Contacting Elder Rainock:


Address: Elder Cordell B. Rainock
Mission Argentina Mendoza
Cabildo Abierto 161
5501 Godoy Cruz
Mendoza, Argentina

Sending Elder Rainock packages: It´d be best if any packages are sent in the large padded envelopes instead of boxes and contain very little value. (time frame: letters - 3 weeks, packages - around 1 month)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

no matter what conditions someone is in that they can pray

(written Dec 13th)

These last two weeks we have been doing lots of traveling for the zone conferences and have actually been able to work a lot in our area. I'm am completely wiped out right now. I'm hoping to get in a little power nap before P-day ends after writing this.

Last sunday we had a great lesson with a man that we met a few weeks back. We met him while we were doing service for some members and he was kind of apprehensive about talking to us. However, we managed to gain some of his trust and over the last two weeks his mentality towards has completely changed. This week we were actually able to set a baptismal date with him after a powerful lesson on the Gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and how if applied in his life he could be changed and become clean. At the end of the lesson he mentioned how he was planning on moving to Buenos Aires in a few weeks because he needed a change in his life. He told us that this was the change he thinks he was actually looking for... it was a great experience. Teaching him how to pray was a pretty fun experience as well.

At the end of the lesson he asked us to say a prayer because he felt as if he wasn't worthy. We assured him that no matter what conditions someone is in that they can pray. He insisted that we do it but he kept mentioning that, even though he didn't want to pray, he wanted to "say a few words" in the prayer. So Elder Garcia said the prayer and finished it. Then we said, "Alright, you can say your words now. Just start by addressing Heavenly Father because you are talking to him and end in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Without knowing it at the moment he gave one of the most heartfelt prayers I had ever heard. When he finished we told him that what he had just done was not only a prayer, but a very sincere one. He was really happy to have done it and he has been wanting to say the prayers in the lessons ever since. It was a fun and moving experience. I really love the people here in Argentina. I am going to miss moments likes this.

I also have some cool news. If you can think about 8 months back there was a young man that got baptized on my last day before coming here to the offices.. the young man was studying to be a lawyer. Well, every now and then President Goates needs young men from the local wards to fill in unexpected vacancies in the mission to prevent closing an area. This young man has been doing really well, has a calling as the ward librarian, will be receiving the Melchizedek priesthood tomorrow, and will be with our mission for the next 6 weeks as a 'mini missionary' as they are called. He is very excited as he is preparing to serve a full-time mission within the next year. 

The Lord has really been blessing me with opportunities to see some fruit of my labors recently. For me, it's a true showing of his love. He knows more than anyone that I would have been happy with my mission even if I didn't get to see any direct fruits but the fact that he is allowing me to see some before even leaving fills me with gratitude. 

Hope everyone is doing well back home! 


Elder Rainock

I love that the Lord is merciful.

(written Nov 29th)

I didn't think I'd get a good chance to write anything today but I got a minute so thought I'd type up a quick something. I'll only have four more chances after today so I've got to make the most out of my time.

This week we have been preparing for the many trainings and events during December while also doing a number of exchanges with the zone leaders. I really love exchanges because it always sets the stage for miracles. Everyone enters the exchange with faith and the desire to work hard and things always end up panning out - even if it wasn't in the way planned or imagined. 

I had the very special opportunity to have a lesson with a girl who is preparing for baptism (will actually be baptized this evening) and her family. It's been a while since I've been able to teach someone who was that close to baptism. The Spirit in those lessons are always very strong. The girl has been very eager and has been ready for a while but the parents have been struggling to get back to church. They are less-active in the church and have been off and on for 15 years or so. They have been to the temple and were sealed there as well. We were able to take the lesson aimed towards the little girl and broaden it to them as a family. We taught about our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and about the Sabbath day. As we taught the little girl about the special part of the Sabbath day where we partake of the Sacrament we made sure to remind the parents that the Sacrament, when taken properly, renews all covenants and not just those made at baptism. I think they latched on to that idea because from that point on in the lesson they seemed a lot more hopeful and excited about coming back to church.

I love that the Lord is merciful. The sacrament is a great demonstration of his mercy and love for us. He allows us to not only enter into covenants with him (which covenants bless us) but he allows us to repent and renew those covenants as we don't always keep the terms. When we partake of the sacrament under the right conditions then our covenant is renewed and we can enjoy the instant blessings of that those covenants as well as trust in receiving future, greater blessings.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Sister Ashby (the mission nurse) made us a nice rice, chicken, and broccoli casserole. She taught me how to make some gravy to put on top. The gravy made it feel more homey. It was a nice lunch but no Thanksgiving naps here in the mission! 


Elder Rainock

When one puts into practice the principles of the Gospel in their lives it really works

(written Nov 22nd)

This week we did quite a bit of planning for the upcoming month. December is going to be a BIG one which also means it will fly by. We will have a zone conferences, two Christmas parties (half of the mission one day and the other half the next), a complicated transfer, and a training or two mixed in there.

Yesterday I was able to go out with Elder Rich on an exchange. The stars aligned perfectly for that to happen. Elder Rich is a zone leader in Godoy Cruz (the zone where I trained him). If you remember, Villa del Parque is an area that pertains to Godoy Cruz and is also the area where we were together. It is also the ward that I am in currently (for the second time). When we did exchanges yesterday we were able to work together again in Villa del Parque. It was a really cool experience. We were able to reminisce a little and visit some people that we worked with before. One of them is the family we found together that has been coming to church since. They are the ones I've written about before whose son just got baptized and are waiting for the father's divorce papers to go through so they can get married and baptized. They've already been together for over 20 years. They are so happy in the Gospel and have such strong testimonies. 

Unfortunately, they will be moving out of the ward this weekend. They are going to a far, outskirt part of the city. They were sad to find out a couple of weeks ago that they would have to move wards but are now at peace with it. She told us about a conversation she had with her son in regards to the situation. When she told him that moving meant having to change wards he started to cry because he loves the primary in our ward. Then she told us what she shared with him to help him be strong about it.. which almost brought me to tears!! She said, "one day you will be a missionary and will have to form relationships with people in a short period of time. Those relationships will be stopped temporarily as you have to move to other areas but you will form great relationships in those areas as well..." and she continued on from there. The part that really made me happy was the thought of him going on a mission. I remember when Elder Rich and I would go by there during the siesta hours, knock on the door, and he would come to the door half-asleep after his parents would send him to the door to tell us to come back the next day. Haha! She admits that they would do that and we have a good laugh about it. It's so nice to see the progress that they have made. 

Some of the most rewarding parts of my mission so far have been seeing (or hearing about) the long-term progress of a number of individuals. When one puts into practice the principles of the Gospel in their lives it really works. And it works every time. That is a key part of the testimony I have and that continues to grow. 

There are no regrets for those that decide to exercise faith unto repentance, enter into covenants through holy ordinances, and endure to the end. There are, and will only be, regrets for those that decide not to. There is also lasting joy in this life that will multiply in the next as we choose to be faithful followers of Christ. The path, to me, seems clear. 

