December 26, 2011
Hello Family and dear friends!!!!
I just can´t believe that it´s over just as quick as that! Christmas I mean. I kept trying to remind myself that Christmas was coming. I just cannot get over the summer heat to have holiday cheer. Weird maybe but it´s a struggle. Mostly, the fact that the whole world over is celebrating SOMETHING right now, if it be our Savior or not, our focus is the same YEAR ROUND. We love and praise our loving Heavenly Fatherand remember His Son every week as we partake of the sacrament and many times in between. I LOVE Christmas though for the FAMILY focus.
It´s such a wonderful thing to see people enjoy the quality family time that comes with this holiday season and the end of another wonderful year.
I have spent ALL of 2011 in Argentina with these wonderful people and I love them SO MUCH! I am so grateful also to be here with the companions that I´ve had. I know that they were put here especially for our investigators and members and for me to learn from and to love.
It was so great to be able to talk to you all on Saturday. It was so fun even though it always comes with just a little bit of anxiety trying to make sure that we get everything worked out in order to SEE and TALK to you! It worked out great, you got to see my companions and even though, like mom said, the time FLIES by, it was time well-cherished. I feel like afterward I could think of way more that I wanted to tell you but it´s all good. We have time.
Then Sunday was a crazy thing trying to get our investigators out of their houses and warm beds into church! We only had sacrament meeting and it was at a different time combined with the ward that we share the building with but Prince got there and a few more and it was so good!!
If you think about how awesome Prince is and how badly he needs to just make the decision and be baptized...he does NOT speak Spanish. He doesn´t have a job here yet because he can´t speak the language. BUT even though the whole church meeting is in Spanish, he comes EVERY WEEK! He´s so much more prepared than he believes...
Sacrament was great and we got a chance to greet and see all of our beloved members and wish them a merry Christmas! Hna Erickson and I couldn´t see the Pinto´s so we were wondering where they might have gone for Christmas but then we saw them and were so happy!!
Hna Dunn had some sort of allergic reaction to some tarantulas that we held last week at their house...yeah, did I tell you about that?? Hno Pinto´s spider collection was on my hand last week...yick. I would send you pictures but the Pinto´s have them so bug Camilly to get them! haha they were gross but one might have scratched Hna Dunn´s hand because it got red and has little bumps. Hna Dunn was super freaked out so she asked Hno Pinto about what it could be and he calmly and very seriously informed her that she could die.... haha NOT! But poor Hna Dunn´s face. haha It was probably an allergic reaction and it´s going away now.
We had this GIANT mission conference/Christmas fireside in PILAR this week. On Thursday, the whole (North part) of the mission was mobile and on our way north, north, north to the LDS campsite facility that they use for EFY and other youth conferences. It was so great and the FIRST time I´ve ever seen the majority of the mission all together.
There were about 150 missionaries I think plus 2 senior couples that we got to have a white elephant exchange and had a scripture chase and a wonderful Christmas devotional. It was great to see all the sisters together too. We were missing TWO of my old companions that are in the south but they know I love them dearly. I got pictures of all the sisters and will be sending those next week (because my camera battery JUST died...lame)
Oh! Sunday, yesterday, Christmas day! We had lunch with Familia Marquina who I LOVE. We hardly get to eat with them because Hna Marquina is serving in the Primary and gets last dibs on inviting us to her house. But HNO Marquina got the calendar two weeks ago and wrote his family in for Christmas. I was pretty excited because I love the whole family sooo much also.....because Hno Marquina´s profession is.......CHEF! haha AND he´s Peruvian which equals double yum. We had a traditional Peruvian meal for our Christmas feast: seviche and duck!
First of all, I LOVE SEVICHE! It was the first time I had ever eaten it but it was SUPER delish! It is fish and all kinds of seafood cooked by the lemon juice it sits in for a few hours. By all kinds of seafood, I mean, SQUID, fish, mussel, and other things that I don´t know in English...YUM! And you have to drink the juice because it´s really rich with the nutrients that the lemon and other condiments add to the seviche. It´s even sold separately in Peru called Leche de Tigre (Tiger´s milk). And then the duck, that had been marinating in deliciousness for 24 hours, with the typical MOUNTAIN of rice and beans. Soo good but soo much food. We left nearly rolling around. I was happy though :)
Ok, I just want to tell you some great miracle stories named Ryan and Maria.
Well, I told you a little about Ryan on Saturday but his whole story is just so amazing. His mom is a member of the church but when he was young he decided that the Church of Jesus Christ wasn´t for him and left it. He was never baptized because his father was not a member of the Church and his parents never forced him to choose. Well, years later, after becoming a research doctor studying STEM CELLS and on the side being a dancer, including in the BYU Living Legends, he came to Argentina for a study abroad and loved it. After returning to the U.S. and graduating, he moved back to live in Argentina. He´s been here for 10 years and met a great future Sister missionary in a Bolivian dance group. Hna Noemi shared with her dance group (that dances purely traditional Bolivian dances) that she had received her mission call, what she was going to do and when she was leaving. Ryan showed great interest and she set up a time to meet with us. Now, Ryan in spending a month in México with his mother who is THRILLED that he has decided to be baptized because he has now asked to know that this is true. He knows it and will follow through with making a sacred covenant with the Lord. I am SO excited for him!!!
Maria, a wonderful, wonderful woman that reminds me sooo much of Mom it´s crazy. She´s from the north of Argentina, Corrientes and we found her because we were trying to contact some referrals from a member.
They weren´t home but as we were leaving the building, the member (a wonderful member missionary) started grabbing things and helping Maria move in. We grabbed some more things and worked together very quickly to move all the things in from the street. As we were working, Maria kept saying that God had answered her prayers with angels. It was such a wonderful opportunity to be there at the right moment to find her. She has had marvelous spiritual experiences with prayer and the Book of Mormon and she is progressing wonderfully. She´s a nurse so she has a rotating schedule that makes it so until now, she has been working Sundays but!....dah dah dah!!! THIS SUNDAY SHE’S OFF!!! Hooray! She´s going to church and we are so happy, happy, happy!!!
