Wednesday, November 25, 2015
So to start off these computers are meant for Spanish so everything I write, the computer says is wrong even if it’s spelled right. I’m trying to write as fast as possible so I don’t worry about punctuation or spelling that much lol. I'm actually glad you correct my letters because I only have an hour to read all my emails, respond, and write to the president. No time for corrections.
I've been drinking a lot more water in my apartment now, and we pretty much only get juice or soda in members or investigators homes, but I haven’t had any problems with the water yet. I have an old juice cartoon that I just fill with water and I drink from that throughout the day. Stop worrying Mom!
Our teaching pool is good. I think we are about half and half with investigators and less active members. We had three going to be baptized this week but two are a little unsure as of right now, but we are working with them to get them ready. Our day is pretty much just like every other missionary except that after lunch our mission president says that’s when we should have comp study because in Argentina they have siestas where everything is closed and no one is on the roads.
Yes, laundry it's done in this bucket type thing. You fill it with water, put detergent and your clothes in it and then it just slowly rotates back and forth. We just let it sit for awhile then we rinse them off in the shower and let them dry. It’s not too bad!
The homesickness has been better this week. It doesn’t come very often anymore and when it or if it does its not very strong, It’s definitely improving!
This week I had some pretty interesting stories. We were teaching a lesson and my comp asked me to talk and share a scripture about caridad (charity) but I herd castidad (chastity) so I started to talk about chastity. And from there on out our lesson plan was changed. After we left my comp told me what I did, and I just started to laugh - that’s pretty funny!! Also during comp study we were role-playing about asking good questions. I started off just asking basic questions about his life. (He was playing the role of a 16 year old in high school) so I asked how is your third year of high school going. But the word for third and the word for booty are very similar. So I asked how is your booty in school doing. That was also pretty funny! But now I know the word for booty lol.
On Tuesday I went on my first split. I was with the district leader Elder Sandberg. We had an appointment but it fell through so we started to contact people. We contacted this one guy from Texas who SPOKE ENGLISH!! I was so excided to speak English that I didn’t really let my comp say anything. (He was from Utah so he spoke English too) I talked the whole time and I thought it actually went really well. After I was super happy because I was able to communicate and have a conversation with someone. My comp then told me that was actually really good. You crushed that contact. I don’t remember what I said because the Spirit was directing me what to say. After that it really motivated me to work harder on Spanish so I can do that with everyone I talk to. I have so much I want to say, I know that what I have to say can truly bless their lives, but I have trouble converting it into Spanish. I’m working on it. Members are saying my Spanish is improving, but I just wish it would go faster!
We had an opportunity to do some service this week. We had to cut down this tree in one of our investigators yards. When we got there she had an axe, hatchet, and two machetes. But the head of the axe was held on by a hope and a prayer so we decided it would be best not to use it. The hatchet was duller than the smooth side of a spoon so that was no good. We were left with the two machetes and I’m pretty sure one was just and old cooking knife. The tree we had to cut down had about 16-inch diameter trunk. Cutting that thing with machetes got old real fast, but we did it. Now I can say I cut a tree down with a machete!
Not much else happened this week, but I’m starting to see the Lord’s hand throughout my day. During lessons when its my turn to talk I kind of don’t really know what’s going on because everyone talks so fast but I know the topic so I just bare testimony of what we are teaching. I don’t really know what to say at first, but then the Spirit comes and helps me. I can feel the Spirit helping me with what to say and also with my Spanish. And I can tell from their faces that they feel the Spirit too. Pres. Monson said that there is a universal language that everyone can speak and that is the language of the Spirit. As long as we have the Spirit anything is possible. I can testify to that. It has helped me so many times since I’ve been here.
I love you guys so much! I'm so glad to know that everything is going good back home! Kiss the puppies for me!! Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll talk to you soon!
Some pics of my area
You can see the city from my area - looks legit!
Monday, November 16, 2015
So I’ll start by answering some questions. We can print our letters. We just copy and paste them to a word doc. and the guy comes and puts it on a hard drive and we print away.
I'm getting along great with my comp. I still don’t know that much about him because I don’t speak Spanish but we are getting along. Spanish is a little difficult to say the least! There are sometimes when I feel I can understand stuff and then other times when I know nothing. I'm working on it!!!
Right now we have a pretty good teaching pool, I think. This is my first area so I don’t know if its good or not to be honest. We have some good investigators with a baptismal date for the 28 of Nov. The ward is bigger than I thought it would be. Everyone is super nice. We always have a member come with us to our lessons because 2 of our investigators are girls. We either have Alvaro who is 14 or Carlos who is 21; he’s not a young man but he’s really cool and working on his mission papers.
