December 29, 2010


Sent 28-Dec-2010

But no worries, Villa Urquiza stays the same! haha Hna Peña and I were ecstatic that we are staying together. We have so many people that we love here already that it would break our hearts to leave. I was actually more nervous than anything. I had a feeling that our work here had just begun but if one of us were going to move, it would have been me. Phew!
This week was crazy hard.
En serio, we had zone conference then a super fast p-day because the Elders wanted to all get together for our district leader´s, E Villarreal, last p-day in the field! He goes home TOMORROW so technically TODAY is the last but whatever...any excuse the elders can make for getting the district together is just fine. haha seriously I love this district. There are 3 Chilenos, 1 de peru, 1 de colombia, my comp from El Salvador and 2 yankees :) The Chileans are taking over the world (my comp almost killed me by causing a laughing attack when she quoted pinky and the brain to me! What are we going to do today, Hermana? The same thing we do every day....plot to take over the world!!!) hahaha I love her! She, Angelica and I would be forever in giggle fits :) Angelica, Suzette thinks off you a lot!!
So we went bowling last week, which here is....bowling. I said boliche and E Bahamondes almost split open his head falling over in his chair laughing. How was I supposed to know that here, boliche is like going clubbing??? Hello? So now that is a joke they have for me, also I don´t know how Chavo is Niño del ocho? Am I supposed to know that? The elders were shocked that I was the only out of the loop, the Mexican. Even the other elder from the US knew....darn... (Side note from Suzette’s mom: El Chavo del Ocho is a Mexican show that in Argentina apparently changed name, Chavo is right, is just that Suzette has not seen the show).
But that district has been decimated. haha not really. E Villarreal goes home, E Cortés was sent to Park something and we have 2 new elders. Everyone else stayed. New pics coming soon.
We had a baptism on Wednesday. Estefania who is a doll and I love her dearly. Her wonderful mother is next up for baptism we just need to figure out if we need wedding bells or moving boxes. Whatever she and he decide! :) We would love to baptize a family but if he doesn´t get reading and praying, we´ll have to go to drastic measures. But no worries, yesterday he told us he read! And we pressed him for more information and he repeated all of the chapter in Mosiah that we had left! It was a sign of faith and our spirits were lifted that he wasn´t just letting all that we have taught his family go to waste.
Since this week is the first week of the new transfer, sunday was a farewell kind of thing for the missionaries who finish this week. So we went to support our District leader, to take our investigators to hear the testimonies of the Elders and Sisters, and to accompany any from our area who were going to see a missionary who had once served in Urquiza. There was an elder who called us that was coming from the South and wanted us to invite a family and a few people. It is a wonderful thing that the converts that can make it to San Fernando can see the missionaries who helped them find the gospel and keep in touch.
I got to see E Nielsen and Hna Gillum who I travelled with and it was great! E Nielsen lost his MTC weight haha and Hna Gillum is understanding a LOT more Spanish! It was great to see them since I don´t know very many missionaries here yet, friendly faces are happy happy happy :)
Ok I said that this week was crazy hard but didn´t explain. It was amazing because of the baptism, the love that we felt from members of the ward and getting to talk to the family....but....we STRUGGLED and SWEATED and WALKED and are now a deep, dark brown (haha) to find 4 precious souls to teach. We will care for them dearly because they cost us a lot. I really can´t handle the heat here.
I told you that if you wanted to know what it felt like here, put a wet towel on your face and stick your head in the oven. I never feel dry, I’m always sticky!!!
But DAD! i did the same thing on Christmas morning! By the same thing I mean read the same thing because I´m POSITIVE that the whole family didn´t sit with a fan blowing on them, drinking ice water, and wiping off perspiration with a paper towel. (Though I dreamed of orange rolls) but in my personal study Saturday morning I read from Matt and Luke! Just like you!!
We spent some time on the 24th with Lidia and Estefania and then with Hna Lourdes Cor who is the relief society president in Urquiza. She is an AMAZING woman who is so like my mother that I feel at home with her. (P.S. add her on facebook. she has pictures of me!) 2 of the baptisms this month were HER references. She´s great.
Ok, pics aren´t working and I am out of time. I am sending all the Christmas letters that i have written soon (hopefully today but we´ll see) so just pretend that they aren´t way late and appreciate the love with which they were written. (And the precious time :) )
Love you all. I am so grateful for the amazing time that I am blessed with to be here focused on preaching the Lord´s gospel. I love being a missionary. I feel my Savior´s love. Even when I feel like I´m walking through the streets of the infernal pit, I know that the Lord has called me to be here. There is no coincidence that I am here serving with Hna Peña with Pres Gulbrandsen as our president. I hope and pray only to fulfill the purpose the Lord has for me. I am grateful for an eternal family. I know that we can be together forever. I love you all and pray for you. Be examples of the believers. You can be a walking testimony. Share this precious knowledge with everyone. They are waiting for it.
Love you love love. Happy New year and Happy birthday Dad!!!!!! You can´t be 38 anymore because that would mean that I was born while you were on your mission hahahaha love you!
Hna Gonzalez

