Thursday, May 27, 2010

Final Week in My First Transfer

FAMILIA!!!!! Como anda?

FELIZ 25 DE MAYO! Yesterday was el Dia de Patria, or the Day of the Patriot, for Argentina. It´s kinda like the 4th of July, but their dia de independencia is on the 9th of July. But they celebrated their 200 year anniversary of this holiday this year, so there were banderas (flags) EVERYWHERE and everyone wore blue or had pins of the Argentine flag. Members also told us that it is customary to wear pigtails in your hair, so Hna Kjar and I had pigtails with blue ribbons. We went ALL out and got lots of compliments! :)
We also had a actividad con el barrio (the ward) to celebrate - we ate facturas, pasteles, y tortas fritas, danced traditional folklore, y sang traditional Argentine hymns and songs. It was SOOO fun! Hna Kjar and I learned the traditional dances, but they couldn´t get us to dance to the music with a partner (cause it´s against the manual misionero) e ven though they kept saying, Ït´s not dancing, it´s participating in traditional activities! haha

I have had SO much rejection lately - Mirta won´t talk to us, Daniel tried to give us his BOM back, Carmen y Natalia are NEVER home to teach, and I´ve run into so many Evangelicas that are fiery... BUT after the dificultades come the blessings, ALWAYS! I am grateful for these trials because I have been learning so much from them - and they make the successes even better!

A blessing is this experience: we had a Noche De Hogar with a menos activo familia La Familia Herrera. They are inactivie and drink and smoke, but they are so loving and kind to eachother and to us. They just need a little push! So, we talked to the grandfather for a while, the ex bishop who is now inactive, and he brought out all of his Bishop´s stuff and started to cry as he showed us his patriarchal blessing and other things from his briefcase. I know he felt the Spirit - and we encouraged him to come back to church. I have faith that he will, because he truly knows the blessings and importancia de these things. Then we had a noche de Hogar (FHE) with the ex-bishop´s daughter and husband and girls - AND they invited their friends over!!! So we ended up teaching a new family- La familia Barbosa! And they asked us to do ANOTHER FHE on Saturday night too!! So we did! :)
We talked about family and the Family Proclamation to the World and ate food and laughed and showed pictures (of the wedding! :) thanks Mommy!). Then, we invited this La Familia Barbosa to the activity for the 25th de Mayo. THEY CAME TO THE ACTVITY!!!!!! But the problem is is that the members of our ward greeted them, but after that NO ONE went up to talk to them. Only the Bishop and later the Bishop´s wife. I was SOOO upset with the ward because here we have this WONDERFUL family with 3 adorable children who WANT religion and something good in their children´s lives and NO ONE would help them feel comfortable. I prayed so hard last night that they will still want to go to church!!! We are going to teach them tomorrow, so I will know better. I am learning patience with this ward - they have had so many problems and they are all so self centered. They need to learn that through service they can be happy and know Christ better. All of their problems can be resolved through the Evangelio de Jesucristo, through the Book of Mormon, through the Spirit, through covenants, and MOST ESPECIALLY through service to one another and to others. I am praying with all of my might to figure out something, a new program or message to tell them during our lunches, that will help change the ward.

Iglesia (Church) - We had Cristhian, Ramina, y Ramon in la capilla!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! Cristhian is on his way. Ramina really liked it and we are going to teach her again tonight. And Ramon seemed really interested.

