Where do I even begin!!! It has been a FANTASTIC week here in Bahía Blanca!!! Guess what!?!?!?! Our dear investigator, María, was baptized this last Saturday! It was beautiful. I couldn´t stop smiling the entire time! It´s an amazing thing, to watch someone you love make a covenant with Heavenly Father and open the door to the path that will lead them to a heavenly home and happiness forever. She is a huge example and a light for her family and neighbors. Many people came to see her take this step in her life, and afterwards we ate cookies and cake and cold pizza and drank maté (not the missionaries, but everyone else drank it. Not that it´s bad! It´s just a social drink and we don´t have the time to drink it) María was very happy and we´re all so happy for her!
The weather here is NUTSO. Last week, when I sat here writing to you, I had my light skirt on and a short sleeve shirt. I sweated a ton as I walked around the city teaching. Now, I´m sitting here with wool socks, boots, two layers of thermal tights, shorts, heavy skirt, sweater, jacket, coat, hat, and gloves... I didn´t think it was possible to find a place with more bipolar weather than Utah, but it is!!! Welcome to Bahía Blanca :) our apartment also flooded a little from all the rain, and our power is out from all the wind... And I love it! My poor companion is sick though from running around in the rain and cold all day and from giving cheek kisses to all of our sick investigators (they´re not selfish, they´ll give you everything they´ve got, including a cold haha) So we´ve been chilling indoors for 2 days to try to help her feel better. After this excursion to the Centro to write you all, I´m taking her home and making her drink malta and soup and get to bed. It´s my turn to be the mother in our companionship!
Did I tell you last week that there are dogs everywhere? Cause there are. Everywhere. And sometimes, especially if the weather is bad, they run around in packs and it´s pretty freaky.
Oh! And I found two seashells in the street! (caracol en la calle). It was one of those tender mercies that just brighten your day.
To answer some of the questions of my mother: my area is Villa Mitre 2, it´s a little suburb like city just outside of Bahía Blanca (where I am right now to write to you all). I love it so much! I´m grateful for my good shoes and good rubber boots cause most of the streets are dirt and filled with water and ruts and craziness. I'm warm enough, that´s a huge blessing! The people here are super nice and I just am loving every second of it here! And, even if people don´t want to hear our message, they´re pretty darn polite about it.
I need to talk to you all about the miracle of a smile. One of our investigators has had a REALLY hard life (okay, most if not all of our investigators have had really hard lives truly). We talked to her this week about the love that Heavenly Father has for us, and that through his plan for us, we can be with our families forever. We talked to her about how we know where we were before this life, and why we are here in this world, and where we go afterwards. She began to laugh and cry a little bit, and we were really confused. My companion asked her why she laughed, and after a pause, she said that she had never felt the love of Heavenly Father like when she is with us, when we tell her that God loves her with a smile on our faces. she said that when other people have told her that God loves her, she feels like it´s a conditional love. that she has to change who she is and pay for her sins so that God will love her, and this is something she doesn´t feel like she could do. But God´s love for everyone is unconditional. It´s for each person in this world. The amount that we feel doesn´t change the amount that there is for us! This life is that we might have joy everlasting! So smile. The message of our Savior is one of joy, so smile! Even if you´re not sharing a message of the gospel, or talking at all, smile, and share your joy! If you don´t have joy, smile, and others will smile back and give you some because you´re helping other people do the same. Think about how contagious that is! We also say hi to everyone in the street- that really catches some people off guard. Smile at people, at dogs, and the sky.. Am I sounding crazy yet? Good, cause maybe then ya´ll remember to smile ;)
I love you all! I hope you´re doing well!!! I love hearing from you and I´m sorry that I don´t have much time to write you each individually. You rock my socks, even from thousands of miles away. God bless you and keep you!
A note from the mom: Katie is being an awesome missionary, as we can all tell. I love how she bears her testimony with each letter, and how her joy and enthusiasm radiate from each word. I've haven't been getting enough detail on her day-to-day, however. Thankfully, she was kind enough to answer many of my questions her letter this week. I also got a bit more information, and permission to "post this little update on my blog if you want."
How do you like being an "official" missionary?
I LOVE being an "official" missionary. It´s the bomb.com. The spirit is so strong, and I love the work. I love the chances that I have to help people. Literally all of my time is focused on that, which is such a huge blessing!!!
From the pictures, it looks like you have another companionship in your apartment - is it just you and Sister Naylor, or are there 4 of you?
We share a house with 4 other missionaries, 6 girls in total (for a while there were 7 of us, with our TINY bathroom... yay!)
How was church? How many people were there? What is the building like? How far did you have to go to get there?
There are a lot of members, not as much as should be at church, but there are a lot! That is super cool. I don´t know exact numbers. The chapel is just like the churches back home but with more tile and no dishes and way smaller. We have to fast walk for 30 min to get to our church, and it takes us one hour to fast walk across our entire area, if we´re going the direct route... it´s a lot!