Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another week in Catamarca

We took our camera with us this week and snapped a few pictures of the area where we're working.  Please enjoy!

This picture was taken from the car window and is the type of street we drive on quite often.  If you can see at the intersection, the road is paved in the other direction. 

This street sign cracked us up.  The sign with the arrow pointing to the right says Calle Publica S/N which means Public Street Without Name.  There are several streets in a row with the same street name.  The other street with both arrows on the sign is a very main road in our area which we use daily.  Notice all the plastic bags in the bare branches across the street.  The weather is extremely windy right now and every tree and bush throughout the area is covered with plastic bags.  Also, note the white tank at the top of this house on the other side of the street - it's their water tank and every house throughout the country has a water tank like this one.

                                                                             El Borracho
We learned the name of the fat trunk trees:  El Borracho or The Drunk.  Everyone we asked gave us the same answer. 

The Valdez family.  The wife, Angelica, was an apartment companion with our daughter-in-law, Kathy, while they both served missions in the Salta, Argentina mission several years ago.  The husband, Luis, is the stake president of the Catamarca Stake and in visiting with him one evening we learned his wife had served a mission and figured it was about the same time as Kathy.  We asked him to ask her if she knew Sister Bryant (all females are called Sister and all males are called Elder) and that's when we found out they'd been together!  Small world.  They're a very sweet family.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Catamarca Zone

We went to the Catamarca Zone meeting on Wed, 8/24, and took these pictures at the end of the meeting.  This is a great group of missionaries that we get to associate with!  Please note the trophy, which looks like it belongs to us, is for the district within the zone that makes the highest numbers in their goals of contacting people, bringing them to church, etc.

Back row from left to right: Elder Valdez/Chile, Elder Haake/UT, E. Zanartu/Chile, E. Griffith/OR, E. Cranford/TN, E. Richter/LA, E. Barraclough/DC, E. Burton/CA.
Front row from left to right: E. Machado/Uruguay, E. Gonzalez/Chile, E. Gossling/GA, E. and Sister Lawson/CO, E. Flake/CA, E. Jauregi/Peru, E. Crespin/El Salvador. 

Boys will be boys, even missionaries!  Elder Barraclough just couldn't resist.

 Even Homer is alive and well in Catamarca!!  This little Kiosco is just down the street from where we're staying.  The hotel is the high rise behind it.  A Kiosco is where you can buy sodas, yogurt, sandwiches, candy, etc.  They're on just about every other corner in all cities throughout the country or in other words, are very common.  This one just happens to be extremely colorful and fun!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another P-day

After going to the church to visit with the elders in the zone (missionaries within each mission are divided into zones and smaller groups within the zones are called districts) as well as younger members and to watch them play soccer/futbol, we left to see some sights in Catamarca.  We first drove to Lake El Jumeal, which has a dam next to it.  Since the dam has been built, all the rivers and streams no longer exist - they're totally dry.  We walked around the lake and took some pictures.  We then drove into the mountains to a tourist city, El Rodeo.  As today's a national holiday, nothing was open, so we returned.  We went to the Centro of Catamarca and saw some missionaries sitting in the plaza eating pizza.  They're a great group of elders and they were chomping down on their yummy pizza.  The pictures below are of Lake El Jumeal.  The tree was right next to the lake.  We'll go again when everything greens up but today was very tranquil.

Look at that FAT tree trunk!  I'm trying to find out the name of this tree and will let you know when I do. 

Another mountain view.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The city Catamarca in Argentina

We arrived in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, August 9, 2011.  We had a very comfortable flight down to BA (Buenos Aires).  We spent the first 2 days in BA being trained for what we'll be doing and learning we'll be assigned to an LDS stake in Catamarca.  We left for Cordoba in our VW Vonage (renting from our church) to meet and be instructed by the Mission President, President Salas (from the Buenos Aires area).  We also met with the mission office missionaries and loved their enthusiasm.  From there we drove to Catamarca via La Rioja so we could see that region as well as it's part of the same stake.  We've been assigned to work in La Rioja Stake, which is a geographical area that covers the cities of La Rioja and Catamarca.  We'll be helping with leadership training. 

Our home for now - Amerian Hotel

Our VW Voyage

These beautiful trees are Jacaranda trees.  They have beautiful lavendar ones in southern California so how fun to see these spectacular rosy pink ones in Catamarca!!

Catamarca is surrounded by huge mountains and seem about a block away.  As you can tell, this is an extremely dry area and we can't see any trees on the mountains.  It rained this week and snow was up on the top of the mountains and so beautiful.  Perhaps we'll see more green as summer approaches.  One can hope!

Our smiles and love to you!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


We decided to drive down to Manti for our P-day (Preparation Day) and enjoyed attending the temple while there.  Everything was so green and lush.

Our District

Our district was one of the smaller ones - only 3 couples.  We really enjoyed getting to know them and spend time with them.  The couple on the left, Elder and Sister Stevens, are going to the Spain Malaga Mission as office missionaries.  The middle couple, Elder and Sister Zobell, are going to the Las Vegas West Mission also as office missionaries. 

Our Teachers

Eduardo was Doug's Spanish teacher at the MTC and Marisol was Nancy's Spanish teacher via phone before our entering the MTC as well as our time at the MTC.  Both were excellent teachers.  Doug's phone teacher prior to entering the MTC, Leo, had another assignment once we arrived this week.

Our 3 teachers are pointing to their stateside mission locations.  One served in our Denver South Mission!  They were all enthusiastic and so excited for us.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

MTC Days

We officially began our mission at 10:30 on August 1st!  Everything is going great.  We're enjoying the learning process of becoming missionaries.  This week - and our only week in Provo - all senior missionaries (and us, the ONLY junior missionaries...) are being taught to talk to the Argentines about the church and to practice Spanish.  One of the highlights is talking with the young missionaries during the meals.  They're so considerate, positive and excited to be going throughout the world, and for many, learning a new language.