Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Last Week in the Mission

Note:  As you know,  Amy returned  from her mission on October 7.  The following questions were sent to her during her last week in Argentina, but she didn't have time to answer them there.

1.  How has your last week in the mission been?

It was certainly strange. I didn't feel like it was the end, but I kept trying to work and people kept throwing me going away parties (which I really appreciated, by the way). It was a week full of determination to not be trunky (that's what they call it when you think about home a lot) ha ha, and also to not cry every time I had to say goodbye to someone.

2.  Have you shed any tears this week?

Oh yeah, I had a lot of crying moments. The worst had to have been when general conference was over and we started walking home and I just started bawling. I felt the lump in my throat grow and everything. It was a long walk home. I also cried when I was given the opportunity to share my testimony in my last district meeting. I didn't talk for a very long time, but I cried more than the other Elder in the zone that was going home. My companion told me not to be embarrassed because apparently I'm a pretty crier...

3.  Do you have any regrets as you leave the mission?

Not really. I do regret not speaking as much Spanish as I possibly could, especially now that I'm at home and I'm really, really missing speaking Spanish -ha ha. That's all though, everything else has either already been taken care of by the Atonement and\or I learned so much from it that I'd never trade it.

4.  What is one of your most cherished memories of your mission?

I think all of my mission was a cherished memory. I cherished every transfer. Some of my best memories:

1) Me and my MTC companions struggling to learn Spanish
2) Me and my trainer jumping over rain puddles and trekking through mud while we tried to invite people to be baptized my first two transfers
3) Nestor and Julieta's baptism and when me and Hermana De Leon decided to consecrate ourselves down to the food that we ate
4) Laughing every day with Hermana Peterson and just being in Pigue
5) The diligent work with Hermana O'Hara and the secret PBJ sandwiches that we would make and eat together
6) All of the weird people I met with Hermana Greene, meeting our goals, and finding so many wonderful people who ended up getting baptized later
7) Going to Mar del Plata and every day spent with Hermana Antuña (mi hija!!)
8) Training Hermana Baldwin and witnessing the sheer power of a missionary fresh out of the MTC
9) La Falda and dancing around with Hermana Child and working with the brand new Mission President
10) Getting to know President and his wife with Hermana Snyder and learning from her how to teach exactly from Preach My Gospel
11) Ending the mission with my newest sister, Hermana Bevans. I can't say I have one huge memory that stands out above the others. Every transfer was like its own world and lifetime that I loved so much.

5.  What is the most important thing you have learned on your mission?

You ask the hardest most general questions ever - ha ha. The first big lesson that I learned was that it wasn't about me. This was God's work, He runs it, and it doesn't matter what I want or anything. It all matters what He wants.

Then my second lesson was that having a title really isn't important, and that we need to be our own leaders and do our best to be the best in our own situations.

I learned that spiritually we need to be mature and be prepared because you never know just how much everyone is relying on you. I learned patience. I learned to wait things out and follow the spirit however slowly it looks like things are moving. I learned that success has nothing to do with numbers or the opinions of others, it has to do with being able to be an instrument in God's hands.

6.  Any advice for future missionaries who may be preparing?

Just give it your all.  The Lord knows what He's doing and He did call you there because you are needed there. One of my companions told me once, ''Sometimes we get put into a hard area and we say, 'Oh, there has to be someone here for me', or, 'I must have some kind of special purpose here', but really maybe you just got put there because the Lord knows that you can handle it. Be happy when things are hard and you're there because it means you can handle it, and its better that its you and not someone who couldn't take it.'' Maybe that's not a direct quote but that gets my point across.

7.  What has been your favorite thing about being a missionary?

Everything. Ha ha - just kidding, not knocking doors. I really, really enjoyed getting to know other saints my age who are serious about the Gospel like me and who are all just trying their hardest to serve the Lord. I loved how comfortable I felt with other missionaries, and I loved how comfortable I felt throughout my entire mission.

8.  What was something that you learned at General Conference?

That ''It'll all work out.'' That was an EXCELLENT talk. I learned that we need to be progressing. If we don't study the scriptures or pray or go to church or keep the commandments then we aren't progressing.  And if we aren't progressing when the storms of life come and hit us hard then we will be much more weak than we could have been.

9.  What sort of food did you eat this week?

Asado, empanadas, a spice cake, and raviolis!

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

Well, the transfer call was pretty funny to me. Because of conference, they called us in the morning on Saturday instead of at night. So they called and asked, ''Who wants to know first??'' The hermanas in my house said my name - ha ha - so after everyone joked around with me about how my new transfer is my house, they announced that they were closing my area in La Falda and that Hermana Bevans would be going to Viedma. Then Hermana Santos got transferred away to Necochea and Hermana Diaz stayed in La Falda to train a fresh new missionary!! The first group that I won't ever get to see. Sigh....