Hope everyone is doing well back home and that you have a great Thanksgiving! What a great time to remember how we are so blessed. 

Elder Rainock

"don't ask me about the three Nephites because they never call or write." - Elder Christofferson

(written Nov 15th)

Now that I have some time to write about it I'll tell you guys about the meeting we had with Elder Christofferson last weekend. It was a wonderful experience. I was stressed out all week and that morning as we prepared for the meeting to start. Elder Christofferson was to enter the building at 9:30 and by then all missionaries had to be seated and reverent. It sounds simple but it was not an easy feat. The remaining missionaries to arrive showed up just minutes beforehand. Once Elder Christofferson walked in we were all waiting. Elder Garcia and I were waiting by the doors and he called us over to shake our hands and talk to us for a minute before going in. Just seeing him there in the building made all the stress of the week worth it and it was as if the weight was lifted off of me. All of the missionaries were able to shake his hand. The meeting started exactly at 10am and consisted of short testimonies from Elder Gonzalez (Area President and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy) and his wife, President Goates and his wife, the wife of Elder Christofferson, and the rest of the time was taken by Elder Christofferson himself. He gave a pretty humorous introduction, talked for about 20 minutes, and the remainder of the time he opened up to questions. 

I'll start off by sharing some of his funny remarks that he said at the beginning.

He mentioned that upon his arrival to Argentina (his first stop was actually in Mendoza) an Argentine man working at the airport spoke to him. He said that it was probably a couple of phrases but it just sounded like one long word. He then said that he knew a little bit of spanish but knew nothing of castellano (that's what they call spanish here). It was funny to hear because I can relate to it. 

Elder Christofferson also mentioned something that I had heard before but forgot all about. Elder Richard G. Scott was his mission president! They are now both serving together in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He mentioned that Elder Scott directed and mentored him in those days and continues to now. Elder Christofferson said that Elder Scott knows all of his failures and weaknesses but he still doesn't know any of his... haha! He told us that he wonders when they meet together on a weekly basis, and Elder Christoffeirson walks into the room, if Elder Scott thinks to himself, "¿que hace éste acá?" (what is this guy doing here). 

I'd also like to mention what he said before opening up the question and answer section, "don't ask me about the three Nephites because they never call or write." Ha! As I'm about to start this section I realize that this is going to be a very long entry so I hope you hang in there with me. I'll write about two questions that were asked and a summary of his answers. 

I'll start with the shorter one in which someone asked about helping people overcome addictions. The missionary said that he has been working with someone for a few weeks that is really struggling with addiction. This person is going to church, reading the scriptures daily, and pleading for help from the Lord. They aren't seeing any results and the person is starting to feel that the Lord has forgotten them.

Elder Christofferson said that the Lord suffered for each and every one of us so profoundly and on such an individual basis that it would be impossible for him to forget us. He then stated that if the Lord were to forget him then he would be the first person the Lord has ever forgotten.. it just doesn't happen. He reminded the missionary about the power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon specifically and the knowledge that is gained through prayerful study of it. The Book of Mormon goes into depth about the Atonement and Elder Christofferson stated that in order to overcome weaknesses we must deepen our knowledge of the Atonement. To finalize his statement he said something very interested - he told the missionary, "if that person is truly fighting then remind him that he can speak with confidence before the Lord as he pleads for help." I really loved that statement as it was a reminder to me of the essence of prayer. 

I'd like to share this second question because it reminded me of an experience I had as a young teenager. When he was telling his experience as an answer to this question I couldn't believe how wildly similar his experience was to mine. I don't think I have ever shared this other than in my testimony at youth conference when I had this experience over 5 years ago. 

First things first, the question that was asked was how Elder Christofferson gained his testimony. Elder Christofferson mentioned that his testimony didn't come in a moment or with one single experience. His testimony came, as it does for many, through building precept upon precept. He said that his experience is similar to many in the fact that it didn't come from a single experience but from many smaller experiences and more than anything "confirmations" of truth. He said that the Lord works in that way, that as we study and worship he shows his mercy by giving us many confirmations of truth from which we can build on. He is merciful in the fact that those confirmations are reminders and that he doesn't just give us one big experience to depend on for our whole lives. He then shared an experience he had as a youth with a visit he made to the Sacred Grove. He had set in his mind that he was going to pray in the Sacred Grove and have some big testimony building experience. He described the build up to the prayer, his prayer, and then waiting to an answer that didn't end up coming until a couple of weeks later when he was studying in his home. Even then, the answer wasn't a manifestation or vision but rather a simple confirmation from the Spirit that these things were true and that is really enough.

I had a pretty similar experience. One of my first Youth Conferences as a youth was a trip to see historical sites of the church in the northeast, one of them being the Sacred Grove. I knew that we would be visiting the grove where Joseph Smith had the his proclaimed First Vision; by chance, I just so happened to be reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. So I decided to time it out so that I would finish the last chapter of the Book of Mormon in the Sacred Grove and follow through with Moroni's promise there in the very place. 

The day arrived in which we were to visit the sacred grove. I read a few of the last chapters leading up to the end of the Book of Mormon trying to intently take in the information and left the last chapter to read in the grove. Upon arrival to the grove I split off on my own to have some time to read, reflect, and pray. Everything happened perfectly in my plan up until that point. I eagerly finished the last chapters of Moroni 10 (even reading versus 3-5 a few times to make sure I was doing it right), meditated upon what I had learned, and knelt down to offer a sincere prayer in regards to its truthfulness. 

I got nothing... it felt like a big blank. I even felt a little bad due to disappointment. I set off to walk out of the grove to wait for everyone else. I didn't irrationally determine that all that I had ever known was suddenly untrue but it was the first time I ever really questioned. As I was walking out I saw my dad walking along the trail, he was alone as well, just taking it all in. He talked to me for a minute without any idea of what had just happened to me. I wanted to pour out my experience to him and ask for his help but I was also a young teenage boy and would never think of doing such a thing ;) So I didn't. In this case it actually turned out to be okay because it allowed to me think it out on my own and has turned in to a key part of my testimony. When we finished our small-talk he walked off and I sat down by myself on one of the benches in the woods. 

I started asking myself what this could mean, why I didn't get an answer when I was fully expecting one, why God would choose not to answer me in that moment. I asked myself what it would mean if I decided that these things weren't true and chose a different path in life. That question is one that often helps me realize, more than anything, the truthfulness of the Gospel and what it offers to it faithful followers. In that time of reflection I was able to think of all the experiences I had had in the Gospel up until that point, I thought of the stirrings of the Spirit as I read the Book of Mormon, and I thought of moments in which I had felt the soft but undeniable burning of the Spirit from within. I realized that I didn't need some grand experience or manifestation to know the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel. I already knew from what it had to offer me and from the small stirrings I had had that it was true. And really, the confirmation of that principle and key part of my testimony didn't come until a couple of years later. 

I know I haven't always made the best choices in my life. My testimony then wasn't what it is now. And what it is now is a small portion of what I hope it to be after many years of service for the Lord in the future. Although my testimony has always been there doesn't mean that I have made the best choices but the consequences of my choices, fortunately, have allowed me to gain an even stronger testimony after repentance. 