Cristhian - we are SOOO close to sacking a fecha! Aka, getting a baptismal date with him!!!!!! He´s 20 years old, from Paraguay, an incredible kid who always talks about Jesus Christ. He is SO THERE!!! He is just about there with a testimony of Josph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Yesterday we taught him the Ley de Castidad, Law of Chastity, and boy, I was blunt. But I felt the Spirit guiding me as I spoke. I talked about my own life, I shared scriptures, etc. Hna Kjar just kinda let me take the wheel and ask him to move out of his girlfriend´s house or marry her. We told him to pray about it and that we´d figure it out in a day or too. Crisitan is AMAZING!!! And the single adults in our ward have taken him in! They invited him to stake dance on friday - and HE WENT! A boy in our ward who is having a little trouble, but is trying to shape up to put in his papers invited him over for a FHE on Sunday night, and HE WENT!!!! Then they invited him to an activity on Monday night, and HE WENT!!! Then he went to the actvitiy a bit last night. He reads the Book of Mormon and prays... but his prayers are a little intense - we´re going to teach him pray...AGAIN. haha But Hna Kjar and I are really praying for him and helping him along. He is elect- I hope and pray he will be ready to make this important step in his life.

Mom- MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS for the package!!! It got here last Thursday and my boca dropped when I saw how much it costed for you to send it!!! Thanks for loving me enough to send that! I LOVED ALL THE PICTURES!!!! It was so great to feel apart of everything as I thought about how it went! And then the chocolate and gifts (the hair flowers are PERFECT!!!) were so sweet of you! Thanks for thinking about me!!!! I truly truly truly appreciate it!!!

This gospel is true - the condesecion de Jesucristo is incredible - He is literally the son of God and of Mary, the Virgin. He is my Savior and Redeemer and EVERYONE´s Savior and Redeemer. It is up to us to change our lives and come unto him. We can only fully access his atonement through faith in Him, repentance and change of heart and lifestyle, baptism by the correct authority and priesthood on the earth, the Holy Ghost, and through keeping our covenants and commandments of the Lord. This work is SOOO important because through the Restoration, we have this access to the Atonement. EVERYONE needs this!!!!! And I am trying my best to share with everyone!!!



Hermana Tingey

One Month in Argentina

WOWªªªªª I have been here for one full monthª ¿sorry, the keyboard is messed up, so this is going to be hard to read...pobre Uncle Gregª haha? Itçs crazy to think I have only been here for one month and then at the same time, WOAH, ONE MONTHª So much has happened, but I feel like Hermana Kjar and I are just getting on a roll. I am a little worried because next week on Friday we will find out about the transfer. Hna Kjar has been here 4 transfer, so I am pretty sure sheçs going. I will probably get a new companion. I am really nervous, but I know that President knows what the Lord has in store for me.
IKEçs putting his papers inª ARGENTINA if heçs luckyªªª haha

Howçs the family% Dadçs going to London, Momçs busy with mother stuff, Ben and Jackie are happy, Elizabethçs off on another adventure, Abby and Jack have finals, sorry Abbs and Jack Snack haha, but donçt worry, theyçll be over soon... wow, we are so blessedªªªª I am so grateful for all of our blessings. I am SO eternally grateful for the righteous, happy, patient family we have. I am grateful for all of your examples. I am grateful for your love. I am grateful for your willingness to pray for my investigadores and be part of my mission. This work is SOOO importantª Everyday I am writing in my journal the experiences I have been having. Itçs incredible that everyday there are difficulties and blessings. Everday my testimony is laughed at, yelled at, or scoffed at and my testimony still grows. Everyday I have special learning experiences. But I honestly have been having a SMILE on my face. I LOVE being a missionary and love serving the people here in Argentinaªªª I just wish the miembros wouldnçt feed us so much, I am gaining weightª haha

So, we taught 20 lessons last week which is really really good for us. We have been having tons of people fail us and not be in their house when they say they would be over the passed few weeks, but we have been teaching a few really reliable people. I want to tell you about some of the experiences I have had this week. We have been VERY blessed latelyª

