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!


No comments:

Post a Comment