Well, that's enough for my little tangent experience. But if any of you are feeling like the Lord hasn't answered you then just think about it for a minute, reflect, and give it some time. The Lord answers in his own time and when he knows it is right. The fact that he will answer it in the right time will mean that you will be more ready and that the answer will mean more when you receive it. 

I guess I ended up talking more about myself than Elder Christofferson but I felt like sharing that testimony of mine with you all. I hope you were able to get a little something either from what he or I said. Have a great week!

Elder Rainock

busiest week this mission has ever expereinced

(written Nov 1st)

This week has involved a lot of planning as we prepare for the busiest week this mission has ever expereinced... Let me give you the run down.

Sunday: Missionaries going home come in to have their final interviews, verifying numbers for the week with the zone leaders
Monday: President finishes the final interviews and the missionaries going home have their final dinner with president
Tuesday: Missionaries go home and new missionaries come in. They eat dinner and are taken to their locations to sleep. 
Wednesday: Transfer day, trainings with new missionaries and their trainers and they leave to their areas
Thursday: Day of prep for Friday and Saturday
Friday: Leadership Council in the morning and then a training with those who arrived to the mission last transfer in the evening. 
Saturday: Meeting with Elder Christofferson
Sunday: Day of rest! 

Leadership council is usually about 2 days of preparation in itself and the meeting with Elder Christofferson has taken several weeks to prepare (with plenty more things to do). Planning for these meetings includes what will be taught, travel of missionaries, where missionaries will sleep (if coming from far away and need to come in the day before), meals, and a number of other things. It's been quite the deal! For me, the mission has not only been spiritual preparation for a life dedicated to serving the Lord but also preparation for running a Fortune 500. Ha! 

Aside from that this week we have been fortunate enough to work a decent amount in our area. One evening we decided to go by the Patriarch's home to ask if he could visit an investigator with us later on in the week (the appointment ended up falling through). When we walked up to their home they were just arriving from the stake center after spending the day there doing family history work. They invited us in and we sat down. Them being an older couple, and being Argentinians (Italian roots), really like to talk. So we did what we do best and listened. 

They both come from some of the original member families here in Mendoza. They told me the first missionary came here by himself from Buenos Aires in the late 1940's. He found moderate success but upon returning 50 years later he came to find several stakes full of active members. 

Both of their families joined the church in the mid 1950's and have been pioneers in sharing the gospel and establishing the church here in Mendoza. It was very interesting to learn more about the beginnings of the church here and how far it has come in a little over half a century. It also made me feel lucky because I feel like I'm in a place that is in its beginnings. I look forward to visiting the people again one day and seeing how it has grown. 

What really stood out to me in the conversation is this couples purity. When you are in their presence and when they speak there is neither anything negative nor crude. They are continually involved in doing good and set themselves apart from the things of the world as much as they can. They talked to us about how they have to make efforts all the time in order to keep themselves in holy places. If there is any activity or place that is questionable they don't get involved. 

Seeing them was another reminder to me that the things of the world really aren't what bring happiness. They are one of the happiest couple I have ever met while having a handful of struggles at the same time (he is going blind). They only participate in wholesome and uplifting activities and for that being with them just makes you feel happy and safe. 

The teaching of living righteous lives and doing going continually is one that I've since been using in the teaching opportunities we've had this week. I think we all just need a reminder sometimes where true happiness comes from. For example, a church service project may not seem as enticing as going out to a movie. But I don't remember any movie that has left me with that warm, enduring, satisfying feeling that comes from serving others. It's something that only takes a little bit of reflection to realize but for some reason the choices can still be difficult. 

I hope that everyone is doing well and that you have a great week!

Much love,

Elder Rainock

Daily scripture study, weekly church attendance, and constant prayer are principles that give us the strength to avoid the temptations

(written Oct 25th)

Well, I can officially announce it now; we have known about it for a few months but until it was confirmed we weren't able to say anything or announce it. Elder Christofferson will be coming to our mission on the 8th of next month! He will actually be coming for a leadership meeting but will take advantage of being here to have a few other meetings including one with all of the missionaries in the mission! I am very excited and I paid extra special attention to his conference talk this month because of it :) If you don't remember, he is the one that opened his talk with the statement "Muy buenos días!" 

This week has been an especially good week. The next two weeks will be a very different story but this week we had very few duties to take care of in the offices so we were able to work for several hours each day. 

On Thursday we were able to visit a new member who was baptized about a year ago when I was in the area before. He has been a heavy smoker for his whole life. He is about 40 years old and has been smoking since he was 8! He said he stopped for about a year when he was 12 years old but other than that he has been smoking heavily. He was baptized after finding strength in reading the scriptures, going to church, and praying to get away from his addiction. He went for a month without smoking before being baptized and then continued strong for about 4 months after his baptism. He then moved to Buenos Aires for a job opportunity. He attended church there every now and then and even went on visits with the missionaries but without his family support and stress from his job not being what he thought it'd be he fell out of his newly formed habits of scripture study, church attendance, and prayer, and returned to his old addiction of the cigarette. 

I found out this week that he had returned from Buenos Aires so I made sure I could see him as soon as possible. I was nervous that he would tried to avoid us or be confrontational as many are when they fall back into there habits. He received us kindly into his home and told us all that had happened to him within the last year. He admitted to returning to his addiction but asked for our help so that he could quit again. 

I told him that when he asked for help from us that the first thing that came to my mind wasn't an intricate plan or an expensive treatment... it was the basic gospel principles of scripture study, church attendance, and prayer that fortify ones ability to avoid sin and be righteous. He recognized that he had lost power to avoid the temptation because he had broken those good habits. He even told us about how he loved the scriptures and how when he reads them he has no desire to smoke. In the month before he was baptized he had already read the Book of Mormon once through and after his baptism he read it two times before moving to Buenos Aires. He committed to begin reading again and to stop smoking.

Yesterday we went to his house to do service for him. We moved a big pile of sand to the back of his house where he will be mixing it to make concrete for a new kitchen floor. While we were helping him he told us how he had begun to read again and was already on page 40 of the Book of Mormon. He said that his cigarette intake was already at half of what is was and that he will be off of them completely in a few days. 

I wanted to share this today to remind everyone of the importance of those three basic principles of growth and strength. Daily scripture study, weekly church attendance, and constant prayer are principles that give us the strength to avoid the temptations that loom around every corner of life's daily tasks. In the story that I shared it is easy to see the impact that those principles played in his life and his ability to avoid sin. Our stories may not be as clear but anyone can see the difference it has if they reflect on the times in their lives where they have been diligent in doing those things and times when they have not. I know these habits have greatly affected my life and have brought me to not only better avoid sin but to love righteousness. 

I hope every is doing well and happy. I am happy, a little tired, but looking forward to the next couple weeks of busyness and upliftment with Elder Christofferson. 

