Monday, October 27, 2014

Crazy Miracle Baptism



1.  Last week you said it had been Argentine Mother's Day.  Were there any traditions that the Argentine's have that are different from ours in America?

 None. Well, they all get together to drink mate, does that count?

2.  What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

WE HAD A CRAZY MIRACLE BAPTISM!!

3.  What was the most challenging thing that you experienced this week?

OUR CRAZY MIRACLE BAPTISM.

4.  Are there a lot of trees there?  Have you noticed leaves and flowers, now that it should be spring there?

There are more trees here in Pigue, but it's because people planted them. There are lots of plum trees that are growing fruit now and tooooons of flowers. I`ll try and snap some photos. They are very brightly colored and have some cool designs on them. And the roses here are purple, red, pink and yellow, and magenta. There aren't really any trees here, but the ones we have are eucalyptus, and some fruit trees and some other kinds that I don't know about. 

5.  Were you able to perform any acts of service for anyone?

 Well, I don't know if it's an act of service, but last night Hermana Peterson helped me move our bed around at 4 in the morning. It's storming like crazy here, and last night we discovered that we have 3 leaks in our ceiling directly above where I sleep. So, I woke up all wet and discovered what was happening, and said, "Are you KIDDING ME??" However, I was too lazy to get up, so I put my kinda-water-proof sleeping bag on top of me and tried to sleep. Then after about ten minutes Hermana Peterson says, "Hey - do you want me to turn the fan on?" so I was like, "YOU`RE AWAKE?? HERMANA. WE HAVE A LEAK IN OUR ROOF." She thought it was so funny! So she pushed the bed with me and we went back to sleep. Also, this week we helped a lady wrap pizzas, so that was servicio (service). 

6.  Tell me about someone you met this week.

There is the lady that was baptized. She's 82 years old, and she's pretty witty and really likes church. I don't really understand much of what she says, because she has a thick accent, but she seems really nice. 

7.  Do you think people like to garden in your area?

Oh yeah. People here have very nice looking gardens, filled with flowers and stuff. 

8.  Do many members there feed you?

Not really. We only regularly eat with 3 members a week, and it's always the same three. But we travel on Monday and Tuesdays, so no one can feed us then, and every other Wednesday we eat at our mission leader's house, and sometimes a lady gives us food to go. Well, yeah, I guess we do get fed. We still have to cook a lot for ourselves here, though. We`ve been getting pretty creative with some recipes. 

9.  What was the most profound thing you learned in your studies this week?

Well,  I guess that we need to be decisive. I`m studying about Captain Moroni and all of the wars in the Book of Mormon now, so I`m reading a lot about how Moroni wasted no time at all making decisions. He saw what was right and went for it instantly. He didn't wait for someone to step up first, he just went and did it. I think a lot of times people just wait for everyone else to do the right thing and then they`ll follow, but really we need to be the ones who are doing the right thing.

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

Polenta, which I normally like but this time it was just too much. We made it in the house, which is probably why we didnt like it. We also ate pig, and I was checking out the plate of meat and saw the pig leg with the claws and everything still on it. The best think we had was this chocolate, toffee, nut, dulce de leche, peach, cream cake. It was a going away present for Hermana Avalos since she's returning home.  She has finished her mission. 

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

 Oh man, have I got some good ones to tell you. We pulled a prank on the other Hermanas. We were walking home from emailing last Monday when we found a huge box of mothers day flowers, including a set of 24 white roses. So we took them home, put them on our door step and decided to write a love letter for Hermana Avalos and leave it out there so it looks like she has a secret admirer. So I wrote this letter using a love poem that Hna Peterson got from a chocolate bar here (they have these chocolates called "dos corazones" (two hearts) that come with short little love poems in them) and we put it on the flowers and called them to tell them what we found. Hermana Avalos gets home and they are screaming and reading the poem and freaking out. She started trying to figure out who it was, then she started feeling all sick and started wondering if she should call Presidente Parreño. We didn't want her to bother him, so we told her the truth. She was mad, and didn't talk to us for an hour. After the truth came out she didn't want the flowers anymore either, haha. I`m sending you a letter with the poem written in it and more details. It was a good prank. 

