Monday, October 27, 2014

9th week in Argentina

Hey loved ones! Let's get this update started:) 
(The lion I drew)

Oct 21: In the morning we had Entrevistas with President Ayre, his wife, and his two assistants. During it we had the opportunity to talk with him individually and for him to see how we were doing:) I didn't have a lot to talk to him about, but I could feel the love and concern he had for me as a missionary, and that made me feel special and wanted. 
One of the most epic moments of my mission occurred this day. Hermana Arntsen had an appointment with Juan and Gladis, and we were having Jorge, our ward missionary leader, come with us. We were waiting when he pulls up on his motorcycle, sunglasses and all. Right as he pulls up Hermana Arntsen realizes that her foot is starting to bleed quite a lot from a cut. She asks Jorge if he has a band-aid. He comments that he doesn't. Now, any normal Ward Mission Leader would apologize for his lack of a band-aid and we would continue on. Jorge is not that kind of person. He says, Ï'll be right back!¨and takes off, on his motorcycle, to go buy a band-aid for my companion. We just sat there in awe and shock. He comes back about two minutes later, handing her the box of band-aids and a treat. My mind was blown, and needless to say the event was recorded in my journal promptly.
Later that same day, while in the Capella, teaching Anita and Domingo, Jorge shared about fasting. He told us a story of when his son, only 9, had told his father that he wanted to fast. Jorge wasn't sold, as it was a 24 hour fast and not recommended for someone that young, but his son said bluntly and clearly, Ïf this is a commandment of the Lord I am Going to fast¨. That really made an impact on Jorge. Later, while he was saying his prayer to start his fast the son prayed that for one day no child would go hungry. What faith! The stories really touched me, especially as I wasn't one for fasting when I was younger and did it extremely reluctantly. We need more youth like Jorge's son, who understand just how important it is from the start and take action. I was inspired. 
Hermana Arntsen and I with Anita and Domingo  We LOVE them!

Oct 22: The heat is coming on full force, and with it the humidity and all the joys that accompany such. My mind is a little confused, as I'm going to be celebrating Christmas in the high of summer, sweaty and tan. Any who, we visited Marcela Sanchez, a less active sister of the ward who neither myself or my companion had met before. She has the most American-like house I've seen so far! We talked to her about how important she was to Christ and how she would be blessed for coming to church. That's one of the big things we do as missionaries that I didn't think about before becoming one: finding and helping the less actives to come back to church. It's very interesting how someone's life is effected based on whether or not they go to church. They can have a strong testimony of the church and of Christ, but without going to church and renewing the covenant of the sacrament weekly there is a lack of spiritual strength. I've always gone to church, but I never knew how important it was until coming down here.
Oct 23: Something you should know about Argentina, is that every one has a dog. Literally every house, and every person. For this reason, it's easy to talk to people if we bring up their dog. We actually were able to share the gospel twice because of conversations started about people's dogs. Just goes to show that you can bring up the gospel from just about any other topic or thing;) We also had Cristian Pucheta accompany us! This was only our second time, but it was so cool to see him teach. With most members that accompany us we have to ask them to share their testimony regarding something to get them invoved with the lesson. Not so with Cristian. He was not only sharing his testimony, but helping to teach part of the lessons as well. He would be a great missionary! 
Also in the morning for studies we had a really good experience practicing introducing the Book of Mormon. I played the part of Denis, a nonmember, and Hermana Arntsen was the missionary. As she was teaching Denis what the book of Mormon was I tried my best to put myself in Denis's shoes. And as she was sharing certain things, I felt certain feelings and felt to ask certain questions. I could feel the spirit, as Denis, as she was teaching, which was incredibily powerful, and opened up my eyes to what he needed to hear in order to feel the spirit and progress spiritually.

