Monday, January 26, 2015

Sister Olives


1.  You may want to know that Mr. Kurtz wrote a birthday message for you on your birthday.  It said:  Most glad and belated birthday tidings to you, Amyqueesha. I hope you had a ghetto-tastic day, yo.

Aww thanks!!!!!!!I love it a lot! I had a great birthday here, and I loved all the birthday wishes :)

2.  Last week you said you were going to visit Cerro de la Cruz.  How was it?

We did! It was maybe a mile hike uphill with pictures of Christ's life from his betrayal to his resurrection. It was great, and very Catholic. We took some great pictures so I´ll see if I´ll be able to send them today. (Amy said later that she couldn't get the pictures to upload on the computer.  Maybe next week...)

3.  You said that you saw a lady with a bag of snails and that "they are big here."  Did you mean the snails are large or that lots of people eat them there?  

The snails are literally large snails. It's not uncommon for people to pick them up, haha.  Hna Peterson would pick them up and keep them in her hand and walk around. Elder Orme told me that once his companion picked one up and put it on his scriptures like it was his pet, and while they were talking to someone in the streets the person took it off and threw it. As far as I know not a lot of people eat them, but that lady did. She said they have lots of vitamins - hahaha!

4.  Did you get to see the CES broadcast a couple of weeks ago for all young adults?  It was a talk by Elder Ridd at BYU-I.  They were calling it a worldwide broadcast.  I was VERY impressed with that talk and we watched it for family home evening recently.

No :( I would love it if you mailed me a copy?

5.  Tell us about someone you are teaching.

See question 7. 

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

I´m going to answer question 7 first and then question 6, OK? So transfers were last Saturday. We waited the whole day, and mom, I basically knew I was leaving. I had a very strong feeling that I needed to prepare to leave Pigue, so I prepared a report with all the information that the Hermanas needed, and then I showed Hna Greene all the ropes, and I was right, I got transferred to Mar del Plata, area Balcarce. I´m finishing the training of an Hermana named Hermana Antuñez (ahn-toon-nihez). She's very thin, and very friendly and she's from Rosario, Argentina. She talks a lot and really wants to work very hard, so I´m super excited. I´m currently in area Pompeya in Mar del Plata. We will travel to Balcarce Tuesday after district meeting. This was the area that Hna Peterson went to when she got transferred. I got to have a 9 hour bus ride. It was LONG and boring. I didn't sleep  hardly at all Saturday night or Sunday night, so, I´m super tired.

7.  When are the next transfers?  Are you getting that feeling that you might get transferred?

And here is the answer to question 6:  Ok, maybe this is cheesy, and even more cheesy now that my older companions are going to read this, but God gave me a really nice tender mercy. Hermana Peterson goes home Tuesday, so she needed to travel to Bahia. I realized that I would probably pass her on the freeway and not get to see her before she left, so I was sad about that. Then at midnight I get off the bus and guess who is there? Hermana Morgan, from the MTC! She hugs me and then goes, "Hermana Peterson is here!" And then Hermana Peterson was there and gave me a big, giant hug! Turns out she was going to leave this morning at 5:30 instead of yesterday in the afternoon. So we got to spend one night together with Hermana Morgan, who was her companion, and catch up and hang out one last time before she went home. It was really great because I was pretty bummed out that I wouldn't get to say goodbye, especially since she's probably one of the most influential people in my mission. It just shows that Heavenly Father is mindful of even the seemingly small things.  Also, she left me all her awesome music :)

8.  Did you get your cell phone working again?

Nope - muaahahaha!  But it's not my problem now. The broken toilet isn't my problem now either! Hahahahaha!!!!

10.  How many discussions did you teach this week?

A lot, mostly with Pedro, who is going to baptized 7 de Febrero (February 7). I didn't get the chance to count because I left Pigue so fast. They told us I was leaving Saturday at 10:40, and then I left right after church the next day at 11:00. 

11.  Are there any strange animals that live there that you have seen?

One time I saw a flock of weird birds. They were all white and stayed in a group. The strangest thing here are the birds to me. There are these birds called tijeretas that have super long, two-feathered tails. People have lots of ostriches here, too. 

