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!!



Happy 9 months!

Translation:  Smoking Intoxicates Your Baby


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