Monday, November 25, 2013

Kickin it in Villa Oculta!

Elders Chriss and Bywater playing soccer at the church.  He said every church there has a place to play soccer.

Hello everybody! How are you doing?  

This was a fantastic week, full of great experiences and butt kickin missionary work haha. To start off, wow I´m grateful for a Heavenly Father that he is mindful of us here in Buenos Aires. We have been focusing on finding great new investigators and this week was a week of blessings. But I will get to that soon. Some of the things that I have learned so far about the Argentina culture is that all you need to do is ask how people are doing and start talking to them and if they are not busy they gladly talk back and have a conversation!! This is fantastic, am I right?! I love the people and the culture here.

It is getting hotter here each day and well our fan broke... cursed fans. But in the end the heat isn´t that bad here.  The only danger of the heat is the children in the streets love playing with water, and water balloons tend to fly in the missionaries direction. But my dodging skills are improving. 

The cool thing about being in the villa is that every one knows the missionaries, people yell Elders!! all the time. There is one set of shifty characters that always greet us and yell nuestro amigos!! The other day we were talking to some of our members who live in a little store and as we were talking to them a cop came up to us and said ¨Elders, My name is Hermano ....." I can´t remember.... but he is the Elders quorum President in a stake pretty close to us. haha from the shadiest to the police.  We play around with all the kids and teens, soccer is huge. Afterwards they all know the elders, the weird guys from the USA who Jugar la pelota in a white shirt and tie.
Now here is where the blessings come in. This week we have been meeting with a man named Jose. Jose is an owner of a little store, and is very humble. We found him by looking for someone else and went to the wrong house. After talking to the people there they directed us to his shop and still not the person we were looking for! But as missionaries do we started to talk to him about our message and  he invited us in. We shared the introduction of the BOM with him and he just paused and said ¨This was lost, and now we have it¨ We testified to him of the truthfulness of the book and invited him to be baptized the 8th of December and he accepted! Now in this mission for one to be baptized they must go to church for 3 weeks and its always the hardest thing to get them to church.  I will admit I was nervous, most of all of our other investigators haven´t been coming to church and I was worried about him. But He came!! And he really enjoyed it. He is definitely being prepared. He is such a wonderful guy and I love him to death.
The work is moving in Argentina. Now to all the moms out there that have a missionary some where in the world, just know that though it may be hard at times that your missionaries are doing great, that they are having a blast walking, biking, talking, crying, testifying, enduring, loving, studying and serving. You all are great examples to us and the 2000, stripling warriors were only great for the things that their mothers had taught them!!! From this Misionaro Argentino les amo!!
Hope you all have a nice week
Con Gran Amor 
Elder Taylor Chriss

Playing soccer on PDay at the church.  I love all the black socks!

Home sweet, Argentine, home!

Gotta love bunk beds!

Elder Yorgesen and the kitchen

Monday, November 18, 2013

The life a missionary in a nutshell... for this week!

Elder Chriss with sweet Sister Costa at the Jeffrey R. Holland Devotional. She sought him out, gave him a hardy handshake from his mom, and gave him American candy! Doesn't get much better than that!

The Villas Zone!
Another week in paradise! 

Well we have been getting work done here in Villa Oculta, We have been revamping our investigators and working to find new people to teach. I love it here so much!  We walk down the alleys (there are no streets) and always some one says Elders!!! We are pretty well known in the Villa. 

One of the things that I have learned about this mission is that we NEVER knock doors. Not that we can´t it's just that it's not effective, not only in the sense that we are trying random people, but that no one is ever home. Always the people are outside in the alleys talking and enjoying life. So we just do as D&C says and we open our mouths. Atheists are very rare here so when we say we would like to talk about god they all accept. Now it's not to easy so get them as investigators but there is a lot of potential here in the villa. The people are humble and we are here with a message for them. 

Wow! Almost 900 Missionaries in one place!
This weekend we had the wonderful pleasure of having a special missionary meeting. In this meeting we had all three Buenos Aires missions and the MTC, so in total about 900 missionaries all together. Now why would we all be getting together in one place? For Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve!!! All I have to say is that I heard a talk that has thus far changed my mission. 

