Monday, April 27, 2015

I Know More Spanish Than I Thought



1.  What was it like to travel back to Bahia Blanca to get your new companion?

It was like going home after a long vacation. I was so happy to see Bahia again. I took a bus from Mar del Plata to Bahia at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday and I got there at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. I got off the bus and there were two elders waiting for us. Since I was the only sister that traveled, they put me in a taxi and told the driver where I would be going. The taxi guy took me to a bunch of apartments where two hermanas, Hermanas Ruiz and Risser were waiting for me outside. So I waited in their apartment with two other hermanas that were training until 7:30. Then they sent me to the mission office where we waited 3 more hours, ate facturas, and talked until the assistants and president talked to us about training. I knew just about every sister and every person I saw in the mission office and everything. It was all so familiar, I loved it.

2.  Tell us about your new companion!

Her name is Hna Baldwin. Ten missionaries entered the mission this transfer. 5 elders and 5 sisters, and out of the 10 there was one gringa hermana and one gringo elder. So I thought "Yeah, I'm getting a latina," but no, I got the only gringa. But its cool because I'm liking the stuff I'm learning from teaching a gringa. She's from California, she's 25 years old, lived in Taiwan for a year, is tall and blonde and has blue eyes. She doesn't speak a lot of Spanish hahaha but its OK because it turns out that I know more Spanish than I thought. She's very relaxed and isn't afraid to talk to the people here. She learns very fast. 

3.  How has training been going so far?

Weird. I didn't realize I could talk so much, and I've never talked so much in lessons and stuff before. We have two extra hours of studies, so our day is really, really short. We start working at 12, and then eat lunch, and then we have no time to get everything done in the day! I'm learning a ton, plus she brought all her new missionary knowledge from the MTC with her, so I'm learning a lot from that. 

4.  Is training a new missionary reminding you of your days as a new missionary?

Yeah. But in turn it kind of constantly reminds me about how little time I have left and that freaks me out. 

5.  I noticed that in many pictures you send, as well as pictures that I see of other missionaries serving in Argentina, that often the "thumbs up" sign is being given.  Is that an Argentine thing or a missionary thing?

Its a missionary thing, since you can't put your arm around guys or anything, so you do a thumbs up to make it look less awkward - hahaha!

6.  Hermana Antuña always had beautiful fingernails in her pictures.  How did she keep them looking so good?

I've been asking that my whole 2 transfers with her! Man, I miss that woman. She would paint them once a week, and she always has them long and polished. When I asked her what she feels like is her most perfect physical feature she said her nails.

7.  I read (on Hermana Long's blog) that the new temple in Cordoba, Argentina will be dedicated soon and that they are going to broadcast the dedication.  Have you been hearing about this in Balcarce?

Yes I have, and I really, really, really hope that I get to go to the dedication!!!! Everyone has been talking about it and they're going to broadcast it here in Balcarce too. 

The new Cordoba Temple

8.  What was your biggest challenge this week?

I think the biggest challenge... well, now I can see all of my flaws. I don't have another experienced companion to pick up my slack, or to notice my mistakes and help me fix them. I have to do EVERYTHING. If I don't make the appointment we don't have appointments. If I don't start teaching we won't teach. If I don't say "contact that person" or contact them myself then we have no contacts. 

Also, another big challenge is that I was sleep deprived the whole week, ha ha, so try working all day when you're super sleepy when you're a missionary.  But now we're all caught up on sleep and wonderful.

9.  What gave you the most satisfaction this week?

Presidente gave us a challenge. He told us last Monday to live the week perfectly. For 7 days don't complain, criticize, be lazy, or anything that's bad. So I took the challenge to heart and tried my hardest not to complain, talk bad or say anything bad about people, and I tried my best to look for the good in everyone.  I feel wonderful, and I want to keep doing this my whole life. I challenge everyone who reads this to do the same. Live 7 days perfectly. I felt a lot of satisfaction from trying to take up this challenge. 

10.  What was the best thing you ate this week?

Well, everything was delicious this week, but the best thing was some really well seasoned milanesas. It was what I had been hoping to eat that day so it hit the spot. 

I have a gross food story. So we contacted a butcher shop owner, and we visited his shop to try and teach him something. To start up a conversation I pointed to some of the food he was selling and asked some questions, and then I noticed that he had some blood sausage and showed my companion and explained what it was. Well, he thought that I wanted some. So, he pulled out the blood sausage and cut off a sample and gave it to me to eat right then and there. Well, I really wanted him to be an investigator, so I ate blood AGAIN. Then I told him that it was good (and it wasn't bad but I can't get over the whole "chewing blood" thing) so he gave us even more for free! So, yeah, we ate a pretty decent amount of blood sausage and then left.