Cristian is a 20 year old from Paraguay who is SOLID. He is so pensieve and loves to talk about Christ. We taught him a few weeks back and we bore a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith. But he wasnçt sure. Just recently we taught him twice and he came to church on Sundayª We are going to hopefully teach him tonight or tomorrow about the Law of Chastity and commit him to be baptized. Hna Kjar and I are really really hoping and praying our guts out that he will realize how important this is and take this step in his life. If he got baptized, I could see him being an incredible missionaryª
Ines is a less active woman that weçve been checking up since I got here. She went through the temple and everything, which is rare here, abut she was living with a partner and not going to church. Ines had started smoking again and had turned her life away from the church. We had lunch over at her house and came over a few times to check up on her. I gave her my CTR ring to help remind her to stop smoking whenever she looked at it. SO, we talked to her last week and she told us she kicked her marido out and decided to talk to the Bishop to start coming back to churchªªª This is a MIRACLEª I gave Ines a big hug and told her how grateful I was for her and for this decision. She came to church on Sundayª I hope she will continue this difficult path of repentance with fe in Jesucristo.
Betti and Alberto = this is another MIRACLEªªª The elders found them in a grocery store. We went over to their house and they invited us right in, gave us herbal tea, and we talked about the Book of Mormon. We went back and Alberto had made us FACTURASªªª Facturas are famous Argentine doughnut7pastries and they are MOUTHWATERINGªªª So we chatted and Alberto told us that this was the first time he had ever opened up to anyone about his religious side of life. He recently lost a job and is looking for something. Betti is his partner. They are both divorced and recently found each other. Sheçs an angel, but she has a lot of doubts about the BOM. We are praying so intently for her to feel the Spirit as she reads. They are amazing because they actually read and think and meditate on these things= it´s increibleªª
We also found two very interesting people. One, Daniel is in a psychiatry home now. We went to teach him and he is the only one who is sane. the others were all fairly crazy, but we talked to them and they have such sweet spirits. Daniel is really into his religion and we are not sure about the rules about him coming to our church on Sundays, but he lit up as we gave him a Book of Mormonª I really think he could progress if he felt our desire. Thank goodness for Montreal in preparing me for THIS psychiatric experienceªª haha The other interesting person is named Ramina. She is a HOOTª She is 28, unmarried, doesnçt have a partner and is not living with anyone, isnçt dating anyone, and doesnçt have any children. WOW, this is BIG for hereª She opened the door and she had pigtails, guy clothes, and a big smile on her face. Ramina invited us to come in and play her keyboard, Hna Kjar played and I sang a few hymns. We then talked about the 2nd lesson. Ramina is a very very spiritual person. The second time we went over, we watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and asked her to pray specifically about Joseph Smith and our church. She said she would and she said she hopes God sends her a dream or an answer somehow. I wanted to shout, We ARE your answerª But Hna Kjar and I are praying fervently for her to receive an answer like that.
The Arrera family is the less active family of an ex bishop. The bishops daughter and her husband and children live with him. They havençt been to church for a while. We got into their house and talked about their trips to Mendoza. They showed us pictures and everything. Then we asked if we could sing a hymn. We sang Families Can Be Together Forever. Pomela Arrera, the daughter of the bishop and mother of the little girls, started tearing up. Hna Kjar and I bore powerful testimonies of the sealing power and the imporantance of hte church and gospel for families. We are going to have a Noche De Hogar , family night, with them this week. Hopefully theyçll come back to church this Sunday.

I have talked to all sorts of peopl from all sorts of religions. I have had people tell me that Mary was a prostitute and that Jesus wasnçt the son of God, Içve had Jehovahçs witnesses come up and bash me, Içve had all kinds of things, but I have also had powerful experiences where the Spirit is strong and the Spirit testifies of the truthfulness of this gospel, of Christ, of Families, of repentance and change, of Gods love for all. Whenver I look back on the week I think, wow, what a wonderful lifeª Itçs so crazy and I am learning so much, but I am SOOO HAPPY because the Spirit has testified to me that this church is true time and time again. God loves us, Jesus is the Christ, our Redeemer. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who translated the Book of Mormon. I know that this gospel will help unite familiesª I am so grateful for this time hereª WHAT A GRAND ADVENTUREªªªª