Super P-day was funny, too. Presidente kicked my butt at a one-on-one soccer match, and then we had stick pulling (because we're Mormons - ha ha)  and tug of war (and guess whose team won every match? MINE!! ha ha) and then just a huge lunch! It was very, very fun!  Plus we got t-shirts. Things are always better when there are t-shirts involved.

11.  Would you like to do at least one more blog post when you return and are able to think and reflect more upon your experiences?

Yeah! Stayed tuned for the last post! I guess if anyone has any questions they can comment and I can try to answer them.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The US Embassy

1.  How was your last Sunday at regular church?  Was it a testimony meeting there?

It was completely normal....except nobody told me that ANOTHER apostle died!  That was sad news, and also two members here lost close family members, too. So there was a theme of the life after death and lots of closeness between the members as they tried to console each other. I offered any service that I could.

2.  Did you have a good discussion this week?

This week was pretty crazy, actually. I only had ...well, two days of full work. We didn't have any discussions this week. We are completely starved of investigators, but I did share a good spiritual thought with some members about how we need to close our eyes and stop looking at the world and listen to the Spirit with our hearts and ears.

3.  What is the most useful Spanish word you have learned lately?

I honestly have no idea. I've been speaking so much English that I'm going crazy. I'm doing my best to speak Spanish, though. I learned the words for "FBI clearance form" and "US embassy".  That was very, very useful when we went to Buenos Aires.

4.  Are there any city parks in your area?

Yeah, there is a huge park called Parque de Independencia, but we can't really go there because its a zoo most of the day - ha ha ha.  (Not sure what that meant - maybe it was a typo, but I looked up the park and they do have a zoo there)

5.  What was the biggest challenge of the week?

For the first time in my whole mission I had a complete week where I didn't find a single new investigator. That was rough, because it made me start wondering if we weren't having success or if we weren't finding because we were doing something wrong. So I talked to my companion about it, and she pointed out that considering that we had only worked for two days, we were doing OK. 

Plus, one time I went to the door of a less active and asked myself if we should visit, because we still hadn't found anyone and it was already Saturday. As I asked myself, I felt the Spirit tell me to visit very, very strongly. So we visited them. We had several experiences like that this past week. So it was tough because I had to be humbled and realize that the Lord works in many ways and if He doesn't want me finding new investigators, we wouldn't find any. And that numbers literally don't mean anything,

6.  Evan wants to know what is the weirdest dessert you have seen in Argentina?

Just a block of dulce de batata, or sweet potato jelly cut into a block. We just ate it like that. With a fork and a knife. It was kinda weird...and kinda gross, but I ate it anyways.

7.  So next week are you going to have time to read your emails before you leave?  I am not sure what your schedule is.

I have no idea, so I would send one just in case I get to. I have no idea whats going to happen next week here on my end. I'm assuming they'll tell me right before its necessary to know...

8.  How was your trip to Buenos Aires last week?

Pretty funny. So they picked us up from our apartment at 5 pm on Monday, and drove us to the airport. The secretario of the mission told us that our flight was leaving at 7 p.m.. Then he explained what we needed to do there in Buenos Aires. It turns out that they weren't going with us. They explained that Hermana Bevans needs a new passport and that her name on her FBI clearance form isn't correct either. So they told us to get it fixed. To do the passport first and then afterwards the FBI thing. So off we went. 

We got off the plane and there was a guy there waiting for us. He led us to his car and we got in. It turns out that there is a church owned chauffeur thing there that deals with stuff like this. So he took us to our hotel, where they were expecting us. They ordered us food (steak and a salad) and then sent us to bed. 

So we went to bed and at 6 in the morning they called us and told us to wake up and that the next chauffeur would be there to get us at 7:30. So we went and ate breakfast, and at exactly 7:30 the guy showed up and took us to the US Embassy there. There were these huge lines of people outside trying to get visas, I think. 

So I looked at Hermana Bevans paper saying she had an appointment and walked right up to a security guy and told him that we were citizens of the US and that we had an appointment. He took us to a booth where we showed our ID and then they let us skip like three or four lines and we went right to our appointment really fast. 

Then afterwards we talked to the chauffeur about the FBI clearance and it turned out that nobody told him about that and they had no idea what to do, so they ended up having to take us to the general offices of the church. We waited there and they told us that we couldn't fix the FBI thing that day, so they gave us lunch and took us to the airport. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe there for dinner, and then we were back in Bahia that night at 7 pm. It was totally weird

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

Well, I got to see a lot of missionaries and I got to see and hear about a lot of people I love, so that was nice. Today was super P-Day, so that was fun, too. We had asado and played soccer, and they made us all t-shirts - ha ha.

