Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pride and the "bad word" chile pepper! (Week 22)

So this week was a amazingly awesome. Like more awesome than usual!!


First, let's rewind 7 days to last Monday. We had Family Home Evening at Yolandas house. Yolanda is the coolest member in the world, she always has a reference and a cup of juice for us. And we were celebrating Elder Rojas´s birthday as well, so we invited a ton of people, but only a couple showed up hahaha. But, what we lacked in quantity we made up for with quality! We had Yamila (my first baptism), Gerardo (my second baptism) and Belen (his wife), Gonzalo, a super funny, nice member, Our old Mission leader Brother Omar, and four awesome missionaries. Me, Rojas, Schoonover, and Salmon. And what made it so great was because Yolanda knew that Me & Elder schoonover LOVE hot, spicy food. People here call us Yankees if we're from America, but they know elder schoonover is part mexican so they assume he can handle super hot food. And everyone who knows ME, knows that I put Tabasco sauce on everything eat. I've been doing this from about age 8. In fact, I was distraught to learn that Tabasco sauce isn't sold in stores here that my mom ordered 500 Tabasco packets (picture th ketchup packets you get from fast food places, only with Tabasco in them) and found a way to fit them in my mission suitcase! I get to use one a day!!!!
So Yolanda had bought a bunch of chiles, known here as Aj√¨ mala palabra, which means the "bad word" chile, I don`t know which bad word it is, but it`s like the ******** Chile, the people here swear in the name of the chile due to the intenseness of the chile... So, everyone started peer pressuring "someone" to eat one (someone as in the yankees). The lot fell on Elder Schoonover, (usually I would have jumped on this  crazy wagon before this point but I was a little cautious of these peppers because I had already eaten two of them the day before when we went by yolandas house for our daily dose of references and juice.) So, being the mature Elders that our mothers raised, we proceeded to dare and DOUBLE DARE elder schoonover to eat a chile cause "he's mexican and can handle it". His pride kicked in and he said "GIVE ME TWO!" We were stunned, but we were still all running our mouths, and all I remember was that there was a slight argument, and it ended with Schoonover claiming "GIVE ME FIVE THEN". So he threw all 5 in his mouth  with almost no hesitation, I might add. And then we all waited. He chewed, chewed and chewed and swallowed and BAM, it hit him like a wall, his face turned red and his eyes went wide and you could see the regret and terror on his face. It was hilarious. We were all dying of laughter. Poor elder Schoonover was crying from the pain and heat and we were crying  because of laughter. This went on for about 2 minutes of straight laughing. Finally after about ten minutes Elder Schoonover regained control of his faculties and we all sat there holding our sides because we all gave ourselves cramps from laughing so hard. But it wasn't over after that, as if on cue, everyone turned on me, like sharks to bleeding prey. Boom! Suddenly I was now sitting there with 3 chiles in hand and being pummeled by peer pressure and MY pride kicked in and I put all 3 chiles in my mouth and I chewed and chewed and chewed and swallowed and I sat there. I Waited and I waited some more. Nothing. I was Dumbfounded. These things had destroyed me the day before and now I felt nothing? I thought hmm...I must be more manly than I thought. Feeling pretty high of myself I looked at everyone around me who were in turn looking intently at me and I said "nothing happened." There were groans thrown out by the pack of hyenas gathered around me and I thought...."hah! That's what they get for doubting my yankee abilities!" They started looking for their next victim and I continued to sit there. Suddenly I felt something growing from the back of my mouth. It was NOT a pleasant feeling. I felt it creep up slowly and slowly and spread. And then this feeling started getting more powerful and more powerful and I started to realize, by and by, that this uhhh... this hurt, like Hurt hurt!!! That's right. Those bad word peppers had a delayed reaction. And they were coming at me with a fiery fury!!! I was looking all around me, looking for an escape route from this horrible mistake, but all I succeeded in doing was drawing the attention of those whom I had once called my friends. The first to notice my panic was Belen who pointed and exclaimed loudly "It Worked!!" All attention was now on Elder Porter and they had found me at the peak of my internal pain. They wasted no time in laughing at my expense as I sat there, face beat red and at the edge of oblivion. As my tongue slowly melted inside my mouth, I looked left and right for a hint of compassion from these my fellow servants and found none. Just pure enjoyment and mirth. Karma! I am grateful that I was able to give these people such pleasure in their lives. After I quenched the fire of death from my face, they immediately began looking for another victim. The dare then went to Elder Salmon, Gerardo and Elder Rojas. It took a lot of coaxing but we managed to make them eat a chile as well. Gerardo was first. He ate his Chile bravely, but he is a full grown man so he wasn't bothered to much by it. Then elder salmon went into the ring of fire and came out a little charred but unscathed. Finally Elder Rojas put the chile shaped Death in his mouth and it was almost the end of him. He is REALLY not accustomed to hot food and as the magma chile started fulfilling it purpose in Elder Rojas, I thought, for almost a moment, that we had just killed my companion. He reacted horribly and we may have traumatized him for life!  It was Hilarious. I was dying of laughter and so were my fellow cohorts as we watched Elder Rojas cling to life. It was HILARIOUS. After wards when we had all recovered and mentally proclaimed never to eat  a chile again. We shared a scripture about the importance of families and left before they made us eat something else crazy dumb. 

