July 18, 2011

la la la bautismo!

July 18, 2011

Fotos!! hopefully we get them to work, yes?
 Have I told you guys that I love being a missionary???
:)   Last Monday, hours after I wrote you all, dear Danko (younger brother of the family I always talk about...Astrid, Moira, Fernanda...) decided that he has been patient and behaved well long enough so that his mother would allow him to be baptized. Guess what? DANKO IS NOW THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE BELGRANO BRANCH!!!!!!! His wonderful little self is so excited to prepare for bigger things too. He asked how long until he and his family can go to the temple and he´s counting down until his mission! Elder Winter! What an amazing 10 year old.
We´ve had beautiful experiences this week as well as freezing ones! I´m
Layering it up but some days I just get lazy and that equals freezing feet, face, and hands….oops. But hey, when we walk missionary style (fast as we can without tripping over my feet because hey, it´s me we´re talking about not some magically-transformed-sister-missionary me that all of the sudden has grace and balance)
Mom, did you know I have an under armor top? I just really have no idea if it´s for cold or hot or whatnot but when I use it (when it´s clean) I don´t need to layer so much on top. What gets cold here, because of the WIND, are my face and hands. And depending on the day, my feetsies. Did I tell you I broke some shoes?!?! As excited as I was to say I’ve worn them out, I was really sad because they are the black Dansko ones that are WAAAY comfy and perfect but the strap on top broke ….looking for a time to fix them I love them because the sole is thick and tough and feels like a tennis shoe inside. I would highly recommend those to any sister missionary who needs to walk in non-city sidewalk areas. So they aren´t so cute but they weren´t ridiculously expensive, they haven´t WORN out (the strap took the beating) and I used them almost every day here in Gallegos to help climb through all the mud and walk over all the rocks. Sending a Picture…

About the heat under armor….I would say send it NOW or ASAP because, not gonna lie, NOT sure that I´ll get the tights before it starts warming up but here´s hoping!!!!
I thank you, thank you, thank you for all the things you are trying to send me and here are a couple things more IF you get the chance.
Pictures of temple, any, manti, SLC, etc to give to recent converts, less active, etc.
Book of Mormon reading book marks.
DVD´s? of things like the Mailbox, Johnny Lingo and the 8 cows. You know? All those great antique seminary videos? People pay attention to those and we are able to teach by video and stay ON TOPIC instead of talking about random things that sometimes come up in lessons….
Haha funny things people always ask me….
You´re not from here, are you?....ok so not SO funny but it makes me chuckle.
Do you speak Spanish? (while we´re speaking to them about the gospel…dang, is my accent that bad??.)
How many children did you leave at home?....uhh
You can´t be more than 17, do your parents know where you are? (ok that was once but I must look like a child some days because no one listens to me or looks at me like I’m a nut)

I can´t think of any more right now.

I´m NOT moving areas. Not sure if i had communicated that last week. Hnas Gonzalez are to stay where they are J Hna Gonzalez in Ushuaia has a mini missionary and I´m still here with Hna Campos until this weekend when we find out who stays or who goes. Just by the way, this coming transfer is her LAST which means if i STAY, I stay to ´kill´ her and teach the area another transfer after that…which means 3 more months….so in all probability, I’m leaving dear Gallegos in a week because I’ve already been here 6 months….. L but I would LOVE to stay!!!!!!!!!! Happy happy happy me!
The pictures are taking FOREVER so i´m getting tired of it and sending this now.

Wait, Sam, you are silly. You should just use sunblock and go outside. Think of it this way…when you serve a misión in….Colombia,…(revelation) you will be DYING of heat and have nowhere to hide….so practice. Do some things you don´t like until you can handle it. Maybe not LOVE it, but it won´t kill ya, son.
Dad, yay for yard work!!! It must look great. I always wished I had time to do more in the back yard but alone, it was an overwhelming job. Sometimes i describe Orem as being smaller than Gallegos because I honestly feel that way. Maybe not geographically but definitely people wise…right? The blocks here are like home but instead of big yards, the houses are right up front and there are one, two or three smaller houses ´al fondo´. It´s crazy.
Say hi to Johnny O if you see him again. That´s awesome that he´s home and speaks so well! Hopefull we´ll be able to say the same about me….
Mom, i was thinking a lot about Visiting teaching and I´m so glad for great examples of taking VT seriously. It´s an important calling that gets little attention here.
President asked us in zone conf who we want to BE when we go home. We have long lists of what to DO but WHO we will BE is what we have to make goals and plans for NOW.
Who do YOU all want to be when I get home?
Question to ponder…
Haven´t heard from poohhead in a while. How goes everything? Kam´s papers??

