Wednesday, December 30, 2009


8000 Bahía Blanca
Buenos Aires

This week was really weird. We missed out on a lot of work time because of Christmas and also we’re going to miss a lot more for New Years Day too. It’s really big here. That day and Christmas are their two biggest holidays here in Latino America.

I got to call home on Christmas (I had to practice my English in the days leading up to the call) and my parents said that I’ve matured and mellowed quite a bit. I think it’s kind of funny. I have no idea in how I’ve changed at all to tell the truth. I hope I’ve changed for the better but I think I take the advice of my dad a little bit too literally. He has said ¨Little by little everything is simple¨ I know I’ve quoted that before here but it has helped me so much! However, I’m always doing that and nothing more looking ahead of me so little that I don’t notice much else. A teacher I had in the MTC said something like this ¨sometimes we need to look back and see the progress we’ve made¨. That too is so important to remember, because if we don’t do that we get too caught up in the little stuff and we don’t enjoy or appreciate the stuff that we’ve done.

Well as for Christmas here, it was all fireworks and I by some miracle slept through it all (I’m really tired). It is suppose to be the same thing for New Years Day. It is suppose to be a war of fireworks. Maybe I’ll snag a couple of pictures or something.

Thanks for everything every one of you!

¡¡¡Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



For all of you; my 12 dias de navidad para Elder Sands:
  • THE 1ST DAY OF CHRISTMAS - The only team in Argentina worth mentioning, Velez.
  • THE 2ND DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 2 missionary name tags.
  • THE 3RD DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 3 bombas that are used for water pressure and every house has one.
  • THE 4TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 4 suitcases that belong to Elder Lopez.
  • THE 5TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 5 pictures of Christ.
  • THE 6TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 6 shoes, 2 for everyday, 2 for the more dirty service (my new balances) and 2 that aren’t used as much and are always really shiny.
  • THE 7TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 7 triple combinations in castellano.
  • THE 8TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 8 white missionary shirts.
  • THE 9TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 9 books out of which I study.
  • THE 10TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 10 missionaries that were in my zone, all crazy.
  • THE 11TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 11 ties.
  • THE 12TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - 12 letters from all of you, THANKS!!!
Merry Christmas to each of you from Elder Sands in Argentina!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Hola from my last P-day in Olavarr¡a with Elder Lopez (well maybe but at least the last one of the transfer). And what a transfer it has been! We've have had a ton of ups and downs! These last few days have been incredible though! We've found a ton of people to teach. This transfer is going to be really interesting to see what happens as there is a lot happening in the mission and let's just say that just about anything can happen. The most likely I think is that I will stay here with Elder Lopez. But also he has a lot of time in this area and I'm at a time in the mission when other things will probably happen, but we'll see. So, I may be emailing all of you from another part of Argentina next week with some new companion or from the same computer with the same Elder next to me. Who knows, it kind of kills me to wait for this call that we receive. It is so nerve racking! This time in the mission is so important and where and with whom you spend your time is a huge factor in all of the experience. The tension and anticipation is palatable (I'm surprised I even remember that word). That's just a little bit about the transfer experience, but I'll talk to you all next week.

Thanks for everything and Merry Christmas!

Elder Sands

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wow, time has flown by so fast during this transfer because of all of the hard work! We have transfer calls this next Friday so we'll find out if I stay or go. There are a lot of things that are changing in the mission and one of those is unpredictability. The mission president is really changing everything and it is incredible what these changes are doing. This is a better mission right now and I'm glad I get to be here now.

There's a lot going on here right now and after what seems like a long time with the members not having much trust in the missionaries, things are now really changing. The branch president said yesterday that if he can, he is going to try and keep us both here for another transfer. I have no idea if that'll do anything, but that was great to hear.

I know that this is the Lord's work and he loves us so much. I've seen so little, yet so much of consequence. I love my mission, I love the people, and I want to do the best I can to do everything I can to help them. It's a very rewarding experience and I would hope that we all could do as President Hinckley always said, "be a little better!"

Thanks for everything!

Elder Sands

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well what a week, we're really starting to see the fruits of our labors. Tons of people are listening! The biggest thing of note from this week was from yesterday at our zone conference. Wow it was incredible!

Oh and the mission doctor was there and he did surgery right there in the church on my foot (Ingrown toenail not fun).

He talked about repentance and if we're truly penitent, we won't have to talk about abiding by the rules of the mission, we'll just do them automatically. Which is kind of funny because I've been reading "to draw nearer to God" by President Henry B. Eyring right before lights out time and the part of the book that impacted me the most was on the same topic. There was a man that had committed serious sin and although the bishop (President Eyring) had forgiven him on behalf of the church a while ago, he wanted to know if the Lord had truly forgiven him. Later acting on advice from then Elder Kimball, he asked of the young man if he was attending priesthood meeting and otherwise participating and those types of questions. He was doing that and so that showed that he was doing everything possible and for that, the Lord will forgive them that "are stripped of their pride." I've been trying to look for these areas, where I can do more, do better, to serve the Lord.

Thanks all of you for your love and support especially Sister Jones and Barb for the letters, I just got them today thanks!

Elder Sands

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Wow what a week! Sorry I don’t have a lot of time but let me share a funny story that usually happens in the MTC. One of the things that is kind of like a right of passage is to have a dream in castellano or Spanish. Well I don’t really have a lot of dreams anyway but apparently I talk in my sleep (it runs in the family, ask my parents about Sebring and the Ten Commandments). So I believe it was the day before yesterday, I talk in Spanish when I sleep! Yeah I guess I just skipped the whole dream in Spanish part and I just talk 24/7 in Spanish! Jajaja.

Well the work is just that, tons of work. We’re moving mountains out here! I can testify to the quote that I believe it was Ezra Taft Benson that said "the secret to missionary work, is work!" I can tell you that when I’m working really hard when I get to the apartment and just collapse on my bed after planning and such those days are the best! When we’re truly giving everything to the Lord, that’s when we’re going to be the happiest!

Thank you for everything and I’ll try to send some pictures the next week of me cooking or something!

¡Chou! Elder Sands

Monday, November 9, 2009

Well my parents asked if I'm feeling like a real missionary again, well I've gotten use to not doing very much and yeah, it's coming back to me. This week is when we really pick it all up. I'm starting to know the area and we found a lot of new people to teach this last week.

I'm really disorganized right now! I basically arrived and we went out to work so I still haven't unpacked! Everything is crazy, but a good crazy! It is amazing to really be tired when I arrive at the apartment every night. It's something that I haven't really felt in a long time! So I'm really excited this week as we have a lot of new ideas for the area that will get the area moving again in missionary work. It's really been dragging for a long time.

The members still don't really trust us too much so for my testimony-introduction in sacrament meeting; I kind of dropped the cane on them all about their responsibility to do missionary work, to talk about the gospel with their friends and such. It's also really great to have a companion that really wants to be really obedient! When we're obedient you can feel the difference; the spirit is so much stronger.

Well time to work like they say here in Argentina ¡Trabajarámos a ful!

Thanks for all of your support and love!

Elder Sands

Monday, November 2, 2009

Well it's transfer time! It is always really exciting and this transfer was really weird! I'm not in Bolivar anymore which was really kind of sad. All of the members were really sad to see me go. I actually got a little bit emotional. Not quite to tears, but I'm really going to miss them! Two girls that I had the opportunity to teach and baptize were really sad to see me go too. They wouldn't even let go of my hand for like an hour! It was a little bit awkward but it was really nice to know that I'm really going to be missed.

It's an amazing thing this mission. It's one of those things that you just can't quite put completely into words, but it's a roller coaster! You come in completely blind (and really in Bolivar because we arrived together) and you get to know the people the streets the places and then bam one call and you're ripped away from all of that. As I always say "Así es la vida."

As for me I got transferred to the place that I believe a lot of you thought I was at. I'm now in Olavarría. It was a really short transfer. It's like getting transferred from the Beacon Hill Ward to the Lincoln Heights Ward. I'm even in the same district and my District leader is now my companion. So that's what happened.

The area is really slow right now because unfortunately some missionaries before were doing some stuff that made the members lose all confidence in the missionaries. So now we have to gain back that confidence. Elder Lopez (my new companion) and Elder Taliercio (the missionary that was with him in this area the last two transfers) have gained back a little bit of that trust but there's a lot of work to be done!

I'm really excited for this transfer because Elder Lopez is really obedient and that is exactly what I want! He is from Mexico City so I hope I won't pick up his accent too much. I've got a very defined argie accent for a Yankee (that's what they call Americans here). So we'll see if I start developing the Mexican accent. I hope not but I'm really looking forward to working like crazy this transfer!

Everyone, thanks for everything!

Chou, Elder Sands

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well this is the last week of the transfer and we know that one of us is going to leave Boliver. Oh I heard that there is some confusion as to where I’m at. I’m in the city of Bolivar in the Provincia of Buenos Aires but my zone is the Zone of Olavarría, so I go to Olavarría every Monday so because of that I tend to talk about Olavarría a bit.