I'm sorry i don't have time to write about much else this week but I want to share my testimony about the danger of pride. Pride is the opposite of humility and humility is neccessary to allign our will with Gods will. We all need to remain humble at all times so that we can be ready to perform Gods Will. Pride will only lead to fiery, painful eternal fire and regret. 

I love you guys. 
Elder Ren Porter.

P.S. Great Object lesson, No?

Elder schoonover in the grips of "bad word" chile pain.
Our little group at Yolandas house. I'm in the very back, looking like a creepy stalker.

This lovely graffiti is an american eagle being shot at by the nice people of argentina, next to it we observe a vulture painted like the american flag above the vein of central america, which connects to a giant heart, which is south america! Should I be more scared of this area than I am?
Zone conference
Me and some missionary friends




More Baptisms (week 21)

Okay so this week. 

Gerard was baptized, confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and recieved the Holy Ghost and Diego was baptized, confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and recieved the Holy Ghost. It was super awesome. They were such Eligidos (elect). A really cool experience. I was so grateful and happy that I got to baptize Geraldo. He is such a cool guy. Gerardo told me before the baptism that he had been waiting for more than a year for this day and I told him "Wow, this is a good day then." haha! Oh how I wish I knew better spanish than "Wow, que bueno"!! They were such insufficient words to express how proud I am of him and how proud I know Heavenly Father is of him.  Also he told me he found 2500 pesos on the ground the other day. So, yah he's definitely getting blessed already.

Almost just as cool was when a less active family, Familia Acevedo, we have been working with and who I think is the coolest family ever, came to church and we didn't even expect them or anything. It was a great surprise to see them there and it made my spirit so happy! They are super cool because they are super nice and I just love being with them. I can't even explain why. I just love them. They are an awesome family and I want them to get reactivated already!!! They need the church so bad in their lives right now. But, as much as I want that for them, I know I can't force them, I just have to pray for them and love them and teach them and let the spirit guide them. 

Also a youth in the ward is leaving for her mission this coming week. And right in the middle of sacrament, Elder Rojas turned to me and asked if I could play the hymn "God be with you til we meet again"? I said yes and he got up and told the bishops wife, so me and her switched places and I got to play "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" for the last song. It was super Powerful!! The ward here is such a unified group. I felt like they were almost shouting when we hit the last verse. This ward is such a great little family and I'll be super sad if I get flashed out today or tomorrow which is what me and me companion are both expecting.

