Monday, September 29, 2014

The Creepy Mask

The classic first day together selfie

Alright, I got emergency transferred so I`m going to answer all the questions really fast then explain everything, so questions first, and the ones that I don't answer it's because it doesn't apply to me anymore. 

1.  Did you take any pictures of Centro for Dad?  Tell us what Centro is like.  Is it like an American city?

Nope, and I can't now for a long time. You might have to wait a long time for those, but yeah, it looks like a city in the states, but kinda old. Cities look modern and metally and sleek, but the cities here look like concrete and ugly. 

2.  So do they sell waffle irons there?  If people are always asking about waffles it seems as though there would be a good market for waffle irons!

 Nope, that's what I think, too. You think they would sell them but noooooo

3.  Do people in your area dress differently than we dress in America?  Or have you not noticed a difference?

Yeah, they dress different. They have these sweats that are kind of like MC Hammer pants. And there isn't a lot of clothing variety here, everything is basically the same style. 

4.  What are some things that you think Americans have in common with Argentines?

We like to have fun? That's a really hard question. I´ll think about that one.

5.  What stake are you in?

Bahìa Blanca stake.

6.  What street do you live on in Terrada?  I heard that Google View has at least some areas up in Argentina and thought I would look it up and see if they have a picture.

I lived in 2nd Terrada 2789, but you could look for Terrada and look for the monoblocks. Now I live  Beltran 736 in Piguè ( the u has the two dots over it).

7.  Does the Primary in your ward do a Sacrament Meeting Presentation?

Um, in Terrada, yeah, but I`m in a branch now so I have no idea. I`ll ask. 

8.  Is there a pianist/organist in the ward there?  Or do they use the recordings from the church when singing hymns?

There are two pianists. A lady in the ward and me. No, they don't use recordings, but they sing a capella if they have to. 

9.  What was the most profound experience that you had this week?

 See end of email.

10.  Did you have a time this week when you particularly noticed guidance from the Holy Ghost?

Yeah, me and Hermana Peterson were in our last ten minutes of the night, and we wanted to find someone, so we prayed and started walking around and I saw this lady outside smoking, so I started to talk to her. Turns out she has listened to the missionaries before, and wants to go to our church again. I almost didn't talk to her, but I felt like I should. 

Also, I was in a member's house and I started looking for a scripture to share, and the one that came to my mind was something that I had never shared before or even thought about before, but I felt like I should share it so I winged it and it turned out really awesome. Me and Hermana Peterson were really following the Spirit in this lesson, and we both learned a lot and taught the lady. 

It's interesting to get promptings that you don't understand and then see the reason for it later. I didn't understand why I should share that, but then I could see that it helped us as companions. We shared the part when Moses saw the burning bush and took off his shoes. I talked about how we need to recognize the sacred things in our life and be ready to take off our shoes. Then we talked about recognizing the hand of God in all things.

11.  What was the best/worst thing you ate this week?

Eggplant Milanesa, was the best, and the worst were ñioquis in the terminal. ñioquis are like potato noodles, and they are usually good but these ones were gross. 

12.  Is there anything you know now that you wished you had known before you left for your mission?

Just that it's not like you're going to get set apart and have obvious super powers. Literally, God will work through you, but you will feel absolutely normal most of the time. It's not going to be like the Spirit will make every decision for you, but God will work with every decision you make if you do it with good intentions.

13.  What was the funniest thing that happened this week?

Wow, where to begin. So, it's my first whole day in Pigue, and we are working and a siren goes off, and Hermana Peterson starts freaking out. It went like this.

(siren starts)
Hna P: Oh no. Oh no, we have to find a house, we have to get inside.
Me: What? What is that?
Hna: Oh no no no no WE HAVE TO GET INSIDE WE ARE IN DANGER (Starts to run a little) Hurry!!!
Hna: Yeah yeah I`m just kidding. We aren't in danger, they test that siren every Saturday

She totally tricked me! 

Also, the other two Hermanas living in our house were talking about spirits living in our house, so the next day we found this creepy mask in the road and took it home and taped it in the window of the other Hermanas, then we found it in our bed the next day, so we stuck it in the fridge in response. 

