Oh my goodness, where do I begin? So first traveling from Pittsburgh, I was all by myself. Super weird after having someone with me 24-7! I flew to Atlanta and all the payphones were used or broken. Hermana Ellgen, also a visa waiter from my district in the MTC gave me her calling card but they were all occupied and my deaf ears probably did not hear them paging me. So I got on the plane really bummed that I didn’t get to say goodbye. But, it was cool because I was reunited with a bunch of missionaries I had met in the MTC. I truly felt like Ammon did when he saw the sons of Mosiah and many of his friends were still his brethren in the Lord! So awesome! The joy is so real! The flight was eeehhhhh, not horrible. They were super good at keeping drinks coming and food was actually pretty good. The flight was 9 almost 10 hours to Buenos Aires and I could not sleep at first. Everyone had a TV and was watching movies and I literally just watched the flight tracker that shows where we are en route! It was funny because me and a bunch of the missionaries would look up and get distracted by the movies the people next to us were watching, then we would look back down.
When we finally got to Buenos Aires, we quickly met up with some representatives from the church who took us to another airport, then sent us to our specific missions. Thank goodness it was not a bus! We got to the other airport and the first words out of my mouth were, Is this Spanish? The people speak like they are singing and Castellano is way different from the Spanish I was taught. Nevertheless, we took the flight, which was only like an hour and a half to Mendoza. I was still bummed I didn’t get to talk to you guys. So I said a prayer that you would somehow know I was okay. When we landed, we were met by the mission president and assistants, automatically, I could feel a connection with the Goates. I know it was the spirit telling me how important of a role they will play in my life. They are seriously so amazing! We had dinner, then the next day we had training and then interviews. Before my interview President and Sister Goates asked if they could take a picture with me and send it! They had not done that for anyone else, and I was so grateful and knew that the Lord had truly provided for me that I could send that to you! After interviews, we met our trainers, and mine is Elder Gerard from Mesa AZ! He is plain amazing! I love him so much! He is so humble and caring and super helpful in teaching me the ways of the mission and Castellano! One of the first things he told me was even though he is my trainer, we are both missionaries who have been called of God to help the people here, that is why we are called in two because it is more powerful, and that if there is anything any impressions or questions I have, to feel free to say it. Hearing that was so refreshing! He is just plain awesome and encouraging! So grateful to have an amazing trainer to help me help others here. We are currently serving in Palmira in San Martin, and you’ll never guess who is in my district…HERMANA KEIL!!!!! I am going to see her every week!
This weekend we had the opportunity to hear from Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who made sure to shake hands and find out where every missionary was from. He also spoke in Spanish! I didn’t understand everything he said, but the spirit there was so strong. When it was my turn to shake his hand and tell him where I am from, I just thought about the stain that was on my shirt or how dirty my shoes were and I thought that is exactly how I don’t’ want to feel when I reunite with my Father in Heaven, I don’t want to feel uncomfortable or dirty, like I felt at conference. I want to be able to walk to my Lord with confidence that I have lived worthily, so that was a great eye opener. Argentina is definitely not America! First off, the siesta is so real and so strange because the streets are literally completely empty until about 6 pm. Our day starts with a little personal and comp study until 9.30 then we go out and work until we have lunch which is always really big and then we go back home during the siesta for more studies until about 4:30. The people here are generally super kind, very humble people and lifestyles. People will reject our message, but if we ask for water they would gladly give it to us.
Elder Justin Wilson