Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My First Christmas out! Ups and downs...

Wow! So I don´t have my journal or old planner (because transfers are happening and so I have a new planner) but I´ll write what I remember.

Tuesday was P-day because Monday was a Christmas devotion with Pres. Svec and all the missionary's and we didn´t do much but at the end of the day Hna R (a member who is a nurse) looked at my mosquito bites and said that although it is inflamed it is not infected (YAY!) so she cleaned and put medicine on it and wrapped them - I will post a pic of my legs.

Wednesday - We finally got our stove!!! and desks and I got a closet so that was awesome! In the evening we taught F with Familia R (R family - including the nurse) and then planned Family home evening for the next day. We were going to teach F about the word of wisdom and law of chastity but it didn´t work out that way so I gave him the pamphlets to read and prepare questions.

Thursday - we taught Familia B and the kids are members (the missionary's have been working with the parents for 5 years), but the parents are not because they are not married. We planned to teach about family history and temple work but it ended up being about marriage and we were able to get them to commit to pray to ask God when they should be married, for a specific date so that was awesome! Then we tried to go to F's for FHE but he wasn´t home so we tried to call him but he didn´t answer.

Friday - we had weekly planing and tried calling F and Familia B but neither were answering. The past few days had been hard with people not being home, appointments falling through, and people not being interested, so after visiting Hno M in the hospital (the man who was in a coma) we each got a 1/2 kg bucket of ice-cream and ate that for supper (it was the best!).

Saturday - was Christmas Eve!! This is South America´s Christmas, so there were loud explosives and music everywhere! Still no one was answering their calls or opening their doors (except for 3 contacts we got at the park! but one lived in Posadas and was just visiting, and then the other two weren´t home when we tried to visit them later) but at night we had supper with Hermana C and Hna M which was super good, then we gave them the cards we made them with a bonbon inside and I sang Rock of Ages in Spanish for them.

Sunday - we only had church for an hour (and neither Familia B nor F came) so then we decided to visit F and he said that he had emergency work stuff and because he was working he didn´t have his phone on him. However he told us that he read the pamphlets and even though it is hard, he agrees with everything and will follow it (he is going to try and quit smoking cold turkey!) WHAT A CHRISTMAS GIFT we were so happy! and he said he is still really excited for his baptismal date and wants to teach his two little kids about the gospel! Then we were able to Skype with our families!! 

Today (Monday the 26th) - we went to Cataratas (the falls) and took tons of pictures (I will post some) and had lots of fun and met people from all over! We talked with people from Brazil, Germany, Israel, New York. That was really cool, and on the bus ride back we talked with a guy from New York but lived in Israel for 18 months and we taught him a bit and he is Jewish! it was really cool and it was all in English!! 

Tag at the falls
The Super Amazing Falls
Winona at the Falls 1

Winona at the Falls 2

Winona and more panoramic view

Winona and another angle of the Falls

At the outlook

Stopping at the stairs to the falls
Peace 1 in the shade

Peace 2 in the Sun

Sisters at the Falls

Winona on the tram to the falls
Sisters in the gospel and loving the falls
Winona's bitten, beaten, bloated and bandaged legs

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A little shine before Christmas

O.K. so I don´t really remember where I left off last week but....

Tuesday we woke up at 4:30 because we forgot the cell at a lady's house and we had to catch the bus to Eldorado (about an hour and a half drive from Iguazu) where we sang carols all day then all the Hermanas had FHE together where we decorated cakes (the new sisters vs. the old sister) 

Wednesday- again was mostly just practicing the Christmas song for Sunday. At noon we took the bus back to Iguazú and visited a family because it was the mom´s birthday so we wished her a happy birthday. We also met "T" who was baptized 4 years ago but doesn´t come to church. We gave him a book of Mormon, but he gave it back and asked us to write our testimonies in it.

Thursday - We cleaned and decorated our apartment for Christmas as we waited for people to bring us our kitchen (they didn´t come) so for lunch we had fruit and veggies. Then Hermana M called us and told us that her husband Hermano M woke up from his coma and was asking for us. We went and visited him and I couldn´t understand much of what he said, but he said that he is going to change his life. 