12.  Have you gotten the card I sent with the stamps yet?

No, but yesterday Hermana de Leon called me and told me that she has 4 letters from my family with her, since I couldn't go to the last district zone meeting. So maybe it's with her. If not I`ll just give someone going home some money to send the letters. 

CRAZY MIRACLE BAPTISM:

Ok, so something you should know is that Hna Peterson and Hna Blad, the hermana before me, had this investigator. She was ready to get baptized, and so they had the service and it turns out that she couldn't get baptized because her 82 year old body wouldn't let her. She couldn't bend over or back enough to get under the water, so the first baptism was a disaster.  So after this she went on vacation for 5 weeks, and when I got here we were waiting for her to return. 

So not last Thursday but the one before me and Hermana Peterson started really feeling like she was going to come home. So, we started planning for it. Then on Tuesday we told our ward mission leader that we felt like she was going to get home this week, so get ready to have a baptism. We explained our plan to help her get baptized (Hermana Peterson had the whole thing worked out so that they wouldn't have problems like they did last time.). Then the next day she came home! So we stopped by and talked to her and she was in for baptism that Saturday. Now, there was already a baptism planned, but it fell through, so we called our mission leader and explained that she was home and he said that it should be fine to have her get baptized that weekend. So he started making the preparations.

Then we called her to remind her what time she needs to come to church and she told us on the phone that she doesn't want to get baptized anymore. She was scared it would be a disaster again, and didn't want to try again. She was sad because she wanted to be a member of the church, but she couldn't do it. 

So we called Elder and he came over and instantly her attitude changed. She decided to try and be baptized again 15 minutes before the service started. So we called a taxi and went over to the church with her- They got her in the font for the baptism and she couldn't do it. All of our plans were failing, so I left the room and went to the hallway and started praying. Hermana Peterson did the same thing. Then just as we prayed for a miracle, Elder Villegas comes out in all white and gets in the font to help. I stayed in the hallway and kept praying so hard that Heavenly Father  would let her be baptized by someone with the proper authority, and just as I said "Amen" I heard a splash and everyone cheered. 

In the end God saw our faith and heard our prayers and helped us! 

This is the last week of the transfer, and I have no idea whats going to happen. I think I`m staying here. I love you all so much, thanks for the letters and have a great week!! BYYYYYYYYYYYWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Oh, and I miss you all and you`re all great. Love you, mom!

Amy










The pink note was Hermana Avalos trying to speak English. To decode it you have to read it like you're reading Spanish.  (Translation by Mom:  I love you Sister Eubanks and Sister Peterson baby.  Thank you for helping my English.  With love, Hna. Avalos)





























Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Argentine Mother's Day!


1.  Last week you mentioned that dogs like to lick Hermana Peterson's hands when she walked.  Why?  And does it bother her?  And you seemed to think it was funny...

It's because she washes her hands with ground beef every morning. She likes the smell, which I think is really weird but whatever, it's her life. Just kidding. We have no idea what these dogs problems are, and YES it bothers her. Its sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny!!!! 

2.  Are there any crazy things that you have said, that you know of, that were totally wrong in Spanish?

Nothing that I haven't already told you. My main problem is people not understanding my accent. 

3.  You had a weekly goal to prank someone this week.  What did you do?

We didn't get to do it. And I`m sad, but we are still looking for ideas. The other Hermanas are kinda not getting along for the moment, I think, so we decided it might be best to leave them alone. 

4.  Is the Family History Center in Pigue part of a church building there, like they are here?  Do you know if many people in that area are interested in family history?

It's part of the church building, and the whole center is exactly what you saw in the picture. It's tiny and the computers are super slow. I know a lot of people here who do family history for temple work, but there aren't any Sister Buzzells here (an enthusiastic and expert family history person!). Mostly people talk about how they should be doing it, but never seem to get around to it. I`m actually pretty excited to do mine when I get home. How cool is it to do the work for your ancestors? How many other opportunities do you think we`ll get to do this? 