10.  What sort of food did you eat?

Steak, tacos, cheeseburgers (but Argentina-ized, so it had hard boiled eggs on it)  and chicken soup.

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

Well, I got sick. The next day after our Buenos Aires trip I started getting a bad cold, and so Hermana Bevans and I realized that I was having a lot of trouble working and that rest was necessary, so we called Hermana Cifuentes and she told me to rest the rest of the day and the next day if I didn't feel completely better. 

So Wednesday and Thursday I was out of business, but I did get to rest up and watch a ton of church movies, organize our area book, and then write some letters to people that I need to say goodbye to. I spent most of my
time writing letters- I guess getting sick isn't very funny, but it was the weirdest thing of the week other than the BA trip.

I love you and I'm sorry I don't have a lot of time to write.  Since we had our super P-day I only have about 20 minutes for emailing this week.  This is the only letter I'm responding to, but I APPRECIATE THE LETTERS FROM EVERYONE WHO WROTE ME THIS WEEK! I'M PRINTING THEM ALL OUT! I love you so much mom, see ya soon!


Monday, September 21, 2015

I Enjoyed a Spanish Break

1.  Have you received any information from the church about how to readjust to life after your mission?  I read that they have something called "The Plan" and was wondering if you have heard about it.

Nope. I asked Presidente about it and he told me to just keep working on what he told me to work on, which has been helping. I have a little plan of my own going on here. I even scheduled out how my days will go. Its not very interesting to talk about, but as I was writing down my plan I made a schedule of a typical day and noticed that I had more time than I knew what to do with...

2.  Have you ever noticed if there were any migrating birds in your area?  You know we see large flocks of birds migrating each year here in Georgia.

Nope, I have seen nothing like that. There are always parrots. ALWAYS.

3.  How was church this week?  How does it feel to know that you only have one more Sunday of regular church in Argentina?  (Since General Conference will be the last weekend of your mission)

Well, we had stake conference. I´m a mixed bowl of feelings. I´m happy because I know that I only have to play the piano badly in front of everyone only one more time!   But I´m sad because ITS THE LAST ONE. How scary is that? I bet they won't make me give a talk or anything...ha ha, or maybe they will. We´ll see...

4.  Were you able to visit the lady who you met because of the dog that wanted to bite you?

Well, we visited Saturday and she wasn't there. And so we swung on by on Sunday and the evil dog was there and chased us away!!! This time it came sprinting at us!!!

5.  You said your companion gets distracted by food?  What kind of food does she like?  And how does she get distracted?

She wants food all the time. ALL THE TIME. So we´re walking and she's wanting to buy food, or we're talking to someone and she's wanting to eat, ha ha ha. So we bring snacks and snack frequently during the day. I eat more than I have ever eaten in my mission with her, but we eat really healthy stuff. She's a snacker but she only eats healthy things - ha ha ha!

6.  Have you thought about things you might like to do when you get home - things that you may have missed doing on your mission?  Or are you still so focused on the work there that you haven't thought about it?

I think about that stuff when I´m in the house, and in the streets I do my best to be focused, but its hard. 

I´m gonna write a book, and I´m gonna start the job hunt. I have a ton of career and college and fashion research to do, and I've got some big plans, but I don't have enough resources here to plan them well... 

I have thought about some of the things I want to do, for example, I have a huge list of movies to watch. Can you tell me what kind of stuff we are gonna do that first day back? I don't know if yáll have one of those homecoming parties planned? I need to prepare myself in advance for that - ha ha - or if we are going out to eat or if we´re just going right home.

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

Well, I had a bad day. Our schedules got mixed up and so we changed some study time to the afternoon to be able to go to our appointments, and something that I've discovered is that when we mix up our study
time I stress waaaaaaaaaaay more than normal. It sounds silly, but its true. 

Anyways, so we came home and I felt bad about the day because we didn't have any obvious successes. We've been looking for investigators for 4 weeks now and we haven't had hardly any success.  So I talked about that to my comp and she sat me down and we went through the whole day and we were able to find 12 things that we did that were productive and helped us and our area progress. It was great to be able to change my attitude and be able to see that we are working hard.

Also, this week Hermana Bevans had tramitez, you know, where you go get legal. So she went and did that with another Hermana, and I did divisions with.....HERMANA SAUNDERS!!!   She's just like I am, nervous about how little time we have left. It was fun to work with her, and I really enjoyed the Spanish break (as in being able to say everything in Spanish and have the person I´m talking to understand me, or not having to translate stuff, that is pretty exhausting sometimes). So that was the other best thing from this week. And two people invited us over for asado, so that was also good.

