Godoy Ward: April to August 1997

I served in the Godoy Ward in the Rosario West Stake from April 23 to August 12, 1997. Rosario was the biggest city in my mission area and the location of the mission home (where the mission president lives) and the Rosario West was one of three stakes in the city. This was the sixth area/ward that I served in during my mission. The Godoy Ward was memorable because it was an area where I had more success in terms of baptisms than just about any other area on my mission. I also have great memories of the ward members and my mission companions there. Also please visit this summary page about my mission to Argentina which includes the conversion stories of people I baptized and a summary report of each of the areas or wards in which I served.

People We Taught and Baptized

This is the baptism of Maria Ines Theodoroy on May 4, 1997. The baptism was performed in a above ground swimming pool that the Godoy Ward put on the roof of the building they were renting for Church meetings. As I recall, many in her family had been baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the month prior, before I arrived in the area. Around the time I arrived, she decided she wanted to get baptized, so we taught her the discussions. This was a memorable baptism for me because I remember that it was a cool fall evening and stepping into the pool was uncomfortably cold. I went into the font first, and when Maria Ines stepped into the water, I remember a warm feeling coming over me, not just spiritual in nature, but it felt like the water got physically warmer. I took it as a sign from God that he was pleased with me as a missionary. I don’t recall if I asked Maria Ines if she felt the same thing or not. I think God was also pleased with her decision to follow Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism.

May 11, 1997. The woman on the far left was named Stella. She and three of her children were baptized that night after being taught by the other elders in the ward. My companion, Elder Loertscher, and I taught the boy in the front right named Cristian. His uncle, Walter Pizarro behind Cristian and to the left, is a member of the ward and performed the baptisms.

May 18, 1997. This is the baptism of a man named German Arrieta and a young man named Sergio Arrieta (no relation). From left to right, Elder Loertscher, unknown boy, myself, Sergio Arrieta, Hedgars Gonzalez who is Sergio’s friend, German Arrieta, his daughter Evelin, German’s wife Sara, and their niece. I’ve previously written about the conversion of German and his faith and testimony. Hedgars, I believe, was the ward missionary at about 19 or 20 years old here, and he was a great member-missionary. I believe he later went on a full-time mission. Sergio was Hedgars’ friend to whom he introduced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here’s another photo of the Arrieta family. Back row: Me, German, and Sara. Front row: Evelin (8 year old daughter), Alba (a friend), and Ivana (a younger daughter, I think).

June 15, 1997. A friend of the Gonzalez family named Jose was baptized on this day. Jose is a good friend of Noe, the one in blue behind me. Hedgars performed the baptism. From left to right: Elder Brown, Brother Gonzalez, myself, Noe, Jose, Hedgars, Sister Gonzalez.

Also on June 15, 1997, Javier Benitez, a relatively new member himself, baptized a friend of his from work, Oscar Sosa. From left to right: myself, Javier, Oscar, Elder Brown.

Here’s another photo of the baptism of Oscar Sosa. His grandfather, girlfriend, and other friends came to the baptism. Also in the picture is Carlos Godoy, Oscar’s uncle, and the rest of the Godoy family.

Myself, Jose, Elder Brown, and Oscar after the baptismal service.

July 13, 1997. This was a great day. The Godoy family was baptized and took a step towards become an eternal family. I have previously written about the conversion of the Godoy family. It was miraculous and it was a joy to teach them the gospel and see them make the sacred baptismal covenants. From the left: Elder Brown, Carlos Godoy, his son Carlos, myself, their daughter Angelica, and Beatriz Godoy.

Here is Elder Brown and myself after the baptism of the Godoy family. I’m a little embarrassed by this now, but  made them a cake and decorated it with the words “Congratulations Godoy Family. They have chosen the right.” With a crude drawing of the CTR shield in Spanish.

This picture was taken a few days before the baptism. The Godoys had been together for many years, but like many in Argentina, they weren’t actually married. They said they always intended to do it, so when we told them they had to get married in order to get baptized, they made arrangements right away. My companion and I were able to attend the civil wedding. The Godoys had a party that night with family and friends but we weren’t able to go to that.

And here is one final picture of the Godoys. This one was taken at the home of German Arrieta during the going away party that the ward threw for me when we found out I was being transferred out of the ward. Left to right: Beatriz Godoy, Carlos Godoy (with the hair cut I gave him), Carlito, myself, and Angelica (who truly was an angel).