Here are a few pictures from Elder Garcia's birthday. We decided to surprise him by singing him happy birthday and trying to bring a little bit of Mexico to him (mustaches). We had a good time and he even joined in on the fun by putting one on himself! 


Elder Rainock

"those kind of questions of the soul motivate me to do good and change"

(written Oct 18th)

Although there wasn't much on the schedule this week it ended up being busy for us here in the offices. On the days where we thought we didn't have much to do things kept on happening but it's nice to be kept on your toes. 

I have also been able to review a number of the conference talks and ones that especially meant a lot to me. I have been yearning for months to get more out of partaking of the sacrament and it just so happened that there were two conference talks given on that very subject. The sacrament is something I have taken my whole life and unfortunately I don't feel like I have a lifetime's worth of knowledge or understanding on the subject nor have I always partaken of the sacrament for what it really is. Fortunately I have had experiences, like going without it, that have helped me recognize its importance. 

The talk that really helped me gain a better appreciation for the sacrament was that by Elder Hamula of the Seventy. I often try to reflect on the Atonement of Jesus Christ as I partake of the sacrament to help me "feel" it a little more. Sometimes I have even felt like I am forcing myself because my strong desire to get more out of it. That hasn't always brought the desired result even though my appreciation for the Savior and His Atonement is above all else. Elder Hamula began his talk by speaking of the Sacrament in regards to the Savior and His sacrifice and was I listening attentively because it is a subject that has been on my mind. Then he said a phrase the really grabbed my attention, "The sequence of bread first and water second is not inconsequential." He then began to explain the symbolism of the sacrament not just in regards to the Savior and His sacrifice but in the great scheme of things, or in other words, the Plan of Salvation. This opened my eyes to a whole new world of meaning and purpose in the sacrament which I could explore. 

What helped me really appreciate that phrase was his explaining of partaking of the bread first to come to the realization that Christ resurrected and we too will be resurrected. He then said, "The fundamental question facing all of us is not whether we will live but with whom we will live after we die." I really loved that because those kind of questions of the soul motivate me to do good and change. It reminds me of Alma in Alma chapter 5 when he asks the people to which he is preaching a number of questions to get them thinking of their actual state and how they will feel upon entering the presence of God to be judged. And it is for that that we partake of water. It represents His blood which was shed for us and through which we may become clean. If we do so we can know with a surety with whom we will live - our Father in Heaven. I know that I want to be in His presence and I want my family to be there as well. 

I'm grateful for that understanding I gained during general conference which fortified my testimony of the sacrament. I was able to share that testimony last Sunday after an unfortunate circumstance in church. There was a disputation between two sisters and one of them being a recent convert. After the class the recent convert left crying to the bathroom which no one noticed because she left quickly to avoid anyone from seeing here. I was lucky enough to see it and positioned myself near the bathroom as we waited for everyone to take their seats in the sacrament room (sacrament meeting being the last meeting here). She walked out of the bathroom and headed out the door so my companion and I followed closely behind to talk to her for a minute. We were able to help her feel a little better about the situation and I was able to share my testimony on the importance of the sacrament. I felt the assurance of the Spirit and she looked more calm. She decided to leave anyways because she was embarrassed but promised that she would come back and that she would get over it quickly. A number of members have been able to visit her this week and she is doing a lot better; she even helped in preparing a Relief Society activity yesterday so things are looking good. I'm grateful that I was able to share a sincere testimony with her which I hope she could feel. I'm even more grateful for the great members we have here that work hard in helping the new members of the ward because, honestly, they have been doing most of the work in helping this sister.

I hope that all are doing well!


Elder Rainock

"I have been filled with joy and gratitude"

(written Oct 4th)

I'm very excited as today is Saturday of conference weekend! I have been looking forward to this since the last conference ended. Last night I was so excited that it took me a while to fall asleep and I woke up before my alarm because I'm so anxious to hear the talks. I owe a lot to my mission for the love I have for General Conference weekend.

Part of that excitement comes from the fact that we have a new family that we found this week committed to coming to the afternoon session. We were able to work a good share in our area this week and on Thursday we found a woman that seems very excited to get involved with a church again. She is actually the girlfriend of a man I taught when I was here last year. We went back to visit their home and the brother of the man answered the door. He wasn't too interested but as we were talking to him his sister-in-law to-be came out from the back and listened in the doorway of the room. We invited her to listen and she jumped on the idea. She said that she went to church a lot as a teenager and loved reading and studying the bible. In recent years she had fallen away but with some recent events in her life she is looking to return to a church with her boyfriend (to-be husband). She talked hopefully of a future family and seemed excited to hear that we focus on the family relationship and how it can be continued onward after this life. As we talked about this she kept touching her stomach and looking down... haha, we aren't doctors or anything but all of her statements and actions lead us to the conclusion that she is pregnant. We told her about conference this weekend and she seemed very excited to tell her boyfriend (who I already know very well) about it. We talked to them again yesterday and he told us that they are all set to go for the second session tomorrow. Woohoo!!! 

Since that experience on Thursday I have been filled with joy and gratitude. It has been a rough week health-wise for me but I'm learning to deal with it and I have a better idea of what does me in. The blessings and joys that come from living and sharing the Gospel makes life's trials bearable. 

I hope that all of you back home can grow a greater appreciation for conference this weekend as you listen and apply the teachings from the messages shared. I still feel very blessed for some of the principles that I learned in the last conference that I applied and for which I have grown stronger in my testimony. I'm grateful for a living prophet, apostles, and leaders of the church today that receive revelation to guide us in our constantly changing and moving world. 

Much love,
Elder Rainock

"I would describe the day as merry."

(written Sept 27th)

It was a busy but very exciting transfer week. We were expecting a group of 30 but were notified about week ago that we'd only be receiving 20 as many will be waiting for visa papers to go through. It made the transfer it little less stressful but it means that they will be trickling in throughout the next few transfers.

Transfer day is one of my favorite days. Many have mixed emotions as they are sad to leave but happy to go see their families. Then in the afternoon it is pure joy as we receive a new group of missionaries that is anxious and excited. For me, I would describe the day as merry. Usually I would only use that word in reference to Christmas but transfer day kind of is like Christmas. I feel gratitude for the missionaries that I had the opportunity to meet and share this time with. I'm joyous for them as they are able to return home at peace for serving faithfully. I feel anxious as I await the moment that we get to greet the new missionaries. I take pleasure in trying to help them feel comfortable in a new and maybe intimidating environment. And I take pride in telling them about the best mission in the world... Mendoza, Argentina! ;) It is a good day all around.

Elder Garcia and I have also found time to work a bit in our area this week which has been very relieving. One because I feel like it takes away a lot of my stress. And two because being in the offices so much often makes me feel like I'm not fulfilling all of my duties as a missionary. When I get out and talk to the people it is like a burden is lifted off of me and I can go to bed at night feeling complete. I also have a really good time talking to the people now because I feel like I can finally communicate to the point where I can be myself. It feels more natural to me. I really hope to be able to get out to an area next transfer so I can spend all my time in the field. But for now I am going to love my current assignment and try to diligently serve. I'll be here for at least another 6 weeks. 