Well it’s been a couple of trying transfers for me. It’s really sad to see people who don’t want to realize their potential. That is exactly what I’ve had to deal with all this time here in Bolivar. However this has really made me realize what potential we all can have. We are Children of Our Heavenly Father. He loves us and he wants Lo Mejor (the absolute best) for each and every one of us. We have to do so little in order to achieve all of this potential, to receive all of the blessings God has for us! What an amazing thing it is to be a member of his church and to have that knowledge! I’m very thankful for the opportunity I have to share that with everyone.

Thanks for everything everyone!

Elder Sands

Monday, October 19, 2009

This week was amazing and also more of the same. We had divisions and I have to say it was nice to do a little bit of work this week.

After that we got to listen to Elder Bowen. He is the President of this area, Argentina and Uruguay. He talked a lot about obedience which is something that everyone needs to take more seriously. If we're all obedient the world will be a far better place.

I heard about the bug that's been going around up there, right now it's really hot in Bolivar. I don't have any time left but remember the Lord loves us and that is why we have commandments!

Elder Sands

Monday, October 12, 2009

What a week! Due to the robbery we have to change apartments so we did that this week and we didn't seem to do much more unfortunately.

Well I heard you have some days with temperatures in the 20's that sounds like something I don't really miss. It was below freezing one day since I've been here. It was in my last area and there was a little bit of snow but it didn't stick or anything but all of the people were in their houses staring out the window "enjoying" it because it's not exactly something they ever see. As for me, after this last crazy winter I'm fine with no snow for a couple of years. Now however it's about the perfect temperature probably around 70-80 degrees, but I'm not really sure but it's nice. Also one thing about here that is probably interesting is that it is almost always windy and I mean always. This in combination with their dirt roads which is actually really fine sand makes for perfect conditions to have tons of dust in the air. Also because of the humidity we have a lot of storms and for those of you, who've been in Spokane forever, not rain like there, but real pouring down rain. I didn't know it could rain so much. They have little canals everywhere especially in the barrios where the dirt roads are and they fill up in so little time. It makes it really fun to get around jumping over streams in the streets and gigantic puddles of mud in the barrios. Thankfully Bolivar is really nice or lindo as they always say here so it's not too bad.

This week Elder Bowen the Area President is going to be here in Olavarría to talk to the missionaries and the members. I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures of Bolivar before I leave as one of us is going in a couple of weeks so we'll see who it is. I've been reading the old testament really fast when I have extra time, which I shouldn't ever have, but it's there now so I might as well use it. I found out that Moses was supposed to talk to the rock to have it bring forth water the second time (see Numbers 20:2-12). Instead, he just smote it and for that he and Aaron were denied the privilege of entering the promised land. There are a lot of lessons in this. First how many times do we think that our way is better or easier, when really all we're going to do is deprive ourselves of blessings that could have been ours because we were trying to do it our way? Second the Lord wants us to progress. The first time the Israelites needed water he healed the water that was already there. The second time he smote the rock which requires more faith right. The third time he was told to talk to the rock where still more faith would be required. Moses lacked the faith the third time and did it the old way rather than stretching himself and obey a new commandment. For that, like I said before, he was denied entrance into the promised land. It is the same with us; we need to ever improve in order to enter the promised land or God's presence. I want to progress! The scriptures uses the word damned a lot. This is more literal that we might think; a damn stops water from progressing right. That is what eternal damnation is, the stopping of progression. Let's all strive to be better and progress to grow and to learn from every experience we have!

Thank you all for your love and support.

Elder Levi Sands

Monday, October 4, 2009

As you might now know there was a robbery of our apartment. Here is how it went. We got home way late one night as my companion is always spending tons of time in members home when we shouldn't be doing that. We get in and I went to the bathroom and he went to the bedroom and saw broken glass. Then someone opens the door and comes in with a flare gun and points it at him and starts asking him for very specific things. The other one had a wooden pole and was telling me to get down to the ground but he was all drugged up and I couldn't understand him. So I was saying the best I could, "what do you want, I can't understand you". That was pretty funny and you could tell I was really calm especially given the circumstances. I finally understood boca and pisa or mouth and floor. Oh ok you want me to get on the ground ok. So I did that and they took some stuff then left.

During all of this I was really thinking man I'm probably not going to be able to sleep tonight very much and was kind of annoyed because of that. And we didn't call the cops. Here they are not like they are in the states. Be thankful for them, they're amazing there. My companion was ticked because they took a bunch of stuff from him that he shouldn't have had like his mp4 player and other stuff. I'm kind of glad for that. I was really calm and I take that as from God indicating to me that "you're doing your best given all of these hard circumstances with your comp and everything, so I'm going to bless you with peace." I'm still rather calm though I'm annoyed as my comp is using this as an excuse to not work at all, so we did nothing this week. There is a blessing to that as I do have a lot of study time.

We have Elder Bowen of the Seventy coming and he is apparently really hard on missionaries. Maybe he'll guilt my companion into doing something, so I'm very excited to hear what he has to say.

We found a new apartment and are going to move in Wednesday and we have a zone conference tomorrow. Interviews I can't wait!

General Conference was amazing, I loved it so much, it was so spiritual and I got to listen to it in English and that was kind of nice. The talk that may have applied the most to me right now was the one on temperance. I don't think I am as humble as I should be and I'm not as patient as I should be and right now I have regular glass protecting me. I need to have tempered glass so that when Satan throws stuff my way I won't be injured, but rather be protected and just continue on in the work of the lord. Also the talk by Elder Holland was very strong, what an amazing talk. And President Uchtdorf's talk about love in the first session was really powerful. Also that talk from President Monson; "what good thing did you do today and ask it every day" is a great thing to do. And lastly what good advice Elder Ballard gave on interviews or something. Thanks Dad and Mom for all of the gospel stuff we did before I left. I really appreciate it now. I know that it's my preparation from you and fantastic leaders that is what is keeping me motivated to be obedient despite the circumstances under which I'm in right now. Thank you.

And thanks so much for everything and send that package with the things I need replaced and hide the valuable stuff well. (Levi had his camera, shaver and some clothes taken)

Thanks so much!


Monday, September 27, 2009

I have very little time this week, so let me first answer the question, how is the language coming after 6 months. The language is good I guess but I still can't understand a lot but it's bearable. I wish I had a companion that was more helpful with learning the language, but instead he just gets frustrated and nothing more. It's not for lack of effort either. I study everyday como un hour often more because my companion is always sleeping. I hurt for these problems too. This week I was really trying to be positive and happy but it was just a mask and it kind of caught up with me on Friday morning because we left at like 10:15 and came back at 11:40. I was so down! Iniquity weighs on the soul, let me tell you, even worse because I want to do better. We are supposed to be out at 9:30 and return at 12:30, so yeah that's my life. And even worse, we're having a decent amount of success. It's killing me. I'm not wiping my garments clean of their blood para nada (Jacob 1:19, I think)! Such is life. I believe I got a confirmation from the Lord I'm doing alright given the situation.

Well we had a robbery this week, but I'll share the details next week as I just don't have time. However the thing is, I'm incredibly calm and was during the assault tambien. So I view that as I'm doing all I can and the Lord is pleased with that because I was totally fine, very calm considering what happened which is a miracle but we're alright but it's still going to be a long transfer, but such is life, I'm developing a lot of patience.

Elder Sands

Monday, September 21, 2009

This week was really up and down. Down in the fact that my comp doesn’t really want to work and now I’m with him for 6 more weeks. It looks like the Lord really wants me to learn a lot from this missionary.

The up was that we have seen a lot of miracles this week. First, the son of one of the members from his marriage before he joined the church is fantastic, knows a ton, and has an amazing testimony. He was going to get baptized earlier but his mom at the last second wouldn’t give permission. Now however, she’s alright with it, so we’re teaching him. Also the sister of this same member is investigating and has been for a while and she was really down when she found out something about her husband. She was a wreck. We challenged her to read from the LDM or BOM (LDM is the Spanish abbreviation) she said she tried but couldn’t concentrate on what she was reading. We challenged her to open to a random place and read one verse and so we did it there with her and she opened to a verse that was talking about the BOM saying read these words or something like that. After she did it alone that night she opened to Alma 5:62 (I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.) If that isn’t a miracle I don’t know what is.

So yeah the good and the bad of the week thank you for everything!

Love...Elder Sands

Monday, September 14, 2009

This transfer has been a long one. I don’t know if I’m leaving or if my comp is going to leave or if we’re both going to stay. I just don’t know but Bolivar has been great.

The thing I’ve probably learned the most of this transfer is that obedience is really a simple thing. Many missionaries say, “It’s such a little thing, it won’t hurt”. That’s the thing; every time we’re not obedient we are hurting ourselves. It works in the other way to, “it’s such a little thing to be obedient and I’ll receive blessings for doing it.”

My mission in reality is really coming out of its dark ages and a lot of missionaries are lazy when it comes to being obedient and to working. They receive baptisms and they think hay I’m having success so I must be doing it right. They don’t want to be better and they don’t want to improve, they’re content with average.