Picture of when we had pizza with the Pucheta family

Oct 25: We got to teach Alan today, a relative of Hermana Nelly. He is so ready to be taught about the restored gospel. We taught him about the Restoration of the gospel, and as we were he says, Ï was missing a talk about this¨. He's gone to church with Nelly many times, and I sincerely hope and pray that he can get baptized this upcoming November. 
My Companion and Trainer

Oct 26: A day of little miracles! We had several less actives come to church, people that we've being working with for a while and haven't been perhaps seeing a lot of results. After a wonderful lunch that Mario Montiel cooked we went to see Anita and Domingo. They have changed so much and progressed since I first met them. They are working on getting the documents they need to get married so they can be baptized, and we talked to them about temple marriage, which they are looking forward to working towards. It has been such a testimony builder to see how they have grown to really love to read the scriptures, and that we don't need to really work with them to get them to read. There is such power in the Book of Mormon, and I can't being to explain it. I can only invite every I know to come to know for themselves. It's a power that can come to every one. They just have to read the book. 

Love you all and hope all is well in the states and in the various missions around the world!

Hermana Dickson:)

Monday, October 20, 2014

8th Week in Argentina

Hey all! Let's get down to business with this update shall we?
Wonderful  Hermana Pucheta with my companion and I

First off:
14th de Octubre: I had divisiones with Hermana Hemi, the sister that replaced Hermana Henriquez, as she went home. This was a momentous occasion, as Hermana Arntsen went to the Chacabuco area, leaving me to guide Hermana Hemi in our area. I've never led in my area before, and was a little sick to my stomach with apprehension. Divisiones last 24 hours, and this was my second one. We started out by taking the Colectivo back to Parque Patricios. I had to really focus to remember where we needed to get off. While on the bus Hermana Hemi struck up a conversation with a man standing next to us. We got to know a little about him and invited him to church before getting off at San Juan. After dropping off our stuff at the apartment we grabbed lunch, namely empanadas and fruit, before heading off. Throughout the day I realized that I knew my area quite a bit better than I had thought. I also really enjoyed teaching with Hermana Hemi. She's from New Zealand, has a sick (meaning awesome!) accent, and a great love of the gospel. We stopped by to visit Nicolas, the son of Tanya, and taught him about the Restoration.
view from our pension

