Monday, May 25, 2015

More Morcilla

On the bus


1.  Do you know when you will be able to meet your new mission president - Presidente Cifuentes?

I imagine it will be the next time I have an interview, so in the middle of the month next transfer. It looks like we won't be seeing a big change or a switch or anything. I'm kinda interested to see if everything changes when he gets here or if everything just stays the same...

2.  You had some broccoli?  Are they still selling it or is it rare there?   And was it very expensive?

They're still selling it and its surprisingly cheap. The thing is that hardly anyone eats it, so its kinda hard to find and buy. We bought more today and we eat it with polenta, and cheese. 

3.  How was church this week?

Pretty good. Ricardo got confirmed :) So I'm happy about that. We learned about the Atonement and how it is for everyone. We also learned about the law of chastity. Can I just say that I have a HUGE testimony of that law. It is even bigger now that I'm out here and I've seen the consequences of breaking it.  It destroys lives and families. That really is an inspired law of God. All parts of it are inspired and very important. 

4.  Has it been sunny this week?

It has been sunny and rainy. It rained some but mostly at night. The other days it was very, very sunny. And now its finally cold. 

5.  Did you finally go shopping and buy some things?

We went today because there are some shoes I wanted to buy! But guess what? Today is a holiday and the store was closed! I've got to start buying stuff though because I'm gonna keep putting it off until the end and then not have any time to buy anything...

6.  How have you been feeling lately?  All healthy?

I've been fine.  My companion has been kinda sick, so I've been taking care of her and doing all I can to NOT GET SICK.

7.  What is something you learned at your district or zone meeting this week?

Wow... I've got to think back pretty far to answer that one... We talked a lot about our investigators and this past week we talked about doing fun contacts. Elder Chronister (not my district leader but he is in my district) talked about how we have to do fun contacts to have success. He is supposed to be one of the best ever at contacting, so he told us a story about when he decided to make contacting fun. He saw a guy on a motorcycle and went up to him, knocked on his helmet, and offered him a card. 

Well, contacting is tough for me so I meditated on it and then decided to put it into practice. We were walking and I saw a guy sitting on a bench, but he wasn't sitting on it normally, he was sitting on top of it, with his feet on the seat part. 

I went up to him and asked him what he was doing and he said, "No, don't waste time with me, I'm closer to God because I'm old.  I'm not going to change."  

I was determined so I said, "Well, duh, you're closer to God, you are sitting on top of the bench so you're higher up and closer to heaven!" 

So he said, "Well, I keep getting closer every day, too." 

And so I responded, "So tomorrow we'll walk by here and find you in a tree or something" (referring to the higher up thing). 

And so we all laughed and then he said, "Alright, I'll see you later."  And I was like, "Um, no, we haven't even shared our message with you! We aren't going anywhere. You're trying to get rid of us!" 

And he laughed and we got to teach him about the great apostasy! Being fun worked - ha ha. 

8.  Are transfers coming up soon?

They are this weekend. The only thing that would surprise me is if we BOTH left. Anything else could happen and probably will happen. But yeah, I'm not really counting down days or anything. I just want to work. 

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

Ricardo got baptized!! And confirmed! And in the baptism service and in sacrament meeting he asked if he could thank the congregation and everything, and thanked me by name (and forgot Hna Baldwin's name - ha ha). It was sweet but it just reminded me that this really isn't my work. He really has progressed a lot. It was so cute to see him all nervous for his interview, and then pass, and then get baptized, and then get the gift of the Holy Ghost, the best gift EVER. It has been a fun journey working with him and his family :) This church is so true, I hope everyone accepts this life and discovers the eternal joy that comes from living the commandments of God :)

10.  Any new or unusual foods this week?

I had WARM morcilla (blood sausage).  It was still not very tasty. It wasn't as bad as before, and I kinda mixed it with other things.  I tried to refuse, but my efforts were in vain. I didn't get away with only eating half of the sausage.  I feel bad because to them that's really good stuff but I can't seem to get myself to like it... 

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

Ok, so there is a wonderful sister in the ward here who always gives us a ton of frozen food. She gets the food free from her job, I think, so she gives it to us since she can never have us over for lunch. So, last night she gave us ten pounds of frozen french fries, and another ten pounds of potato-bacon-onion ball things, and a bunch of frozen hamburgers. 