8.  If you were to be able to have any kind of cake that you would like, what would it be?

Well, waaaaaay back in my first transfer here in the field you told me about a chocolate peanut butter overload cake that you made for Alan. So I've thought about that repeatedly for a while, ha ha, but I love all cake, especially good old chocolate cake. Cake is just good. Or maybe chocolate cheesecake, ha ha, but above all I've daydreamed about that peanut butter one - ha ha.

9.  How did Presidente like your little prank letter last week?

I hope he liked it - ha ha ha - I have no idea.

10.  Alan wants to know if you are really going to go to BYU.

Well, if you fly down to Bahia and ask Hermanas Hall, Sprenz, Risser, Bevans, Taborda, and several others, they would say YES. If you ask me, I'd say, "I still have some stuff to consider before I make that decision." 

But I am very seriously considering it. It wasn't a serious option (other than the fact that a ton of my new friends go there) until Hermana Cifuentes talked to me about their business program and how its pretty top notch. She said if I'm seriously considering being an actuary or going into economics then BYU would be the best. And she talked to me for a long time about the benefits of going there, and I know they love RMs and people who have credits like I do....so I don't know still.

11.  What sort of food did you eat this week?

Asado. And steak. Lots of meat.

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

So unbeknownst to me, Hermana Bevans decided that Hermana Sprenz needed to paint her nails. So we get to the zone meeting and she pulls out this sparkly dark red nail polish and hands it over to Hermana Sprenz. The conversation went like this:

Bevans: Here. Use this. Its a power color.
Sprenz: A power color?
Bevans: Yup. Use it.
Sprenz: What?? What's it called? ...."Suga suga"? ha ha
Bevans: Yeah, its a man killer. So use it.
Sprenz: Man killer?? That's why its red, huh? The blood of all the men I've killed.
Bevans: Yeah, you´ll be killing men all over the place with that on.
Sprenz: I already "kill" like five or six a day just by walking down the street.
Bevans: You know it.

So we get home and I was like, "You brought nail polish for Hermana Sprenz??" and Hermana Bevans goes, "Yeah. She needs a power color, so I picked that out for her."

I'm disappointed that I can't describe the funny things they said over an email. Sorry if that didn't come across as funny....

13.  Evan wants to know what is the first thing you want to do when you first walk in the door at home.

I'll need a nap. I probably won't sleep on the airplane and we're getting there at 5:30 in the morning, so a nap would be nice...

¡Que preguntas tan trunkys!  (Those trunky questions!)  (FYI - "trunky" is mission slang for getting ready to go home)

I'm finishing all my souvenir shopping today! I got something nice for you, mom.  I love you so much and I hope you have a wonderful day!!! and week! See ya soon!

Oh, and the secretario just called me and told me that me and my comp have to travel to Buenos Aires TODAY to go get her legal, so ask me how that went next week. I thought he was joking...he's not.

Love you,


Monday, September 14, 2015

My Voice is Unique

1.  How was the visit with the Seventy?  What did you learn?

Our visit was focused on.......Prayer! They talked to us about teaching our investigators to pray, and the huge importance that it has. 

And we also talked about companionship study. They said that the missionaries who don't do companionship study not only don't have good results, but they also usually become less active after the mission. Interesting, right? Comp study is important, and I've never had a problem with not doing it. 

Also, we learned about the importance of training ourselves to follow the Spirit. Trusting God completely to allow ourselves to receive the promptings from Him.

2.  You said last week to ask you about things that you will miss about Argentina.  Have you thought of other things this week?

I'm going to miss the members of the church here. I'm always so impressed with the faith that they have. There are so many people here that are the first in their family, or in their city, or in this part of the world, to join the church. I've seen pure dedication and pure love for the gospel here. Its amazing!

3.  Would you say that most of the dogs you come across are nice or mean?   I've noticed that mean dogs are a big concern of missionary moms.

Generally they are nice. It depends on where you are. The dangerous areas have mean dogs, the nicer areas have nice dogs. Its not as big of a deal as people make it. Just be smart: look for bones lying around, if the dog is growling and not moving, don't touch it, etc. DON'T RUN, dogs chase running things.

4.  What are some of the first signs of spring in  Argentina?

Flowers are all over the place and all over the trees. And the days are longer.

5.  How was the work this week?

Pretty good. We are constantly trying to do better, so we keep improving. We were able to have a cool miracle. I told you last week about that dog that tried to bite me? Yeah, well, here is part two. 

We go to the same street, to the same house, and there is the dog again. This time its braver, too, so it just runs right up and blocks us completely and holds its ground. So we turn around and a lady who was watching us stops us and asks what is the problem. We explained the problem and then contacted her. Turns out that she has already talked to
missionaries, and invited us over this upcoming Saturday! So there is our miracle of the week!