December 28, 2010


Sent 21-Dec-2010

Ok everything is going to be in super fast mode this week. I don´t think i´ll even have time to correct tyops so please forgive.
Sooooooooooo what would be better than a phone call at christmas??
Done guessing?

Don´t worry, my mission president happens to be the most technological savvy person in Argentina. He has allowed us to have a skype call with the family on Saturday!!! We still have to figure out if we have a webcam but hey, it´s free!!! I already have an account but umm....can´t remember the password. Dad, if you can figure out the password by the username, that would be dandy.
AHHH!!! I was jumping up and down and kicking and maybe squealing when the district leader called and told us. Seriously how awesome would it be to see you?!?!?!?!?!?
So, Thursday i have permission to double check with yáll about how it´ll all go down. Same time, same place (for me in the church) but on the computer! Sound good? Because it sounds wicked awesome to me. Except maybe the fact that you´ll actually SEE me crying with joy instead of HEARING it. hahaha oh well, that´s something I can live with. So be happy, figure out the skype thing so I can log into my account and you all have an account set up. Thank goodness we practiced in Alaska!! Hooray!!!!!!!!
So I have like less than two minutes but I´ll update you super fast.
Yes, my p-day changed to Tuesday this week because AFTER p-day last week we were informed that there would be a zone conference on Monday (yesterday) so we had zone conference for Christmas. SO FUN! My first one and we had sloppy joes (SO CRAZY) and a really fun white elephant gift exchange (where the pres and his wife provided all the gifts haha) and the sisters went first and went opening little bags of TIES after TIE after TIE after TIE!! haha there WERE sister gifts too so yeah :) I got a cute little headband and hair clips. I LOVE the President and his wife. The assistants are lucky to get to work so closely with him though we called the president twice this week directly (for baptisms) and he is so aware of us! It was amazing that when he picked up the phone, he said, Hola Hna Gonzalez, ¿comó va todo en Urquiza? He didn´t even hesitate to ask who he was speaking with! Out of 18 sisters, yeah it´s easier to narrow it down. Yup, 18 sisters out of about 160 missionaries in the mission.
We had the conference in the mission home and we had a mini meeting beforehand with all the missionaries who have less than 6 months on the mission. I was the only real greenie in the room and the ONLY Hermana. AWKWARD. haha but it was great, I’ve learned a lot that I am SO ready to put into practice in Urquiza!!
Mom thanks for sending my info to people on FB. I have been receiving emails from people like Elise West, Love her! and others that make me super happy. Thank you!
I had an inspired idea for you too mom. Regarding writing in your journal, even if you do write just a few lines at night (like after washing your face so you remember you still have something to do before (or even right after) praying, write like you are writing to me! Or your future grandchildren. Write about something you saw, an act of service, a miracle, a tender mercy and write to me about how it made you feel the love of God for you. Seriously, i think that would motivate you to remember to write. Think of me, something you want to tell me about your day and write about it :) yeah? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Dad, something you should know about the packages/letters that come through pouch. I don´t know exactly when it got here but it did!!!! Thanks for the reese´s! I opened my package on the train and Hna Peña and the elders we were travelling with all gasped in amazement! I´m the most popular yankee in town! hahahaha keep them coming if you please! :) no seriously, they were like mana from heaven....they even disappeared like the dew in the morning :)
Ok, the packages and letters will only get to me ONCE A TRANSFER at zone conference when we travel to the mission office (or if for some random reason we go to San Fernando which would be at the END of a transfer for the missionary farewells) So, transfers are next week, which also means my p-day will switch again to Tuesday instead of Monday in case one of us goes.... :(
BUT I’ll be able to write HAPPY BIRTHDAY on your birthday and not one day before :)
Love you all and we´ll chat more about life and everything on the mish on Saturday!

