Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Traveling to Argentina

I received this text on the day Isaac was traveling to Argentina.  He was in the Salt Lake Utah airport and someone recognized one of the other elders and took a picture and sent it to all of us.

At Salt Lake Airport

The mission office sent a letter letting us know that Isaac had made it safely. Here is the letter:

Dear Family!

We are so grateful to have your sons and daughters serving in the Argentina Salta Mission. They arrived in Salta after a very long few days of travel. We want you to know that ALL made it safe and sound and have been assigned to their first areas! Thank you for your love and sacrifice and especially for letting your missionary serve the Lord. It is a pleasure to know and we are excited to serve with them for the rest of their missions.
Thank you again for letting them serve and we know they are going to have a lot of success.
If you want to send letters to your missionary the address is

Your Missionary’s Name
Los Eucaliptus 75, B° Tres Cerritos
4400 Salta

As of now we cannot receive packages through the regular mailing system, but the service is the most reliable way to send packages to your missionaries.
If you have any questions or need anything from us just let us know. You’ll hear from your missionaries next Monday, they have till 6:30 to write.

Arrived in Salta, Argentina

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 6

So awesome and scary at the same time. I just want to thank everyone so much for the Christmas gifts. It means so much to me that you are all thinking of me. I am think of structuring these email a bit different so bear with me. 
I got to help clean the temple instead of doing a session and it was not near as nice as it sounds. We spent 3 hours cleaning lockers, but I was glad to help. I had a devotional by Elder Swick about the light of Christ and how we need to reflect it to others.
This is a literal quote from my journal "The days are getting boring I don't have much to write about"
I broke my first pair of glasses playing basketball today and that was sucky but luckily they were my cheap pair. I got a whole bunch of spices in a package because I have been told there is no spices in Argentina. It was one of my teachers (Hermano Ricks) last day so we got some photos as a district with him. He was a really great teacher and it is sad to see him leave.
Friday- We had infield orientation today which consisted of them teaching us what to do for the part of being a missionary that is just not teaching lessons. Like contacting people and working with the members. I began packing today but there isn't much I could do because I still have a bunch of clothes to wash. 
It didn't feel like Christmas eve at all. It was strange not spending the time with my family but it wasn't too bad. I got a package full of random stuff from my dad's shop. That was a bit strange. I liked Saturdays in the MTC because I got an hour of study time in bed. There was a live nativity put on and that was really comforting to watch it reminded me of how as a family we would always read about the birth of Jesus on Christmas eve right before bed. I also found out that I didn't know how to spell either of my parents middle names. 
It was Christmas and it was snowy. It snowed all thought the night and most of the day to give me a nice white Christmas. I opened up some presents. There was a devotional by Dallin H. oaks that was nifty. His family came and preformed a lot of musical numbers for us and they were really good. The sacrament meeting was just one huge meeting with all the missionaries sitting in the gym rather than in their individual chapels. To end it all though there was a really cool evening devotional where David Archeleta came and preformed for almost 2 hours for us. He is so good at singing. Then afterwards I got to shake his hand.
 I spent most of Monday packing my bags which I now hope the scale at the MTC isn't very much different then the one at the airport. I found out that I only get a 17 lb. checked bag in Argentina so that made the weight even more difficult. I got to help teach some 3 weekers (I have been here 6) and it was astounding how different there Spanish was from mine. It really made me feel better about leaving. I know it is going to be hard but the rate in which we learn is astounding. 
I miss everyone so much and I love you all. 
Elder Black
My branch presidency
Branch presidency

Branch presidency

Me with my district and Hermano Rick

Mini Harmonica Christmas present

Christmas present

The beautiful snow on Christmas day!

The Mini-copter present

My companion sleeping while doing laundry

Beautiful Christmas day

The trash can after my district of 8 cleaned their rooms.