6.  Have you played any pranks lately?

I'm in the process of pulling a prank on Presidente. I'm gonna write my weekly letter saying that my companion bullies me. Then I'll tell him I'm just joking. I'm almost on the point of chickening out though... 

I called Hermana Sprenz last night and pulled a phone prank. It was like this:

Sprenz: Hola?
Me: Hola....is your refrigerator running?
Sprenz: Oh, my freaking gosh, Hermana Eubanks. Are you seriously doing that?
Me: Answer the question! Geez!
Sprenz: Its functioning.
Me: laaaaammmmmeeeeee
Bevans: Oh really? Ours isn't because HERMANA EUBANKS BROKE IT!!

Here is my lame letter to Presidente with the lame prank: 

Hola Presidente,

Presidente, I've got a problem. I have no idea what to do about my
companion! We never do companionship study, she wants food all the
time and we can't stop arguing about where kolob is!  I can't take it
anymore! ...CHISTE (joke)! Just kidding! She is great! 

Seriously, we are working really hard, and shes progressing really, really well. Hermana Bevans takes lots of initiative in the work, so I never have to tell
her when to talk or when to contact, she does it all on her own, even
though she doesn't have lots of confidence in the language. She doesn't
let that stop her and makes no excuses! I do my best just to keep up
with her, ha ha, and as for the companionship we're doing really well.
We have really good communication and we have a lot of fun together.
And our companionship studies are productive.

I'm doing well, too. Its nice to be training because it helps me keep
myself focused. Sometimes I get stressed out because lots of people
keep rejecting us and we have don't have firm investigators yet, even though
we've been looking, but slowly the work is picking up and I know that
the Lord knows that we are trying, so that is what matters to me.

That dog that tried to bite me last week was there AGAIN this week, but this time a lady saw us try and get past it and then give up and stopped us on the street. We started talking to her and she invited us to her house Saturday to share the Gospel with  her! So that was cool!

Have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Eubanks

7.  What is something you learned this week in your studies?

I learned that sometimes you've just got to trust the Lord. I'm in the war parts of the Book of Mormon, so its been interesting. The meaning and the lessons to be learned in these parts are less obvious, because it seems like a bunch of strategy and battles, but really there is a whole theme about standing up for what you believe in and protecting your religious freedom and rights. 

I read about Moroni and he was a pretty bold guy, and did some very bold things. In times of war or hardship the Lord will warn you of the dangers before they happen, and Moroni was so bold because he was aware of the problems before they were huge. You've got to trust that He will protect you and lead you to safety, even though it looks impossible.

8.  What was the biggest challenge of the week?

Just myself. Sometimes its hard to get motivated to talk to people or teach and invite and be brave, so my challenge this week was getting out of my comfort zone and just doing it anyways

9.  What was the best thing that happened?

The conference was really nice. I got to see a TON OF PEOPLE and for maybe the last time in my life, I got to see Hermana Antuña. I got to sit next to her and talk and just spend time with one of my sisters :)  There was no change or anything and it was almost like we were companions again. We had a really, really good 2 transfers together, and so I had been praying that she would be in the conference so I could say goodbye. 

Mom, I have met every single sister in that conference. I knew everyone.

10.  Any new or interesting food this week?

I had for the first time Budin de Pan, which is this weird dessert made out of bread, milk, eggs, and sugar. Its kinda like flan, but in a cake form. Anyways, it was really, really good. They just make it with old bread, and its really cheap! We also had some really good ñoquis with a chicken mushroom sauce. That was nice, too :)

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

Well, there are several things.  Last night I was making a ton of phone calls to a bunch of different areas to pass on some references that we found. I got a new phone with a new number, so nobody knows the number yet. So first I called an area and Hermana Tarborda answers. It went like this:

Her: Hola?
Me: Hola! Is this the Hermanas from Pueyrredon? (That is the name of the area)
Her: Oh, don't tell me, is this Hermana Eubanks????
Me:  How did you know?
Her: Oh Hermana, your voice is unique.

So I passed the reference. Then I called another area, and Hermana
Mercade answered.

Her: Hola?
Me: Hola! Is this the Hermanas from Hospital?
Her: Yeah, is this Hermana Eubanks?
Me: How can you tell???
Her: Your voice is unique.
Me: That's what another Hermana just said!

So then I have to talk to another Hermana (Hermana Risser)

Me: Hola, Hermana Risser?
Her: Hermana Eubanks????
ME: Is my voice that obvious??
Her: Yes!!!