I feel really good about the direction that the mission is heading in. We are striving to truly build the Kingdom by forming a strong base. A base that the future members and missionaries can build and thrive on. A base that can take on new members and help them be faithful in the covenants they make. I know that this is the Lord's Kingdom on the earth and my desire is that I can do my part in helping it grow to be worthy of Him when He comes again. 

My love and prayers for all,

Elder Rainock

Saturday, September 27, 2014

"It's crazy to see the difference the Gospel has made on them"

(written Sept 20)

This week we have been getting ready for transfers that will be happening this coming week. We were supposed to be receiving a group of 30 but it´s gone down to 20 since some missionaries will be waiting in temporary missions for their visas. It´s the first time in over a year that this has happened. It caught us by surprise!

Elder Garcia made us some traditional Mexican tacos this week. I made the guacamole and he showed me how to make the tortillas as well. We had to buy the corn flour to make the tortillas in the main market in Mendoza because you can´t get it anywhere here. They were very good. Authentic Mexican tacos consist of homemade tortillas, chopped beef (not ground beef), a tomato-based salsa with jalapeno, guacamole, and cilantro... I think I included everything. There is no cheese and they are served with the ingredients lying on the flat tortilla. They aren't served folded. You just pick it up and fold it when you are ready to eat :)

I thought I´d share with you guys something very special from last weekend. I don´t think I have mentioned this before but there is a family in Villa del Parque (the ward that I´m serving in) that has been coming to church for over a year now. They aren't baptized because the parents are waiting on a divorce (which takes a very long time here especially if you don't have any connections) to go through before they are able to get married. They have been together for almost 20 years but he never legally divorced his wife from before. They have 2 children together and they both assist church regularly with them. The youngest child, who is 10 years old, is very involved in primary and actively participates in the classes and in ward activities. He loves going to church and his group of friends he has there. His parents really felt that, although they couldn't get baptized at this time, that he should go ahead and get baptized because it is something that he had been anxiously awaiting. So he was baptized last Saturday in a beautiful baptismal service. He was full of excitement and his parents wouldn't stop smiling the whole night. It was a very uplifting experience. 

This experience was especially meaningful to me because it's a family that I found with Elder Rich when we were in this area a year ago. It's crazy to see the difference the Gospel has made on them. I have had an especially unique opportunity because most missionaries get to serve in an area once and only get to see the effect the Gospel has on a family for a short time period. I have been able to see this family go from sleeping their Sundays away to attending the full three hour block at church each Sunday morning. From having struggles in their marriage and family to growing a deeper love and respect for one another and facing the everyday trials with faith and hope. The mom has especially grown in her testimony as she used to only invite as in to help her husband. She shared her testimony in church last Sunday in the sunday school class about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ helps them in their relationships as a family and she even said, "you have no idea how much I long for Sunday to come so that I can go to church. We used to sleep until 2pm every Sunday since it was our only day to rest now I usually wake up before my alarm because I am so anxious and excited for church." Haha! Her testimony re-fueled my spirit and brought tears to my eyes. They are a special family and if they were the only family I found in my two years then it would all be more than worth it. I really love them and they have a special place in my heart. 

I hope everyone has had a good week!

- Elder Rainock

"family history has a direct correlation between helping people get to the temple"

(written Sept 6)

It was super busy as we had leadership council and started zone conferences within the same week. In leadership council we prepared a part on the responsibilities of leaders - specifically focused the zone leaders and sister training leaders. It was fitting because there are so many new leaders this transfer as many went home in the last. 

Our zone conferences are going well so far. Elder Garcia and I give our presentation on working with new members of the church. It's a 45 minute presentation that we have given 7 times now so we've got it down pretty well. That being said, everyone single one has been different as we receive little bits of guidance and direction from the Spirit in each one to meet the specific needs of the individual zones. 

As we prepared the presentation we got together all of the notes we took from the meetings we had with Elder Viñas to see apply what he taught us. He spoke a lot about the "My Family" booklets that the church is using now to jump-start family history work with new, uneducated (me being one of them), and less-active members of the church. We decided to take a good 15 minutes to talk about that and Familysearch because, in the end, the information in those booklets is supposed to be entered in Familysearch. It's perfect for Argentina because members feel comfortable doing stuff like that in their homes and then we can take them to the family history centers where they can enter in the information and work with those assigned to family history. 

While preparing and presenting I have realized more and more the importance of family history work. There are many aspects to it in which I have been enlightened but one of which I will share right now. New members of the church are often full of joy for the new knowledge that they have come to know. That joy often leads, as it did for Lehi in his vision, to the desire to share it with their families. When the new members learn they can share this message not only with their living relatives but give the opportunity for the ordinances for those beyond the veil it brings a new depth to their understanding of the Gospel and becomes an anchor for them. Giving them the opportunity to search for family members not only brings to surface memories or new found knowledge of family members but bring them the desire to go to the temple and perform the work for them there. If someone achieves that step of going to the temple to perform the first saving ordinances of the Gospel for their relatives they are well on their way to "enduring to the end." It's a good indicator that they are converted and will only help them in their further conversion. The next step would then be to continue faithful in the Gospel to, when arriving at the appropriate time and after being a member for at least one year, continue performing the later ordinances in the temple. 

I have often asked myself on the mission, "How do I help this new member continue progressing and to one day arrive to the temple?" Unfortunately, I have often discounted the importance of family history but now I can see, very clearly, that family history has a direct correlation between helping people get to the temple. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had this zone conference to prepare and teach on this subject. It was a big aspect of the Gospel that I was missing in my life. I am looking forward to working more on my family history when I return from the mission. 

Hope all is well for all of you back home!

- Elder Rainock

"felt a sense peace and happiness"

(written Aug 30)

This week we recieved two sister missionaries from the MTC because they were advanced in Spanish and didn't need to stay for language purposes in the MTC. Other than that this week was spent going to the area and preparing for leadership council and zone conferences which we have this coming week. Preparing for both leadership council and zone conferences in the same week has been a little hectic but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. 

Thursday night as I was talking on the phone with President Goates about some questions we had in regards to zone conferences I asked if he would be coming to the offices at any point on friday. He mentioned that he wouldn't be but that he would be accompanying some missionaries for the day. That sounded pretty interesting to me because he hadn't had the time until then to go out with the missionaries. I was pretty excited to ask who he would be going out with but before I was able to he asked me, "what do you guys have planned for tomorrow?" .... Doh! We were planning on organizing leadership council and zone conferences in the morning and then going out to the area in the afternoon but he wasn't able to for some plans that he had in the evening. So we decided on reversing our schedule and going out with President Goates to our area in the morning.

He arrived nice and early to do companionship study with us then we left to Villa del Parque in our normal mode of transportation... the bus. It was pretty funny to get on the bus and ride to the area with the mission president. 

We were able to follow the plans we made for the morning pretty well as many people are often home in the mornings. On top of that, we were able to talk to some unplanned contacts which the Lord surely guided us to. I'll share an experience of one of those contacts right now. 

