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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Goodbye America!

This has been a great last week in America! It's gone by super fast because we have been busy with our teaching week!

Teaching week is where our teachers only teach for about an hour out of their scheduled 2-3 hours a day. The rest of the day we teach other missionaries or teachers as investigators. So we have taught about 20 lessons this week. It's been a blast to watch my Spanish and Teaching skills grow and it is really incredible how much I have been able to pick up (I am not even close to being fluent but when it comes to Gospel stuff I am pretty good with that vocab :)

With this being the last week we have been having a lot of lasts in the MTC. Yesterday was our last day in four square and I totally rocked it! ha I am going to miss four-square but If i get to play soccer in Argentina every once in a while I'm not going to care one bit. We had a couple of meetings this week for departing missionaries. Nothing too special just a health meeting and a seminar about how to study our language while in the field. Our last service in the MTC was Wednesday and before we got our jobs (which was to clean chalk boards) there was a room next to us in the main building (so an employee) rockin out to Taylor Swift song Fairytale. It took all of my might to walk away. I miss T-swift.... but this is so much better!

I can't wait for the airplane ride on monday! I already know that I am going to go and buy some Burger King and I can't wait to call you mom! I dont know but I always love traveling whether it be by car or plane so I am really excited to have a LONG flight. Its going to be awesome.

The MTC has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have learned so much about my self and why I am here and why I am devoting two years of my life to this gospel. I have been so blessed these past 9 weeks. I have drawn so much closer to Jesucristo y Dios. And I have learned that they love me and everybody so much! I am so blessed to have this opportunity to go to Argentina to share what i Know. I have made life-long friends here at the MTC who have been incredible influences to me in my life.

I miss you all and love you all, but I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord I love ya mom!

Con amor, Elder Vaterlaus

P.S. Tonight is the last night i will get dear elders because they dont hand them out on saturdays or sundays. So I probably wont hear from you until I am in Argentina! Dear elder works there too though

Friday, March 11, 2011

Flight Plans!

Hello Everybody!

Lots of exciting news from this past week! The most exciting is that Clare got her official reassignment!!! Sister Vaterlaus is now called to serve in the New York Rochester Visitors center in Albanian when needed. She will report to New York around April 18th. So she will finish up her Albanian training and then have two more weeks with a visitor center district here at the MTC. But, she is SUPER EXCITED! She is really happy. She will get to call the parents Sunday night or Monday night! That is where she originally wanted to go so she is feeling pretty good.

My big news is that I got my travel plans! I will be leaving the MTC March 21st! I am flying Delta and my flight from Salt Lake leaves 12:15 pm and I will land in Atlanta, Georgia at around 6. I have about a 2 hour layover in Georgia and leave there at 7 and fly to Buenos Aires, where we will arive there at 6:50 am March 22. So I will be leaving in 10 days!!! I am a little frightened to go to a completely different part of the world but at the same time I am so excited to learn the culture and to learn spanish much better and to do the missionary work!

Other than that not much happened this past week other than studying, teaching, and studying! Yesterday Clare, Talbot, and I took pictures with their new places before Talbot left the MTC! It was really fun. I wish i could attach pictures onto my email yet I can't.

The other exciting day this past week was March 9th aka National Registered Dietitian DAY!!!! IT was the best National RD day EVER. I hope Emily had the best RD day ever! She deserves it.

My Spanish is still coming along. I surprise myself when i start talking and I don't even know that I am talking in Spanish. Its one of the greatest feelings ever. Its been great to start understanding the scriptures when i read them in Spanish too! Our teaching experience yesterday was to meet with a progressing investigator and follow up on their commitments, get to know them, and give them directions to how to get to church. we then taught about commandments and God's plan for us. My Spanish was very poor that lesson but it ended up being a pretty spiritual lesson. Its frustrating when i can't connect Spanish in my brain as easy... but i notice it happening less and less so i am grateful about that.

Well that's all I have to say! Make sure if you send me a letter that I can get it next week by Saturday! after that I wont be at the MTC. So make sure you all write me a letter one last time before i leave the United States! Thanks for all of your support and prayers! I love you all

Con Amor,

Elder Vaterlaus

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More MTC

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

I am a little jealous and caught off gaurd mom and dad that you are headed on a cruise this weekend! I never knew about stuff like that when I was home anyways! :) But I guess that I will be able to go to Argentina in like 17 days so I am not too jealous!