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE you all sooo much. Be good.
God be with you ‘til we meet,
Hna Gonzalez                                                  

hello hello hello

From July 11, 2011

Haha so once upon a time I always say that I will read and write down questions y´all write me and answer them the next week....but I forgot. I READ everything you send PROMISE but if I don´t write stuff down, mi cabezita de pollo se olvida todo :) now I´m mixing up weeks when you tell me stuff but just know that I have a binder full of your lovely words :)
But no, Hna Gonzalez is not here. She has a mini missionary in Ushuaia and everything is getting worked out double time to get my argentine DNI :) hooray!
But I don´t know if you are following this beautiful volcano but....it has erupted again. Basically that means everything is grounded again for an indeterminable amount of time. Fooey. So Hna Campos, who completes her mission the 4th of September, is looking at a 50ish hour bus ride to capital to go home. ....and me? Who knows if I’ll EVER leave Gallegos? hahaha All the members who see me at church, from our branch and the other, shake my hand in surprise, ´you´re still here??´ haha silly billies.
Ok, have I told you enough about the food here? It´s phenomenal. Empandas, milanesa, facturas, tarta, tortas, canelones, fideos and I could go on and on. UNFORTUNATELY, this means that the members LOVE to ´treat´ us with the best they´ve got. This 9 of July was the argentine independence and all national holidays call for making a traditional dish called locro....which means DEATH. haha no, not really. I have no idea what it means but the ingredients would pretty much kill dad, hospitalize mom and create serious health problems for the kids....it´s got every kind of meat you can think of (minus chicken because it´s too weak sauce for this dish) but lamb, beef, pork from the most edible parts of the cow and pig to the parts I never thought would enter my mouth. It has a TON of vegetable and a ton of beans that I’ve never seen before but are delicious. This stew/soup cooks so long (like 7-8 hours) that the vegetable part turns to a light soup leaving all the meat tender and vitamin filled. I ate happily and innocently and then after letting it digest a while asked what it was I had eaten. The soft, really flavorful stuff was cow stomach....chorizo is easy to recognize and then other recognizable meat that was scrum-diddly-umptious. But it´s a heart attack waiting to happen. It´s such a heavy meal that we didn´t get hungry alllllll day. I always feel like snacking on something when we get home at night but not Saturday. :)
And I would like to see the scientific data on why we gain weight in the winter (more cold equals more intake of calories??) or if we just rationalize that we eat and eat and are happy and eating and growing from side to side every day. Anyone? Hna Campos and I were trying to diet but it´s incredibly hard when like 80% of our diet is out of our hands and argentines just happened to pride themselves on killer food that is hard to resist. Like yesterday, after a terrifically cold morning, we ate lunch with a member couple. 2 of them, 2 of us and 40 emapandas betwixt us.....ahaha oops. It´s nearly impossible to count how many you´ve eaten while having lovely conversation and also to say, no, I don´t want any more of that deliciousness, thank you. But all the food, cold and 3 months later.....I won´t even tell you how much I weigh. We weighed ourselves last week to have a starting point to diet again and ended up slightly depressed....but ojito I was weighed with boots on, layers of clothes and slightly wet thanks to the rain...stillll....:(
haa but ‘tis the season to be jolly. The snow inspires Christmas carols as we walk to and from appointments :)
Gallegos is ripe and ready for the harvest. I love you all and know that we are put together as a family for a reason. We are eternally tied thanks to a wonderful loving Father in Heaven, a faithful and dedicated Prophet and the restoration of God´s truth and the blessing of temples and the priesthood. We are given the opportunity to repent and be clean, to be whole and healed emotionally, spiritually and physically. I love each and every one of you. Mormon taught his son how to have perfect love in Moroni 8:26. Family and personal prayer to have PERFECT love and the gift of charity. Without charity we cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and we are nothing.
I love you and pray for you
Moroni 8:3
Love forever, The Church is true
Love Hna Gonzalez