Prayer List
Cristian that he will be baptized
Betti that she will not have doubts and that sheçll know that BOM is true
Alberto that he will trust his feelings that this if the true church
Ramina that she will receive a dream or special answer that this church is true
Santiago that he will pray to know that the church is true
Daniel that he will read the Book of Mormon and know itçs true
Ana and su familia that they will open to us and our message
Mirta, Nelli, and Florencia that they will have a change of heart
Hermana Kjar that she will have strength to continue on in this hard work


Hermana Tingey

Week 4--Huevos Barratos!!!

It was SOOO great to talk to you all! I must say it was pretty hard. I LOVE it here; I love the culture and the people, but the mission is HARD and I really needed to hear all of your encouragement. Thanks for the emails too - I just loved getting recharged and ready to go!

Huevos Barratos!!!! Ok, so Hna Kjar and I were studying and planning and we had NO food in the apartment. We were famished! And often men in autos (cars) drive by with speakers that yell out, ¨Huevos Barratos¨ (cheap eggs) o ¨Verduras y frutas¨ or sell different kinds of foods out of the cars. SO, we heard a man say over the loudspeaker, ¨Huevos Barratos Huevos Barratos¨ (really rapidly, more like ¨HuevBaraHueBaratHuevoBaratooooosssss...¨haha) Hna Kjar and I jumped up , our hair undone and flying everywhere and started running towards the street. But when we unlocked our gate to go out to the street, we saw him turning the corner onto the other street! We started booking it down the road yelling, ¨HUEVOS!!!!¨A few of our vecinos (neighbors) saw us and tried to yell at the man in the auto too. One man with a booming voice came onto his patio and screamed, ¨HUEVOOSSSS!!!!!!¨ And that´s when the auto stopped. We laughed and laughed as we got to him and paid for the eggs. As we were walking back one of the neighbors laughed at us. Needless to say, we got our breakfast and a great start to the day!

So, some funny culture and mission life stuff that doesn´t HAVE to be shared with everyone (haha) is that 1. I had my first experience with diahrrea here. We ate at a member´s house and the food had SO much fat and grease... it was just nasty! They made me eat 3 bowls of it too!!! But good thing I´ve practiced packing food down, but boy it wasn´t pretty! 2. I saw a video of how Argentine´s dance and it´s CRAZY FUN! They have the salsa, tango, merengue, etc. I´d love to learn! 3. Driving in Bahia is CRAZY! THere are NO rules except for don´t get in an accident! I´ve only seen 1 stop sign and maybe 2 stop lights in all of my area. And we had a CRAZY taxi driver the other day who was FLYING down the dirt roads- Hna Kjar and I were holding on for our lives! haha oh and 4. Argentines LOVE to talk and talk and talk and talk. They don´t stop!!

It was Hna Kjar´s birthday! So we celebrated...and celebrated... and will probably celebrate more tomorrow with our district! I told lots of people it was her birthday and we had 3 cakes and lots of hugs and everything. I think she felt very loved!

