Monday, July 27, 2015

Eat Some Fruits and Vegetables!

1.  Have you had any success this week with finding people to teach?

Kinda. We're teaching this atheist guy and a super Catholic guy, but we haven't had any success other than that. Right now its mostly just a religious debate and exchange in philosophies, so I would say that no, we still haven't found anyone to teach...

2.  Are you the only missionaries serving in your ward/branch?

Well, thanks to emergency transfers, no. Two weeks ago we were the only two missionaries in the branch. But we had more emergency transfers. Now there are 4 hermanas in La Falda: me and Hermana Snyder, Hna Child and Hna Santos. Hermana Hall got sent to live somewhere else and is now companions with Hna Sprenz, who I lived with in Pigue. I was kinda sad that they kicked Hna Hall out because we were becoming friends, but there is no room at all for 6 Hermanas in our house so it was for the best.

3.  What is your apartment like?  Is it in a building with lots of floors or is it in a small building?

Its the second floor of a small two floored building. It is small, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and the kitchen and study place is all in the same room. We have a super nice view of Bahia from our window, and we also have a super sensitive smoke alarm that goes off every day at least twice. We have to turn off the power to turn it off.

4.  Dad wants to know if they sell milk in milk jugs or in boxes?

Neither, they sell it in bags. Liter bags of milk. I just realized how used I am to that. I save oatmeal boxes and put my milk bag in that to be able to pour it in cups and stuff.

5.  You said last week that you can no longer drink maté cocido.  Is that different from just plain maté?  And is maté something you liked drinking?

OK, maté is like herbs in a cup with a metal straw. You fill the cup with water and then drink it. Maté cocido is like a tea sack with maté in it, so you just put some water in a cup and put the sack in the cup and then your there. And you don't pass around maté cocido like you do with normal maté, everyone just drinks their own maté cocido.

6.  Do church buildings there typically have a gym in them like they do in the States?

No, they have a football field and basketball court outside behind the church. Our churches are known for that here. Everyone knows the church with the football field, and by football I mean soccer.

7.  Do you know what are some of the occupations of people in La Falda?

It seems like everyone I meet here is a doctor. That or they take care of old people. There must be tons of old people here since it seems like everyone works doing that. I've met lots of nurses here, too.

8.  Tell us about someone in your ward/branch.

Hna Costa is a member here in the branch who inspires me. She is the seminary teacher, and the first counselor in Relief Society, and she has only been in this branch for about a year. She found the gospel in 2001 and converted. She said that in this gospel she doesn't feel constantly guilty, and before she was always going to lots of different churches. She tries her hardest to share the gospel, and is a very, very reliable member. On top of that she always feeds us healthy things, which is wonderful.

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

My interview with Presidente. It was funny, but so spiritual that I was tired for two whole days after it - ha ha. I got to get to know him and his wife really, really well. Also, it was pretty awesome to see Hna Sprenz again. She is a friend :).  We're all going on a hike today to be able to hang out and have fun so I'm looking forward to that.

10.  What did you eat this week?

Well, lots of fruits and vegetables. Hna Cifuentes said, "You guys only seem to eat bread, noodles, and meat. Eat some fruits and vegetables!"  Someone gave me a beet and hard boiled egg salad, and someone else gave us hamburgers, that was great :)

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

I did divisions again this week! This time I left my area and worked in Villa Mitre 1st, which is Hna Hall and Hna Sprenz's area. I worked there with Hna Santos for a day because they had 8 appointments, but Hna Hall wasn't going to be in that area that day and they needed help, so Hna Santos stayed her last day in that area and I went with her. Hna Child and Hna Snyder wanted to have one more day together, so I went with Hna Santos instead of Hna Child going with her. It was nice to get out of the area and just do some normal work.

I love you a lot! I've got a lot to read today! Thanks for everything and thanks for being a great mom - Seriously, I win the missionary mom contest :)


Monday, July 20, 2015

This Winter Feels Warmer

1.  Hermana Saunders' mom sent me a picture of you two together.  When did you get to see her?

I saw Hna Saunders when we said good-bye to Presidente. They combined the zones Villa Mitre and Bahia to say good-bye to him, so I got to see her and a whole bunch of other people in that one moment. She is in the other zone, but in the area next to mine, I think. La Falda is my area, hers is Pueyrredon.

