Monday, November 24, 2014

Ninja Hermanas

I like taking selfies while Hermana O'Hara is taking a picture!

1.  I noticed you have a tan jacket that you have been wearing that I have never seen before.  Did you buy it there or did someone give it to you?  Just curious!

It was a gift from Hermana Avalos. I have gained a lot more clothing here, since everyone "goes to Pigue" to die. When people leave the mission they usually leave a bunch of clothing. So that jacket is one, I have several "new" skirts that have been passed down so much that we don't know who they're from, Hermana Peterson gave me 2 sweaters and 2 scarves since I have one whole winter left to endure. Since I`m killing Hna O`Hara I`ll get a lot more clothing from her, too. I`ll probably leave a bunch here too since I have so much now.  (Note:  In mission lingo the last area that a missionary serves in is where they "die.")

2.  If there are no buses in Pigue, how do you get to Bahia Blanca each week for your district meeting?

They have these huge 2 story buses that people take. It's like taking a charter bus. There aren't any buses within the city to take you from one point of Pigue to another, but there are terminals for buses in cities that these huge buses stop at. We take one of the 2 story buses to Bahia for our meetings.

3.  What would you say is the major form of transportation in Pigue?  I'm wondering if it is different from the "big city."

Taxi or cars. Pigue is big, we take taxis sometimes (although I try with all my might not to). A lot of people don`t walk much here, which is a shame because it's pretty. There are a lot more cars here than in Bahia, and lots of motorcycles and bikes, too, but about the same as the amount in Bahia.

4.  Did you get to witness, or be a part of, any miracles this week?  Whether great or small?

Yeah, so yesterday it started storming BAD. So we went home and decided we would do paperwork until the storm stopped.  So when it stopped we went out again and found one new investigator! Then immediately afterwards we went back inside because it started storming all over again. When it's storming hard we try not to work outside because people don't talk to us and its probably bad for our health. 

5.  Do you think you do more walking in Pigue than you did in Terrada?

Yes. Everyone here measures things in quadras, which is like a city block in the states. Terrada is 16 or 17 quadras tall and wide. Pigue is like 30. 

6.  How long does it take you to get to church each week?  Do you walk there?

It's a 30 minute walk, if we walk fast. It's about 2 miles away. 

7.  Last week you sent a picture of a really big, interesting-looking church.  Where was that?

In Pigue, it's the giant Catholic church here that everyone goes to. Well, a lot of people don't actually go, but there are a good amount of faithful Catholics here. 

8.  What is the official name of your zone?

Zona Bahìa Blanca. It's known for being one of the zones that NOBODY who has been in a different zone before wants to be a part of. There's a lot of pressure here, that's why. 

9.  What do you think the ratio of Latinos to gringos is in your mission?  Is it about half and half?

Half and Half, I think. I feel like there are probably more gringos sometimes, but then again, I have no idea. There are 240 missionaries in our mission, and our mission is HUGE, so I don't know lots of the people. Only the people in my zone. 

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

I`m not sure... Everything was pretty normally Argentine this week. Potatoes, milanesa, mayonesa, hard boiled eggs. It was all good, but nothing really stands out on my mind. What am I going to do when I don't have to eat hard boiled eggs every day or when we eat a meal without mayonesa in the states????

11.   What was something challenging you faced this week?  (It doesn't have to be too personal...)

I dropped two investigators this week. Dropped, as in we aren't passing by for them anymore. One of them was Ladys. We invited her to be baptized and we were very honest and blunt about it, and her response is no every time. It's challenging because she has told us again and again that she knows this stuff is true, but she's Catholic, and refuses to be baptized. That was hard because I care about her a lot. The Sister Training Leaders came this week and I passed by with one of them and it was the same. So we decided that we can't spend any more time with this right now and we stopped passing. We did the same with Valentina, since we don't think she's really ready to change right now. I`m not dropping her for good, but for now we aren't going to pass a lot. It's hard to stop teaching the people that you care about so much. I never expected my heart to hurt for these people, mom. 

On the bright side, 3 of my former investigators in Terrada have been baptized! Sofia, Pablo, and Daniela! whoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12.  Did you know that Thanksgiving is this Thursday and that we are all going to miss you SOOOOOO much?  (But we are happy you are serving the Lord!)