After our lunch appointment we went to the bus stop to head back to the offices. At that point it was the siesta hour so there weren't any people on the streets. Approaching the bus stop we saw a lady seated on the curb waiting for the bus. As we got closer we realized that she was crying. We kind of looked at one another in hesitation wondering what we were going to do. We all knew that we couldn't just leave her there but we didn't know what to do for a few moments. After a few seconds we initiated a conversation with her and found out what her problem was. Her grandfather, who basically raised her, is very sick and it doesn't look like he is going to make it much longer. She felt useless because she doesn't have a job or any way to help him and that's all she wants to do. We were able to help her feel a little better for the moment and get her contact information to go by another day. She looked a little happier and lighter after that. Our conversation was cut short when the bus came but that experience was a testimony to me, on top of all the other experiences of the morning, that the Lord was guiding us. Later that evening as I reflected on that experience it brought some more in-depth thoughts to me as to my calling as a missionary. 

I thought about how us missionaries are called as representatives of Jesus Christ so I thought of Christ taking our position in that situation. After thinking of that I realized that Christ would have never hesitated and I felt a little ashamed that I did so. But realizing that I am not perfect I felt a sense peace and happiness that, in the end, we attempted to do as he would have done - show compassion and invite her to come unto Him. 

Hope everyone is doing well!

- Elder Rainock

"The Gospel is so uplifting and empowering that even in our weakest state we can be happy"

(written Aug 23)

This week was full of uplifting experiences and I learned a lot about one of my favorite subjects, the Atonement, as that was the focus of Elder Viñas' trainings. I feel very privileged and blessed because I was able to be present in each of the 3 meetings. And although the theme was the same for each meeting I don't think he repeated the same thing twice... so I got about 3 hours of doctrine on the Atonement and how that applies to us as missionaries and our calling. It was uplifting and reassuring as often we are too hard on ourselves when it comes to forgiveness. 

The first meeting was wednesday morning up in San Juan, the second meeting was on thursday here in Mendoza, and the last meeting was down in San Rafael. On both wednesday and friday Elder Garcia and I got to go out to lunch with President Goates, Sister Goates, and Elder Viñas. Interestingly, I might have gotten more learning out of the teaching and analyzing that he did with us at lunch than in the meetings themselves.. haha! Elder Garcia and I left lunch with our jaws hanging from disbelief from what we had learned in a simple sit-down meal with Elder Viñas. 

Elder Viñas shared something very interesting in all of the meetings that had to do with our responsibilities in the church and how we should never cast blame on others but instead offer help and just do it. He said how it is the same old story everywhere he goes - the missionaries blame the members for not helping enough in finding or teaching and the members blame the missionaries for baptizing people that aren't ready or for not fulfilling their responsibilities. When what we need to do is do everything within our power to help or offer help. We blame others while not realizing that it is within our power to help the situation. If the missionaries want the members to help we need to encourage them, uplift them, give them ideas on how to share the Gospel. If the members want the missionaries to baptize people that are better prepared they need to warmly welcome our investigators, accompany us to lessons, and even better.. invite their friends to listen in their homes!! 

In the three meetings that we had both Elder Garcia and I gave talks. My talks were on charity and how obtaining charity is necessary to have in our callings as representatives of Jesus Christ. I started my talk by talking about the often ignored but very important part of charity which includes being enduring, bearing, long-suffering, and not easily provoked. Complaining about our situations or circumstances, especially when it becomes a habit and something we do for the even littlest things, is a good way to keep charity out of our hearts. I then shared some scriptures from Isaiah 53 that show Christ suffering for all and not once complaining. 

I then moved on to talking about the part of Charity that is like faith - it takes us to action. Us as missionaries, charity should be the motivating factor in us sharing the Gospel with others. I finished by speaking about how to gain greater charity through prayer by reading and then sharing an experience about Moroni 7:48

I just want to share one cool experience that I had yesterday evening as I was driving back from San Rafael with Elder Garcia. We were about an hour into the drive and Elder Garcia had fallen asleep so I was driving silently while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle choir CD we had on. I was reflecting on some of the spiritual impressions throughout the meeting that I had and then a special moment I had with Elder Viñas we he pulled me off to the side after lunch and told me something that meant a lot to me. I wasn't in a moment of sadness nor searching any kind of relief but the Lord decided to bless me with a beautiful experience unlike any I had experienced before. The music was leading to a climactic point and just as it struck, the very instant, the clouds ahead opened up to allow a beautiful display of sun beams that pillared down on the horizon in front. It caught me off-guard but the fact that it happened so simultaneously and the feeling that overcame me was enough to know that it wasn't coincidence. I guess He wanted to make sure that I didn't rule it off as a coincidence either because after about 15 seconds, just as suddenly as it appeared, when the climax of the song ended the rays disappeared. The experience was beautiful and I felt as if my senses had reached their threshold of enlivenment for this life.. haha. That's the best way I can manage to describe how I felt... well... and it brought some tears to my eyes... but that's nothing new for me :) 

It was an especially cool experience because I had just shared in my talk that morning that in order to have charity for others, the pure love of Christ, we first need to feel that love ourselves. We need to treasure the experiences we have in which we feel the love of our Savior and through our prayers ask to be filled with that love as it says in Moroni 7. In my talk I mentioned a number of ways in which the Lord can answer that prayer including experiences like that (something that I had never personally experienced). As I had been preparing to speak on that subject the last couple weeks I had made sure to give special attention to asking for charity in my prayers... I felt like, even though I wasn't feeling desperate or asking, the Lord decided to maybe bless me with that moment as a little pick-me-up after a few hard months health-wise. 

It was another great week despite the challenges and I think that is one of the best parts. The Gospel is so uplifting and empowering that even in our weakest state we can be happy.

- Elder Rainock

" I am in a place where I can continue to do what I love"

(written Aug 16)

Today has been a much needed P-day. I took a three hour nap and Elder Garcia and I went out to buy some fish for him to prepare as we both miss eating it. We bought some merluza (hake, a more mild fish) and some shrimp that he prepared very well. We had some leftover rice from the other day that we ate on the side. I'll attach a picture at the end. It really hit the spot and I am feeling a little more relaxed today.

This week has been full of excitement! We received a group of 32 missionaries including a very good friend of mine that went home from his mission in December. I think I remember writing an entry about how we stayed up late talking and the night before he left as his situation was very similar to mine. Well... he is back and it was a grand reunion. We gave eachother a big 'ol hug in the airport and when we pulled away we both had tears in our eyes. I was so happy to see him and catch up on all the details that weren't talked about in our email communications. He was already an excellent missionary before leaving and I can't imagine how good of a missionary he will be now. There was also another missionary that returned after receiving knee surgeries and going through therapy who I had the chance to work with one time as well. It was great seeing him and it was a happy reunion for all. 

The 30 new missionaries that we received are all excited to be here and have brought a new light to the Mendoza mission. They came in on tuesday night after miraculously making their flight in Buenos Aires with confusion over a pilot strike that was going on. We took them to the mission home where they ate dinner and then sent them off to get a full night of sleep. 

