Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 3 in San Fernando

"You are having much more influence than it may feel like sometimes."

This comment shared with me this last week sums up this last week of missionary service. I feel that oftentimes we do not see the influence, the light that we are casting on those around us. It's hard to see a light that's within us, but very easy for those around us to see, to feel. This week consisted of overcoming sickness, district meetings, avoiding fish, working on the mission history, going to the doctor, interviews with President, avoiding facturas (the Argentine equivalent of a donut), going to the doctor again, Fasting for the Cordoba temple, receiving a blessing of health, and sneaking a little bit of fish (cerviche, a Peruvian dish consisting of raw fish).

So let's get to it!
There is art everywhere in Argentina!

 On April 6th my companion and I enjoyed a very relaxing Pday. We ordered a pizza, drew, and told stories, and went window shopping in search of Aladdin pants. However, as 5 o'clock drew near I started feeling sick and asked my companion if we could run back to the house. As it turned 6, I was laying in bed calling the nurse and Hermana Ayre. With their help I got an appointment scheduled with Hermana Ayre's children's doctor. We couldn't go out and work the usual 3 hours that we work on Monday, as I felt too sick to leave.

On the 7th we had a District meeting, the first we've actually had this transfer. We talked all about the Book of Mormon, of its power and the influence it has in the conversion process. It made me think of the powerful Book of Mormon experiences I'd had in the MTC. It turns out that Elder Roberts is not only my zone leader, but in my district as well! (the brother of my MTC teacher Hermano Roberts) It was a very spiritual experience. 

On the 8th we were given fish for lunch. I can't eat lunch due to my face treatment, but thankfully it was a vianda, meaning a meal we take home to eat in the house.  We also had the opportunity to help Hermana Lines with the mission history, finally! From there off we went to the doctor in Olivos, about 40 minutes away in train. On our walk over we saw a beautiful old church covered in ivy. "Majestic!" As Hermana Yancey would say;) When we got there the doctor, who actually speaks English, Spanish, and German, helped me out and gave me a diet as to what I could and couldn't eat. Turns out I wasn't allowed to eat anything sweet... talk about a nightmare! 

Pictures of my last day in Caballito

On the 9th we had interviews with President, as well as visiting with his wife and talking to the assistants: Elder Stout, Fabila, and Periera. We talked with Elder Stout first. He talked about us as beacons of light, lighting up our area. How every member was a working light bulb, casting light around them. The less active members were unlit light bulbs that we had to try to turn on, with some of the them casting a brilliant array of light. He told us how we needed to strengthen the members, to turn them from simple light bulbs to lighthouses of light and strength. It was an amazing mental image, to see the light absolutely flooding our area. We then talked with Elder Fabila, who talked to us about the definition of escogidos, or the elect. As he did so he told my companion and I that we had been specifically chosen by the Lord to come to this area at this time and to work with these people. As he shared such the spirit hit me hard and I started to cry. I apologized for doing so, to which he quickly responded that he cried all the time in the mission as well. From there I talked with President. I always cry with President, so that wasn't a surprise. He told me I was doing a great job and that he was very pleased with me, which meant a lot. From there I spoke with  Hermana Ayre, our "mission mom", who got to hear all about my interesting state of health. And then Elder Periera, who talked about improving our teaching skills. It was a very wonderful experience, even though I kept on being offered facturas I couldn't eat... Talk about tribulation! Good thing I'm good at resisting temptation... 
We also found Isabela while trying to visit some old investigators. She received us very well and we set up a return appointment. 

On the 10th we went to do my face treatment, for the last time! Yay! 

On the 11th we began our 24 hour fast after lunch with the Rejas, a wonderful family:) We were asked to fast for the dedication of the Cordoba temple, that is coming right up! 

The Argentina Cordoba Temple

On the 12th we headed off to church. The night before I had had a dream about Maria, that she had wanted to go to church. I found that interesting, as we had seen her the day before and she had told us that she wouldn't be going to church the next day. Something seemed to be going wrong, but we didn't know how to help her. After the dream I felt prompted to go see if she wanted to go to church after all. She lives far away from the church, so we would be spending a good 20 minutes walking there, and back, without any way of knowing if she would be there or would even talk to us. However, the prompting was strong, and I followed it. I'm sure Hermana Yancey thought I was a little crazy, but she went with me. We got to her house at about 8:30 and rang the doorbell a few times. Someone finally came to the door, but it was Maria's dad, who said that she was sleeping and that we could come back the next day at 6. As we took the train back in order to make it to church on time I couldn't help but feel a little confused and frustrated. Why had I received a prompting that hadn't resulted in anything that I could see? 

The chapel in San Fernando


At church I still wasn't feeling good, as had been the story of the week. I had called Elder Fabila on Friday night to ask him if he and his companions could give me a blessing. He'd offered to give it immediately, but I assured him we'd be just fine to wait until Sunday. I apologized for taking up his time, but he very quickly let me know that I was Not taking up their time, and that they wanted to serve us and help us in any way possible. After the different church meetings, I was given the blessing. Elder Fabila offered it. All I'll share is that the spirit was very strong, and I know without a doubt that these 3 elders, the assistants to the president, were called by God. That God was truly speaking to me personally through the blessing. That the power of the priesthood is very real, and extremely powerful.
That night when we went to visit Oscar, a recent convert, he gave us a little bit of cerviche, a Peruvian fish dish that I actually like quite a bit. I got to steal a bite of it, and man was it good! Hermana Yancey had the honors of trying it for the first time. However, this was unlike any Cerviche I'VE ever seen, as it consisted of tentacles as well! The brave girl ate them all, what a trooper!  

Things are finally cooling down in San Fernando, although in an interesting way. It's hot for most of the day, especially in the sun, and then as the sun leaves it gets really cold. The wind is cold and the shade as well, so we don't have any idea what to wear! 
This week I felt as though we did everything we could to have people at church, and that regardless we had "failed" in some way, by not having investigators in church. And yet, it's about More than that. It's about our influence. The little things we do every day just to do Good. I know that this work is of God. I have no doubt. I am working among some of the greatest the world has to offer! As I have heard many times and can easily testify, I am in the best mission there is in the world;) 

I love all of you and am praying for you. Remember, follow the promptings. Even if they don't make sense. Because God still speaks to us in these days. He has not ceased to be a God of miracles, and if we do not see the miracles, it is because of our lack of faith, not His lack of power.
Hermana Dickson

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