Friday - we had a Christmas activity for tons of people where some brothers from the church cooked meat and others brought salads and what-not. It was lots of fun! They really love their meat here because the meal was just meat (and the yummy potato salad the sister at our table made)

Saturday - in the morning we had our studies so in the afternoon we could go with some youth to sing at the senior center (there is no youth here, all the youth are inactive). We also gave out pictures of Christ and a pamphlet to the nurse. One of the elderly women kept trying to grab a pamphlet so we gave her one too (as well as an elderly man) because the nurse said they love to read. It was a great activity because the spirit was there and it was just a lot of fun! Then Hermana N and I visited F (who had broken up with his girlfriend and wanted to change his life for the Lord) and testified of the importance of reading the Book of Mormon, and that it is Satan telling him that he isn´t good enough to read it. Then I asked him to be baptised on January 14 and he said yes!! I was really shocked, and so was Hna N because she asked again and he said "yes I know this is true!" he also said how he was happy with the date as well because with the new year it will be a new him.

Sunday - after church we rode the bus to Eldorado again for the Christmas devotional we were practicing for and lots of people came (including Hermana and Presidente Svec our Missionary President and his wife). Oh P.S. - a big word to the wise if you ever come to Argentina DO NOT itch your mosquito bites or else your whole leg will swell up and the bite will get infected and it will be awful. But the devotional went really well.

Monday - was not P-day like normal. We had a meeting type thing with Hermana and Presidente Svec, their helpers, and the missionaries in the zone. We exchanged little gifts, and Hna and Pres. Svec taught about Christ...specifically why people rejected him as the Christ. Afterwards Hna N and I gave out the cards we made for everyone. Then we went back to Iguazú and went to the park and talked to a man who was really down. He has been homeless for about 3 months and his family is in Posadas and he separated from his wife. I was testifying of how much God loves him and as I was speaking I knew I was saying things that were not from me, and I seemed to speak with little to no problem - it was incredible! He even teared up at my words! 



Monday, 12 December 2016

A lot of little setbacks.

Tuesday - was my 2 month mark, it is crazy how fast time flys! That morning all of our appointments fell through so we kept contacting until lunch with M (name deleted to protect privacy) and her family which was super good. then we went to visit N and F, but N was sleeping so we just taught F and their kids are so cute! After we read some scriptures with him the son (who is 6) started clapping! F also told us that N wasn´t interested in talking to us anymore.

Wednesday- in the  morning we helped a sister prepare for her mission and gave her some advice (she is going to Brazil) after our studies we went to get F and the kids to go to FHE with M but when we got there, there was a big moving truck and N and the son was in it. After they left the Elders gave a blessing on F's house (because he was saying before there was a bad energy in the house). It was hard to see him and his daughter (she is 4) have a hard time saying goodbye to N, but he said it was for the best and that now he can change for God. They didn´t come to FHE but he thanked us for the blessing and the visit.

Thursday- We got two new investigators in the morning and one of them (G - he is 17) showed a lot of potential and said that he would come to church with us. After studies we had to get money to pay for our apartment and I thought it was in Hna N´s account and she thought that I had my card, and we got up the big hill to the bank and realized that neither of us had our cards. So we met with more people and then went back to the apartment and then got the money. We ran down the hill to our apartment to pay the guy and then we emailed Pres. Svec a happy birthday.

Friday- most of the day was the District meeting where we just sang a bunch of christmas hymns. We tried to visit F again but he was sleeping (that is super normal here because napping is a thing, but not for missionaries) and then we had the activity which was a movie.

Saturday- we visited a family that we visited earlier in the week with the sister preparing to go on a mission and we found out that the husband was in the hospital in a coma. We then taught about prayer and fasting and they commited to fast for him. We also visited F and the sister that was with us gave her testimony and he said that he hasn´t been reading the Book of Mormon because he doesn´t feel good enough to read it (but his son is), but he said that he is praying. We wanted to teach him but he had to go, but he said that he would come to church with us. 

Sunday- 17 year old G didn´t remember us (we texted him), F didn´t come to church either, but the primary had a presentation and that was really cute. Afterwards we visited the family with the father in the coma and that was hard because there was a lot of arguing between them and I could not understand anything, but we now know what they need help with, and we, the Elders, and Hna N gave scriptures and taught a bit. We were supposed to have FHE with another family but before we got there they called and said that they couldn't and as we were walking to visit M we realized the soccer game was on and everyone was going crazy. But we visited with M, her kids, and her dad who played the guitar and sang some songs.

P.S. it is weird to not have snow and to know Christmas is soon, it does not feel like Christmas. Every day and night people have fireworks and explosion type stuff, people are all decorated up, but I don't know about the music.

Monday, 5 December 2016

A lot of no's and a ray of sunshine!

okay so this week was crazy!