Another fun Christmas present

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 5

I was wishing I could have emailed everyone earlier but oh well. I think this may be the last time I email before I am 5,500 miles away in Argentina. Wow that seems a lot further now that I wrote it out. Thanks everyone who sent me pictures, packages, and emails. I really appreciate them. My emails may be getting shorter because I will have less time to write when I am in Argentina, but don't worry I still love everyone. I will try not to neglect anyone. This week has been pretty crazy and awesome. On Tuesday night Elder Jeffery R. Holland came and spoke about the importance of the Book of Mormon in what we do as missionaries. It is the first gift of this dispensation. At the end of his talk he gave everyone at the MTC a blessing and that was super powerful. Wednesday was pretty boring and average but I did get to listen to Elder Black (the other one not me) teach the class about the evolution of mid-evil weapons and helmets. That was pretty darn interesting. He also got a deck of magic cards that have been keeping us entertained at night. We finally got our TRC to take a Book of Mormon which was cool. I just got taught subjunctive in Spanish and I realize that everyone has been talking like 2 year olds for the past 6 weeks. On Thursday I finally hit the one month mark which astounds me. I feel like I have been here both for forever and for not nearly long enough. My companion and I got to teach a lesson though skype to someone who lives in Espania (Spain). That was amazing because it was a real person not just someone pretending to be an investigator. It really helped remind me why I am serving a mission, which it to bring the light and gospel I have in my life to others. I got two packages one from each grandparent. On Friday my parents sent me a Christmas tree so I decorated my room and everything looks really pretty. I also got my flight plans on Friday and I leave the 27th at 2pm. The flight plans just made everything so much more real. Saturday was pretty boring, but on Sunday some cool stuff happened. My district sang "If You Could hie to Kolob" at sacrament meeting and everyone sang the good by song "hasta Ver" (Until we meet again) to us a week early because there is a special sacrament meeting this week. That night we had a devotional by the Piano Guys. If you haven't heard them you should look them up. They all came and bore their testimonies about the importance of missionary work and stuff and then they preformed a couple of songs for us. I also met a Spanish speaking Hermana that is going to Vancouver, so Dwayne and Mel if you meet a Hermana Spencer She might remember me from the MTC. Well I love you all so much and miss you more than you can imagine. Oh I got to clean the temple today and that was amazing we got to see the rooms all taken apart.
Yo se que este iglesia es verdad, y mediante este inglesia nuestos familias pueden vivir juntos para siempre. Amo ustedes mucho.
Elder Black

My candy corn army that I created.

