Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 25 in Argentina. 7 months in the mission!

Buenas Dias all! 
This week has been a little interesting, as I'm now leading the area of Caballito. It's been an adventure, taking all sorts of colectivos, or buses, that I don't really know. We've only gotten badly off track about five times, so its all good;P It's been a humbling experience, as everything seems to be in the mission, and my companion and I are working on getting to know this area together. 

At the despidida.  My companion, Hermana Olmeda,  who went home to El Salvador and my 
district leader, Elder Johnson

Let's go through the run through shall we?

10 of Feb: My first Pday with Hermana Weitl. Hermana Olmedo and I headed over to the offices early to find my new companion and to drop her off with the rest of the sisters that are going home, taking off the plaque, and stepping into the next phase of their lives. You would think with all of the companions I've had that are finishing the mission that saying goodbye wouldn't be too hard. You would be mistaken. It was hard to say goodbye to Hermana Olmedo. Along the way I came to realize that she was much more than simply my mission companion. She was a sister to me, a best friend and someone I could always turn to. I'm not a crier, but I think that's what everyone says before the mission. 
At the baptism last week!
last meal
After pulling myself away from her I headed back to Caballito with my new companion, Hermana Weitl, a sister with 11 months in the mission from Washington and California. As silly as this might sound to all of my English-speaking friends and family, I was afraid to speak English with her. After being with two latin companions I was pretty well programmed to only speak in Spanish. Upon arriving to the pension we took her stuff to the room before going in search of food. My comp thought she had spotted a Burger King, so, as two Americans might do in Argentina, we went in search of food. However, we didn't end up finding it... After eating in Gustavos, an Argentina joint, we went off in search of computers to write the family and friends. That was also an adventure, as the kiosk we usually went to was full. Eventually we were able to find computers and write! Once 6 rolled around and Pday officially ended we headed down to visit Macarena and Guillermina. Everything went well until Guillermina started crying. She had really connected with Hermana Olmedo, and was taking the separation badly. As she cried I did all I could to comfort her, ensuring her that everything would be ok and that Hermana Olmedo would be in touch. I didn't mention that I felt like joining her in her sadness. I was very happy to be working with Hermana Weitl, even if being apart from Hermana Olmedo was quite painful. I had seen the Hermana Weitl before and she had been extremely kind and loving around me in a time when I had needed all the support and love I could get. 

11 of Feb: Lunch with the Casteneda family:) After eating and talking with the family, who are always very supportive of mission work, we went off in search of Ariana, singing church hymns in Spanish as we went. We found the house just fine, but didn't end up finding the young 11 year old convert/less active. We then proceeded to walk forever. I wish I could say that was an exaggeration... but Hermana Weitl can testify that we walked more than anyone should. That's what happens when your companion leaves and you aren't familiar with the the 30 different buses... However, we managed to find our way down to visit Macarena and Guillermina at 6 before heading to our appointment with Hermana Machado and her husband. He's not a member, but had come to church with his wife the Sunday before. We had set up an appointment and were looking forward to getting to know Manuel and see if he had interest in joining the church. When we showed up the Hermana greeted us warmly, but informed us that her husband, Manuel, was helping a neighbor and wouldn't be able to make it. We were a little disappointed, but took the time to get to know her and her story. As we talked she shared with us a very beautiful dream she had had. She had found herself in a wonderful house. However, upon looking out the window she realized that her husband could not enter, but only look at her through the window. In other words, illustrating that her husband wouldn't be able to be with her forever if he didn't take the step to join the church and get sealed to her in the temple for time and all eternity. As she shared this dream I felt the spirit strongly, and had to fight to hold back tears. We testified that she could be with her husband forever, and that she didn`t need to settle for a window view. 

12 of Feb: We headed over to the Zone meeting in the morning before taking the bus to have lunch with Hermana Amador, the wife of our new Ward Mission Leader. We were able to sing a hymn for her and invite the spirit before heading out to work. We had planned on visiting with Gisela, but received a message letting us know that she wouldn't be able to see us. After that just about all of our other plans bailed on us. However, we continued on and headed back to the Amadors at 7 for our weekly meeting with our Mission leader. I was very impressed at the enthusiasm he has for the work and was able to feel the spirit during the meeting. 

13th of Feb: Usually when walking down the street in Argentina as an American in a skirt with an American companion, people calling out to us are usually bad news. Especially when their faces are half covered by hospital masks. However... sometimes they just happen to be members from a different ward who just got out of the hospital. I have a hard time telling. As my companion and I were on our way to lunch, a process that had already gotten a little sidetracked as we had to run and pay the rent, we were called out to by two people in masks. I don't know how all of you would react, but my companion and I started to walk faster. That is, until the man said he was a member of the church. I'm going to be honest, I didn't really believe him. But my companion seemed to, as we walked over and started talking to them.
 It turns out that he was a member, although his wife wasn't. They had just left the hospital. Apparently he was going through Tuberculosis and just wanted to hear a scripture and a couple words of encouragement. Feeling terrible for almost brushing him off, we sat down and talked to him about the atonement of Christ and how He has felt and experienced all of our griefs, sorrows, pains, and sicknesses. As we taught the two of them started to cry. It was a humbling experience, and taught me once more that I can't look on the outside and expect to know what is going on inside, the value within. Upon arriving at lunch we did English homework. I didn't understand why we do certain things in English until I came to Argentina and found myself teaching people in Spanish how to speak and write in English... What a strange world I live in right now. 
My new companion, Hermana Weitl and I

14 of Feb: We went running in the morning! I was so happy:D After studying we made lunch, french toast;) As we went out to work all of our planned appointments fell through once again, but we had enough backup plans to get through alright. We passed by to visit Bernarda, an elderly lady who we had stopped to visit with the day before. Her son was present as well, and we ended up teaching the two of them about the Restoration. We were able to bring the spirit, testify, and teach. I love teaching, and was thankful for the opportunity and privilege. After such we grabbed a couple colectivos to go to church, where the Ward council was being held. We were able to share with the leaders some of our ideas and learn more about what the Ward is planning and where it wants to go. All of the leaders are relatively new, and the ward is the process of getting back on its feet. 
I am in the heart of Argentina!

15 of Feb: As if I didn't love colectivos before... Lets just say that we got lost Badly.... But, made it to lunch, ate it ridiculously quickly, and got to church via taxi barely in time for the sacrament. How I loathe these buses! After church we had the chance to talk with the bishop. He truly is a great man and we have a very good relationship with him. He seems extremely willing to work with us and I'm looking forward to making progress with this ward:)

I love you all! If you've gotten this far in this long letter, good job! I'm proud of you;) 

Best news of the week:  Two of my sisters here in Argentina got their mission calls :)!

Also heard that Anita and Domingo from my last area are getting married!

And I have to share one of the goals I'm currently working on in the mission! I have set a goal to read the Book of Mormon 6 times in Spanish during my mission. I'm currently in Mosiah and started the first of this month. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon, and am growing to love it as much in Spanish as I already do in English! I challenge each and every one of you to set goals to read the Book of Mormon. If you haven't ever read it, Read it! If you've read it countless times, read it again. It will change your life.

Lots of love!
La Hermana Dickson 

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