But yah I am down to the last couple of weeks here at the MTC. Time has really flown by and I cant believe that I've been here for over a month and a half. Everybody that is leaving march 14th got their travel plans yesterday which means I should be expecting to get my flight information and plans next thursday because I should leave around the 21st. I am super excited.

The Spanish has been going great! I can speak all that i need to speak at the mtc (which means i dont know anything) but I'm working hard every day to learn something new about it. There are some crazy rules in spanish but i feel that i understand the principles pretty well.... just need to practice and practice! We have been teaching in complete spanish for the past two weeks now and our spanish has greatly improved. For our teaching experience yesterday (not a teacher or othe missionary but a volunteer) we went "shopping" and had to buy clothes. then we had to talk to the store clerk about her family and relate that to the gospel and ask if she wanted to learn more. Then we went and taught her in her "home" about the restoration of the gospel. It was awesome and we had a good experience. We didn't struggle as much with our spanish as we usually do.

This past week we have been teaching and teaching! Elder Flamm and I have 4 progessive investigators (our teachers and missionaries in our district) and it has been fun to teach alot. Still need to improve a ton in my teaching.

Nothing else too much has happened. Can't wait to get out to Argentina so my e-mails will be a little more exciting! But yah same ole over here; four-square, studying, food, studying, sleeping, and some more studying.

I guess i could share a quick thing i learned last sunday in a meeting that was awesome! A member of our branch presidency gave us a message about who we are (meaning everybody in teh world) He started off by saying that Identity leads to values,beliefs, rules and that leads to attitudes and behaviors, and that to actions, and ultimately to reality. If we know our identity and who we are we can improve our lives drastically. So what is our identity? Everybody is a son or daughter of God. If we can always remember that simple statement when we are faced with a difficult choice or challenge or attitude, satan will have no effect and even no POWER over us. It is incredible that knowing that being a child of God can make the devil powerless over us. Well sorry if i rambled a bit! but I would love to hear from everybody! Tenga un buen Semaña!


Elder Vaterlaus

Friday, February 25, 2011



Today I walked outside and there was over a foot of snow! There was a blizzard over the night that would maybe have rivaled the blizzard of 2010! ;) Well its just been another week at the MTC! So nothing too much new to tell you about.

For my teaching experience this week Elder Flamm and I taught an investigator named Napolean. He was this old guy who liked to talk a LOT! But it was good to practice our listening in Spanish. Also it was our first week doing all of our teaching in Spanish. Its pretty basic spanish and teaching however it is crazy that just in 5 weeks i can teach somebody about the gospel.

I am still playing four square every gym time! I seriously am professional now (and so humble). But lets just say that I have another home in the king's square. Mom, you would be proud of me for what I have been eating for breakfast lately. I think for thee past week and a half I have been eating oatmeal or cracked wheat with a blueberry bagel. It's the best! I probably make the cereal just as unhealthy as the other cereals... but i still do enjoy it.

I had the best President's Day EVER. It is probably one of my new favorite holidays. I wore my blue and red tie to celebrate. And dranks a glass of milk (white) cranberry juice (red) and powerade (blue) for each meal that day to show my patriotism. It was a great day to be an American. (did i amp this holiday up so that i didn't mind that i wouldn't be getting mail? yes... but it was worth it) :)

Elder Zollinger left for Mexico today. I guess I haven't really told you about him. But he was supposed to leave the mtc the week I arrived. But due to health problems he kept getting pushed back weeks and weeks. He always came into our room to see how we were doing. He hhas been a great friend and it was sad and happy to see him go. (he was working onn 4 months in the MTC)

I enjoyed getting to hear from everybody this week (except for ALEX ha ha) he must be busy rock climbing. But thanks for the popcorn Mom! and for the goodies mitch! Until next week!

Elder Vaterlaus

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Month In!

Hello Everybody!

As of today I am a month in on my mission! Also I am halfway done with my MTC experience. It has been great.

