Tuesday, 12 December 2017

14 Months of serving and loving the people of Argentina

Tuesday - We were in Santo Tome which is in Corrientes (look it up on a map) for a district meeting and then had lunch at 2 because it is a 2 hour travel during lunch. I also got a call from Pres. Svec, because he got an email saying that I had been accepted to BYU-Idaho and so he was just saying congrats (Yay me!) and then we had to go back to our apartment and plan for the rest of the day. We did take time to see how Lucas and Rosio were doing but they had lots of family over so we excused ourselves and promised we would come back another day. Later in the day we taught some older investigators and they help take care of lots of older women who need assistance so we sang a Christmas song for them, and one of the older women sat outside and listened to us and clapped when we finished. So beautiful.

Wednesday - in the morning we went and dropped in on Angela and taught her the first part of the Plan of Salvation and then tried to invite her to be baptized but it didn't work out so well. She didn't really understand and so we tried to teach her about the Restoration of the Gospel, and explain about the Priesthood authority...but it was just confusing her. So we just invited her to pray and read. After lunch we went to the new apartment of Milena and she shared some of her worries with us about her boyfriend. We taught her about the Companionship Inventory WE do every week...where we share what the other could do better and what they did really good in the last week. We also cautioned them that BOTH of them have to do it openly and listen to the other and their feelings they are sharing. Later on Geovani invited his friend over and his cousin and we played a game with them and then shared one of the Christmas videos with them. 

Thursday - in the morning we taught Franco by sharing a scripture and invited him to come to church. We also invited him to be baptized in three weeks, and he accepted!!!! In the afternoon we taught Lucas a little bit and he accepted as well a day to be baptized.  Still working on their marriage - they only have to pay for a paper and then they get a date to get married and then he can be baptized! He is completely ready...he just needs to get married. We also went to Claribel and - at first - she wasn't there but her mom still invited us in and we got to know her for a bit. Claribel finally came in and we taught her about the Restoration and she asked if we believed in the Virgin Mary and we explained she is obviously the Mother of Christ but we don't worship her and told Claribel about the Ten Commandments. She said that she didn't know that it was a commandment (to worship no other Gods before Heavenly Father) and we invited her to pray about it. We also invited her to be baptized in January and she accepted!

Friday - in the morning we accomplished one of the goals of Christmas which was to help someone decorate for the season (we had already done our own apartment) and then they invited us for lunch afterwards. We continued to meet with and teach Familia Sanabria and a cousin of the Dad who admitted he doesn't believe in God. So we taught them all about the Restoration and focused on the Authority of the Priesthood. We then invited them to be baptized and they said yes...even the cousin said "yeah because if there is an Authority it is because there is a God"!!!! Then we had a FHE with Lucas and the family of Rosio and played a game that everyone really enjoyed.

Saturday - in the morning not a good start to the day - all of our plans fell through, and I really had to go to the bathroom! We went to the house of a member but she wasn't home - just her son. So then we went to another house of a young investigator and she was home...and after a bit she let me in. We taught her the Restoration as well and taught her about our current day Prophet and she asked "the pope??"...haha. She was having a little bit of a hard time understanding but she agreed, in fact - asked - to come to church with us. We taught Melany again and she admitted she wanted to come to church but might not come because she hurt her arm and was in a lot of pain. We were also invited to institute (kind of like spiritual school) to share some scriptures on the atonement of Christ.

Sunday - We waited for Maru in the place we all agreed to meet at but she didn't come. At church we asked one gentleman who has been coming to church a lot if he would like us to come teach him and he said yes (woo hoo).  After lunch it was just a lot of walking around in the heat but we did find a sweet old lady who let us in and she told us that she had previously lost a we talked about the importance of the family and made plans to come back another day. We ended the day sharing the scriptural account of the "Army of Helaman" with Maria.