I've mostly just been reading the BOM for my studies. I don’t really know our investigators that well so I don’t know what to study to help them. But I'm working on that. I noticed that during personal study and comp study that is when I feel most homesick because we are just in our apartment but once we get out and work then it goes away. This week has been a lot better in the homesickness category. It wasn’t as strong as the first week. Its still comes, but I'm finding new ways to handle it. I know that if I could just speak Spanish better than I could communicate better and get to know people better and form better relationships. Yeah – better, better, better! I think that’s why the MTC was so fun and went by so fast - I could communicate with everyone!
People don’t really drink water here. You have to ask for it specifically, and sometimes its some sketchy looking water. I have definitely said some prayers while drinking the water. But we have a filter in our apartment so ill try to drink more there. My stomach I think is fine now. I just needed some time to adjust.
And about dad’s costumer, I can’t think of anything right now that I need. I know there have been some thing’s I've thought about - I can’t remember now, but I trust your guy’s judgment. (Shelly here…. Tony has a customer who is from Argentina and they plan to visit family in Buenos Aires during the holidays. We’re checking to see if they can take a package down to there and mail it to Andrew for us.)
Katie that’s awesome that you are getting your P. blessing!! If I have any advise for you it is to read it a lot! It will help you with hard times and it will motivate you to work hard and stay worthy to receive those blessings that will be promised to you. I want to hear all about it!
So now I’ll tell you about my week. I’ll start with the small stuff. Like I realized that the apple juice is super good here. Idk what it is but its crazy good! The food is really good to. Even though it’s prepared in some pretty scary kitchens its good! They have the things called facturas, it’s kind of like sweet bread, YUMMMMM. I tried one with dulce de leche and powdered sugar all over it. It was Stupid Good! Mom you should look up the recipes and make ‘em.
I saw Shannon this week at the conference with Elder Cook. I didn’t say hi, but I asked my comp if he knew her. And he said he did. So I said that she is my brother’s ex-girlfriend and he freaked out. Apparently she has talked a significant amount about an ex boyfriend from California. I thought that was pretty funny and interesting…… hmmmmmm!
Oh I forgot to say. On the first day I got here. I forgot about the power difference so I just plugged my clock into the wall with just a normal adaptor and it fried my clock. That was a bummer, but I’m so glad it was my clock and not my shaver or camera battery. That would be way bad!
Now for the highlight of the week, month, year, maybe mission……….. Elder Cook!!! We had to wake up at 5 on Saturday in order to get to the building on time – not complaining… it was well worth the sacrifice!! Once we got there we took a pic with the mission and Elder Cook. I hope they send it to you guys and if so send it to me! There were 2 members of the 70 with him as well. I can’t remember there names and they both spoke in Spanish so I didn’t get much out of their talks. Then Elder Cook spoke, in English and it was awesome! I sware he was speaking directly to me! Then he bore his testimony and he said, “As an apostle I have many spiritual experiences many of which are extremely scared to me, but I will tell you this……… I know the Savior’s voice and I know the Savior’s face.” When he said that the spirit was so strong and I felt it testifying to me that what he was saying was true. I will NEVER FORGET IT and neither will anyone else who was at that conference!!!! CRAZY POWERFUL!!! HE LIVES!!!! On Sunday he came and spoke to our stake. It was another GREAT talk and when the meeting was over he walked down the middle of the aisle and shook hands with the members. My comp and I were sitting on aisle seats. Once he got to us he looked us both in the eyes and he said, “Elders, thank you so much for doing what you’re doing.” Then he shook our hands. It was awesome!! That is something you just don’t forget! I really felt that my sacrifice of leaving my family and struggling to communicate was validated and Elder Cook appreciated it all, everything! And I shook hands with someone who has seen the Savior! We are so blessed to have a prophet and apostles on the earth today! All this definitely made it into the journal!!! I took lots of notes of his talks, but my time is running out. Hopefully I’ll have time next week to touch on more.
Nothing much else really happened this week. Oh I did get my first door slammed in my face!!! That was pretty exciting. I wasn’t mad or upset, actually I was kind of excited because it was my first one! But I can kind of see how that would get old after awhile.
Did you guys get the packages that I sent from the MTC? You should be getting two of them. Oh and can you guys go on my Insta and maybe post a pic and change the bio to something like serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of... in Argentina or something like that. Maybe I can do some missionary work there with the English speaking folk since I’m not hitting it home yet with the Spanish speakers! That’s all I got. I love you guys so much! Keep up the Great work!! Give my puppies some extra lovin for me! Ill talk to you guys soon!
Me and Elder Lemus
Apartment tour..... self explanatory
It's sugar - I'm sure that's why it better!