So, we took it home and decided to pull a prank on the other Hnas since they didn't know we got it from the member.  We told them that since Monday is a holiday, we went ahead and bought lunch Sunday night since all the stores were closed. (FYI - Mormons try not to shop on Sunday due to Sunday being the Sabbath day.)

So, the prank was acting like we broke the Sabbath. One of the other Hnas freaked out - ha ha ha!  She was like, "Oh my gosh. Hermanas, did someone see you?! I cannot believe you did that!!!!! THAT'S ONE OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS!!! Are you guys crazy???" (Note that she said "you guys" and not "y'all" because she is from Utah) and  she couldn't stop freaking out for 15 mintues. 

So we decided to take the joke farther and say that a member (the member that gave us the food) saw us buy it.  So she freaks out even more. "You guys can't just break the Sabbath!! HOW ON EARTH DID YOU FORGET IT WAS SUNDAY????  WE PROBABLY JUST LOST ALL THE THE MEMBERS CONFIDENCE! IF THE MISSIONARIES CAN'T KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS HOW CAN WE EXPECT PEOPLE TO KEEP THEM WHEN WE TEACH THEM???" 

Then, finally, we told her the truth and she laughed and then said, "Yeah, looking back on it I realized that Hna Eubanks was acting way too calm."  And my companion made a comment about how I would probably spend at least thirty minutes repenting if I had been so disobedient like that. I have a reputation of being very, very obedient - ha ha! It's more of a gift now than a curse :)

Mom, I hope you had a WONDERFUL birthday. You look great! I love you so much! I don't want to stop being a missionary any time soon, but I do look forward to being able to finally have a real face-to-face conversation with you when I get back! I love you so much and you're a wonderful mother! The best mom in the world!!

Love you, 
Amy


It is getting cold here!


A picture of the Buenos Aires Temple




The bracelet the Kozak's sent me!

The package the Kozak's sent me!

Chocolate heaven!



Look - it's a horse!

Another horse!


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Southern Cross



1.  How was the temple dedication?

IT WAS SO AWESOME!!! Can I just say that Presidente Uchtdorf is so funny. He doesn't speak Spanish so a translator had to repeat everything he said after he said it. It was so spiritual to be there and watch. It was just like being in the temple. Every time a temple is built it weakens Satan's power on the earth. I was so, so happy that this country now has the strength of another temple. Elder Christofferson was there, too. He speaks Spanish very well.  During the whole cornerstone sealing they were making funny comments and stuff. It was great! And the Spirit was so strong in the dedication! Just about everyone cried. Except me. 

2.  I read that almost 1,000 Argentine youth participated in the Cultural Celebration before the temple dedication.  Are you in the Buenos Aires Temple district?  

I imagine so since we live in the Buenos Aires Province and the temple is fairly close (about 6 hours).  I almost got to watch the celebration, but my investigators didn't show up so I didn't get to go :(  but I heard it was great! 

3.  What will you remember the most about Presidente Parreño?


His calm attitude. There is so much confusion sometimes about what we should do, and we're all a bunch of children out here trying to do God's work the best we can and sometimes everything seems crazy, but Presidente Parreño puts everything in perspective and seems to always have the answer we need. I'll also never forget perception de los sagrado, or the perception of the sacred. How am I ever going to have dirty shoes again?

4.  Did the other hermanas get to skype with their families OK this week?  Did it make them too homesick? 


They did! We did divisions, Hna Leavitt and Baldwin talked to their families, and me and Hna Gomez went out and worked. Hna Gomez is a teaching pro, and we talked and taught so many people in our 1 hour and 30 minutes together. It was lovely. 

5.  Do a lot of people walk and jog for exercise there like they do in America?


 I would say its about the same amount. There are lazy and active people all over the world - haha. 

6.  What are some of the favorite things for people in Balcarce to do?


Eat postre balcarce, drink mate, climb the sierras, and go to the cerro (hill) to relax. Sometimes there are huge fairs in the weekends so lots of people go to those. Mostly they go to the sierras, though, and climb them and ride horses and stuff. 

7.  How was church this week?

We didn't have church, we just had the dedication of the temple. It wasn't stressful at all, though, because I didn't have to worry about investigators - haha!