14.  Did you get to go to the General Women's Broadcast on Saturday night?  If so, what did you think?

 No :(

Ok, so we had emergency transfers. So, our leaders told us that I was leaving. We had an emergency transfer, and that I was going to be companions with Hermana Peterson (who I`ve already told you about, right?) and I`m going to work in Pigue. First of all, if there were 2 things I was sure about on my mission, it was that I`m NEVER going to serve in Pigue and that I would NEVER be the companion of Hermana Peterson. Obviously, I was wrong. So, I packed that night in 2 hours (new record) and the next day I went to the terminal and rode to Pique with Hermana Peterson. 

We were talking in the streets the next day, and she was telling me about how a few weeks before she was reading this stress relief book and there's one sentence that says ``Recognize the hand of God in all things``. She says that, yeah, we see the hand of God when we make a really good contact, or when we have a good lesson, but that it said ``in all things``, not just missionary work, so she started looking. She would be in situations that were kinda stressful and be like ``ok, where is the hand of God in this``? She told me that and I started looking, too. Mom, I can see it. I can understand what I`m doing here and I can see the hand of God working until I got here to bring me here. I´ll explain more details in the letter. But hearing this, especially right after thinking that I would never be in Pigue with Hermana Peterson made me realize that God is working with us, not just in the work, but in our lives. He's doing everything. 

I love you all so much! This has been a crazy week, and I`m sorry that I don't have a lot of good answers, but I do have pictures this week, so I hope that makes up for it. I can`t print from the computer here, but we take photos of the emails, so it's cool - I can still read everything when I get home. Be safe! Tell everyone I love them!

byyyeeee love you!!!!

Saying goodbye to Hermana De Leon

Me and Hermana Blad

Me and Hermana Arenas

These two kids kept trying to play with us

How de Leon cooks corn

My shoes before and after polishing

Mountains in Pigue

My new apartment

The apartment

The apartment

The apartment

A chicken!

This picture might sum up our companionship!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Currant Bush

A currant bush

Okie dokie, here I go:

Allison, if you´re reading this, I got your letter, thanks!!!

Here are your questions:

1.  Are you still in Terrada?  What are your feelings about the change, or about not being transferred if that was the case?

I´m in Terrada again!  (fun Spanish fact: ´´en Terrada´´ means "in the place Terrada," but "enterrada" means underground, so its important to put the space there- ha ha) Yeah, I´m in Terrada again. I´m not going to lie, I wanted to leave. I wanted to experience a new area and have a new adventure, but they kept me here again. At first I was a little disappointed, but then I realized that this work isn't about adventures, it's not about places, it's about the people. Until I can take care of and love the people here, I can't leave. I´m not going to leave Terrada until my work here is finished (unless I pull an Hermana De Leon and return to an area.)  She's still my companion, by the way, she's super psyched to have the same comp for two consecutive transferssince this hasn't happened since she was in training.  Yeah, so now I´m happy. We have some good solid investigators and I have some work here to do and people to love, so I´m happy for another 6 weeks to get it right. I´m also officially rivaling Hermana Pinnock when it comes to spending a lot of time in Terrada. She was here for 5 transfers, I´m starting my 4th. 

2.  Have you noticed any changes in the weather lately as the seasons start to change?

A lot of wind. It's hot one day, cold the next, then hot again. I´m sunburnt and I´m getting a pretty nice tan. One of the members gave me sunscreen - ha ha.

3.  How do people support themselves in the area you have been serving in?  What sort of jobs do they have?

There are a lot of women who "cuide casa" which means they are basically maids who clean places. Then there are lots of men who work for security, and I´m not really sure what that means. I also know some P.E. teachers and lots of people who own stores. Fun fact, big department stores aren't really popular here, or they haven't made it here yet. If you want to buy clothes you need to find a shop that sells clothes, usually the shopkeepers live in their shops, or behind their shops. I´ve met some house builders, too, and lots of people work in centro and I don't know their jobs. 

4.  Do people there seem to have many children?  Or do they seem to limit themselves to one or two children?

One, two, and occasionally 3, seems to be the average amount of children. Yeah, only the Mormones (Mormons) have a lot, usually 4 or 5. Hermana Pinnock showed me that it's really fun to ask pregnant women if they want to have twins, because they almost never want twins.  Or when we ask people how many kids they want and they say ¨dos¨ (which means two) we say "doce?! you want doce kids (which means 12)!" and then they get all scared because they don't want a lot of kids. Ha ha ha ha! 

5.  Dad wants to see pictures of the downtown area where you are serving.

Alright, alright! I´ll see what I can do. Downtown means he wants to see centro, right?