2.  How is your trio going?  Do you think you will all be together for the entire transfer?

Trios are always a little bit of a challenge, but I love my companions.  We will be together the whole transfer. 

3.  Does Hna Snyder play the piano?  You mentioned last week that you would be playing in church unless Hna Snyder could play.

She does not, therefore I am playing the piano. And I did it, ha ha ha, I played the hymns in church. It was terrible, but it had been so long since they had a piano that they loved it. Almost every member commented on it and told me to practice for all the other Sundays and to keep it up. I regret not learning hymns before my mission...

4.  You said Hna Snyder was called to be the mission health specialist - what does she do?

Nothing. She says that Hna Parreño basically fulfilled that job so she just has to work like a normal missionary.

5.  This weekend was the weekend before Pioneer Day so we had some talks about pioneers and sang some of the pioneer-type hymns like "Come, Come Ye Saints."  Was there anything mentioned there about the pioneers?

Yes, Come Come Ye Saints was one of the songs that I had to play on the piano, ha ha ha. But its not a huge deal out here. There was just one talk on it Sunday, and it was a five minute talk.

6.  Did you have more success this week than you did the week before?

No. Hna Hall asked, "Do you have people coming to church?" and I said, "Hermana, we don't even have investigators," which I guess is kind of a faithless answer.

7.  Evan wants to know what sort of ice cream flavors they have there, and if you have seen any strange flavors?

There are lots of ice cream flavors with alcohol, and chocolate candies with alcohol. That is the weirdest thing. And there are dulce de leche flavored everything in ice cream shops. I still prefer chocolate. Someone gave me one of those alcohol chocolates in a church meeting once and I didn't know that it had alcohol in it, and I ate it all. Ha ha ha - that is how I learned about that.

8.  Now that you are in your second winter in Argentina, do you think you are more used to the winter there?

I feel like it is warmer this winter, and that I am more prepared and used to it. I love the wind resistant trench coat that I have. And boots were a really good idea.

9.  Was it hard to adjust to going to the southern hemisphere at first?  Since the seasons are different and even the stars are different.

Its all kind of weird. It was really weird in the beginning. Christmas in the heat and all. But now I feel very comfortable with it. I thought about it the other day, as we were walking in the street at night and it hit me that there was nothing even remotely weird about being in the street in the dark at 8 in Argentina. Everything looked normal and felt normal for me. I can find my way around everywhere here and survive if I need to. How weird is that?

10.  What sort of food did you have this week?

For the first time in who knows how long, the missionaries in the Falda had lunch every single day this week! The best thing was polenta with sauce. It was soooooo gooooodd. And it hit the spot!

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

I got to go on divisions with BOTH the hermana entrenadoras. Oops, sister training leaders, I guess is their name in English. Tuesday they told us that we would be having divisions last week, and then that same day they asked me to do an emergency division with Hna Kroska since she didn't have a companion that day ( she was going to train a new hermana and she didn't have one yet) and then Friday I got to do divisions with Hna Hall, who I live with. The advice that they gave me was like this: Hermana Kroska said, "Hermana, just take some time for yourself and study the scriptures. You need to study them hard this week and nothing else. And Hermana Hall said, "You need to stop being so hard on yourself. You are a good missionary, and you're not allowed to say anything mean about yourself for a whole week." I needed the divisions, so I was happy with the opportunity.

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

Well, I can't think of anything that's funny, so I'm going to do something different, mostly for all the RMs (returned missionaries) from Bahia Blanca who read this blog (all 3 of you). These are all of the things that have changed with the new president:

- There are now hermana entrenadores in every zone (I think) so everyone has divisions pretty frequently.
- We can no longer drink mate cocido.
- We can listen to any music as long as it is spiritually uplifting.
- We can't play soccer yet, but volleyball is now free to play (I don't know where ... but whatever)
- No one ever asks for numbers now. Ever.
- They email us the mission newsletter now
- We have to study PMG (Preach My Gospel) and the Book of Mormon every single day for fifteen minutes each.
- Everyone has to be converted.
- We have to focus on fulfilling the ward mission plans.

And yeah, that's it so far. It's a ton of changes. Its super weird. ha ha!