I received a letter from another missionary in the states a couple of weeks ago. In the letter there are some things that were said that are really impressed me. “I want to be a progressing missionary; I don’t want to be dropped. It’s amazing the experience we have on our missions, how much we grow and realize things about ourselves and others. Self-mastery and sacrifice are so important. I choose to follow Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I am giving my all to this work.” I love that and I am also choosing to follow our savior and although my companion and others aren’t trying to progress, I’m trying to do my best to give my all to the Lord. He will always repay us with more than we will ever know or be able to give Him in this life. I’m seeing that every day. Obedience, exact obedience, is my goal as it should be for all of us. The Lord will bless us as we follow his will.

Thanks everyone for everything and have a great week.

Elder Sands

Monday, September 7, 2009

Well this week was hard, but I thought of an analogy I really like. I was a swimmer as you all know and the hardest part for me was always starting, because the water is always cold. It's this way because at a certain temperature it is perfect for swimming laps, But when you're not swimming and just sitting around it's too cold. It's kind of like that in the mission. The only way you're going to be happy, content or warm is if you are swimming or as in the mission, working. The manager or Christ has prepared the water for the work or for swimming. We just have to take a deep breath and dive in.

I would always swim the butterfly first (it's the stroke that takes the most energy and the hardest) to warm up and I would swim like mad the first few laps to warm up to get used to the water then after I would worry a lot more about technique because I was more comfortable. Work especially in the mission is like that, we dive in trust in the Lord that the pool is the perfect temperature for the work. At first it will be a shock and difficult but as we work we'll get used to it, we'll be warm and comfortable.

I could say more about this analogy but I don't have any more time today.

Thanks again for all of your love and support, thanks so much!

Elder Sands

Monday, August 31, 2009

Not a whole ton is happened this week but the members here are really amazing. They do so much and help us so much. The Lord wants me to learn a lot more patience and humility right now with my new companion.

I'm trying to read when I'm on the bus going from Bolivar to Olivarría and back and I'm reading in the fast way without really, really studying but just reading and pondering.

Today I was in the Doctrine and Covenants section 18 and in verse 38 it says, "...and by their desires and their works you shall know them." This week in priesthood we have a returned missionary from Mendosa and he was an assistant and he was talking about obedience and when I was reading today I came across this scripture and it really hit me especially. In my first transfer out here I knew I had good desires, but some of my actions weren't reflecting some of those desires and so I have learned a lot since then and I still have an eternity to learn, but we always have to check to see if our desires are aligned with God's desires and also if our works and actions are aligned with our desires.

Sorry this is so short but I am trying to fix my camera so hopefully the pictures will start coming again.

Thank you all for you love and support. Have a great week.

Elder Sands

Monday, August 24, 2009

I don't have much time today and sorry, I don't have any pictures. I've been having a lot of problems with my camera.

I would have thought that being out here would have been really weird just the fact that I'm not home and everything. The reason being on a mission isn't as weird as I thought it would be is something my Dad said from time to time and I've really tried to do out here. "Little by little everything is simple." As we do that, everything really is simpler. It still may not be easy, but it is always manageable for example, in 1 Corinthians, all of those temptations when viewed in bulk would seem impossible but when you take each little one individually, it is relatively easy. In 1 Nephi 3:7, the same thing and there is the classic one in Alma 37:6. It is by small and simple means always the great stuff happens. Start with the small and when you look back you'll find out you've done a lot.

Thanks for everything

Elder Sands

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy San Martin Day! San Martin is the Gorge Washington of Argentina, Chile and maybe also Uruguay. Every major division street in Argentina is named after him or at least all of the cities I've been in.

There might not be any pictures for awhile as my camera card broke and I need to get a new one.

My sister asked for a funny story so I remembered this one I was really embarrassed about. There is this one time where my first companion was buying a pasta frola or kind of the closest thing they have to a pie down here. As he was buying it, I found out he was paying for it all with change, which of course is really rude! So I offer to pay with bills. Now keep in mind that this is my second week mas or menos. So I do that and after wards I ask my companion why he was trying to pay her in change! He answers that practically everyone down here wants more change and all of that so I felt really embarrassed! So that's a funny story.

My new area is really big, well not really, but when compared with Rauch, its huge, maybe about 4-5 times the size. There is about the same amount of members so there is a lot of work to do. The missionaries before us didn't do much so the members have a lot for us to do which is fantastic. When we arrived the apartment was terrible so we went and cleaned and cleaned and then cleaned a little bit more. It was really bad. We also spent a lot of time trying to look for some maps of the area too. We have three; one from the church they made, one from the local government but really old, and one that we just found and all together they have it all, but separately they don't have very much so it is really difficult to find some stuff.

There are a lot of changes happening in the mission and I'm really excited about it. This mission is kind of coming out of its dark ages you might say and now it's really going through some dramatic improvements. My district leader is 18. Apparently if you go to a church school you have the option of going on your mission early so he already has 9 months and he is still 18. I wish I could have left earlier but none the less I'm excited to be out here!

I know this is the true church. I know Christ lives and he loves us. Have a great week!

Elder Sands

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hola from Olavarría! I got transfered to San Carlos de Bolivar or just Bolivar for short. It's about two hours from Olivarria which is the center of the zone. Which is another small zone too. Both Tandil and Olivarria have 10 missionaries each.

This week was interesting. We decided that we weren't going to fall into the end of the transfer slump like almost all of the rest of the mission does so we set a really high goal and we were able to teach more lessons than any other week we've had this transfer. It just goes to show you when you set your goals high, you can do a lot more. Don't ever limit yourself by goals that are lower than your potential. How do we find out our potential, well set goals until you can't reach them then we leave it there and work until we can reach it, then continue the cycle.

I'm really going to miss Elder Kenney and even though he is getting a bit trunky (thoughts back home) we worked and worked and worked. Rauch is probably going to have five or more baptisms this first half of the next transfer.

I have a story about a real missionaries dream. We were agrigating which is just teaching the first lesson more or less and we weren't going to make our goal by the end of the week and this was Friday. We also had tons of return lessons Saturday so we decided to do 6 agrigations so we could reach our goal and we didn't have any more books of Mormon either. So we started working on the goal and got 5 and then transfer calls came and I find out that I have to pack. We were talking about that 5 agrigations is good and is probably more than anyone in the mission right now because apparently no one works the day of transfer calls, but we decided to agrigate one more to reach the goal. We finally find this one lady that listens and it is Elder Kenney's turn to start the teaching and he actually accidently trips her daughter as she is trying to get out the door and he was tripping over his words a lot too. About halfway through the lesson the radio comes on and Elder Kenney says (I still don't know why) that's kind of sounds like the voice of God. I'm thinking what are you thinking! Then he goes on and says no not really and trying to recover. Well the lesson goes on and I finished by giving her a Book of Mormon and we walk away laughing thinking that Elder Kenney was a little off his rocker and all of that. Well she wanted us to pass by the next day so we do and the first thing she says is I read the lectura (assignment if you will) you gave me and I also read a lot of the Book of Alma (I love the book of Alma!) We're thinking, wow, this is too good to be true. So then the both of us were thinking that maybe we ran into a less-active member, so we ask if she has been baptized and she says no. So we had huge smiles on our faces for the rest of the lesson. It was amazing! So now however I won't really be able to teach her being in Bolivar but it was an amazing experience and I'm glad I got to be a part of it. Her story is even more incredible, but I don't have any more time.

Thank you for all of your prayers, I know that they are helping! This is the true and living church of God. I know that, and I'm so blessed to have that knowledge and this opportunity!


Elder Sands

Monday, August 3, 2009


I'm sorry as this will be a bit short but I don't have much time today. But I have an experience that is kind of funny. Elder Kenney and I are walking back to the appointment so we could go to Tandil to have interviews with the new president of the mission and as we were going we were talking about cualqier cosa (or just whatever) and all of the sudden we find ourselves in front of a door. So we knock it and while we're waiting for a response, I all of the sudden realized it wasn't me that led us up the stairs so I asked Elder Kenney if it was him that turned. He said no and I know I didn't, so as we're waiting we are saying that if someone answers, the Lord most definitely wants' us to find whoever it is that answers because we didn't go up to that door, we were guided there. Sure enough, a woman answers (looking very groggy I might add) and really great visit follows. What a wonderful spiritual experience!

The Lord guides this work. I know I've said that before, but it is so true and I find out just how much everyday I'm out here serving.

We also had this one investigator in church this week and it was fast and testimony meeting so as each member gets up there they all are talking almost directly to him about how their first time in church was hard and they had a lot of questions and all of this stuff about their first experiences with the church. Each one of them spoke of how the gospel has blessed their lives. It was amazing as a missionary. I was so grateful for such a great branch. The investigator and his girlfriend (who is less active) said after when I asked them how it was, that it was incredible!

I know this church is true, thank you all again for you love and support.

Elder Sands

Monday, July 27, 2009

I think it is just awesome that the ward is getting a second set of elders because they are doing so much teaching, way to go Beacon Hill ward. All we do down here is spend our time finding people and in fact there was actually a talk in conference about how many missionaries spend much of their time finding people rather than teaching them. It's interesting how your perspective changes when you're a missionary. I wish I had shared more.

The language is going good for being out a little over 4 months and although I can understand quite a bit and can talk alright it's a bit of a pain sometimes because I can't understand much of anything they say when they aren't talking about gospel stuff.