Yeah, I know and I`m kinda sad that I won't be feasting on pavo (turkey) with all y'all out there! Please eat a lot for me! Maybe me and my comp will make something special since we have to cook for ourselves on Thursdays.  I miss you all, too!!!!!!

13.  What was the funniest thing that happened this week?  (Perhaps you may wonder why I am always asking about funny things.  I know missions are serious, but it is important to have fun whenever you can.  I'm hoping this can help you to remember those little, funny things that happen during a mission.  You know this blog is your mission journal!  Other than what you might be writing on your own.)

I`m glad you always ask because I prepare in advance for this question. Remember how you asked last week and I said it wasn't a very funny week? Well, when I read that question I thought, "Funny? I haven't even had fun this week!"  And it made me realize that I wasn't very happy. So the next day after lunch, before we left the house, I stopped my comp and we had a very long, long talk about our companionship. I told her that I wasn't having fun, and that I wasn't happy, and it turns out she felt the same way. Mom, we talked for 3 hours. We worked out a lot of issues in that talk, too. Now we are doing great, I can say that we`ve had a fun, interesting week and that funny things have happened. We`re working hard now and we are happy. I guess the point of this story is that someitmes you just need to sit down and talk, because it's better to fix the problems in the companionship than go out and try and teach and not get anything done because you`re not working together. 

Anyways, the funny things that happened this week: 

1. Dramatic Latinas clogged the toilet and were in despair, saying that it was all broken. Hopelessly, they left to use the bathroom at the church. Quick thinking gringas unclogged the toilet when they left, but almost got the plunger flushed down the toilet in the process. Nevertheless, the day was saved, thanks to the.... GRINGAS! 

Los Estados Unidos (The United States): 1  Peru: 0 (no offense to Peru, it's just a joke)

That reminds me, Hna Obando got emergency transferred because she has been having some really bad asthma problems, so now we have a new sister here named Hna Vela. She's from Peru. She's cool! 

2. We got locked out of our house with the Sister Training Leaders, Hna Quilca (de Peru) and Hna Montealegre (de Colombia) and we needed to get their stuff so they could catch their bus that would leave in 30 minutes. So, Ninja Hermana Quilca and I broke into our house from the outside by forcing a window open. Then, Ninja Quilca climbed through the window and saved the day by handing us all the stuff through the window. 

Los Estados Undios: 1  Peru: 1 ( I helped with that one, but whatever, I`ll give them the point)

I got my Argentina ID this week, so I`m officially legal!!! Also, we had a big zone conference with President and Hermana Parreño this week. We learned a lot about consecrating ourselves and sharing testimonies. We talked about being better teachers too, so that we can retain our converts better and reactivate more people. I sure hope everyone reading this is helping with the Work of Salvation. 

Alright, that's all I got for now. I hope you all are having a good week! I think about you all the time! I got your Thanksgiving quote in the mail, mom, so thanks! It was fitting! I hope you have a great week and I hope you know that I know that this church is true! I love you all so much and I pray for you all every week!  byyyyyeeeeeeee

Love, Amy


One year for Hermana Burgos

This is dulce de batata

From Wikipedia:   (in Spanishsweet potato candy, or: sweet potato jam) a traditional Argentine dessert, which is made of sweet potatoes. It is a sweet jelly, which resembles a marmalade because of its hard texture. When sold commercially, it is often found canned in flat and round metal cans. In some of the commercial versions of the food, chocolate is added to it.
It is commonly eaten with crackers and/or cheese.

On the 2 story bus

Monday, November 17, 2014

Call Me Mahmushka

This means "We are a circle without beginning or end"

1.  So your name is difficult to pronounce in Spanish.  How do most people pronounce it?  Or do they just give you a nickname that is easier?