July 10, 2011

woot woo! My dad has a face! haha

June 27, 2011

Oh right and stilllllllll in Gallegos.......ha.
They might have given up on the flight thing but by land to get to Ushuaia I’d need my documents to cross the Chilean border and then Argentina again....um...basically I’ve been working on getting my DNI to be legal here a little bit at a time over the last 5 months....NOT easy. It takes forever! They drag out the process and milk every penny out of you they can. Long story short, by land, three sisters are looking at facing possible document issues, Hnas Gonzalez and Campos because somehow we have to all get together, whether here in Gallegos or Ushuaia.
Two by land, one by sea....who said it? US History trivia for the week :)
Thanks Dad and Daniel-san for sending my pictures of my ridiculously good-looking dad! haha Hope you had a wonderful father´s day!
Dah! Tell Brig that I wish him and Jess all the best in their marriage! Lots of extra hugs for them from me, yeah?
Daniel-san, tell Emma I love her sooooo much and thanks for the email. I´m working on a letter for her, though it´s more like a diary because I write a bit each week and never quite finish. haha
Brett! So cool about your blessing! Thanks for sharing those wonderful blessings that are promised you as you remain faithful and obedient to the commandments of the Lord. Black sheep is right, you just had to go and be spiritually adopted by a different tribe, didn´t you? haha silly billy.
I assume that Poohhead is working on writing a spiritually profound email to send me for next week with her patriarchal blessing experience ;) Love you pooh haha
Danny, about the girls in your life....some wisdom I learned in seminary....if you WANT the diamond, BE the diamond. Ponder that a bit, swish it around. Get back to you in a week, k :)
That really goes for everyone. I was sharing a scripture with a wonderful member yesterday about receiving the image of Christ in our countenance. (Hna Ester Ojeda who is like our ´`Mom´´ in Gallegos because she´s always with us, calling us, feeding us etc. She´s a convert of  about 2 years and just fantastic) But I shared how I had studied that all the doctrine, all the commandments are to form our carnal minds and the flesh of the natural man (and woman) to be more Christ like. Everything from paying tithing to studying scriptures is so that we can develop Christ like attributes. What manner of men ought we to be? Christ said, Even as I am.
There you go. (My Big Fat Greek wedding style :) )
Gallegos is crazy. Last month was wicked cold and now that winter has OFFICIALLY started...it decided to let up on the ice and wind. ha. Very funny.
Hna Campos and I are trying to repent, change and be continually evaluating what we are doing, how we can improve and how we´re going to do it. I have been extremely blessed these two extra weeks with her because I love her dearly, trust her completely and we work like clockwork in lessons. It´s amazing to teach with her because we let the Spirit guide. When all of the sudden i run out of ´inspiration´, she takes the baton and talks and teaches. Then a question comes to mind (planted by the spirit), she pauses and I, like we planned it (but we really didn´t) ask the question. When we´re both ´on´, it´s like the light switch turns on in the investigator´s head and the spirit takes over. What a wonderful thing to learn from the hilarious and sweet Hna Campos.
It´s truly a wonderful life. Now that I bundle up a ridiculous amount, I am always singing Christmas carols! :) haha Hna Campos about died when I started singing Carol of the Bells. She thinks Hark is a funny word. It´s true Hark....Hark....hark....like a dog. Or a seal...haha
Oh along with the bundling, the members who are always extremely frank and upfront with us marvel after we de-bundle before church or a meal and say, ´oh sisters, you´re not really fat, it´s the clothes!´ ....um, thanks? hahaha
Ruth or whoever is interested, Brady Bills finishes his mission in like 7 weeks or so. Just in case you wanted to go to his homecoming or what not. You have been advised :) He sent me pics a while ago and he LOST weight (where there wasn´t really any to lose) so he´s a lot skinny. FYI. If you see him, tell him hi for me!
Speaking of Brady, is Herschel Ott married yet??? :) Curious is all, remember how he came to our house with his girlfriend? Anywho, that´s all I got. If you have questions I’ll answer next week :)
Well, my dear family and friends. I know that the church is true. I know that Christ´s love is real and we are sons and daughters beloved by a living God who is our Father in Heaven.
I love this work, pray that we can find people to teach and especially families and men. Argentina needs priesthood and families. The Lord cares for each of His children and WE are His hands to lift up and His arms to reach and hug and His shoulder of support.
Keep doing the little things that will help us be prepared to share our testimony when the moment arises.
Dad, I thought a lot about your missionary experience in Denver. I am so glad that you weren´t afraid to share and looked actively for the opportunity. In my case, any time I enter a house, supermarket or anything, two things set the topic: my dress and my nametag. Religious topics are inevitable. It´s what I´m here to talk about. What i thought about this is that the armour of God is available for everyone to put on, not just missionaries. We HAVE to, yes, in order to be efficient, protected and true warriors of Christ, but it´s an invitation of every day preparing, every day studying and then ACTING on our knowledge. People SEE testimonies as well as hear. As far as I can see, Dad, your testimony, Mom´s, everyone who has taught Danny and myself and Ruth and Brett and Sam, has reached ears and hearts in at least 3 countries, the US, Brasil and Argentina.
Thank you for EVERYTHING.
I love you all.
Until next week,
HNA Gonzalez

Hi hi hi....stil​l in Gallegos..​...jajaja

June 20, 2011

Welp, still here and still kicking around my favorite places and people. I was going around town like crazy saying my goodbyes but come Sunday....hahaha ha still here. All the members were like...So where´s the new one? haha oops. Well, I really don´t know how much longer I´ll really be here. Supposedly tomorrow the flights are supposed to normalize but they also said that about last Wednesday and then there are rumors about not having flights across Argentina until next month....i dunno. I don´t even know if my poor comp in Ushuaia is alone or not! Her previous comp took a collectivo to BS AS because she finished her mission. No one has told me if Hna Gonzalez went with her or is still hanging around Ushuaia with members because the closest sister missionaries to her way down there would be US. Last time something like this happened, the sister in Ushuaia made a trio with the sister here in Gallegos. BUT the buses are also crazzzzy full because of no flights and if people HAVE to travel, they go by any means necessary...so yeah.
But hey....
I know it was yesterday but hey, either a week early or a day late...don´t know which is better so I went with a day late. I wish I could run home and give you a giant bear hug and then run back here but let´s go with an I.O.U. for time and travel and Lord´s work´s sake, yeah? haha I love you bunches and bunches and will never tire of telling you that you are a wonderful dad, an example to all around you and most important of all, a worthy and dedicated priesthood holder. Being the most important because without the priesthood, we as a family would miss out on SOOO many blessings. But because of your faith, your diligence and charity, we as the rising generation have the blessing of the gospel in our lives and the teachings....inculcados....in our heart and soul. You have taught your children to serve and to do it happily and willingly, to pray, to study the scriptures, to attend church and fulfill callings. You and Mom have raised 5 of the Church´s future leaders. I see so much good and so much potencial and feel so blessed when I think of my siblings. Danny, who is an honorable returned missionary AND active in the church, Ruth who is a dedicated nursery teacher (still, right?) and full of love and patience....when she wants to ;) (love you poohhead) and Brett and Sam. What can I say about these exceptional young men? I wish they knew how special they are, how truly different their lives could be if we had been born ANYWHERE else, lived anywhere else, believed anything else but we, as a family, work toward the goal of eternal life together because we each KNOW that God is our Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He sent His Son to redeem us from our sins. I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He lives and we have hope through His atonement if we only ´come unto Him and be healed.´
Daddy-o, you rock. :)
Ok, so this week, during personal study, I was organizing my mission binder and out fell INSPIRATION. It was a portion, handwritten, of a talk by Elder Gene R Cook. It is titled ´Desafío de Purificación´. The Challenge of purification. HELLO! Reading it, I knew it was a call to repentance. I tell you now, I am working every day, I get up on time and I love to teach and find new people with whom to share the gospel. BUT there is always MORE we can do. Reading and studying the talk, I wished that I would have found it 8 months ago...(to this moment I have NO idea where the talk came from, how it came to fall out of my binder, not given by the mission and not handwritten by me....dunno) The talk was written by an elder who was doing well on his mission but realized one day, (during a lesson in which a member bore testimony of Joseph Smith that he and his comp had already done, but the spirit and the testimony of the MEMBER moved the investigator to tears), that the spirit was ´weak´ in his daily work. In order to be a better missionary, the missionary the Lord needs to bring the world His truth, was to be more FOCUSED.
In our call letter, it says that we are expected to put our personal matters on the back burners, not worry what was going on at home and the Lord will provide. BUT that requires that we aren´t distracted by ANYTHING. Worldly songs, young men that walk by, friends back home etc. Do you know how HARD that is???? Wicked hard. BUT like in Helaman 3:35 says that through prayer and fasting, we can come to purify our hearts, be sanctified. In Doctrine and Covenants we learn that ummm...well, I have it memorized in Spanish but we have the faith, charity and our eye single to the glory of God qualify us for the work. I love my Savior and have faith that He will send His Spirit to help us in this re-dedication to the work.
Love you all,
Until next week!!!
Hermana Gonzalez


