Buen dia a todos!!!
Okay, gotta say, TOAY is awesome. (And yes mom, you DO say it like "toe-eye") In this little town just outside of Santa Rosa, the majority of people have a relative that is part of the Argentine Army- the base of which is just a couple of blocks away. Another fun fact- this week was the week of the Gaucho! So I now have many photos of horses and people in traditional dress (that they wear everyday anyway). They like to hunt too- I saw a huge wild boar on the back of a pickup truck the other day! Yes mom- dirt roads, 1 internet cafe with 2 computers. Still haven’t gotten mail or packages for like, 4 weeks due to holidays and protests and transfers, but I´m hoping that I´ll get it tomorrow :) Even with all the "stuff" that I´ve acquired the transfer went smoothly. A few complaints from taxi drivers, but that´s normal considering we were 3 girls with 9 suitcases going from Bahía Blanca to Santa Rosa :) The apartment rocks here, and I love Toay- it´s beautiful! The ash of the volcano in Chile even came to visit us. It didn't affect me at all- the air just smelt burnt for a while, but my poor companion had allergies AWFUL.
Apart from these charming and awesome things, we've seen a TON of miracles here this week. It´s hard but great to "open" an area (2 new missionaries without area experience). Our first day here, they told us: Your investigator Susana is going to be baptized on Saturday! Felicitaciones! Get to know her and the members and plan the baptismal service.... no pressure, but it was joyful from the get go! Susana´s baptism turned out really great! Her testimony is so bright, how could it not? We had a lot of help from the other sisters here and from the members- surely from heavenly hands as well. I’m very grateful to have been able to be here for that great day!
In our very first day here, we found a wonderful family in which some have already been baptized, but the majority have not. It´s SO WEIRD that they’re not already baptized and members of the church. I don´t believe in coincidences- the odds are WAY too low. Our first day in the area, we "happened" to take a street and passed by a house where two women "happened" to be leaving to take a walk. Listening to the advice of our leaders (TALK TO EVERYBODY!) we started a conversation. They were in a hurry, but another woman went out of her house and invited us to go in and talk. This is where the crazy picks up EVEN MORE. I can´t share all the details, but this woman and her family have gone to church MANY times in their home town up north. She left to find work in Cordoba and didn´t find a Mormon church but with the help of an evangelic congregation her boyfriend cut down BIG TIME on the drinking and smoking. They moved here to Toay about a month ago when their house flooded- they lost everything they had. They live with her sister now, but thanks to many answered prayers, they’re going to rent a house nearby. They’re looking for God in their life and want to be a strong family. They accepted EVERYTHING we invited them to do! They´re going to be married in 2 months, and baptized thereafter, and they´re SO excited to be able to be sealed in the temple a year from now. Man, it´s rare to find people who are so ready and are thirsting so much for the gospel in their lives, but I share my witness that THEY EXIST. They are just waiting for a little invitation or a little conversation to be able to change their lives. There are more people waiting to hear message of the gospel and change their lives than we realize. Are we willing to share? To just smile and make a new friend? What´s the worst that could happen- you get more friends... so VAMOS! In the prayer of our dear Susana, she prayed that there would be many people to attend her baptism to help her rise above where she is now and be guided to a better life- the people are praying for fellowship! And I know without a doubt that God puts people in our path who need us or we need them. It´s amazing how a little thing like opening our mouths can lead to such a grand change of lives!
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Get out there and change some lives! You can do it!!! (Especially if you do it with the help solicited from our Heavenly Father)
Love you miss you!
Monday, April 27, 2015
Monday, April 20, 2015
Hola familia y amigos!!!
Okay, I have no idea if I spelt Toay correctly, but there it is! I´m leaving my dear pueblo of Trenque Lauquen and jumping 2 hours away, to the provincia: LA PAMPA! woo! I was in campo before, but now I´m REALLY in the heartland of all argentine gaucho (cowboy) legends. I´m super excited to be able to get there! Cause although it´s just 2 hours away from TreLau, I had to come to Bahía Blanca to drop my companion off (she´s going to train a new missionary!) and to find my new companion! We´re not technically opening an area, but two of the missionaries from this area left and we´re going in together! Party on. My new companion is Hermana Castleman, a little blondie from Indiana, USA :) She´s so great! I´m really excited to be able to work with her. It´s hard to leave Trenque Lauquen- I got to serve there for 6 months! But I´m super grateful for the time that I had there! I´ll miss the people, but I´m not too far away, jaja and a few of the members even talked about how we´ll see each other at stake activities! Thank goodness for the opportunity to still talk and love all of the people of Trenque Lauquen. I know my companion Hermana Marple is going to take good care of the Rama back there, she´s amazing.
