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Monday, October 26, 2015

Me and my companion Elder Fonseca

Hello everyone!!
I am finally here in Uruguay! I am so glad to be here. The last week in Argentina...was interesting to say the least. I am going to miss Argentina...but not a ton. Haha. We went proselyting for one last time in Argentina....and two of the companionships got robbed at knife I wasn´t too sad to board the plane to Uruguay.

The schedule was pretty crazy...but I got here at about noon, got assigned a companion, dropped my luggage of at the house, and got to work. My companion´s name is Elder Fonseca. He is from San Paulo Brazil.....and he literally speaks no English. In fact, he speaks Portuguese, so I am not even sure if he speaks Spanish! That has been a little bit difficult. Haha. I am learning the language pretty quick though...because I have to in order to survive. We are in an area right now called Camino Carrasco. It is just outside of Montevideo. I was expecting there to be a ton of tall buildings....but there are actually a ton of small huts, and dirt roads.

Seeing the living conditions here has really made me grateful for all I have. Most houses are one or two rooms, with a small kitchen, a table of some sort, and normally a bed on the ground in the corner or something. The people typically only have a few pairs of clothes, which are normally spread around the house to dry. Our house is pretty much exactly like that. different than what I am used to living with...but I have everything I need! At church, most members are wearing the same clothes that they wore on their baptism day. With that said... please, be grateful for what you have!

As for the work. We have 6 possible baptisms-investigators, and one baptismal date set in stone. I will fill you in more on them next week, but I don´t have any time this week!

Love you all!!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Here are my quotes from the last two weeks:

¨If you can´t fly, then run, if you can´t run, then walk, if you can´t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.¨ -Martin Luther King Jr.

¨Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up¨ -Unknown

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hello!! I am glad to hear from all of you. I am here, in a internet cafe. I am here safe!!! I am in Uruguay Este. It is really close to the city. My companion`s name is Elder Fonseca. He is from Brazil, and doesn`t speak English. There is a language barrier for sure...Haha. The house we are in is super...interesting. It has made me appreciate my house at home a lot. Anyways, today isn`t our P-day…so I cannot respond to my e-mails until Monday. That is my new P-day. I will try to write a lot more then. I love all of you and miss you a lot!!! It is time for me to get to work! This was just an update, I can write again on Monday.

-Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, October 15, 2015

These are my crazy Brazilian roomates!

The field is white and ready to harvest.......not quite how I pictured it.

Como están?
This is my last week in the MTC, so as of Tuesday I will be in Uruguay!!! I am so excited to finally be free of this prison. Haha. So this last Saturday we had our second chance to go proselyting. This time, we got dropped off in South Buenos Aires. Elder Taylor and I got assigned to a residential area. Unfortunately, it was during siesta. Everyone was off the streets, and all of the houses were locked up... So, after 5 hours of street contacting, we made 4 contacts. As you can imagine...we got rejected...a lot. You will not believe the length that people go to in order to avoid talking to us. It is actually pretty funny. People will run across the street, grab their kids and take them inside, or pretend to be busy, and speed walk past you. One lady even went to the extent of grabbing her cat, and running inside. I was like...¨What am I gonna do, baptize your cat?¨..Apparently that might be a legitimate fear here. Just kidding! Either way, here is the weird thing, after only 4 contacts, I was happy...In fact, I was thrilled. I was not concerned about the numbers, I was concerned about doing my best. I have been thinking about how that applies to everything...It isn´t important to think about the numbers, it is important that you try your best.....because if we do (In the words of Neill F. Marriott) ¨It will all work out!¨
Also, I have a funny story from proselyting. We were walking down a empty road, when a large siren started blaring. It grew louder and louder. Now, this wasn’t a normal car siren, it was super loud! It was a city wide alarm. So, initially, I suggested that I thought it might be a city wide earthquake alarm....or a warning for something. It sounded like a bomb was going to hit, and the siren still continued to blare. Next, two grown men sprinted past us running down the street, as if they were running away from something...Elder Taylor and I saw a boy step out of his car, so we ran up and asked him what was going on. He responded..¨Bomb eras Incendio¨...Then he quickly ran inside. Elder Taylor and I looked at each other stunned….."Incendiary Bombs???” we said as we stumbled out into the street. I kept glancing at the horizon, expecting to see planes begin to drop bombs on the city. ¨I wonder if a war has started?¨ Elder Taylor said, as we ran down the street. We decided to double check our suspicions by asking another woman.....And it turns out….Bomb-eras means firemen....The siren was calling all the firemen in the area.....We felt extremely stupid....because for 3 minutes...We thought the world was coming to a end...Hahahaha 

Love you all!
Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The View from my window
View of the neighbors

Hello everyone!