I love this work. It brings so much joy to all those involved in it. It´s because it is the great and marvelous work that the Lord has entrusted us to do. A marvelous work and a wonder is NOW coming forth.
Thank YOU ALL for the wonderful testimonies you share with me, for the support to me and other missionaries and for your prayers. I wish everyone a safe and wonderful end of the year and that this coming year brings great things and goal making and especially achieving!!!!!!!!!!
PLUG FOR JOURNALS: WRITE IN THEM!!!! If you don´t have one, START ONE.
If you have one and it´s gathering dust on the shelf, make a habit of writing what you learned in the day every night. You WON´T regret it.
You learn sooo much from yourself because you may have already learned something from an experience but because you didn´t write it down, the next time something similar happens, you don´t know what to do. Don´t forget to show the Lord gratitude for personal revelation! WRITE IT DOWN! It means you care and will remember and follow the Spirit´s counsel and you will keep getting MORE.
Love you, love you, love you!!!
Have a wonderful week!!!
my email is being weird so I don´t have the option to make the font
bigger or a different color but just know that if I COULD, it would be
HUGE and gaudy :) (Mom did it for you my dear missionary)
Have a WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! WOWWWWW 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a wonderful week and we´ll talk NEXT YEAR!!!
December 12, 2011
The last time it SNOWED in Buenos Aires was like 10 years ago and it freaked people out. haha I think it is funny that here, they only know about the White Christmas´ that can exist because of movies they´ve watched. Anywho…
This week we had wonderful things happen! First things first, HERMANA DUNN IS STILL HERE!!!! And she´ll probably be here a while....I THINK. I HOPE with all my little heart! I NEED HER! haha It seriously can be very challenging to have a trio BUT we have had great things come of ours here. DIVISIONS! Woot WOOT! I told you about all the future sister missionaries that we steal from other wards. haha the Elders actually called me one day to ask if we were going on divisions one day and if it was with their ward member. Oops....yes? haha We HAD called a week in advance (because she was doing finals for school) and we got her first! Early birds get the worm...which is actually kind gross but we did get to have more lessons!
Another thing I love about my Sisters is that we are focused on our investigators and we have so many different perspectives on life and background experience and spiritual experiences etc. that we end up counseling together and come up with great lesson plans focused on our investigators needs. I learn so much from them!
Hermana Erickson wouldn´t mind me telling you that she´s 25. haha but I asked her anyway. It´s funny but I really don´t think that age is an issue ever anymore. Maybe if she was 26......haha just kidding. I love her and think she is the bomb.com. We have a lot of common loves like food and She´s the Man. It´s super funny all the time with her and we have a lot of good times. She used to work in California as a paralegal assistant in a law office and then most recently worked in Provo at the Utah Valley Convention and Visitor´s Bureau. Hooray! We talk Provo all the time with the three of us all knowing what´s going on!
We met a great sister from Indianapolis, Indiana who was down here studying tango to teach back at her dance studio in Indiana. She was super great and invited us over for lunch. We were very spiritually edified by her testimony and love of the gospel. She shared with us this GREAT documentary (I love a good documentary) that´s on BYU TV called the 5,000 day project. Have you heard of this? It´s super great. Look it up. It´s one of a series but this filmmaker guy chose a bunch of kids and followed their lives, asked them questions and such for 5,000 days (about 10 years) and them put them together. These two brothers from an LDS family were chosen and followed over the years. It´s a tear jerker and so wonderful and amazing as the filmmaker followed the Older Brother on his mission to Chile. It´s like LEGIT mission prep stuff. haha watch it if you haven´t yet! I only saw a little bit that Sister Roach showed us and it was great!
There was a long 5day weekend for the Immaculate Conception and Día de la Virgen....basically.....we walked a lot because people weren´t home. BUT we also had great experiences teaching Prince some more. He is really struggling right now because he misses his family a ton. But he has great faith, though it´s still really hard for him to accept WHY he has to be baptized if he´s already been baptized. I have definitely grown in my testimony of the sacred Priesthood of God because of the long hours studying and teaching it to him. The Spirit has witnessed to me of the truthfulness of the restored gospel and I am so grateful for knowing that it is true, for having the gift to believe. I have never doubted. Sure, there have been times that I took it for granted in my life but those days are past. Like one of the Twelve said, This is NOT a spectator sport, nor a fast food outlet where you can ´have it your way´. This is the Lord´s way or the highway. But we always have the mercy of God to forgive us and turn around. He is just waiting for us to turn to Him. Look and Live.
The CUTEST Primary in Buenos Aires had their presentation yesterday! It was so amazing and CUTE! It helped me to love children again. I just can´t believe the outstanding difference between those reverent, scripture-memorizing, primary song-singing children and those that are not yet of our faith. I wish that the whole world could see the 4 and 5 year olds that memorized scriptures and were teaching US about the values they learned in primary this year. I LOVE THEM! Theirs is the kingdom of God!
Well, we have to get along with our P-day. Sorry so short but know that I love you and pray for you daily. I am so happy to know that my family is FOREVER.
Hope that you will be safe in the cold and snow (if it´s snowing yet) and that the preparations for the celebration of the birth of our Savior will bring not only you but many others closer to Him and the knowledge of His divine love and mercy. I know that our Savior LIVES. He is the reason for the season. No toy, sweater or socks could be enough to give Him but our Heart is what he asks.
Love you all! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
(I mostly say that so I can remind myself that it´s almost Christmas. We might buy decorations and stuff today. We haven´t decided but we are loving the WORK!)
Love forever and ever,
December 7, 2011
This email is really made up of 3 emails Hna González sent on Monday December 5, 2011
Hey hey hey. These pictures are loading quickly so this will hopefully be a Picture filled day!
