Argentina, Buenos Aires West Mission
May 2012 - May 2014

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hello family,

Wow, looks like you had quite a week! Thank you sooo very much for all
the pictures of Alix´s baptism. I´m glad it all turned out so well.
I´m so glad she finally got the chance to come home to the gospel.
Thank you for giving her such a warm and loving welcome (: Wow she´s
already looking for names to take to the temple? She´s not wasting any
time, is she! Speaking of baptisms, we had one this past weekend as
well. We had the baptism of Cristian Segovia and his son. Cristian´s
family are all members, but he wasn´t, until now. It all turned out
very well, except for something went wrong with the font right before
the service and water got alllll over the floor. But, with the help of
all the members, we were able to clean it up fairly quickly. I was
asked last-minute to do a musical number, so I chose to sing Conmigo
Quedate, Señor (Abide with me tis Eventide). It turned out VERY well.
Everyone afterwards kept going on and on and on about how good it was,
haha. I´m always happy to use my gifts to help bring the spirit. All
in all, it was a very happy day. So, you´ll never guess what the
weather´s like today.... RAIN. This makes the third rainy PDday in a
row. I don´t mind too much, because the rain cools things down a lot.
It was starting to get pretty warm this past week, and our apartment
has been an absolute oven. It´s basically just a concrete box with a
window on one end. We have no ventilation whatsoever and no fan. So,
rain is good at this point. It also scares away most of the mosquitoes,
which are starting to come out. I have bites alllll over. Living here
has definitely made me grateful for the things we have in the US. We
don´t have cars, so we have to take public transportation (aka buses
and trains) which is not entirely enjoyable. We have no ventilation in
our apartment, no carpet, sometimes no running water, no washing
machine, a toilet that you have to flush by dumping a bucket of water
in it, and we hear every single thing that goes on outside during the
night. And that´s just a small list! =P I´m still trying to learn this
language. I´m able to understand and say a lot more than I was, but
I´m not even close to where I need/want to be. I know it takes
patience and will come with time, but it´s like learning a new song: I
want to play it perfectly right NOW =P. I´ve been pretty good this
week. Still trying to adjust and figure everything out, but a lot more
comfortable. Sometimes I wonder if I´ll ever figure it out. There´s SO
much to learn.... Well, I think that´s all I got for now. No, I don´t
have any specific requests for my Christmas package (: Thank you for
asking! I love you and miss you all so much.


....And more RAIN!

Houses in Ravidavia

Roads in Ravidavia

A leak in the upstairs pipe - Their solution to fix it - A bucket under the leak :/

Segovia Family Baptism

Monday, October 22, 2012

Teaching, Building, Dancing and Rain...

 Hello family,
Is it still weird for you to think that you´re getting this from Argentina? Haha. Well, this week has consisted of lluvia, lluvia, lluvia. (shoo-via: Rain). It´s rained soooo much. Almost every day. And when it rains in Rivadavia, EVERYTHING turns into mud. Thick, soupy, black mud mixed with a good amount of sewage. My feet haven´t gotten too wet though; my shoes are holding up quite well. My castellano is improving every day, little by little. It´s still really hard (sometimes impossible) for me to understand what people are saying, but, like I said, I´m slowwwwwly improving every day. Elder Tolaba is treating me very well. He´s patient and usually doesn´t get frustrated with me. He always tells me, ``¡Usted es un capo, Élder!`` Which basically translates to, ´´You´re really awesome!`` He always braggs to people how good my spanish is  for only having two weeks here. He really does help me a lot. OH! I forgot to mention. I am now an english teacher. We have english classes at the church every saturday at 4 for members and especially investigators. Last saturday, I taught them how to offer a simple prayer in english. It went really well! There will be pictures coming, if I have time to send them. We have some really awesome investigators as well. This week, I had some fun stomach issues. The food finally caught up to me. I am slowly acclamating though. I love all the food I´ve tried here so far, which is good because we get fed a lot. Oh, if you want to send letters, here´s where you send them if you don´t already know:
Iglesia S.U.D.
Elder Bentz
Misión Argentina BAW
C.C. Nº 92
1702 Ciudadela
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The mail goes here, and we get it whenever we have zone conferences. So I might only get mail once, maybe twice a transfer.
So anyways, I´ve been much better this week. I´m a lot more adjusted to things and not shell shocked like I was the first little bit. I always try to talk as much as I can during the lessons and I´m always trying to talk to the members. The members here are very nice to me. Now I´m being told that I don´t have a north american accent, but a Russian-Italian accent, hahahaha. It´s because I roll my R´s too hard. I´ll have to work on that....
Well, I just want to say thank you for all your prayers and support. They are much needed. I love you all. Talk to you next week!
elder bentz

The city

The roads the Elders walk everyday, rain or shine.

Elder Tolaba and their apartment.  All of it.

El Baño! The shower is in the same space as the sink & toilet.

Typical rain in Rivadavia.

Elders caught in the rain.

Helping a family build their home.