Earlier this week I had two meetings about my visa for Argentina. The first one we just signed a couple of papers that were all in Spanish and they took every single fingerprint I have. It was just incredible (not really but i did feel like I did pretty good because I am a pretty good finger painter) The meeting on Tuesday was with the consulate from Argentina. He flew to the MTC from LA instead of us going to LA.... sad i know. But it was really great because he gave us about an hour and a half to ask him questions about Argentina (he was born in Buenos Aires). He said there would be two things that we would love: the people, and the food. So, I am looking forward to that. Also he said the postal system is terrible and that nothing valuable or of food would make it to us. The best way for packages would be through fed ex or ups depending on whats there he said. I asked him what he thought about Bahia Blanca. and he said he didn't like it because there isn't much tradition there. But that's fine with me! He said its set up around the military base and that there is incredible fishing (after my mission!) and we could run into some penguins. Overall, I got extremely excited about going to Argentina and I really can't wait.

Valentine's day at the MTC was basically incredible! ha. The cafeteria had Valentine cookies.... what could a guy need more. Its been pretty nice weather here this week with the exception of a freak snow storm. I am still four-squaring it up and will probably join a four-square league when I get home. I've also gotten letters from lots of friends this week from BYU and high school so it was really fun to hear from them.

Today I am going to get a haircut; my hair has gotten really long so I am really excited to get rid of most of it. Then i will do some laundry and write some letters! Days just don't seem to be long enough here at the MTC.

Yesterday, we had our teaching opportunity. We spent about 20 minutes talking in Spanish to investigators about their families and we left a message with them about prayer and the steps of prayer. ex. primero, nos dirigimos nuestro Padre Celestial. Segundo le agredecimos por bendiciones y Su ayuda. Luego le pedimos bendiciones y estas cosas que nececitamos. Finalmente, terminamos en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. That's basically the steps for prayer en español. Sorry for those that speak Spanish... still not that great at writing it! Anyways, Elder Flamm and I were thinking yesterday about how we have learned more Spanish in four weeks here at the MTC than throughout two years of high school. Its crazy how much Heavenly Father helps me out with learning the language.

I hope to get a dear elder, letter, or even package from all of you ;) Ha just kidding but i do love hearing from each of you!
Con amor,

Elder Vaterlaus

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week 4


This has been an incredibly fast week! It feels like just yesterday I was writing my last e-mail! As usual though not much has happened.

In our Teaching opportunity this week our assignment was to be prepared to pick somebody up to go to church and to get on a "bus" to go to church. We had to talk to the investigator for 15 minutes about their family, school, work, and commitments that we invited them to do. It was great! Elder Flamm and I were able to use up the 15 minutes easily (but that may have been because our investigator LOVED to talk!... I think that's how it will be in Aergentina) So the Spanish went much better this week than our last TRC. The next part was to go back to the investigators home and teach about the plan of salvation in English. it was just our second time teaching it so it was a little rough. Yet we have already improved drastically.

That's awesome about Taylor! He is going to love Des Moines, Iowa and he will do great at learning Spanish. That was cool too how alex was there to talk to the Dickinson's about the mission! Right now there are about 4 other elders from my graduating class here so its fun to see them around.

Crazy story today! When we were going to the temple today I saw Emily in our session! What a crazy coincidence! It was a pleasure to see her. Although it feels like i haven't really been gone that long so it was kinda funny. But what a treat.

Sundays are my most absolute favorite days. (other than pdays) porque on sundays we have our church meetings mostly all in spanish and we learn a ton about the language and also about how we can feel the spirit without knowing what is said. we also get a devotional from somebody working in the church missionary department. And after the devotional we get to watch movies (Legacy, Joseph Smith, or the Testaments) We also get to go walk to the temple. Its fun to go somewhere other than our classroom and rooms. Overall sundays are extremely relaxing and get us ready for the upcoming week.

Next week the elders in my district that are going to Argentina have two two hour meetings. 1st meeting we are meeting with an argentine visa agent. And the 2nd meeting we will meet with a member of the Argentine Consul. Both are at the MTC. We are looking forward to that and hopefully we will have our visas soon. We keep hearing about how missionaries headed to Mexico, Brazil, and Spain are getting reasiggned because they don't have their visas yet.