My new companion arrived on Wednesday after a crazy amazing day of getting to sleep and KIND of catch up on the time difference and resulting jetlag. Dear Hermana ERICKSON is now with us in Congreso. At the mission home, President let us know that Hna Dunn WON´T be with us the whole transfer but that arrangements are being made to get her new companion up (from the south, we think) and things put in order to open a NEW SISTER AREA!!! Hooray!!!! Like mother, like daughter haha, I had warned Hna Shelley that since that´s how I was trained and how SHE was trained, that´s how someday, she will eventually train! It´s been amazing to see how the sisters are answering the Prophet´s call to serve. 4 more sisters joined the ranks of Buenos Aires North missionaries! We BAPTIZE! We have, at last count, 30 sisters!!!! WOOOOOWWWW!!!!! If I counted wrong, we might only have 29 but I´m pretty sure that´s about right. HOW AWESOME!
Hermana Erickson is from Chicago but has lived in California and Utah (Provo) so she gets the west coast stuff that Hna Dunn and I know. I feel like I´ve been in a time bubble because of all the things that she and Hna Dunn can talk about and I have no idea what they mean. And Hermana Erickson´s iPod nano is like the size of my really old iPod shuffle and I´m just really behind on stuff...that´s all.
Anywho, it was super great going to get her from the mission home, especially since it was so different from last time with Hna Shelley. Oh, before I forget, remember Elder Neilsen from my MTC district and how he´s the only one I´ve got from those olden days? Now I talk to him all the time (not ALL the time, obviously) but he´s the secretary to the President so in the offices, he´s got to get all the info to the trainers and is just in charge of a lot of stuff. I´m just really excited that he´s doing so well and that he´s close! I don´t want that to sound weird but remember that he´s like seeing Brett or Sam. If my siblings and I were working in the same job/profession or whatnot, if we were on the same floor or same office (you get the point) it would just be fun to see them!!!!
Back to the sisters. 4 more. 4 wonderful sisters. Hna Gutierrez was the lucky one who will have her first area in the SOUTH so while she was waiting for her flight to the south, President and the secretaries made arrangements for her to come home with US to CONGRESO............
So happy to receive her favorite things!!
Loving family and friends, thank you!!
Nutella is great for crepes, so are the peanut butter M&Ms
Presents for Hna Dunn also!!
Post-it notes, very useful to leave notes at the investigators doors!
Email # 2 more pics and more letter.... ………hey more pics…..
but if you were doing the math on HOW MANY sisters were going to Congreso....
you´ve got ME....
my new comp: Hna Erickson
my lovely trio comp: Hna Dunn
AND a flight-wait-er comp: Hna Gutierrez!
FOUR SISTERS in one area! What does that mean???.....
…….DIVISIONS!!! haha my favorite. Twice as much work in the same amount of time. And we went CRAZY!!
Our living room (the only other room that ISN´T where we sleep or shower) was the suitcase room. But we got to go see so many people!
We got great things done and I loved the sisters but it was a LOT of stress and responsibility on ME. Three sisters, two brand-new to the country and one just finished training but ALL ROCKSTARS! THEN I was trying to coordinate who was going where and with which member and when we would meet back up again and all sorts of craziness. Just the fact that I´m writing these emails is proof that the Lord prepares the called, when assigned by your priesthood authority to do something, even if you think you can´t do it, you really CAN. It´s the power of the Spirit of the Lord.
RICARDO is my miracle of the week. He was a referral from Ushuaia and we couldn´t contact him for forever. We finally went one random day that he popped into our heads (which means the SPIRIT led us there) and we FOUND HIM! We couldn´t teach him much because he lives alone but we gave him a Book of Mormon and an invitation to church. Then, he kind of fell off the face of the earth. But THEN!!!!........
We love them!!
Email # 3 so many pics.... (Send pic 101 to hna shelley. SHe´ll DIE! Haha)
…….so then Ricardo, called US! It was like in the best two years and I nearly cried. But we went and taught him. We read 1 Nephi 1 with him and he loved it. Then we left one more chapter for him to read for the next day. We went back the next day and he had read all the way to chapter 13!!! I LOVE IT! He is just plowing through all the goodness of the Book and he’s loving it. The member that we were with (a future sister missionary to Colombia, leaves in February) told him that there was a baptism in her ward the next day (Saturday) and he asked if anyone could go and see. OF COURSE! We took him and he liked that. He came to church yesterday along with 4 MORE of our investigators (all MEN by the way!) and he liked that too. BUT he´s LEAVING TO CORDOBA!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! He is going out there on some business with his mother and doesn´t know when he´ll be bacK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sad but he´s still going to get baptized. Maybe not as soon as we thought and hoped but, he WILL. He´s taking the Book of Mormon with him so all is well. I love this work and we see miracles all the time. I love being with the new missionaries because they aren´t tired yet. Maybe a little sleepy but their feet are soft and callous-free, their backs are strong and their wills freshly renewed from making and remembering the eternal covenant we made with our Heavenly Father in the Temple. I am starting to forget the little things. Makes me really sad. I didn´t think I could ever miss the Temple like this.
First stop in Utah, SALT LAKE TEMPLE? I want to do that as a missionary IF POSSIBLE. We have a while to worry about that anyway haha. Love you all!
This season will be the most wonderful that I can muster. The Lord´s great work for 2 Christmases in a row. I can´t believe I am so blessed. I get emotional every time I think about the power of the Gospel, the blessing of the priesthood and the miraculous opportunity the Lord gives us to serve and learn and grow and work for Him full time. I talked about Ruth in one of our lessons, again, and my amazing little brothers. I am so overwhelmed with joy when I think of them and Dad´s story about the talk Brother Garbett gave about them. They have learned what President Eyring talked about in priesthood session, priesthood staying power is to work a little longer and push forward past the point others would have taken a rest. I love it. I had to come here to learn it and they will enter the MTC and get to their mission fields already having practiced it for years.