6.  Are there any big lakes or other bodies of water near you?

Nope, the only constant source of water that we have here is the water in the streets from busted sewer pipes. It usually smells bad. 

7.  Do most people there walk or ride the bus or do most people have cars?

Most walk or ride the bus. There aren't a ton of cars here. Some people ride horses and have carriages, too.

8.  What was the best thing that happened this week?

I´m not really sure what was the best thing that happened this week. I´m just happy to be a missionary. I´m happy to be here and have the chance to grow. I was thinking about the Plan of Salvation the other day and I realized just how beautiful is this life. We aren't just here to have trials, we are here to overcome them. When I found out that I wasn't going to be transferred, I realized that this is just another part of becoming who God wants me to be. He is going to put things in our life and either let us have what we want or not let us have what we want because He is shaping us into who He wants us to be. Have you heard the talk "The Currant Bush" by one of the Apostles? I´m been thinking of that a lot, and how God is shaping us and setting us up to fulfill our potential, but it's our decision to follow His will and become the people we are destined to be. I like living, I like the perspective on life that we have in the Church. It's not about us, It's about HIm and His plan.

FYI:  Here is an excerpt from the talk Amy referenced.  It was given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and he quoted a story told by President Hugh B. Brown:

God uses another form of chastening or correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”5

9.  Is there anything that wish you had taken with you for your mission that you didn't?

Bed sheets. Hna Pinnock gave me one that I´m using now, but the mattresses here are kind of gross so before it was kind of uncomfortable.  Ha ha, and maybe a waffle iron. People here are obsessed with waffles. Seriously, everyone asks us if we know how to make them or if we eat them where we live. Its not just my area, either, the Yankees in all areas get asked about waffles. 

10.  What was the best/worst thing you ate this week?

Well, we had this pastel de papas (mashed potatoes with a layer of ground beef in the middle) that was good, but later gave us stomach problems. And one lady made this stir-fry with raviolis that was really good. Kind of like a cream of mushroom sauce with vegetables and meat that we ate with ravioli. That was really good. Oh, and I´ve gone full Argentine and started eating rice with mayonesa (mayonnaise). Yeah, I know people are reading this and are cringing, but it's not that bad, and certainly better than eating it plain. 

11.  How was your weekly district or zone meeting?

Pretty good. We talked a lot about inviting people to be baptized in the first contact, and then talked a lot about our individual investigators. One of the Elders showed us where to find the Gift of the Holy Ghost being given by the laying on of hands in the Bible. (Acts 19 I think, I don't have my Bible with me). You know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is very, very exact to the Bible. 

12.  What was the funniest thing that happened this week?

So, we had a bit of an adventure. We were working Friday, and had just finished our almuerzo (lunch) when the Assistants to the President called us. They told us that we needed to go to the mission office, and didn't tell us why, so instantly we both started feeling a little nervous. Hermana De Leon stared to say "Oh no, we did something wrong...  oh know, what did we do" or "What if someone died?!"  and I was like "I´m 90 percent sure we didn't break any rules or do anything bad, and I feel like Presidente would call us himself if someone died."  Anyways, so we get there and we walk up to the office and guess who is there? Hermana Peterson and Hermana Blad ( two of the Hermanas that visit us on Monday nights). THEN I stared to feel nervous, ha ha, because I didn't know why they were there. So we got there and Presidente called Hermana De Leon into his office and I started talking to Hermana Peterson and Hermana Blad. They were there for interviews, it turns out, and were equally confused as to why I was there. We talked a little and then I said that the brother of Hermana De Leon was going to receive his mission call this week, so maybe that was why, then Hermana Blad goes, "Oh yeah. . . he's going to Mexico." Turns out she read the mission call during her interview since it was on the desk. She wanted to see if it was someone new that was coming to the mission. So when Hermana De Leon returned she told me about her brother's mission call all excitedly, but we all already knew about it, so it confused her and it was kind of funny. Then I talked to Presidente a little, not in the office or anything, it was only a "How are you?" kind of thing, and then he commented on my sunburnt face, and then we left.

I sent some more letters home with the Hermana Hawkins, who is going to mail them, so expect some letters soon. Sorry to Alan, Dad, and Christine, I didnt get a letter in there for yáll. I ran out of stamps. If you want to mail me some American stamps, that would be cool since it's really expensive here to mail, and if you´re putting together a package, I made a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD that I forgot to bring. If you could send me that or some other  Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD, that would be cool too, but only if you want to.
Oh, and could you send me a recipe for chili and for tortillas?
I love you all and I´m glad that we aren't in a war. Dang noticias (News reports). People have been asking us about it. 