And so yeah, apparently I have a very distinguishable voice. The same thing happened when I called Hermana Sprenz earlier that day, too. She knew it was me from the voice...

Also, another funny thing, me and my comp always get into dandelion fights. Any time we find a dandelion we grab it and smash it into each others hair and faces. It's intense!

And that is all the funny stuff.

I love you so much and I hope you have a great week! Thanks for all the pictures and emails and stuff! I really, really appreciate them!!!!!!!!!! 

I love you!!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sometimes the Reward is Just Making it to the End

1.  You said last week that a Seventy was coming to visit this week.  How did that go?

He hasn't come yet, he is coming Wednesday to teach us . They are getting the whole mission together. Half in Mar del Plata and the other half in Bahia. This morning we had to wake up early and go clean the stake center so that its clean when they all get here. So this whole morning I swept, mopped, and shined pews.

2.  This past week we received your return itinerary!  You will land EARLY in the morning on October 7 in Atlanta.  How does it feel????

YOU'VE GOT MY FLIGHT INFORMATION???  I don't have that yet!! What time am I getting there in the morning? I just want to know that. I think they're waiting to give me my itinerary. Can we got to the temple in Atlanta since we´ll already be there? And can we get some good American food? And also, I´m gonna need to visit a dentist, a chiropractor, and a doctor to get a check up. Maybe not that first day, but you know, later on in those weeks. And don't forget that I have to get released.

3.  How is your hija coming along?

So great!!! She works hard and does basically everything I tell her. But when she gets an idea she gets excited about it and we always try it out. You can tell when a companionship is good - when you want to be the best you can for your companion, which is how I've been feeling. She catches on fast, and now is teaching entire parts of lessons and doing contacts by herself. We take advantage of her newness and use it to help find more people. People always listen better to the newbies... 

She is also making her best effort to make me as hot as I can be for when I go home. We talk a lot about fashion, style, clothing, pedicures, etc. It's fun.

4.  What sort of area do you live in?  Do you have to be careful about locking everything up?

Ummmm, I wasn't going to tell you that kinda stuff. My area, la Falda, has the richest area in all of Bahia, and also has the most dangerous area. The dangerous part, Villa Perro, is completely off limits. Yeah, its my area, but I can't ever go into it.  I can't even get close to it because the area that's close to it is off limits. So we are pretty safe from the dangerous area. 

But I live kinda close to the area that's close to the Villa that is off limits. You get me? So, where I live is sketchy, but our house is really secure. It has two floors, so if someone wants to get in they have to get through two locked doors, and our neighbor has a camera. Plus we have a ton of security rules in the area, so we lock everything good and we have to come home every night at 8 instead of 9. So, we're pretty safe, but we're not too happy about the location, so we're looking for a new place to live.

5.  Did your refrigerator get fixed?

No. I'm still in shame, but they're gonna take it this week.

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

Hanging out with my companion  :) And eating lunch with la familia Bravos. They're like my grandparents here in Argentina.

7.  Have you been buying any souvenirs lately?

Today I bought a mate to bring home to show you how to drink out of :)

8.  What are some things that you will miss about Argentina?

I'm gonna miss the sky. It is huge here. And very, very pretty. I'm also gonna miss all the cool flowering trees, and the parrots. I think I'll miss all that. Ask me this question again next week so I can look for some more things.

9.  Tell us about a discussion you had this week with an investigator.

Well, we visited this lady who is really, really Catholic. She teaches Catholic classes and loves to study the Bible, and so we taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As we taught we discussed the line of authority for the priesthood. That Christ gave the "keys of the kingdom" to Peter. We know that was priesthood authority. We shared the First Vision, and the Spirit was very strong. And then I explained that shortly after, Peter, James, and John descended from heaven to pass on the authority to establish the Church of Jesus Christ here again. 

It was a good lesson because me and my companion were testifying, the investigator was participating, and the Spirit was present. I could tell that the investigator felt the Spirit, too. It was nice :)

10.  What are you studying right now?

The life of Christ, by request from Presidente! And also I'm reading about all the wars in the Book of Mormon (you know, in Alma) and I'm going through the white handbook and marking all the rules and rating myself on how well I'm doing. I'm learning a TON from that. 

I've also been studying the importance of commitments and keeping them and extending them. Commitment is the only way to get things done in the world, I think.

11.  What sort of things did you eat this week?

OK, so I went to a buffet this last Monday with a bunch of Hermanas. It was a Chinese Argentine buffet thing. While I was there I ate octopus tentacles, and cow tongue. It was pretty dang good, too! I also ate some dried weird ham thing that tasted like a shoe smells. Hermana Sprenz liked it and told me that my shoes must smell like ham.