 We also stopped by to visit Zulma G. and ended up finding both her and Cristian. They were on their way to the capella, which is where we needed to be next, so we walked with them. On the way as I talked with Zulma while Hermana Hemi talked with Cristian, teaching him about the Restoration. Cristian is a real puzzle. He's come to church by himself, without even being invited, and yet doesn't want to get baptized. If he had read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it as he's been invited to I think things would be different. However, al things will happen in their proper time, and the best we can do is invite him to learn and to experiment. As it turned to evening and we reached the capella we met up with Cristian Pucheta, who said he would accompany us as a member present for our lessons. He's only gone out with us once, and was a little apprehensive. However, as we visited the stops we had planned and talked with him I could tell that he was changing, that he was warming up to the idea and process. On the walk back to his place to get the dinner Hermana Pucheta always prepares for us he bought a 2 liter bottle of some sort of juice that we enjoyed on the way back. It was cool to see him involved in missionary work, and to have the beginning of a desire to go out with us more. When Hermana Hemi and I got back to the pension she died inside. For those of you who do not already know, we have a lot of roaches in our apartment. Hermana Hemi was not ready. Unfortunately, I've grown a little immune, and crushed them left and right on my way to my desk. They are nasty. She was horrified. It was not good. However, she made platones, which were delicious! A lot like potato fries. 
Dragon I drew for Cristian
15th: In the morning after studies I got Hermana Arntsen back, and we went to have lunch with the Pucheta's. While there I gave Cristian the drawing of a dragon that he had asked for. Then after we had eaten and Hermana Pucheta was doing our nails I shared with him a lot of my favorite scriptures found in all of the standard works. Usually he doesn't seem interested in such things, but he kept asking me to show him another of my favorites. It was a really cool experience and a nice change. Later we visited with Hermana Nelly and helped her out with her English homework. I always find it entertaining, because it's British english, and they say things pretty strangely. No matter. We vanquished the homework and left with our litle chocolate milks, sipping triumphantly:)
16th: We had lunch with the Bishop and family and shared atonement scriptures with them:) Always lots of fun, although usually a little long as well. The fish we had was excellent:) Later that day we talked with Cristian, Zulma's brother. We had been hoping to find Marcos, the cousin of Zulma, but ended up talking with Cristian who had a little bit of free time. It was my first time teaching him, as usually I'm occupied with Zulma when he comes to the door. It was a really cool experience. I invited him to read the Book of Mormon with a question, and promised that if he did he would receive an answer. He had been telling us that he would get baptized, but that it would be in the future and that he needed to see how things went and learn more. I told him, very clearly, that the only way to know was to read and to ask. I have yet to know if he took my challenge, but I Know that it works. It has in my own life. I have always received an answer when I came with a question. It doesn't matter where in the Book of Mormon you read or ever how much you read. What matters is coming with an inspired question and Expecting to recieve revelation. It works. Every time.
Later, while with Guillermo he told us that I was the last missionary that he would be accompanying, as he feels caught in a never ending circle of befriending missionaries who then leave. I felt honored in a funny sort of way. He certainly has done a ton for us, and is always there when we need a member to accompany us or someone to walk us home to the pension at night. He does a lot and we're extremely grateful for him:)
17th: Hermana Arntsen and I played an interesting little game in the morning:) Namely, looking for all the different little flowers we could find. We found about 15 different types, all gorgeous and unique. It was fun and a good little bonding experience:) For lunch we went over to visit Hermana Nelly. After eating we helped her with some more English homework. As we finished up she started telling us that the day hadn't been very good for her. She started to cry, which really surprised me. Hermana Nelly is a tough, independent woman, and I had never seen her cry. But I understand exactly where she was coming from. Sometimes the build up of various things becomes too much and we just have to let it out. We were able to share a couple scriptures with her and help her feel a little better.
18th: I got to see Brenda! We hadn't seen in her in about 2 weeks and I was missing her like crazy! It was wonderful to catch up with her:) We also got to see Anita and talk with her which was wonderful. Ever since they've moved it's been hard to get ahold of them, but we managed to find her:) We also finally found Nicole, a less active member that we visited my first week here. We invited her to come to church before heading back to the Pension:)
Sunday Lunch with the Amazing Family Montiel

19th: Mother's day in Argentina:) During church I was able to give away a couple of my various drawings. One of them was a lion I had drawn for Guillermo. To be honest I don't think he liked it, but he appreciated that I'd put the time into it. After church we headed over to the Montiel's. Guillermo joined us for lunch there; it was hamburgers! Delicious. We also watched The Hope of God's Light, a mormon message, with them. Afterwards Mario Montiel shared a personal story about how he had been atheist until two sister missionaries had found him and taught him. He received all of the lessons in a week and was baptized. A couple years later he was on a mission. Such a cool experience. It also pricked his heart a little bit towards going to church. He hasn't been in a long time due to work, and we've been trying to get him to come. He has this sunday off, so we got him to pinkie promise with each of us that he would come this week. I really hope he does! 
(for those who may be a little confused like I was:  These are the members of the Pucheta family: Zulma (mom), Juan (dad), Brenda, Fatima, Cristian, and Carla. Hermana Montiel, who we have lunch with every Sunday, does our laundry. The family Pucheta are the ones that give us dinner every night. Zulma and Cristian gomez are siblings. Zulma Gomez is our convert. The flower creature was for Hermana Pucheta.--so there are 2 Zulma and 2 Cristians, no wonder I was confused!)  
(Muchas gracias siempre to Guillermo, la familia Montiel, y la familia Puchesta por todo su amor y ayuda a mi hija!!!)
It's been a busy but good week:) I love all of you and hope every one is doing well!
Much love,
Hermana Mallory Dickson

Monday, October 13, 2014

7th Week in Argentina :)

Bien Dia Todos! Mucho Amor and cosas para hablar sobre este Semana:) 
This week's email might be a little shorter, but hopefully spiritual and enjoyable to read as well:) It's getting warm over here, at least for today. The rain has been keeping the heat at bay, but we'll have to see.