Monday- was P-day and that was pretty chill so nothing to say for Monday

Tuesday- We packed for a bit then contacted until lunch where we took a 6 hour bus ride to Posadas. We stayed at 2 other sister missionaries´ apartment (one of them came from the CCM with me) 

Wednesday- was the conference with Elder Braggs (With my companion´s accent I thought she said Elder Brat, but it is Elder Braggs) I was able to learn and get some good stuff from him and Pres. Svec, Hna. Svec, and the other speaker (I don´t remember his name) even though it was all in spanish. Then we all took a picture together with all the missionaries. After we took the bus back, but instead of going to Iguazú I went on a companion swap with Hermana H (she was roommates with Alyssa Doig in BYU what a small world) in El Dorado. 

Thursday- Hna. H and I did some errands in the morning which I did not mind at all. We had lunch with a member and she told me to have more food, but I thought she asked me if I had an empanada, and so I responded with yeah it was really good thank you. Then she asked Hermana H why I didn´t want more of her food (whoops) but then I said I would eat more, but I wasn´t very hungry (without knowing what she said to Hna. H) and then she was not offended anymore and said it was because I was new and not used to the heat and that I was drinking lots of water. In the afternoon Hna. H told me to rest for a bit because my chest cold was not getting any better, so I slept for a bit and then we contacted and everyone rejected us and instead of being upset I still thought it was a really good day. (because their excuses were really funny like "I cant' hear today" or "I don't live here" even though right before they were telling their kid to clean their room) 

Friday- I came back to Iguazú with Hna N and we had lunch with the branch president (because there are not wards here) and then later after my training studies we prepared for the activity we have every Friday (we watched a movie again) and as we were cleaning up it started raining so hard that the power went out! But I still got a blessing from the Elders (because I had been sick for more than a week and was not getting any better) and immediately I started feeling better (I am still not 100% but I don't feel sick anymore) and then they walked us home (because it was later than 8) and luckily for us it was barely raining.

Saturday- was a really good day we contacted lots and gave away 2 BOMs (and gave another to a member to give to someone who she thought should read it) I felt so great and happy, even though again lots of people said no to us.

Sunday- WAS THE BOMB! Elder Braggs came to our ward for sacrament meeting and gave a great talk, and then he askeed Hna. N and I if he could take a picture of us and send it to our family and say that we are awesome missionaries. He was so nice and really friendly as well as his family. He told me to not get too discouraged with spanish because he said that I am doing really well for only being 3 weeks out in the field. After church we had lunch with a member and then went and contacted and at the end of the day we went to visit and teach "N" who loved our message the last time we met with her, but she wasn´t home BUT her boyfriend was as well as his friend so we taught them and the boyfriend (F) also really loved our message! The friend at first kept saying oh I´m catholic no thank you, but eventually grabbed a chair and came and sat outside with us and asked lots of good questions, he still didn´t want to continue to meet with us but he agreed that the spirit was very strong with us. (F compared me to a blooming flower because when I talk I am very tender, and he compared Hna. N to a poet because she has very beautiful words and is very strong) They both kept saying how strong the spirit was and how we truly are daughters of God (F kept saying like I feel something in my heart) so we asked F if he would get baptized and he said yes!!!!! Our first lesson with him and he said yes to baptism and that he knows that what we taught is true. It was so wonderful because Hna N and I were fasting for a progressing investigator and wow was our fast answered

Sunday, 4 December 2016

An unexpected Thumbs Up!

Winona's family received an unexpected letter:
Dear Barton Family

As part of a mission tour I met your amazing daughter in Posadas and then had more time to speak to her today in Iguazu as we attended the Sacrament Service there.  Of course I always say nice things to parents about their children serving missions but Sister Bragg and I were so impressed with your sweet daughter.  She is going to touch the lives of many in her mission.  She is happy, healthy and working very hard.  She has an upbeat and dynamic companion too so they will be great.  They are in a very sweet and loving branch in an absolutely gorgeous part of the world.

Her Spanish is coming along fine although she doesn't see it.  I promised her that it would take off in a few months and she will be amazed.  I was just called to serve here after not speaking much Spanish for thirty some years so I can absolutely relate!

Seriously, Sister Barton is a blessing to her companion, her mission, her mission president and to this area.  Thank your or preparing such a wonderful missionary!

Un abrazo.


(General Authority Seventy Elder Mark A. Bragg was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2016. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America West Area. He is currently serving as a member of the South America South Area Presidency.)