5.  Have you met any people who still have the culture of the place in Europe where their ancestors came from?  I read that there are areas in Argentina that may be largely German, or Italian, or from other countries, and the names of places in the area reflect that heritage.

Yeah, here there are a lot of old people who speak German. There are also some Italians, too, but mostly German-speaking grandparents. It's funny because they always yell at all the animals in the streets in German. I can't really tell the difference in their accents because it all sounds like a different language to me, hahaha.

6.  Did you buy any sunscreen?  When you say it is really expensive, how expensive do you mean?   And you have money in your account - even if it is expensive please buy some!

Nope, I haven't gotten around to it yet. I still have some, but don't worry, I`m going to buy some. 

7.  In your picture last week of the little "Feliz 6 meses" cards it looked like some sort of candy was under one called, "Guaymallow."  What on earth is that?

That was my cumplemes gift from Hermana Peterson. That was an alfajor, the cheapest kind (of course) and those cards had a note wrtitten to me on the back. They are really into celebrating cumplemes here. (Note:  cumpleanos means "birthday" and "anos" means "year." I think cumplemes is a variation, with "mes" meaning month.  I think...)

8.  What was the most amazing thing that happened this week?

I`m not gonna lie, I have no idea. I`ll think of something, don't worry, and will respond next week. 

9.  Have you worn out any of your clothes yet?

Nope, but my shoes are starting to get holes in them. Oh, and almost all of my socks have holes in them too.

10.  What was church like this week?

Normal, it was Mothers Day this past week (Happy Argentine Mothers Day, Mom) so all the kids in primary sang. I also gave a talk (about mothers, of course) and there weren't that many people because everyone was traveling to see their mothers. 

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

There wasn't really anything new in the food report. Oh wait, I ate lamb for the first time. It wasn't bad, but definitely different. It was asado, which is like barbecue here. 

12.  Tell us a little bit about the other two Hermanas.  What are they like?

Hermana Avalos: She's crazy, the good kind of crazy. She's from Brasil, and she's 23 years old. She ends her mission in 2 weeks, so she's more crazy than usual. She's a morning person, and like all Latinas she's really blunt. 

Hermana Obando: She was born in Texas, but grew up in Honduras, then moved back to Texas, and she says she's from the States and that she's gringa, but I think she's a Latina all the way. I want to do a reality show called ``Living with Latinas`` The Latinas would love it but the gringos might not like it as much. She's 20 years old and this is her first transfer in the mission. She speaks English, but speaks Spanish better. She's into anime and all that stuff, and she's cool, but I still don't know her really well. 

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

So, maybe this won't sound funny to you, but a 99 year old lady died here. Anyways, so we found out and we stopped by with a member at the funeral home. You know, in that service where people can come and talk to the family and see the body? Yeah, we went to that. And there was a fly, and it kept landing on the body, and the member that came with us tried to kill it. So she's over there next to this body with a scarf, trying to kill this fly. The stand holding the body is shaking and we were scared to think the whole thing was going to fall over.

Me and Hermana Peterson laugh a lot, and we are really focused on finding new people and teaching. 

I like being a  missionary, and Spanish still drives me crazy but I think I`m learning something. I`m learning a lot about how to be a better person out here, and I know this church is true and that what we do is important. 

I love you mom, and I hope everything is great! I`m looking forward to skyping this Christmas.  Can you believe that I have less than a year left? Oh, and I heard Hermana Saunders is already training, how crazy is that? I`m pretty sure I`m far away from training. 

Sorry,  no photos this week, we had some computer problems...

All of y'all are in my prayers, byyyyyyeeeeeeee

Amy

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Sunburned Gringa


Out and about in Pigue

1.  Last week you said that Pigue is way safer than Terrada, and that you hadn't seen anyone get robbed.  Does that mean you saw a robbery in Terrada???