Ok, so the work is going well. We had our Baile de Recuerdos for our Barrio and it went SO well! We had about 6 really inactive members come and we had over 50 people at the Baile- more than our usual attendance of 30-40 or so on Sunday´s! But we were very excited because we need unidad and amor in this barrio (ward) and we worked HARD to get people there! Now, Hna Kjar and I are trying to come up with ways to unify the ward better through missionary work! We feel like we´ve gained the Bishop´s trust back (there had been problems with missionaries and the obispo in the past) and a lot of the members and especially these inactive members have really opened up to us. We feel much more love at least for US and we´re trying to channel that love to the rest of the ward, to each other.
We had a really special experience with a man named Nicolas. He´s 23 years old (i think) and VERY active in his Catholic church. But, we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he´s been reading! We planned a tour of the capilla (church building) with a member who had previously been a Catholic monk! Guillermo is the previous-monk who was baptized 4 years ago and went through with his wife a year later. Nicolas came and we showed him the building- all the rooms, explaining the Santa Cena (Sacrament), temples, Joseph Smith again, etc. He enjoyed talking about our similarities of religions. Guillermo bore a powerful testimony of how this church is true and he loves how everyone in the church has a calling and works together and how much of emphasis we put on family and eternal families and strengthening families. Guillermo is incredible! Anyway, we´re not sure how interested Nicolas is, but we have faith and we´re going to keep working on him.
A lot of our nuevos investigadores have recently showed their disinterest. We have seen a lot of family and social pressure on them and they have declined talking to us and renewing our visits. Florencia is a woman we taught a couple times and she was progressing, but she wanted to give us her Bookof Mormon back. Enrique won´t answer our calls. Santiago and Natalia missed their appointments. BUT, I´ve been studying a LOT about faith in Jesus Christ and how faith leads to action. Faith is power, we can accomplish SO much through faith in Jesus Christ! So, though it´s been tough, I have been trying to show the Lord how much faith I have in people and in his obra (work). I have also tried to utilize the activity to try to see if we can teach the family of the less active members and so forth. I am trying to do the best I can - and Hna Kjar too. We have a few appointments lined up that I´m excited about. Lucrecia is a great older lady we met who seems like she´s interested. Mirta is the woman that came to church on Sunday! But she refuses to get married - we´re trying our best to work with her and love her and hope she changes her heart. Nelly is an older woman who´s very Catholic, but she keeps letting us come back and teach her and she´s been very nice. I think she´s actually considering the church, so we´re hopeful. We´re visting on Saturday a less active father of a strong family who is recently gone inactive because of the leadership in the stake, supposedly. He´s wonderful! He was one of the first members I met here in Bahia on my first day! We are prayerful and hope to get him praying and reading his scriptures again.

Prayer Roll Thanks for suggesting this Dad!
Mirta - to feel the power of the Book of Mormon and have a change of heart
Florencia - to ignore familial and social pressures and feel of the Lord´s Spirit
Nicolas and Santiago to read and pray about the Book of Mormon
Nelly - to open her heart to the LDS Church and Libro de Mormon
Natalia and the Family Buenisima, and Ana and her Family - to open their home and hearts to us and our message
Lucrecia - to be open to change and to add to her knowledge
Father Francani - to repent and come back to church
For Hna Tingey and Hna Kjar to be guided to FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL PROGRESS!!!! We are praying and working diligently and hope for at least one to progress to baptism!

Ohh, really quickly before I have to go- I made a ¨contract¨ of sorts with Heavenly Father the other day. In the morning and I wrote down everything I would do that day and prayed for help. I tried ALL day to do my very best with the things I wrote down. One of them was that I would speak only Spanish and another that I would have faith in every situation and every person. IT WORKED! We worked so hard and so well and I only spoke Spanish! I felt like we did wonderfully and I want to keep doing this to try to help me throughout the day. I feel like that will help me track my progress and that way the Lord knows how hard I am trying and I know how hard I am trying.

Anyways, I have to go. I love you all SOOO much! THIS CHURCH IS SOOO TRUE!!! I encouter people who are lost, people who are VERY Catholic or Evangelical of Jehovah´s Witnesses (TONS of them here), and they have part of the truth, but I know in my heart that we have so much more to add. That we have a living prophet today, that the Book of Mormon is true, that our temple covenants and baptism through the correct authority are the way we return to our Heavenly Father. So many people say, ¨Why do I need a church? I worship God in my heart!¨But the church is SO important! I have a FIRM testimony of this! My testimony has grown SO much here!!!
I LOVE YOU Mommy, Daddy, Ben, Jackie, Biffy, Abbs, Snacky, and FAM!!! ABRAZOS Y BESITOS!!!!