Sorry, but no pictures this week as this computer totally locks me out and won't read the card so hopefully next week.

What a week! We found so many good people or golden investigators but none of them were able to come to church because of prior commitments but they are so great! There is this one older couple in particular. We were crossing through an area that we hadn't been in for a while and I remembered that we had agrigated this one lady (an aggrigation is where we teach a compact lesson one and commit them to something and almost always Elder Kenney and I give them a Book of Mormon and get them to read and pray about it). She didn't seem very promising and she didn't seem that interested but she said that she would read it and pray about it. In fact if I remember correctly the only reason I remembered her was because she was the first lady where I did most of the aggrigation. So we stoped by and her husband answers and said to his wife, more or less, the two boys that walk around all day talking about religion are here, and as he is letting us in we hear in the background the wife or the one we aggrigated say (loudly might I add) "Mormones." So we talked to them both and they are as golden as you can get! The lady reads the Book of Mormon every night and the husband described it as she reads it whenever she can. He is almost blind but is getting new glasses soon so he will be able to read it and is really excited to. Also it turns out that he visits a former Branch President in the area every so often because he now lives alone. Incredibly, they would have liked to go to church, but couldn't because they had a prior commitment (we talked to them Saturday night) but they said they can't wait to go to church. As we taught them they were soaking it all up! It was an amazing lesson!

We had a lot of other good people this week that we talked to but none of them were able to make it to church which was the first time we've been able to go to church in a month because of the pig flu or wait it's the swine flu isn't it? I can't remember they call it "la gripe por cina" or "gripe-A." Now that we have church though we can really start getting people to progress. It's really hard to get someone to want to be baptized when they've never been to church.

Well I know this work is guided by the Lord, now more than ever, because of the narrow ways in which we ran into all of these people this week. Now we just have to see them through the next few steps!

Thanks for you love and support!

Elder Sands

Monday, July 20, 2009


Feliz dia del amigo (happy day of the friend)! This week was well a little hectic. We were helping the Hermanas (sisters) in our district on Tuesday and found some great people here in Tandil (I'm in Tandil for p-days). After that we went back to Rauch of course and well worked not a whole lot more.

The pig flu has ground everything almost to a hault but it is finally starting to subside from what I've heard; everywhere but Tandil. As of Thursday there were 170 deaths from the flu in the province of Buenos Aires and 70 of them were in Tandil and Tandil isn't that big, especially compared with the rest of the province. So once again no more church.

So one thing from Argentina is alfajors (pronounced alfahores) they are these little cookie type things with chocolate dipped and two or three of the little cookie type sandwich structure with stuff like "dulse de leche" or something else in between. They are really common I'm sending a couple of pictures of my favorite (as of now I haven't tried very many). They're amazing I don't know why they aren't in the states.

Sorry about the lack of pictures but I'm still trying to get rid of pictures from off my camera that were from the MTC but I think now I'm starting to get to those from Argentina. I'll get to those from Rauch eventually, but Rauch it's very, well empty. There is a lot of campo (fields) in the area so we do a ton of walking as we don't get any bikes and it is that way in the whole mission.

So the weather this week has been fairly rainy and windy which is never a fun combination.

Anyway I'm running out of time thanks so much for everything!

Elder Sands

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sorry guys, I forgot my camera in Rauch, so no new pictures this time around.

Acea, it's good that camp went so well. I'm glad to hear that you achieved a lot and had a great time.

This week had to be the biggest up and down, it was kind of crazy. We found a lot of really good people and we lined up a lot for yesterday. There still isn't church because of the flu and it has shut down a lot of stuff down here. We have to instead have lessons with members with all of our investigators. So we go to our first one and no one answers even though the key was in (the locks are really different down here) so there was definitely someone there. After that we went to a couple of members homes to give the sacrament. We then went back and after a long time someone finally answers and he said that his mom wasn't there and he was sleeping. You can tell that this isn't too important to them or they would put more effort into it. We also went by another investigator and same thing, wasn't there. Also we had a lesson with our fetcha (date for baptism) but she said that she doesn't want to get baptized right now and that she'll start taking the lessons again in a few months. It was a huge let down.

However now we are going to focus on a couple of other people we found. They look very promising. One of them doesn't exactly live near us but for some reason I kept on remembering her so we passed by many times and every time she wasn't home. We finally caught her Saturday and it was amazing. We only had an agrigate with her (which is a short, on the door step, first lesson) and she had read and prayed and knew it was true. It threw us off because they never do that the first time, so we challenged her to be baptized and she said that she'll pray about it (which is what we asked her to do) and then we had an amazing second lesson. We meet with her again on Wednesday.

We also have a lot of others with whom we actually have citas (an appointment). We have really good numbers. It is amazing what a difference a hard working companion makes. We get along really well too. Also I think I mentioned this, but he cooks, so now I'm learning recipes and such. So now we actually have some food not just bread.

I don't know if you have received any pictures of Rauch, but it would be the fields with the fences and horses and cows. Not much else. It's really small and we do a ton of walking. One other interesting thing about Argentina, there are dogs everywhere, and lots of them! Sometimes they'll follow us around which is kind of fun. These dogs are a lot more tranquilo (calm) down here. Also if any of them ever barks a lot all we have to do is pretend to pick up a rock and they book it in the other direction. They really don't like to mess with people. Also there are like packs of strays that run around the streets. Apparently there aren't many in Rauch, it is very clean from what I've heard.

Anyway I'm out of time thanks for the support!

Elder Sands

Monday, July 6, 2009


Wow Timo and Mica, enserio or rather seriously hahaha, that is so great that they are learning about the gospel. That's really awesome so how are the pools? I realized that when the 4th came around that I usually am at the pool for that day.

It's crazy to think about it, especially because it's cold! Well not really cold, but chilly. Anyways, I need to buy a few things as the missionary mall coat, well it's not very, well useful. So I'm going to get something a tad more useful.

Way to go Acea and Sebring on the grades! That's awesome!

This week was insane! The pig flu is well it's really causing problems. But also, this week was really, really exciting because my companion is fantastic! We worked really hard and we almost had the same numbers as the Hermanas (Sisters) in our zone and they lead the mission almost every week in certain things so we are really excited for this transfer. Well other then the pig flu stuff which I'll talk about, we just worked like crazy! We don't have a really big area but we found lots of people to teach. We tried to get a picture in front of the municipalidad (kind of like city hall) for the fourth because they put up the date in these big letter things and such, but they didn't do it for the fourth and we can't really figure out why. That was interesting.

Elder Kenny can cook too, it is awesome! So whenever we don't have food with members we actually have real food. I'm learning a lot from him in that respect too.

So now to the crazy stuff. We didn't have church! Yeah Argentina is well going crazy over the pig flu and there are actually a few cases in Rauch, I've heard. So that kind of made the work difficult because we have to get people to church. So without church that is difficult. They're also going to try to close all of the supermarkets this week for 3-7 days. It's really got a lot of people freaked out. So this has got to be one of the most interesting things to happen.

The hospital here in Rauch is like full, and they won't let anyone in at all unless they're already sick. So we are buying more food for the week and well working more or less without a goal. It is really frustrating. Also all of this week we're stuck in Tandil because we have a zone conference and we're supposed to do divisions every week now so we don't get to go to Rauch until Friday. Well maybe later too. I'm not too excited about this.

One thing I learned however is that when you have someone who has the same goals as you do and you have the Lord on your side, amazing things can happen. We have just been walking down a street and just randomly walk down the wrong street (we do that a lot) and so we decided to knock a door and every time they let us in! You can tell that the work is led by the lord. This is his work and I love it!

Thank you for all of your letters speaking of which I don't think they have pioneer treks down here but I really enjoyed reading about yours and it reminded me of when I went and I loved it.


Elder Sands

Monday, June 29, 2009


Dad, Happy Fathers Day, Happy Birthday and Happy 4th of July!

The trek sounded like it was a ton of fun and that was similar with me I had a blast!

Can you send Jeff a happy birthday it was June 6th but as soon as I got here I forgot.

How were Sebring’s and Acea’s grades?

This week was well, slow, as my companion didn't really want to work. We however got transfer calls and had transfers so I’m staying in Rauch and Elder Kenny is now my new companion. He is from Ogden and he dies (is going home) in two transfers. I'm really excited for this transfer. Rauch is starting to shape up in terms of stuff happening in the work and now that I have a companion that really wants to work. We are going to, well WORK! Also he cooks and a lot and really good which I’m excited for because everything is a little different down here so I don't know how to make anything. The first transfer, I had a lot of bread and dulce de leche. So I’m really looking forward to learning how to cook all of this argie food.

I have pictures of Rauch so all of you can see. However the computer here is well not very accessible and I can't find out which ones are which so I’ll get them to you as soon as I can.

I do have a story for all of you. When we were in Mar del Plata there are these little cement sidewalks if you will that go out into the water so we wanted to get a picture with the water splashing behind us. So we go out do that and then this way big wave comes as we finished and soaked us to say the least. It was really funny. We also have pictures of it. I’m in the back because Elder Peterson and Hermana (sister) Fierro saw it first and more or less pushed me out of the way so yeah it was interesting to say the least. That picture however is amazing.