FYI:  Amy asked last week if we were in a war because people kept telling them that America had declared war on another country and she and her companion were really worried about it.  I let her know that we are not at war and explained a little bit about the situation with ISIS in the Middle East.

Be safe! Have a great time! I love you all! And I love all the letters!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Letting the Weird Flag Fly

I had to give a talk and they passed me this note while I was speaking.

1.  Last week you said you had a big p-day activity.  What did you do?

We played lots of games, like Duck, Duck, Goose, and Steal the Bacon, then we ate chicken and potatoes together, which was fun and funny, then we played this game that involved three teams. We had to fish these poker chips out of buckets of water with our mouths, so we were all soaked and locos (crazy), then we played another game that was like Musical Chairs, but  involved making a bunch of animal noises and finding the person who had the same animal and sitting with them. Then we all went home haha.

2.  Last week I asked you if Argentines were dramatic and you said they are more dramatic about some things - like rain.  How are they dramatic about rain?

When it rains here, people don't do anything. They don't go to church, some don't even go to work, and they don't talk to missionaries, ha ha, even when they are in their nice, dry house and we are outside in the rain. It's more like people are dramatic about the weather, and they do have to go outside and be in the weather a lot more than people in the States, but I´m outside all the time, so it's easy for me to say people are dramatic about weather when I experience all of it. 

3.  What are the things that you really like about your area in Terrada? And what will you miss most about Terrada?  It may be your last week there!  (Or maybe not!)  And if you do transfer will you still have p-day to write an email?

I hope I´ll have a p-day to email, but I don't know. I will miss the Bishop here, he´s really, really good with our investigators and really supportive of the missionary work. I´ll miss the people, mostly. My converts, investigators, the people in the ward. I feel like I´m going to leave, but we all know that that doesn't mean anything. I´ll miss not seeing these people progress. 

4.  Tell us about someone new you met this week.

Se llama Daniela. (Her name is Daniela) She's this girl who has been going to a different ward with her boyfriend. She's 23 years old, and she is sincerely investigating. She's very social, really nice, and very funny. She's super easy to get along with, and even though we haven't had a lesson with her, and we only met her yesterday, I can tell teaching her is going to be fun. She has a lot of real sincere questions, and is investigating for her self. 

5.  What has most impressed you in your studies this week?

I´ve been studying the story of Ammon in the Book of Mormon. One thing that impressed me a lot was the part about Abish. God was preparing her for this moment for a long time. He converted her before Ammon came, so that she could pull a sister missionary and go door-to-door to bring all the people to the court and start believing in God. He prepared a way for tons of people to hear the gospel and be converted through her and Ammon. You should read that story with the perspective of Abish as a sister missionary. It's awesome!

6.  What is the most useful Spanish word you have learned this week?

I can't think of one. I can't say I´ve learned a lot of new words this week, but it's getting way easier to understand people.

7.  How did it go with the lady you were teaching and her doubts?

We haven't talked to her yet, actually. We are going to pass by a lot in this week and start teaching her the lessons again and help her develop a firmer testimony and try and answer her new doubts. I think everything will be OK in the end. 

8.  Did you gain any new understanding from your reading of Doctrine and Covenants 132?

Yes. 1) I have no idea what heaven will be like, or well, I have an idea but there is a lot that I don't know and I´m just going to have to put my faith in God, and 2) God is not a God of confusion.  What is going to happen after this life will make sense, and we will understand even if we can't understand it now. I just gotta trust. And, 3) God makes the rules, and the number one rule that is above all is to do what God commands. 

9.  As a self-described introvert, how do you feel about just going up to people on the street?  Especially when they speak a different  language?

Talking to people still is not my favorite thing, but I think it helps that I´m speaking another language, because I can use that to distance myself from the feelings of not wanting to talk to people. I feel worse when I give into the introvert and say nothing, so it's better to talk to people in the streets. I´ve learned that it's just best to let the weird flag fly out here. I just kinda act like my normal weird self and accept that people are going to judge me by my name tag, whether I say something or not, so there is no point in having fear. That being said, its not easy to squash the fear of talking to people that everyone has. 

10.  What was the best experience you had this week?

Pablo went to church!!!! He want to church and he loved it! And now he has a baptism date for the 30th of this month! We try and give people dates to help them work with a goal in mind, and we are supposed to set 2 dates every day, but literally every person we talked to this week refused to be baptized or have a date, so when he accepted, we knew it was an answer to our prayers.