Don't see this in Upland
Monday, November 9, 2015
So I only have an hour to write so I’m trying to write as fast as possible. I’ll start from the beginning. The flight to Argentina was good. It didn’t seem terribly long at all. They gave us food and drinks and even a blanket and a sleeping mask on the plane. I didn't sleep much though, I don't know why I guess I just wasn’t that tired. I mostly talked to the missionaries around me. There were also TVs and the back of everyone’s seat so you could choose to watch a movie. I watched Mulan. I don’t know if that bad or not but I figured its just Mulan. Once we got to Argentina we were met by some people, Idk who they were, but they took our luggage and piled us into vans. They took us to an airport about 40 minutes away. When we got there, that is when we separated. It wasn’t too bad saying goodbye to the others because there was so much going on and it happened so fast. No 22-hour bus ride, we took a plane to Salta! I was not sad!!
The mission pres was at the airport with the APs. We got on a bus and went to the mission home. We talked with the APs while the mission pres gave interviews. He seems like a cool guy, I don’t really know a lot about him. He doesn’t talk that much, but he is very big on following the rules. So there you have it - I wasn't planning on breaking any anyway! My comp Elder Lemus is from El Salvador and does not speak any English. So that makes things interesting, but he’s really good meaning he follows the rules, he’s really nice, and he really wants to work hard. I like that and I know you like that to Mom! He is actually going to Stanford after his mission so I got a smart one! We seem to get along good. I just wish I could speak more and understand more. It’s true I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! I felt pretty confident leaving the MTC, but I was wrong. Its like they speak a completely different language at lightening speed. I feel like that one elder from the Best Two Years movie, I just need thick glasses and know how to play Chess. My comp said they speak way faster here in Argentina than in El Salvador, when he got here he had trouble understanding the people here to (that’s coming from a fluent speaker with a Stanford acceptance). Oh and he has been out for 11 months.
Our area is interesting to say the least. There are a couple of paved roads, but the rest are dirt, I’ll send you a pic. The houses are humble. They look like they were made in 5 minutes with some bricks and cement. Most houses are missing a wall and parts or all of the roof. They maybe have one or two lights for the whole house. We live in an apartment and it isn’t that bad. We have hot water which is REALLY nice. Its nothing spectaclular but I LIKE IT. Its kind of small but it will do lol.
Oh I forgot to say our area is in Salta, but we are on the outside of the city, that’s why it is so poor. The people here are super nice and humble. They will always let you walk in the door first before them. It throws me off sometimes because they will just stand there until you walk in first. So there have been many times when I am just standing there waiting for them to go in, but they wont until I do.
Since I can’t understand anything and I can’t say much I’m mostly pretty quiet during lessons and while walking. It doesn’t help with the homesickness because all I think about is home. So it does make things a little hard. Also everything is so different from America, so that also directs my thoughts to home. I'm fine though, I'm doing better, and I can only improve from here. You guys were right, it does hit you like a ton of bricks. I recognize it for what it is, I’m taking everything in stride, and I know this will pass shortly and I’ll be accustomed to the Argentinian way of life real soon.
My body isn’t quite used to the food yet, that was made clear yesterday. I’ll save you the details but I’ll just say I went to the bathroom a few times. That gave me the opportunity to become more familiar with the toilet situation here. The toilets have no flushing power whatsoever so you can’t flush toilet paper. Instead they have another toilet that washes your butt for you with water. I know the name of if but I don’t know how to spell it. (Shelly here…. Lol – bidet). They are actually pretty nice! Out of all the things I’ve heard about Argentina, no one said anything about the butt washer! Besides my body needing to get used to the food, the food here is pretty good. I can’t remember the names of anything I ate but its all really good. As soon as it stops going through me I know I'm gonna gain weight - finally!!
Since the water isn’t good to drink they only drink soda. You can defiantly tell from their teeth that soda isn’t healthy. It has definitely motivated me to brush more and longer and always wear my retainer. It’s not unusual to see someone buying multiple carts full of soda. You can’t just buy cans of soda here, they only have 3 liter bottles. These suckers are huge. And they buy as much as they possibly can. I’ve always taken clean water right out of the tap for granted at home – not anymore!!!
My time is out, I didn't even talk about the work or the ward. OK I'll get better at this and prioritize my emails accordingly.I'm so glad to hear that everything is going great back at home. Katie, keep up the good work and yeah I think you're definitely ready for your patriarchal blessing. Mom and dad keep doing what you’re doing by being the world’s best parents. I love you all so much; I can’t wait to hear from you again. Kiss and give my puppies some extra love for me.
I’ll talk to you soon.
P.S. - I forgot to mention that Elder Cook and a member of the 70 are coming to our stake for conference and they're going to meet with all the missionaries in our mission. So that’s pretty cool!!
P.P.S – I’ll take more pics this week. Sorry!