As for the work, Rauch is really starting to pick up. We have this fantastic kid in the Rama (branch). His name is Augustine. He is really strong in the church but he can't get baptized because of his mom. So I finally convinced my companion to go there and talk to her. And she isn't really opposed to it, now that we told her what baptism is about and such. She also wants to learn more. Also we have a small family of three that know it´s true but for a while didn't think baptism was for them. But now they all want to get baptized. They're going to be doing that soon, so I'm really excited. It is amazing to see the Lord work on these people and in their lives. They have so much more peace and joy in their lives and they don't yet have a fraction of the blessings the gospel brings.

Thank you again for your love and support and if you want to write me you can use DEARELDER.COM. It actually only takes about 15 days to get here.

Love you all!

Elder Sands

Monday, June 22, 2009

Today we’re at an internet place that doesn’t like my camera too much, so no pictures this week, lo siento!

The question was asked about food I normally eat here. Apparently in this area I’m in right now there isn’t as much meat as there usually is, so I have a ton of noodles in a spaghetti type sauce and always with bread. They love their bread, that’s for sure. I once had this stuff that had the consistency of applesauce and looked like it too, but tasted like, well I don’t really know, but it had nothing to do with apples. It was kind of like grits, but I enjoyed it. Also they love to boil vegetables. They are really good and really filling.

They always have soda and I mean always. They don’t drink anything but soda and mate. Mate is this drink that is hot and they put this ground down plant and sugar in this cup with a straw type thing. I can’t remember what it’s called right now but it filters the pant so it is just the water, but they drink it all of the time. They drink it in the morning, for lunch, for dinner and in between for when people are over and even when they aren’t. If there was anything that is or could be identified with Argentinians, it would be mate.

There is this other sweet stuff too that is called dulse de leche or directly translated sweet of milk or sweet milk. It is amazing! It is on anything and everything bad for you hahaha. Sometimes I’ll take some crackers and put some dulse de leche on it. It is kind of like caramel but thinner and tastes way better (I am a bit biased in that I don’t like caramel very much). Well that just about covers the food question.

I was also asked about the laundry. I was told before I went out that I might need to do my laundry in a bucket. Well, happily it is very convenient here. We just show up, give it to them, and someone who does it for a living will do it all really nice, I might add, and really inexpensively. Just 20 pesos (a little over $5) for two weeks of laundry.

I heard that the youth worked hard selling asparagus this weekend to raise funds for their summer activities. I’m glad it was successful and especially for the learning the principles of hard work and gratitude. There’s nothing like hard work to make you appreciate more what you have. Here in Argentina, some missionaries will get to serve in an area called Mar Del early in their mission and they will get tons of baptisms. Then after that, they begin to think that they don’t have to work too hard in the Lord’s other vineyards. But you always need to work hard.

I really feel for Shane not being able to go on the trek. I believe of all the stake youth activities I participated in, that it was probably my favorite. I made me again appreciate so many things.

Not too much else is going on right now. My companion didn’t really want to work this week. So whenever I actually got him out of the house he just would go to member’s homes and talk for a long time. So I get a lot of study time because of him and I’ve been reading Jesus the Christ which is the most amazing book. I love hearing about the Savior especially in that detail because now as I read the New Testament, it makes so much more sense! My testimony has been strengthened because of that book!

My dad shared an experience he recently had that again demonstrated the power that the Spirit can have. I also would say that the spirit is incredible, no doubt. Whenever I have the spirit, I can speak Spanish good enough to get my ideas across, which is nice. I just need to work on getting it strong enough to do that all of the time.

Love You All!

Elder Sands

Monday, June 15, 2009


Acea that is hilarious and I can see Mr. Moore play a practical joke like the one he did to Justin hahaha I got a kick out of that. A funny thing just happened. One of the elders in my zone just walked over and said what is that word? I know it, but I don’t know what it means. (He’s been out here a long time) and the word was Acea. So I started talking about this word that I was making up on the spot so that was funny hahaha. I eventually told him it was my brother’s name. Thanks for the story I got a kick out of that.

Now to answer some of your questions. I haven’t had and reactions to the food or water. Those way too expensive gloves I brought; they work, but they don’t help as much as I would like as my hands are always cold but it’s not too bad. My feet are fine as long as I’m walking and stuff but man I love the thermals. I found a thermal top in the apartment that was from the last missionary here and he hadn’t used it once, so yeah, I love thermals!

As for the rock I previously sent a picture of, there are actually two really cool rocks. The one that I sent to you is the other cool one in Tandil. We went to the Piedra Movediza rock today and I included a picture of it. It is actually fake. The real one fell in 1912, but two years ago they put up a plastic fake one that is the same. The first one is a lot bigger but it isn’t really about ready to fall off but it is too on a cliff.

Another question I’ve been asked is do we observe siesta and the answer is a resounding yes. So I don’t really know why, probably because during the summer in the northern parts of Argentina it gets really hot, so they all go indoors for the hot part of the day. Here even though I see no practical reason for it, but they do it to. It starts anywhere from 11:00 am and usually ends at around 4:00 pm. It is frustrating, especially right now as it is the warmest part of the day. But the people here come home, eat, and then sleep. So our daily schedule is as follows; we have less study time in the morning, and we get out of the apartment at around 9:30 am. We work until 12:30 pm, if I can convince my companion to work that long, which doesn’t always work too well. We then have lunch with the members, which in Rauch, we get every day except for Sundays. We then go back to the apartment and I study Spanish and my companion sleeps. In the bigger cities of Bahia Blanca and Mar del, and in two other areas, we can work during siesta doing street contacts, but during that time, if you knock on peoples doors they don’t like you very much, that’s for sure.

I heard from Sister Jones (thanks for the letters by the way) that it is really nice up there. Here, it is early winter and I can’t believe school is already out down here. They started about the time I went into the MTC which was in March. Also our “stufe”, I think that is how it is spelled, but it is kind of like a really small furnace is broken so our apartment is really cold all of the time.

My first week, my bed broke when I was rolling over and the side beam just spilt almost all of the way down. So I’m sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Ah the life of a missionary. I love it though and the people here are so nice! They’re just amazing. I want to help as many of them as I can.

Well we also had interviews with the mission president this week and it is his last and my first so that was interesting, and he also speaks about as much English as I do Spanish, so it was very short hahaha. We also had a district conference for the district down here and it was a broadcast to all of Argentina and it was needless to say all in Spanish, but there was one talk in particular that was really interesting to me. It was Russell T. Osguthorpe the new president of the general Sunday. He talked about how when he was younger he had to go too all of his meetings really early. Get ready to laugh, a half an hour, sound familiar, hahaha. (For those not familiar with the Sands family, a half an hour early is almost late) So he was talking about my family in away too. He talked about how there would be no one there and so they would fix hymn books and set up chairs and such wow! But I’m really thankful for those opportunities to sit and listen to the spirit. I love having the spirit guide my life as a missionary, it is amazing.

We’ll do stuff that doesn’t sometimes make any sense or we’ll get lost and our town is really small and we’ll run across someone that will need our help, so yeah it’s amazing! I know this church is true. I’ve seen too much, I’ve felt the spirit too much, to deny it! Thank you all for you love and support!

Elder Sands

Monday, June 8, 2009



Well the file transfer method I was going use to send all my pictures didn’t work so here are a few pictures in the mean time of me in Tandil as I don’t have any of Rauch yet, plus a few other pictures.

That’s great of the seniors graduating from seminary and especially Sister Ax doing it with 100% attendance and congrats to you too Bro on getting another 100% year but especially the memorizing of the Scriptures of the New Testament. Knowing the scriptures now will help you later.

I’m still trying to deal with my companion. Even though it is tough to be with him, I’m being a good example whenever I can and trying to give him hints to be obedient whenever possible.

Today I went to the second biggest statue of Christ in the world, so I sent one of the pictures of that. It's really big!

This week went well, but yesterday was kind of a letdown. We had a whole bunch of people that were supposed to be going to church but didn't because of excuses. It´s really kind of sad. They know that these things are true, they've have had the witness from the Holy Ghost, but still they don't want to change their lives. They're afraid of the change even though they know that their lives will be better. We also have another boy of about 14 that comes every week and does everything, but can't get baptized because his mother won't let him. The only reason she won't let him is because his grandmother won't let his mom let him because she is catholic. A lot of people down here say “soy catolica” (I am Catholic) but they never have done anything with church except being baptized as an infant. Due to this blind commitment to something they don't really believe in, they are just depriving themselves of the blessing of the knowledge that God is the their father and that he loves them each individually.

I know that God loves me and all of us. And because of that love he sent his son Jesus Christ and he has the church and everything that comes with it to help us in our lives here on earth.

Love Elder Sands

Monday, June 1, 2009

A lot has happened! We're working with one lady in Rauch right now and I think she'll get baptized before the end of this transfer. She is great and loves to hear the gospel. She actually was not progressing. Before my companion and his previous companion had been teaching her for about a month and she wouldn't read. So we were going to go back one last time and that was it no more after. So this is more or less the story she told. She was running out of money because she had lost her job and one day she just couldn't sleep. So she says ok I'll read. She reads from 3 - 5 in the morning, she gets a job and things start to work out for her which is fantastic. She now is progressing. She came to church and is doing great, although she didn't come this week because she was sick. We went over there and she was really sick!