June 13, 2011 This was supposed to go first, sorry!!

And........drumroll please!

I write to you from.......RIO GALLEGOS! hahaha well, quick story because i´ll send this so dad can respond :) (it makes me happy when i´m sitting here and receive a slightly delayed hello from daddy-o)
I´m only in gallegos a very limited time thanks to a dear old volcano that erupted in Chile (last week?) There are no flights for anyone. They even called us from BS AS to ask if we had asthma. Missionaries with asthma were ´grounded´ to their apartments in BS AS and we were told if we had any kind of respiratory stuff, we could only go out with masks.....but we are perfectly healthy so all was well! We haven´t gotten any ash or anything all the way down here. We´re all good.
BUT this means that not only the poor missionaries who go home this transfer, CAN´T, the transfers from the capital to down here can´t happen. The new missionaries won´t arrive until the airports are cleared. And that will be WHO KNOWS WHEN because the volcano is also threatening to erupt AGAIN.
SO i DO have a new assignment but I won´t leave Hna Campos and Gallegos until the new missionaries arrive. Hna Campos will be training and I was given assignment in USHUAIA!!!!! As senior companion.......
my new companion is.....


no joke. She´s the chilean I told you about. haha I knew deep down that someday we would be companions. haha She has 6 weeks less than me and is a wonderful, wonderful missionary. A convert of a little over a year :) Third Chilena in a row....it´s like a plauge..haha kidding. They have a whole language of their own and it´s sticking to me is all haha
more in a bit.
love love