P.S.  still getting used to what happens at Christmas here - but on December 8th everyone decorates for Christmas. I have to admit it doesn't really feel like Christmas though - it is really hot! One day it was 36 celcius at 10 in the morning and, of course, I continue to get burnt. They say that it will be in the 50's this year and that for 3 months we won't have any rain...but who knows.
 My letter home had to be delayed a day this week because it was sooo hot the power actually went out as I was trying to write it!  I wasn't able to send any pics this week so here a a couple of pictures of a wonderful family we taught in a previous area.

60 Weeks In!

Tuesday - in the morning we went to see Elvia but her neighbour saw us and said she wasn't we started talking with her and she said that she is fine if we come and visit her but her husband wont be so we have to come when she is alone. By the time we finished teaching her, Elvia got home and we started visiting her and she told us that she has been visiting the Jehovah Witnesses church and visiting with them and didn't want us to teach her more....but asked us to continue to visit her. I am sure that it was hard for Hermana Quiroga because she went through a bit to get her to come to church in the first place and loved her a lot. In the afternoon we visited a less active member to see how she and her sister were doing and they shared a lot with us and thanked us for coming and asked if we could have a FHE one day when they were free.  After that visit we finished printing off invitations for our open church tour we were to be part of.

Wednesday - the mission has set 25 goals to do for the 25 days of Christmas and the first one is to clean and decorate the apartment for Christmas and we got really excited and did it early and bought a little tree and things to decorate when we got our money (I have some Pics below). After lunch we went to Familia Sanabria and taught the mom and her friend and sister-in-law a bit as they were a little shaken up by the recent death of a friend's little boy. We then went with Cynthia and Geovani because he invited a friend over and we shared the "Light the World" video for Christmas. We went to Lucas and he told us that he went by himself to get all the paperwork done before getting married and we were really shocked because it is far and he likes to do stuff with Rosio, but he went by himself and did he just needs a certificate for them to get married.

Thursday - in the morning we went to go teach a person we recently contacted and passed Lucas who told us Rosio was in the hospital to be having her baby we promised we would pass by during the visiting hours. We taught Angela a really quick intro to the "Plan of Salvation" and got to know her....she is 16 and is taking care of her sister's or cousin's baby with her boyfriend but she seemed really interested in learning more about the Gospel. After the time with Angela we went to see Rosio and the baby and visited with them a bit....and it was interesting because 2 groups of people from other churches came in to say a prayer with them or for them, one of them was someone that we taught previously! Oh well, later we taught Paola and invited her to be baptized at the end of December and she accepted! We also made time to pass by for Franco to invite him to the open church. He said he was praying that we would come back (we stopped visiting him because he didn't have time or wasn't home every time we went) and said he has recieved an answer to his prayers and he would come to the open house.

Friday - in the morning the zone leaders called and said they would bring the banners we needed for Saturday for the open church tour.  They said they would be there at 10:30 or 11:00 am and so we contacted new folks for a bit and then waited in our apartment for them...and waited....and waited - but they never called so we started walking to our lunch appointment which was at the other point of our area. We were a little more than half way there when they called us and said that they were in front of the church, but luckily a brother said the church was open so we told them just to go in and leave the banners in a room. After our lunch appointment, an inebriated (drunk) guy started talking to us so we gave him an invitation to the open church and taught him a little about our beliefs and then he asked us to pray for him. We also went and bought little gifts for Rosio's baby (Luana Elif ) which were little shoes and a bib. We went to Romina who also just had her baby and taught a bit about the Plan of Salvation. After that we stopped by Teresa to give her and her husband an invitation and then taught her a bit.

Saturday - we just focussed on contacting new folks because the goal was to contact 23 people that day. We had the Open Church tour that afternoon though so we only contacted 15, then we got ready for the tour and set the mood with Christmas decorations as well but no one came......until finally a few members came so in at the end so we took the opportunity to invite them into the sacrament room and shared a bit of what we teach and then gave our testimonies.