The weather down here is not too bad. It dropped down really suddenly which is annoying but it's not bad at all. My hands are always cold but that's about it.

Today for p-day we went to this giant rock that is balanced on the edge of a cliff. It was pretty cool and I got pictures which I'll send next week. I forgot my cord.

We had divisions this week which was amazing. The missionaries I went with were really hard working. They don't use any excuses. Let me tell you about an experience. We were lost for a minute and so we decided to knock on a door because the elder I was with said that he does that whenever he needs to find someone. So the first door we knock on (or I should say clap, yeah we clap here) a lady comes out and she gets really excited. She lets us in and says that she is a less active and that has been praying for someone to find here because she has wanted to come back to church. Also that evening I was with another elder from Arizona but we were not terribly successful, but we worked really hard.

So now I'm trying to get my trainer to do the same, he's a bit lazy when it comes to rules and working. Anyways I'm fine and working.

Thank you for your love and support!

Love Elder Sands

Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm alive, yes hard to believe I know.

So, what happened since I left the MTC? Well the flight took forever and I didn't get much sleep, but I was able to give out a Book of Mormon and a pass along card. I went with my district and some others going to the mission south of us and some going to Buenos Aires. Once we got there the international airport wasn't that impressive at all.

After arriving we went to the Buenos Aires temple. Some people from the church were there to pick us up and then we went to the temple. After the temple we went to the hostel, it's called, and ate the food there that was a lot like spaghetti.

After that we were going to go get pictures but weren't able to because the people that were to pick us up came like an hour and a half early. O well. We then went to the other airport that is for domestic flights only which was actually a lot more impressive. We then flew to Bahía. It was really dark at this time so it was cool to see Buenos Aires at night from the sky. My pictures didn't turn out though. After arriving in Bahía we met our mission president and ya know, he doesn't speak any English. That was interesting.

The next day we went to the office and filled out a ton of paperwork and such and then went to the stake center there. I got assigned to my new companion, Elder Rios. He is from Rosario which is in Argentina, but he speaks really good English. I'm in a little area called Rauch which is really small. The branch has about 40 members and the building is tiny!

So as for castellano (that is what they call their language down here because it's a little different from Spanish) it isn't going great right now. I can't understand anyone. I can't really speak it any better either. But as I understand more, it will become easier to learn Spanish.

Today is the 25th of May which is their 4th of July. We went to a branch activity for the branches here in Tandil (we have to come into Tandil for P-day because there is nothing in Rauch). They made this soup that is kind of good but looks terrible. They throw just about whatever in it. The food in Rauch, because it is a "field community", doesn't consist of a ton of beef like most everywhere else.

This companion thing is kind of getting ridiculous. My companion; he's interesting; he works hard but has had some issues with a lot of rules so I'm really trying to work with that strength that he has. He was literally watching the movie Twilight my first day. So the next day I had our companionship study on obedience and such and he's doing better.

We're in an interesting position in Rauch. Every door has been knocked on in the past month or so and now we don't really have anywhere left but we were able to get 4 investigators to church, which is great. We also got two baptismal dates as well. So we're working on referrals only now.

It doesn't look like you're going to get pictures today as I can't figure the camera and computer out. The computer popped up for a second but now it isn't there and I can't fix it because it is all in Spanish, and this keyboard is terrible!

Letters take 3 weeks to get here through, but send them anyway!

Thank you for your prayers

Elder Sands

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our family had the choice opportunity to talk to Elder Sands from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport while he was waiting to fly the final leg on his way to Argentina.

Elder Sands and nine other missionaries from the Provo MTC will arrive in Buenos Aires at about 7:50 AM Tuesday, go to the Buenos Aires MTC and probably have an opportunity to attend the temple there. They will then be picked up to ride about another 450 miles to finally arrive in Bahia Blanca.

This belated Mother's Day call revealed what Elder Sands has so quickly become; polite, articulate, humble, obedient, and spiritual. He is ready to serve!

His letters and pictures from Argentina should start being received next week. We will post them as they become available.

The Sands Family

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I don't have the flight numbers with me right now, but I'll try to send them today. I have all day to send them I just need to keep track of the time I have left. As for emailing me out in the field, you'll need to email me through the because that is the one that they want us using as it is "church approved".

Also, I'll be allowed to call you in the airport especially because of Mothers Day. I'll call Karyl first at about 5 or 5:30. I'll talk with her for a while and then call you at around 5:30 to 6 because I want to be handing out stuff while I'm in the airport and maybe get in a few lessons!

We had another apostle again. Elder Nelson came on Tuesday and it was a fantastic talk although really short. He spoke 20 minutes less than he could have but it was still great. He talked about a lot of different things, but thankfully I like to get to devotionals early and so I was 10 rows away and had a great view. He will have been the 3rd apostle to come here while I was here. Most only get one or two. However, for Elder Barnett that is four for him. I missed Elder Perry by one day. I told him that I was leaving Monday. His reaction was pretty funny as he still has two weeks left. Poor guy or rather Elder.

I can't wait to get to Argentina. You know I loved the MTC, but everything about here is meant to get you ready and excited for out there. I had an interview with Hermano Crane (my teacher who severed in Buenos Aires) and I asked him what are some things he wished he would have done better on his mission and his responses really inspired me. I'm really looking forward to doing the things he's suggested and everything else I've learned here and applying it out there.

Thank you for all of you letters. Keep writing me through, it's easy and free. Thank you all again for your love, support, Christlike examples, and everything you've taught me.

Love Elder Sands

Update from Elder Sands at 8:54 am

Travel Details:

I leave Salt Lake, Monday, May 18 at 12:05 PM on American Airlines flight 1862 and arrive in Dallas/Ft. Worth at 3:45 PM. I leave Dallas/Ft. Worth at 7:35 PM on American Airlines flight 997 and arrive in Buenos Aires at 7:50 AM the next day. Well I have like 10 seconds left.

Love ya

Elder Sands

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Most importantly, Happy Mother's Day Mom! We weren't allowed to call from the MTC, but I want to tell you that I've learned everything I know and am using out here from you and Dad and I thank you so much for your amazing Christ like example for me! I love YOU!

Karyl I met or rather taught someone who knew you from your mission. Her name is Sister Jones and she was born a few months I think she said before you, and by the way, it was a fantastic lesson. Also I need about 300 in my account and don't freak out about how much I'm spending. I think that's it. I just have to pay for dry cleaning, some clothes and the last thing is a water bottle that the church officially recommends to us, so I got that too.

Exciting News I got my flight plans! So I head out to Argentina Monday! So one more update from the MTC after today. I fly out of Salt Lake at like 12:00. I won't get to detailed today; I'll send more details on Thursday. I get to Dallas at around 3:30 their time (I think). I have about a three hour layover there and then straight down to Buenos Aires. I Leave the US at about 7:30 (again, I think) and arrive in Argentina at about 7:30 in the morning their time. So a very long flight. I decided I'm just going to read the whole time. I can't sleep on a plane. I'm hoping I'll get to go to the temple down there before we head to Bahia Blanca.

Thanks so much for the letter Brother Borders! I really enjoyed it. It's awesome that you're now going on calls and such.

Hold on I have to go be right back...

Ok sorry about that. I had to change rooms. Ok, were was I? Oh ya, Karyl, can you send me some pictures of you and of the family please. I realized that I don't have any except for one that Shiloh sent me.

As for the calling at the airport I do have time now. So I think I get in at about 3:30, Dallas time on Monday. So if you could maybe get Sebring and Acea home by then and somehow get Karyl on the line or I'll just call her separately, so give me her number that would be easier. I'll call at 4:15 Dallas time. How about that? That should be good enough. Acea might have to get out a little early, but that should work. After that I'm just going to go and pass out, pass-along-cards and BOM's hahaha passing out BOM's in an airport funny. Ok continuing on...

Barb thanks for the letter. It doesn't seem like very long at all, but it's been two months as of Monday. And for anyone who writes me I'll send something back whether it is through the blog or by letter as soon as I'm able, so don't worry about that. I'll get the mission address on here for Thursday too.

Well I'm not as ready for Argentina as I would like to be, but I'm ready to leave here for sure. The breakfasts for example are all the same and starting to get a little boring, the other food however I'll miss.

So we've been, well I've been, playing beach volleyball in gym because they're updating the gym and it is so much fun. I found out something, I'm a really good digger and my setting is alright but I can't spike at all. What's really funny though is that I'm always the one with the dramatic dives into the sand (arana in Spanish) and so everyone is calling me Elder Arana is in the arana again hahaha. So apparently I'm going to be called Elder Arana a lot down there according to my teachers, so some Elders in the Zone call me that all of the time now. It's a little weird but I'm starting to answer to it too now.