December 13, 2010


Sent 13-Dec-2010

Haha! BAPTISM!!!!!
Ezequiel was all prepared. We just had to come in, dust him off, give him the white pants and get him wet!
No but seriously, he already loves going to church, his uncle is a member (and our Ward Mission Leader) and he is a child, innocent and pure. A wonderful bonding week for him and his family. Baptism this week and the marriage of his uncle (our WML) next week and Christmas the next! Timing was perfect.
Miracles of the week: We are teaching a family where the two parents need to be married. They were our first miracle, we challenged them to be married so they can be baptized and they went to start the proper papers the next day!! Hooray! Next, Ezequiel, who we were teaching with his mother (and every one told us she would never listen to missionaries) because his wonderful, faithful example has been a huge window through which the Lord has poured blessings. Seriously, through both sides. His mother, grandmother and aunt are all our new investigators and they are wonderful!
Uh, we had another Rainy day experience. Well, two of them. On Friday, it was cloudy and looked like it was going to rain maybe but Hna Peña and I REFUSED to take umbrellas to carry around all day. We were going to have lunch with the familia Morales that I had told you about with Guillermo. A wonderful couple, who are sadly moving out of our area. We were meeting with them basically to say goodbye for now. It started to sprinkle as we were crossing the road to their house and we ducked under a tree to call them so they could come to the door. Guillermo came to the door with a big smile on his face. He let us in out of the rain that was now coming down hard.
He is such a good man. I told you before i think that he was excommunicated over something that started very small. Like the story of Thomas B Marsh´s wife and the cream. It was heartbreaking to hear the amazing story of his conversion followed directly by his falling away. The story of the missionaries who he had stopped in the street when he was a little drunk one night, who had come to his home once, twice, with him refusing to come to the door when the third time they were supposed to come by and see him, it was an Argentine downpour and Guillermo thought there was no way on earth they would come in the rain. But at 7 o’clock on the dot, there were the elders clapping their hands at the gate. He let them in because of their dedication even through the rain and his family of 10 were baptized. Then an offense was taken and he fell away. He told us about when his daughter left to serve a mission, she asked him if he would go to church again while she was gone. He said he wouldn´t lie and say yes. And he never went.
Friday, when we were sitting in his home with his wife, he looked Hna Peña and I in the eye and said, I´m going to promise you what I wouldn´t promise anyone if I didn´t mean it. I will be baptized again. I will go straighten everything out with the proper authority and I WILL be baptized. Hna Peña and I couldn´t stop the flow of tears as he bore his testimony and we said our goodbyes. I´ll send the pictures he´ll send of him in white.
After that, we got big garbage bags (hence the picture) to RUN to the church because we had to clean the font. It was so out of use that it was dirty and the pump wasn´t working right. The pump to pump OUT the water. So, Hna Peña and I filled it with some water so we could scrub it out but.....the water wouldn´t drain. And it wouldn´t drain and it wouldn´t drain! We tried to fix the pump, but seriously, this is ME we´re talking about. And my companion, I love her for this, is sooo girly. Even she would admit that she is very ´fresa´. :) So we tried filling the pump (like priming it, the story dad loves) and we kept putting water in but when we turned it on, the water would disappear from the pump and NOT from the font. So we filled and filled and filled the pump but it wasn´t working. Come to find that umm....filling the pump? Yeah, it definitely goes right into the font. So we had even MORE water in the font to get out BY HAND. We had a bucket of 16 liters to work with...... 50 bucketfuls later......My arms were so sore from lifting the water up and out of the font that I think I’ll have bigger arms than DANNY. ;) haha it was an experience. But hey, Ezequiel was baptized in crystal clear water :)