                                         
Tijeretas are also called Frigate Birds.

12.  What was something you learned from your studies this week?

Honestly, I can´t remember a lot. This morning I was studying all of the rigged, illegal trials that Jesus had to go through before His Crucifixion. He faced all of His accusers with silent dignity. I pondered about how when we are put into situations like that we easily get contentious, and argue and fight when people falsely accuse us.  Not only did He remain calm but He had so much faith that death is not the end that He could face it without fear. We should all strive to have faith like His. He really is our Savior and perfect example.

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

Best thing? Ravioli with a super good sauce. Worst thing? Rice mayonesa tomato salad. 

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

I think transfers in general are just really funny. The whole week I was trying to stay super focused on working. So even though I felt like I was leaving I tried to tell myself that we would both be staying together here. My companion had a little bit more trouble. It was funny because at the beginning of the week she was sure I was leaving too, and then she wasn't so sure, and then on Saturday she felt like she was leaving! Transfers also stressed one Hermana (Burgos) out so much that she got sick! She really, really wanted to leave Pigue... and she didn't. She's still there. Then we got the call and we found out that I would be finishing the training of someone and it was even better. Hermana Antuñez is my step child (in mission terms).
When Hermana Peterson found out that my new companion is Hermana Antuñez, she went and talked to her about me. She told me that when she said that I was her companion a few transfers ago, Hermana Antuñez (can we call her Hermana Olives? It's easier to type) pulled up a chair and said, "Tell me everything I need to know." Very, very seriously. Hermana Peterson showed her the pictures of us with the pantyhose over our heads and Hna Olives was like, "I don't get it." And after seeing all the weird pictures of me and Hna 
Peterson then she said, "Does she work?"  So that night (my comp was sleeping when I got there so we didn't wake her up) Hna Peterson told me to help Hna Olives lighten up a bit. 

Hna Olives got her new nickname because when they called me they said my new companion would be, "Hermana Aceitunas" which translates to "Sister Olives." Then they said it correctly, but I couldn't remember the name right so I just remembered Aceitunas. I´ll be living with two other North Americans named Hermana Gomez and Hermana Long.

Thanks so much for the letter, mom! I love reading them and hearing everything about the family. I´m glad Christine made it home safely and that everything is going great! I love you all so much and I´m so happy to be a missionary. I sent a bunch of letters home, so let me know when you get them!
Love,Amy

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Snail Harvester



1.  How was your birthday?

Pretty good! Some investigators sang to me, last Monday Hna Sprenz made me a Swedish square cake, and my companion gave me two alfajores saying that I`m a "two alfajor companion" (Johnny Lingo reference), A member sang to me, another member gave me some body spray and lotion, and someone gave me a free bag. It's pretty sweet :). I don't feel super old or anything, but its nice to say I`m 20 - ha ha. Oh, and Hna Parreño (mission president's wife) called and sang happy birthday in English to me - hahaha

2.  Hermana Greene's mom sent me an email and asked if my daughter was the companion of her daughter and said she loved serving with you!  How is it going  with Hermana Greene?

Hna Greene is sooooooo chill. She's pretty funny, too, and I can tell that she really tries to do the right thing. She spoke Spanish before the mission, but she talks like a Mexican - hahaha - so I'm always trying to change her Spanish words to Castellano. She knows the scriptures super well, and we like to teach each other about all the laws and stories and things of the Gospel. I like it a lot, it's super interesting. She says she knows all this stuff because she paid attention in Seminary

3.  Last week you said you were missing waffles.  I remember you said that Argentines always asked about waffles.  What is so wonderful about waffles?  Ha ha!

They`re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, which is why they tell me they are great. I just miss syrup and yummy American food. 

4.  Have you been able to see any sights in Pigue?

Well, today if it doesn't rain we are going to this place called Cerro de la Cruz, which translates to "Hill of the Cross." There is a hike there that shows the life of Christ and his betrayal and it's really popular. It's free and short so we decided to go. I`ll take some pictures. On top of the hill is a giant cross that you can see from most of Pigue, so I decided to go. All the members think its funny that we want to go... ha ha.

