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