It's amazing how much we have to rely on the spirit as missionaries and as I rely more on my faith and in the spirit, I really teach to the needs of the investigator. Whenever I do that, things go so much better. However, sometimes I'll find a scripture, for example, that will work really well for something, but I'll get a little too attached to it and want to use it for everyone. I have to then remember that what I'm learning may not be for everyone, it is just another tool that the spirit can tell me to use when appropriate. That is something that a lot of missionaries don't seem to realize. They just want to teach the lessons as outlined exactly in "Preach My Gospel" and that's not the best way. It shows a lack of faith in the Lord and how he will help us as we do those things that are required for his help (D&C 82:10). So we need to let go of our will and follow his (Prov. 3:5-6).

Thank you all for your support and love!

Love Elder Sands

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Well these last two days haven't been extremely eventful but there were a few noteworthy things that happened. One of which was Elder M. Russell Ballard showed up for our devotional on Tuesday. That was really spiritual to have an apostle talk specifically to us as missionaries. I also got to be in the choir for the last time here (they're fixing up the gym/auditorium) so I got a good seat. It is an amazing thing to hear the testimonies of the apostles. He talked about how we need to have a desire to do, especially as missionaries. However this counsel applies to everyone. If we don't have a desire, what will happen, nothing!

In fact there is this one investigator (in the TEC, so a teacher here) who realized that after we gave her Alma 32 to read. In verse 27-29 I think it talks about how we need to have that desire and then act upon it. She wanted to have a better relationship with God and was wondering why she didn't and she realized that she needed to do something about it. So now she is on date to be baptized! Although she (the teacher in teacher mode) mentioned she was going to throw a curve ball at us and we teach her tomorrow.

Oh yeah this is in Spanish now so I was really thrilled with the way we have been teaching. I don't know if I mentioned this before but all of the grammar I've been learning just kind of clicked and now my Spanish has more or less caught up with everyone in my district almost overnight. That is the difference the Lord can make.

So today I broke down and got myself an English hymn book. I realized how much I missed them when I was at the devotional Tuesday night. You know the hymns can be so inspiring and I practically consider them scripture. I encourage all of you to read out the hymn book every so often just to read it. In fact if I might recommend one that we sang a while ago that really touched me is "The Lord is my Light." A lot of these aren't in the Spanish version and due to the translation it doesn't flow as well in Spanish. We are so blessed to be members that know English. There is really very little that is done in other languages and we are so blessed to have all of it. In fact the Spanish bible that is coming out in September is not an LDS edition. They had trouble with copyright issues for a long time but now the Spanish speaking people will finally get to use all of the standard works with the topical guide and bible dictionary which are amazing to have. I use them so much!

Also today, hopefully, I'll be getting my flight plans which I hope I leave Wednesday or Thursday so I'll get you my address when I can. I don't have it with me now. And I think all that is required for actual mailing of a letter is two stamps and it has to be less than one ounce. But you can still use to mail me and it will get to me in Argentina fairly quickly, so I've heard.

We are all missionaries and we need to act as such. The Lord expects a lot from us, but as Nephi said, the Lord will prepare a way to accomplish what he wants us to do. We are His work and His glory. That means a lot to me. That everything he does is for us to become better and to have happiness.

Thank you all for your love and support!

Love Elder Sands

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So Sebring you took the SAT and you did well. That's exciting! Tell me the results as soon as you get them ok!

That is great to hear about Bryton. It is really inspiring and because of his determination he'll be a great missionary.

I know I won't be able to call for mother's day. Not in the MTC, so sorry but maybe if I have time in the airport. I don't know if it is allowed but I'll have to ask someone.

It's amazing to think it's already been 2 months. I can't wait to get to Argentina though.

Paul Hawkins, that is so exciting about your mission call. You'll have a lot of fun with the language. We have all of the Japanese missionaries right above my class room and it's tough because of the differences. It's really hard to go from English to Chinese. You'll have a blast though!

It was great to hear from the Lepperts and thank you so much for the advice. I'm learning a lot from my campainon and I know that I'm going to be a better missionary because I was assigned as his companion.

Now to finish a Day at the MTC. During class is where I think I'm at. During class we work on Spanish mostly. We actually just got to past subjunctive yesterday, which is supposedly the hardest grammar principle to learn in Spanish. I understand it now. The hard part is using it in my Spanish. My Spanish by the way, has kind of clicked in. I happened about two weeks ago. Before that I was not getting anything. I wasn't able to talk much in Spanish and I was struggling with understanding people in Spanish (well that's still really hard for me for some reason). But all of the sudden, all of the grammar I had been studying so hard, just came together and now I'm able to speak it alright. Now I just have to add subjunctive and a few other tenses into my speech, and really work on my vocabulary and I'll do alright (I probably won't be saying that in Argentina however). The Lord has helped me so much in this. I know that through the spirit I have learned almost all of the Spanish I know now. Without the spirit I would still be using almost no Spanish only Lo siento.

Aso in class we will go over gospel topics and how to teach and other things in PMG. That stuff isn't so hard because it is in English so I feel pretty comfortable there, though I have a lot to learn that's for sure, but I know enough to get around if you will.

After class in the afternoon is dinner which is pretty good here. Almost all of the food I really enjoy! I still haven't gained any weight which is good, but I eat a lot. After dinner is most of the time another class with a teacher. After that time on Tuesdays and Saturdays we have service which is now about to change. The MTC is getting some major updates in a lot of areas and now the gym is getting that. So, I'll be missing the inside gym for the rest of my time here. But for service we used to set of chairs, put down the mats, and set up the stand. I have some videos on my camera of us doing this. Eventually I'll get those sent. Now we have to do chairs in 1M which is the main building for administration and stuff. I have no idea how we're all going to fit in there but that's what the rest of my district was saying.

I hope there will still be choir. It is really great to go to choir here. The conductors are amazing and I get to get away from my district for a little bit. After service, or I should say before service, we will have planning. Planning here I'm sure is quite a bit different than out in the field. I keep Elder Stout and I busy with tons of teaching appointments. We have 16 just by ourselves and we both need two more with other missionaries in the district. After planning we go back to the residence which I have to say sometimes is really annoying. You'll be full of the spirit and then you'll go back and everyone will be just messing around the entire time, and just killing that spirit. So I do my best to try and engage in activities that keep the spirit. Oh I forgot devotionals. But I'm running out of time so I'll talk about them next time.

Keep the spirit with you always and you won't do hardly anything you'll regret. Thank you for all of your letters love and support.

Love Elder Sands

Thursday, April 30, 2009

On the picture front, I'll try and get more pictures with me in it, but I don't have any time here. I mean really I almost regret most of those because I wasted so much time taking them! I'll see what I can do.

Pero I got a lot of letters yesterday so it sounds like everyone now knows about the blog I got some from the Leppert's (George and Rhiannon). Oh and I forgot that Ben, Julie Nash and Barb have all emailed me. I'm sure barb hears a lot from all of you so thank them all if you can. That is really great to hear about Bryton. Tell him that if he stays close to the Lord and does his best to do everything that he can to study the gospel, it will help him immensely on his mission and tell him that I admire what he is doing a lot.

Tell all of the priests to make sure that before they come out here that they read the BOM and hopefully the entire standard works and Preach My Gospel. Doing that has helped me a ton. I feel as though I'm not behind in the gospel section, just the language. I'm learning a ton here about the gospel but almost all of it is familiar. I just have to refamiliarize myself with the material then start to apply it.

Oh and I'll probably get a good plaque picture in Argentina. I'm thinking there isn't a whole lot a great places here.

I'm sorry I'm not answering many of the questions from the letters. I'll do that on Tuesday. But many wanted me to talk a bit about what it's like here. But, thank you all so much for your advice and support. I really enjoy getting your letters and feeling of your love.

Life in the MTC. Huh well ok. From wake up to the time I go to bed. It is a little bit different each day but I'll do my best to explain it all. Wake up; I usually wake up around 6:30 but not always as sometimes I have to get up earlier to be able to be ready on time like today. I finally got quick and organized enough to be able to get to class on time most days.

I start class at 7:00 am where we sing (in Spanish) pray (in Spanish) and read a scripture (in Spanish). We do that as a district. After that my companion and myself go off and study usually our personal study stuff. We mostly focus on our investigators and try to have stuff like scriptures and such in our study journals so we have material to draw from during our lessons. At 7:45 am we have breakfast and on Wednesdays we have an English fast were the entire zone (three districts right now) don't speak any English all day (more or less).

Breakfasts here are alright I guess nothing compared to the other food in my opinion. Breakfast is 30 minutes then we usually go to gym. Gym is granted a little annoying for me because I can't bike and I can't swim, which have always been my usual methods of exercising. I would run but me knee has been giving me a lot of problems so now I usually just play volleyball. The field just opened last week but once again those all involve a lot of potential opportunities to mess up my knee more. Gym goes for 50 minutes and afterwards we have a half hour to shower and get ready for more class.

After gym it is usually personal, companionship and language study time. Also due to our teachers we teach a ton during this time. We teach about 15 lessons a day to teachers in what is called the TEC. Usually missionaries might teach a couple a week, so I'm really glad for that because I love teaching and knowing what I can do to improve. In fact we got one fake baptism and two more with dates (imagine that).