More about transfers

June 13, 2011

There are 19 new missionaries arriving today. I don’t know that I ever told you guys about when I got here. There were 3 hermanas (only two remain, Hna Gillum and I) and 4 elders. Basically, a small group. In 3 months leaves the biggest group of about 25 missionaries. Lots of new missionaries means a lot of transfers, a lot of new leaderships and a TON of new challenges in each area. Just when you thought it was tough to balance the weak and strong points of a companionship in an area, change it up. In Gallegos there were tons of changes and 3 newbies will be arriving hopefully within the week. Hna Campos, dear sweet Hna Campos, is training again. She trained the transfer after me and is nervous to do it again. I will be ´moving up´ and will be senior companion in Ushuaia. Just when you thought I couldn´t get any farther from home....think again. Up until a few years ago, Ushuaia was the southernmost congregation and chapel in the WORLD. Then Puerto Williams in Chile was built. But that is also part of our mission but with no missionaries yet. But Ushuaia, I´ve been told is like Park City. Snow, mountains, hills. Only difference? It also has an ocean port. It´s like Juneau where the cruise ships come in! HUGE TOURIST TOWN.....and what does ´tourist´ really mean? The Chinese. They win. The Chinese. Win. haha Heli....
I am all kinds of emotions right now. I am wicked sad that I am leaving my families in Gallegos. I will miss so many people terribly, especially my converts! There are such good people here! Next, I get a sick feeling in my gut when I think of the new leadership responsibilities I have ahead of me. The first thoughts when the assistants called me were....Can I really do this? The Lord answered swiftly through the mouth of dear President Gulbrandsen. He said we would have new challenges because the mission is changing forever. We BAPTIZE. There is no missionary who CAN´T baptize. There´s no area that doesn´t baptize. We follow the Preach My Gospel manual to the T and see the inspired results. How wonderful and peaceful it feels to know that we are merely instruments to bring out the work of the Lord. But we have to be worthy, prepared and CONVERTED instruments. If we talk the talk but don´t walk the walk, what good does it get us? If we preach and don´t practice, people won´t feel it either. The Preach My Gospel era converts the MISSIONARY and through the powerful testimony that he or she acquires, the people feel the Spirit´s testimony of the restored truth: Christ lives, God is our Heavenly Father, He loves us and guides us with modern day prophets. His Priesthood has been restored so that we can be saved and live with Him again.
But all at the same time I am SOO EXCITED!!!!!!! Ushuaia! Everyone says it´s BEAUTIFUL which would honestly be a nice change from here and BS AS. Capital was nice, i was in a very wealthy area (comparatively) and the city has its beauty. Rio Gallegos....I have to be honest, it´s NOT the kind of place that someone would go out of their way to visit to know what´s here. There´s not a lot to do here. School, when they actually have classes, and play football is all. There´s not even a movie theater here. Everyone spends most of their time inside. The only green existed on the leaves of the trees (which are special because their roots have to grow super deep to reach the nutrients in the soil which also makes them stronger against the wind. Cool, eh? haha My nerd is showing, I know, I know) but it´s winter almost so leaves? Gone. Equals that EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE you look is BROWN. haha it doesn´t help that it has rained almost the whole week. haha Tuesday we were SOAKED even in our supposed water repellant rain gear. It rained so much and so tiny, like spray, ALL DAY so we were slow to get wet and very slow to dry haha. The city wasn´t built for the rain with gutters and rain barrel-y things underground so the streets flood like crazy. Once again we had to walk and walk and maneuver our way around to get to the other side of the street. Move to higher ground! haha it was crazy. Then I taught English to the only diligent student. Diligent enough to come despite the rain :) Seriously I didn´t take a picture but one street we walked down was cut off to cars. One guy didn´t see it or thought he could plow through or something but he went crashing in and then paid for it because right at the corner where he turned was the really deep point that came up to half the car door. whoops. He had to get out and push the car (which had now turned off from flooding the engine with water) up the street and try to scoop all the water out of his nice car.
This past weekend was one of amazing experiences and true miracles. There was a transmission from SLC to all of Argentina and Argentina alone. Elder Claudio Zivic conducting a conference presided by President Packer. Both spoke along with Sister Wixom of the Primary General Presidency. They spoke endearingly about the Argentines they had met and loved and their experiences visiting this beautiful country. That was Sunday. Saturday there were local meetings all over Argentina as well. The area Sudamerica Sur has goals for this year. They include having as many members as possible with current temple recommends, getting more youth prepared to serve full-time missions, and activating the less active members. The whole weekend was full of encouragement, instruction and inspiration.
I love being here. I honestly can´t believe that i get to have this blessed experience because i honestly try to serve people even more because I feel like I am getting more blessings than they are. The blessing of assurance that I know what the truth is, I know of the restored gospel, I have the sweet promise of an eternal family according to diligence to my covenants with Him. I have health and energy to walk bunches and bunches every day, I have the gift of the Spirit to guide me and the gift of UNDERSTANDING the language and be able to communicate this wonderful message with everyone willing to lend an ear...even some who don´t :)
Wow, so much to say. i wish we could just sit and I could tell you all about Rio Gallegos, the people i have learned to love here and the changes they and I have seen take place. Miracle happen everywhere but especially in Rio Gallegos. haha I felt that way about Villa Urquiza and I´m sure I´ll feel the same about Ushuaia.
Ok, I´m starting to get way nervous. I suppose you hear next week if I actually make it to Tierra del Fuego this week haha Pray that the volcano doesn´t erupt again. That would be NOT good. It´s about 2 days by bus to get to Gallegos and about 12ish to Ushuaia. Bleh, to have a whole mission to have transfers by bus only hinders the work. Frustrating! We have things to do but the Lord will provide a way so that we will know what we´ve got to do. By bus or plane, the work will go forth. No unhallowed hand can stop it from reaching ever corner to the earth.
Well, hopefully until next week when I will be in the furthest south corner of the earth. (yes, I know the earth is round and has no corners, stop yelling at me Sam!) haha
Love you, I know the church is true.
I´ll send pictures of my snow in June! haha
Love you bunches and bunches
Hermana Gonzalez

P.S. any word on sending Ipod? and poptarts and leggings? my only pair of leggings are getting worked over being used so much. I’ve got to search more (but no time!) for not so expensive leggings. I´ve seen them here but its like 80 pesos like 20 bucks when I bought mine for like 5 or 6 bucks....blah. I´ll keep looking :) LOVE YOU!

We hit below ZERO!!! and the water was WARM! :)

