities really so its basically just lounging around... kinda lame... but if we have more success hopefully that will change. But we went to Centro (downtown bahía) because i had to get a couple of things. BUT i bought this legit Argentine Jersey!!! Its not Messi but its just an Argentine jersey (no number on it) but I love it. It was fun to walk around downtown and see Argentina alive. My area is super small and not as developed so it was cool. It was weird walking on sidewalk and seeing paved roads. But i love my area Maldonado.

We are finding more investigators! we found about 3 or 4 more this past week and we are still working hard to find more. I had a little bit of a slower week because I got sick last tuesday and wednesday. I had a little fever and my throat really hurt... I was scared that I was going to get strep throat.. Luckily it didn´t put me down much and I didn´t lose too much time working.

General Conference was absolutely incredible!!! I received answers to all of my questions and I seemed to be able to get more out of it than ever before. It was funny when they started talking about how the men need to get married. All the missionaries with me with like a few months left were taking super notes and were gettin a lil trunkie. It was funny. So ya we got to watch all the normal sessions in english. but the priesthood session we watched in Spanish.

In between sessions on Sunday there was a baptism for a lady named Yoanna. She lives in the area that I worked in a little bit my first week with the trio in White. My first lesson in Argentina was with her so it was kinda cool to see her get baptised.

Our house has been flooding! one of the pipes has like three tiny holes. Luckily most of the pipes aren´t covered so it just all goes out on the floor. But every time we get back to the house we have to take the squeegie and push all the water out. the water is turned off right now... so hopefully that gets fixed soon.

One thing I really miss here in Argentina is carpet! In our area there is absolutely no carpet anywhere (because its all dirt and dust) so its funny at conference when we went to the big stake center in bahía the room we were in had carpet. I loved it.

The Castellano hasn´t improved much this past week. But for part of my studies i read and translate a chapter of the book of mormon a day. I also carry around a notebook and write down words or phrases that i hear and look them up when i get back home. I was able to talk alot in my last lesson though so that was great. Itw as with Gloria. She had a son with cerebreal paulsy who died when he was 19 and it was a really sad story. The spirit was strong.

So in argentina everybody asks me first if i am for Boca or River. The two major futbol clubs here. I think I have made up my mind that I am for Boca because that was the only team i had heard of prior. and their jerseys are legit. So yep,im boca :)

Well I´m glad to hear everything is going well back home in el estados unidos. Not really sure if there is anything else to write yet. but All is well here.

I included a some pictures. During pday today we walked by a super huge harry potter poster... so we had to take a picture... i cried because i am going to miss part 2. There is a picture of one of the counselors in the bishopric with his grill. He made us super good chicken. But thats his career is making those grills. I thought Dad and Uncle Jan would be interested in that. Then the red head is my comp :) hes great. The one with me my comp and elder hatch (that was my trio for the first week) The one in front of grafitti was cool because it was in english!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Con Amor,
Elder Vaterlaus

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Sorry for taking a long time to write but our Pdays are on Monday! Argentina is an absolute blast! Outside right now it is a pleasant 80 degrees and at night time it gets nice and cool and so we just wear a sweater. So for my first area I am in Bahía Blanca!!! What a great place to start my mission. I am working in the Maldonado Barrio (ward.) My trainer is Elder Milne from Lehi, Utah. He is another tall companion and has red hair and is pretty funny. So i can kinda say that my companion is Fred Weasley =) This past week we worked in a trio with another elder named elder hatch. he was going to be a trainer this transfer but his elder had some problems with his visa or passport. The people here are absolutely AWESOME! They make fun of me all the time and I usually don´t know what they are saying but its all good. They do say I have very pretty eyes so thats good. It was hard to speak up during lessons and stuff this past week because of the trio. But I was able to do a lot of listening and I can understand a lot more Castellano (the Spanish they speak here) But we are supposed to focus more on the work than the Spanish (we don't even have language study) But yah this past week we had a ton of dinners with members. I think i have had more meals with members than where I have to cook. Its awesome. I had the best barbecue chicken ever. Chicken asada is what its called. I´ve had chorizos, ñoquis (potato noodles), Milanessa (like country fried chicken but so much better) lots of noodles and empenadas( the hamburger of Argentina) they are interesting but apparently they get much better. I don´t need to worry about the water here really. all of the argentines only drink their water with tang (there are like 15 different flavors of that here) For breakfast I have been having cereal with milk from a bag and have fried up a couple of eggs. So i will tell about my travels now. We flew out of salt lake last monday at like 12:30 and landed in georgia like 6 then our flight was supposed to leave at 8 but the buenos aires airport's radar was down so we had our flight delayed so we didnt leave until around midnight. It was a 10 hour flight to argentina so we got their around 11 or noon. (we are 3 hours different than you) from there we split up in our different missions and were completely confused what we were doing. The church travel director here put us on a bus from the airport and we ended up at another airport. The 3 of us going to bahia blanca didn´t have our luggage but everyone else did so we were a little confused if we would be flying or driving. But sure enough we got on another flight that lasted about an hour and we went to bahia blanca. our luggage came the next day. The other two elders in my mtc district went to tourist areas (mar del plata and something that starts with an n) But i was done traveling. Our mission president doesn´t speak english but he can understand most of it. So for our orientation the assistants translated. First impressions of argentina: Its great. The driving is absolutely ridiculous. There is basically only one rule... you can´t turn rigth on a red light. other than that anything goes. Dogs are everywhere and its kinda sad to see how some of them look. The food is fantastic. In my area the roads are all dirt and bumpy and my apartment is nice (has hot water, good cooking stuff) but other than that it doesnt look great. Argentina has everything just doesnt look as great. But in some ways it looks awesome . i love it. This past week has gone by SOOO fast! The only thing I miss is all of you guys and the ability to send and receive mail a lot more quickly but its all new address for the mission: Elder Maxwell Bret Vaterlaus Misión Argentina Bahía Blanca Chacabuco 1755 (8000) Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires, Argentina You can´t send peanut butter or jerky. I think whatever you send food wise must have an expiration date. The easiest is to keep it around or below four pounds. Dear elders (FREE) I will get every Tuesday in the pouch so that works good too. Oh the people here love to see pictures of people. So send me some pictures of us like backpacking or hanging out or whatever and i can show the people here. They love it. Well everything is good here! hope to hear from you all! Love, Elder Vaterlaus