The next morning they received some trainings from President Goates and Hermana Ashby (the mission nurse) before eating lunch. After lunch we took them to Cerro de la Gloria (Glory Hill) which is a historic monument for the armies that liberated Argentina from Spain. Elder Garcia and I gave a spiritual thought about the liberator, General San Martin, and related his story of freeing people to our purpose as missionaries. That evening we ate pizza and then went out into the streets near the offices to let the missionaries have their first experiences talking to the people of Mendoza. I got to go out with three new missionaries and we had a great time! All the missionaries that participated had a really uplifting experience. 

On thursday morning Elder Garcia and I had a training with all 30 of the new trainers while the new missionaries received training on finances and other similar things from the office elders in another room of the church. Afterwards we ate lunch and presented everyone to their new companions!!!! That was the most anticipated and excited part of the day which was followed by a small training before sending them off to their areas. 

It was fun receiving such a large group but I was happy to finally get to bed on time for the first time in a week on Thursday night. Yesterday we had planning session with President Goates as we prepare for the visit of Elder Francisco J. Viñas ( this next week. We will be taking him on a three day tour of the mission so that he can speak to all of the missionaries. He will also be having a meeting with investigators of all the missionaries here in the Mendoza area as well as for members who bring their friends. I am really looking forward to meeting him. Elder Garcia and I will be the opening speakers for the three meetings with the missionaries followed by Sister Goates, President Goates, and then Elder Viñas. 

Just a little update on my health. From the tests that I have done so far everything has come out alright so some possibilities have been eliminated. I will have some more in depth tests done on Monday the 25th. My stomach still isn't all that great but I have felt very blessed this week. Last week I was really struggling with the fact that I wasn't able to perform my duties with enthusiasm and a smile as I need to be able to do as a missionary. I was trying to fake it and I couldn't even do that... this week, even though my health has continued the same, I was actually really happy. There was a moment every day where I realized how much joy I had in what I was doing even with the stress, fatigue, and dull pain. In the moments that I stopped to think about how happy I was I felt the sense of a flood of prayers coming over me from all those that have kept me in their prayers. I want you all to know that I really appreciate your prayers and that I had a really good week. 

I really love being here and I am happy that I am in a place where I can continue to do what I love while receiving the proper treatment. I am really looking forward to this week and seeing what Elder Viñas brings to help our mission continually improve! 

Here I have attached some pictures of my last few days with Elder Quadros and the lunch that Elder Garcia prepared today. 

Love you guys!

- Elder Rainock

The first one is of Elder Quadros and I at an asado that the Perez family prepared for us. Super good! 

The second one is a selfie of us in the elevator that we ride up and down on to and from President's apartament. We usually take advantage of the mirror to adjust our ties right before seeing President as well :) 

The third and fourth one shows the meal that elder Garcia prepared! Hit the spot!

"I felt like a true representative of Christ"

(written July 26)

These last two weeks have been pretty busy for Elder Quadros and I. We've been traveling around the mission with President and Sister Goates as President does personal interviews with all of the missionaries. We go along to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible and we take advantage of the opportunity by go on exchanges with the zone leaders. It's been very tiring but, as always, very rewarding as there are always many spiritual experiences on exchanges. 

I've had the opportunity these last two weeks to visit two of my old areas (Tupungato y Villa Mercedes) and do exchanges there. At one point Elder Quadros and I were walking the dusty streets of Tupungato together and it felt like we had never left since we had been companions there one year ago. It brought back a lot of memories and we had a good time telling President and Sister Goates some of the funny stories of stuff that happened to us since we have lots of time to talk as we travel. 

Included in visiting the old areas is the opportunity to show the missionaries that are currently there old investigators that might have been lost in transaction. It's a double-whammy because you get to help the elders find more people to teach and you get to see those people again. We had many wonderful experiences doing that. 

Also, the exchanges bring about the opportunity to visit converts or people who the missionaries are still teaching and encourage them to keep on going. A lot of times that really helps the investigators and converts because missionaries from before are able to mention spiritually uplifting experiences that remind them of what they felt and why they made the decisions that they made. 

I want to share one experience that I had in particular and it doesn't have to do with either of those topics just mentioned. Yesterday morning as we were in Villa Mercedes I went out to one last appointment with Elder Reynolds (one of the current zone leaders there) before heading back to Mendoza. The lesson was with a man that suffers from epilepsy and is burdened by his illness. He laments that it may prohibit him from being able to find a wife, have a family, to be able to work again, etc. I had never met the man before but as Elder Reynolds was explaining the situation I could feel some of this man's heavy burden come over me. I'm sure it wasn't anything like what he feels but it was enough for me to develop compassion for him and want to help him and I'm sure that Elder Reynolds could feel it too. 

Elder Reynolds mentioned that they had never really focused on the Atonement and when he said that we knew that that is what we had to talk about. I opened up to Alma 7 and read verses 11-12 that talk about the Atonement and how it isn't just to overcome sin but it is to overcome all things. We decided to share those scriptures with him and to help him understand that the weight of this sickness that he has can be lifted as he puts his faith in Christ. That Christ suffered all things so that He could feel what we feel - and Him, being perfect and having a perfect knowledge of all things, knows perfectly how to help us. 

"...and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." - Alma 7: 12. 

Afterwards we explained to him that we can receive relief by exercising faith in Him. And Faith means action (or works). We talked about the importance of prayer, scripture study, and church attendance as works that will prepare him for the first ordinance of baptism.
I had never met the man before so I didn't know how the lesson had gone in comparison to lessons before but I could tell that he felt something special and was more ready to make some changes in his life. Elder Reynolds mentioned afterwards that he had never seen the man that excited in a lesson and so desirous to progress. 

It was one of the most spiritually uplifting experiences I had on the exchanges we did because I felt like a true representative of Christ. Feeling the burdens of others as Christ felt the burdens of all. I know that our heaviest burdens can only be lifted by putting the Atonement of Christ into our lives. That means putting our faith and Him and showing that faith by action. 

I love you all and am praying for those of you back home. 

Here are pictures from a hike called Cerro Arco that we did last P-day. 

"Miracles always happen"

(written July 12)

I apologize that it has been so long since I have written a blog entry. For that I will write a nice little update right now along with some pictures!! 

The transition between the Ávilas and the Goates has been very smooth. It has been a busy time but we haven't experienced many problems. The Ávilas will surely be missed but President and Sister Goates are so easy to love that no one feels an emptiness. I am looking forward to getting into contact with the Ávilas when I return but until then I have found it very easy to fully embrace the presence of the Goates. 

President Goates was a director of a sector of a large company that works on creating unmanned aircraft largely used by the military. He is also a former stake President in Arizona. His experience as a leader in the church and in the business world really show in his ability to make decisions and to follow the Spirit. His open and loving character always fills the room with light.

Sister Goates has served in a wide variety of callings in the church and is a published author. She brings a lot of life to our meetings and, of course, is emotional and cries a lot (not out of sadness but when she hears something that touches her). Elder Quadros and I get a kick out of it but love her for being so sweet. 