5.  What was the most unusual thing you saw or experienced this week?

On the streets we stopped to talk to a woman who was harvesting snails (which are big here) and she showed us her bag filled with snails and told us she was going to eat them. 

We also saw a group of dogs kill another dog. That was sad...

6.  Now that it is summer, are there mosquitoes or other bugs there?  I guess you already told us about the flies... ha ha!

There are not a lot of mosquitoes here in Pigue, no, but in other areas there are tons! Like clouds of them from what people have told me.

7.  What was a spiritual thought you shared this week?

I shared about following the Spirit and how sometimes we forget just how precious the Gift of the Holy Ghost is. I talked about some personal experiences I had when the Spirit told me to say things or do things, but then I applied it to the members and how they need to focus on recognizing the promptings of the Spirit, because if we don't recognize those feelings they are easy to dismiss. 

8.  Tell us about someone you met with this week.

Well, we knocked a ton of doors, and one lady let us in her house and started talking to us. She suddenly asked us who we were after we walked in. She was waiting for some friends to stop by from France, and thought we were them because of our accents. So, once we were inside she realized that we weren't her friends. She was friendly, and kind of elderly. When we said we didn't believe in the Virgin she took three steps back. 

We also stopped by another house and the lady let us in, gave us a complete tour, and talked so much that we couldn't share anything. So, we ended up praying and leaving after what seemed like forever. 

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

This week we ate lots of Milanesa, which was yummy, and we had some hamburgers with ham and cheese, too, which was probably the best thing. The worst we had was some mashed potatoes that were so creamy that it was like eating gravy.  It was really good, but the texture was weird enough to make me not like it a ton...

10.  What was your biggest disappointment this week?

Our only investigator with a baptism date went to another pueblo (town) this weekend and didn't go to church, so her date fell through and now we have to start all over again. She was doing so good, too. 

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

 Well, I guess it's not super funny but our cell phones aren't working, so our leaders can`t call us at all. On the down side we can't make any calls at all, so we are stuck without any communication.

Here's some funny lines from the week:
"One minute we were walking and we were fine, and then we weren't fine, and everything was bad and I don't know what happened."  Hna Sprenz

Conversations:

Me: Look, this person doesn't have a saint in their shrine thing, they have a vase of flowers
Greene: Maybe its the ashes of a dead family member.
Me:... That's more awkward than a saint.

______________________________________________________________________

Me: My companion is the best at helping me with a breakdown. I get stressed out and she just tells me that I`m good and not to worry about it.

Other Hna: When I`m feeling down... well, the other day I was kinda upset and my companion lectured me for an hour about all the things I need to do to feel better and then in the end I was crying. She did it with good intentions ,and she was trying to help, but I was just feeling a little down.  When she was finished with me I was wondering if I even want to be a missionary...

_______________________________________________________________________

I love you so much!!  Be safe and thanks for writing.  Have a great week and you are always in my prayers!!! 

Love you!!!
Amy




Monday, January 12, 2015

Over the Hump!

9 Months on the Mission!


1.  Dad wants to know if you can see the stars better in Pigue than in Bahia?

Actually no. I could see a lot more in Bahia, and think it's because here there are street lights EVERYWHERE. In Bahia there were some places that were just pitch black.

2.  You said it was cold last week on New Year's Day.  Isn't it summer there?

Yeah, but the weather is crazy here. It's super hot now, but before it was cold enough for a jacket, haha. I miss those days. It's soooo hot during the siesta and NOBODY wants to talk when its hot...

3.  What is your favorite thing about the ward in Pigue?

I LOVE the branch here. I like listening to the testimonies of the members. A lot of these people are the original members here from when the Gospel first got to Pigue in the 1980s. They built the chapel here, they learned and they have seen SO many miracles. The faith of the members here is incredible, and I love talking to them, helping them, and just listening to them in their classes. It makes me happy to see them because I know that if they can be so strong after so many years then the people I help convert to the Gospel can be strong, too.