 (Last night, Mallory and her companion were out working and they saw a family in their ward out cleaning the area in front of their house.  Mallory and her companion had the opportunity to help them at the spur of the moment and Guillermo was kind enough to send pictures of the fun service!)

 The Littlest Helper!

Guillermo helping us with service!

Sperry's since I spend a lot of the day walking.


The big event of this week occurred on the 10th. During the morning I made a personal decision. I decided that I was tired worrying about my own problems and struggles, tired of not speaking out on the street or during lessons. I was tired of being shy, of having things to say and then not saying them out of worry or fear. I decided that I was going to go out onto the streets that day with the intent of worrying about everyone but me. With the intent of talking to everyone we saw and inviting them to learn more. I was tired of being shy, so I decided I was going to be brave. With this mindset, we hit the pavement. My companion wasn't feeling very well, but I felt like I was on fire. I wanted to talk with everyone.
I stopped several times during our walks to various appointments to invite people to come to church and to share a little bit about Christ. I think my companion was taken back by the sudden change of personality. I was taken back myself. And during all of this I felt so Good. I felt like I was finally helping and pulling my weight as a missionary. I felt like a representative of Christ. We taught 6 lessons, more than even our goal, and found someone truly interested in learning more about the gospel. It was such a blessing. 
 That night we talked with Marcos, a relative of our convert Zulma, and gave him a book of Mormon. As always, the power of the spirit was present as I shared my testimony of the Book of Mormon and testified of its truthfulness. The key to our religion, to everything we hold dear, truly is the Book of Mormon. Through this book I have gained my own personal testimony of Christ. He has become a real person to me. The atonement of Christ isn't just a beautiful thought, but a powerful reality. I can also bear personal testimony that the Book of Mormon is the way to receive personal revelation and answers. This week we have really been focusing on the Book of Mormon and the power it has in the conversion process, whether for those not of the church or for those who have been members for their entire lives.
The next day we had an amazing lesson with Maria. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and the part that she had read, 3 Nephi 11. While talking to her she said, holding the book, that she believed it to be true, and that she valued it- What a testimony builder for me! We also shared about Joseph Smith and the first vision, in which I recited it in his own words. As always the spirit was strong and present, and I know she could feel it as well. We also visited with Tanya, the woman we'd found the day before, and once again talked about the Book of Mormon. We gave her a copy and once again I was blessed to bear testimony regarding it. There is POWER in this book. Read it. Study it. Never take it for granted. There is great power in this Book. 
All of the Hermanas (Sisters) in our mission!

Watching the conference together!)
 Having a great almuerzo (lunch)!

Getting to see my MTC companion: Hermana Johnson :)!
Today for Preparation day all of the Hermanas gathered together at the mission house to watch the Women' conference.( In the United States this was broadcast live the last Saturday of September.)  It was wonderful to see my Hermanas and to see President and Hermana Ayre. It always feels like home there. 
(Mission flashback: the day Mallory and her district arrived in Argentina!) 

I'm am so thankful to be out here on a mission. Already the time has flown, with this Thursday marking my 3rd month in the mission.
Much love for all!
Hermana Dickson:)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

6th Week In Buenos Aires

(Note: Cambios or transfers happen every 6 weeks in the mission field.  So every 6 weeks the preparation day is moved from Monday to Tuesday which is why Mallory is writing today instead of Monday.  They found out last night that they both would be staying in their current area for this transfer.  After this 6 week period, Mallory's current companion goes home to Arizona.)

