Buenos Dias Familia, Amigos, y todos! Hopefully this week my grand email will be a little less scattered, although, never fear, as it will always be random;)
(Since a missionary in Mallory's zone was robbed she is not feeling like it's a good idea to have her camera with her much so I have once again searched out some pictures that are either from the past or related to things she's mentioned or are of her area.)
On the 8th, last Preparation Day, we played futbol as a District. I'm not big on futbol, as in I'm not very talented like my brother, Reed, but I managed to block the talented people and only got smacked in the face with the ball once! I know, if you're jealous of my mad skills I understand. We played outside of the chapel in the courtyard and played on concrete. After PDay was over (ends at 6) we had to take the subte to pay the rent. The Subte, or the Subway, is all fine and dandy, if you don't mind being a literal sardine for 30 minutes or so. Personal bubble? Forget it. Trying to find some oxygen to breathe is a struggle enough. Hermana Arntsen and I barely made it on the Subte, and I was completely pressed up against the door when we took off. When we stopped a little while later to squeeze more people in somewhere I got pushed out of the train and had to fight my way back on. There was no way I was getting seperated from my comp, as she's my lifeline out here in every respect. I might have angered one lady, but I couldn't understand what she was saying anyway, and I was Getting on that train. After my couple subte experiences, I have to say I like the collectivo better, or the bus. Which is saying something. I trust my feet the most out of the transportation here.
The Subte in Parque Patricios
(What it looks like empty. Must have been taken before it was in service!)
September 9th: I woke up to a huge storm! It sounded like someone had opened our window and was throwing marbles at the closet door. Needless to say, I was very glad to be inside rather than tromping through it. We had a district meeting at the other chapel and discussed the four points. The first one really stuck out to me, How to build up the member's faith. They talked about the importance of working with the members to find and teach people. That really is the key, and I had no clue until I became a missionary. If the missionaries and the members all over the world would work more together we would have 10 times the sucess we have now and an incredible raise in retention rates. My companion and I are trying to think of more ways to work with the members, and yet build up their faith as well. I also thought a lot about how to leave my area better off than when I arrived. I know that people here have been prepared for me, and that I am in this exact area to make some kind of difference. Time will show what that difference is, and I may not see a lot of it in this next year and a half. I hope to make some big differences that I can see while I'm here and also plant a lot of seeds for future missionaries.
Artwork near the subte
September 10th: At the end of the day my companion and I visited with a less active member named Cesar. He seemed to have faith in the church, and stated that it was the one true church and that he had a testimony of it. However, he's had a rough life and is around a lot of bad influences. A lot was keeping him down. I had the opportunity to share about the expiacion, or the atonement, of Christ, and that it is the only way we can have the strength and the ability to endure that we need in this life. As we talked to him tears came to him, and I wanted to give him a hug and comfort him. It was clear he wanted to change and to rise above his circumstances but that he didn't know how, and that he didn't have the strength on his own. He didn't need a hug from me, he needed a hug from the Savior. As I have been out here the thing I have learned the most about is the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. What power it has! For ALL people, for all afflictions and trials and temptations and weaknesses. For all sorrow and sin. This atonement is for us. It's the only way to have peace. I know this because I have lived it! My first week in Argentina was rough. I felt alone and like I had no where to turn to at times. I felt fear and I didn't know how to overcome it or even why it was there. It was overpowering and I needed help. And This is what the atonement is for. Because we can't do it on our own. And we need constant help, everyday and in every instance. And this is the atonement. I wish I could do my feelings over this justice, but as I can't I can only state that the key to everything I hold dear and want is the atonement of Jesus Christ.
September 12th: Today I got to see all of my district again! I just about died of happiness. Seeing my hermanas was certainly the highlight of the week. When I gave Hermana Johnson a hug I cried, I was just so happy to see her. It was such a relief and a blessing to see that they were all in good health and seemed to be adapting well. I certainly thanked Father for this great blessing. I had an amazing district in the MTC and I love them dearly, and I was so happy to see them and to see them in good health and spirits. So far a lot of us have been sick, two have been bitten by dogs, and one has gotten robbed, but the Lord has taken care of us. From my MTC district Elder Laudie is in my district and Elder Long is in my zone. It's really nice to be will some people I know let me tell you :)!