Oh, yeah. Everyone here struggles. They pronounce it like this "Hermana... oh chica, that's really difficult to say."  Usually they say "Eh oo bonk". Or "eh oo bonks".  A lot of people here say "yoo bankies" and there are some who kinda have it right.  I do get lots of nicknames. Like Hermana Smith, or "mahmushka" which means "Russian nesting doll", I think. There is a family here that thinks I look like one of those so they just call me "mahmuska".  It's kinda funny, and kinda weird, and sometimes kinda tiring, especially when people call my name and I don't respond because I didn't recognize what they said as my name. EVERYONE wants to know my first name but I never tell them because it's way easier to say and they`ll use it. 

2.  So the Latinas laugh at you - why?  Because you do funny things or because you say funny things?

I think it's both. Honestly, I have no idea, but seriously, they think I`m hilarious. It's kind of annoying sometimes, because then they try and provoke funny reactions and things from me. 

3.  Who are some of your favorite people in the ward and why?

I really like this young family here, the Lopez family. They are really nice and do a lot to help us. Plus, their accents aren't that strong, so it's easy to talk to them. They are just striving to choose the right and put their all in the gospel.  I also like the other Family Lopez (there are two) because they help a lot in the ward and visit the menos activos (less active) a lot. Then there is Family Clair who are really good about working with us and giving us references. They like to work with the missionaries a lot. 

4.  You said you still have no idea what you are doing as a missionary.  What do you mean?  Is it the language that is making it hard?

It's like you get out here and you think you know how to teach and plan and be a great missionary, and then you learn that you can't control anything. Seriously, the only things we kinda control are when we get to sleep, how clean our house is, and how we start conversations in the street. Everything we do is dependent on someone else. I feel like being a missionary is just kind of wandering around trying to teach people. We offer material and then it's their choice to accept it. There are lots of moments when our investigators say something or all of our appointments fall through and we have no idea what to do. Plus, I only understand about 70 percent of everything everyone is saying, so that doesn't help. I feel like I`m just kinda following the Spirit the best I can and good things keep happening but I don't know how they happened or even what happened. 
Good things like miracles, or baptisms, or really good lessons. I hope all this made sense. 

5.  Is the weather really windy there now that it is spring?  Or is it always windy there?

It's always windy. It's hot, though. It's a good thing there is wind. There's no air conditioning here, so you can't really escape the heat, but it's a dry heat so it's not super bad yet. 

6.  How much does it cost to ride the bus there?

There are no buses in Pigue, but in Bahia Blanca it's 5 pesos for one trip. 

7.  What is the most beautiful thing you saw this week?

There are these trees here that during the spring let off these fuzz things, so the air is constantly filled with these floating fuzzies. It's really pretty when the sun is going down and the light is lighting up all the fuzzies in the air. I don't know if that made sense, but I like it...

8.  Did you have an experience this week where the Spirit directed you to do or say something?

Yes, actually . We saw a lady outside her house and we went up to contact her. I felt prompted to give her a Book of Mormon, and I started talking to her about choosing a religion. She isn't looking for a specific religion in this moment, but she was a while ago. I talked to her about how to know if the one we choose is right and I talked about feeling that things are right and true. Then I gave her the Book of Mormon and told her that if she ever has questions she can read that book and get all the answers she needs. I felt really directed in that conversation. We didn't make a return appointment or anything, but we gave her the church address and left it at that. I hope she reads the book...

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

Rosa, one of our investigators, made us some lamb, apple, potato roast that was reaaaaaally good. Yesterday I also had some really good chicken and noodles, too. The worst thing? OK, so it's not the worst thing, but my companion just informed me that I ate liver this week. I didn't realize what it was because it was in deviled eggs. It was good, too. And I didn't eat this but this one lady was telling us about how she's going to cook down some cow tendons into a jelly and eat it on some bread, and just hearing about that one grossed me out. I feel like the only thing they don't eat is the fur on the cow...

10.  What is the Sunday School class for investigators like in your new ward?

Exactly like the other ward. They sit us all down and we teach from the Gospel Principles book. People here participate more, I think. They are obsessed with calling on the missionaries, which is probably good because it forces us to pay attention. The lesson yesterday was finding and using our talents. 

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

Hermana Saracha. She's a member who moved here two years ago from Paraguay. I felt super good at Spanish because I noticed her accent, haha. She has ten kids, and all of them but 2 are members. We passed by to get to know her and ask for references. She's a good lady, and you can tell she works hard to raise her family and choose the right. 