4.  What was something you learned this week in your studies?

This morning I was reading in Mormon in the Book of Mormon. He was general of the Nephites and they were pretty evil at this time, but then they got worse and started swearing and cursing the Lamanites and making oaths to avenge their dead.  Then Mormon said that he stopped leading them immediately. It made me think about life and how we sometimes find ourselves in situations where people are obviously doing bad stuff. Are we prepared, like Mormon, to leave the situation immediately when things get bad?  Or do we stick around because we`re afraid or we want to be accepted or things like that?

5.  What did you do with your Christmas money?

haven't spent it yet. I`m thinking about using it to either buy clothes or to buy something that can play music. We had to return the DVD player that I was using to play CDs to the mission office, so we`ve been music-less for a while now. I can`t seem to find a cheap, small something that plays music so I`m probably going to use it on clothes. 

6.  Did you knock on doors this week?  Tell us about someone you met.

We knocked some doors but we didn't have a lot of success. Here's a funny miracle story: we were looking for new investigators in the streets before lunch, and we went to our almuerzo (lunch)  but got there two minutes early. Since we can't just go early we need to keep working until we are out of time, so we started walking and I said, "It's just two minutes, does it even matter? We`ve been looking for 3 hours and we haven't found anyone, what difference is 2 minutes? Maybe we should just go to lunch early." And just then someone yelled "Chicas!" and  there was a guy on a bike.  He asked if we had knocked the door that he was standing in front of. Recognizing the miracle, we contacted him and made an appointment and he was a new investigator. It just goes to show that God tries our faith and that we need to keep putting our faith in Him and we will find miracles.

7.  How does it feel to reach your "over the hump day"?  You are now halfway done with your mission!

Weird. So so weird. The weirdest part was before I had less time on the mission than I had to wait to go home, and now I have more time on the mission than I have to wait to go home. I was doing the math, and in the next transfer I`m going to complete 10 and 11 months, and then 12 the next transfer after that, and once you get 12 months your mission is practically over... It goes sooo fast!!!!!! Oh, and its a tradition to take pregnant pictures for 9 months, so that's what all those pictures are. 

8.  You are having a birthday this week.  Do you have any birthday plans?

I think I might make me a cake or something, or maybe I`ll buy some ice cream. I mostly just plan to work, but the other Hermanas have been acting suspicious. It's probably my imagination, but I have my guard up for any kind of surprise just in case.

9.  Do Argentine's tend to have birthday cakes like we do here in the States?  Or do they celebrate birthdays in some other way?

They have cakes here too, but they don't have one cake, they have like 4, and the cakes here are super different. They have frosting on the outside, and then fruit and cream and dulce de leche in the middle layer, and the cake is either really dense or super, super moist. 

10.  Have you met many Argentine YSA's (young single adults) there?  I was wondering what life is like for them.  Do they have high school?  Do they then think of college?  Is it easy for them to find jobs?  You are a missionary so you might not know these things but I wanted to ask in case you do!

They kind of have high school, schooling is really complex here since everything is free, and I don't really understand the system. I`m glad college and stuff isn't free in the States. I don't know a lot of YSAs - they usually get married pretty fast or they are all on missions.

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

Ummm...We had a lot of asado this week, so that was super good. Also, I had a beet and mayonesa salad that was...interesting. It was hot pink from the beet juice - haha!

12.  If you could wave a magic wand and have any meal appear for your birthday, what would it be?

Chocolate chip waffles. Or blueberry waffles. Yeah, blueberry waffles. With syrup. Aw man... now my mouth is watering...

