Monday, November 24, 2014

18 Months an Angel: Blazing on in Week 13!

Take a moment to grab something warm to drink and a comfy pillow, because we're digging in deep this week;)

 Picture of a horse I did for Hermana Arntsen before she left.

17th of Nov: In the morning we were once again off to San Fernando. Sitting in the train watching the trees and graffiti fly by I couldn't help but think of what a beautiful place Argentina is. And how short my time is here. It really encourages you to take advantage of every moment. We were heading to the Mission House for Hermana Arnsten to have her last entrevista with President. All of the missionaries that would be going home the following day were there as well, with their companions. Sitting amongst them I felt as though they were pulling me even faster towards the end. No thanks. In the beginning I wanted nothing more than to go home. Now I want nothing more than to stay here. Funny how that works, no? 
 How long have I been out?  My mom keeps track.

We were there for quite a while. The air conditioning was enjoyable, but I felt an itch to go out and work. To do Something. Eventually out we went:) After a delicious lunch with the familia Casriego,  Hermana Arnsten had her second farewell in the Capilla. Off we went to the Montiel's, to say goodbye. I kept thinking to myself how happy I was to be staying with these people I have grown to love and admire so much. I love Parque Patricios. I love this ward. They're always going to have a place in my heart, of that I'm certain. The night consisted of a lot of packing and a lack of sleep. Hermana Arnsten was leaving, and my new companion would be arriving in the morning. Hermana Pilliza. Latina. Was I ready to solely speak in Spanish? It didn't really matter, because here we were going! 
Farewell for Hermana Arnsten con la familia Montiel

18th of Nov: I was getting tired of traveling. This time it was the offices once more, to get Hermana Pilliza and leave Hermana Arnsten. It was going to be weird, but I was ready. Once there I met Hermana Pilliza, and the bishop took us back to our area via Taxi. At first I thought she was rather quiet and serious (apparently she thought the same of me, go figure;) However, as soon as we got to the apartment I knew we were going to get along. We emailed, visited the Pucheta's, and then I got my plantillas started por fin! Happy feet are in my future:) Guillermo accompanied us to visit with Zulma, where we ended up talking with Cristian and asking him to prayer about baptism and its importance. I realized quickly that Hermana Pilliza was very direct in her invitations, especially concerning baptism. What a blessing that has been this week. It has truly brought about miracles in our little corner of Argentina. Upon returning to the pension Hermana Pilliza invited me to sit down on her bed and watch the Joseph Smith movie with her. I was a little taken off guard, but did just that. We talked for quite a while, and I felt love and peace. I'm extremely grateful for my companion, for all the love she has for me, and for this work.

My new companion: Hermana Pilliza from Ecuador and Spain

19th of Nov: I had told Hermana Pilliza about the house were Milagros lives. As soon as she heard that lots of families lived inside she determined to go there. And so we did so. We literally talked to everyone. We didn't necessarily find, but we decided to come back later in the evening when people were home from work. While with Jhon down in the point we found Nico, son of Gladis. He was very receptive and accepted a baptismal date. His mother didn't want anything to do with us, and said matterafactly that Nico was Catholic, and that if if he said he would do something he wasn't going to comply. My eyes were drawn to Nico as she was saying such things. He looked deeply concentrated and was flipping through the pamplet we had given him. I don't care what his mother said. This is His salvation, and I have faith that he's going to make it, and that he's going to one day be in the temple, dressed all in white. That is my vision. He didn't say anything, just looked at the image of Christ before him. This spoke volumes to me, so much more than the things his mother was voicing. He was speaking to us, and to me it was very clear. Later we went back to Milagro's. And there we found another person ready and willing to listen. We set yet another date. More than I'd probably set in 12 weeks, in a single day. Because Hermana Pilliza has the vision. Something I have been working so hard to find. And with that vision she is truly blazing a path in our area, a path I will do anything to follow. I have much to learn, and she has much to teach me.