In other news....it's been rainy and it's starting to get colder here in Argentina. We have our winter while you're having summer back in AZ, so all the pics I send home in the next 6 months are gonna show me freezing, but in my mind, I know it's hotter than heck in Gilbert Arizona!! The work has been a little slow this week because Elder Rojas´s back has been acting up again. But, I utilized alot of that time and cleaned the apartment a hecka ton. I decided to clean because our zone leader had a division with ELder Schoonver this week and he chastised us a little bit about the sorry state of our living space. I thought...okay, por fin, let's clean! So I cleaned!!! I think even my mother would have been proud of my work, I mean, I cleaned places that one could justify as being unnecessary. I was  really proud of myself and then the rest of the day I listened to MOTAB. Not proud of my inactivity at that point. 

Today is Elder Rojas´s birthday so Elder Salmon baked him a cake  and we didn't have candles so I took a Q-tip and cut off one of the ends and lit the other side on fire and made him blow it out hahaha it was awesome. Super Good cake as well. For some reason It didn't really rise but I thought it was delicious and I'm going to eat it for breakfeast with elder Salmon for the next week. You Know, because we´re trying to be healthy and everything!!!

I can't really think of anything else to tell you. But hey, thanks for reading my report.
Love you guys,
Elder Ren Porter

P.s.
I realize some of the Super COOL Awesome stuff I write about might seem like I'm grasping at straws. But for me....all this stuff IS super cool and awesome haha. 

P.s.s
I'm sending you some pics. As stated last week, elder schoonover cut my hair and I would like to say...
It's okay mom! It looks bad on camera but its actually very comely in person!!! haha.


It's rainy
Gerardo's baptism. I'm sorry the picture is blurry. The man I asked to take the picture didn't know how to use a camera. 



Argentina Rules (week 20)

Hi,
Okay, so this week was awesome. Me and Elder Rojas have been killing it here in Villa Tesei. Elder Salmon and Elder Schoonover have been doing some great work as well. We have had some great progress with many people that we've been working with. We had a zone meeting this last Tuesday that really hyped us up to work more with the less actives in our areas, at least I got super excited. We`ve been putting alot more focus on working with the members this last week and hopefully into the coming weeks as well. We have 4 baptismal dates right now. Gerardo y Diego this Saturday, Isabel on the 31 of this month and Enzo for next month and Gerardo, Diego and Enzo are all practically in the water. Gerardo had his interview this week with a Zone leader while elder Rojas and I and the other zone leader acted like cement in the front. He passed!!! Diego is a capo and pretty much his entire family and friends are super active and in the church. Enzo has come to church on his own already four times and he wants to get baptized and the best part is that we haven't even taught him any lessons yet hahaha!! He is so COOL and we are going to start teaching him this next week. Isabel is a little harder because she has some health problems but we are working with her and we are going to be really patient with her. The other Elders in our apartment have one of their investigators practically baptized as well. All in all its really cooking down here. But..... I'm a little scared as well, because Elder Rojas told me that he has never had a companion more than a transfer and a half before and if I stay this next full week and continue onto next week than I will be the companion that has been with elder Rojas the longest, ever in his mission!!! Then I started  thinking back on my other companion elder Ortolano and how he was flashed out after the baptism of Franko (my first convert) and I'm scared the same will happen to me after the baptism of Gerardo and Diego. I had just been hoping and praying that I would stay this last transfer  so I could participate in the baptism of Gerardo which was the same situation with Elder Ortolano. Plus, President Robertson told my comp. that I'm probably leaving this next transfer. I'm also scared because the area has totally spoiled me and I know if I get flashed (emergency transfer) I'm going to be sent out to the campos (farms). Pero all well, right? 

OH YAH so I forgot to tell you, SOMEONE forgot to pay the gas bill a couple of times and so we haven't had gas for our stove or hot water for a week now. Shower time is Death time!!!! 
Also, the fridge is the saddest thing to look at in our apartment because it is full of food that wants to be eaten but we can't cook it and put it in our bodies!! Sad Stuff. But you know...Missionary Life! hahahaa. 