We got to hear from President and Hermana Ayres, in which they talked about how the mission is like a mountain. In the MTC you can see the mountain, and you marvel at how beautiful it is. Then you enter the mission field and get on the mountain, and the top is no longer in sight. All you can see is a steep incline, rocks, and no end. And it is in this time where you struggle and grow the most. Lucky me, this is where I am currently:P However, at about 9 months for a sister missionary, when you are half way through your mission, you can see where you came from, and you can see down the other side of the mountain to the end, to the real world once more. And the view is beautiful and terrifying. After that the time flies by, just as the journey down the mountain is much quicker than the ascent. President explained all of this very animatedly and it was a fun little talk. We then had a wonderful lunch together of chicken, rice, and bread. I got to sit by Hermana Hawkins and we got to catch up. I also got to tell the story of the lost llaves to my Hermanas, which was a lot of fun. I felt a lot more like myself after talking and catching up with them.
We also taught Adriana today. While we were talking about the Restauration I felt very strongly that I NEEDED to give her a Book of Mormon and invite her to read 3Nephi 11. So, I did. I asked her is she would be open to reading a chapter in the book of mormon, I then bore my testimony of the book and handed it to her. For those of you who don`t know, I don't speak a whole lot in lessons yet, so this was a big deal, and the spirit was very strong as I did so.
We also visited with John, a Recent Convert, and talked about the Atonement. Once again I felt how strong it was and how much I needed it, and every one else needs it. John then came with us as we went out to give out invitations to the Capilla Abierta. We had a lot of invitations and Hermana A wanted to give them all out that night, as the activity was the following day. I'm not very good at going up to random people and inviting them to come to things in a different language, but John had no fear. Every person, no lie, that we saw on the street, whether on a bike or in a car or with headphones, he invited to the Capilla Abierta. He gave away all of his invitations in about 5 minutes! I was inspired by his courage and his willingness to share and gave a lot of mine away as well, talking to almost every person we saw. Guillermo and my companion were a little shocked, as I don't say a lot, and don't usually take the lead in talking to people on the street. But I just couldn't help it. John had inspired me, and even though I was scared and didn't really know what I was saying or how to expain the Capilla Abierta I invited almost all I saw, and felt so good afterwards.
The Subte at night
September 13th¨We had a service project in the morning at a hospital. It felt nice to do service and I also got to see Hermana Johnson and Hawkins again! We helped strip paint and repaint, as well as
sand down the walls.
After the service project we were given sack lunches, which I happily devoured. We then took the collectivo back to our area, and I took a nap on the way. We then got fancied up for the Capilla Abierta. The Capilla Abierta was a great sucess! Basically, it's an activity where people, members and nonmembers alike, can get to know a little bit about the church and about our beliefs. We talked about prophets, the book of Mormon, the atonement of Christ, and how the gospel of Christ is meant to help families. We got 4 new investigators from it, a woman named Raquel and her three children. I taught the most than I have in all my time in Argentina at this event! We were in charge of teaching about life of Christ, Prophets, Book of Mormon, and how it blesses families, and probably went through it 6 or 7 times. I felt very inadequate, but I was thankful for the chance to teach and testify of the things we were sharing. The food was also good;)
sand down the walls.
At the Capilla Abierta
For yesterday we had Anita and Domingo, our investigators at church, and afterwards had lunch with the family Montiel as we always do:) We had hamburgers, and they were delicious! Here you eat your hambergers with the patty, the bread, a tomato, lettuce sometimes, and an egg. Actually extremely good. We then went out and spent a good 5 hours in the pouring rain. We were soaked through and it looked like I had just taken a shower my hair was so wet. Thankfully I like the rain, but it was cold.
(A toilet that looks like a sink in Parque Patricios comparable to what Mallory described, a bidet?)
Love you all and hope this week was a little easier to follow! Praying for all of you:)