September 5, 2011

Once upon a time....

Sorry for the delay, I will get caught up to today's email from Hna. González (Suzette).
This is her email from July 25th. Sorry again!! Suzette's Mom.

Wow, I don´t even know where to start. Let me just say that after another tearful Sunday.....
I’m STAYING in BELGRANO Sur!!!! I can´t even believe it. This is a tender mercy of the Lord because I really don´t want to go (not that I ever will) but there is still so much to be done and I am grateful for whatever time I have to be here in Gallegos.
Basically there were no changes because, again, the volcano. The flights still aren´t normalized so no one in the mission moved. NO one! Except where there were trios of sisters but the ´extras´ left because they had completed the mission, including my beloved ´mom´ on the mission, Hna Peña. She´s done, done, done and surely on her way home to El Salvador tomorrow or Wednesday. She will surely be on facebook ASAP so find her and tell her I love her dearly and sorry that I couldn´t be at her despedida but the 40 hours bus ride is a killer. :) I don´t know but she´ll probably look for you guys too.
How wonderful that I get to stay!!! I was with my beloved family here in Gallegos, the Winter´s, last night and they made a fantastic torta as a despedida. We laughed and cried and shared our testimonies and hopes for the future. And then cried some more. haha how silly. Mom, you never told me that you talk with Astrid on facebook! She´s such a great young woman that is destined for great things.
oh, like i was saying, who knows how long this happiness will last because even though the flights are a mess, there WILL be some changes we just don´t know when. That is VERY stressful for us because we could get a call in a week, 2 weeks or never so we´re always on our toes. I don´t know what will become of me because Hna Campos completes her mission this transfer! She´s 17 months old in the mission! What that means for me in ´killing´ her is that I will stay yet ANOTHER transfer after she leaves to teach the area. That means 9 MONTHS in ONE area. Half my mission in the south. BUT, as I said, who knows? They could transfer me (if someone leaves I THINK it would be me) in a week or two and Hna Campos would be left to teach as fast as possible and then part ways with Argentina. :(
Anywho, that´s the nitty gritty. I was thinking the other day that I never talk about WHAT I do but my thoughts and experiences about what goes on in my daily life.
You all might remember that our schedule here in the Patagonia is different than in BS AS. We arise at 7:30, exercise, shower, eat breakfast and then study from 9-10 in personal study and 10-11 in companionship study. Personal study (where I used to read and read and read and loved finding all the insight and applying it to myself) has changed to be dedicated to finding answers and doctrine to help, teach and guide investigators to the truth. We plan what we will study in the morning during our nightly planning. We study things like the Word of Wisdom, eternal marriage and repentance in order to be more prepared for our appointments for the day where we have planned to invite the investigator to keep the word of wisdom and stop smoking/drinking/etc. or invite a couple who are living together to go and sacar turno (make an appointment) to get married, and invite everyone to come unto Christ, follow His example and be baptized. After studying personally, we sing, pray, and share briefly what we found with each other, keep studying and write a lesson plan for each cita (appointment). We read a couple pages in the Mission Manual every day of the transfer to be able to finish it in 6 weeks. When I was a new missionary, we each read 7 pages a day aloud to be able to finish it each week. The first 2 transfers of the mission, we read the MM every week. So now, I’ve read it 16 times all the way through and this morning we started it for my 17th time. That´s not a lot but we basically memorize it :) haha I’ve got most of the beginning and specific parts memorized in both Spanish and English.
Because my comps have all been latinas, I read in Spanish while they read in English. Ambas (we both) correct pronunciation and it´s all a happy learning experience. haha
Then we practice presenting the Book of Mormon (English, Spanish, depends of the day and how courageous my comp feels :) )
Then... language study. I found a fantastic way for me to not get bored during language study. I know that I don´t know Spanish perfectly, but studying the grammar makes me so frustrated that I just end up doing whatever with my practice books. But now I read all the Liahona we have (which are A LOT) because I can read and find words I don´t know, see how it´s used in a sentence, look it up, talk about it with my comp and learn SOOO much better that way. My little Spanish-English dictionary is my best friend but even though I find a definition doesn´t mean I know how to utilize the word in real life. Liahonas rock!
