Ok friends and family it's been another week here in the mission. This week was full of a ton of contacting, a couple spiritual moments, a big wipe out on my bike, some casual anti-gringo racism, and one of my favorite foods from Argentina, churri pan. So, to start off: the grind. I honestly don't know what has happened to Aguilares the last couple weeks. But gee wiz it has been rough. Appointment after appointment after appointment has fallen through. Investigators won't accept baptismal dates, and just about every other crappy thing that can happen as a missionary has happened to Elder Ferreira and I. Most of my prayers out here involve me basically pleading to see SOME results from all the work we've put in. And sure enough we're starting to see some hard work paying off a tiny bit. I was on splits this Wednesday with Elder Moeller, who is also from Brazil. We went and had 2 BOMB visits. 1 with this lady who's been listening to the missionaries for 2 years and has had all the lessons like 3 times. All her kids are baptized but, Moeller and I finally committed her to be baptized the 1st of December! I don't know if it'll end up happening but, hopefully that goes well! As for the big wipe out on my bike, so I was casually riding my bike no-hands (because yes, I am that good). And I'd just finished up filming one of my vlogs (p.s. if you want to be able to see the missionary vlogs I'm making shoot me an email and I'll send you an invite to the Drive) when my pedal slipped from under my foot and I went flying. Scratched up my face pretty good, ripped my pants in 2 different places, and broke my bike pretty good. Luckily, I was for the most part fine. My jaw still hurts a little bit, and I've had a few headaches. But it's nothing some pain killers can't fix. So, to top off the lit night of the bike crash, we went and bought churri pan. You should be able to see the picture of it. It's this really good sausage sandwich (like hot dogs, but not). If I had to blame my 10-lb weight gain here in the mission to something, it'd have to be churri pan. One of the contacts that we did this week involved this dude sitting on his motorcycle. We casually approached and started to talk about God. But, all this dude wanted to do was complain about the economy here (which still sucks btw) and blame it all on America, or "Yanks" as he said. The guy was so blatantly racist that he refused to talk to me, only listed to my companion, and it got me a little fired up. But, more than anything, sad. This guy was turning down his opportunity to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ because of my nationality. It was fairly pathetic, but, sometimes as missionaries we gotta take comfort in the fact that we tried our best and if people wanna bring condemnation on themselves, then they can, it's their agency. But, it was still sad. Overall, Elder Ferreira and I have been spending most of our week working with the inactive members of Aguilares. In the city we have something like 350 baptized members but, only have 30 in church every Sunday. It's super sad visiting all this people. They all have their own reasons for why they've stopped coming (and some reasons are better than others but, in my mind there is no such thing as a good reason to stop coming to church) but, basically most of their problems can be traced back to a lack of ministering here. Within just this week of working with these people we have boosted our numbers in the branch to almost 50 this Sunday. All that these people needed was a little push from someone to get them back in church. So my little thing for all you members back home to work on, is ministering! Before my mission, I rolled my eyes when I heard the word minister (still do sometimes tbh) but, really the thing that most inactive members are missing, is just a little bit of love from their "brothers and sisters." Go to these people's houses, sit and listen to them, to find out their needs, and then boom... minister! Ok friends and family, thanks again and again for all your prayers, letters, and updates on the grand ole AZ. Love,Elder Ashton
1. Sister Orquera, wife of the mission president is like a stand in mom for all the missionaries. She took care of Cooper last week when he was sick.2. When he went to the hospital last week, he didn't have to pay or use their insurance card or anything because lots of the medical care in Argentina is completely free. Quote from Cooper "dang socialist."3. He says the church has insurance for all the missionaries. They have a Swiss Medical platinum card, which is apparently pretty good.