I also met the 1st member in Pigue. Her name is Rosa. She's menos activo and has been asking that we pass by. It was a weird conversation because she literally only talked to and at me. That happens a lot, its weird. She's a nice lady.

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

That's a hard question.  Honestly, I don't think this was a very funny week. There was a strike where a bunch of students covered in mud blocked some streets and were wearing capes with the green mushroom from Mario on them. They were beating on plastic buckets and singing and chanting. There was another group, too and they were dressed up like red and yellow bugs, I think, and they, too, were covered in mud. Strikes are really common here in Argentina. The teachers strike like every week. Well, I think its a strike. I`m not really sure. 


I hope you`re having a great week! Thanks for the letter! I pray every night for you guys and I love you soooo much! We`re getting pretty close to Christmas, so we get to have a face-to-face conversation soon!!!! wheee! Love you, have a great week!  Amy

 Not a lot of people on this road...

It is spring!

Our Zone

Me and my new companion, Hermana O'Hara

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Name is Difficult to Pronounce in Spanish

1.  Do you get the church magazines there?  Do you get the Liahona in Spanish, or English?  Do you get the full Conference issue in English?

We usually get the Liahona in Spanish, but every now and then we get some random months in English. All of the conference issues that we have gotten lately are in Spanish, which makes me sad, since I like to read the conference ones in English. We have TONS of Liahonas in our house, dating back to the 90s and some to the 80s. Most of them are in English (the old ones ) and about half of the conference ones are in English.

2.  Tell us about your new companion!  What is she like?

Well, her name is Kelleen O`Hara. Shes suuuuper cool and chill. This is her last transfer in the mission, and she extended (which is really easy to do here) so she's on her 18th month going on 19. She's from Utah, the same town as Hna De Leon. They went to the same high school, actually. She's skinny, blonde, with glasses and blue eyes. She's super creative and super good at teaching the lessons. I was scared she would be all trunky, but shes not, she's completely focused on working hard. She also gives really good motivational speeches a lot, hahaha. I have to be careful about which doubts I express. She likes to think out of the box too, so we never follow routines in our lessons and appointments. She's had some tough times in her mission, and some really tough comps (one of the first things she told me this week is that she's really happy I'm American. hahaha) but she hasn't let that stop her from serving the Lord with all her heart, might, mind, and strength

3.  Tell us about the other new Hermana there in Pigue.

She's from Perú, and she's short and likes my accent. She also thinks I`m really funny, which seems to be a Latino trait. Seriously, all of them laugh at me all the time and I don't understand why. Anyways, she's a good cook, kinda dramatic (haha) but a good missionary. 

4.  Do you ever seen any cats in Pigue?  K-3 is sitting on my lap right now.  He says hello....

Pet K3 for me. Yeah,there are cats here. One of the members here has a bunch of kittens, which we like to look at when we eat at their house. I see a lot more cats here than in other areas, but in other areas I`m pretty sure cats don't live as long, seeing as how there are so many stray dogs here. 

5.  Is there any farmland in your area there?  If so, what do they grow?

I don't know what they grow, but our whole area is surrounded by fields of farm land. Lots of it is filled with cows and sheep or horses. I don't know what kind of food they grow, though. Lots of people work in the fields here. 

6.  Were you able to do some service this week for anyone?

Ummm.... let me ask my comp.....she says "yeah, we shared the gospel". Does that count? We always offer service to everyone and they always say no....

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

Well, yesterday we were in Relief Society, and one of the members made the comment, "It's one thing to be a Mormon, but it's another thing to FEEL that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true." Then everyone started talking about how we can't just be Mormons, we need to be saints. We need to be living and loving the gospel in every aspect of life. It just made me so happy, since all of these people are practically converts, but have tied the gospel into their lives so tight that that it's like it's who they have always been. To see the change in people gives me more hope for the people that I teach, that one they they will have this change in their lives too, and that one day they will be sitting in class at church saying the same things. 

8.  What do you like best in the ward that you are in now?

I like how the members here are really faithful. A lot of them were some of the first members here, and they are still going strong. They do all their family history, they plan very carefully for their temple trips, they just work really hard to stay strong, even when everyone around them is telling them otherwise. 