Some other news here is that two of the families we had been working with separated, the husband and wife, and we have been working alot with the ward for help with this. It was So sudden and random we didn't see it coming and it was equally frustrating that we couldn't really do anything about it. But i Still Feel secure with this area even though there have been drastic set backs like this. It is still paradise here. The members are amazing the people are receptive and they don't hate americans to much here hahaha. I haven't been robbed lately, BUT The prices for buses doubled, but thats okay I guess. We`ll just walk more and stay more healthy. Take that Satan! 

Anyway, that is what is happening here in Villa Tesei. We had interviews with President Robertson this week as well and he gave me some good advice. He said "Remember Elder, the work is not about you its about the people here who need your help and when you just continue to give more and more of yourself, you will start to grow in great ways and the Lord will Prepare you more for the work here and for the work in the future." I know that what he said was true and this is something we can all apply in our lives because its such a powerful lesson. Serve others and give more of yourself and once there's more of you out in the world, you will be able to see yourself more clearly and know more fully your purpose here on the earth. WE are Children of God and we have divine potential and we have infinite capabilities and marvelous potential to help those around us, the only person that stands in the way of God achieving this in you and me is ourselves. We have to take ourselves out of the equation and just let God Work. I love you guys! I Love your emails as well! Argentina Rules! 

PS. I didn't have time for pics this week. Sorry mom! Plus, elder schoonover cut my hair again and I need a week of growth before I send my mom a picture. Haha

Love, 
Elder Ren Porter
Email address: ren.porter@myldsmail.net

Monday, April 4, 2016

Conference (week 19)

Hey everyone,

So this week was something cool. Because of ConfErEncE (accents on the "E" because is was Excessively awesome this year). We were able to snag a projector from the office this week so that we could watch conference in our home ward instead of at the stake center. So we got the projector and Elder Salmons blanket and some duct tape I had and taped his blanket onto a wall and the members and investigators totally watched conference like a movie theatre experience. It felt like you were actually there and the sweat on the Choirs foreheads was so much more glisten-y than normal, At least for the people who spoke Spanish, because us yankees went into the Church office and watched conference from a members old computer screen.....in english of course. That was a blessing because I definitely wanted to be edified this weekend and laugh whenever Utchdorf told a joke. And I'm just not quite to the point where I can understand all of general conference in Spanish yet. But, I'm happy to say that I did laugh yesterday. And I felt the spirit so strongly. It was awesome. 

On the food front, I had the delightful experience of eating "cow utter hamburgers" this week. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like! I rank it right up there with "blood sausage" that I had a few weeks ago. And that's all I'm going to say about that! 

On a happy note, Elder Schoonover figured out how to make hot sauce, so we've been experimenting with different foods and adding hot sauce to them. This little gift of hot sauce has brought much joy to my life and stomach! 

Also, a lot of people have asked me if we play lots of soccer on pdays. I'm sure the neighborhood kids and members would love for us to play on pdays (or maybe not me, haha, since I'm an awkward yankee with no foot skills!!!) but I don't feel like we have enough time for soccer. I feel like we should be doing other things on pday, like cleaning the apartment or doing service. 

Also Gerardo and Belen got married this week and it was a super amazing experience and now Gerardo is qualified to be baptized!!! por fin. Which was such a miracle because we were super scared something bad would happen that would disrupt this amazing event. Especially because we weren't able to visit them almost at all this week leading up to their marriage because elder Rojas got sick and we were unable to work for two days in our area. But besides all that, it was a good week. I learned that I personally NEED to be out working or else I start to regress and feel lazy. Work is so important here in the mission field. I realize that now. Now I know, that for me, Satan´s grasp becomes like smoke and nothing to me. It can't hold me down and deter my progression. It was a blessing in this way. I was able to know for myself the importance of getting up and working and doing. 

Also a talk I really liked was the talk that spoke concerning the less actives and being patient with teaching because that is such a powerful lesson here in argentina where less actives are a huge part of the work. I appreciated his testimony and the spirit that he brought to the meeting that day and there was lots of doctrine taught that I can easily use in the mission here. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prphet of God, I know that the Quorum of the 12 are Really called of God and are servants of the Most High. This is His Work and His Glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man because He Loves us and I know it. I love you guys (whoever reads this stuff). I'm always bragging about how cool Arizona is to the people here (though they usually ALWAYS seem really bored when I do)!