Another funny story from this week. There is this Elder in my district who always wants our sleeping room to be cold. And me being the son of my mother always want it warm. We argued about it for a bit. But then I decided that it didn't really matter. SO I have been sleeping in my long johns and jacket every night so that I can stay warm. The other elders make fun of me. But at least I am getting good sleep, right? :) Well thanks to all that have sent me letters and dear elders! Keep them coming por favor! (Emily, you should repost my address on fb) Thanks for all of your prayers and support!

Con amor,

Elder Max Vaterlaus

Monday, February 7, 2011

"On my mission..." - Week 3

Querido mi familia y mis amigos,

Time is really starting to move now! This past week for my teaching thing we had to knock on peoples doors and talk to them in Spanish for about 7 minutes.... I really need to work on my Spanish :). We then taught the investigator the first lesson about the restoration and it was really great to teach with the spirit. the "investigator" was great and it was really a neat experience for all of us.

I have enjoyed hearing from everybody! It's been great to hear about everything that has been going on. I enjoy the BSU updates very much so keep them coming. Its really funny. Our teacher Hermano Heap is presumably the younger brother of Todd Heap who plays Tight End for the Ravens right (Joe? ) But we don't know that for sure so we always ask him funny questions to figure out more. We know that his favorite team is the ravens and because his brother lives there. Kind of a fun thing we do during our breaks.

Dad would have been proud of me once again for my service activity this week. Elder Flamm and I cleaned the bathrooms of the main building. But they are cleaned every single day (maybe more than one time every single day) so they really weren't that bad.

On Tuesday we heard from I think Elder Steven R. Duncan of the first Quorum of the Seventy and his wife. They had incredible talks. Both mentioned that no effort in missionary work is EVER wasted. Elder Duncan also taught that as missionaries we are bridge makers for the investigator to Christ. That every persons bridge starts somewhere else yet the destination is always the same! Its great to think about how our goal is to invite others to come unto Christ even though people can come from all different places in life.

Well I am really sorry about these emails. Hopefully when I get out into Argentina things will start to get more exciting to hear about. But my mission has been exciting to me!

Also, I went to the temple today and it was incredible. I always keep looking around to see if Emily is going to jump out of nowhere and embarrass me :) The temple is truly an incredible place and has so much power to give me peace, hope, and joy. I love going because I get to think about my family a lot and all that you have done for me.

I finally have adjusted to the schedule somewhat! I found out the problem.... the room was always too cold to sleep! so once i started to turn the heater on I have had the best night sleep I had had in a long time.

Ha I set up the valentine's card that LauriAnn gave me on my shelf. It is a heart with a puppy on it that says smile. So every time I look at it I just cant help but smile.... Thanks LauriAnn!

My Spanish is coming along and I understand the concepts extremely well. Just putting them into use however is the difficult thing for me. I have been struggling with saying what I want to say even though I could write it down quickly if I needed to. Any suggestions? I have just been trying to use my Spanish as much as possible and to trust in the Lord.

Hopefully I hear from everybody! :) It always makes my day when I hear from you guys.

con amor -
Elder Vaterlaus

Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 2


I have successfully made it more than a week into the MTC! It has been fantastic!
This morning our district went to the temple at 9 and it was just an incredible booster for me. I finished up personal study where I studied a bit about the Book of Mormon and the bible and how each support each other and talk about each other. Companion study Elder Flamm and I studied Alma chapter 17 and I helped teach him about some principles that we can apply to our missions (seeing as that is what I gave my talk on) He also had some good insights for me.

I have become quite the four-square pro during gym time. I probably am way to competitive but that is kinda the way I am. And I am not too worried about tearing my ACL again in four square like I am in basketball. But gym time has gotten to be more enjoyable.

I have enjoyed getting letters and DearElders from everybody (and for those of you who don't know what dearelder is: you can go to and follow the directions to write me a letter. My MTC mailbox is #182 and I get it that day or at the latest the next day) I got my first handwritten letter from the Fish's and Addison gave me a puzzle of the Argentine flag and Parker and Annie both drew me pictures. It was very fun to read through and look at. Everybody in my District loved it. The puzzle took about 20 minutes for all of us to solve. I also have heard from Emily and got a package from Mitch with a bunch of goodies! I enjoy hearing from everybody and I will continue to :)

Its been a blast to see Chad Carr and Talbot and Clare and a couple of other people from high school and college here. Chad is in Clare's zone so they see each other all the time. Clare is doing very well and we have been able to talk to each other a lot and help each other so that has been a great blessing.