Then out to work OR if we don´t have lunch with a member we cook early at home so that we can eat and get out to work early. Eating with members is great because they have so much love and we feel much more a part of their lives and gain their confidence and we in them. Unfortunately there aren´t that many ACTIVE members in our branch so we eat with all the same families every week....that´s ok too because they all cook delicious food :) BUT we are starting the diet again but for reals this time.
I love Hna Campos. We have worked perfectly in tune since the first day. She knows what I think and I know what she´ll say. I know what she likes for breakfast (she´s a BREAD fan like my dad, anything bread and she´s chocha la vida [very happy]) and she always helps and serves me with such love that it´s impossible for us to be mad! :) Ever. We laugh and laugh over nothing, get emotional over everything and are just great friends! Best of all, she shares a powerful testimony and isn´t afraid to show the importance the gospel has for her, me, our families and everyone with whom we are blessed to share it. I love her dearly.
We go to different zones that we have in our area trying to work efficiently without wasting time walking great distances back and forth to different houses.
Since I got here 6 months ago :) there have been a lot of changes. Rio Gallegos is growing constantly. It´s also a kind of melting pot of every province in Argentina and the south of Chile. In the north of Argentina, Salta, Jujuy, Corrientes, I have been told that it´s tough to find work and the pay is poor when you can find one. Down here, there is so much growth and oil wealth that people come here, work a few years, save, save, save, save and then move back north with their savings and live well in the north because the cost of living is much lower than down here. So we teach a lot of people from all over the country and a LOT of Chileans. :) We make contacts or knock doors and I know en seguida (right away) who is not from here :) woot woot.
Oh funny moment of the week, so it´s really kinda uncomfortable walking down the street and getting whistled at, honked at etc but I’ve learned to ignore it (though that doesn´t work out so well because then members greet us and we ignore´s a lose-lose situation) BUT this week we were visiting a less active member and while we were sharing a powerful scripture, a friend of his son (maybe 25ish) walked in. They introduced themselves (after evading the ´kiss´ greeting less than smoothly haha I’ll show you how I do it someday) and then we introduced ourselves,
Hna Campos: I´m Hermana Campos, I´m a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints....(looks at me)
Me: And I´m Hermana Gonzalez.......
(silence while they stare).....
The son:....What a beautiful name.....
Me: uhhh....Hermana?
Hna Campos kicks me under the table and we invite them to sit and share the spiritual thought we had been sharing before the interruption.
hahahaha So funny and so awkward.
Anyway I’m sure you can all tell that I write a lot more when I DON’T receive emails. I´m not feeling the love Folks. Mom and dad, from you ALWAYS but I’m talking about the folks who live with you...just saying.
And will you tell Emma I love her and I´m writing her today.
Also, give Angelica a guilt trip that she up and forgot about me and I’m considering revoking her title. That´s all :)
Amber (who just returned from her mission) looks LOVELY! She looks so great and I can´t believe she´s home already.
Tell Hersch I love him and am so happy for him and his bride is beautiful!
Yay!!  for Melissa Neilsen HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! Send her my love as well.
My MTC comp wrote me a loooong time ago and told me she went HOME from the MTC for her medical problems like a month after I left, can you find out if she´s ok? Better? On a mission? Married? And it was her birthday on the 4th. manden saludos!! She´s Minerva Ochoa from Calexico, CA. Find her on facebook?
I love you all so much (a lot of love, I know, but hey, I´m a sister missionary, we are MADE out of LOVE) :)
I´ll let you know when or IF a change happens but for now, I’m staying happy and staying PUT!
I know this church is true. Until next week.....oh and I´ve been on a mission for a whole pregnancy!!! HOW TIMES FLIES!
BUT let´s make a deal, yeah? NO COUNTDOWNS! I won´t get trunky if you don´t. Ok thanks, LOVE YOU!

Hna Gonzalez

P.S. something that is interesting (maybe to Danny only) and I don´t know if it happens anywhere else because I have never BEEN on a mission anywhere else but lately (like the last month) when we have weekly planning or a mission wide message from the president, we get a mission wide conference call. We conference our district first, then connect the zone (our zone is tiny, 8 of us) and then the assistants connect the zones and president calls the assistants. It´s kind of awesome and unique to have 160+ missionaries receiving the instruction directly from the President´s mouth even though there´s thousands of kilometers between us. Oh the wonders of technology.

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