Sunday - we got up at 4 in the morning to take the bus at 5 but turns out it didn't leave until 5:30 to get to Obera. We arrived at 7:30 and went to church with Hna Martinez (from Honduras) and Hna Seely (from the U.S.A) and then we all practised the Christmas songs we were to perform. They also asked me to do a quartet...but it was to sing the words to a hard Christmas song. I did it, I felt really weak in the knees when I sang but it worked out. and the Devotional that day was awesome not many people came - still those who did were wonderful and very interested.
Some Local Art of Us?
Gets a little Windy during storms here

Christmas Flair to our Apartment

Posing by the Tree

Our little Christmas Tree

I looked out the window and what did I see?

Popcorn popping on the Apricot Tree....or just pretty flowers

Selfie of another sunburn
When it is Super Hot in December but you are a missionary and can't swim...

This last video is just a little Friend I found for my Dad....

Monday, 27 November 2017

Meetin' and Teachin' for Week 59

Monday - we were told everything would be closed that day (for shops) so we went to Posadas and wrote and then came back and had a lesson with Cynthia and Giovani. We were waiting for their friend Maria but she never came so we shared a Church video on forgiveness with them.

Tuesday - we went and taught Melanie in the morning, her mom was still in the hospital with the new baby. We taught her the teachings of Christ then after lunch we also spent time teaching Romina for the first time and invited her to pray. Still not done, we went to visit Elida....however it wasn't as successful, as she didn't seem interested anymore. We didn't give up - we went ahead with the lesson and just invited her to pray.

Wednesday - We spent most of our time, both morning and afternoon, just out making contact with new people on the street. We visited an elderly lady who was telling us about her leg and what had happened to her....and then a car pulled up and the pastor and his wife from her church came. We helped them get some chairs and then she asked if we wanted anything. We explained we came to visit her and help if needed but she ignored us and started telling her pastor about her leg and the pastor told us to come and sit but the elderly woman told us she didn't want anything that day so we thanked them and left. We were kind of disheartened if have to admit (searching and meeting few new people) - however, we found finally found Ramona and Ana Paula - a mother and daughter.  We spent some time getting to know them and then taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel and invited them to be baptized. Ramona said yes! but the daughter was quiet however she did listen politely.

Thursday - we had the pleasure of teaching a new girl named Abigail and we were going to focus on the Restoration but were prompted to ask her if she believed in Christ. She said admitted that she didn't know so we taught about Him and invited her to pray and ask if he exists. Later that day we were suppose to do a service project - to paint the house of Maria but while we were walking there, a member called and informed us Maria wasn't feeling well and it was to be postponed to another day.

Friday - in the morning we had a district meeting and then pretty much just spent a lot of the rest of the day contacting new people. We were able to teach a woaman named Milena....and she is a milagro (Miracle). She was giving us her testimony and was saying that Christ is our only salvation and she agreed to read more of the Book of Mormon and pray.

Saturday - it rained so hard in the morning which made it really tough as we went to meet up with Melanie. Where she lives it is only dirt and dirt with rain is mud.....I don't like mud. That wasn't the only thing, once we were able to get through the mud and finished teaching our lesson but it seems she didn't remember anything and was looking more annoyed with us. Also, her mom and aunt keep answering for her so its a little hard to get a true sense of how she feels or what she knows. In the afternoon it had finally stopped raining so we went and we taught Clarabell.  She asked us about what are the worst sins and then thanked us because we apparently said exactly what she needed or wanted to hear.

Sunday - we had a Family Home Evening (FHE) with Familia Farias and watched a Church movie and then ate elephant ears (the deep fried dough kind)
Beautiful Statue in Apostoles

Posing under a canopy

Oh Look - its summer and Santa is beginning to make his appearance!