That's all I've got. I've had a long week, so I really look forward to reading your letter and stuff.

I love you all so much! Thank you for everything and thanks for being a greeeat mom!!!!!!!



Centro in Bahia Blanca - you can see part of a Wal-mart sign!

Monday, July 13, 2015

We Sang Happy Birthday in English

1.  Thursday was Argentina's Independence Day.  Did you see any celebrations?

Nothing really. Nobody went to work and everyone got together as families and ate asado together. Thats about it. There are lots of holidays out here so they kinda all blur together...

2.  What happened with transfers?

Well....Hermana Child.....stayed in La Falda! With.....Hermana Snyder!!! and I.....I.........STAYED IN LA FALDA WITH HERMANA CHILD AND HERMANA SNYDER! Yeah, I'm in a trio now. There were hardly any changes in the whooole mission. And only one Hermana came this transfer. So I have one new companion, Herman Snyder. She is from Utah, Saint George, and she was called to be the mission health specialist (it says so in her call) and she is 25 years old. She has been on the mission for 9 months.

3.  Is there something interesting about your area, like a tourist type attraction, or a certain building or store?

Not really, unless you count the neighborhood Palihue (pall-lee-way). It looks like a neighborhood from the States. The only difference is that it is filled with MANSIONS. Seriously, I have never seen houses so big. 

It is where the doctors, lawyers, and government people live. It is also where Presidente and his wife live. It is the only place like this in Bahia, I think. Look it up on google maps, it is huge.  There hasn't been a baptism from there in 10 years, I think. But we've got some investigators who live there :) so we'll see if we can break the record.

4.  When you said Hermana Child is a chef, did you mean she really worked as one, or did you mean that she likes to do all the cooking?

She interned and studied to be a chef in her internship. They were gonna hire her but she decided not to do it. So she knows a lot about cooking and really likes cooking. The first time we had to cook a meal she looked at me and said, "I'll cook everything. You just wait here," and didn't even let me in the kitchen, basically.

5.  Last week you said you saw a wall full of holes with parrots in them.  Do many people have them for pets, or are they all wild parrots?  And if they are wild, what are they like?  Do they attack people like mockingbirds?  ha ha

Some people have them as pets but not many. They're wild, almost all of them. And they just fly around and make a bunch of noise. Seriously, they are the noisiest birds ever! Everywhere they go they squawk and squawk. They always hang out in groups, too, so they all squawk together.

6.  Are you helping out with the music at church in your new area?

I'm going to be playing the piano since there is no one here who can.  We'll see how that goes next week, unless Hna Snyder knows how to play the piano.

7.  What was something good that happened at church this week?

My investigator who came to church listened to a message about following the guidance of the Spirit and started to cry, I think. She has been investigating for 2 years... and me and my companion have been focusing a lot on the Holy Ghost to try and help her see why she should be baptized. She needs to be baptized to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, that's why. Everyone needs that Gift, not just to have it, but to use it. We need to enjoy this as much as we can, and the Holy Ghost will help to protect and guide us.

8.  What was the toughest thing for you this week?

I got pretty discouraged. Its like we work and talk to people and look for people that have given us their addresses and we have no success. People consider this area to be a "tough" area. And the rich area, ha ha. 

But yeah, I just got frustrated because I wasn't seeing results. And when you get rejected a million times its hard to make yourself talk to someone else because you just kinda feel like they'll reject you too. 

On top of it all, everyone and their grandmas here are talking about how little time I have left, and so that doesn't help because it makes it a little hard to focus. I studied Preach My Gospel chapter 1 to get me motivated. That chapter always helps because it reminds me of how important and amazing our message is. It makes me love the work more and more.

9.  Is your district big?  Do you like it so far?

I'm going to be honest. I got here and I diagnosed this zone and district with something I call "Villa Mitre zombie disease." When I got here nobody talked to each other, nobody looked even a little excited to be in the meetings, and they were all kinda like zombies. On top of it we had this "zone standard´" of how many people we need to find and number stuff. So everyone
was just kinda bummed out. 

But over these past 3 weeks there have been some changes. They changed all the district leaders, and then the new Presidente shifted the focus of everyone to feeling the Spirit when you do things like teach and having a focus on feeling the Spirit in the work. So, now I really like my district. I kinda miss my old district, but I like this one, too. There are some really, really good missionaries here in Villa Mitre. They're like, elite. There are 4 companionships in the district.