11.  What was the most difficult experience you had this week?

People rejecting our dates. OK, "dates" sounds weird, I´m going to say "fecha", which is the word in Spanish. We tried to invite people all week long, and we extended fechas to just about every person we taught, and we taught a lot of people, and EVERY SINGLE ONE said no. We couldn't figure out what we were doing wrong, and I learned that we aren't doing anything wrong, people make their choices, we need to do our part and accept their decisions

12.  Did any miracles happen for you in this past week?

Pablo and Daniela both went to church and accepted fechas. We had been praying so much for people who will progress and accept a fecha.

13.  Your cousin, Grace, in the sixth grade, is in band for the first time and picked the trumpet for her instrument.  Any advice or words of wisdom for a new trumpet player?

Practice, and keep trying, even when it's hard and even when you're not the best. Love music, and love playing the trumpet because IT'S THE BEST!!!!!!

14.  What was the best/worst thing that you ate?

We had some milanesa that was really good, and we didn't really eat anything bad this week. 

FYI:  Milanesa, as its known in Argentina, is the gastronomic version of Madonna (bear with me here): immensely popular around the world and constantly being reinvented.  While in Argentina it's called Milanesa, in Austria it's known as Wiener Schnitzel, and in the Southern United States it's called Chicken Fried Steak.  The same dish is known in Chile as Milanesa Kaiser or simply as Escalope.


15.  Just how big is an Oreo alfajor?  Is it the same size as a regular oreo cookie or is it more the size of a moon pie?  They look really good!  I looked up a picture online and posted the picture on your blog so we could all see what you were talking about.

The size of a moon pie. Haha - I´m glad you posted a picture. Someone gave us a recipe for alfajores, so we are going to try and make some today. 

16.  What was the funniest thing that happened this week?

We had a baby shower in the ward, and there was some fat in the oven and it started to burn, so the whole half of the church was smoky and crazy, and you know what? Nobody noticed. We opened a bunch of windows, but everyone just kept partying and had no idea. That's the only thing I can think of right now, sorry that it's not too funny. 

Advice to all future sisters: Respect and love your leaders, even when they frustrate you. It's so much easier when you like your leaders, so make an effort to support them. 
I love you all so much! I´m sending my letters home with another sister missionary, so expect some letters soon. Because of all the crazy p-days, there aren't a lot, but I´m going to keep writing! I´m nervous about transfers!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Lucky Shirt Still Works

1.  I saw in your pictures last week that you were wearing your lucky shirt at the baptism.  Do you think your lucky shirt still brings you luck?

Yup. Everything went smoothly, and thats why I wanted to wear it. Baptisms can be crazy. The stories I´ve heard...

2.  So now that you have been with Hna de Leon for a while, tell us about her.

She's really focused, and really nice. She has a bunch of love for the people here, and she's trying really hard to find the people who are prepared. Sometimes our lessons are pretty disorganized, but we´re working. She helps me a lot with my Spanish, and doesn't really let me use English at all. She's really into lacrosse, and she likes Avatar, like all good people should ( the Airbender, not the blue people). 

3.  What are some things you have learned from Hna de Leon?

Lots of Spanish, how to cook Latino rice, and how to use an area book. I´m afraid of our area book, but we´ve been using it a lot this week to find people to teach. It's been really helpful. She's helping me be more diligent. 

4.  Do you think Argentines are dramatic, compared to Americans?  I've watched some of the Spanish soap operas on the Spanish-language channels and noticed a big difference.  I know there are all sorts of different cultures in South America but I'm curious to see if you have noticed a difference.

Um. . . yeah they are a lot more dramatic about some things. Like rain. This is a culture that isn't really into working super hard to accomplish things. I understand now why we had to study the American Dream in school. I´m trying to focus on things that I like about Argentina, so I´m going to move onto a different question now.

5.  When are the next transfers and do you think you might stay or go?  (Of course I realize there is no way for you to know for sure but I'm wondering what your thoughts are about upcoming transfers)

 Not this Sunday, but the next. I feel like I might leave. I´ve been here a while. But at the same time I feel like I might stay. I have no idea, but I´m pretty certain that I´ll probably have a different compañera. 

6.  Last week you mentioned that you are teaching someone who only speaks English.  Who is she and how did you meet her?  What is she doing in Argentina?