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

So, yesterday we were looking for an investigator who lives on a street that we never work on. So we get there and there is this dog barking at us. It is all black and has a broken paw and its barking and growling and tries to bite me. So I back up and the dog is following us and then runs ahead and goes and sits in front of the very house that we needed to knock. 

It just sits there and growls at us and looks at us like we're the enemy. So Hna Bevans says, "That dogs is from Satan or something. He is trying to stop us from bringing salvation to our investigator!" and so I thought about it and said, "Really? Because I think it could be a sign from God telling us not to visit this guy right now." 

So we argued for a while about which one it could be and decided to try to get the dog to move by tempting it with some apples. So we tossed it chunks of apple as a snack...but it didnt fall for it! 

So, then we gave up and decided that if one of us got bit we wouldn't want to have to go through the process of making sure it didn't have rabies. So we left.

Also my companion eats food all the time. I've never seen someone eat as much as she does. Its funny because she gets distracted from the work all the time because of food.

13.   Dad wants to know what is the most common type of fast food there?

Empanadas. Fast food isn't like how we know it in the States. Restaurants aren't the biggest deal, but there are lots of places that sell empanadas and stuff like that. That is always yummy.

14.  Dad also wants to know what sort of food you are looking forward to eating when you get home?

I've been craving waffles with syrup and blueberries, or something like that. Also, green beans (like how mom makes them), cheesecake, that steak with blue cheese on it, pork chops, salads, and also I've been thinking a lot about cheese burgers.

On another note, I was studying my notes from my

last conference with Presidente and I saw a note I made in English (the only English thing in the notes) that said, "Sometimes the reward is just making it to the end."  That really struck me when I read it.  

I had considered telling Presidente to ask someone else to train because I wasn't sure If I was up to it. But I decided that if he received revelation that I needed to be training this transfer then I better just go with it.

These past couple of weeks I've been trying to find some more people and hoping that we can have another baptism or something like even though we've been starting from scratch here. So when I read that note it struck me that progressing investigators and baptisms aren't my reward here. My reward is making it to the end, but not just surviving until the end, but working until the end. This transfer is my time to work and do everything that missionaries do, and the reward is finishing after having done everything that I want to do. I'm thoroughly enjoying all of it. So yeah, I'm happy this transfer. And I'm a happy missionary :)

I love y'all. Have a wonderful week! Love yooooouuuuu!!!


Monday, August 31, 2015

Gettin' Southern in Here

1.  How is your new companion?  Tell us about her!

Her name is Hermana Bevans. She's from...............TEXAS.  Gettin' Southern in here! She is super cool, lives on a farm, has worked in just about every job imaginable, and has been a member her whole life. She has a really strong testimony of the Gospel, so that is good. She's 19, taller than me, and looks like a Mexican because she's half Mexican. But she doesn't speak Spanish, so we're working on that - ha ha ha! She is also a direct descendant of Wilford Woodruff, so that's nifty. 

She loves me a lot, ha ha. She told me last night that I was a tender mercy. She said that in the MTC she was really worried about who her trainer would be, and so she got a blessing before she went out and it said her trainer would be someone who sincerely worries about her and cares about her. So that was sweet.

2.  How is the training going?

Its so weird. She is very independent, so sometimes I feel like she's training me. So far we have found some new investigators, and we've had some very very spiritual moments and lessons. The other day we were looking for a house on some streets in the end of our area. And so we get to one street and its a dead end and I knew instantly that it wasn't the street we were looking for, but I felt the Spirit prompt me to stay on that street. So we started knocking doors and found a new investigator. Then, as we were leaving we found another guy who wanted to listen!

3.  Does your new companion remind you of how far you have come on your mission?

Yeah. Its kinda freaky. I feel old. I am the hermana with the most time on the mission now. Everyone else has less time than me, and its really weird to think about. Its even weirder to think that this is my last transfer, and that this is my last companion, and the end. But Hermana Bevans has her whole mission life in front of her! Its crazy!

4.  How was the work this week?

Refreshing. I made some mistakes, and there are things that I could have done better, but we're working. I'm contacting, we're teaching, and I'm TRYING. We had someone committed to go to church this weekend, and even though they didn't come it was nice to just have something to plan for and think about. I really love being a missionary and I'm trying to make this transfer even better than all the other ones!

5.  Did the other two Hermanas in your apartment change?

Hermana Santos is still here, and her new companion is Hermana Diaz. Shes from Chile, she is 25 years old, and is turning 26 next week. She is a nurse, and she is suuuuper social, funny, servicial (helpful), and loving. She is exactly what La Falda needs. She is kinda like me in the fact that she stresses and always wants to be working - ha ha.