Bien Dia all my loved ones! Lots to say as usual and lots of spiritual experiences to share:)

29th of Sep: We had a short Pday, as we were going to go to the temple on Friday:D We had lunch with the Pucheta's and had our nails done as usual. Hermana Pucheta did them black with silver stars. ¨The Noche¨;) We started working at about 2, right after lunch, and first went to visit with Milagros. We're trying to get her to come to church and to invite her husband, a non-member to come as well. No luck yet, but she does seem to be more interested in talking about the gospel every time we visit. While were were there a drunk guy came by to buy cerveza from Milagro's inhouse store of sorts and bought us a liter of coke... 
 The gift.

Which was kind, I suppose, but I don't drink coke, or soda for that matter.(This decision came about as Mallory ran Varsity Cross Country and swam on the Varsity Swim Team during her 4 years of high school and wanted to be as healthy as she could be. Water has become our family drink of choice.) Let me tell you, that personal decision has been tough to keep down here, where soda is as common as water, but I'm determined to stick to my personal standard and decision. After leaving her house we met up with Guillermo and visited Zulma, where I gave her another picture. I think she may be a little addicted to them;)
 The highlight of the night was the Noche de Hogar, or Family Home Evening, with the Pucheta family:) We all shared a favorite scripture and talked about them, eating 10 pizzas collectively afterwards. I actually felt full afterwards, which is a very rare occurence here;) Not because I don't get fed, but because we're walking everywhere, all day!

Yummy Pizza!

30th Sep: During my Personal Study I had planned on focusing mostly on finishing up my reading of the April General Conference to prepare for the one that would be Saturday and Sunday, but I started first with DyC 8, as Brenda had suggested the night before. I felt the spirit and received great direction and insight as I was reading and was from there directed by the spirit to read DyC 6. During this I felt prompted to go to my Patriarchical Blessing. I learned such amazing things and pulled things out of my blessing that I had never truly seen before. I recommend this study for anyone who needs answers or direction in their life right now. We didn't have lunch with a member and did our own cooking for the first time. I made pasta; Go figure;) We then went out to work.
Out in our area.

As we were out on the streets I started feeling really down on myself, on the things I was lacking and all the things I wanted to be, and now. At this time I remember thinking that I needed to think about someone else, anyone else, and their needs to get my mind off my own. This prayer was answered through Anita. We visited her and found her crying with her grandchild in her arms. Her and Dominigo were being kicked out of their home. They didn't know where they were going and they don't really have any money. She has very little in regards to worldly possessions. She doesn't have a lot of health; Dominigo even less. However, as she talked to us I saw such Strength in this tiny woman. Such power and faith in the Lord. She had nothing and was talking of how this was bringing her closer to God. In this moment I truly felt the love that Father had for his precious daughter. I felt the concern he felt for her. Such love for her. Such understanding of who she was and what she needed. She was a symbol of power to me, and my own petty concerns and self problems evaporated under such an influence. For dinner we had ice cream and pizza with Guillermo, which is always fun:)
1st Oct: More trametes, aka getting legal. There was 5 or so hours of waiting involved, but while there I got to talk and catch up with my CCM Hermanas (the hermanas I came out with). It was so nice to know that they were experiencing the same things that I was: hunger, homesickness, a frustration at not speaking more and not understanding everything yet, of wanting to do so much more and not having the ability to do so. I have a tendancy at times of wanting myself to be 100 percent proficent in things very quickly. Seeing that the others were going through the same things as me helped me calm down and be a little kinder on myself. It was a wonderful experience, and I'm well on my way to being legal in Argentina! 
We didn't get back to late, and after having lunch with the Pucheta's we went out. After we ate, Hermana Pucheta and I were looking at flowers. We saw one image where it was a flower creature. Hma. Pucheta really liked it and it made me want to create some kind of flower creature for her. I'll be sending a picture of it today (no worries mom;)
Flower creature that Mallory drew.

