Feliz Navidad mis Queridos!!!!
This week was wonderful! We were able to kick it up and work hard all week. People let us into their homes to share small messages with them. What a blessing!!! It doesn’t happen often! The week went by very quickly- especially because I went down to Bahía Blanca for a special financial workshop. Pres sent all of us "old" missionaries to the mission home to plan our financial lives until death. It was intense but I learned a ton! I also got to visit my first area, Villa Mitre 2. What joy it brought me to be able to visit my convert María del Carmen! It´s amazing to think that it has been such a long time since she was baptized, almost a year and a half already! It was a short trip, and I couldn’t see anyone else, but it was lovely to pop in for a bit. It was two nights in a row sleeping on a bus, but it was worth it. And even though we had a day outside of our area, I felt as though we were able to make up for it in the other days.
As if that weren´t enough for crazy, uncommon events, we also had a Christmas concert! We sang traditional songs from Spain, "I´m a Child of God" in Castillano and Italian, 2 flautists played a classical German piece, and of course we performed the carols from the hymn book. It was lovely! There´s nothing like singing Christmas carols with a ton of neighbors. Most of the people who went had never been in our church before- it was nice to be united by music.
Merry Christmas to everyone! It was well said by my companion this morning when she said- the world NEEDS Christ-MÁS (más=more). She´s cool. And what she said is TRUE! I´m kinda surprised that there are so many Christmas haters and people who don’t understand what Christmas really means. It´s helped me reflect more on what Christmas really does mean in my life. The argument for some people for not liking it- ´every day we should respect and celebrate Christ in our lives´. Good argument! Cause its true. I´m totally down for feeling the love and light and magic of Christmas more than just 1 (or 2 with Easter) days a year. But I can’t help thinking of Scrooge and Madison Square Garden´s "A Christmas Carol". Sorry, I’m going to murder the quote, but-
"Christmas may have never put a pound or penny in my pocket, but I believe it has done me good, and will do me good, and I say- God bless it!" (Nephew Fred)
For me, Christmas is just probably my favorite time of year ever. It´s a time of reflecting and service and miracles and thankfulness! It´s a time to GIVE. It´s a beautiful opportunity that we have in this time of year to focus even more on the miracle of our Saviors birth. So take advantage of it! It´s a time to dedicate again our lives to Christ. I hope you all enjoy a few days full of family and love and magic and that you take time to think about what Christmas really means to you. And then, I hope that that same spirit that you will fill lasts with you for all your year :)
Love you all! See you all soon. This is my last official email from my mission. I´ve more than loved the time that I´ve had here in Argentina!!! Words can´t begin to express it. I know that my Savior lives, and that he really did pay the price, conquering death- physical and spiritual. I know that He has restored his church to the earth through a young prophet, Joseph Smith. There are still prophets of God on the earth today! And through the restored keys and authority, our families can be together forever, and we can be sealed to God. I feel especially privileged to have been able to share it here for 1.5 years.
Have a wonderful week everyone! See you soon :) Be good!
Monday, December 21, 2015
Buenas días mis queridos!!!
So, it´s come to this, eh? We´ve gotten to this moment, huh? I´m sorry that recently I haven’t been putting as much effort as I should into my letters. I think that I´ve been subconsciously avoiding the fact that I´m not going to be doing this for so much longer. Saying that time passes quickly doesn’t quite seem to sum it all up! But enough of that sappy stuff. I´ve got a TON to tell you for this week! It was wonderful and crazy and unexpected and lame and great and oh boy have I continued to learn or what?!
Lunes- we went to Sierra de los Padres, some hills just outside of Mar del Plata. It was beautiful! Nice to spend time in a town akin to Sundance (little, scenic, tons of artists). We also worked with the Hermanas from Balcarce who came to stay the night-
Martes- Zone Confernce!!! I learned a TON, and I´m SO excited for this mission. There are a lot of new plans and tools that i just know are going to help. We talked a lot about being our "own agents"- someone responsible who is concerned and occupied with his own progression. But more than that, if we want to really progress, we must be selfless and serve others, and set goals that require effort to fulfill. We’ve learned a lot about how to set meaningful goals, the importance of charity and how to develop it.
*this is where it gets interesting so listen up.
Due to this and that, things that come up, sickness, etc., in the past we hadn’t been able to dedicate a lot of good, solid time to street working. So, after our conference, as we asked ourselves "what would make tomorrow a great day?" I responded-
"If we could have a day that at least kinda follows our plans, where we can work hard all day".
Miercoles, The following occurred:
· we had to take out money to pay rent, and the line was eternal
· crazy stalker lady called and asked us to straighten her hair (we´re safe, just weirded out a little)
· we started getting sick.
· we showed up to choir too early and missed out on some plans
But I learned to appreciate the unexpected miracles of missionary work, some of which were directly tied to the crazy things that happened. (The following happened throughout the rest of the week):
· As we waited in line for the ATM (30 minutes at least) we talked to like 5 people and we were able to share a lot. The whole line listened as a member of the church popped out of what seemed to be nowhere and bore testimony of her conversation. (WHAT THE AWESOME!?!?!)