Hermana Tingey

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Family´s can be together forever!

I have felt truly blessed - I was reading an email from Ben, and Dad, and Mom and I haven´t been able to stop crying. It´s been really hard not being with all of you during the wedding. I am SO glad everything went perfectly and that there was even beautiful Park City snow...on May 1st! :) haha Not a big surprise really. The week prior sounded SO fun with all of the festivities, parties, getting ready... what fun! Ben´s bacholer party sounded hilarious- Dad and Jack, NICE! :) Jackie´s sounded fun, I´m sure Mom had a great deal of fun with the toliet paper game and tattoos- haha! I´m SO grateful that families got along so well. I mean, it´s HARD not to get along with our family, but I´m grateful that the love was centered on Ben and Jackie. And then wow, the sealing sounded perfect. Just the fact that it´s Ben and Jackie allows it to be perfect. They are such incredible examples to me - and yeah, it does feel like Jackie´s been a part of the family this whole entire time! I feel so blessed to be able to share this knowledge that families can be together forever with everyone here. Ben, I did tell a LOT of people about how you were getting married and how you would be sealed for all eternity through the correct authority and power of God on the earth. I told many people and you know what? Hna. Kjar and I have been SO blessed because we made contact with three really good families! One in particular is my FAVORITE! The grandma has around 6 sons and most of them live with her and next door. we talked to the wife of her second son and she´s WONDERFUL! Natalia just had a pre-mature baby who´s adorable! Hna Kjar and I both felt the Spirit very strongly in their house - it felt the most like home. They also have a son named Rodrigo - he´s around 2 years old and he called me his princesa and gave me a huge kiss on the check!!! :) It was one of the happiest (family) moments I have had here! The other happiest feeling was after Hna. Kjar and I walked out of our first overview/lesson with Natalia and we both just felt like she was golden. I was on top of the WORLD! And Hna Kjar said, ¨Just wait till you have a baptism. It makes all the hardship worth it.¨ I can´t wait!!!
Ok, I have a HUGE testimony that after the trials and tribulations come wonderful blessings. It has been like that almost everyday of my mission so far. Sometimes we have had rough times or major rejections, but siempre after we have something wonderful happen. For example, Sunday morning Hna. Kjar and I both got up and were excited to get people to church! We went to 4 houses - 3 inactives and one of our investigators. NONE of them woke up or showed up to church. I was disappointed, but I sang hymns as we walked into the capilla. And then, miraculously, the Lord blessed us with a converso reciente and his brother who wants to be baptized!! The sad thing is he´s not in our ward boundaries but in another one, BUT it was great to see that he wants to be baptized!
The Barrio and the obispo (bishop) are struggling - there is a LOT of pride and jealousy, anger and gossip, and NO ONE takes responsibilty. It´s really sad. Hna Kjar and I have been visiting tons of menos activos and we planned a Baile de Recuerdos con Gorros (special hats) y empenadas (YUMMY Argentine food) and a video of old pictures and memories when the Ward was happy! We have been working hard and pray that it will help unite the ward. It´s Friday, so I´ll let you know how it goes on Sunday!
We also have been working HARD with about 6 people who we´ve taught once and we´ve made citas with. We pray for them, prepare to teach, and then they are not HOME! Aww, it´s SOO frustrating! But I have faith in the Lord and his Work and Glory - AND his will. Just the other morning our cita fell through with the Familia Buenisima (Natalia´s family with Rodrigo y otros) because Natalia got sick and went to the hospital. I was really sad, but we went contacting and one of the first contacts was a man named Daniel. He listened very intently to everything we said about the Restoration and then I just felt like brinigng up the Book of Mormon. Hna. Kjar beautifully explained the book and we gave him one. He said, ¨Wow, this is the first time someone has ever given me a book.¨ We felt GREAT after that - he looked interested! I hope and pray he´ll read!
OH! And I can´t foget Nellie! We asked for references from the ex-patriarch and he told us about his neighbor Nellie. She´s a darling older woman who´s Catholic. We went over and taught her lesson 1. After a while she told Hna Kjar, Ï´ve been having family problems and I think you were here to help.¨ I am grateful that we asked for referencias and then acted on them. I´m grateful for Nellie and HOPE she´ll read. She´s very Catholic, but maybe she felt something from the Spirit. Vamos a ver!
Sometimes I´ve thought about my family and friends as missionaries: Ben, Jackie, Austen, TJ, etc. I never really knew what a mission was like - but NOW I know what was going on! :) haha Like working with the missionaires in Montreal, I have a better picture of why they would do or say things or what it means to be a good missionary. I was reading in PME (PMG) where it says what sucess is as a missionary (cap. 1). It doesn´t say 20 baptisms, it doesn´t say 4 people at church on Sunday, it says Testify with power, serving your companions and other missionaries, helping others keep their commitments, etc. I WANT to bring people unto Christ! I want them to blessed like I am blessed - like Ben and Jackie are - like Dad and Mom and the family they have made for us through their faithfulness --- this is HAPPINESS! this is JOY! This is the Gospel that I want to share! I want to bless everyone´s lives here, in this struggling country and economy. In this world of horrible problems with marriage problems, illegitamate children, drugs, pornography, everything that´s rampant here. Hungry people who can´t even buy bread. Arrogrant, rich people who turn their noses as these starving people. I see or hear about these things everyday. AND THE GOSPEL FIXES IT ALL! All through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Plan set out by our Heavenly Father from the beginning. I have a strong testimony of this and I know it´s only going to get stronger and stronger. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!!!!
I love you all soooo much! Know that you´re in my prayers and thoughts - and now that I am trying to be the best missionary I can. It´s hard, but I know it will be worth it when I bring that first person unto Christ and have that first baptism. For their salvation is great in the sight of God.