June 06, 2011

Basically it´s freezing ALLL the time. haha it´s so hilarious to get dressed in the morning and have to stop layering the clothes because if there´s more piled on, we have limited mobility. haha I tried to re-do my ponytail one day and found that I couldn´t lift my arms high enough to accomplish the task. I had to wait until we got to a member´s house to take off my coatS (note the plural) to get my hair looking a little more presentable. Oh the life of a missionary. Hi. Santa Cruz is cah-razy. The schools have been on strike for the last 35 days (school days) which equals about 2 months of classes.
Think Newsies but teacher style. They strike for pay raises, better retirement benefits, etc. Those who don´t support the cause are like the ´scabs´ in the movie. They get threatened and it´s kinda scary. The poor students of the public (state) school system don´t get to have classes. They recently had a day of classes because if the teachers strike for more than 40 days at a time, there is a law that ALL the students would pass the grade, no matter how much they had or hadn´t learned. Which is BAD. They move on or even graduate without even having been in school! yikes.
Today we are going to the centro to buy things we can´t find in our area. I seriously feel like we are in another world after the busy city of BS AS. It´s crazy to think I am still in that same country. I am getting waaay used to being down here and I really love Gallegos. It has been full of wonderful experiences and people that I will have in my heart forever.
FEDERICO GOT BAPTIZED!!!! And he has received the Aaronic Priesthood!!! VICTORY!
Hopefully the picture works to get to you because the women with him are his wife and two daughters. His goal is to prepare his family and baptize them!!! What an amazing man with such a big heart and big
faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. haha I specified that the water was warm because Marcela and Luis were baptized in really, terrifically cold water. Federico was there to witness it and their spluttering after coming out of the water and said, ´I´m not getting in if there´s not steam rising from the font´ hahaha joking of course. We were joking about it all week. That we had our freezer full of ice cubes to stick in so he could enjoy the rush of ice water over his head. haha.
This month is a big month for the mission (well, every day is pretty important since our primary focus for 18 months/2 years is the salvation of souls) but we are extremely excited for everything that is going on.
I love being here. Transfers are this weekend and I am so nervous about being moved out of Rio Gallegos. I love it here, there are so many people I love here and SO MUCH WORK TO DO!!!!! I´ve only been here 4 1/2 months so MAYBE I´ll stick it out another transfer? Pray for me! hahaha Whatever the Lord has in mind, I´ll go and do what He has commanded for I know He will provide a way for me to accomplish my role as a spiritual soldier in His army.
I don´t know what else there is to say but I love you guys sooooo much and am so grateful for you. I testify daily of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can testify with the Spirit of truth that by following His example and obeying the commandents my blessed and wonderful family can be together FOREVER by the sealing power of the priesthood of God and sacred covenants that my marvelous, wonderful, faithful parents made almost 25 years ago. What peace and comfort to know of these truths.
I´ll respond to your emails from today next week....once upon a time I have 3 siblings who love me and 2 parents who write faithfully......
....wasn´t there another family member in there somewhere?...wait, I have AN OLDER BROTHER who knows what it´s like to be on a mission and receive news from home? Oh, and has all the technology plugged into him intravenously to be able to write his ´beloved´ sister?.....hmmmm....... Guilt trip working out for you? DANNY NEEDS TO BE MOTIVATED TO WRITE. Suggestion: Write me, or you should ground yourself from your Ipad. yeah? yeah, ok. Rude.
I love you all. I know this church is true. I know that through Christ´s atonement we can achieve eternal joy and a place in the mansion of our Father.
Be good. Study the Conference talks! Write me about how you feel 2 months later.
Love love love you
Hermana Gonzalez

PS mom, did you send me any packages recently....or not so recently? I am in need of bobby pins, hair ties (the ones without the metal thingy on them) and Mapleine or maple extract!! Can this happen? And if at all possible......peanut butter M&M´s?? Though i rationed them well, i´m all out! They are like heaven.....Pictures (10 x 13 like picture frame style) of the temple!!! Manti, Salt lake, BS AS if possible would be PERFECT. please please please. Temple temple temple. We baptize toward the temple. Like we learned in Gen Conf we should all have an image of the temple in our homes! in every room! Book of Mormon reading charts (book mark style please!) Anything that would help someone be motivated by keeping track of their reading.