This week we had a SUPER FESTIVAL de OTOÑO! I made wassail and popcorn :) the kids loved the popcorn, but all the argentines wanted to drink the wassail cold! or they thought it was weird... haha but, even saying that they drank a lot! And I really don´t mind, because they were content to have the chance to try something from the states and I was content to drink the rest of the batch! We played pin the tie on the missionary and pin the flower on the misionera, musical chairs, and had a contest of eating donuts on a string. It was wonderful, and we had a LOT of fun.
One day this week, it POURED rain the entire day... We´re talking, the Hermanas had boots, rain coats, umbrellas, everything, and still got soaked... Thunder shook our 11 story apartment building, lightning illuminated the sky. We called the member with which we had scheduled to work with that day and told her that we didn´t want her to die and it was better if she stayed inside- you know what? She brought us around the town in her car, stopping at the houses of the investigators and helping us to teach or set up appointments. TAKE THAT WEATHER! Team Trenque Lauquen couldn´t be stopped.
This week I learned a great lesson from my companion and in my studies- Knowledge enhances, but charity edifies. It doesn't matter how much we teach, or tell the people. If we don´t have the pure love of Christ, the ability to love the people, it does NOTHING- wait, what?! Are you telling me that it doesn´t matter what we say? even if it´s true? It doesn´t matter what we do? even if it´s good? If the things we say and do aren´t done with charity, there impact will have but a small moment. They may do good, but they can do excellent things if they are done with love and concern for the good of others. Sometimes, I get caught in routine. It´s easy to do. Serve this person. Say this thing. How do you escape from this trudge? This daily habbit of share and help and smile- Is it not good to do these things? It IS good. And it feels good too! But why doesn´t it feel GREAT sometimes? It´s because it´s not done with this deep desire and hope of Charity. How can we develop this love for the world and the people in it? If you ask most people, it´s imposible to have. But you know what? It´s more than possible. I´m learning, for it takes a new effort every day, to dig deeply in my heart and pray for charity. To let my heart open even though sometimes it hurts, and it gets tired. Because it takes fight to love. And when we fight for it, it feels great! It´s in these moments that I can see and feel the changes in peoples lives. And even if nothing happenes for the people around me, I´m changing. And I´m so grateful for that. Moroni 7- pray with all the energy of your heart! And if your heart doesnt have energy, pray for it! It´s wonderful! Really! I have a LONG way to go, like a really long way. But I suppose and I hope that the more I work and the more I try, the better I´ll be able to do it. I hope that you all can feel of the joy that praying for charity brings. Is there a person that bugs you? Pray for charity! Is there someone that you wish you had a little more love for? Pray for charity! Do you just feel meh? yep, you get the picture. And remind me to do the same ;) I still would like to learn a lot about this principle... if you have any thoughts I´d love to hear them!
I love you all to the moon and back! Take care and smile! I hope you have a great week!
Monday, April 13, 2015
¡BUEN DÍA! Trenque Lauquen is more beautiful than ever with the arrival of otoño. All the leaves are colorful and blanket the ground, making it easy to find the missionaries cause there’s an extra crackle in their step recently. Mom, here´s the weather/food report- hot cold rain cold rain HOT but yeah, I´m doing great! And food - TOO MUCH. Health, good.
This week, my SUPER friend Matias (Matí) was baptized! He´s such a champion. Even though it was a baptism of the branch, we got to help a lot :). My Compañera played the piano, and I got to talk about the importance of baptism. It was so wonderful! I´m super proud of Matí and his decision to follow Christ. He´s the best friend of little Brenda too (recently baptized) so it´ll be great to teach them more together :)
We also got to help with the branch seminary activity! We made paper cranes and sailors hats- hey, service can be fun if you make it fun! and this was super great. The theme- "EMBARK IN SEMINARY"- and dang, it got ME super excited. Even though I don´t go to seminary now, here in the mish, I get to invite people to go with much enthusiasm. I think it helped the teens and the friends they brought get excited too. Go to Seminary and Institute! It can bring you spiritual and intellectual power. I know it´s an organization inspired of God. And, if you´re not able to go/too old, STUDY YOUR SCRIPTURES DILIGENTLY AND CONTINUALLY. Do you wonder why anyone would die to get these books to you? read them with an open heart, asking our Heavenly Father and you´ll know :)
This week is the 139th birthday of TreLau, so all the artists and musicians held a grand festival. It was so cool to see the people dancing folklore! I wanted to join in, but 1- I don´t know the dance steps and that´d be awkward, and 2- missionaries don´t dance. ;) But still, I´m dying to learn one day.