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

Well, last Monday we had to take pictures of our house and send them to the mission office. So I took the pictures and put them in the email, but I couldn't find the email of the elder in charge of all that stuff. So I found his original email that he sent asking us to send the pictures, clicked reply, and then sent the photos and explained some stuff about the house. What I didn't realize is that he sent the same email to everyone, and when I clicked reply and sent the pictures I accidentally sent my email to EVERY SINGLE MISSIONARY IN THE MISSION. So today I received some replies:

(We're technically not supposed to email each other in the
mission. I don't think they realized that they weren't
supposed to reply.)

Hermana M: Hermana Eubanks... Solo para que sepa, creo que
envió todas de sus fotos a todos.Le quiero! Tenga una buena semana
(Just so you know you sent this to everyone. I love you have a great week.)

Elder B:  Hermana mando el mail al Elder equivocado, yo soy
Elder B, revise la dirección del correo y mándelo al Elder Morales
(You messed up and sent this to everyone. Send it to Elder Morales)

Hermana S:  Hermana Eubanks you wrote to every single person
in the mission hahahaha!

And I´m not even the only person who messed up, at least 3 other
 people sent photos of their house to the whole mission, too, ha ha.

So yeah. That's the funniest thing from this week. Hermana Leavitt and
Hermana Gomez laughed so hard they almost cried when they found out what happened. I did divisions with the hermanas in Pompeya and we talked about our first names. I asked theirs and they told me that they already knew mine
from the email. Every missionary noticed - hahaha!

Also, this is how my traveling stuff went. I stayed in a trio with Hermanas
Gomez and Leavitt, and then on Tuesday after district meeting I stayed with
Hermanas Tarborda and Palma (de Colombia and Chile) in Pompeya in
Mar del Plata. Then at 10:30 they left me at the bus terminal. Then I
 traveled and got my companion Wednesday at 11 am. 

We took a bus to Mar de Plata at 5:15 pm, and we got to Pompeya at midnight. So we slept in the apartment of Hermanas Tarborda and Palma, and then left and
 took another bus to Balcarce at 8:30 the next morning on Thursday.

That's all I got and all the time I have! I love you and thank you for the
email! 

I love you and I´m excited to see you for Mother's Day!

Have a wonderful week, be safe, have faith, I know this church is true. I love you! byyyyyeeeeee

Amy


Monday, April 20, 2015

I'm Kinda Famous?

Saying goodbye at the bus station


1.  Did you or your companion get transferred or are you still in Balcarce?

Hermana Antuña was sent to LA PAMPA. Yup, she traveled all night. I don't have a companion yet.....BECAUSE I´M TRAINING A NEW MISSIONARY!!! Yeah, I have no idea if she's gonna be Latina, or gringa, or anything. I'll know Wednesday. I get to travel to Bahia Blanca to look for her. Right now I'm in a temporary trio with Hna Gomez and Hna Leavitt. 

And I´m kinda nervous. 

2.  Did you know your blog has now had 4,189 page views?  (This is how many times someone has clicked on your blog.  It doesn't mean that they actually read it.)  What do you think about that?

That's a lot, kinda...not really ha ha. Hahaha, so I´m basically famous right? Famous until the end of my mission, that is. Do any of the people who read the blog have questions for me? 

3.  You said last week that you had big plans this week to find new investigators.  How did the week go?

Well, we found 13 investigators, and so far 3 of them have let us into their house when we visited them. To find an investigator we usually stop someone in the street, talk to them, teach them something and we get to know them a little, and then ask if we can visit them in their home. Then, we schedule an appointment and look for their house when we have the appointment. Sometimes the address is false, or sometimes they aren't home, but a few people were there and listened to our message. 

4.  Last week you said you stepped in bird poop.  Is that something that is all over the place or was it just bad luck?

That was just bad luck. It's dog poop that's all over the place. You've got to watch out any time you walk in grass. It's also kinda funny because typically you can see a dog using the bathroom everywhere you look here. It's not even gross anymore it is so common for me.

5.  Can you take some pictures of the horses you see there?

Sure, if you want. Hahaha - next week I should have a bunch of horse pictures

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

I think it was when our investigator Miguel came to church. He called us the night before and told us that he wasn't going to be able to come, but then he came anyway. To me it showed his real desire to go and see and learn. 