8.  What was your favorite thing this week?


Well, this week on Tuesday they called us and told us that Hna Baldwin had tramitez. I did that my first transfer, but its basically when you go to Bahia Blanca and get legal. It involves waiting for hours in immigration centers and government buildings. So we got the call that we would be leaving Thursday to travel to Bahia and I thought "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" But we left anyway. One other Elder traveled with us - the other new gringo who came in with Hna Baldwin. 

So we traveled to Bahia, just the three of us. I was the Spanish speaker out of the group so I had to handle all of the bus rides and stuff - haha. Then, on Friday, my comp left to do the paper work and I got to stay with the Hermanas in area Villa Mitre.  I did divisions with Hermana Foster, and man, it was just what I needed. We only got to work together for 1 hour and 30 minutes, but I learned so much! She's a machine! A teaching, contacting, testifying machine!!  I had met her during Christmas when she only had 5 months, and now she's at ten months. She's from Utah, I think. 

We had a fun time and then I reunited with my comp and we left to got back to Mar del Plata. We got there at midnight and had another sleepover with the Hnas de Pompeya. It was a nice break of the normal and I consider it the best thing from this week .

9.  Did you buy anything new or different?

Well, not this week, but we did buy some spinach noodles that are actually pretty good. Oh, and we bought broccoli! I had not eaten broccoli in 13 months! It was sooooooo gooooddd! 

10.  What was the biggest challenge this week?


I've just been stressed out because we haven't been able to find any new investigators. Until yesterday we had zero for the whole week which is bad. The challenge was accepting that God tries our faith and we need to keep working as hard as we can even if we don't receive instant results.  Sunday night we found three people. It was a miracle for me after a week of nothing. 

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

The worst thing I ate was a chicken and mayonesa (mayonnaise) sandwich that I bought from the store. It was soggy and had too much mayonesa. The best thing...well, everything was good this week! I had some good bean soups and chicken :)

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


So when I was with Hna Foster we contacted a guy that just couldn't stop talking. So, finally we managed to teach him something and end the contact and we both stuck out our hands at the same time to shake his hand, so he grabbed both of our hands and put them together and shook them both at the same time. The he let go of her hand and grabbed mine, turned it over, and read my palm. Yeah, it was so weird...   He looked at it, pointed to some lines, and then said, "You are going to get married in less than 3 years."  We walked away and held in the laugh until we turned the corner. 

I also got a package from Sister and Brother Kozak filled with candy!!! And an awesome bracelet!! 

13.  Have you seen the Southern Cross yet?  Here is an illustration showing you how to find it.  Also, a picture of the Milky Way in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere.  Have you seen it?



Here is a picture of the Milky Way in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere:



I have seen the Southern Cross, I've been meaning to tell you!  When I was in a trio I asked some Latinas to teach me where it was and they showed me. I can see the Milky Way from here, too, but its not as clear as in that picture. But you can definitely see the milky white line part when its really dark. 

I love you! Have a wonderful week and thanks for the email! I'm going shopping today! Be safe! Byyyyeeee And I know this church is true! OK bye!

Amy

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Hermana Who Makes Lots of Comments



1.  Two words:  Horse pictures.

I am a failure. I don't usually think: I better bring my camera to take horse pictures. I think: I hope we find some new investigators today!  Next Sunday or Monday I'll take some for sure!!

2.  How far away is Cordoba from you?  I am thinking of the upcoming temple dedication.  I know you will see the dedication in Balcarce but was wondering how far away it is?  It is in a different mission there, right?

Yeah, it's a different mission. It's far enough for me to not know where it is. It's on the border of Chile, I think. 

3.  We loved skyping with you.   Did everyone get to skype with their families OK?

Me and Hna Gomez had the only normal skypes.  Hna Leavitt talked to Presidente and her and Hna Baldwin are going to be skyping next weekend since they had a ton of complications.  Seeing you guys doesn't make me sad or homesick or less focused, it actually makes me more excited to work. 

4.  Did you get money out of your account yet?  Do you want to buy anything fun?

No, not yet. I gotta buy stuff for you guys, some clothes, some shoes and maybe a bag or something. We'll see what I get when I have the money. I had no p-day so I couldn't buy anything. I got special permission to write you today since I couldn't write yesterday. 