I love you, each and every one of you.
If I was born in my family ONLY to serve here in this area of the world, all the experiences I have had and endured, family things, especially my mom´s illness, then it is PROOF that our lives are not our own but that our Father in Heaven places us where we need to be and gives us experiences we need to have in order to serve and bless others in His due time.
In this ward, I think I mentioned that it´s really great for the visitors because of all the hotels here and random people show up every week. But it´s also where people from other parts of the country come to stay when they are here for medical treatments. The members from all over Argentina end up in Barrio Congreso. There has been a brother and his wife here because he received a kidney transplant, another sister accompanied by one of her sons for her chemo treatments and others. Just by being my mother´s daughter, I was able to extend the loving words I did years ago to my own mother and family. I could just hug them and let them know that they could do it; they could make it through too. Our Savior´s atonement makes our healing possible, my experience with similar illnesses, seeing it from the outside, made possible that my heart was open to express the Savior´s charity.
I love the Savior. I love my Father in Heaven and thank Him every day for the family he has blessed me with. I love you and I know that this is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Until next week,
Hna Pinto and Hna Dunn
Hna Gonzalez and Hna Pinto
November 28, 2011
We thought we would not get an email today, Suzette sent it at 1:02 pm and we received it at 9:49 pm, pictures make the email veeeeerrrrryyyyyyy ssssllllllooooooowwww : )
But here it is!!!!
This is part of a short message Suzette sent earlier this morning:
Yup.......trransssfeerrrrrrs. I decided I don´t like them but I deal with it hahaha, it´s just the crazy and the anxiety of moving or not, packing or not, saying goodbye or not....I lose sleep. No bueno .... buuuuuuuuut......
WE BOTH STAY IN CONGRESO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PLEASE keep praying for me and my comps AND our investigators of whom I will tell you more later!
Hey, sending these pics and also wanted to let you know that I GOT THE CHRISTMAS PACKAGES!!!! 3 packages and SOOOO much happiness. I really wish I had gotten a video of my reaction of opening and seeing all the great things on ´Christmas´. We did Christmas last Friday because we really couldn´t wait to see what amazingness could be inside! So we made a delicious breakfast in our sweet hindu/argentine pants. They are the BEST things ever. We LOVE these pants. Mine have camels on them and Hna Dunn’s are elephants. They are super popular here and I’m DEFINTELY taking the trend to the US if it hasn´t made it there before me. They are the most comfortable amazing things ever. Especially now that it´s getting so HOT!
Hna Dunn made crepes and we delighted with the Nutella. I just about passed out when I saw it and the maple and the...
...m&m 's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A happy missionary, indeed. :)
Ok as these pics are loading I’ll start writing about this week and the coming week.
First of all, I just have to say that last week, Hna Dunn and I found exactly what I´ve been looking for.....great argentine things to take home and share with you! Mostly things like awesome key chains but also legit argentine amazing-ness. We might have gone crazy with happiness. I found....wait for it............................LEATHER FANNY PACKS! They are coming back. And even if they´re not ´cool´ they are DEFINITELY a GREAT and practical thing. I´m SO excited to get to use it.
That being said,
Transfers have come and gone and I am staying in Congreso like I thought and hoped and......so does HERMANA DUNN!!!!! I was actually really, really anxious about these transfers because of all the things that are pending with our work together. The GIANT surprise was that we would be, yet again, in a TRIO.......I´M TRAINING AGAIN!
Last time, I was just feeling all sorts of inadequacy, discouragement, and worry. Now I´ve learned SO much, grown a lot and have developed this insane trust in the Lord. Nothing like pushing you to the edge of a canyon to show you that you can actually fly. I worried a lot, cried a lot, prayed a lot. And while I will continue to pray my heart out, the worry and tears will be reserved only for our investigators and not in MY behalf.
This time around, with the new missionaries arriving, President and Sister Gulbrandsen are doing a great thing. For the Latin missionaries who are already here, they will be getting right to work on Tuesday when they get picked up from the CCM. For the Provo MTC missionaries who will be arriving tomorrow morning after a looong, loong travel on an all night flight, they will be taken somewhere to go sleep a few hours, THEN get the welcome training, THEN the interviews and we will go and get them from the mission home on Wednesday. While I’m SUPER jealous that they get to go and sleep and feel good and clean and happy before getting work, it´s SUCH a wonderful thing for these missionaries to sleep before we stuff them full of amazing info that they will NOT remember in a tired, hazy state anyway. I just remember my first day and the confusion, a good kind, not bad. I didn´t know what was going on but I wasn´t worried about it either. I was just so excited to be here that all I worried about was trying to stay awake and pay attention. I honestly don´t remember much but I do remember being happy and knowing that I was exactly where the Lord needed me.
Well, enough reminiscing, I’ll do that lots later I´m sure. But we are getting so excited here, yo!
(Before I forget, Hna Whitehead got sent SOUTH! To.......da da da dum! RIO GALLEGOS!!!!!!!!!!!! She´ll be in my beloved branch down there and I´m so happy for her even though I will miss her TONS. I actually got to see her a lot last transfer and I love her to death. She and I have matching leather fanny packs now :) and have many dates planned for the future so while we are separated by miles and miles now, all will be well in Utah. I was just mentioning this because last Wednesday was probably the last time I´ll see her in the mission field... :( ) Could you send her the picture I attached with her fanny pack? Thanks!
We had a GREAT week. Prince is getting SOO close to the water, it´s killing me. He has some doubts about being baptized again because he was baptized in another church before and with the language barrier, it takes a LOT to explain BUT we had this incredible experience of having a lesson with a member in her home with Prince. We got him a French Book of Mormon, from which he would read out loud what we asked him to while Hna Dunn followed along in English and Hna Balaña (member) and I read in Spanish. We would explain in English and Hna Balaña would testify in Spanish (she understands English VERY well). It was such a beautiful spirit! I loved it. We were talking about it the rest of the day, especially because we were visiting less active families and testified of the power of the Book of Mormon. So great!