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

We had... ok, I think it was Spam. I liked it, it was good. And also, we had some really good Peruvian rice with a whole bunch of stuff in it. I liked it a lot. And it was rice. how weird... (Before Amy went on her mission she didn't like rice.)

10.  Are there Christmas things being sold there in the stores like there are here in the States?

Yeah, some. They don't celebrate Christmas here like they do in the States, though. It's just a few random ornaments in a few random stores.

11.  Have you seen anyone eating turkey in Argentina since you have been there?  I'm wondering if turkeys live there.

Yeah, its not as popular, though. Most people don't like it too much. But I`ve seen some turkey asados, and I`ve eaten some turkey asados. 

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

Ok, we had a bit of a crazy adventure. So I woke up Thursday in the middle of the night because the other Hermanas were screaming Hna O`Haras name. It was one in the morning. I was super tired, so I thought they were just goofing off and pulling some kind of prank on us because they kept yelling and banging really hard on our door. But then I realized that it sounded kinda urgent, So, I got out of bed and me and Hna O`Hara go out in the hallway and one of the hermanas is on the floor holding the other one in her arms. The one being held is all limp like a dead fish and she's crying and moaning. Turns out she had some kind of stomach attack or something and thought she was dying. So, she's praying and telling all of us to take care of her family, and she's super pale and looks like she's on the point of fainting. So, we called our branch president because we needed her to get to a hospital. The whole way there the sick hermana is sobbing because she feels like she's going to die, and Hna O`Hara and I went with them (because they wanted us to). So we made it to the hospital, and  we called Hna Parreño (the Mission President's wife) to let her know what was going on. The other Hermanas went into a room and we waited in the lobby for about 10 minutes. They came out soon and the sick hermana looked sleepy and fine. She had some kind of acid reflux problem. She seemed pretty normal after that.  We were glad she was OK.

So, here's the funny part, we went home and I asked the other hermanas why they were screaming only my companion's name and not mine, and Hermana Burgos told me that my name was way too difficult to pronounce in a moment of crisis. Yup, so we went home and all was good. 

13.  What was the best scripture story you shared this week?

I taught Hna O`Hara about Zeerom in the Book of Mormon when we were talking about repentance, and how he started out pretty dang bad but he was forgiven and healed and in the end was a leader in the ancient church. 

Also, I taught a member about the story of the army of Helaman, and how at one point the people were low on food, and soldiers for their armies, and they saw the Lamanites and their huge forts and were scared. So they prayed, and then God comforted them and they managed to capture the whole city without shedding blood. Alma 58, I think. I talked about how sometimes we have problems and things look scary, but we can pray and sometimes we will find a solution that isn't very obvious. 

I like teaching people scripture stories more than anything :)

Time is flying. Seriously, I still have no idea what I`m doing and I`m almost halfway in the mission. I feel like I`ve only really been gone for maybe 3 months, not 7.

No photos today, I`m having troubles with the computer, but I`ll let you know a new Spanish word: 
sloth = oso perizoso (lazy bear).  (Amy really likes sloths!)

 I love you all and thanks for the email! Sorry I never have time to write a ton... 

Be safe! Love you! Chau!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

An Unusual Keepsake

1.  You sent some beautiful pictures last week from your p-day.  Where were you?  Were you with some members?  And was that a chicken cooking over that fire?

That was the mountain area around where we live.  We went to the mountains with a recent convert named Juan Carlos. It's super pretty, right? We rode in the back of his truck for like 30 minutes to get there, then we had asado to eat. That was chicken and lamb over the fire. That's how they cook asado here. It was yummmmmy.

2.  There was a cannon in the pictures.  This was an old battlefield?  From what battle?

Yeah, I have no idea. There was some kind of war monument there with the cannons. I asked but they didn't really give me a clear answer, and I couldn't understand the plaque.

3.  What happened with transfers?  I know at least one new Hermana is there since Hermana Avalos went home.

So, it's Saturday night and we get our call for transfers. We were sure that Hna Peterson is leaving and that I'm staying, but then they called us and told us that they don't know what's happening to us. Literally, they receive everyone else's call but ours. So, we were mad and thought this was some kind of mean joke, but then President called and told Hermana Peterson that she's going back to Mar del Plata and is going to be the Sister Training Leader there!!! So, she left, but they still didn't know who my companion was. 