Then Saturday we were teaching a lesson when another storm hit. And it was a big one. With thunder and lightning, which made me kind of nervous since I´ve gone so long without such a storm.
Quick story so you know why we didn´t want to take the umbrellas: EVERY TIME, i mean, every SINGLE time we see that it might rain and we take our umbrellas, it doesn´t rain. In fact the moment we have passed the point of no return (to the apartment to put them back) the sun comes out all bright and shiny and we get sunburns. (Well, not me because I use Tahitian Noni lotion with sunblock built in ;) haha) But we somehow work it out that we pass by the apartment again and put them away so it´s not a HUGE headache. But one day, we were going to be away from the apartment all day. We took those umbrellas because it was Definitely going to rain. NOT. We carried them around from 11am to 9pm almost leaving them in every home we entered. People on the street were judging us (more than usual) and one old man look at us, looked up, searching the heavens and said ´que llueve, que llueve! las paraguas estan cerradas!´ Let it rain, let it rain, the umbrellas are left unopened.
Haha Rude! Even the bus driver when were going home for the night made fun of us. ¨get up on the bus and let´s get going because you´ll all get wet!
Not so quick story but hey, it makes me LESS irresponsible for being caught in the rain with nothing to keep my dry. It was really coming down. We were with a member who drove us to the church so we wouldn´t get soaked.
Ok, the streets are cobblestone style but with bricks kinda. Hard to describe, I’ll take a picture. But the curbs are BIG and I was in a skirt that doesn´t have as much freedom of movement around the knees so it was an absolute miracle I could jump the river that had formed in front of the church. Again, right before the baptism, the rain stopped and sun came out. I guess the Lord likes to have ALL of Villa Urquiza clean before a new soul is baptized.
I´d like to announce that Hna Peña and I will be entering in marathons when we get back home. We will be champions of the world. We are seriously getting so fast at walking it´s a little unbelievable. We´ll be walking a block a minute and then look up and see that we´ve walked too far! haha
About Carmen: She is getting baptized this Saturday. She is an amazing story that will have to wait until next week. But I was reading today a story just like hers in Alma 22. She is like Lamoni´s father in verse...11? I think. She was ready to believe and couldn´t wait for more. We asked her how she felt yesterday at church about being baptized and she said, can it be this Saturday or do i have to wait until after Christmas? Those are the sweetest words a missionary can hear!!!! Haha Love it!
I love this work. I love the gospel. i know my Savior lives. I love him. I am grateful for the sacrifice he made for me and all the world. We are here on the earth to show we can be obedient and dedicated to him. Thank you for your prayers and I ALWAYS feel your love. The night you went to the Forgotten Carols, I had a dream about home. I NEVER remember my dreams but I even told Hna Peña about how weird it was. I feel your love and I hope you feel mine. I pray for you, your health, your strength and for constant guidance from the spirit every day. May you, my family, my loved ones, always have a missionary state of mind. Share your testimony. Be bold. You may be the instrument through which the Lord is working. Don´t let the opportunity pass you by.
Love love love love love,
Hermana Gonzalez