We met this great family last night trying to contact a less active family. Veronica was sitting outside (a lot of people are sitting out on the sidewalks now trying to escape the heat of their apartments (which means GREAT contacting opportunities for US!) with her nieces and nephews and we started talking to them. Veronica is from Paraguay and has had SOME experience with the missionaries, mostly misunderstandings which we were GLAD to inform and resolve her doubts. We got a return appointment and they said that just the day before they had been talking about needing some spiritual guidance in their family because of some recent experiences. I am so grateful for the Hand of the Lord leading us to be there at that time to meet them! Hooray for the guidance of the spirit!
To be cont....
November 27, 2011
Hna González blog just a different look!!
Nov 21, 2011 9:37 am
OH the mission, there are so many things here that I have to write down (I’m getting WAAY better again at my journal writing following the great example of my companion! I write EVERY night again. I feel bad because there´s really no way to go back and write everything I missed in the south....oops. Hopefully my planner´s will do for my posterity....) I have to write stuff down because I am learning so much all the time and I think that it will serve me for the rest of my life. Actually I KNOW IT!
I just read Mom and Dad´s emails since they were the only ones who wrote in time for me to see it today and I got really excited for mom! HOORAY! And Dad´s really made me emotional. I am so grateful that even in the moments that I don´t think I´m doing enough, just being here has been an immense blessing for my family and that´s all that I could hope for in the world. It reminded me of Elder Holland´s talk from priesthood session saying that in our family WE SERVE MISSIONS. We can say that. Mom and Dad in Mexico, DAnny in Brasil, me in Argentina, Ruth, Brett and Sam.....TBA. And my parentals will be companions in some not-so-distant future wherever the Lord needs them. I LOOOOVE IT! SISTERS and COUPLES are missionaries too :) Everyone within hearing range of the Prophet can answer his call. I know that today we have a prophet, a modern-day servant of God that declares repentance to the children of God and a way we repent is to prepare ourselves NOW by learning more and applying the principles of the gospel and going out into the world to bring this truth to the WORLD. Like a stone cut out of a mountain without hands....until it fills the earth.
We are children of our Father, an army of His sons and daughters.
We are here to serve our King, children of the Most High. And this is good news that we bring, as we labor gladly bringing souls to Christ!
I can´t believe that I didn´t write last week about the Pinto´s. We had lunch with them last Sunday (as we do every other Sunday) and had a great time again. We had an exchange of desserts, sharing recipes (which Hna Pinto appreciates but I think her husband appreciates it MORE :) ) and eating delicious things. One I’ll have to make for you Mom because it´s a coconut milk thing with JELLO which just happens to be one of the BEST combos this little missionary has ever seen!! SOO GOOD! I´ve been craving jello ever since.....I’ve got to make some...
So with the Pinto´s, I don´t know if I mentioned how much Hno Pinto loves critters. But not cute little critters like, awww, cute. But the hairy, crawly, possibly dangerous things like tarantulas and scorpions. So the things, I’m sorry, the spiders, shed their skin, right? And Hno Pinto saves them. He brought some out to show us. He was super excited about it and we HAD to let him show them off because we do so many girly things we have to give him a Man Moment. So he had the skin of one out and Hna Dunn asked if she could just hold it. Hno Pinto placed it in her hand and it was fine for a minute until.....AHHH! She screamed a weird, disturbing scream that I´ve never heard before and threw the skin on the table. I don´t blame her for freaking out but I knew myself better than even touching it. haha it was super funny. We had a good laugh. I MIGHT tape one of those skins into my memory book just to always remember that great moment.
Oh hey........HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
It´s super weird that this week will be all kinds of festivities and it will be just another day here......haha AND that it´s now climbing into the 80´s and we are starting to bake! It´s going to be another WEIRD mission-flavored holiday season. PRIME family togetherness time...for those who don´t all LEAVE. Did I mention that last year? All the people who CAN, LEAVE BS AS and move to cooler or less crowded places for a month or two starting in January. It´s crazy.
Oh quick things before I forget, we made CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! I know that doesn´t sound so amazing but for a person who is starting to have all her favorite things be ARGENTINE.....we´re talking about having a truly wonderful USA moment. Seriously, when people ask me if there are foods and things I miss from home....I can´t remember. Everything I like or like to eat are now Argentine. Haha But the chocolate chip cookies were a great little love bubble from home.
We had a great Sunday yesterday. I really love this ward. It´s small, but powerful and full of so many rockstars. I love them! Hna Chávez, Hna Amparo, Hna Gómez, Hna Aguilera, Hna Martínez and Hna Miño are some of them. These wonderful, wise women are great examples of faith, diligence, patience and love. They are at church always, sharing their testimonies through word and deed ALWAYS. I love these women so much and look up to them for all their hard work and dedication to the Lord. Sometimes they go to church alone, some are single, some are married with less active husbands or husbands who are not members of the Church. Yet, they are strong and determined. They uphold their beliefs and feed and grow their testimonies week after week. I LOVE THEM!
Hey question: mom do you have a recipe for cranberry relish?? I want to see it that´s something that I can find all the ingredients for here.. Thanks!
I know that this church is true. I love the Lord and thank Him every day for the wonderful opportunity that is REPENTANCE. It´s a HAPPY thing. It means that we can change. It means that we can achieve a lasting happiness and be at peace. What a marvelous thing.
I know that my Savior lives. I know that because He lives, we have hope. We have hope of a brighter today and a better tomorrow. We can be forgiven of our past and be made clean.
Missionary work is the lifeblood of the Church. Without it, we wouldn´t have ANY OTHER organization. The Relief Society, Young Men and Young Women´s organizations and Primary would be for naught. There wouldn´t be people to fill the seats. I love all of you for supporting the Work this way and for preparing for your own dedicated service. If was easy, it wouldn´t be hard. :) The things that are worth it are hard. They require sweat and smiles.