Another week down in Argentina! As I am sure all of you know, this week we were able to watch conference. Conference is like the Superbowl for missionaries...Haha. For the first time in my life, I listened to every session, and didn't fall asleep. How incredible is that! Conference was extremely spiritual and it was very motivational to all of us. However, it was also very sad...If anyone heard the talk that Jeffrey R. Holland gave...thats why. Elder Holland talked on the importance of women, and specifically, mothers. As you can guess...everyone started crying...Haha. Overall though, it was excellent. There were tons of amazing talks, such as Neill F. Marriott´s talk "It will all work out," and many others. They seemed to stress the importance of women, so I just wanted to say thank you to all the women who have influenced my life. Thank you to my friends, thank you to my relatives, and thank you to my mom.....Next, did anyone see President Monson’s talk? It was super scary when President Thomas S. Monson was finishing up his looked like he was going to drop...and I am sure glad he didn't.

Other than that, this week has been....extremely...boring...Haha. I don´t have any stories this week, but we are going proselyting this week, so I am sure I will have tons next week. To give you an example of how bored we have been….we calculated the speed of our classroom fan in MPH, on every setting...and I am getting extremely good at paper football..haha. Everyone here is getting a little anxious to get out in the field and get to work. 

I love you all!! Talk to you next week

"If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way."
-Nepolean Hill
Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Me and my companion Elder Taylor

Hello everyone!

This week has been an amazing experience for me. Last Saturday, all of the missionaries in my district hopped on a bus and drove about an hour away from the MTC. We drove through a main part of Buenos Aires. It is a very beautiful place, is definitely interesting. To describe the culture shock, I will give you a few experiences. There were horses standing between the barriers of the freeway, and there were kids playing soccer under the freeway overpass. The speed limit on the freeway is pretty much however fast anyone wants to drive, and nobody uses their blinkers. The motorcyclists fly between cars and get close enough to touch them...When we arrived to our area, the bus doors opened, and we were greeted by a large playground, where kids were running around laughing, and there was a small carnival going on. It looked like tons of fun and we were excited...but after the girl in our district got off the bus, they closed the doors and started driving to where the elders were getting dropped off.......haha.

Elder Taylor and I were in a very interesting area...Remember how I said we were directly next to the danger zone? How true that was... Haha. The streets were lined with abandoned houses and stray dogs. I even saw a dog standing on top of a destroyed house. Regardless of our circumstances, we got to work. We were able to contact quite a few people, get some contact information from a few people, and even pass out both of our Books of Mormon. Keep in mind, that this is after two weeks of Spanish. It was an exhausting day, but it was well worth it, because I felt good about what I was doing.

The day was also full of people turning us down, which I just laugh off. When I would ask people walking by how they were doing, they would say ´´no´´. Haha. I got so used to being turned down, that one time, I was caught off guard by someone accepting it. I said, “we are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, would you like to hear our message?”After a few moments...she responded that she would. I was totally caught off guard...and I didn’t even have a message in mind to share with I just said quickly...Jesus loves you. We believe in the Book of Mormon....which led to another door getting closed in our faces....hahaha. At least I tried.
"The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but that we aim too low and reach it!¨ -Michelangelo

That’s all I got! Love you all!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Ps. Feel free to write me a letter! I will be here at the CCM (MTC) for 3 more weeks and then I will receive mail at the mission home:) Here are both of those addresses.

MTC mailing address:
Elder Benjamin Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
Argentina Missionary Training Center
Autopista Ricchieri y Puente 13
1778 Ciudad Evita. Partido De La Matanza
Buenos Aires

The mission:
Elder Benjamin Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
Dalmiro Costa 4635 Bis
11400, Montevideo