Yeah, me and Hermana Pinnock saw two guys robbing a house once. Brace yourself, this is a good story. So we were walking down the street at night in an area that was kinda dangerous. We were on our way to a safer area when we see one guy hopping a fence and another with a bunch of beer. Hermana Pinnock knew the person that lived in the house, and knew that it wasn't these two guys, so she stops and goes "What are you doing?? Huh? is this your house??? what are you doing????" all accusing. And I`m just like ``Hermana, stop. stop now. There are two of us, two of them, and they might be drunk. Let's just keep walking. There is a guy down there and we can tell him to call the police..." So angrily Hermana Pinnock followed me to this man who called the cops. Ok, that story sounds better when I tell it in person.

Also, we saw some guys robbing some soda from a truck once, and we always saw teenagers running for their lives out of stores.

Robbery is a big crime. 

2.  Are there as many dogs in Pigue as there were in Terrada?  I'm wondering if there would be  more or less in a big city.

Nope there are way less, and they are all friendly, too. Dogs like to lick Hermana Peterson's hands when she walks - hahahahaha!

3.  What do most people in Pigue do to earn a living - if you have been there long enough to tell?

I have no idea. I know most of them are retired, and I know the news reporter here.  He's a member.

4.  Have you seen any carpet anywhere in Argentina since you have been there?

Yes, in the mission home, the chapel in Terrada. and one house that we went to here in Pigue. The only carpet like in the States was the one in the mission home.  The others were like cheap, really thin carpet that you would find in an office building, but thinner and cheaper.

5.  Tell us about someone you are teaching.

There is this sweet lady named Ladys that we are teaching. She forgets things a lot, but she knows the things that we are teaching are true. She won't get baptized because she thinks her family is against it, but we`re working with them. She's 81 years old and a member takes care of her some nights, so she already has a lot of exposure to the church. She went to conference with us!

6.  What thing touched your heart the most this week?

There is a guy in the ward who is preparing to leave on his mission (he just sent in his papers). His name is Kevin. So we stopped by his house to ask them about one of our investigators, and he stopped playing video games, and made his brother listen to us. He listened the whole time. It made me think that sometimes people kind of just brush off what we do and they don't really see us as representantes de Cristo (representatives of Christ), but there are some people like him who see us as people trying to serve God and have enough respect to stop and listen. I don't know, that just made me kind of happy to have someone who is willing to put us in front of other things. 

7.  What was the most useful Spanish word or phrase you learned this week?

I learned the difference between fuera which means "outside" and afuera which means "about". Also, nervios and novios which are "nerves" and "boyfriends". 

8.  Did Hermana Peterson (and you!) prank anyone this week?

Nope, but we have a weekly goal to pull a prank this week. 

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

Yesterday we ate some hot dog chili mixed with rice and ate it on bread. Yeah, it wasn't super great. But the day before I had raviolis with this really good sauce with chunks of steak in it, so that was great. 

10.  Last week you sent pictures of you and Hermana Peterson each sitting by an empty chair, with your arm around the empty chair.  Where were you and what was the significance of those pictures?

OK, so they always say that you actually in a companionship of three. You, her, and the Holy Ghost. So that was us with our third companion, the Holy Ghost. We were in the family history center here in Pigue, It's where we watched conference in English and where I email, so I`m there right now. 

11.  Did you buy any sunscreen?  I can see that you are getting tan!

Nope, and I`m burnt. A member noticed and gave me a little thing of sunscreen for babies, and I`m sharing with Hermana Peterson. Suncreen and stuff like that is really, really expensive here, so I`m waiting until I absolutely have to to buy some. 

12.  Do you use a full-size messenger bag?  When we were getting you ready for your mission that was something that we (and especially me!) wondered about - if you really needed a bag that big or not.

Nope. Actually it's a mission rule that if we use bags they have to be transparent. It's supposed to keep us from getting robbed, and I guess it works, I really have no idea. So, yeah, I use these plastic bags that break after about three weeks. Some people make boxes and carry around their stuff in that, so I`m thinking about doing that.

