Josh was able to call us on Sunday afternoon around 1:00. He had purchased a calling card in Tucuman and said he had 1 1/2 hours to talk. He had told us he would call around 12:15 so we rushed home from church and just stared at the phone waiting for it to ring. Finally, it rang and he said they had tried to call from the church's phone, but it wouldn't work so they had walked to a member's house to make the call. We had a great connection and he sounded wonderful!
Highlights of our conversation:
He and his companion (Elder Rivera from Peru) walk most everywhere except on Sunday they pay a taxi (Ramiz) to drive them around to pick up investigators to take them to church.
They have a shower with cold water and a flush toilet and had a bidet in one apartment.
They bought a washing machine for their apartment for 400 pesos (about $100)
He has an ironing board and an iron so he presses his shirts.
Most of the agricultual land grown there is used for cocaine.
He estimates that they walk about 4 miles a day.
Everyone serves pop for their beverage so he is worried he may have cavities developing from too much sugar as he eats with members most days.
He said they eat empanadas with chicken or beef, bombas de papas, egg sandwiches and milanesa. There are plenty of sweets there so not to send candy in a package to him.
The weather is starting to turn cold so he is using his fleece blanket at night.
There are a Coca Cola and Pepsi plant in Tucuman.
He often spoke in Spanish and Bridget was listening on one phone and said later that even when he spoke English she could tell he was translating back from Spanish.
Of course, I cried when I had to say good-bye, but not nearly as much as Christmas-I'm really going to make it to September 2011-arghhh-that's a long time still!