Members in Godoy

This is some of the Theodoroy family. Most of this family had joined the Church in the months prior to me arriving in the area. From left to right: Sister Theodoroy, myself, Matias (age 15), Dafne (age 3), Sandra, and the father, Alejandro, who had not yet joined the church at this time.

This was a ward family night. From left to right, the names I remember are: Hilda, Stella, Brother Zapato, Sister Theodoroy, Dafne, Hedgar, Sister Romero, Athenas Theodoroy, Elder Bray, Matias, Unknown Sister, Jorge, Elder Araya, Carlos Pizarro, Sergio, unknown little boy, young sister Romero, Elder Loertscher, unknown sister, young sister Marquez, Sister Zapato, Maria Ines, Sister Marquez and her daughter.

The Theodoroy family fed us lunch about once a week and we were very grateful for that. It was always very delicious and they were great to visit with. Back row: Maria Ines, Sister Theodoroy, Sandra. Front row: Athenas (age 8), Dafne (age 3), myself, and Matias.

This was the baptism of Jorge and Sandra Roma. They were taught by the other Elders in our ward, Elder Bray and Elder Redd. The other young lady in white was taught by Elder Call and Elder Guest who are in the far right of the picture. The date was May 25, 1997.

After the baptism of Jorge and Sandra Roma.

When we found out that I was being transferred out of the ward, Juan Juarez, pictured here with me, set up a surprise going away party at German Arrieta’s house.

German Arrieta, at the far right in the picture above, was sad that I was leaving. He was a good man and a good friend. Also present in the picture are the Theodoroy, Gonzalez, Godoy, Marquez, and Pizarro families.

Here’s another picture of the going away party.

Missionaries I Served With

Elder Bray, Juan Juarez, and my first companion in the Godoy ward, Elder Loertscher. Juan was a recently returned missionary. When Elder Bray’s former companion, Elder Araya, received an emergency transfer, Juan became is companion for a couple of weeks.

This is Elder Brown who replaced Elder Loertscher after we had been together for a month. This was taken when we still lived in one of the worst apartments of my mission. It was a one car garage with a make shift bathroom in the corner. We moved a couple weeks after this picture was taken.

On this day, all the missionaries in our zone got together to eat lunch and play basketball.

I love to play basketball, but didn’t get to play it a whole lot on my mission. Every once in a while, perhaps once a month, on a p-day, we would be able to make arrangements to play. This picture was the same zone activity as above.

Here Elder Brown is sporting the present the Godoy family gave him for Friends Day, a River Plate hat (River Plate is one of the big futbol/soccer teams in Argentina). The Godoys gave me a tie for the occasion. Also in the picture is Juan Juarez, who needed a place to stay for a few nights. In our new apartment, we had an extra bed and we were so grateful for his help earlier, so we let him stay.

This is the Rosario West Zone (which corresponded to the Rosario West Stake) at a zone conference.

This is a get together of the missionaries of the Rosario West zone at the Argentina National Flag Monument. It was good to see my former companion Elder Sanchez there.

Neighborhoods

This is Juan Juarez and I at a Catholic Cemetary that was in our area. We always had to walk around it and it was quite large so I guess one day we decided if we could take a look inside.

This is a photo I snapped near the Godoy’s house of a man selling fruits and vegetables from his house drawn cart. A common sight in Argentina.

Every day we walked past this statue. It is of the newest Catholic Saint, Gauchito Gil, who is said to have performed some miracles during his life.

We visited a Catholic Cathedral one day and snapped these two interesting pictures, or at least to us as Mormons it was really fascinating. The one above is a shrine to the Virgin Mary and the one below is of course our slain Savior Jesus Christ before he resurrected.

Apartments

I arrived in the Godoy ward to find the missionaries living in this apartment that was no more than (loosely) converted garage. It was cold and damp and small. Living conditions in general were lower than what most North American missionaries were used to, but this apartment was pretty pathetic even compared to all the other apartments I had been in. Elder Loertscher didn’t complain, though. But still, I talked to the mission president about it right away and began making plans to move.

After my first month in the Godoy ward, we moved from that terrible garage apartment into the house of Walter Pizarro for a short time and then into this apartment pictured. Walter and Hedgars Gonzalez helped us move. The owner of the home, Theodoro, lived in the front of the house, and we missionaries lived around back where there was a separate apartment with its own entrance. This new apartment was twice as big, had little kitchen, and better bathroom facilities.

Elder Brown told me that he could tell I had been out on my mission for a long time because of all the holes in my socks. I thought it was a badge of honor for putting in all those long hours, day after day, walking the streets of Argentina, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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