My flight plans

My Christmas tree and presents

All the candy I have amassed from leaving Elders and family members

The awesome shirt I bought

My flight plans

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 4

Hola Todos,
The MTC stay has been alright so far this week. Thanks to everyone who writes me. I hope you aren't too disappointed with the sad replies I give back. This week was one of the fastest weeks I have had so far in the MTC. Me and my companion started teaching a TRC which is the equivalent of a real investigator. So far we have only been teaching our teachers playing the role of investigators. I show everyone pictures of my hair because no one would believe me when I said that it was long before I came here. I was then called a hippie and Napoleon Dynamite by my district for a while. I got another package which had more candy in it. My dad says he is trying to help me bulk up at the MTC. On Wednesday I got to be a host for new missionaries. That was super fun because I got to take people off campus to get x rays and that is one of the only times I get to ever leave the campus. Also it was really cool because I could tell them all the stuff I wish I had been told when I got here. It is a bit weird being the experienced missionary and I had only been here for 3 weeks. Although it was a bit sucky because I didn't get exercise time that day and that is one of the best parts of the day. One of the elders in my district got almost 5 lbs of deer jerky from his parents and I think it will be gone by the end of this week. One night in our dorm 2 elders got into a old west stand off with the nerf guns that had been snuck into the MTC. It was pretty funny because they both had fake mustaches and they were insulting each other before they fought. Our class has begun to read the scriptures together and discuss them and our district spent about 2 hours discussing the last 15 verses in Mormon 9. Another night there was a slap boxing competition and that was pretty funny to watch. I met someone today who is going Spanish speaking to the Yakima mission and I told her to look out for any Blacks that she might meet. She was a little confused by that statement but I clarified last name Black. Her name was Hermana Graff but I don't think she will remember who I am if she ever goes to White Salmon. I got to study one hour in bed one of the days and that was super awesome because I didn't have to sit in the sucky chairs in the class room. My teacher just told us that she is pregnant and we are some of the first people to know. She hasn't even told her parents or her boss yet. I still haven't had to give a talk on Sunday which has been nice but I do understand the talks given in Spanish though. I had to give a lesson in priesthood and I forgot how much easier it is to teach in English. Also on Sunday night we got to have a devotional by the BYU mens choir. They were super awesome and they sang one of the songs from our youth conference I had. It is Danial's favorite song. It is the "rock Mary rock the cradle in glory" one. If you want to here it just ask Danial I am sure he still remembers some of it. I got to talk with Sister Christen one last time before she leaves which was cool. She was super excited to hear about all the missionaries in our ward. Yesterday we had Taco Bell and everyone was super excited and ate a bunch and then spent the evening class regretting it. Well I guess I will leave you all with a bit of Spanish (once again with no accents)
Yo testifico que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Nosotros somos Su hijos. Yo se que Dios ama todos y El quere nuesto a ser feliz.
Love you all so much and miss everyone,
Elder Black

Taco Bell Night
My Missionary Host Tag

The wonderful bookmark that my mom left for me in my scriptures that I just found.

Me having a nice study in bed!

A drawing for those who enjoy grammar.

Cheerio Face

My Temple Walk

A sled I found on a car on the way to the temple walk.

It was literally an armchair with water skis attached to the bottom.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 3

Hola todos, como estan? I love getting emails from everyone and I love hearing how things are in the outside world. I miss everyone a lot, but I am doing well in the MTC. My Spanish is progressing and I can hold a conversation as long as it is about the gospel or very simple things. I will give an example near the bottom. This week has been pretty boring and normal so I will try to come up with some things that sound interesting. Alright here it goes. The most exciting thing that happened this week was that I got 2 packages from my parents. One had a bunch of candy and one had winter stuff and some pocket knives for me and my room mates. Getting mail is one of the best and most exciting parts of the MTC.  I have now officially fallen asleep during one of the personal study times but luckily it has only happened once, but it still isn't a good thing to do. There were some good pictures drawn on the board this week by my district. One is a depiction of Alma from the Book of Mormon, one is a picture of a "fatling" farm. One of the kids in my district thought fatling mean fat little children and he was confused about a scripture so he decided to draw it. And one was just of an epic battle between a dragon and a bass. Now that I have been here for 3 weeks I now have to teach 2 lessons a day most of the days. That is a bit overwhelming but I am getting pretty good at the first few lessons. It has snowed 2-3 times this week but it is almost all melted as I write this today. I have been running 1 to 3 mile a day which has been great but I am not doing well with the high altitude so I am always out of breath. Our resident halls have been getting quiet since no new missionaries have come since I have got here. But one thing has been worrying me because a lot of missionaries haven't been getting their visas and they have to go to Salt Lake for a couple of weeks while waiting for it to come in. Tomorrow we get 2 new districts and I get to help host and show them around which is going to be fun. I am sad because I think I am starting to get sick because I have a sore throat, but I am just glad it is happening now and not right before I leave. If anyone has any questions just email me and I can get back to you on Tuesdays.
And here is a taste of my Spanish (there are no accents so google translate might not work)
Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador. El ama nostoros and mediante El familias pueden ser juntos para siempre. 
Love you all lot and miss you all so much
Elder Black 

Dragon and Bass Drawing

"Fatling" Drawing

Package from Dad

Alma Drawing

Winter Stuff & Knife package