Welcome to my first letter from the beautiful and magical land of Argentina! Please excuse my typing errors, the keyboards are different here and the computer tells me that every word is wrong cause it´s not in Spanish (or castillano, as the Argentines would say. They´re very adamant that they don´t speak español, and I´ll agree with them on that one...) Speaking of language, it´s coming along great! It´s really hard, I just cant let myself get nervous. If I stay confident I do fine. Easier said than done, but I know that It´s a huge blessing that I´m able to do that! Holy moly I´m so grateful!!!! At first (and still now) It was really really hard to understand the accent here! I´m getting way better though! Many people don´t pronounce their ´s´ so "¿Como Estas?" sounds like "¿Comm Enda?" and it´s that way with EVERY WORD... yeah, I´m grateful that I´ve got a companion that helps me translate =) she´s the best!!! Her name is Hermana Naylor, and like me, is from Utah. It really confuses people when we tell them that... some people even thought that if they wanted to be a member of the church they would have to move to the United States... nope! It´s for everyone everywhere. Hermana Naylor is also blonde! So we get honked and whistled at everywhere we go... yay Argentina! It´s weird, and sometimes freaky, but mostly just funny! I´m grateful that Hermana Naylor is good at laughing at things! There are so many things in this world and in our missions that just aren´t worth worrying about, and I´m glad to have her as a teacher to help me see the comical in every situation. she´s the bomb. She´s very kind and spiritual and I´ve already learned much from her. we laugh all the time too- she is silly, just like me, so we get along great!
I´m grateful to have good shoes. the part of the city that we are in is very poor, and most of the streets are dirt. haha the first night I came home caked in it! I love it. We flush our toilet with a stick in the wall, but we have a toilet!!! There are so so many blessings here. And I´ve seen so many miracles. I wish I could strap a camera to my forehead and let you all see and experience this too.
Oh man! I have so much to tell you all about!!! The food here is AWESOME. With a member we had lamb milanesa and potatoes and pan y dulce and soup that reminded me of the bean and ham soup that I eat at my cabin sometimes! It was just the bomb. And last night, we stopped by to say hello to the same member and she made us come in and gave us Ice cream, and I coughed a lot cause we had just got done running to an appointment who wasn´t there so she gave me cough medicine! So in other words, know that I´m REALLY being taken care of here!
I have received more kisses here than I think I´ve ever had in my life! Everyone you meet, people on the street even, after you talk, and if you know each other (or if the person is just really nice) you give kisses on the cheek! Typically one, but some of the old ladies here are especially excited to see us and give us two. they´re so sweet! We don't give men kisses cause of mission rules (and it makes sense too, cause we´re working for Heavenly Father and don´t want to get to friendly with anyone of the opposite gender if you know what I mean) But sometimes, and it´s hilarious when it happens, hombre´s ignore our outstretched hand and give us a beso. SO FUNNY! But I love how loving everyone is, and I know I´m going to miss the kisses when I return (at least, I think so...)
Well, I only have 5 mins left, so I´ll share the most important part of all this, the miracles =) Our investigators are so so amazing. I learn so much from each of them. My first night here, we talked to like 4 people in the street who wanted to hear more about the gospel, who were friendly, and who loved to talk to us. It was certainly a miracle that we met them =) We walk around all day to get to all of our appointments, our area is huge, and there are so many people who want to hear the gospel. I just want to tell you about all of them cause I love them all so much, but I absolutely have to tell you about Rodrigo. He´s amazing. Rodrigo is a 18 year old boy who is SO nice! He has some type of mental disability that makes it so he´s more like 14ish, and he is just the coolest person you will ever meet. We´ve talked to him a few times and he came to church yesterday and wants to be baptized! I was struggling with español, excuse me, with castillano, and he just patted my arm and said "respíre, respíre, tranquila. be happy, you´re my best friend" (He speaks a little English and loves practicing with me, it´s the best! that translates to- breathe, breathe, tranquil- or something like that) I almost started crying. What a blessing he is!!! He´s so kind and always looking out for others. he always wants to hug and hold hands with everyone, and it breaks my heart to tell him no, but he always has a happy attitude about it and smiles real big and says "oh yes, porque usted trabaja por Dios" (oh yes, because you work for God). He´s so smart. and the insights that he shares about overcoming Satan and following Jesus Christ are so beautiful. Like I said, I wish I could talk about all of the sweet people that I know. The children here are just the most adorable! We´re teaching a little girl named Zoe who although she only has 9 years, she knows so much and is confident in it with firm faith. And she´s only been to church a few times but she has figured so much out and is just the best. She´s helping her mom stop smoking and takes good care of her little sisters. What an example!!!
I know with all my heart that this church is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today. I´m so grateful for this knowledge! It has changed my life, and I wouldn´t be here if I didn´t know it with all of my heart. People are always surprised when we tell them that we pay to be here, but i wouldn´t trade this experience for anything. I love it! I love the people! I love my Savior. I invite you all to read the Book of Mormon, I know that it´s true! I hope you all have a wonderful wonderful week. God be with you!
Lots of Love, ¡Chao!