Hey there, ho there how do you do? haha

May 30, 2011

More pictures! I finally discovered how to have time to load them. Hìp hip hooray!
So things I´ve been slacking on updating you on:
English classes---going great but there are no new people that have come for a few weeks. NOT the point of teaching but hey, I am really feeling like I am helping the people that come regularly really learn. There is one older guy who has this HUGE desire and is there every week without fail. He wanted to know what he could do to show his appreciation for these classes and we invited him to church on Sunday :) Um...didn´t come but he would be attending the other branch so we do what we can and it´s in the Elder´s hands to teach him.
Also, I´m getting used to the cold or it´s getting warmer. When President and Sister Gulbrandsen were in town I discovered that we DIDN´T have to turn off the heaters at night...ok, maybe sounds common sense to you but to me I am afraid of dying in the night...that´s all. But anywho, turns out that the gas heaters we have in our apartment are wicked safe and can be on 24hrs a day. WONDERFUL NEWS! Now we get home at night to a warm house and wake up warm too. Actually, I DIE of heat in the night. Since we were used to closing the door to our room and having a bunch of blankets on top, we were warm enough without the heaters on. Now, the door is open, the heat comes in and I hadn´t taken off the extra blankets. I was so hot, I woke up with everything but the sheet on the floor next to my bed. Since I sleep like the dead (seriously NOTHING wakes me up) I didn´t know what had happened but my excellent detective skills (and my thoroughly knotted hair) led me to believe I had had a restless night.
Also, the below zero days are fewer though it´s cold when the sun goes down....at 6pm. blah
Hna Campos and I are perfectly healthy except.....haha remember that one time I said that we were going to start a diet?......haha well, that crashed and burned like, 6 days ago :)
The facturas, Mom and Dad, are yes, BOTH bills or receipts of payment, like the gas bill. That and the most scrumptious pastries you have ever experienced. Ok, Mom, kind of a lot better than the Mexican kind, oops. They have lots of honey or fruit baked onto them, they have dulce de membrillo (a fruit that when it comes off the tree is yellow y muy áspera and yucky, but the dulce turns red and it pretty delicious) The orejas from México here are called palmitas or palm-something. I just point and say I want THAT. Oh donuts don´t really exist here but there are roscas de miel which are delectable. ñumñum :)
Then there are the empanadas with fruit and stuff in them but I stick with the meat and chicken and ham and cheese ones. So delicious! Oh and the argentines put green olives and hardboiled egg in EVERYTHING.
This week we are praying and working extra extra for Federico. He is so close to not smoking at all and this weekend he will be baptized. Usually I don´t tell you in advance for dumb superstitious reasons but this is a going-to-happen-no-matter-what kind of situation. He is the most direct man when it comes to keeping his commitments. He is so great and so faithful that he has not missed one Sunday since General Conference. And is NEVER late.
Oh, hey, we both spoke in church yesterday! Good thing I feel way more confident in Spanish than ever before and my scripture study has been improving as well because we had been so busy that we had mostly forgotten until Saturday night (haha sound familiar) that we had to speak. It went great. I talked about the war chapters in Alma I had studied a while ago. I felt confident about it and there were heads nodding with my words. I guess the spirit was teaching them so my purpose is fulfilled. :)
About improving scripture study. Reading just for reading is fine if you are trying to understand the history and who killed who and who started which war and when the nephites turn wicked and the lamanites repent etc. Even that takes some thought and marking and re-reading. But the APPLICATION of scripture like Nephi says in 1 Nephi 19:23 (scripture mastery anyone?) is where we learn. I have had wonderful experiences with this and have had my eyes and heart open to the same passages I´ve read before and learn something new.
Hi, I wish that the Conference Liahonas would be here YESTERDAY but we have to have patience. But reading the Ensign and Liahonas seriously are such powerful sources of modern teaching and testimony. How did I not appreciate them more before???
I love being here. i love this work and I hope to never be distant from it. Dad, I am anxious to read the rest of your Denver experience. I only skimmed it but will read it fully later today.
P.S. an investigator commented on this and I hadn´t noticed until he said it but I don´t get angry or upset. He said this while his two very energetic children were running around, yelling, punching each other and then running to their mother, lots of noise going on etc. He says, it´s amazing. You never get angry.
Not that I had anger management issues before but people (like my fam) have seen me lose my temper. But honestly, I have not lost my temper (though I get thoroughly irritated sometimes when people shrug off the gospel message like it´s no big deal ´I’m ok with God, thanks anyway´) for 7 months. Wow. What a blessing.
I know this church is true. i love you all and I love the Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the Light and Life of the world. Have faith, repent and come unto Him to be healed.
Love you all, be good!
                                               Did not accept nor bite the Book of Mormon :)
                                                             Can you see my tan line?

                                                               Hna. Salas y yo.

Hna Gonzalez

I'm here!!!

May 24, 2011

Sorry!! Pday is today instead of monday. We had a conference and interviews with the President because he came down. :)

This week marks the change in my life!!