13.  Did you try cooking any chili?

Nope. We can't figure out where to buy beans.

14.  What impressed you most in your studies this week?

How Alma is so good with explaining difficult subjects like the resurrection and the life after this. The Book of Mormon is so clearly written, and the things that seem weird are very simple and make perfect sense when you read and study them. When you read it with the desire to learn and know if it's true, it is so obviously true.

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

So, we have these investigators and their names are G____ and A____. So we found them my first week in the streets, and it turns out they went to church a few times. We had a lesson with them this last week that was out of control. G_____ started telling us ghost stories, and how a witch came up to her in the streets and told her that she is a witch from God, and will be able to touch children and heal them. 

Then, while she was telling this story, I yawned, and she stopped talking and told me that yawning meant that my spirit was rejecting her spirit and the things about ghosts that we were talking about. So,  Hermana Peterson tried to change the subject and asked what were the requirements to become a witch. BAD MOVE. We didn't think they would actually know... 

We got out of there after that. We decided that maybe we should try a new teaching approach with them next time. 


Also, a two year old gave the opening prayer yesterday in sacrament meeting, so that was cute. 


I love you all and I write to all of you every week, so you can expect a letter. 

Also, everyone and their grandmas decided to write me this week, so if you don't get a response in an email, sorry. 

LOVE YOU!!!!

Amy

Happy 6 months!  (I've been on my mission for 6 months now!)


Hermana Avalos from Brazil 

That is one big Book of Mormon!

Leaf cutter ants!

Food!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Living in Pigue



1.  Do you know if they celebrate Halloween at all in Argentina?  You know here in the States Halloween candy and decorations are everywhere!

Nope, and they don't like that we celebrate it, ha ha ha. They think it's weird that we would celebrate a day of tricks and scary things. They don't really get it. . .

2.  How do you like Pigue?

It's very different here. Living with 4 people is WEIRD and it's hard to do anything, like eat food, without someone asking for some. And study, and plan, and be a missionary. It's very, very pretty and waaaaaaaaaay safer than Terrada. I haven't seen anyone robbing anything! I carry my camera around here, that's how safe it is. It's a tourist place so things look nice and there are lots of hikes and things to do on p-day. On the down side, there are tons of old people, which isn't really a downside, it just means that I can't understand their accents and they can't understand mine, 

3.  I don't remember how you knew Hermana Peterson before.  Is she one of the Hermanas that would visit you each week for the district meeting?  What is she like?

Yeah, so before I got to Terrada, she was the comp of Hermana Pinnock. She got transferred to Pigue after I got there, and every Monday night for three transfers she stayed the night in my house in Terrada. So, yeah, we got to know each other really well, and there was no awkward adjustment phase when we started being companions.  She's tall, blonde, blue eyes, really smart and reallllly funny. She likes to prank, so we get up to all kinds of mischief with the other Hermanas. She's also probably one of the strongest people I`ve ever met. She holds her ground in every situation, and literally chooses the right all the time, even if the right is going to make someone else sad. She always tries to do what's best for people.  She doesn't let fear get the better of her, and she's just a good friend to everyone. She's a great example for me - haha!

4.  You said you hung the creepy mask in the other Hermanas apartment.  Do they live close to you?  Are they assigned to the same branch as you are in?

They are in the same branch and they live in the same house as us. There are four of us in total working in Pigue. Me and Hermana Peterson, and Hermana Avalos (de Brasil) and Hermana Obando (de Honduras and The US.)

5.  What is the branch like?  Are there many people?

Tiny, but they have more people coming to church than most of the wards in Bahia. They have 65 people who come regularly, and we are like five people away from being a ward. In Terrada we have maybe 40 or 50 people who came every Sunday. 35 if there was rain. 

6.  How do you like your new District and Zone leaders - if you have met them yet?

Yeah I`ve met them. I like my leaders, they`re cool. They are really good at running for their goals. Sometimes they stress me out a lot, but I just try and ignore that part and focus on my individual performance.