The MTC is still pretty weird and it is still impossible for me to fall asleep t 10:30 and difficult for me to get out of bed at 6:30. But once I am awake I enjoy all that I do. For our service activity Wednesday morning Elder Flamm and I were assigned to clean all the entrance windows in the main building. It was pretty fun and I kept being reminded of the good ole days working at WBM cleaning windows.

I have been wearing my Mr. Mac suit this entire week because i tore a seem in my other suit so I am going to take that too go get fixed today.

My district is absolutely AWESOME! ha. Each one of them has an incredible testimony and a great sense of humor to help things go by more enjoyable. Each morning we open up wiitthh singing a song in spanish and then we ALWAYS sing a verse or two or the whole thing of the Spirit in God in Spanish. I have most of the first verse memoriizzed and the whole chorus learned. Its fun being able to know a song to sing in spanish otheerr than feliz navidad :)

The Spanish is coming along... still have lots to learn. But yesterday we had our first try at the Teaching Resource Center or something like that. We had to Contact three people in a "park" and get to know them and ask them what they have been up to and to introduce ourselves. Nosotros sabemos misioneros de la iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. and then after that we had to give the first lesson to one of them in English. Elder Flamm and I have come a LONG ways in how effective we have taught.
Well the work is moving along and time is starting to move by.
Yo se que la iglesia nos bendice y nos guia.
I love you all -
Elder Max Vaterlaus

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Life at the MTC - 1st Email

Hola -

Today we have half a p-day because ours is normally Friday but since Friday was so soon we have a short one today. My companion and I just finished going to the gym. I did 150 sit ups. I have gained 1 pound since I have been here so I am already getting much more fat :) I am still getting used to the missionary schedule (6:30 is EARLY) But eventually I hope to get used to the schedule and benefit from it.

I sent a letter home yesterday telling you about my first day so you can check that.

It’s been really fun to see Motra y Elder Vaterlaus around the MTC. Talbot came up to me the other day and bore his testimony to me in Spanish. He has learned a lot. Clare always has the biggest smile on and she has been such an example to me. I think she has caught my cold that I had so she isn't feeling too well right now. Clare and I both forgot Laundry baskets but Clare wanted me to tell you to send her one? But i just bought one at the bookstore for like 7 dollars.

The language is going well. We have only had three lessons so far so we are a little behind but we have still learned a lot. I can now say a simple prayer in Spanish as well as my testimony. I am really excited for this next week because we will jump into Spanish more.

In our classes we have been talking about charity and learning to meet the needs of our investigators. It’s been incredible to learn about this because it has taught us that we aren’t salesman instead we are guides to help return Heavenly Father's sheep. We have been doing some role playing and let’s just say there are some people in my district that can’t suppress their laughs (namely me). ha. But I am working on trying to take the role playing more seriously even though it has been difficult thus far.

We have a very small district with 8 elders. Half of us are from Idaho. Everyone in my district is extremely quiet which has been good for me because it’s helping develop courage to talk and to speak my mind in order to avoid the frequent awkward silences. We are all starting to get to know each other better so that has helped a little bit.

As of right now there is not much to talk about because i have only been here for a couple of days.

The Spirit is so strong here at the MTC and always gets me excited to do the Lord's work (sometimes a little too much to where I am unable to fall asleep)

All is well and things are starting to speed up.

Last thought of the day. I was studying out of preach my gospel today about the nature of Jesus Christ and God and there were scriptures about how God has all power, wisdom and how Christ created the world to be inhabitted and us to posess it. The last scripture on the study list was the scripture mastery (blanking on the reference right now) but the one that says This is my Work and Glory to bring to pass the immortality of men. I had read this scripture hundreds of times before. But this time I felt the Spirit so strongly. Its incredible that God, who could do anything He wanted to yet declares that us His children are His work and His glory. It just confirmed how much Heavenly Father and jesus Christ love each and every single one of us.

Miss you all!


Elder Vaterlaus