Hello family, hello all, shout out to Angelica who FINALLY remembered that the person she missed most in Alaska can receive emails hahaha kidding LOVE YOU!
It´s getting colder and colder. Sunday, it was dark in the morning when we went to find investigators for church and it was 1 below zero Celsius. Not even winter yet......ugh.
In the chapel, the heating is broken so no one took off their winter gear. President Cutini conducted the meeting with a scarf covering his face and gloves. We even had the meeting cut short to move to the other rooms in the other building that DID have heating. Kinda weak-sauce, but hey, I was hot from running all over town an hour before church started. :)
I lost my hat :( and the bandy thing i had knitted :( while doing said running.
Hna. Campos and I are started a diet.....haha Kinda. We WANT to. We were going to start yesterday but then they bought us facturas and we each ate THREE! oops. And then we hadn´t eaten all day (because interviews turned out to be 5 HOURS and no food in the middle of the day. This is me NOT complaining :) haha) and Hna Juan Urquia, who is a fantastically good cook made us a mountain of pasta with cream and a bunch of other stuff that was delicious and definitely not diet-friendly. But we couldn´t NOT eat it. Bucha....so we will start today.....or possibly tomorrow. hahaha
The diet is because my dearest, darling companion (who is getting better at her English prayers every day!) goes home in like 3 months!!! How sad but we gotta get rid of like 8 k before September and I will sacrifice and do it with her :) Hna Campos is seriously awesome. I don´t know if I’m getting better at getting used to companions or if she´s just spectacular because usually there´s like a 1 to 2 week cooling period before we get used to each other but we got along perfectly and teach well together since day 1. hooray! And she´s a ray of sunshine. LOVE HER!
I feel like a caution is necessary: The following email is pretty intense and I don´t mean to sound condescending in the least. Please know as you read this that I have shared MY thoughts toward ME and how I need to change and learn. I love you all and know that something in here somewhere will touch you as it did me. I share this with you in a spirit of love and profound gratitude for having learned it. :)
So this week started off with a BANG which equals President Gulbrandsen coming to visit this faraway land to make sure the missionaries are all good. :)
He started off interviews with Yours Truly and it was an amazing, spiritually power-packed 10 minutes that has changed my perspective of being down here in Gallegos quite a bit. More of that maybe later but the bulk of my email this week will be centered on the fantastically amazing devotional given by none other than Elder Jeffrey R Holland in the Provo MTC from this January. If Morgan was in the MTC at the time, I don´t know but if he was I´m green with jealousy and will try to repent later.
E Holland has the amazing power to share his thoughts and blow you away with his direct call for our repentance at the same time that he teaches you what, why and how you should change. When he talks about missionary work, he always says that his mission meant everything, EVERYTHING to him. That there never was nor will be anyone, anywhere who would feel the same way about his mission that he did. Then in this talk he said something that I hadn´t heard him say before. He said, I hope you feel the same way about your mission. If not, I will be terribly disappointed.
The mission field, the mission life and devoted missionary service is the hatching place of our future lives. That doesn´t mean it´s the hatching place of our testimonies, of our faith or knowledge. That we have to get BEFORE entering the MTC and BEFORE receiving this blessed nametag. This is the era, as E Holland said, of Preach my Gospel. That manual changed the way missionary work is done. It is an inspired manual that will be used to proclaim the gospel until the second coming. Preach My Gospel changed teaching the gospel and its principles to focus on the MISSIONARY. On ME, on YOU BEFORE getting to the investigator. The person receiving such missionary lessons is expecting that the words that come out of our mouths weren´t fed to us, weren´t memorized, they weren´t stuck there by someone with ulterior motives. When we have daily study, when we have frequent prayer PLANNED into our schedule, it´s because it´s important! If the missionary isn´t converted to the truths he or she is teaching, there´s no hope that it will reach the heart of the person with the yearning to know.
E Holland compared the study and knowledge and mastery of the scriptures to the difference between the two Russell´s of the twelve. Two Russell´s who are wonderful, faithful, intelligent and loving men....but which would you choose if a heart surgery needed to be performed on your mother? E Ballard could be very effective with a handy Swiss army knife but anyone informed would choose E Nelson to do the work.
Why? Because he studied, he worked, he practiced for hours and thousands of times before getting the knife in his hand to open your mom. He spent years in medical school, in a small apartment with his feet in cold water to stay awake and study and learn and apply the teachings of those who knew more than him.
Why should we settle for less in a missionary who is taking this ever-important message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the salvation of souls to the world? Practice, study, work, applying such teachings so that when a missionary opens his mouth, there is assurance, knowledge and a firm testimony. Not only will the daily study apply in the mission field but AFTER it too.
The problem before with memorizing lessons was not only that it was impersonal to the family who had recently suffered a death or tragedy, or the newly-wed couple etc but the message was going in one or both ears of the missionary and going out the mouth before ever reaching the heart. The missionaries going home the from field failed to stay active! Lack of testimony. How awful the thought.
E Holland talked about Peter, the apostle. After Christ´s death and the tomb was empty, Peter, the senior apostle, didn´t know what came next. He didn´t know what to do. All the converts to the church of Jesus Christ had less than 36 months in the church. No one knew where to go. Peter, in his innocence, went back to what he knew, what he was doing before the Savior had called him to follow Him. Fishing.
They went back to their boats and their nets. They fished all night without catching a thing. Then, the Lord, on the beach near where His apostles were discouraged and tired of casting their nets told them to cast on the right side. The apostles surely thought someone was trying to be cute and tell them how to do what they knew would fail. But they did it anyway. When they tried to pull in the nets, the ship began to sink from the weight of the fish. It was a miracle the nets didn´t break. Peter looked back to the shore and finally recognized the voice of the Savior. He jumped in the water and swam to the Savior´s side. Jesus had built a fire and lovingly prepared fish for them to eat. How amazing that small act is. He knew they had been on the boat, working through the night and He had fixed them breakfast.
Three (a very significant number for Peter) times the Lord asked Peter if he loved Him.
Lovest thou me?
Yes, I do.
Then feed my sheep.
Lovest thou me?
Yes, Lord thou knowest that I love thee.
Then feed my sheep.
(with patience, love and after ´taking a deep, understanding breath´.........Lovest thou me?........
Then Peter stands up because he understands that Jesus Christ, the Lord of Hosts, is teaching him what he must do, what comes next.

E Holland, in his very emotional, powerful way then shared his thoughts about the bible account of that early morning lesson.
When the Lord invited the fishermen to leave their nets,
When the Lord called them to the apostleship
When the Lord called them to teach them and to sent them to preach the word

I won´t go back the same. Not if I REALLY love Him. I will follow Him and share the gospel all my days. I will stand as a witness of Him at all times, and in all things and in all places (Mosiah 18:9) until the end.
It´s over when it´s over.
Even when we are tempted, stay the course, fight the good fight, leave the nets, Feed His sheep.

I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here. I am grateful for the experiences I´ve had and will have. For the miracles I have witnessed and the blessing fulfilled. How good and wonderful and merciful the Lord is. His plan offers peace in a tumultuous world.
It is our opportunity as believers who have been warned of His coming, who know and repent to prepare, to warn others.
I am so grateful for my family. I love you all so much. I use experiences from my life and of your lives to help the people we teach see that the gospel applies to everyone, everywhere.

I love you all dearly; I know this gospel is true. I know the Lord Jesus lives and loves us,
May His spirit always be with you, you are in my prayers always,
With all my love,
Hermana Gonzalez

Pictures: I went fishing in the Atlantic Ocean! I´ve fished coast to coast!! haha
Hna Campos holding the fish is with Hna Olga Urquia who is a doll and I love her dearly. She´s the Primary President and her husband (the bald guy in the orange supersuit) is Juan Urquia and he was the Branch Mission Leader until recently.
Penguin pictures FINALLY! That penguin did NOT accept (nor bit) the book of Mormon.
The zone I arrived with (which is no longer all here) at the beach of the Magellan Strait! Cool beans!
My hat was lost to the unforgiving winds of the south but was quickly replaced by this one Hna Urquia gave me haha. kinda furry but it´s not real. :) promise