Do we still have that refrigerator magnet that says that? Look for it. Maybe it´s long gone... anyway, it was a good one.
I love you all
I gotta go. We have to live up this day like there is no tomorrow!!!
Love, love, love you!!
Until next week.
ps. does the book of Mormon get printed in Creole?? Could you look for that next time you are in the distribution center. Also in Bambara. Long shot but just curious. Creole from Haiti, Bambara in Mali, Africa.
Thanks LOVE Love!!
10 am same day- As I was writing President....
I thought of all the amazingness of this week that I forgot to share!
We have been receiving little tender mercies everywhere. When I got here, I don´t remember if I mentioned how hard it was to find people at home, even members and ESPECIALLY the recent converts. A lot of the recent converts, about 90% of the last 2 months are not active. It was really hard for the elders who have asked us about them to hear that we hadn´t been able to contact them or that when we had contacted them, they didn´t want to receive us BUT things have changed.
It´s like we had to struggle a lot to learn how to love and appreciate these people that we didn´t know but that needed our help. It´s hard to love a person immediately upon meeting them or just seeing their name, but we prayed to have Christ-like love, to have charity toward them. Now, almost 3 months later, I have met and LOVE all but 3 of these, the newest members here in Congreso. Yesterday was amazing. We met for the first time Elena and Roque. They are GREAT. I was really hesitant to go and didn´t have much hope (my poor lack of faith) that they would even be home but the minute we rang the doorbell, Hna Elena came out and seeing her was like seeing Grandma. No kidding. I loved her immediately and just couldn´t stop smiling at her. She got emotional at the end of our visit when I expressed that love and asked us when we were coming back. This from a woman who just a month ago said that she didn´t want us to come and would never let us in because we were women. (She was trying to protect us from her 4 very big, very wild sons) Now, we are just flying on cloud 9 and this week is looking to be the best yet here in Congreso! LOVE IT!
Right after this great experience, we saw a young family headed out of their apt building for a Sunday walk (it was REAALLLY humid and hot yesterday so no one stayed inside really) The little baby boy in the stroller was staring at us and following us with his very intelligent eyes. So we smiled at him and stopped to shake his cute little hand. He looked at my planner in my hand, on the front of which is a great picture of Christ kneeling and holding children with angels above them. (fav) He held his chubby little arms out for it and I handed it to him. He took it, looked at it and stroked it lovingly. Then he turned it over stared at the other side where I have a picture from the sacred grove (thank you Ensigns!) He and we had this wonderful moment to appreciate how the children recognize Christ and His light. We talked to little Mariano´s parents, invited them to church and set up an appointment to see them next week. They said they had been looking for a church but worked so much, the one day they have off, SUNDAY, they didn´t have time to really go look for one. So, the Lord put us there and little Mariano to find them and give them the information they needed. What a tremendous blessing!
Things like that happen all the time. Sometime, I’ll tell y´all all about them. :)
November 15, 2011
November 14th, 2011
Let me just tell you....I don´t think someone can REALLY get used to the heat. It´s all a matter of realizing that ANY climate is all the more REAL for missionaries. We don´t have warm, toasty houses to chill in when it´s 10 below, nor do we have air conditioning to follow us around on a daily proselyting basis....just wanted to let you all know that but NOT scare the future missionaries. This is just part of the experience. Hna Dunn said the other day that I could really scare people with my stories but to me it´s all the fun and greatness and excitement and wonder of being a servant of the Lord. We are representing Him who descended below all. So when we have to be super sweaty or bundle up with layers and layers of clothes or if the people reject us or dogs chase us or whatever that may happen, we still are so blessed and have NOTHING about which we can complain. We rise above it, we learn from it, we allow the Lord to be our support and our all for these trying times and He rejoices with us in the great times. I LOVE THIS WORK! (And if anyone scares away from serving a mission because of a little cold or a little hot, they are not ready to serve at all. SO, rise to the challenge!! Suzette's Mom)
Speaking of the Work AGAIN, have you FOUND the Tribute albums? They are just the BEST cds in the whole world. Hna Dunn and I listen to them about 3 times a day some days...we are obsessssssed.
The ´s´ key is sticky......lame. That was NOT actually on purpose :)
I just wanted to let you know about this week really quickly. Today we had to go and do some of the paperwork that we have to do to get national ID. It´s called a D.N.I. I already have one, HOORAY! And we went to start Hna Dunn´s stuff on it. That means we had to get up at 5 this morning to get ready for the day and take the hour and a half journey to the mission office. No big deal. It was pretty fun and entertaining because I got to spend half the day with....dum da da dum......HNA WHITEHEAD!!!! She is also training and our companions were sent in a van to do part of their paperwork and fingerprinting back in capital (my area, actually) and we were put as temporary comps (or we might have put ourselves that way...there´s no telling) So we got to catch up, she told me all about the great things that are going on in Tigre (yes...she is STILL there...I think she´s going on 8 months. Her ONLY area of the mission so far....haha I love her) and we just got to reminisce about our great 5 weeks that we spent together. Not a lot of people understand how we got to be SUCH great friends and have so many stories, and funny and great things that happened to us in LESS than a normal transfer.
Speaking of that transfer, Mom, do you have contact with Annika Huish??? PLEASE tell her that I am SO sorry for not writing yet but I am going to repent! I love her SOOO much. Tears came to our eyes as Hna Whitehead and I were remembering our few sweet weeks together and the time Hna Huish squashed a man on the bus when she lost her balance. Wow....good times.
But there were several baptisms in Tigre of people that we taught together! Karen, the girl that we even got to have a baptismal interview with, (the one that was nearly 3 hours in the COLD after which I nearly died from the fever...), same girl. Got BAPTIZED!! Yesterday! And Joset and Carol, the ROCKSTAR 12 year old and his 8 year old sister. Now they are starting to teach people, I don´t know but I was so happy to hear about these great miracles and about people I love!!!