13.  What was the most challenging thing you faced this week?

The other Hermanas had a baptism this weekend, and we were kinda running some errands to help them prepare. Now, its a rule that if there is a baptism that's not for one of our investigators we can't go if we don't have an investigator there to watch. Since none of our investigators came we couldn't stay. But mom, just about EVERYONE was trying to get me to break that rule. One of the other Hnas begged me to stay. I explained the rule and she begged me to break it for her just this once. I said no, and then our branch president started trying to get me to stay, too. He talked to me like 5 times to try and get me to stay. They were trying everything "We need someone to play the piano, can you help with the refreshments, we need this, we need that". Finally I went outside, talked to my companion, prayed, and said,"Heavenly Father, we`re gonna stay, but if this is wrong let me know so that I don't do it." After the prayer I felt that I needed to leave, and they tried to convince me one last time and a member said, "Obedience is more important" to the people trying to convince me. I was so happy that member stuck up for me and I was also so ashamed that I almost broke a rule because of the tempting of other people. I almost forgot which way I faced, to use a General Conference quote. I`ll never do that again. So, that was tough.

(The quote is from the following talk by Elder Lynn G. Robbins.)

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

One of our investigators decided not to go to church anymore, so we started focusing less on baptism this week and more on helping him to get to church. We taught so much with the scriptures it was crazy. We read thing after thing and we passed for his house every day to help him keep coming to church. In the end he agreed that he needed to keep going to church, so our efforts paid off!! At least we could have that miracle!!!

 And a member gave me a mamushka  :)

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

I asked how I can be a better missionary for the branch and the president looked at me and said: "Cake."  (Um, yeah, we have no idea what that means! Ha ha!)

Also, there were a ton of flies in our house, and so these are some of the things that happened to get them out:
1. Me with a rolled up magazine. I killed maybe 5 flies with that.
2. The other Hermanas made a fly trap with old fruit and sugar and noodles and water in a bottle. It caught one fly.
3. I opened the door to the laundry room and got a broom and started swinging it around and yelling like a warrior. I herded like 20 flies into the laundry room with this tactic and shut the door. However, I forgot that the window to the bathroom was open into the laundry room, and as a consequence we had a bunch of flies in the bathroom. The whole day I heard things like "Great, there's ANOTHER FLY IN HERE!  WAY TO GO HNA EUBANKS!!!"

Do you have any tips for killing flies?

So a bunch of people wrote me this week for my birthday, thank you soooo much. I don't have time to respond to them all, but I read everything and I`m going to try and respond next week. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Also, I got a Christmas letter from Relief Society, the O's, and a bunch of letters from you, mom. I have both the Christmas cards now. I like the jokes. 

I love you so much! Thanks for the email and thanks for faithfully writing me for these nine months!! I hope you have a great week and eat some cake for me!  I`m sending letters home next week!!

Love,
Amy

Mamushkas!

Happy 9 months!

Translation:  Smoking Intoxicates Your Baby


Watermelon


Monday, January 5, 2015

I Like Huge Chickens



1.  Evan wants to know what type of foods they advertise in Argentina.  He did realize that you don't watch TV, but still wants to know if you've noticed any other type of advertising for food.

Ummmm.... Milanesas, ñoquis (these are gnocchi in Italian), and empanadas. That's about it. They mostly advertise asado, but it's so expensive that I ignore it - ha ha. There's not a lot of food advertisements here. But in Bahia there are some McDonald's advertisements.


McDonald's Ad in Argentina!

2.  Evan also wants to know if they sell M&M's in Argentina.

Yes, but not the the big packs with all the different kinds of variety like in the States. There are normal and peanut M&M's.


(Translation:  Meet the Characters:  Red, Yellow, Orange, Green and Blue,  simply Irresistable)

3.  How was New Year's in  Argentina?  Did you hear fireworks?

No, they cancelled the fireworks - ha ha - because it scares all the dogs. It was pretty good, but work wise it was terrible. Nobody wanted to talk at all. Everyone was either sleeping, drunk, hungover, or had all their family over. We basically knocked doors for 14 hours. It was cold, too! I had to bring a jacket and everything. I used tights! Hahaha - that was bad because I have all of my winter clothing packed for next winter. 

4.  How do you decide what spiritual thoughts you will share with members?  Do you choose a new one each week, or each month, or do you just sort of go with inspiration?