The members reported that he kinda of got a little emotional in the first reunion (Priesthood class) and he participated in the gospel principles class (I was there for that one). He had to go home before the sacrament meeting because someone in his family was sick or something like that. He also told us that he is reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning. He is a very sincere investigator.

7.  Has it been getting cold there yet?  Have you needed the Thermaskins yet?

Yes, it is getting cold. I don't need the Thermaskins out of the house yet, but I've been using them to sleep in and I've started sleeping in my sleeping bag again because its the warmest. 

8.  What is something good that happened at church this week?

We had ward conference, and the day before the stake people came and did divisions and visited a ton of less active members to invite them to the meeting. 

We had 147 people in church, in total. Mom, that is a HUGE number for Argentina. 147 children of God came and renewed their baptismal covenants! Hopefully 147 people came and felt the Spirit, and not one of them was an investigator. 

I told my leader de Districto (district leader) and he was speechless. He asked me about it and how I felt about that and I told him that it made me very happy. 

9.  What is the most interesting thing you learned this week?

I learned why I haven't been having a bunch of success lately. I was walking the streets with my companion and I realized that I was walking without a purpose. I had a whole list of people that day to visit and not a single visit was with a purpose. I learned that I needed to plan my day with my purpose in mind for every person that I write down. I've decided that I'm going to plan better, and every person that I visit will be part of a plan to help someone come unto Christ, whether it is by baptism, reactivation, or helping them stay firm in the faith. 

10.  Did you buy anything unusual at the store this week?

Ummm.... cheddar cheese, which is very unusual. It wasn't even that expensive - haha.  Cheddar isn't really popular here. The most popular is cremosa. I have no idea what kind of cheese that is in English. 

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

I had some super delicious canalones this week. I either like canalones a lot, or they make me feel kinda sick and I don't like them. So if I say they were good it's because they were really, really good. There wasn't anything really gross this week. We ate good :)

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

Well, its not super funny, but we had a surprise trip to the hospital this week, because....I was sick! Yeah, I talked to Hna Parreño about a health problem that I had been having and she told me to go to a doctor. Well, I lost my Argentina ID card, so going to the hospital is kinda complicated. But we went with a copy of my passport and prayed that they would let us through. We went Tuesday, in the morning,  and waited and waited and waited and they told me that I had a bladder infection. The conversation went like this:

Doctor: Vejiga esta hinchada.
Me:( in my mind) Vejiga.....oh man....what is that? I know that word...Vejiga...ooooh.... bladder!! My bladder is swollen! Great....

It was kinda funny because I'm pretty foreign. They gave me some pills, and I guess every member in the ward was sick that day so that they could see me in the hospital because a bunch of members were also there in the hospital. 

But I'm good now, I think all the juice here gave me the infection. I'm taking some antibiotics and I'm good now. 

I'm looking forward to reading your letter! Thanks so much for everything and for always writing me so faithfully! I love you a lot mom and I'm really excited to talk to you on Mother's Day!!!

Be safe! I know that we're in God's hands! Oh, I just remembered. I had interviews with President and I asked him for a blessing for comfort about the situation with yáll and Dad's job. In the blessing Heavenly Father reminded me that He promised to talk care of yáll on my mission. It was a big comfort. Do you have a copy of my blessing when I was set apart? Can you send it to me? I lost the original copy. 

Thanks!

Love you!

Amy

Hermana Antuña, Me, Hermana Gomez and Hermana Leavitt


Hermana Antuña with the cute turtle you sent me



Pictures in our apartment













Monday, April 13, 2015

I Keep Tripping



1.  How has your week been overall?

Pretty lame. I've come to the conclusion that this next week I need to work harder. I dropped just about all of our investigators and I feel like we wasted a bit too much time with people who really aren't progressing. So I feel bad and I've made a list of things that I can do to improve. This next week is gonna be awesome, we have a lot of big plans!

2.  What was something challenging for you this week?

Talking to people, or, looking for people. This week there weren't really many people in the streets, and we knocked some doors but nobody answered, so we had trouble making ourselves do it. We talked a bit too much about stupid things in the street instead of constantly looking, like we should have been. It was a challenge to overcome the "natural man" inside me that doesn't want to talk to people. We did find lots of investigators when we were focused, but I feel like we could have been a bit more focused...

3.  What impressed you this week in your studies?

That Nephi (in the Book of Mormon) understands everything that Isaiah says. I just finished that part of the Book of Mormon, and I was crazy confused. 

I also studied a lot about how to extend invitations and a lot about love and charity. One of my companions loved a scripture that says "Perfect love casts out all fear," and after studying that a bit I think I understand that a lot more. A perfect love for God will drive away all fear we have of men or of the world. 