A beautiful place to study the Scriptures

Awesome Sidewalk art

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Storms and Sunshine (even a little too much)

Tuesday - we took a bus at 5:20 in the morning to get to Posadas at 8 and we were the first ones there. The mission officials started us with the interviews with Presedent Svec and those missionaries who were waiting for their turn practiced the Christmas songs we will sing this coming season. After the interviews with the President were all done we had a "short" zone conference and then continued practicing the songs as they finished up interviewing everyone. Once it was all done we took the bus back to our area in Apostoles.
Wednesday - we taught a young woman named Milena who lives right beside us. She said that her boyfriend had someone tell him that he shouldn't let us talk to the two of them but when he told her that, she said she stood up for us and told him that he should listen for himself. 😮 We taught her a bit of the Restoration of the Gospel...but only a bit. Later, after walking around A LOT we went to Facundo's place and taught him about the Restoration and invited him to be baptized. He said that he would love to when he knows it is true. Later that day we had a choir practice for a conference of the branch that is coming up.
Thursday - we did a service with a member, cleaning the house of a woman by the name of Maria which took a little bit of the day.  We later went to teach Familia (family) Sanabria and invited Yanina to the Relief Society activities of the branch. We spent the rest of the day with weekly planning
Friday - in the morning it seemed that I got sunburnt - kind of badly actually - even though the sun wasn't out (see one of the pictures below). We didn't let that stop us as we taught Grasilda...who didn't seem very interested BUT she listened and said we could come back again. We then headed over and taught Yovani with his cousin and showed them a short video on the Restoration of the Gospel....and we invited his cousin to pray. Later, as we were visiting a branch member and it was raining really hard and there was lots of thunder and lightning! So we went back to to apartment to be safe.
Saturday - we were walking all the morning just contacting new people...and the last house we stopped at finally invited us in. A lady there told us all about her life story and how God has saved her. When she was done, we then shared with her how the Gospel has been Restored and invited her to be baptized..... and she said yes! After this wonderful shock, we had to run to the other end of our area to get there in time for our lunch appointment and we just made it! Unfortunately the rest of the day was basically walking and trying to make new contacts, to no avail.
Sunday - we had a branch conference and sang the hymns as a choir.  At the end of the day we had Family Home Evening with some branch members and one of them shared parts of a movie called "Kiss and Cry" from Canada, of all places, as the message.
"Sign" of the times

NEVER trust even a cloudy day - the sun will get you

A Giant MATE cup statue - Mate is their national drink

Ever feel like you are carrying the world on your back?

Even a place for a celebrating Mate!
me walking through the downpour and mini flood

Monday, 13 November 2017

Week 57 - keeping positive despite some frustration

Monday - after P-day we had a FHE with Lucas, Rosio and her family and we taught about the responsibilities of the family and we asked another couple to come (members) and they played the game "if you know your spouse", and we ended up winning haha

Tuesday - was a bit of a hard day we ended up walking the whole day and contacted a lot of people but no one was interested in the Gospel

Wednesday - we had divisions (splits) with the Sister Leaders and I was with Hermana Martinau. In the morning we tried to share the light of Christ video with her (mormon message) but she kept talking and not paying a lot of attention so we tried to explain what the video was about and then we ended with a prayer and left. In the afternoon we tried to visit a few people but they weren't home. All of our contacts during the day were amazing like people told us that they can't wait for us to come. Then at 4 that afternoon Hermana Quiroga called us to start walking back because the bus leaves at 5 so that we could finish officially and walk to the terminal. It was Cynthias birthday so we stopped by and wished her a happy birthday and gave her a card we made then we went to Familia Sanabria and taught them a bit.

Thursday -in the morning it rained really hard thankfully it stopped before lunch. Funny thing is, people are not so accepting when the weather is a little ugly but we were able to teach some folks. We went to Laura again (an elderly lady) and she still doesn't understand what we are saying. I admit we were getting a little frazzled trying to explain it, but we just invited her to truly ask God and he will help you know what church is true. We then went to Jose and got to know his wife and daughter. We passed by for Lucas as well and they said the mom of Rosio knows someone that will help them set a wedding date YAY!

Friday - we had a conference with Elder Bragg and Elder Christensen, and it was wonderful! They talked a lot about being obedient and how to better our prayers.