HUGS!!!! Hermana Tingey

Primera Semana en el Campo!

Where to start?
This first week has been QUITE an adventure! I) can´t remember what I thought missionary work was like, but it´s very different than what I thought. I had a lot of Ups and downs my first semana, but looking back I can mostly just remember the ups. I am in Bahia Blanca in a very poor area. Most of the streets are not paved, so my shoes are covered in dust! I´ve been to some of the poorest places I´ve ever been in - it´s truly humbling. One woman had dirt floors, barely enough rice, lice in her hair, the whole nin yards (that´s a Mom-ism! :) haha), and she wasn´t able to walk very well. I felt so sad, but I felt the Lord´s love for her. I just wish she´d come to church. Another man who we contacted and taugh the first lesson to barely had enough to survive. The members usually are alright, but there are a few families who are literally dirt poor. And those who have little give all - I have been learning SO much fro their charity and love!
So the city is full of motocicletas, autos, camionetas, and people walking. We walk in the calles all the time. There are palm trees in some parks, but it gets REALLY cold at night. Thank goodness our shower always has burning hot water- and it´s seriously BURNING hot water! OHHH, haha so remember in the MTC how my legs had bruises? well now they have BITES! TONS of bites from the mosquitos! Darn those mosquitos! They LOVE me and my legs are covered, I¨ll try to send pictures at some point, haha. I bought more bug spray and cream to try to stop it. I´ll keep you posted!
So, my comp. Hna Khar is a CAPA and I LOVE HER! She was made for me - I love her happy content attitude, her love for people, and how kind and service oriented she is. She has traveled a lot - even to Africa with a service program!!! She doesn´t work as hard as I do or like to plan as much as I do, but she´s taught me patience and kindness. Hna. Kjar very willingly gives all to others - i love her to death. She and her companion had 3 baptisms last, but their converts haven´t been coming to church. Our barrio has a LOT of problems right now and are not very willing to serve each other. But when we go visit them individually, they are SO wonderful! We´ve visited a LOT of menos activos and they are so loving and kind. They always invite us in and we sit and chat for a LONG TIME! it´s the Argentine way. And they sip Mate (this caffeine filled drink- I just know when the Prophet says no to Mate the church will struggle here because EVERYONE drinks it haha) and they just chat and chat and chat your ear off! It´s hard to get a lot done as a missionary, but it´s definitely teaching me patience. A big problem in the barrio is that everyone grew up together and knows eachother´s business and gossip. It´s sad because Argentine´s have a lot of pride. But they have devotion to their faith, family, friends, and futbol teams (haha!)