Sorry, I don´t have time to write my spiritual thought, so this is a bit of what I sent to my president. Sometimes, life and missionary work are hard, but you know what, WE ARE NOT WITHOUT HELP. It´s all about patience, and hope, and consecration and charity. Christ makes ALL the difference.
La obra a veces toma mas paciencia, esperanza, animo, consagración, y humildad que pensamos que podemos tener. NECESITAMOS nuestro Salvador. Porque solos, no podemos. Pero El aumenta nuestra habilidad. Este es SU obra :) 99% de hacer la obra misional es seguir los reglas con exactitud, y procurar y esforzarnos a cumplir con el estandarte de excelencia. Es tener animo y urgencia Y paciencia. Paciencia es más fácil cuando glorifiquemos a Dios y le damos las gracias por su mano en nuestro vida. Sé que mi Salvador vive. Siento su amor cada día, cambiando me, ayudando me. Los obreros son débiles, pero aun y para siempre la obra es fuerte. Gracias por sus palabras de la consagración! justo, hemos pensado mucho en esto recién.
The work sometimes takes more patience, hope, encouragement, dedication, and humility we think we have. NEED our Savior. Because we cannot do it alone. But, He increases our ability. This is HIS work. :) 99 % of missionary work is to follow the rules exactly, and seek and strive to meet the standard of excellence. It is about having courage and urgency and patience. Patience is easier when glorify God and thank him for his hand in our life. I know my Savior lives. I feel your love every day, changing me, helping me. The workers are weak, but still and forever the work is strong. Thank you for your words of consecration! Right, we've thought about this a lot recently.
Love you all tons! In the words of my good friend Syster Maxwell, I miss you all like a fat kid misses cake! Welcome home Emily! I can´t believe how freaking fast time flies!
Hope you all have a wonderful week. Read your scriptures! Go to church! Pray!
Also, smile at someone today okay? Decide to be a friend :)
Monday, April 6, 2015
This week brought Easter and General Conference and the completion of my 9 months in the mission. HOW COULD YOU HAVE SO MANY IMPORTANT EVENTS IN ONE WEEK?!? :) It was very lovely, and the work marches along well in Trenque Lauquen (mom, transfers are in 2 weeks). For those of you who know my eating habits, you´ll be surprised to know that this week: I ATE FISH AND EVEN LIKED IT. yep. That happened and I didn´t die of disgust.
General Conference was awesome! A lot of members watched in their homes, but those that came stayed between sessions and ate cake and drank maté together. It was fun to see them enjoy themselves and that they spend time together openly and willingly, like a big family. In one session, 2 little girls were playing with my hair (I think I have bald spots now... haha!). They enjoyed coloring print-outs of bible stories. Yep, right at home here. I´m glad that conference talked about protecting the familia- the adversary is attacking marriage and family in every way, but we can and should have the courage to stand up for what we believe in and protect it. We can and should love and respect those who don´t believe the same way. We all have a right to believe and practice how we deem correct. I thought it was pretty cool that they invited us to take a stand to protect what we believe in. And I loved many other things! I know that the Prophet Thomas S. Monson is called of God, and that he and the apostles received heavenly help to share those messages with us.
To answer the questions of my mom, we watch the conference here via satellite, at 1 and 5 in the afternoon. Oh and hey, Gerrit, McKayla, Merril and many others- you did a GREAT job on Saturday with the music! Thank you for taking the time to prepare and do that! (Besides, it was super fun to sit with my companion and say "I know him, and him, and her, and oh that´s my BFF" or "we went to school together!" )
We also got to share this week the video "Gracias A Que Él Vive" (or ´Because He Lives ´or however you say it in English... ) Christ lives, and because He lives, we will all live again, and we CAN find peace in this life! Thanks to his sacrifice we CAN have our families for eternity. We can change and become people we never imagined that we could be. I know that my Redeemer lives :)
I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you can reflect even more on what it means to you that Christ lives. ¡That we might always wonder in awe at His atonement!
PS: Thanks for putting up with my castiyankie/Spanglish :)