7.  Your cousin, Emily,  just received her mission call to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission.  Any advice to a soon-to-be new Hermana in a foreign country?

EEEEMMMMIIIILLLYYYYY!!!!! I`M SO HAPPY, YOU HAVE NO IDEA! Nicaragua is intense, from what I`ve heard. You are going to hear this phrase a thousand times, but I`m going to say it anyways: Don't stress about the language. Seriously, you`re not going to be able to understand for about 4 or 5 months. It's ok, don't stress, just say what you know how to say and it will come. Focus on the Spirit and the people and it's gonna be good. Obedience is cool too, and it helps a lot. I have kind of a "yolo" (you only live once) kind of attitude out here and it helps me deal with the stress and everything a lot. And don't get freaked out by food or anything. WRITE ME. SEND ME YOUR EMAIL.

8.  You mentioned in your letter that one of your friends in Argentina was "your dog Sparky."  Who is Sparky?  And I'm assuming he is in Terrada and not in Pigue, unless you somehow smuggled him on the bus...

Just another dog that follows me around. He was short and weird. Speaking of dogs, I saw a dog kill a cat yesterday. Are our cats still alive? I saw that right before almuerzo (lunch), so eating 30 seconds afterwards was kinda tough...

9.  So, last week you sent a picture of you and Hermana de Leon with two kids, and you were holding a large Barney the Dinosaur stuffed animal.  So they have Barney in Argentina?

They do. Those kids were CRAZY. We had never met them before in our lives, and the mom let us into the house after talking to her outside and we couldn't share anything because the kids were screaming and bringing us toys and playing with our hair and running around. We ended up sharing a scripture about children and leaving after about an hour.  

10.  Do you have problems with dirt there?  Alyssa said that in Honduras there is so much dirt that it gets into the door locks and occasionally they have to be cleaned out because they stop working.  She mentioned we should be grateful for grass in our yards.

Yup, that happened in Terrada, I thought I wrote about that. Anyways, yeah, all of the locks in Terrada broke and someone had to come and clean it so we could use our front door and lock our other doors. There was dirt everywhere in Terrada. Here there isn't a lot. When we sweep our floors after a week we have the same amount of dirt as we had after one day in Terrada.

11.  What's the story behind that giant fish hanging on the wall in your bedroom?  Is it a pinata?

The Hermana who was living here before me left that on the wall. She told me she found it in the streets in Centro and took it with her to Pigue. I like it, it adds a little somethin somethin to the room.  

12.  You sent a picture last week of you and Hermana Peterson that said the picture might just sum up your companionship.  What do you mean?

I actually don't know. I was referring to the fact that I was smiling really, really big, I think. I laugh soooooo much in the companionship, mom. 

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

Worst? Rice with sauce. We went about a week without vegetables and frutas (fruit), which means that me and Hermana Peterson were like the walking dead. We felt sick, had no energy, and it was bad, but then we bought some healthy food when we had time and felt better in like an hour. The best thing was this banana milk stuff with oatmeal in it. Licuado with oatmeal. 

FYI:  Licuado is a smoothie that has milk, fruit, and oatmeal.

14.  Tell us about a member in your new area that has impressed you.

Um.... Our ward mission leader is good. He's really focused on helping us grow the ward and really helping us work with the ward. Sometimes ward mission leaders like to tell all the missionaries how to do their job, which is out of line, but this guy really focuses on working with us and fulfilling his calling. 

15.  Did you get to watch General Conference?

Yup. In English. I liked the last session the most, and the talk about which way do we face in the first session. Its cool how now people are giving talks in their native languages!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the updates and the emails! You are all in my prayers and I love you all so much! Conference was great, and I have a stronger testimony than ever that this Church is the only true Church on the planet! I love you all! 

Amy


Hermana Peterson said "While you're in the bathroom, I`m going to scarf down a banana real fast". So I said "If I get back out there and find one of MY scarves on YOUR banana, I`m gonna be mad". So, I get back and find that she has "scarfed" her banana.  Ha ha!


The fish on the wall