She was a reference from the Hermanas in a different area. Her name is Merlamge, shes from Haiti, and she speaks English, French, and Creole. She married a guy from Argentina and she's living here with him and his family. She's really into church and God, but she's content with her church in Haiti. She recognized our church here and that's why she started attending, because it was similar. She's disappointed that here there aren't really a lot of people with God as the focus of their lives. Hardly anyone goes to any church here. 

7.  What is the best experience you had this week?

We started talking to this guy last night who didn't believe in God. Lots of tough stuff had happened to him and he was angry and didn't want to listen, but we talked to him and explained to him that there is still hope, and little by little he began to listen to us. In the end he wanted to know the schedule for church and he wanted us to pass by again. It's interesting to watch the Spirit open the hearts of people. I´ve been studying in Alma, the part about Zeezrom and the people there and how little by little their hearts were opened and they went from wanting nothing to repenting and being baptized

8.  What was the hardest thing you had to do this week?

The brother-in-law of someone we are teaching, who is a member, started telling her about all of the stuff about temple sealings and other things, and now she's confused.  It was hard because the stuff she was asking about are things that not only do I not understand, but I had doubts about the same stuff!  I spent a whole hour and 30 minutes studying Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 about all of this stuff. It hurt my head, but I´m still not sure how to help. We´re going to pass by her house later today, and I have no idea what to say to her. . . She needs to focus on building the faith she has. 

9.  You sent pictures of the doughnuts you made last week.  Did anyone put mayonnaise on them?

No, we didn't share with people who weren't missionaries. I didn't want anyone to have expectations.

10.  Dad wants to know if you have seen any gauchos (cowboys) or herds of cattle.  (I told him you were in the city but I'm asking anyway.)

Nope I´m in the city, haha. I have seen lots of dogs, though. One tried to bite Hna De Leon this morning. 

11.  About how many first discussions did you teach this week?

First discussions? It doesn't really work like that. We teach people in the streets, and we usually teach people principles in the lessons. We´ve taught a lot of the doctrino de Cristo (doctrine of Christ), which is faith, baptism, repentance, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We also teach a lot of people how to pray, and about Joseph Smith, but we don't usually have many long discussions. We had a total of 20 lessons this week, about half of them were in the streets. 

12.  What was the best/worst thing you ate this week?

Well, I just ate an Oreo alfajor, and it was really good. I have a new favorite - haha. Worst? I didn't think there was one this week. Everything was pretty normal. 

13.  Is there anything Terrrada or Bahia Blanca are known for, as far as for tourism?  For instance, Florida is known for its beaches and tourist places like Disney World.  Washington, D.C. is known for the Smithsonian Museum and the Capitol, etc.  You might not know this since you are a missionary but I'm asking anyway.

Not that I know of.  Mar del Plata is the big tourist spot. 

14.  What was the funniest thing that happened this week?

Right, so the week before last week, we got let into a house where a bunch of evangelicos were having a church meeting about getting people to come to church. We tried to leave the meeting, but they insisted that we stay and started to pray. Oh man, it was so, so, so hard not to laugh during their prayer. It wasn't reverent, and there was a bunch of yelling and crying and yelling and the Spirit wasn't there. I was trying hard not to laugh at how ridiculous it seemed.  I'm not trying to laugh at someone else's belief, but it was so dramatic!

We also got stuck in a rainstorm Friday, and we go SOAKED. We had to walk the 2 miles home, and it took us twice as long to do it because we were fighting the wind and the rain. It was hilarious.

15.  Is there a ward choir in your ward?

No. It's hard to do these things with only about 30 to 50 people who are active. 

We have a big p-day activity so I´ve got to go, but I love you all and I´ll read your letter later!! Bye Love you!!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Making Doughnuts

We made doughnuts.  It is harder than you think!

1.  Dad wants to know if you ever shop at a street market.  Do they have large grocery stores there?

They have large grocery stores. We try and shop in the grocery stores, but we also shop from street vendors for fruits and vegetables because usually their fruits and stuff are better than the grocery store. And we buy our meat from the butcher, since it's cheaper and better there, too. 