 It was extremely cold the rest of the day, and I could barely open my hands and flex my fingers. I was all too happy to visit the familia Rios and drink tranquera in a warm place with wonderful people.
2nd Oct: We had our Reunion de Zona today. During it we watched a piece of a talk by Holland, which was extremely powerful and talked of the atonement. My mood during the day wasn't the best, but when Brenda came out to accompany us around 6 she greatly raised my spirits. We didn't get back to the pension quite on time because we were waiting for a collectivo. I could have reacted in a negative way, but I instead decided to be happy, talking and laughing with Brenda and enjoying the extra time to talk with her and enjoy her company. 
Buenos Aires Temple
Hermana Arntsen and I

3rd Oct: Temple day! While inside I had such a powerful experience with the atonement and my understanding of it. I was praying when I felt this tangible power around me. It looked like white cream streaked through with silver, and I felt very strongly that the atonement of Christ, or the sacrifice of Christ for each and every one of us, was so much more than just having the ability to repent. It was the ability for us to change. For us to improve. It truly was the way of life, the power behind life. Think About That for a second. Ponder that. And I hope you'll feel the love and power that I felt. As we left the temple I felt such a sense of peace and happiness. However, as the day got later and we were out on the streets I felt a little sick to my stomach and a little bit of fear. I didn't know why, and I think our proseylting suffered a little because of it. We literally couldn't seem to find anyone in the four hours or so we had, and both of our spirits were low. I just kept reminding myself of General Conference that would be held the next day. This held me through, barely.

The angel Moroni

4th Oct: During my personal study I finished reading General Conference! What A blessing to be able to read through all of the one in April right before the current one! It really prepared me to receive answers. During General Conference I received an outpouring of answers and direction, and never has it gone by so fast! I was able to listen to it in English, although for the two talks that were in Spanish we went into the other room to hear the speaker talk in his native language. Such a cool experience! In between the two sessions I went on divisions with Hermana Henriquez. After the first session of conference I felt on top of the world, and I could feel it showing as we invited a boy to be baptized and he accepted with a date. We also talked with another woman in the door of her home and gave her a book of Mormon. 
The spirit was so strong, and I felt so happy and at peace. After the second session, which was equally powerful, we headed back to our area. It started raining, and as we walked out of the chapel to go catch the collectivo a streak of lightning lit up the sky. It was a potent reminder that God is so close, and that he can light up our lives, showing a path through the darkness that surrounds. This knowledge however, is just like the streak of lightning. God will show us the way, and then the bolt of light will vanish, leaving us to our faith in following the path of light that we saw through the darkness. God felt very close.
5th Oct: We visited Hermana Montiel before heading to conference. As usual it's always so wonderful to visit with her. The sessions of Conference were just as powerful, and I received just as much direction as I had the day before. Between the two sessions our stake had 9 baptisms! Think about that for just a moment. 9 people taking the first step into the path to eternal life. 9 lives forever changed. 9 souls brought to Christ
In the hour we had to proselyte a miracle occured. We only had an hour and didn't really have a plan for what we do with it. I asked Hermana Arnsten if we could drop off Hermana Pucheta's tupperware before going out to find people. She agreed, and we visited with the family for about 15 minutes before meeting up with Guillermo. I then felt prompted that we should visit Maria. We walked down to her house, and just as we stepped in front of the door it opened. Maria was standing there. We talked to her and she invited us in. We bore testimony and gave her a book of mormon. What timing on the Lord's part! All of the little things we had done, the amount of time spent waiting for the collectivo, the amount of time spent in the apartment before leaving, the amount of time spent at the Pucheta's, and the amount of time it took to find Guillermo and walk there, to get there just as the door was opening! What a testimony builder of God's Timing. It is truly Perfect. What little things have we been experiencing in our lives that will lead to truly great things in the future? It was truly miraculous. 
A street in our area

Yesterday we heard about Cambios. I am pleased to annouce that I'll be staying in my area and with my same companion.
I love all of you and pray for your welfare. I hope this weekly account of my week inspires you to want to do just a little bit more in your life to grow your relationship with the Savior. I hope it helps to build up your faith.

All my love,
Hermana Dickson