Being silly

20th of Nov: While trying to find Anita and Domingo we run into a woman who looked in need of help. I asked her if we could help. Now, we ask this multiple times a day. Never do we hear a yes. But this time it was clear that this woman needed help, and there was a yes. We helped her walk to her home in the Torres. she kept calling us her angels. It was simply doing what needed to be done.
21st of Nov: And welcome in the rain! Arm and arm, Hermana Pilliza and I headed off to lunch with the Salinardi's:) Hermana Salinardi accompanied us afterwards. We all tried to fit under my paragua, or umbrella. After trying to find a couple different people we headed to the church, where Jhon was going to meet up with us. I had the opportunity to play a girl's cello. Oh it felt heavenly to have that gorgeous instrument in my hands once more, even if it was only for a minute or so. We looked for people with Jhon down in the point, and didn't really find anyone ready to hear the gospel. We were cold and wet, so we stopped by his house to warm up for a little while before going back out. We were drinking herbal tea when Hermana Pilliza asked a question. I thought it was hilarious, and couldn't help but laugh. She started laughing as well. I think Jhon was a little confused as to what was so funny. I couldn't explain it, as I wasn't quite sure what was so funny. It felt so good to just laugh:) We started home at 8:30. However, Jhon lives quite far from our pension, and we therefore found ourselves at 9 with 20 blocks to go. Not one to be later than she needs to be, Hermana Pilliza took off running. We ran the 20 blocks home in 14 minutes or less. Talk about an adventure. I remember thinking, ¨She's crazy and I love it!¨ She's a lot of fun;)
22nd of Nov: Man, I don't know where to start with this jampacked day. I'm going to cover the big events. First, Soledad. She's a daughter of Hermana Lopez. After lunch we shared a scripture, and then asked the family who they knew who needed the gospel. She jokingly mentioned her daughter, who's not a member. We took her up on the offer, and talked with Soledad. She had talked with the missionaries before, but in the past they had only been interested in a quick baptism. When Soledad said she wanted to take the time to figure it out for herself and make the changes necessary to be a strong member of the church they were lose interest and stop visiting her. We're not going to do that, and have plans to see her today. Facundo, one of Hermana Lopez's sons, came to accompany us afterwards. We ended up in the Capilla. I helped Marcos, a relative of Zulma, with his English. We then had a Pepa competition to see who could eat three of the little cookies the fastest. Facundo and I tied... and when we did it again I won. Not sure how I should feel about that... but there you go! We then read in Joseph Smith History with Marcos about Joseph Smith's experience. I could feel the spirit in the prophet's words, and I hope he did as well. After saying goodbye to Marcos and Zulma AnnaMelina and Trinidad showed up to accompany us. We now had three members and were waiting for Alan to show up, our investigator! He showed up about 10 minutes later with Luciano, rolling our number of members present to 4, the largest amount I've ever had in one lesson! Hermana Pilliza and I took turns teaching about the gospel of Christ, lesson 3. We then got to the subject of baptism. One of the girls invited him to be baptized, and the other said we were planning a baptismal service for the 29th of November with a confirmation on the 30th. We then took turns sharing our personal experiences regarding our baptisms. The spirit was very strong and it was clear that each person had a strong testimony of the importance of baptism. However, when we asked Alan how he felt he said he still didn't understand why baptism was an important or necessary step. Hermana Pilliza invited Luciano to offer a prayer and then to have Alan offer one, asking about baptism and the proposed date. We all got on our knees as Luciano offered up a powerful and humble prayer. The spirit was strong, and I remember praying like I've never prayed before for Alan. Over and over again I pleaded with Father to help Alan, to soften his heart and help him to understand. I realized in that moment that I would do anything to help him get baptized. As I was on my knees I saw Alan in all white in the temple. He can be there. And I'm going to do everything in my power to get him there. Near the end of the lesson I felt strongly that I needed to share a very personal experience with him. My natural man didn't necessarily want to. It was personal and I'd never shared it with anyone before. But I knew quite clearly that it was time to share, and that Alan needed to know MY personal experience. So I shared it. As I started to share the tears started coming. I let them fall. I was going to tell this story, share this experience. I told him about my struggles to obtain the missionary vision. How I had felt like a bad missionary because I didn't understand why baptism was so important. It made me think of a comment Soledad had made earlier in the day. ¨You would think that you guys get some kind of reward for the number of baptisms you have in the mission.¨That was how I felt as well, and I WAS a missionary. I prayed nights to try to figure out why it was so important. And finally I realized, while in the temple, although I didn't see that as my answer in the beginning. Only while searching later did I realize that I had received the answer before. And it's because of the atonement of Christ. We CANNOT access this power without baptism. It's that simple. That black and white. And as I shared I felt the spirit like a wave crash around me. So much power, so much love from Father. It filled my hearts and everyone around me. After sharing I felt completely drained, like all of my energy had been poured into this moment. There was no way he could have missed that overpowering rush of the spirit. Now I know why baptism is important. I am still learning, this is true, but I'm well on my way to finding this vision. And I know with all of my soul that Alan can find this vision as well. He truly Can be ready the 29th of November. And Father will help us, will help him. Of this I have great faith.
23rd of Nov: A day of miracles. In all of my days in the mission thus far we had never had luck in bringing investigators to church. They had always fallen through, and we had walked to church alone. But not this day. We had four people at church. We were seeing miracles. Living miracles. This mission is all about miracles! I can't explain my thoughts or my feelings. I can only marvel at the power of God. I can only marvel at this work. I can only marvel at what God is helping me to become.
Sunday before Dinner at the Montiel's with Rosana y mi companera

I'm not the same as I was before. And I'm not ever going back.

Hermana Dickson.

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