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

Canalones, pizza, crackers with dulce de leche, milanesa, and raviolis. The raviolis were really, really good, and someone gave us empanadas that I think were filled with some kind of chicken. They were good but kinda different, but we ate them all anyways - ha ha.

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

Hermana Child is the funniest thing that happened this week. That girl is a hoot. Seriously. I haven't laughed so much since I was with Hna Peterson. A dog attacked her and tried to bite her ankle, but it was really tiny so it really just nibbled her ankle.  

She rescued a puppy from getting hit by a car, and we visited a family because it was a less active member's birthday and we sang Happy Birthday in English. The birthday lady was so impressed that she had us sing it again, and then again to all of her guests, and to everyone who came in and met us. 

But yeah, Hna Child just says funny things. Last night they called at 10 to tell us to get to the bus terminal to look for Hna Snyder there. So we're waiting for the taxi and I was like, "Should I wear my sunglasses?" and she looked out into the dark night and said,"I think you need two pair, it is so bright." It's just weird comments like that which crack me up.

I hope you have a wonderful week. I got a bunch of letters from you and Evan last week. I gotta go get the Urim and Thummim and pray for the gift of translating to be able to read Evan's letter, but I showed his comics to everyone and they think they're hilarious.  

I love you so much mom, and you're still the best mom in the world. Have a wonderful week!!



Monday, July 6, 2015

Our 4th of July Celebration...

1.  Saturday was the 4th of July.  Did you think about America at all that day?

Yeah, all the Yankees in the house wore red, white, and blue, and we lit a candle and called it a firework. Then me and Hna Child did an interpretative dance of a firework show. We practiced it a little together and performed it for the other Hnas in the house. It was pretty fun - haha!

2.  Are transfers this week?  I know you just got there but was curious if your transfers are the same as in our mission here in Georgia.

Transfer calls are Saturday night, so we have transfers this week.  Next week is the first week of the new transfer. I'm pretty confident that I'm staying, but I have no idea what is gonna happen with Hna Child.

3.  Evan wants to know if you have seen any penguins.

Nooooooooooope. But I've seen parrots. Yesterday we walked in front of a huge stone wall covered in holes, and all the holes and stuff were filled with huge green, yellow, and blue parrots. It was cool!

(FYI - there ARE penguins in Argentina, but they are found much further to the south.)

4.  Dad wants to know if you have eaten any horsemeat there.

Not yet. I'm waiting to see if I'll get the experience. Lots of other Hnas have told me its gross.

5.  Dad wants to know what are the most common questions you get about our church or beliefs there?  What is the most common belief that others have that is brought up to you, as a missionary?

"Do you believe in the Virgin?" is the number one question and the other is, "But you guys don't believe in God, right?" 

The number one religion here is Catholic. Just about everyone is Catholic. After that its the Evangelicals. 

The most common belief that other people have is that (in their words) "God is one." 

Another common belief is that there are lots of churches, but it doesn't matter which church anyone goes to or what anyone believes because God is for everyone and He is in every Church and every belief.  I know that God does love all of His children and that there are many good Christians in all churches, but for me that belief doesn't make a lot of sense, because God is a being, and He thinks and has opinions. 

In the Bible it talks about God's people. If God had a people it would have to mean that he had a belief and an order that he established. The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes so much sense that its crazy, mom. There is a way and God has opinions and expectations for us as His children.

6.  What is the best thing about your new area?

There is a lot of work to do here. The branch is small so there will be lots of reactivating.  There were hardly any investigators when I got here, so there is a lot of finding to do. Me and my companion could start from the base up to get things going. There so many miracles here to work that its awesome!

7.  Do you and Hermana Child share your apartment with any other Hermanas?

Yes, its me and Hna Child, and Hna Hall and Hna Santos. Hna Hall is from Oregon. She is one of the sister training leaders and I think has
almost a year on the mission. She is funny and a bautizadora! 

Hna Santos also got emergency transferred here the week after me. She has got 10 months in the mission and she is from Lima, Peru. She is super funny, too, and very huggable. I love our housemates!  They work in the Villa Mitre 1st ward, which is next to our area.