(I’m sending this now and will load more pics.....)
|Hna Dunn showing off her great model skills :)|
|The look outside the window.|
|Fresia Hna Dunn and I. Fresia had a bad day, we will be taking more pictures with her and printing one for her WITHOUT crying eyes :) But now you can see her face and love her with me!!!|
|PINK HOUSE AT NIGHT! The Pink House is the Casa de Gobierno. Equivalent kinda to our White House :)|
…So this week we realized that we actually have a LOT of great people to work with. We had been kind of down because it has been a very, VERY big challenge to baptize in this area but we took a big step back. I realized that we were getting ahead of ourselves and needed to go back to basics: serve, serve, serve. We pray and pray and pray, receive the revelation, and then get off our knees and WORK with ALL OUR MIGHT, MIND and STRENGTH, until we have accomplished everything we felt prompted to do. Technically, we are never through because the Lord gives us revelation bit by bit, raising us higher and higher and adding to our faith little by little until we are walking in the way He wants us to because He led us there.
That´s something that I want to tell Kameron. And all the future missionaries. I didn´t know exactly what to expect of the mission and of how life would be there. I don´t know, it is hard to wrap your head around and it´s hard for a returned missionary to REALLY explain, because it really is what each individual makes of it.
Thanks for sharing with Kameron my emails. I really do know that attitude is a key factor in how each and every day starts and ends. I haven´t ever felt like I shouldn´t be here, that I wanted to be somewhere else or anything of that nature. BUT I HAVE felt discouraged at times, felt guilty for not doing more and felt the need to repent and do MANY things better. BUT that doesn´t get me down. I shared with President in my last interview, I can´t remember if I shared this already last week, but even if I did, I will share it again. It is something that changed a lot how I feel about myself.
President Gulbrandsen helped me change the perspective on being TIRED and Guilty. He knows my face now. We´ve been serving together a while now and he can tell. I walked in his office and he asked how I was. I know that when he asks me that, he´s not looking for the standard, ´oh I’m fine, thanks´ kind of answer. He wants the LEGIT answer. He looked into my eyes and said (not ASKED):
Pres: You are tired.
Me: I really am. And I feel guilty.
Pres: That´s ok.
Me: It doesn´t FEEL ok.
Pres: Well, would you rather be rested, with a lot to give and feel guilty? Or exhausted with nothing left in the tank and feel guilty?
Me: hmmm....exhausted and guilty. But I don´t want to be guilty or have regret here.
Pres: the Lord lets us feel that way because He always wants us to do our best. He is always pleased with our efforts but never satisfied.
I know that when I shared this with my companion, she didn´t like the thought that the Lord is never satisfied. I thought (not only of SAMMY scratching his nose :) ) but that it´s true. Of anyone, who better than our Father in Heaven to know what our true potential is and not rest until He helps us reach it? He sees us; He notes our acts and applauds us in our good acts, suffers in our wrong doings and rejoices when we turn to Him for help. After everything WE think that WE have done well enough, HE sees and always knows better. Hna Dunn shared with me in companionship study about being UNCOMFORTABLE a few weeks ago. I directly quoted to her her own words that day, ´when we are uncomfortable is when the Lord is trying to humble us and invite us to do something more´. I wrote it down word for word as it came out of her mouth and she was surprised when I read it back to her the other day.
That also testifies about how we learn. We have to learn and relearn and remember CONSTANTLY the words and ideas we ALREADY LEARNED because the human mind is a weak thing. I have to write everything down and then REMEMBER to review those thoughts and impressions because if not, I am not changing. If I´m not, I´m the same as yesterday and that´s a step backwards.
That´s also why JOURNALS are so important.
Kameron, on your mission NEVER GO A DAY WITHOUT WRITING at the very least ONE line about how you FELT that day! DON’T GO TO SLEEP UNTIL YOU HAVE REFLECTED WITH THE LORD ABOUT YOUR SERVICE TO HIM. Pray with a notebook by your side and write down what you think of afterward. The thoughts and impressions will continue to flow to serve your companions, your investigators, members, bishops and everyone as you learn to ASK, RECORD your thoughts and ACT on the revelation. TRUST the revelation. YOU have as much right to the revelation for your areas and members and investigators as your trainer does the VERY MINUTE you arrive to the field. USE EVERY MINUTE in the MTC to strengthen your words and to share your testimony purely and simply. No use for grand words and pretty phrases. The Spirit will testify as you speak with the authority and power by which you have been called and that have been bestowed upon you with this sacred call.
I pray for you and all of my family and loved ones. All you who ask about me, pray for me and the missionaries, who write me and send your love are SERVING. You are showing your love to the Lord by loving His servants. THANK YOU.
This weekend was Stake conference in Congreso and that was a HUGE theme. There are 25 wonderful youth that are going to the temple in Uruguay in January to make sacred covenants with the Lord in preparation to serve Him as missionaries!! 25!!!!! By March, this one amazing Stake will have nearly 40 missionaries serving everywhere from England to Colombia. 40 MISSIONARIES! How wonderful is that??!?!?! Don´t worry, it´s about half and half SISTERS and ELDERS.
SISTER CAN SERVE TOO! We are part of a wonderful and blessed generation. I LOVE being a missionary and hope that MANY, MANY, MANY other young women can have hopes and dreams to experience the same. I love my life, my family, my friends and my Lord. THAT is why I am here. I could never show so fully my love without being here and sharing it with everyone.
Love you all, have a wonderful week!!
PS Package items for the blog :)
*Otter pops?? :)
*Baby Books of Mormon (as many as you can, I don´t know how much they are...but people here LOVE them and they ARE expensive to get here)
*Neosporin (the ointment stuff for cuts and stuff)
*CARMEX my lips are DYING....