Presidente gave us homework last week by asking "How do you speed up the work of salvation in yourself?"  So I studied charity because of that. God loves us and made His plan to save us, and to help other people come unto salvation I have to love them like God loves them. How would you answer that question?

4.  What was the most useful Spanish word or phrase you learned this week?

"Pisar," which means to "to step on," which was great considering that this week I stepped in bird poop and lots of mud and nasty street water... Also "charco" which is "puddle". 

5.  Who helped you the most this week?

All of the members that let us do service for them. One let us clean out her garden, and some others let us wash their dishes. I think as people we all need to serve each other. Also, my companion shined all of my shoes this week, so that was really nice because it saved me a lot of time. 

6.  Tell us about a time when the Spirit touched you this week.

This week we contacted a family and they decided to let us stop by later. So when our appointment came, guess what? We were so excited that God gave us a family to teach that we forgot to write down the address!  ha ha! So we looked for about 15 minutes and we didn't find them, and then we prayed and found the house very shortly afterwards. 

We knocked on the door and nobody answered...so we waited... and then the dad of the family answered the door. He explained that his wife doesn't want us to pass anymore, that she doesn't really like missionaries. He said that she agreed to let us stop by because "of the light that we had." That's when I started feeling the Spirit very strongly. Both me and my companion felt like we needed to give him a Book of Mormon. 

We started talking and he told us about himself and then he asked if we usually work in that area or if we'd visited before. When we said "No," he paused and said, "Well...call me crazy, but I think I saw you two in a dream."  Did he really see us in a dream? Yeah, who knows, but there are a ton of people out here that I've met who were converted because of dreams. So, we left him a Book of Mormon and he promised to read, and we have another appointment tomorrow. The Spirit was very strong in our brief meeting, so I believe that something will come out of this!

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

A lot of people gave us "pollo de horno," which is chicken that is cooked in an oven until it's done. It was sooooooooo goooooddd. And they gave us home made french fries which were super good, too. 

The worst thing? There wasn't really anything bad, but we had a lasagna that wasn't super great (I hope I spelled that right, I had to think of the lobster bisque guy and how he says it to spell it right - ha ha) but it was still good. 

Note:  If you are wondering about the lobster bisque guy, check out these videos from Studio C:

The original Lobster Bisque sketch:

How he says lasagna (around 5:00):

8.  If you do get transferred, how long do you have between when you are notified and when you leave?

They call us Saturday at night, usually around 10, then you spend the whole night packing and leave after church Sunday. Here it looks like we have to catch a bus to leave Balcarce at 2:00,  and church ends at 12:30.  So I always buy extra food to bring with me for lunch in case I have to be transferred. Yeah, there's no time to say goodbye, you just kinda disappear and hope your investigators and converts come to church.

9.  Have you heard of any areas in the mission that sound interesting and that you would like to see?

I think it would be cool to go to Viedma, which is the zone most south in the mission, and Tandil is supposed to be super pretty. One of the Mar del Plata areas would be neat, or maybe Trenque Lauquen. 

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

Well, I don't know if it's funny, and I can't really think of anything specific, but I trip maybe 8 times a day, every day of the week. The ground here is never level, so I have an excuse, but my comp and the other hermanas and everyone else knows that I can't seem to walk normally because I keep tripping everywhere. I trip so much that it's not even embarrassing. Well, it's more like stumbling, actually. I've only fallen on the ground once and that was transfers ago - haha.


Thanks for the emails. I'm shocked that Alan wrote me hahaha but hey, that's awesome. I hope the move went well and I hope everything works out with Dad finding a job BEFORE I get home - hee hee. I love you all so much, and I can't believe that we moved back to good ole Georgia. 

Thanks for the letters, and please thank all the people who helped with the move. I kinda teared up when I read that part in the email :) 

Love you so much!!!
Amy



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

One Year on the Mission

I like General Conference!

1.  Were there any special Easter services there last week?

 Nope, nothing really important happened here for Easter.

2.  You said you were going to watch General Conference in Spanish.  How did that go?  How was your comprehension?

It was good. I understood a lot more than the last time. It was kinda interesting  because at some parts the translators got all emotional and one even started crying. So, he is translating and crying, and it made everyone watching cry (Except me - I can't seem to cry during these things). Also, some of these translators speak with a LOT of passion. It's kind of funny to listen to, but it's cool because they transmit a lot of power. There were subtitles in English (I'm not sure why...) so if there was something I didn't understand I could just read the words. The two guys who spoke in Spanish I could understand. 