Saturday - in the morning Lucas said that on Sunday they were going to talk to a brother and on Monday they can set a maybe as early as on Friday! We taught Luis again and it seems like he just gives us the answers we want to hear because he doesn't want offend us, we tried to invite him to the church and that we would pass by for him but he didn't give us a straight answer until 10 minuets after. After lunch we contacted a lot and then went to another town to visit a recent convert and to teach his mom as well

Sunday - we passed by for Luis but he wasn't home so we walked to the church without him. After lunch and studies we taught for like 15 minutes and left a pamphlet for him and then we had consejo de rama (advice from the Branch) and then choir for the branch conference next week

Chomping on some Empanadas

Capturing a Sun Dog in Apostoles

Monday, 6 November 2017

Week 56 - busy busy and Kissy Face babies

Tuesday - in the morning we went to a member to give some clothes that Hermanna Katalin left behind for and then we went to visit Melany. Her mom is a member but she isn't and we taught her the restoration and she seem to understand but didn't talk a lot. Other people were answering the questions for her, but she paid attention, I think.  We then went to Chela and she is nice but doesn't understand about the Priesthood very well because previously the Hermanna's before us invited her to be baptized but she said no because she said that baptism is a one time thing. Still, she told us she had defended the church to her daughter-in-law and when she prayed she felt really good. We also took a call from a lady asking us to come visit her so we went and shared with her the Restoration of the Gospel. Before we could even finish she was telling us that she would like to know what church is true but there isn't a way to know. We kept trying to tell her to ask God in prayer for an answer but she didn't understand.

Wednesday -we called the gas company so that we could bring a new gas bottle for our stove to cook and they said to call again later and they will come. So we left to meet with officials to try to see if there was a day open for Rosio and Lucas to get married...but they told us that the couple themselves have to come and ask - not us! Instead, we then went to a man named Jose and he was really nice but had very little time to visit so we shared a scripture and left to buy food to cook. As instructed, we called the gas company again and they said they had already passed by but no one was home so they left - and now they weren't open any more! We tried calling another company to deliver the gas bottle and waited forever, and then called again. They said their delivery guys were a street away so we waited a bit more....finally we walked to a small store, got a new, full bottle/cannister and changed it ourselves. Our neighbor helped us connect it to the stove. After cooking - we taught Familia Sanabria and took a photo or two of their baby (I'll put them below) then taught the family about faith. We found out one of the sons and the mom had birthdays coming soon and tucked that tidbit away in our memory. Then we went and taught Lucas and he said that the due date for their baby was supposed to be Saturday and he and the Mom-to-be were really excited.

Thursday - we taught Melany again about the Plan of Salvation but with little drawings this time and she was talking and answering the questions and she remembered all of it. We had lunch appointment with a member and their baby always makes "kissy" faces when you say "Chanchito" so we took a picture with her doing it, afterwards we went to teach a new contact person and it went really well so we invited her to be baptized. She admitted to us she is actually already a member! but she hasn't gone to church for years. We later also met with Franco and taught him about the 10 commandments.

Friday - in the morning we had a district meeting and then we went back and taught Familia Sanabria again, and brought little gifts for those who had birthdays (we remembered!) and taught about the Book of Mormon

Saturday - we wanted to check in with Lucas in the evening to see if they had had their baby yet, but they hadn't yet :(

Sunday - after lunch and everything we had a FHE with Cynthia and Yovani and their family and at first it seemed like the kids weren't paying attention but they came around and soon they we all participating and having a lot of fun and then we ate pizza (I like pizza).

Beautiful Kissy Face

We can't quite pull it off but we are trying!

Beautiful Babe
Making PIZZA for us

Posing with a giant Mural of Christ

Mom and a beauty!

still a beauty
I also heard back from my former companions and they sent me pictures of Adriana and Mariana's Baptism!

P.S. I am in a small town and so during el siesta or nap time everything is closed. I have loved everywhere I have served, however, this area (Apostoles) just might be my favourite - the people are very accepting!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Week 55 - Making a little progress in our new area

Monday - after getting all our stuff done for P-day (Personal Day) we were suppose to have pizza with a contact (person) that the Sisters before had made, but we were early so we walked around contacting other people and then she said she couldn't do it because she would be coming home late from work so we just kept contacting.

