Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving on a Mission

1.  Sister Barg in our new ward is the seminary teacher here.  She went to Argentina on her mission.  I believe she was in Buenos Aires.  She wanted to know a couple of things:  

"Have you had pastafrola made with dulce de batata or membrillo (quince)? And what kind of alfajores has she seen in her areas? (Every region of Argentina has a different favorite).  really miss the Havana ones we had in Buenos Aires."

Sweet, question from a member. Yes, I have had the pastafrolas but only with membrillos, which has became my favorite type of jelly here. I have to say, I LOVE dulce de batata. We eat it on crackers with cheese. Dulce de batata is kinda like potato jello (I`m not sure how to explain it). A batata is like a sweet potato. The most popular alfajor here seems to be fantoche, but that one is not my favorite. I`ve seen the Havana ones but I haven't tried them yet. I`ll put that on my to-do list. I like the one kind with a golden wrapper, but I can't remember the name so I`ll tell y'all later. 

 - Marian BLazes
Pasta frola is a wonderful dessert made with a cookie-like shortbread crust and dulce de membrillo (quince paste) filling. Pasta frola is another example of the influence of Italian food on Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisine - its name comes from the Italian word for the shortbread crust, pasta frolla, that is used to make Italian crostate (jam pies).  The filling has evolved to match South American tastes: usually quince paste or dulce de leche. 
There's a saying in Argentina: Life is not a pasta frola. (La vida no es una pasta frola).

2.  When I was in a predominately Catholic area in Louisiana there were many people who had statues of the Virgin Mary, or sometimes another saint, in their yard.  Do people in Argentina do the same or  is that just an American thing?

Oh yes. People here do the same thing. There are virgins EVERYWHERE. And these little saint cards, too, all over peoples' houses. People are always talking about the virgin Mary. Also, people have these little shrines by their doors in their houses with little statues of saints and of virgins, too. 

3.  Last week you sent a picture of you trying dulce de batata on a cracker.  Did you like it?

Yeeeessssss. We eat that a lot, actually.  It's a good We-just-got-home-from-a-long-day-of-working snack  

4.  You said you got your Argentine ID last week.  Why do you need an Argentine ID?

So I can use a card to buy things or so that I can go to hospitals. They won't accept people in doctor's offices and hospitals without ID. That's why when I was sick way back in June it was so hard for me to get to a doctor because nobody would talk to us... I know Hna Parreño has ways around that stuff, but it's easier to have an ID. 

5.  Is it getting hot there?  I'm not sure how accurate my weather information is, but according to it the temperature will be going up to 97 degrees on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

It's actually been kinda cold lately, but yeah, it has been getting hot. I have no idea if that reading is accurate, but thanks for the warning. There's no air conditioning here, so you can't escape heat, hahaha...

6.  Do people there seem to stay inside their houses or do you often see them relaxing outside?

Relaxing outside. It's cooler out there. Lots of people go to parks and drink mate. 

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

I`ve got two things. First, we got a reference from a member and found this guy named Eduardo. He is AWESOME. He has a ton of faith and really is searching for the things from God. The members work with him and called us in the middle of the day to tell us about him and asked if we could pass by that afternoon so that they can introduce us to him. 

Also, since it was the last week of the month we were really, really running low on money. I withdrew some personal money since we were out. Anyways, we had no money and all the members went to the temple this week, so we had no one to give us food. On Tuesday I realized that we aren't going to eat this week and I started feeling the stress that comes with realizing that you have no food. So I knelt down and prayed that Heavenly Father can provide a way for us to eat this week so that we don't have to worry. I got the impression that we should go and shop for the week in that moment, so we left and were shopping for the cheapest necessities, and then we got a phone call from a recent convert asking us if we had lunch the next day. We told him about our situation and so he invited us to eat with him the next day! Then we cooked cheap meals and ate cheap things for the next three days and made  it through the week without being hungry. Lots of people gave us food this week when we passed, too.  It was really a miracle. 

8.  What was the most profound thing that you learned this week?

Well, forever ago Dad wrote me a letter about worrying about numbers and about finding people. He said in the letter that the Lord knows who will be receptive to our message and who will not and that I should focus on listening to the Spirit. I was getting frustrated with numbers and the work we had been doing these past weeks. My comp has been stressed about it too, so I pulled out the letter and read it to her and we decided that we were going to try and work as smart as we possibly could. So we made a bunch of really good plans. I also read a talk by Elder Bednar about being "quick to observe" and I`ve started trying to apply the things I learned in that talk. We`ve seen results.

Also, this week I was thinking about the whole senior companion thing. I know Hermana Saunders is training someone, and that there are other people from the MTC that are already senior companions, so I was kinda stressed out that I`m still a junior companion. I thought about that a lot and I realized that it really doesn't matter. I realized that the title doesn't matter at all, and that here in Pigue I`m already kind of the "lead" missionary since I`ve been here the longest. All the members come to me when they have questions, and they give us lots of referencias (references).  Also, all the other Hermanas here and the leaders come to me when it comes to the problems and matters in Pigue. It doesn't matter a lot who is comp mayor (senior companion) or whatever. What matters is that we are doing our job right. I may not be comp mayor but I have a ton of responsibilities already so I should be happy with what I have and work with those. 

9.  Do you ever go on exchanges (or whatever they call it now) with any members in your ward?

Nope. Sometimes they come with us to lessons, but not a lot. 

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

Vacío. It means empty. I realized that there are a lot of people here who just kinda feel empty, so they try and fill the big hole in them with lots of different things. Some learn about tons of different religions and form their own belief, others party, others try and fill it with all the saints, others follow the things of the world. Regardless of what they are putting in the hole, it's never going to ever feel full because that hole is for the Gospel. Only the Gospel can fully fill it up. I used that word a lot this week to descrbe this concept to members. 

Also, Hna Ohara is teaching me American sign language. No joke, we pray in signs sometimes and we talk in the streets in signs. I can't say I can use it, but I can very, very, very simply and slowly. Next to nothing actually, but it's fun all the same. 

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

Extracts from our Phone conversations at night with Elder (our district leader):


Me: Good, and you? 


Me: Yeah we basically live in the baptism font.

* * * *

Me: Holaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.


Me: ARREPENTIMIENTO!!! (repentence)

Elder:... what?

Me: You always answer the phone by saying baptism (bautismo), but repentance comes first, so I said repentance because it comes before baptism.


Me: Repentance is important! And what about the confirmation? That's super important, too!


Me: Elder. That is apostasy. 

* * * * *

These are real. I`m being serious.

I cannot believe that Evan is already taller than you. What in tarnation is happening?????? Also, I missed you all on Thanksgiving. We ate hash browns and french toast for Thanksgiving. Well, it was the day after Thanksgiving since I was sick. I woke up Thursday in the morning with stomach pains and throwing up. So I spent the day in the bathroom and we stayed home that day. I feel great now. 

I miss you all a lot! Por suerte (luckily) I only have to miss one Thanksgiving and Christmas! Speaking of Christmas, I'm really, really excited about this year! I have so many plans for missionary work and I`m so happy to get to skype with you all, too. 

Have a great day, I`m out of time so I can't send any photos this week, sorry. But you`ll get some for sure next week! Byyyyyeeeeeeee


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