He started of his talk by saying ¨The whole purpose of my talk to day and the message that I would like to share is centered on one thing that may take a while to describe, and that is I LOVE YOU SO MUCH¨ Talk about a super spiritual upliftment. To be told by a Apostle of Christ with passion that he loves us! Several things I got from this talk were, I am to never forget the things that I have learned here EVER. This mission is not only for 18 to 24 months, it's for us to have for eternity. Another thing he talked about was obedience. Now he didn´t go too much on this point because he knows that if we know who we are (as a missionary/a child of god) we won´t need talks on obedience. 

As he closed I felt the spirit more strongly than I have ever in my entire life, He talked about us missionaries and the unique tie we have with the Atonement. Never has there ever been and easy mission!  But because there hasn´t been a easy mission we have great company as we go through those hard times. For us and our investigators the path to Salvation always goes through Gethsemane. In all honesty before my mission I didn´t understand the the Atonement, now i can't imagine my life with out it. The Knowledge that I have of my Savior and his sacrifice makes me want to do every thing I can to honor him and to serve him. In life there are hard times. On missions there are grand trials, but all of us must bear the small crosses in life for us to  remember the Big Cross of our Savior.

I want to bear my testimony That I know my Savior Lives! That he is our leader and our Captain. That he is mindful of us and our trials. I don´t know why things happen in life but I do know that my Savior knows me and what I need. I know that I am here on a mission to share the wonder blessings that I have found, of a Savior who loves his people, of a Church that he has restored, through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is my favorite book because it brings me closer to my Savior. I know that families can be together for ever. I know that God has blessed me in my life. And now I must help others find those blessings too. When God is weaving the tapestry of our lives all we can see is the dark threads of bottom all we need to do is wait until he shows us the other side and know what the dark threads were necessary.

I love you all so much! I´m so happy here and I know this is the work of my Heavenly Father. Keep strong and remember that Elder Chriss is praying for you!! haha until next week.
Con Amor
Elder Taylor Chriss

Elder Chriss and his companion at the Elder Holland Devotional

Not quite sure why the are on the train tracks!

Elder Chriss is in heaven! They have BK Stackers in Buenos Aires!!!

He knows I just love to see that beautiful face!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Villa Olculta!!!

Group of visa-waiters on their first day in Argentina in front of the Buenos Aires Temple with President and Sister Ayre
Elder Chriss' last day in LA with President and Sister Weidman.  Hard to say goodbye!

Last Picture taken in LA, the Los Angeles Temple!

First Picture taken in BA, the Buenos Aires Temple!

Well another week and I was able to help others to come unto Christ WOOOT! I´m loving all of the work and this mission. We are working like crazy here in our area. The people here are so ready for the Gospel its ridiculous!  All the time we are finding people to bring closer to the Gospel and to their Savior.

We have an investigator named Emilse right now and she is super cool she has come to church and is really progressing in the Gospel. The cool thing with her is that she lives in a three story villa house. This means millions of people live there so we are inviting every one who passes us to listen to our message and they normally say yes. We have found 5 new investigators just from one of our investigators haha.

I often find myself saying ¨This isn´t Kansas anymore¨ about several things claro. The culture is a new person that I need to get to know. Everything is done in a manner normal Americans would never think to do. Our Pensions are nice and cozy but you will never find carpet in a single building here save maybe the mission presidents home. I MISS CARPET!!! haha. Lots of tile to cover the floor. The language is no where near what I was learning in LA. The people here talk with an Italian accent but Spanish is coming out of there mouths. 

A lot of people say to me ¨Oh your from here right?¨ I guess it's my features that resemble an Argentine.... but when I open my mouth they say no that's a Mexican hah! Also basic words are different here that are completely normal for me are a completely different thing or doesn´t mean any thing at all. Example Piña is pineapple but here it means a punch so when in Argentina never ask for a piña haha.