I go by inspiration. I try and stick to the things I`ve been studying and share personal experiences. That way I can help them connect more. What happens a lot is that one missionary will find a scripture and then share it with everyone, then their companion will do the same thing with the same scripture, so in the end everyone just ends up sharing all the same stuff and it's boring. When you share what you study or something you read that morning its more personal and more interesting.  You don't end up repeating yourself! I also always try and tell them that I know that the Church is true so that they can experience a testimony. I just try my best to strengthen everyone a little. 
 
5.  Did the Hermana in the other companionship in Pigue get a gringa companion?  You said she was hoping she didn't get a gringa companion.

She got a gringa, hahahah!  Her name is Hermana Sprenz.  She's got 6 months in the mission, so she's still pretty green. Hermana Sprenz is from Las Vegas, she's a really good artist, and we have a very similar sense of humor and style. It's kinda weird actually. 

6.  A member in your ward there is a Facebook friend of mine now.  He put a message on my wall the other day that said, "Just now was your daughter in my house. Tomorrow I upload photos".  And today he put up a picture of you with your companion and another Hermana lurking in the background.  (ha ha!)   What does he do in your ward?  He is so sweet to put up the picture!

He's our Ward Mission Leader, kinda.  We have 2 and both are assigned to the calling instead of being separate. He's also the Elder's Quorum President. They take care of us really well, making sure we always have bread and stuff. He told me he's been talking to you - hahaha.

7.  Last week you sent a picture of more chickens.  Was this at a members house or did you see them somewhere else?

Yeah, it was at a member's house. The chickens here are huge, so I like taking pictures of them. Is that weird?

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

Well, I fasted for some really specific things and I got my answer. I took a swing at the fast that Uncle Bobby did but I changed it a little. I decided to fast to know what shortcomings and mistakes I`m making. WOW, WAS I HIT BY HUMILITY! Turns out that I`ve been pretty prideful, selfish, and I blame other people a lot when it was really my fault. Obviously I`m not a terrible person, but I realized a lot of things that I could change, so that's wonderful. 

I also asked how to have more success in the mission and I received a lot of clear answers that I`ll explain in a letter because it takes forever to write. That was the most wonderful thing because I got a ton of awesome answers to my prayers. I`m super excited for this week so that I can put my new stuff into practice

(FYI - Uncle Bobby was inspired by this talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Lord, is it I?"  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/lord-is-it-i?lang=eng , to fast with the purpose of being able to see himself as he really is, not as he sees himself.  He was surprised by his answer.)

9.  I see you are getting tan.  Did you ever buy any sunscreen?


Nope! Hermana Peterson left me a bunch! muwhahahahahaha!

10.  What was the most challenging thing that you faced this week?


Working on New Year's Day. Not because I wanted a day off but because nobody wanted to talk at all. I had to keep up the positive attitude the whole time, too. But it's OK because all of that is over now. 

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


Lasagna was the best thing I ate! It was sooooooooo soooo soooooo good!!!!!! The worst thing, a lentil bean, tomato, egg, mayonesa salad with cold weird chicken stuff. Yeah, it was just wayyyy too much mayonesa....

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

Alright, first thing, yesterday someone answered the door naked. This isn't super uncommon. She had a towel wrapped around her. This lady is a member that we decided to visit since she's older and likes some companionship sometimes, so we passed and she answered the door in her towel. Then she let us in and talked in her towel for 45 minutes. At one point she went upstairs to find something and came back down still in her towel!

Also, we have this investigator who is kinda weird. All of the members kept telling us that he's a mago, which means wizard.  He said he is a hypnotist.

Also, in church yesterday one of the old ladies was giving out fireworks and fire crackers to all the 9 year old boys in the branch. How safe is that?

This was in my email to Amy this week:

Tonight we had some homemade pizza, and I had some hard-boiled eggs that I needed to do something with so I made deviled eggs.  I briefly considered slicing one and putting it on the pizza in your honor...

And this was her response:

I`ve started liking having hard-boiled eggs on pizzas now, hahaha. Yesterday we had a hard boiled egg, creamed corn, and cheese tart that was pretty good. Sounds weird doesn't it?

I love you all so much, and I hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks for all the letters!!! And thanks to everyone else for all the support!!!  Thanks for everything, mom!

Love,
Amy