The comida is RICA and DELICIOSA! The members are really good cooks - I´ve had a couple Argentine foods, as well as Lasagna and Meatloaf (who knew?) but they tasted different than what we´re used to. Argentine food is meat meat meat, mshed potatoes or potatoe salad, salads of tomatoes and Lettuce with oil (but i´ve only had salad twice since I´ve been here), or there´s this stuff with beef and rice, or I dunno, carbs and protein. They feed us SOOO much! The members insist that we pack it down- good thing I practiced at Grandpa Tingey´s house! :) They hardly use verduras (veggies) or milk, so this week I¨m going to buy more and make sure I´m eating healthfully. The big meal is lunch and then they have SIESTA here - naps in the afternoon. So, we as missionaries go home from 2-3:30 to study the language and plan. The problem is during lunch appointments the members chat and talk and chat non stop FOREVER, so we get home at like 3 and never have time to study el idioma! But i´m going to put my foot down because I need to learn Spanish! haha
SO, LA OBRA (the work) is going well. The first couple of days I talked to EVERYONE but then we kept being late to appointments and it´s been harder and harder for me to contact with the same excitement. It is HARD to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength sometimes, but I promised the Lord, my mission president, and myself that I would do it! So I continue to press on and try my best. I have been working really hard, but I want to work harder. I know I have SO much in me to give. I talked to the President today during Zone Conference and I asked, ¨Puedo bautizarse mas de 20 personas?¨ (am i able to baptize more than 20 people) and he looked at me with his wisdom and love and said, ¨You can do it. It´s all in your heart. Miracles happen.¨ I want to bring souls unto Christ. I have 12 transfer (mas o menos) to go and I am going to work as HARD as I can and be as obedient as I can.
We don´t have anyone progressing towards baptism yet. We´re contacting a lot, visiting menos activos, trying to get the barrio to love eachother again through a ward actividad that Hna Kjar and her last comp planned. We´ve taught a few lessons - I really need to learn a LOT more Castellano!!! I can hardly make sense to anyone! but I try and always bear testimony of what I know to be true, like Mom taught me to do in seminary.
We taught a lady named Laura from Paraguay who was golden. I felt the Spriit so strong. And the second time we taught her I bore a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in my broken Spanish and she told us after, ¨I think I was baptized in your church was I was 13...¨ awww man! We were glad, but also sad because she was golden (and now we knew why! haha). We´ve had a lot of instances where we´ve talked to very very religious people and they are just not willing to change their minds. It´s been interesting and hard for me, but I just try to bear my testimony with power from the Holy Spirit and hope they feel it.
The Spanish is SOOOO HARD!!!!!! Honestly, my mente HURTS after everyday and I honestly don´t know what´s going on half of the time! haha But everyone says it comes with time. I´ve really struggled with the Spanish, but I´ve decided to change my thinking about it and pray with more intent and fervor to have the don de lenguas and ayuda from my Heavenly Father. OH, and Ben you and Jackie would get a kick out of the Spanish here. They don´t speak Spanish, they speak Castellano (Cast-a-sha-no). ¨Como anda?¨ ¨Que tal?¨ ¨Tienes fiaco?¨ During contacting, they always nod their heads and say, ¨Claro...claro...listo...listo...bueno¨ haha