8.  Have you met your new mission president yet?

 Yes, I have! The Elders called us Thursday afternoon and said, "Hermanas, you need to be in your church at 5:50 tonight, Presidente Cifuentes is going to be there. So, thinking we were gettting an interview, we went there and him and his wife showed up (they´re both taller than me....)
and said, "Alright, Hermanas, let's go! Where are we headed?" 

And I was like, "What are you talking about? Why are you guys here?" It turns out they wanted to work with us - ha ha - so we took them on a tour of la Falda.  We decided to take the opportunity to visit investigators since we would be able to teach them with a member, but nobody was home. 

We knocked on the door of our last hope and no one was there.  Hna Child just looks at me and says, "Can we talk to that family on the other side of the
street?" So, we ran across the street with Presidente and now we are
teaching that family!

He and his wife are reallllly funny. They met on the mission - ha ha,
she is his convert from his mission. 

At one point a contact gave him a kiss on the cheek (in the way Latinos greet each other) and I asked if he is allowed to give women kisses (since we can't do the cheek kiss thing to men) and he says, "Oh, I don't know. Jenny, can I give kisses?" and she says,"NO."  And he looks at me and says, "Nope!"

9.  Are you getting fed much in your new area?

Yes, it is just about the same as Pigue. We eat with the same people every week. There are not a lot of people here so we still have to cook for ourselves every now and then.  Hna Child is a chef, so I'm not allowed to cook, actually. She does it all. One time she let me peel a potato and boil some water...

10.  Are there more places to buy food and other things in your new area, since it is in the big city?

In my area, no. There is Walmart but its like a million years away when you walk there. I also have the shopping mall in my area, but we travel to a different area to write and buy food and everything.

11.  What was your most spiritual moment this week?

Weekly planning is always really spiritual for me. I plan very seriously in those 2 hours that we have to plan our next week. We do lots of praying for inspiration and we are really thoughtful. Hna O'hara taught me to write out our plans in pencil on the day that we were going to do certain things, and that works really well. 

It is cool to see how  we receive inspiration about when we should have
appointments or teach or visit, and then watching as our week goes almost
exactly how we planned.

12.   What was the food like this week?

I had tacos for lunch one day - ha ha. It was pretty dang yummy! I haven't had tacos in over a year - ha ha.  I also had lots of chocolate milk - since its cold everyone gives us warm chocolate milk. Make some chocolate milk at home (with Nesquik), heat it up the in the microwave, and that is what I've been drinking lately.

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

There is a member here that makes me laugh. Not in a mean way, but in a comical way. She is old and homeless and got baptized about a year ago or less. She is short and skinny and walks into church with a huge old coat, an old tattered skirt, a huge sock hat, and the biggest, longest, thickest scarf that I've ever seen in my life. 

She comes into the chapel in the middle of sacrament meeting, says "Hey" to everyone, sits down by a heater, and pulls out a bag of candy and proceeds to walk around the meeting handing out candy to all the children. 

Then, after the meeting, she gives candy to every single member. She is an inspiration, really.  She is homeless and she is still sharing her candy with everyone. 

Hna Child told me that she came to church on a broken foot one time. She
said one day her and Hna Chesler ran into her in the street and tried to talk to her and she was just like, "I've already got a church! And its on Haiti 158!" because she didn't recognize them. 

Hna Child says that she comes every single Sunday, and brings all of her
scriptures and the pamphlets that the missionaries gave her. She says
that if the church burnt down then this member would probably still
come anyways and sit in the rubble. She is probably one of my favorite
members because she is so faithful. She has got some mansions in heaven!

We also watched a little kid take the sacrament, put the whole little cup in his mouth, and then pull it out and all the water came out with it and spilled everywhere. I thought of Alan and how it would have made him laugh.

I guess I'll just have to endure you being phoneless because its sad not getting pictures! I'm glad you guys are all safe and having a great time! I'm having trouble because everyone here keeps reminding me that I only have 3 months left. Less than that, actually, and now I'm almost at the end. It stresses me out - ha ha ha!

I miss you every day and I'm looking forward to having a good old long
conversation before you go to bed again! I got some letters from you
and also Christine's letter (I almost fainted.)

Love you!