Date

May 2, 2016

Area

Tranqueras, Rivera

Companion

Elder Salgado

Kindness to Animals leads to Teaching Opportunity

Well this has been a pretty good week full of pretty good experiences. We have been teaching and teaching and teaching without end. Which is a good thing. I think I have taught more in my 10 or 11 days here than in my entire mission.
I had the chance this Sunday to direct Sacrament Meeting. Which was definitely a first for me. None of the leadership showed up for church last Sunday because it was some sort of holiday or something and the Missionaries had to take over, I directed and my companion presided. We had a stunning attendance of 16 people!! (Counting the Missionaries) It was a pretty awesome experience, it is amazing to me how much work actually goes into making a church service happen. It really isn't too much really if everyone shows up and does that part but here that can be a bit difficult. I'm super grateful to have had the experience.
What else stuns me is the fidelity of some of these members here. 3 out of the 16 members that came were men and most of the others were older ladies but there are a few youth that come that amaze me. They live here in a place where it is so difficult to be true to faith yet they still manage to do it. There aren't any male active youth so these girls that come are mostly just coming out of their own desire to live the gospel and help their friends. I find it so hard to believe yet at the same time I am seeing it here.
Well it has been a challenge since I have gotten here. I have had to slow down a whole bunch. With my time in the offices and in Barrio 5; I was always running from one place to another. But here it is a bit sleepier than I am used to. I have tried to get things running but people here don't like the whole "Work and Run" attitude. The work is a bit different here. I am having to spend more time developing trust with the people, before it used to be more about delivering the message more than anything. But here I am having to slow it down a little bit.
Well today I had my first real P-Day in about 7 months or so. We had an Asado in the house! It was really good! It is sort of like an Uruguayan BBQ. It is honestly one of the best things about Uruguay.
Well I can't seem to think or many more things to talk about in this letter so I will talk about my favorite animals here in Tranqueras.
There is a Horse next door to us that I named Debby. He is a plow horse and always looked really sad so I started buying him apples and giving to him whenever we came back to the house for lunch during the day. Now he gets way excited whenever he sees us!
There is also Bacon the Pig. He was originally called Chancho, but that just wasn't creative enough and we didn't want to call him Panceta so we just call him bacon now. I actually haven't seen him for a few days so I assume the he probably got turned into his name... grim thought but I have learned that you should never get too close to farm animals that people like to eat around here.
Also there is our newest buddy, Serj the Kitten or El Gatito Serj. He is a kitten that we saw one day sitting with one of the super friendly stray dogs in the neighborhood. (The dog's name is "Señor Caca") Well Serj and the dog came running up to us as we were entering the house, when we saw Serj we felt SO bad for the poor cat, he was so skinny and hungry looking that we had to give him food. Well now everyday when we open up the door to leave; Serj is out there waiting for us and we give him a little piece of cheese or something on the way out. He is getting pretty fat now. He was probably born about a week or less before I arrived, but since I have gotten here he eats better than ever! (He is named Serj because a car drove by that was playing System of a Down music when we first saw him so we named the kitten after the main singer of the band)
I talk about all these animals because the other day while I was sitting with Serj on the front porch of our house; An old man, that lives on the other side of the street, approached me and started telling me that he had been watching us take care of this cat and feeding the horse next door and he thought it was strange that we were taking such great care of these animals (Taking care of animals is not a very common thing here in Uruguay, especially when they are not your animals) and we started up a conversation about all that and we ended up talking about the Plan of Salvation and about how all creatures, Human, Animal, Plant are creations of God and we should try to show love for even the smaller things in the world, that way it will be easier to love our neighbors, friends and family just because we are already in the habit and we are more apt to keep the commandment to Love One Another. He had never seem to have had this type of thought presented to him before and invited us to come over to house to teach him sometime. We will be heading over there sometime this week to talk more.
Well that seems to be all the time I have for the moment. I love you all! See you all this Sunday!

--
Elder Arthur Anderson




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