2.  Did Nestor and Julieta get baptized this week?  If so, how did it go?

Yes. Oh man, do I have a story for you.  So we had a baptism this past week, and we had been visiting them every day. So the plan was to have the interview Friday, the baptism Saturday, and the confirmation Sunday. So we stopped by Wednesday and everything was great. They were happy and content, then with Hna Nelson (We had divisions, so Hna De Leon was working in a different area and I was with Hna Nelson) we passed by Thursday. Thirty minutes before we got there Thursday, they had been reading some anti-Mormon stuff on the computer and they were a little upset.  I only understood half of what he was saying and I was confused. We had no idea what to do, Mom, so I just started testifying. I started testifying that I know that the church is true, that Satan is going to try and discredit it, and that the people aren't perfect, but that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I testified and he listened, then Hna Nelson took over and testified and started reading scriptures to invite the Spirit, then we all said a prayer together asking if Nestor and Julieta should be baptized, if this was the Church of God.  The next day they came to the interview and Nestor said he felt at peace with the decision to be baptized again. After that everything went smoothly :) The next day in church Nestor told me "gracias" (thank you).

3.  One of the pictures of your area that you sent last week had some chickens in it.  Do a lot of people have animals like chickens?

Nope, but I saw the chickens and got excited so I snapped a photo. People here have tons of dogs. And the occasional cat.

4.  Do many people have dogs as pets?  Are there other animals that are kept as pets?

Dogs, cats, and parrots are really popular. Sometimes we see guinea pigs too, but that's about it.

5.  Now that you have been out on your mission for a while, what is the best thing about being a missionary?

Feeling the Spirit constantly, inviting people to be baptized and teaching real powerful lessons. It's cool to invite people to get baptized for the remission of their sins. To show people the way to salvation. It's way cool.

6.  And what is the most difficult thing about being a missionary?

People rejecting us. 

7.  What was the best thing you learned from your studies this week?

I studied a lot about following the Spirit. We were having a rough week finding new people to teach, and I read the letter dad wrote me about being where we need to be to find people. I read a lot about our authority and power as missionaries. How we have the authority, but the power to teach comes from obedience and diligence. 

8.  Did anything unusual happen at church this week?

confirmation, and an investigator that only speaks English came, so that was weird because we have to speak to her in English. It's funny to watch Hna De Leon try and speak English because she's been speaking Spanish for so long that she's practically forgotten how to speak English.

9.  How much do you get each month to spend on food?  Does it seem like it is enough?

1,000 pesos a month for food for one person, and since we share food between the two of us we have 2,000. That's about $100 for one person and $200 for the two of us in U.S. dollars. It's enough if we use it right. We just have to be really careful and smart about spending.

10.  Tell us about someone new you met this week.

I had splits with Hna Nelson this past week. I´ve met her before, but I had never worked with her before. She's from Utah, and has a billion siblings, and she's a sister training leader. She is one of the most powerful missionaries I´ve ever met. When she talks, people stop and listen. She has a way of guiding the conversation to teach people about the restoration of the gospel easily, and she invites people to listen and learn more and be baptized and they agree. It's interesting to work with her.

11.  What was the best experience you had this week?

The baptism and confirmation of Nestor and Julieta.

12.  Was there anything this week that made you get teary-eyed?

See question 2.

13.  What was the best/worst thing you ate this week?

Best thing? Well,we were short on almuerzos (lunches) this week so we had to get creative with food. So with Hna Nelson we fried some chicken in oil and vinegar with onions and salt and pepper, then mixed the chicken with a cream of mushroom soup that was in our house and put it on top of some noodles. It was delicious. 

The worst thing? Brace yourself. I ate this sausage that was cold. I ate it on top of a cracker and it tasted pretty weird and had a weird texture. That's because it wasn't a sausage. It was blood. Yeah, here people eat congealed, compacted, hardened blood. And I ate it, and it wasn't super gross, but it was kind of disturbing to think about while I was eating it.

14.  Were you able to do any service for anyone this week?

We cooked refreshments for the baptism, that was about it.

15.  What was the funniest thing that happened this week?

I honestly can't think of anything this time. There was this old guy who was arguing with Hna Nelson and I about how he gets robbed a lot and then he told us that he doesn't ever lock his doors, so I told him to lock his doors so that he won't get robbed. That's the only thing I can think of, and that's not even that funny. Sorry.

I love you guys a lot, and I can't believe that I´m almost 5 months in. After 5 it's 6 months, and after 6 it's less than a year. I hope I have enough time to learn Spanish... 
I´m out of time, I love you all and I love reading the updates! I´m writing letters every week! I promise!!


Getting ready for the baptism


Nestor and Julieta

We made a lot of doughnuts!