P. S. Tell Riley congrats on her mission call to Peru!!

Love,

Elder Ren Porter
Ren's email address is :
ren.porter@myldsmail.net

Me, Elder Rojas, Gerardo and his bride getting the marriage certificate.

Not sure how Elder Rojas ended up with flower bouquet.....or why he's holding it like that, but he makes a beautiful bride (in my opinion) haha!!!

Gerardo, Elder Rojas and me.





Scripture power (week 18)

Hey everyone,

This week was super awesome. My comp got to go to the temple this week because some of his old investigators from his first area were getting sealed and they wanted him and his old companion to join them. So he went and me and the companion of the other Elder went on a quick round of divisions. His name was Elder Cobb. It was super fun because Elder Cobb was younger than me on the mission, haha, he's only been out 7 weeks. It was a super fun division. We just talked about how weird it is to be a newbie in the mission...fun stuff. 

We had one dinner appointment this week, with the other elders, and me and my comp were at the families house waiting for the other elders because they were a little late and all of the sudden the 11 year old son of the hermana came running into the house saying "the elders are coming, the elders are coming"! I looked out the door and saw that they weren't just coming, they were running! They were being chased by a big dog! It was hilarious! Stupid dogs! 

Besides that, this week was pretty normal, at least superficially, because on the inside I was freaking out with anticipation about transfers this week and what was going to happen because it's impossible to guess what will happen. But the verdict is......I am staying in Villa Tesei for another transfer and my new companion is Elder Rojas....Again! haha, that was definitely UNDER-dramatic haha but yah, I'm super excited! This area is kicking right now. We have a wedding next week and a baptism and one of our investigators finally came to church yesterday and countless other small miracles are happening right now and its amazing. 
I really loved this week. We`ve had many wonderful experiences and not just me and elder rojas but elder salmon and elder Schoonover as well. They have told some crazy amazing stories about some investigators they have and all-in-all it is Awesome here with a capital A. 

Something I would like to share though is that God really knows us perfectly. I know this because, Earlier this week I had one of those days where I was just feeling weighted down and I didn't know what to do and I was trying to think of how I could lift my spirits. I thought "I need some consolation" haha so I grabbed my scriptures, flipped them open and started looking for some consolation. I was flipping around looking for some scriptures I thought would help but i couldn't find anything, so then I kind of just gave up a little bit and sat back thinking. But then my eyes were drawn back to the page I was on because I had marked them long ago for some reason and I read the part that was marked and the things expressed in the scripture helped me feel better right then. But....I was still not feeling wholly myself. So instead of giving up, I turned back to my scriptures, searching for some "super scripture" to save the day and BOOM I found it. The perfect scripture to make me feel completely better again. oh man it was amazing. I felt like a spotlight flicked on inside my heart and I was feeling like a million bucks! I know that it was Heavenly Father who guided me to the exact right scripture that I needed at the exact time I needed it. I bear my witness that God knows us each perfectly. He is always there, waiting for us with open arms. He wants us to be happy and find joy in his service. He will show us the way if we have faith and we do our part. 

It is awesome here in Villa Tesei  and i Love you guys. 

Elder Porter

Pictures below:
1. our new pinch. Elder salmon on my left. Elder schoonover with the shades. Elder rojas and me
2. Elder rojas Humberto and me (humberto is a investigator we have been working with)
3. Hermano Ganzalo and i. He's a member and he is awesome. I love that guy! Me and him are always joking with eachother.
4. Hermano Gustavo and I. He is a recent convert of the other elders and he is a great guy. I love him alot as well.
5. Franko and I, my first convert. He is the best!!!!
6. The family of Hermano Gustavo. the dad is a hard nut to crack.
7. Family vice. we had dinner with them last night super nice people.
8. took that today because I thought it was awesome!
9. another picture we found that was super cool and I liked.