· The elders gave us a blessing so we´d heal fast, and the members take good care of us.
· We found super prepared people while on divisions and we get to teach them soon!
· When we got to choir too early, there was a non-member waiting for the practice too. She was super nice and it was fun to get to know her! We got to show the church to about 6 other non-members that came to choir practice.
· Sunday after church, we had lunch with a wonderful family! They fed us morsillo. Yes, you heard me, blood sausage!!! :D my first time. I had only heard horror stories about it. Lucky for us, this family is the bomb and it was actually pretty delicious. (I just couldn’t look at it or think too much haha). So of all the horrible things that could have happened, we got the good kind! I kinda think it´s a parable for this week. Something not so great happens, but it turns out lovely.
· Our dear familia Sasso continues to be the bomb.com- they’re totally progressing!
And as if all that weren´t enough, we have the grand overall learning experience of the week, the way i grew closer to my Savior. So, Hindsight is 20x20, or at least close to that. And sometimes it´s hard to forgive one´s self. Many a time in these past few weeks I´ve been impressed by my many inabilities. But luckily, everything in the mission teaches us of Jesus Christ. I remember the lessons that I´ve learned, and i feel the love of our Savior. I remember that, hey- forgiveness means forgiveness! I remember that I´m giving it all I’ve got. My level of awesome today is not the same as it was yesterday. Long story short- We´re imperfect beings. Repentance is a process that for most, takes years. But Christ gave up on no one! In Gethsemane, he didn´t stop halfway and say: "No, not that guy. He´s gonna mess up the same way over and over all his life. It´s not worth it, paying for all his sins." Instead, he took them on, moment for moment. Life and repentance is hard, but we must learn to ACCEPT the atonement in our lives.
Service really makes the difference in everything, and I´m grateful that I was able to see the miracles. This week, I thought that I was stinking it up- BUT LOOK AT ALL THE AMAZING THINGS THAT HAPPENED!!! Come what may, I know that if I’m striving to be humble and clean and do my best, the Lord will turn my little ability into a grand work. We could always do better, but we are on this earth to learn and grow and to have JOY, not to be miserable.
I could go on for days ya´ll... I´ll tell you the other stories over lunch sometime, deal? Good. Read the scriptures, ancient and modern (gotta love CONFERENCE!!!!) Remember who you are!!!
I´M NOT DEAD YET!!!!
(that would have been my subject line if this computer was working)
This week was AWESOME. Even though my comp has been fighting a little cold (typical of completing 10 months in the mission), we got SO much done and what a joy that brings! Saturday we had a fiesta de navidad (ward Christmas party), and guess what- the familia Sasso came! And so did another family that we´re working with!!! That was the BOMB. Friends, music from the primary, empanadas, sweet decorations- it was lovely. Then on Sunday, the familia Sasso came to church! The dad of the family is our investigator, it was his first time to the church meetings even though he´s been married to a member for 10 years. The elders in our ward also had a super investigator come to church- for the first time in 2 months we had investigators in church and man- it just felt so so great :) If you’re asking why that would be so important to me, here´s a basic answer- we work to help bring people closer to Christ, and we believe that His church is upon the earth today. Although there are MANY ways to come closer to Christ, one of the best is worshiping his father and learning of him in His church, and partaking of the Sacrament. But let’s compare this to a cake. You can look at it, you can learn about it, you can think about it. But unless you try it, how do you know if it tastes good or not? It´s the same way with the church. If one wants to know if the church is of God, they should learn all they can, AND go and see how it is! So that was ONE of the many reasons that we were happy to have so many people at church. The biggest reason of all is that we love them and know that they´ll be blessed for going to church.
Random- let’s just take a moment and appreciate that we get called Hermana Chill and Hermana Chilled. And if they were confused with our last name, forget about it, cause we have the same first name ;)
If you haven’t chosen a scripture to ponderize yet for this week, I’ll just give you an option here: OMNI 1:26
Another fun fact of the day: kids and gypsies on the streets here offer little cards in return for "generous offers" of whatever money one wants to pay. That sure spoils our efforts of giving out little cards to invite people to church or to watch Christmas videos on internet.... even desperately shouting "IT´S A FREE GIFT!!!" doesnt work sometimes... don’t worry, we get creative and find other ways to start conversations before offering the little cards or pamphlets. I like it better anyway cause it doesn’t make me feel like such a sales person :)
This week, we also saw a motorcycle crash 1 block in front of us- it was so freaky! But luckily, no one was seriously hurt- a miracle if you ask me.
Sorry that this email was all over the place! I hope you all have a great week! Remember who you are! Read the scriptures, pray in your families! And remember, as much as everyone around here wants to talk about how much time i have left in the mission, I’m not dead yet! Cherish the moment’s you’re living in, be good. Choose the right.