Tuesday - in the morning we had a district meeting where we read a talk called "The Consecrated Missionary", then we came back bought some Empanadas and ate lunch in our apartment. Afterwards we went trying to find people, and we found one wonderful woman named Dailila and we talked with her and got to know her and sang a hymn. We then went to see Lucas to see how he was doing and go over anything he didn't remember. He was good but was fighting a bit with his girlfriend and she said that if he doesn't take more responsibility she won't be with we invited them to talk things out one day every week ,the good and the bad, and they agreed to do it.

Wednesday - In the morning we went to Marta and her son was there with her. We taught about the Restoration and Pablo (the son) understood really well, but Marta has the thought that all the churches are good because they talk about God and she doesn't need to change. When we are teaching she doesn't seem to put all of her attention on what we are explaining but she does like to listen to us. We invited them to pray about what church is true because there is only one that is guided by God and the son said yes while she said that she always pray to God.

Thursday - in the morning we visited Marie to see if she needed help again and asked if we could help her clean or buy food, but she said that she had just bought food so we visited with her for a bit instead. Then we went to Alejandra who has a son named Yovani and the previous Sisters had given her the Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read, so we asked if she had any questions or if there was something she didn't understand. She admitted she was confused about our purpose here. After we explained everything she brought out their new puppy and we played a bit (named Wawa - see the pictures below) with it. Our lunch appointment was with a family and the brother is super talented; he makes things from WWII or from the past from cardboard (even into dioramas) and paints it himself and everything. We were able to teach Franco as well and we taught him about the Word of Wisdom and he accepted everything!  He was a little confused about tea (avoiding strong caffeinated hot drinks) but he was willing to follow everything. At night we got a call from a sister in the same town but in a different branch saying she had a reference person for us and the she would meet us at the church in the evening to go with us and teach her

Friday - in the morning, we taught Silvia about the Restoration of the Gospel and invited her to pray and even to baptism but she said "mmmm, lets see how this goes first" but agreed to pray to know if it is true. We then went on and taught Marta again and her son wasn't there. She did reveal she feels really good with us there - even better than with someone from her same religion, so maybe with time she will accept everything. In the evening we met with the member and she told us that the son of the reference from Thursday (Nelly) had died just a bit ago, and that he was 19. She is struggling with it. Usually we would teach the plan of salvation but we decided to teach the Restoration and talk about this sealing power (the Priesthood) that is now on the earth again and when we asked her if she believes that the families can be together forever. She said no, she also told us that she doesn't leave her house or anything and that her daughter asked her if God exists, we invited them both to pray and they agreed.

Saturday - in the morning we taught Familia (Family) Sanabria and taught them the Plan of Salvation and talked a bit about the Temples and the mom told us that she didn't know that the families could be together with Heavenly Father.

Sunday - we tried to get Franco to go to church but he was sleeping because he didn't sleep well at night but his mom wasn't very happy with him. After church the weather completely changed from like a freshness and cool looking clouds and strong winds (I have more pictures below of the strange cloud formations). We also had lunch with Cynthia and after gave her a challenge to keep the Sabbath Day holy for all of November and to see the difference in her life and that by the end of the month she will be prepared enough to receive her blessing. We also taught Franco and shared scriptures about faith.

WWII PT Boat - outta cardboard

Amazing Cardboard art
Amazing German Tank WWII - Cardboard Art

Me wishing my mom a happy birthday!

By the town Sign - Me

Sister Q by the Town Sign

Still the old VW Bug

praying for lunch?
Enjoying some ZA! (pizza)
Me happy with Pizza

Sister Q having trouble getting it down
Wawa the Star Puppy

WWII German Fighter jet - yep, it's Cardboard

More Cardboard Crafts
Strange clouds or what
More Strange Clouds
Ooops, am I still eating pizza?
 P.S. - it is summer her again...i got sun burnt again but there have been lots of storms and so it has rained a bit here which makes it harder to work, but nicer to walk.