After study time and teaching we usually go lunch at 12:30 for 45 minutes. This is some of the best food ever! I love the food here and there are great choices all of the time too. Interestingly, almost all of my district complains about the food here but I think that once we've had our 50th straight serving of beef in Argentina they might think differently. Which interestingly most everyone here gains a lot of weight but actually I'm not gaining everything. In fact I actually lost a couple of pounds which I have since gained back. But at least I don't have to worry about getting fat here (sorry to disappoint you Sebring).

After Lunch we have class time with a teacher or LGM. LGM is large group meeting and they are awesome. They are like mini devotionals. A teacher has a prepared lesson about how to be more successful which I love. My companion usually falls asleep which is too bad because he misses a lot at them. After LGM we go to class with either Hermano (brother in Spanish) Craine or Call.

Ok, times up and I have to go but I'll continue a little bit later today with this. I have to go to breakfast bye!

30 Minutes Later After Breakfast...

I only have 5 minutes left so I'll have to finish the rest of this some other time.

Class time with the teachers is awesome. We actually just got a new teacher. Both of the previous teachers were over the 3 year limit on serving here, which of course means that they were fantastic and we are so blessed to have them. The new one, Hermano Call, is not nearly as experienced. You can tell, however, that he is an amazing teacher none the less. Hermano Crane is my favorite out of them all, and he has really helped me a lot through interviews and such. He went to Argentina on his mission, which is good because he knows all of their terms, which are a lot different from the rest of Latin America.

Also I have the accent down for the most part because he taught us how, so I'm pretty good at the accent. Well I'm out of time. So I'll continue next week and answer all of your questions when I bring the letters to the lab.

Thanks so much for everything

Love Elder Sands

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Acea really good job with the playing but I know I don't have to tell you that you're amazing and I really miss listening to the piano!

Is Hailey already 8? Wow, tell her happy birthday for me and oh yeah when is Devin's birthday? I want to email him before that comes around so get me his email and I'll send him something. I think it was May 29 right? I don't remember.

What is the name of the young man because that is very impressive and inspiring! I hope something like that happens to Britan (sorry about the spelling).

So for my Plaque; Alma 29:10 and maybe 9 too I don't know. I think that was it but I'll check really quickly or maybe not as this computer isn't working right none of them are.

I have 30 minutes to write and think about what I'm going to say. So there's not a ton of time because I usually think a lot about what I'm going to write so I can help others. Who has written me? Well Sister Jones writes me once a week but they come about 10 days after she writes them; I don't know why. President Lee sent me Brother Steenblik's talk from a priesthood session which I really liked and part of the newsletter. I have also received letters from Ben, Devey, Ryne, and Shiloh. Karyl also writes me about once a week. And one Hermana. However, due to the daily routine, I'll explain that on Thursday and I'll devote the whole time to it, how about that.

The camera; well they're all mine. I sent like 94 pictures to Karyl on that CD. I don't know why you've only seen a few but you should tell her how to get them to you easier.

About my knee. You don't need to worry. It's doing a lot better, in fact it hasn't bothered me at all for a couple of weeks. The trainers (in the gym here speaking of which one lives in the Puget Sound area and he had a cool conversation) said go for a run to find out how it's doing. So I ran and after about a mile and a half of no pain all of the sudden it was back. Not bad, but back never the less. So I got it iced today and on p-day, so no more gym. But this is such a pain, let me tell you. Now they want me to do some stretching exercises to see if that is it, because I'm most definitely, not flexible.

This week has had some good times and some not so good times, but that is the way life is.

The Devotionals are always fantastic and the spirit is always so strong there! I really wish all of you could have been here for a lot of them. This Sunday in fact the speaker was the head of the church missionary department. He talked about what we we're sacrificing to be out here and I realized just how much I was sacrificing. I really do miss everyone! However I know that I'm doing what the Lord wants me to and I have seen countless blessings because of it.

One other thing; the Temple is the best place on earth! I love p-days only because of the temple. It brings some much joy into my life. I get really frustrated sometimes down here, with my companion, with the language, but the House of the Lord just makes all of that go away and I enjoy going there so much. Go there as often as you can. Figuratively, keep both hands on the temple and you won't go too far astray!

One funny note that a speaker on Sunday asked was who had already received a Dear John or Jane letter. There were surprisingly a lot out of the 1500 or so that are here right now.

I have no more time but I love you all and keep the spirit with you always!

Love Elder Sands

Thursday, April 23, 2009

So not a whole lot has happened since I last wrote you and I didn't get anything from anyone since then, so just a little bit to tell you.

Did you put up the blog? That I think that is a great idea. However I may cut them shorter once I get out into the field. I don't know how much time I'll have and they'll only be once a week. I'm just lucky here in the MTC that I get to do it twice a week. My P-day is on Tuesday and due to our service and devotional we get to write on Thursdays too. I'm pretty sure my zone is the only one in the MTC that get's to email twice a week. So don't get used to it. Also, if you don't send me any questions I won't really have much to write you about so please ask questions at least while I'm in the MTC.

I don't think I have too many questions for you. How is Spokane? I have to say I miss it although in Utah we have got huge mountains right in your face. It's like Mt. Spokane in your back yard, pretty cool. Once I'm finally able to get you video's (I can't get them to you here) you'll see a lot of them. I have a really funny one talking about how many there are.

I'm sure you all want to hear a little bit about how Spanish is going. Well it's going, although not too quickly. I am most definitely the least knowledgeable when it comes to Spanish. However, due to all of the splits (Team Teaching) I went out on, I have a bit of an edge on teaching and love doing it. So I use some of that time on getting better at Spanish. We just learned subjunctives, which pretty much makes me have to change the way I say everything now. We had a streak for the past few weeks where we played a game that forced us to speak only Spanish. If we drew the "yes" card, and of course I drew it the most getting it 8 days, it meant I really didn't say much because of my limited vocabulary and lack of how to use what vocabulary I do know. I have really improved though I'm usually able to get my point across in a very roundabout way. It does take a while and I still do a little bit of "spanglish", but the Lord has certainly helped me a ton as I have been learning this language. It has really helped me to realize that it is His work. I have done a some Spanish before but due to circumstances, I didn't really do very well. This time around however, even though I don't really have much to draw on from before, I can tell that I have divine help.

We can all receive that help when we need it. We just have to ask and live worthy of it!

Love Elder Sands

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I heard Elder Case got transferred. I hope his new mission is a great blessing for him.

Well anyways um I'm glad you got the CD you know I did send that last Thursday morning. What took it so long; I think Karyl is about 5 minutes away? Whatever (I should learn that word in Spanish because I realized I use it a lot).

So yes I want other people to know what is going on and the blog idea is a really good one. That is a fantastic idea. You can put some pictures and the "general" portion of my letters each week.

What were Elder Perry and President Richardson doing in our ward? I really want to know and I wish I could have been there for it!

Thank you for the shoes I'm wearing them right now actually. I like them so much more than the other ones.

Oh yeah about comp inventory yesterday it was like way bad. We were just about to kill each other! This is exactly the kind of companion Bishop Wilhelm warned me about before I left! Grrr. Oh well I am learning from him that's for sure.

I might bring my notes from Elder Holland's talk later but he essentially said don't ever leave your mission and have no regrets and I never intend to!

I heard about the crazy amount of snow that came in, that's crazy I thought it was bad here. Actually today it's really beautiful. Of course though I can't just enjoy it, it looks like I have something that sets off allergy like symptoms down here. That is annoying but it is really reminding me how much I miss Spokane right now.

The MTC is starting to lose it excitement if you know what I mean. But the devotionals are so amazing! The spirit is always so strong here all of the time. We had Elder Holland come and speak to us not too long ago. It was fantastic and he said some things that I think will really help my mission. Speaking of which, in the middle of sacrament meeting on Sunday, I got a prompting that told me about one of the things that I need to learn from Elder Stout. I have been praying for that ever since I got here really and I finally know one of the things and it wasn't the answer I was looking for. Before he was the District Leader and now he is my senior companion (we automatically switch at the half way mark here) so before, even though I was the senior companion, he overrode a lot of the stuff I was trying to do, and now the same thing. So I really need to learn patience and to do things the way my leaders say even if I don't agree with what they are doing. I have been so blessed with fantastic leaders in Spokane like Bishop Wilhelm, President Lee, President Borders, and teachers Sister Jones and the Simkins just to name a few. I miss that but I know that all of this "will work together for [my] good", if I endure it well. So let the learning begin!

To Ryne: (he sent me a letter) Thanks for the letter. It's great to hear from home!

The MTC is fantastic! The spirit is always so strong here and that is something that has helped me so much, especially with the Spanish because I don't know very much about it. Try to do everything you can to get the spirit in your life. It will be the best thing you ever do. It certainly has been that way for me! I leave the MTC in mid May so that's when I'll fly down to Argentina.

The pioneer trek was one of the best experiences of my life. Learn to love every step of that trek and you will grow, I can promise you that. With your drivers license you have to promise me that you will go to church every Sunday and that you won't have too much fun alright. hahaha just kidding.

I can't wait for the day when I can hear about your mission. I guess I'll get to talk to you once I get back. Thanks again for the letter! Please write me every so often.

Love ya

Elder Sands