3.  What all was in the empanadas you sent pictures of last week?  Obviously some type of meat, but what else?  Were there eggs or vegetables?

There were hard boiled eggs, of course, and onions, and I think some cooked bell peppers.

4.  When are transfers?

Not this weekend, but the next weekend. I have no idea what's going to happen, but I wouldn't be surprised if we stayed together again. Honestly, nothing would surprise me at this point. I don't even care what happens - haha!  I'm good either way!

5.  Can you believe you have now been on your mission for a whole year????

The only thing that comes to my mind is how Hna Pinnock completed a year when she was with me. I feel like we were companions just the other month, but know it's been almost a year now. I remember thinking, "Why are old missionaries so panicky about how much time they have left?" and now I understand. Because it's too weird how fast everything goes!!  6 months is just 4 transfers! That's not even cool! 

6.  Do you ever miss music from home?

Yeah, mostly classical music. I guess this is what it would be like to be a convert and give up drinking or smoking or something. You miss it but know it's better without it. I do miss music, but I don't long for it, you know? I feel like listening to whatever song I wanted before the mission was some kind of dream. I feel like my whole life before my mission is a dream, actually - hahaha.

7.  What was something that impressed you from General Conference?

The Sunday morning session. It was SUUUUPER GOOD. I liked the French Bishop, Caussé, Elder Holland, and Presidente Utchdorf. I also like the talk about the music, the "stay by the tree and stay awake" talk, and yeah, I just liked everything. And 3 new temples. woo hoo!!!

8.  What was your favorite experience of the week?

Ok, it's not really my experience, but its a really good one. The other Hnas, Hna Gomez and Leavitt, were teaching a huge family. Then suddenly, they stopped answering the door and stopped answering the phone and they were only able to communicate with the 27 year old daughter of this family. 

Anyways, on Friday they visited one of the sons of this family and the wife answered the door and said they they shouldn't pass anymore. The family had called a preacher from another church and asked what the Mormons are like and the preacher said a bunch of bad stuff, and then it turns out that this whole family was basically against everything. 

So, when they got home they told us what happened and were really, really upset. But the daughter went to general conference on Saturday. At the end of conference she talked to the other Hnas and told them that she's been reading the Book of Mormon and knows it's true, and that during conference she felt very strongly that she needs to be baptized and that this is the true church. She said that her whole family is against her, and that they've been all over her trying to get her to stop listening to the discussions. But now she is committed and is going to be baptized! I very happy for her and the other Hnas!

9.  How often do you see your mission president?

Maybe once a transfer. I've talked to him on the phone twice this transfer hahaha so that's weird. I didn't see him this transfer. 

10.  Is it hard to talk on the phone in Spanish?

Not as hard as it used to be, but I still don't like talking on the phone. Not so much because its Spanish, but because there is a bad signal and I don't like to have long conversations on the phone, so when I call it's usually very short and to the point, and then I feel bad because I didn't have a long conversation or anything. 

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

This week we didn't have hardly any almuerzos (lunches) - we just ate frozen french fries, tortas fritas, pancakes, and noodles with what ever kind of seasoning we had. And rice. Gross. 

The best thing was a cupcake that someone gave me. It was super yummy, and had the best frosting ever!!! One of the two almuerzos that we did have was noodles with a mix of white sauce with onions and a red tomato sauce and it was really, really good. And the familia Magaz made pastel de papas, and that was super good, too, since it's one of my favorite things to eat. 

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

So this morning we were having our companionship study and something huge fell from Hna Antuñas hair and got caught in another part of her hair. We had a conversation like this:

Me: Whoa, what just got caught in your hair?
Her: Oh no, I can't look, pull it out, is it a bug? PULL IT OUT!!
Me: No, I don't know what it is!!
Her:PULL IT OUT PULL IT OUT!!!!  AHH AHHHAHHHH!!!
Me (realizing what it was): NO! I´M NOT GONNA PULL IT OUT! 
Her: WHY NOT!? (STANDING UP AND LEANING TOWARDS ME) HERMANA PLEASE! PULL IT OU!!! PULL IT OUT!! HELP ME!!!
Me: No. 
Her: WHY NOT????
Me: Because I know what it is.
Her (Calming down a little): Oh, what is it? Is it a bug?
Me: No. 

It was an earring. Mom, my comp totally freaked out. After this conversation she sat down and said, "Let's just forget that this happened and not talk about this again."

I miss you and I hope the move went well. 

I hope you have a wonderful week, enjoy conference, and know that I love you and that I know this church is true!

Love,
Amy