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
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!