Attempting to do Just Dance ;)

Teaching English!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Adjusting to Argentina

Hello family,
Well, I´m in Argentina. Weird to think about huh? Man, talk about CULTURE SHOCK. EVERYthing is different. Every single thing. Except the gospel of course. I´m still in the adjustment process and will be for awhile. I do NOT like the¨"adjustment process." Not one bit. But I guess what I like and don´t like doesn´t really matter anymore, right? So we got here after the flight and went through customs and all that stuff, then we went on a little mini tour of a part of the city with president. We ate at a restaurant and then had a meeting at the mission home. Then we went to the mission office and had a meeting there. We stayed that night in an apartment in a highrise overlooking the craziest street I´ve ever seen. Buenos Aires is HUGE. So many buildings and people and garbage and smog and traffic and a billion other things. It´s quite overwhelming. Anyways, the next day we had the transfer meeting where I received my trainer (or should I say he received me...?). His name´s Elder Tolaba and he´s a native, from a province in northern Argentina called Jujuy. He doesn´t speak any English. At all. Then we took a taxi for about 45 minutes to our area. Oh my GOSH people here drive like drunk nascar drivers! I literally thought we were going to wreck about 15 different times! It´s INSANE!!! No wonder this city has the highest driver death rate. Anyways, we got to our are, and I saw our apartment (pension) for the first time. It´s one tiny room with a bathroom/shower. The floor/walls/ceiling are all concrete. There is no ventilation to speak of besides the windows. The shower is a part of the bathroom, so the floor´s always wet in there. There´s always a centimeter of dust on the floor because everything here is dirt roads. My bed has a dip in it; it kinda feels like sleeping in a hammock. We have water that leaks out of the ceiling from the shower upstairs. So that´s where we´re staying! Pretty different from anything I´ve ever seen. We are in a neighborhood called Rivadavia. We live on one of the main streets which is really noisy and dirty. Well, EVERYthing´s dirty here =P. We spend most of our time out in the more suburbian parts where all the houses are. If we´re in Rivadavia, we walk everywhere. We take el colectivo (bus) and el trén (train) to get to farther out places.
I have NO idea how I´m going to find my way around here on my own. The public transportation here makes no sense. Nothing here really makes much sense to me yet. But, the people are awesome. Everyone is very cordial and the members are very strong. Everyone keeps telling me (including my companion) that I speak Cstellano very well. They say I sound like a Porteño, someone from the city who has a very distinct and presice accent. Although I can´t speak/understand a LOT of things, I CAN speak/understand a lot of things too. I´m getting a little better every day. I even bore my testimony yesterday. We have a lot of investigators. We have 6 baptismal dates for this month alone. SIX! The people here are very open with us. The food here us really good. A lot of meat: chicken, churrizo, and beef. And bread. The members usually feed us almuerzo (lunch). I only wish I KNEW more. Such as: Spanish, where the members and investigators live, how to use the public transportation, etc. The expectations of this mission are VERY high. Both in regards to our numbers and our obedience. I hope I´ll be able to live up to everything that´s expected of me. A lot of times I don´t feel like I will, because there´s a LOT. The weather has been pretty nice: pretty warm during the day and pretty chilly at night. I´m not too excited for the summer thought. With no ventilation in the apartment, it´s going to be an oven. Anyways, I feel like I´m complaining a lot. I´m not trying to, it´s just a completely different world here and I definitely am not acclimated yet. To send mail, we have to go to another city to do it because we don´t have a place in Rivadavia to do it. We have a member that washes our clothes, but we do our garments by hand. Hmm what else...? Oh the exchange rate is about $4.60 pesos for &1.00 USD. Anything else......? Oh yeah. Please please pray for me as hard as you can. I´ve been doing pretty good so far and I don´t want to crack now. I need all the help I can get. I am in a completely foreign world and I don´t know how long it will take to get used to it. I miss you all. I love you all.

Arriving at the Buenos Aires Argentina Airport

MTC Buddies - WooHoo!

Elder Bentz made it - finally!!!

Elder Bentz and President Carter - Buenos Aires Temple

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Safely Arrived in Argentina

Elder Bentz with President Carter
 In front of the newly rededicated Buenos Aires, Argentina Temple.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Last Week in Alabama!

Hey family!
Well, this is my last week in Alabama. I can't believe it either! I can't believe it's already here. I'll be sending home an SD card today and a package later this week. I can't wait to talk to everyone Sunday! I can't think of anything else I'd need off the top of my head. Yes, I got the hair clippers. Thank you so much!
Being able to perform at Justin's eagle project was awesome. I played guitar and sung How Great Thou Art. I think everyone really enjoyed it. I'm so glad I got to do that. I'm grateful for all the chances I've been blessed with to use my talents to bless others.
This last week was good. We biked literally everywhere. I think it was well over 10 miles a day. Biking has become a lot easier for me than it used to be. Of course, now I won't have to worry about that anymore! Hah. It rained all yesterday evening and still is today. We biked home in the rain last night. I was SOAKED by the time we made it home. It was quite the adventure. I've really grown to love this place, and I will miss it when I leave here soon. But, I know Argentina is where I'm supposed to be, and I am so excited (although pretty nervous) to get there. I've been waiting for this for almost 7 months now. I can't believe it's here!!!
Well, I don't think I've got anything else this week. Mom, thank you for sharing your testimony. I've come to realize all the things you talked about on my mission. I love you all, and I will talk to you on Sunday! (:
Love always, Elder Bentz

Elder Bentz and Elder Thayne

 Playing at an Eagle Project for a Nursing Home in Fort Payne, AL

"How Great Thou Art"