5.  How was the zone conference?  Was it the last time to see Presidente?  (Note:  Mission Presidents, together with their wives, serve for a period of three years and Amy's President has about finished his three years.  She will be getting a new Mission President next month.)

Yes, it was the last time to see Presidente, and yes, it was VERY SAD. I took so many notes!! He talked to us about using our time wisely, letting the mission change us, and being obedient. He talked a lot about being our very best for the Lord, about the perception of the sacred and our roles as representatives of Christ. 

When the Assistants to the President talk I pay lots of attention to how they teach, too. They cold call someone to read a scripture, then without even looking cold call someone to explain what was read, and then someone else to explain what it means to them. I want to teach like them one day! 

Sometimes I think I make too many comments in the conferences.  I just get excited - haha. It's not hard to be "the Hna who makes lots of comments" considering that there were only 8 Hnas there. We also sang a musical number.

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

I got to see your faces :) and also Ricardo told us that he'd skip his basketball game to go to church and be baptized. For an 11 year old he seems to understand everything really clearly. The members love him. Our other investigator, Susana, came to church and said, "I feel really good here. I really like it." She hasn't accepted a date to be baptized, but she is studying and looking for her answer. These things make me happy because I can see the progress. 

7.  What was the most unpleasant thing that happened this week?

The sun has started going down early. Now its dark at 6:30. That's bad because everyone goes inside and goes to bed when its dark. Every time we knock a door they say, "Chicas! Why are you out so late?!" and we say, "It's only 7!" haha. But it's bad because it limits the things we can do. So we plan to visit members and strong investigators and stuff at night. All of our appointments are at night these days. I remember when Sister Madsen told me that 8:00 was a good time to make appointments. Now I know why. 

8.  Do people stay outside a lot in Balcarce?  How do you contact them - go to a town square type of thing, or do they sit on their porches, or do you just pass by them on the street?  And if it is on the street - where are they going?  Shopping?  Visiting friends?  Walking for exercise?

The answer to all of those questions are "Yes." We do all of those. We usually don't contact people who are exercising, though, but I've done it. People aren't usually in their own houses. In the States you can entertain yourself in your house all day, here there is nothing to do in your house mostly, so they are all outside. 

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

We've eaten a lot of fried things this week, haha, so I'm kinda done with oily food. We had some really good empanadas, though, and they weren't fried!

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

I can't really think of anything, but me and Hna Gomez "fight" a lot. We just come up with the dumbest arguments. It's out of humor more than anything. It goes like this:

Me:  I love you.
Hna Gomez:  I don't love you.
Me:  I didn't ask if you loved me.
Hna. Gomez:  Well I don't. 
Me:  That changes nothing.

and Hna Leavitt is like "I love you all!"

Sorry, I'll look for funnier things next week. 

Have a wonderful week, sorry this email was so boring. I'm kinda rushed since we're off to work after I send this. I love you so much and I look forward to reading your email. I'll try to take pictures of horses! Sorry there are no pictures, I literally took no photos this week. 

Love you!!!!!
Be safe!!!!!

Amy




Monday, May 4, 2015

Having Amazing Studies

Me and Hermana Baldwin

1.  So, where are my horse pictures?  Did you get close to any horses to take any pictures?

Ha ha - I haven't been around any horses with my camera yet, but I'll try to take some this week. I've gotten close to some horses, and one even wanted some attention and walked up to us and kinda followed us along the fence. 

2.  Any news about the Cordoba Temple dedication?  Will you get to attend in Balcarce?

YES!!!! I GET TO GO!!!! I don't know if I get to go to all 3 sessions (I want to) but we definitely get to go to the first one. 

My normal temple recommend works too :) Its been weird because we've been telling people NOT to go to church on the 17th of May instead of inviting everyone. I've been having temple cravings so I'm really excited to go. 

3.  How is Hna Baldwin settling in?

She says, "Ok. I unpacked pretty quick so I'm surprised about that." Overall she's been doing really good. She does what I ask, so I just have to be a perfect example all the time. She has all this fresh new knowledge about the work from the MTC, so I'm learning a ton from her. And she taught me how to cook Taiwanese food. 

4.  What new adventure did you have this week while out contacting?

Aw man, I got kicked out of a house! We spent the whole day contacting and NOBODY wanted to talk to us. So that night we walked in front of a house and my comp wanted to knock it so we did and they let us in! So I started talking to the people in there and asking questions and stuff and a man appeared and told us to leave. 