The new companion of Hermana Obando is Hna Burgos, from Peru, and then the next morning on the way to stake conference (which is a three hour car trip) they called and told me that my new comp is Hermana O'Hara, from Utah! So, Sunday we went to stake conference, then Hna Avalos went and stayed with a group of Hermanas in Centro Bahia Blanca, and then me, Obando, and Peterson went to the bus terminal where I said bye to my companion. Then we wandered around Villa Mitre ( that was where we were), lost, until we found a bus stop (I´m officially good enough at Spanish that if you drop me in the middle of a city I can find my destination!), then went to Terrada and worked there. Our new comps got here this morning, and we are staying another day in Terrada and then we're going back to Pigue tomorrow after district meeting.

4.  Last week you sent a picture of Hermana Avalos holding the sign she wrote to thank you and Hermana Peterson for helping her with her English.  I noticed the note was attached to a package of toilet paper.  Is there a reason for that?  (That was a cute note!)

Nope, she was just being weird. She loves to act like she's speaking English, or in other words, making sounds that to her sounds like English, and she likes to try and speak English to us. It's super funny. We do the same in Portuguese to her. 

5.  What was the most wonderful thing that happened this week?

I can't think of one specific thing that was wonderful that happened, but I liked that I got to enjoy my last week with Hermana Peterson.  It was wonderful that we could laugh a lot and have a great time before she left, so that was wonderful.

6.  In what way did the Spirit guide you this week?

Well, yesterday we passed by a member's house, and I shared the story of Jairus and his daughter in the New Testament, and how he needed Jesus to heal his daughter.  He asked Jesus and they were on the way to heal her, when Jesus stopped to heal another person, and after he healed this other woman Jairus found out that his daughter died, but Jesus told him to not fear and went and raised her from the dead. I explained about how we need to be patient, and that we will see miracles, even when it seems like all is lost. The members started crying.  I don't know what's going on in their lives, but it's interesting to see how the Spirit will guide us to share exactly what they need to hear, if we listen closely. 

7.  Tell me about someone new you met this week.

I met this guy who is a poet, and he's listened to missionaries before. The whole time we talked I couldn't figure out if he was quoting poetry at me or not, but he was really friendly and wanted us to stop by again. His name is David and he's 70 something years old.

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

Well, there was this noodle, meat, and bean soup that was good this week, and also one of the members made us asado, so that was good. We didn't eat anything gross either, so that was good , haha. I always try everything, Maybe I'm just getting used to the food, finally. 

9.  Did you get the leak in your roof fixed?

Nope, Hermana Peterson told me to talk to our neighbors if it starts leaking again. 

10.  What was the nicest thing someone did for you this week?

This is a hard one. An old lady gave us some jewelry and a ton of food when we stopped by her house. She wanted us to remember her so that's why she was giving us stuff. There are lots of people who just kinda worry about us here. Who don't like it when we are working in the rain, or who always want to give us food because they know that not a lot of members feed us. The things like that are the nicest to me, to know someone is worrying about us and wants to help. I guess there isn't a single act that stands out in my mind right now, sorry.

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

I have absolutely no idea. Oh wait, I remember now. So, yesterday after stake conference, one of the members (the one with the fly at the funeral) comes up to Hermana Peterson with a pair of scissors and asks if she can cut a piece of her hair to keep. No joke, this lady cut out a strand of hair and is going to keep it in her journal. I guess she collects sister missionary hair or something. How weird is that? I've decided that I might not tell anyone when I´m leaving now. 

12.  Did you get the card with the stamps yet?  Were you able to see all the pictures I sent in emails this week?

Yuuuup, and you have a letter coming for you in the mail , sent by the Hermana Nelson.

I love you a lot and I hope you have a great week. Sounds like everything is great there. I´m glad you could all go to the temple. Do a session for me, haha.  Look for my letters in the mail in these upcoming weeks!!
I miss you all a lot! Love you! Byeee!!