And family, thank you soooooooo much for including my comps in your Christmas preparations. you have NO idea how much I love you and them and the grateful tears that sprung to my eyes as I read that line about the packages. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! And I’m keeping it a surprise for my comps so that they are surprised at Christmas!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!
LOVE YOU ALL SOOOOOOO MUCH!
Purple shirt pics are from our p day last week. sending these to smile at you a little and for you to be proud of my hair growing abilities!!! it´s a struggle but I´m DETERMINED to have long hair for forever more....we´ll see..... :)
For halloween we made the ´dirt in a cup´ treats. They were GOING to be for our district meeting buuuuuut, it got cancelled. So we ate and enjoyed them thoroughly ourselves. Oreos, pudding, gummy worms...oh the greatness of crazy americans treats
The Congreso Nacional with all the sisters whose comps were doing tramites. We had fun together getting to know my area! This was TODAY!
November 7, 2011
Is a rockstar.
Basically this week has been all about working with the members. We discovered the power of what President Erying talked about in the priesthood session of conference (which just happens to be the most LOADED of all sessions about missionary work and I’m NOT going into how much I wish I could go…...I think I may have vented about this before but hey, this is just going to be a lifelong thing. My future guy/husband, whatever, will go to Priesthood session and take COPIOUS notes and not plan on ANYTHING but going over it with me Saturday night. That´s all)
Anywho, we decided to NEED their help and let them know it! A miracle that I have time here to write about is dear Hna Balaña.
I love her so much. She and her husband have been ROCKSTARS in spreading the word, inviting people to FHE and giving us referrals! She has also been our hero in accompanying us to visit Prince. I had NO idea that she even spoke English (she doesn´t a ton but definitely understands Prince and us) until she was sitting and nodding at what we were talking about. I LOVED her great testimony and all her amazing help with Prince and others.
Then, icing on the wonderful chocolate-y cake was yesterday (I LOOOVE fast and testimony meeting in this ward, by the way. NEVER a silent moment. They just share and share and share!) in sacrament meeting, Hna Balaña rushed up to the front trying to be mom, I mean, like mom and be FIRST in sharing her testimony ;) She is just the greatest sign to me from the Lord that we HAVE to work this way, not only for the good of numbers, or our good or the investigators but the MEMBERS learn and grow sooo much and I want everyone to feel what I feel. This week we are visiting EVERYONE we can and doing a family home evening with them to involve them in the work with people that already know. This ward to going to EXPLODE!
Yesterday, after the meetings, the ward that shares our church had a baptism. It was PERFECT! The most wonderful opportunity for Prince to feel the wonderful spirit of the covenant young Sol was making with the Lord.
Later, he called us several times because we weren´t answering (we were in a cita) and just wanted to talk to us. He told us, in his broken English (did I mention all the lessons we have with him are in English?? Super weird for me to transition the gospel vocab BACK to English but soo great) he told us that he prefers our church and just wants to talk to his mom in Haiti before he gets baptized. HOOORAAAYYY!!!!!
I am so incredibly happy. Nothing could get me down. He is such a special soul and it is NO COINCIDENCE that he just got invited in off the street to be in church and meet the people he´s met. I love this guy and am so willing to do everything I CAN to help him be at my side in the second coming when I can tell my Savior I´ve brought them back, I´ve kept my covenant with You that he would come.
Hna Dunn cracks me up all the time. I’ve started writing down the things in my planner that she says and does because I HAVE to remember them. I don´t have time to share them all right now and plus, they probably wouldn´t be funny to anyone else.
I just want to let you all know that I LOVE being here. I LOVE that this gospel is for everyone. I LOVE knowing that I am doing something that I promised the Lord I would do before i even came to this earth. I come to know this fact a little more everyday when I meet my heavenly friends here in Argentina. I came here to meet them and to share with them the GOOD NEWS, the gospel of our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him. I want to know Him because I am more like Him. May the Lord bless you and keep you. Keep your daily walk close to Him so that His arms can enfold you when times get dark and rough. He is the Way, the Truth and the Light.
I am so excited for the Christmas season (though it DOESN¨T FEEEEL like my kind of Christmas) because HE is the reason we are even celebrating being here. Without Him, we would have temporal joy and not know that these things we are learning and passing are for our ETERNAL good. I love Him and love you all. I thank the Lord for you, my wonderful family and friends in my life.
Thank you for your support and love,
Until next week.
Love love love love love you guys
PS *Geli, glad to see you are alive.....mailing address ASAP!!! :)
pss. will you tell Amelia Gray on facebook or something that I love her, miss her and DESPERATELY need her address?? AND to hear from her?!?!!!!thanks again for EVERYTHING!
FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED Suzette added this to her letter today:
*There are a couple people that have emailed me and asked if there was ONE thing I wanted in a package, what it would be. Can you have Mom or HELP mom put a note on my blog that i would LOOOVE these few, simple things:
1. PEANUT BUTTER m&m´s.
2. Brown sugar, random i know but doesn´t exist here. only for horses.
3. peanut butter, JIF has these little cup things that travel GREAT!
4. umm...pictures! of just what life is bringing to you all and of your wonderful faces!
5. Maple extract, they don't have any at all here.
6. Did I say Peanut butter m&m´s .....i just REALLY love and miss them....
Oh hey, the little cards of the pictures of christ? any luck finding those?
Just in case:
Packages to the Mission Office:Hermana Gulbrandsen (Hna. Gulbrandsen's name has to be on as the receiver, she picks the packages up)
Packages to the Mission Office:Hermana Gulbrandsen (Hna. Gulbrandsen's name has to be on as the receiver, she picks the packages up)
Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Ferando
On the return address write:
Hermana Suzette Gonzalez (so they know who it is for) and your address.
Make sure it does not weigh more than 4 lbs. This is the safe way for her to get the package. There are priority mail for residential and international use at the post office. UPS and FedEx are not safe).