So I tried to convince him to let us stay and explained who we were and he told us to leave. Then he told us to leave again  so I decided not to push it and left. All that happened in 5 minutes. It was hilarious and a little discouraging at the same time. 

We finally had something that looked like success and it ended up being the biggest let down of all - ha ha! Missionaries are so weird, we just enter peoples' houses who we don't know and teach them a message that can change their lives. It's kinda fun. 

5.  Has it been raining all week?

 ...How did you know that? Yeah, its been cold and rainy this week, which is another reason why nobody wants to talk to us. There's no one in the street and if you knock doors they just tell you to go home. So we visited members and less actives and investigators that we already had. 

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

I've had some amazing studies this week. I can't really think of the best "thing," but I wanted to share with you the theme that I've been studying this week. It seems that studying the scriptures diligently has been popping up in everything I read. Every chapter in the Book of Mormon that I've read has talked about that, and lots of the lessons and classes in church talked about it. 

So this morning I found the theme again and meditated on what people had told me about their own experiences with studying the scriptures. One sister told me that she had a rebellious phase and it started when she stopped praying and reading the scriptures every day. 

A member who was less active for 7 years told us that she started going inactive when she stopped studying her scriptures. I mentioned this pattern to another sister and she said, "Hey, you're right! In all of my rebellious phases I started being bad because I stopped studying!" 

It's like everyone in their life has different phases. There are light phases and dark phases. Dark phases are when we live more in the world and aren't happy and aren't living the commandments as we should. Light phases are when you go to church and live the commandments and are happy. So it looks like scripture study and personal prayer determines how easy it is to stay in a light phase or not. If you stop studying you'll probably start falling into a dark phase. If you start studying and you're in a dark phase you'll get into a light phase. 

7.  I was reading about an Elder in your mission (Elder Driggs) who also had some morcilla (blood sausage).  He and his companion (Elder Donahoo) didn't care for it.  I did see someone comment that it should be eaten in a small bite along with another meat, and that it was good to accent the flavor of the other meat, but not so good to just eat by itself.  Have you heard of that?

No, the people here usually just eat it with bread. I guess it would be better to eat it with some kind of meat. The people think its weird that I can´t stand the idea of it. 

Them:  "It is not blood!" 
Me:  "Yes, it is!" 
Them:  "It is COOKED blood!" 

The taste itself isn't bad, but I still don't like eating it. But hey, if it means that I get to teach someone I´ll eat it - haha!

8.  Evan wants to know if you have had any weird desserts there.

Well, flan is kinda weird for an American. Here it's all about pudding and stuff. But there is a desert here called "postre balcarce" that is a thin layer of cake, dulce de leche, cream, meringue, some kind of nuts, and powdered sugar on the outside. It's really yummy. You should look up a photo or something. I've only had it once so I can't remember all the ingredients. 


http://www.sierrasdebalcarce.com.ar/comoantes/index.html

9.  Tell us about someone new you met this week.

We visited a less active family and it was someone's birthday so there were like 20 people in the house. But they love missionaries and so when we got in it was like "Everyone stop what you are doing! The missionaries are here and they want to share something! Get over here! Stop talking! Turn off the TV!" And I, Queen Eubanks, with my daughter, Princess Baldwin, (hee hee) taught a group of 20 less actives. I met a lot of people in that moment, but I can't remember their names. 

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

The familia Magaz gave us lunch just about every day this week, and everything was yummy. The best things I ate were chicken and potatoes, Milanesa, and lasagna :) 

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

My funny things are really answered in question 9, but also this week because of all the rain some of the streets were completely flooded. So we wanted to visit someone but we couldn't cross because of all the water, and this time a pioneer "river-crossing thing" wouldn't work since my rain boots are cracked now and water gets inside. However, I was pretty determined to visit this family, so we managed to find a very skinny wooden beam that connected one part of the street to another and we used it like a balance beam to get across. 

And my investigator, Ricardo, has been teaching me how to beat box. He's 11 years old and he's really into that, so he's been teaching us everything. So that's fun -haha.

I'm out of time now! I love you so much! Be safe!!!  See you later! When we Skype!

Love
Amy

Hna Leavitt and all her scarves!

Stalker pictures of the other Hermanas!