This time I'm going to write this email a little bit differently. I'm going to do a review, of how I've changed, and how I've become far more, in just these last couple months and then I will cover the highlights from the week.
Alright, so I've been out for more than 3 months now. More than 100 days. And what have I learned? How have I changed? If you've been one of my faithful readers, who has taken the time to read through all these huge emails, you've seen it unfolding. But for those of you who haven't, let me open your eyes. So much of who I was before is so different. Down to the very things I desire, think, want, and am willing to work for. My understanding of who I am, and what I'm doing down here on earth, not just in Argentina, has expanded dramatically. I find myself speaking and understanding Castallano. Developing lifelong friendships with people that don't speak a lick of English. I find myself praying for everyone but myself, developing a deeper love for my family, a deeper appreciation for the blessed life I have already lived and the one that lies around the corner. These 18 months will fly by. 3 already have, and I'll never get them back. But I gave everything to them, and I will continue to give it all for the next 15. This work is True. It is of God, and I am on his errand.
This is not something that could Not change a person. And I wouldn't give it up for anything.
Highlights of the week:
The weather down here was getting hotter, although it dropped significantly with all the rain and wind we've had the past couple days. I'm back in long sleeves and jackets. Today it is pouring rain!
27th of October: After emailing, shopping, and cleaning--all things associated with your average P-day, my companion and I headed over to the capilla (chapel) in Chacabuco to play Signs with the zone, which instantly made me think of the first time I had learned with Hermana Emily Cisco at BYU. Amazing, fun times:)
After P-day ended at 6 we met up with Brenda Pucheta to visit Zulma, our recent convert, later visiting with Flavia, a menos activo, or less active. The most spiritual moment of the day, for me, was visiting the Family Home Evening of the Familia Pucheta. Hermana Pucheta was talking about temples, and how our homes need to be modeled after temples, a place to learn of Christ, and of how to make and keep covenants with the Lord. She explained that she and her husband had fought to have a family, and not only a family for this earth, but for the eternities. She said she and her husband had taught each of the kids the right things to do, and now they had to choose for themselves. They were part of the Pueblo Pucheta, and if they wanted something else, they knew where the door was. I could feel the strength of the family as she was sharing, and I wanted to have that kind of strength in my future family. The entire family are strong examples to me, and truly a home away from home. I love them to death.
28th of October: Little miracles were viewed throughout the day. As Hermana Arntsen and I were on our way to an appointment with Anita and Domingo, Zulma accompanying us for the first time as our member present, we were truly led to three people who wanted to hear the message we had to share. We were walking by when we hear, ¨Hey Elders!¨ Clearly this was the name of the young men who go on missions in the church, but we stopped all the same, because if they knew who the Elders were they knew about the church. We were introduced to a man named Luca and his cousin Augustine. Another man standing nearby, named Adrian, also seemed interested. As Zulma and my companion were talking with Luca and Augustine I asked Adrian, standing a little ways off, if he wanted to learn as well. He said sure, and I gave him a pamphlet on the Restoration, talking a little bit about prophets before setting up a return appointment. A perfect example of congregacion! Meanwhile my companion had set baptismal dates with Luca and Augustine. We continued walking to our next appointment in high spirits indeed! Being with Anita and Domingo was wonderful as usual. The coolest thing was seeing Zulma, who has only been a member for a month or two, sharing her testimony with investigators and bringing others nearer to Christ! It was amazing, and I truly began to see the circle of this work as God sees it. As a never-ending progress, with every soul at stake and every person a great power in the force of good and righteousness. In the army of God.