Laundry is pretty easy, we hand it a lady and we pick it up the next day and its pressed and smells good all for 25 pesos! No bucket and stream for this missionary. The food his is really good. We eat a lot of  empanadas here and this meat called milenasa which is like a country fried steak. In all I love it. We only eat breakfast and lunch, never do they eat dinner. Just a big lunch this is weird. So far no strange foods to note of. We eat a lot with our members which is great!

The mode of transportation here is walking. which isn´t too bad and I don´t want a bike here... the millions of dogs here HATE bikes so I´m good on foot haha!  For our long distance travel we use Coletivo (the bus) and for transfers we use Remis, which is kind of like private taxis that the mission pays for. Unfortunately we are not able to go to the temple unless we go with a recent convert we baptized.

I love my ward its full of great people! It's called Parque Villaneda. There are about 140 active members in our ward and all the rooms are full. There are 4 companionships in our ward all of which are district leaders except us.

Elephante Blanco
My area its pretty Ghetto but there is one dominating feature to it, an old Hospital known a Elephante Blanco. This is the scariest building I have ever seen. It was a hospital in the making when all of the neighborhood homeless decided to make it there's.... yeah that's right the hobos invaded a giant old hospital. We as missionaries can´t go in there unless we have a reason and a male member to go with us haha. This city is just full of crazy places that you never know when you will find.

This is the longest email I have sent but there is a lot to talk about when I talk about Argentina. 

As for things I need here is American stuff candy, food, carpet what ever you can send. Also we only get mail once a transfer here, because its hard to get to the mission office and there are no cars.

Every thing is great down here in land down south! Hope you all are doing well. Send me pictures I love to see them all.
Con Gran Amor
Este Capo
Elder Chriss

P.s I´m sitting in the cyber cafe right know with Elder Engebretsen and Hankins haha small world!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Que Bueno el Aire Aca!

Elder Engebretsen, Elder Hankins, and Elder Chriss, MTC District back together again!

Well here I am sitting in an internet cafe emailing home from Buenos Aires Argentina! What a week it has been! haha.

To start off my time here I was placed in an area with two zone leaders in Linears Zone. We were serving in Parque Brown ward. Our area covers a area known as a Villa. To pronous as an Argentine, you say it like this. V-ee-sh-a. These areas are the most poor parts of the city and are sooo crazy. It's like a city or a village was built with no plans and brick and putty and when they had no space they just went up. There are thousands of people here and all ready for the Gospel. We talk with people all the time and have lessons after lessons.

One week in Argentina and he has already doubled his amount of baptisms!
So far I have doubled my baptisms in my one week here! That's right we had a baptism here in Buenos Aires. The people here are ready for the Gospel.

 It is wonderful because I have Elder Hankins in my zone, I saw Elder Engebretsen at a missionary farewell, and Elder Willams at transfers this morning. The whole gang is back together in Argentina! I actually went on Divisions with Elder Hankins yesterday and got work done.

But here comes some more news..... I´m training! That's right 7 days in Argentina and I will be training. I´m a little worried, but I know everything will be great. I´m staying in my zone but moving to another villa. My new comp has been here for a transfer so i will be finishing his training. His name is Elder Yorgesen and he is super tall so there is not a worry about danger with him a round. He is from Idaho Falls and he is a capo!! Capo means stud and they use it a lot here.

President is putting a lot on my shoulders this transfer but I know that the Lord will help where I lack even if I lack a lot.

I love this mission and I plan on working until I drop. I am going to do everything that I can to help these people. I love every one of them! I only have this chance once in my life.There is no time to slack off.

I promise you all that I am doing well and that the work is blossoming here in the first mission in South America. Ask questions I´m not the best of thinking of things to talk about!  I am still figuring out a bunch of things so be patient with me, haha

I really hope you are all doing well. This is so awesome to be on a different continent!

Viva Argentina y la obra del un Salvador Viviente!
Con Re amor
Elder Chriss

I am told the Chriss family are now BOCA fans!
Famous Buenos Aires Obilisk

This is where he serves!