They arrived two weeks ago from today. On that saturday we (the Ávilas, Sister Ashby, Elder Quadros and I) picked them up from the airport in Mendoza and took them to the mission home where they were shown around and acquainted. The following day we attended church in what is now their home ward with them and the Ávilas. It was awesome because they all spoke!! I was grateful to have been there. 

After church we all had a lunch together here in the offices and President Ávila showed President Goates around and they had a short little meeting together. On purpose, they are instructed to have very little time together and are given a list of certain important points to cover. Those points are mostly administrative things such as keys and codes for doors, information about the vehicles, etc... As far as the missionaries in the mission and how the missionary work was done there isn´t much said. It is so the new mission president has a fresh start and all the missionaries as well. The new mission president is to rely on and guide the work purely on his own inspiration and guidance from the Spirit. It has been pretty clear to us that are close to President Goates that he is inspired and we are seeing lots of great things already. 

The first week consisted of a leadership council in which President and sister Goates got to meet all of the leaders in the mission. They spoke on various things they learned in the MTC and President Goates gave instruction and set his vision for the mission. Following the leadership council we started a tour of the mission which we just finished yesterday. 

The first week we stayed in Mendoza so that they could get settled in and be close to home but this last week we traveled to San Juan, San Rafael, and then to San Luis... man that was tiring. I am pretty wiped today and I am looking forward to a nap. 

In the tour President and Sister Goates shared information about themselves and their lives. It was an introduction to get to know them so that the missionaries could find out who they are and relate to them a little better. I got to hear the presentation over and over again so I know their lives inside and out... haha :) It was a great experience however and in each meeting there was always something new that they added in. President Goates has had some very difficult trials in his life and his testimony of overcoming difficulty and finding strength through the Atonement is powerful and inspiring. I have the greatest respect for him. 

The next three weeks will be even more busy. I believe this saturday I will be able to write an entry but I know for two weeks after that I will not really be having a P-day. President will be doing interviews with all the missionaries for the next three weeks and Elder Quadros and I will be doing exchanges with the zone leaders in the zones we travel to. I am excited to go on exchanges because 1) Miracles always happen and 2) I get to visit my Tupungato and Villa Mercedes!!!! 

I can't write this blog without mentioning the biggest thing that is happening right now in Argentina. The world cup!! And Argentina is heading to the final against Germany!!! I am super excited to be here during this time. I really hope they win so I can say that I was here when they won it all!! The streets are a little crazy here when they win and after the semi-final game it got a little out of control. But what can you do? They live and breathe soccer here and their country is going to the biggest game of them all.. let 'em live a little I guess. Tomorrow, after lunch, all missionaries will be returning to their homes to avoid any conflicts or danger in the streets. It's better to play it safe than sorry. 

I am happy and getting along just fine here. I am learning so much with these experiences I am having here and finding lots of things I need to improve on as well. 

One thing that has really called my attention these past few weeks is the undeniability of inspiration in the organization of the church. It is undeniable to me that this church is the true church on the earth today. The fact that we have leaders that receive revelation from God to guide us means that it is living and will continue to grow in the direction the Lord wants it to go.

 Viva Argentina!! Go Messi!!!

Elder Rainock

This first one was two months ago when I got one of my Christmas packages. The other elder is Elder Egbert my trainer who finished his mission a week later.

The second one is of two twins that re-activated while I was there in Villa Mercedes. I love those guys and it was a great experience seeing that.

The third one is the ward mission leader in Villa Mercedes and his wife. He was an example to me of fulfilling a calling.

The fourth one is Elder Quadros, Elder Egbert, and Elder Wright picking me up in the terminal when I got here to the offices. 

5) Sending my trainer (my father) home in the airport. 

6) Elder Quadros flying on his broomstick

7) Salt fields on our road trip

8, 9, and 10) Pretty views on the road.

"lots of teary good-byes"

(written June 21st)

The last two weeks have been pretty busy and last week I didn't get a P-day at all because we had to travel to San Luis for a stake conference so that is why I didn't get to write. 

Last week we did a final tour of the mission with President Ávila. It was a special training that we presented to all the zones in the mission. Elder Quadros and I had a short part on a model of teaching that Elder Zwick taught to the mission when he was here over a year ago (before I got to the mission). President and Sister Ávila spoke on who we are and the plan of salvation. It was very powerful and will will miss them so much as a mission. There were lots of teary good-byes. 

While there is sadness about the departure of the Ávilas we are all anxious to see what the mission will be like with the arrival or President and Sister Goates. However, I will admit that I will be one of those shedding a tear as we drop President Ávila off in the airport next week. His example of a leader has left a great impact on me. 

This week we said sent off a group of 6 missionaries and received 7. The new missionaries that came are real game changers! I can tell that they are a special group and have so much potential. It was cool getting to know them and they were put into good hands as their trainers are great missionaries as well. Really, the mission is looking up! There are lot of missionaries that are doing BIG things in their areas and setting an example for others. 

This week we had about 5 hours to work in our area and the Lord has blessed us to be able to do what we could normally do in 10 hours in those 5. We found two new people that received us into their homes (they are actually old investigators of mine from when I was in this area the first time training Elder Rich). They seem more desirous now and committed to listening to us. I will update you more on them as we continue to work with them.

I am doing really well now. Even though the stress levels are high I am learning to deal with them and work at a higher pace with less sleep. Although I do like sleep I have always been jealous of people who can sleep so little and feel fine. Right now I am perfecting that art :) I am tired but I am functioning fine on the energy I have. I know a big part of that, however, is the Lord giving me the strength to do what I need to do. As I have been here in the offices I can see numerous ways in which the Lord has blessed me and if I take the time to think about as many as I can the list just doesn't stop. 

I am so grateful to the Lord for the opportunities I have been given since returning on my mission. I've had some trials in my life - the biggest of which was returning home from my mission. But now I can only see it as a blessing as I was able to use the power of the Atonement to make it out as a happier, stronger, changed person. Since being here I have faced the challenges of missionary work and have been able to build upon that testimony I have of the Atonement as I use it to not only to ask for forgiveness for my weaknesses but as a force to take on the trials. Every responsibility, being big or small, has brought its challenges and it's always a humbling reminder that the only way out is through His Atoning Grace. 

We can search for solutions to our trials in many places but there is only one place to find them. It is hard because it's humbling. But I have seen that humbling ourselves before the Lord is usually the final effort we have to give before things start looking up. It brings a lot more meaning to the phrase "depths of humility." It's hard, it might make us feel weak because we can't do it ourselves, but looking back we only realize that we are strong and that it was worth it. 

Elder Bednar left us with a great message in general conference about our trials and how they make us stronger. Take a few minutes to read it or listen to it. 

Love you all!

Elder Rainock

The picture I have attached is of a nice restaurant we went to after receiving the new missionaries. We also went there the night before as a farewell dinner to those that left. Usually the dinners are in the mission home but being that the mission home is under construction for the arrival of the Goates we went there. That is good ól argentine asado!