29th of October: The heavens were pouring on us all day. We struggled a little bit, as we couldn't seem to find anyone to accompany us. We did what we could however, trekking out in the rain, trying to find people to teach, trying to bring souls to Christ. Later in the evening we did have Carlos Roblego go out with us, and were able to talk with one of his vecinos, or neighbors, and invite her to learn more about the church and to come to church. Always inviting people to come unto the church, that's us! Due to the rain I had to wear one of my pairs of shoes that's rougher on my feet, and I was struggling by the end of the day. I just keep praying that they'll hold up, and I know I'm having heavenly assistance, as these flat, broken down feet don't have a lot of strength left, yet continue to hold up day after day. But that's what ice is for, right?:)
30th of October: We didn't have lunch with a member, so we discovered a wonderful joint in which the hamburgers are cheap, delicious, and large:) I wasn't complaining. As we ate, Hermana Arnsten and I were talking, and somehow it got to Contagiously Sucicidal Skunks. Don't ask, but we were dying of laughter. We later went out to proselyte with Jhon as our member, and therefore talked to everyone we saw, inviting them to come to church and to learn more. He has such a gift for fearlessly inviting everyone he sees. To him No One should be exempt from this glorious work. He has led us to his neighbors, his step-father, and homeless people living under blankets in the gutters of the streets. He sees this work as the Savior sees it: one by one, and all in all. He is such an example, and I hope to develop the spiritual vision he has.
Someone in America was really likes Argentina apparently
(as seen on facebook)
31st of October: Safely the strangest Halloween I've ever had, as they technically don't celebrate Halloween down here. In the morning Hermana Arnsten and I went running for the first time for our exercises. It felt so GOOD to be out, to have cool, fresh air on my face as I moved through the park. So many memories of Cross Country passed through my mind, and I felt so free, so at home. Later, after studies and planning for the week my comp and I made some delicious lunch, consisting of rice, hamburger meat, green onion, and potato pieces. I recommend.
The yummy lunch
Later in the day we stopped by the church to see the Familia Rios. Turns out we timed that well, as the Rios were In the capilla for the ward activity for Halloween. We walked with them back, and I offered to push the stroller for Hermana Rios so she wouldn't have to worry about it and watching her three small children. She let me take the wheel, and off we went. It turned out to be a beast of a stroller, with one wheel completely broken and dangling from a cord. So I sort of carried it to their house, riding on the right two wheels and holding up the left half with my strength. At one point the sidewalk was so cracked that I just picked the whole thing up and carried it across, which I think surprised Hermana Rios, who didn't know how strong I am;) It wasn't too heavy. I just wanted to get the thing into the house. Once there we got a snack before sharing a brief message with them. We were talking about gifts. To illustrate Hermano Rios took out some toothpicks and bent them to make a star. He then put a drop of water in the middle of the star, and we watched as the water pushed the wood out, filling out the star. He said that the water was like baptism, and that after this step we were in prime position for the Lord to help us develop our many talents and abilities.
1st of November: Blown away! Ha ha, not quite, but close. The wind was vicious, but we worked regardless. For some of the day we had Flavia to accompany us, which was an amazing experience, as it allowed her to share her testimony and for us to get to know her a little bit better, as she's quite quiet. Zulma also got to go to the temple for the first time! Later in the evening we met up with Luciano, a member, to go to Nelly's to teach her relative Alan about the Plan of Salvation. On the walk over Luciano commented on how my Spanish was really good, and how he had thought that I had been in the mission for far longer than solely 3 months. He also said I had more of a European accent than an American one. Cool:) We ended up teaching Hector as well, the catholic husband of Nelly. He reminds me a bit of Grandpa Bob, and I could feel his interest spike as we talked about the great Plan of Happiness, handcrafted by the Creator and Architect Himself. I don't know when he will make the choice to be baptized, but it's coming. Alan also seemed to be feeling the spirit, although he was cast a little in the shadows of the conversation, as Hector had a lot of questions and comments. I hope Alan can begin reading the Book of Mormon and praying, so that he can know, for Himself, that this is true. That it's going to change his life. That he'll never be the same. I know it, and I can't give him my knowledge of that. But he can find it. And God wants him to find it.
2nd of November: Fast sunday! We had lunch with the Montiel's as usual, and Guillermo joined us:) As usual I felt very at home with them, at their house. Lots of rain once more, and it was Juan Pucheta's birthday!