December 12, 2010

Pictures from the MTC to Villa Urquiza

My companions at the MTC

Hermana Schumacher, Hermana Ochoa y YO!

                                                                  My MTC District.

I met Sister Fisher in Alaska she is going to Brasil.

Back on the door!

                                                      President and Sister Gulbrandsen

Leadership conference, Argentina.

My District in Villa Urquiza, Argentina

Brenda, ready to be baptized!!

                                                            District activity: ice skating.

                                            Can't skate but we sure can pose for the picture :)  

              No utensils? What are my hands for?

                               Hermana Peña not very convinced, she wanted her utensils!

                                                     Great missionaries to work with!!

What a week!! Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles

Sent 6-Dec-2010

Ok Family, settle in,
This email with the general stories of the week will be sent to EVERYONE and i will TRY to write everyone indivdually too. Shoot I can´t spell anymore....
So, last week, after shopping, emailing and such, we went ice skating as a District!! It was a blast and everyone had fun but....the very next day we had to repent because we had sinned. Unintentionally because we HAD received permission to go BUT one zone leader forgot to call us back and tell us we COULDN´T do winter sports like that. Ooops. Luckily we were all ok but for sure future ice skating is off the table.
I included some pictures of said sinners laughing and skating happily away. I had to teach the elders how to do it because it was almost all of their first time skating on ice. E Bahmondes was my favorite. He wouldn´t let go of the handrail for most of the hour we were there. The last 5 minutes or so he got the hang of it :) (he´s in the blue and white striped jersey)
Also a pic of the district plus the zone leaders (who are in our district) at Tierra Santa. That place was a little bit scary. :) haha but a good experience all the same.
The other picture of my eating with my hands is me....well, eating with my hands. On tuesday we had a vianda, means take out, for lunch. We were far from our pension and hadn´t expected not to be eating with the hermana. So we walked a short distance to the church where there are ZERO utensils to be found. And no microwave. haha so we ate coldish milanesa and trigo con tomate with our hands :) hahaha Hna Peña HATES to be dirty and is very very neat. Eating with her hands was a challenge but she was also hungry.
We have been trying to teach a lot more with members present but they always seem to have something come up. So unless we snag them at a moment´s notice, we have pretty much been on our own. Don´t get me wrong, the members are GREAT. They definitely never leave us wanting for anything and are amazing at fellowshipping everyone we get to come to activities and to sunday meetings.
Wednesday I witnessed a miracle. We had finally gotten a time for Alejandro to come and listen to us! This was a small miracle but not the one i´m talking about. Not only is he an investigator but male so we can´t teach him alone. Hna Peña and I had tried everything and everyone to come and be with us so we didn´t have to cancel the lesson which was hard enough to arrange.
We went about the work, walking tons and enjoy the breeze though the breeze brought huge rain clouds and we were without umbrellas. We were going to get soaked and we were going to lose Alejandro because I think i mentioned before that when it rains here EVERYTHING stops. People go inside and they don´t do anything until the storm clears. I found out why. We had just ducked into the church to figure some things out when the rain came down in massive drops. It was raining the hardest i´ve ever seen it rain. We were more worried about getting to teach alejandro than getting wet so we both knelt in prayer, we both offered prayers aloud for the rain to stop so we could work and so that alejandro would not be discouraged from meeting with us. Hna Peña prayed specifically for it to stop raining long enough for us to work and teach and it could rain all night to kind of make up for it.
We got up, went to wash our hands and make the phone call we had needed to make and when we turned to the door to go out again.......the rain had stopped. We went out again to work, taught alejandro with a wonderful, marvelous sister who helped at the last minute and was happy to do so (she ended up being an incredible addition to the lesson as well. Perfect for relating to alejandro and his current challenges) and we did not get a single drop of rain on us. at 8:50ish when we started heading back home, it started to rain again. The Lord had blessed our faith for us to be able to do exactly as we asked. To work and teach and return home. It rained all night. :)
I know that the Lord is very aware of us and our needs and circumstances. He wants only the best for us. Answers and blessings may not always come as immediate as our miracle did but I know that we will recognize the help he sends if we have the faith to see it. Always pray in faith that the Lord will provide.
I love this gospel. I am overjoyed to know that I can be with my beloved family forever and ever. I know my Savior lives. I know he loves me and knows that I am imperfect but I am trying.
haha that story only got me to Tuesday.
Um, let´s see. Yesterday, we taught Carmen. She was married to a man named Juan Carlos who was a member of the church. They have divorced 10 years ago but when Carmen found out he was sick, she returned to care for him until he died. After his passing, she wanted to know more about his religion. We got in contact with her and when we had just started to teach about the restoration and Joseph Smith she started to cry. We stopped and asked why she was crying. These were her words: I feel like I was wrong. I was mistaken to not be with my ex-husband in this church. AAAHHH!!! Can you imagine our hearts were over the moon?!?!?! She testified to us right then and there that she felt the Book of Mormon was true. WOW! She is going to be baptized the 18th :) Miracles happen like that every day. I iwsh I could share them all but all in it´s duetime. It´s all in my journal anyhow.
I love you all and wish you Merry Christmas (early I know but people only ever with feliz fiestas here and the parties are not what it´s about!!!!) Remember to give a gift to Christ. I read somewhere that I think all he asks for is a broken heart and a contrite spirit... ;)
I love you all and wish only that you remember to pray and have faith that the Lord will guide your paths as you are obedient to His word. Be missionaries in your actions and words. You don´t need a nametag to share the gospel.
Love you love you love you,
Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Gonzalez