6.  How does it feel to be in your last transfer?

It hasn't really hit me yet.  I just feel like this is just another transfer and that I have a new one coming up. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has been giving me marriage advice and has been predicting how long it will take me to get engaged. I say "3 years" and they say, "3 months," and then I go hide in my room in terror. 

Seriously, people give me flirting tips, and marriage advice, and whenever I escape and someone asks me why everyone is laughing at me and I explain that they are giving me marriage advice then the person talking to me just tells me to take notes and joins the crowd!

7.  What is something you have learned this week?

I have learned that I have lots of stuff to do better. Mom, I've got some kinda weird reputation in the mission here. I go to look for my companion and there are only two Hermanas training and about 15 Elders training. So we are all seated in a different room from all the new people and we're waiting for Presidente to come talk to us and one Elder goes, "Hermana Eubanks, how many people have you trained now?  Isn't this like your fourth hija?" And so I said that it is not my fourth. 

I didn't even really know that Elder. I had seen him like once in Mar del Plata! And then Presidente gets there and asks who had trained before and I raised my hand along with a few other people and Presidente asked if we could give some advice to the first timers and mom, everyone looked at me and that Elder goes, "Hermana Eubanks?" and I wanted to go hide under a rock. 

I have this rep of being a trainer. So I've decided that if people are going to think I'm so good at all this then I have to make it true. I have to live up to that rep. So I've been making lists and praying to know the things I can
change to be the best missionary that I can. I've learned that I have a ton of weaknesses and that I have LOTS to fix.

8.  Did you attend any good meetings this week?

This is funny. We had a conference for the Area this weekend. So the whole stake got together and there was a broadcast from Salt Lake where Elder Cook and Elder Hales talked to everyone and also a Seventy, and the Second Counselor of Young Women, and the Area President. It was cool!

I have no idea why, but the first talk and a half was on the wrong transmission and so all of the Spanish was being translated to English! So the whole congregation just sat there in confusion except the few people there that spoke or studied English. English translators are so funny sounding. They sound so happy.

9.  Tell us about someone you met this week.

I met a lady who doesn't believe in God, but is very, very interested in the fact that so many people believe in God and she wants to know more. She says that her parents never took her to a church ever and that she just learned to not believe in God. But she was so friendly! 

We are going to be visiting and working with her. We found this woman because we were looking for the house of a less active member. So we get to the house and I knock the door and when the person asked, "Who is it?"  and we said we were missionaries and she asked if we could visit later. I said OK and normally I confirm the name of the person who lives there to make sure we have the right person, but I felt like I shouldn't. 

So we actually did visit later and got to know her. We invited her to church and she really wants to go! She is not the person we were looking for, but it doesn't matter!

10.  What sort of things did you eat this week?

Goulash. Hermana Bevans cooks, so she made us this soup with ground beef, potatoes, squash, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Also, we ordered empanadas the other night. We had some really good ones with chicken and a white sauce in the middle. They were some of the best empanadas that I've had out here!

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

Well, I was really dumb and I broke our fridge. All you future missionaries out there, listen up. if you want to get some ice out of a fridge, DON'T DO IT WITH A KNIFE. We didn't have any ice, and Hermana Diaz had a headache and so I decided to pick out some ice from our almost completely frozen over freezer with a knife. 

Everything was fine until I hit a pipe and the freezer gas started coming out. So I yelled and closed the fridge and we unplugged it.  Slowly during the whole week our fridge defrosted and now we are without a fridge. Yeah, so I feel really, really, really bad about that. One of my dumbest moments. It was a sincere accident.

We've started keeping a tally of how many times a day I trip. I have an average of about 5 a day.

It was funny when I met my comp. When she first saw me (from a distance since they were trying to keep us apart) she thought, "I bet mine is the whiter one." It was me and Hna Colon from Colombia that were training. 

So they were announcing who were companions with who and Presidente goes, "Hermana Eubanks with Hermana Bevans! Georgia and Texas! What a pair!" 

I sat next to her and I asked her something and she responded in Spanish with a perfect accent and so I thought, "Yeah! She already speaks Spanish!"  

So then I asked if she speaks Spanish, in Spanish, and she goes, "What?"  So I asked again in Engish and she said, "No. Oh, no, not at all." and I thought, "Maaaaaaaaannnnn."  But its cool, its kinda fun teaching someone to speak a new language.

And that's all. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you so much and I'm always talking about yáll to my comp and every other missionary I meet. Evan is famous for his comics, several Hermanas have asked me if he  has sent me more comics yet.  

Since this is the last transfer, I'd say not to worry about sending me any more letters. OK? They might not get to me in time.

A Seventy is coming to visit us this next week!

Love you!!


Hermana Cifuentes

Presidente Cifuentes