Monday, August 26, 2013

Argentina: Week 6

I don’t particularly want to write an email today so it is going to suffice me to say that the family that came to church last week came again yesterday, but more importantly they have a wedding date! 20 Sept they will be married and the 21 sept she will be baptized! I even got their signatures saying they were going to be married on the 20th of sept and I´m pretty excited about it. I love you all familia!

Hermana Allen

Argentina: Week 5

So when I got on my email today I had some emails and as I read them I am impressed to tell everyone that they need to stop. Stop for one second thinking about all the things that arent working out, all the things that are expected and needed from you, and instead think about the goodness of God. How much you love your family and especially how much they love you. It is so easy to be overwhelmed by expectations and by the things of the world, but something I have been blessed with is to have the time to serve the Lord and remember what really is important. I also have been blessed to be able to share with everyone what I learned! I´m pretty excited about it too because I have never received so much revelation while reading 1 Nephi, but it is awesome and Nephi is so faithful! This morning I was reading 1 Nephi 16 and 17 which is pretty much all about faith, pride, and doing the will of the Lord. One of the things that I loved especially was about complaining against Heavenly Father because the wording in verse 22 says "because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God". When I ready that I realized the wording was telling us how horrible it is to complain against God. When we complain about the things that arent happening we are being so prideful in the fact that we think we shouldnt have trials or that we deserve more than the Lord has already blessed us with. Pride is the original sin and all of us are in grave danger of that sin. If you have pride, you lack humility, if you lack humility you think you can do things on your own to which leads the thought that God doesnt do much = lack of FAITH. When we have pride, we lack faith. I know that everything is coming at you from every side, but I have been able to see in many people´s lives that it only gets hard when you stop putting spiritual things first. Make time for scripture study and prayer. Even if it is the shortest prayer and one verse of scripture, make time! It will bless your life and the harmony in your home.

This past week has been amazing. What has been so special is that we have had many many lessons directed by the spirit that were amazingly powerful. Eventhough my spanish was failing me, I was able to help them understand that these things are from God. It was a humbling experience because I realized I hadnt been thanking Heavenly Father for helping me speak and understand spanish. I was relying on my own strength, but He can still use me in my weakness. He can especially use me in my weakness. Dont get me wrong, there were really hard parts of this week that I will not talk about, but we have to have bad times and trials in order to have the good times and feel the ultimate joy of the gospel. Anyway, these are many of the things that I have learned this week. Now moving on to investigators!

WE HAD AN INVESTIGATOR AT CHURCH!! If all of our investigators and less actives that had awesome spiritual lessons came to church, then we would have had a total of eight, but we atleast had one family and it was awesome!!!! This family has a pretty sad story at the moment but we are hoping to change that and they took the first step by coming to church! The guy is the son of the Relief Society President and Ward Mission Leader. He has been through some crap that I dont know all about and is living at home with his parents and his own little family. He isnt married yet, but has a three year old with her. She loves the church and has been an investigator for almost a year. She cant get baptized until they get married, but she still hadnt been to church. (THAT ALL CHANGED YESTERDAY WOO) We had a lesson with them on Saturday that was really really harsh but the spirit was SUPER strong and they knew that it was pretty much "we cant teach you anymore because you arent going anywhere if you dont start coming to church." AND THEY CAME!!!! AHHH so excited. I was the one who taught gospel principles and it was about tithing. That was also super strong and awesome. I´m pretty excited about it. Mabel however didnt come to church, BUT we are teaching her whole family tomorrow night and we will see how that goes. I found out that she is a twin and a gold mine for new investigators. While we were teaching the plan of Salvation, 6 different people heard atleast part of the lesson. Three of them are adults that all are from the same Evangelico group but NO ME IMPORTA!!!!

Last thing that I want to share is something else that I found in my journal that I learned this past week. This is my journal entry:
"As I was thinking about the concept of God loving me even though I´m nothing I compared it to a book, which seems to help me clearly see how this is possible. Books in reality are nothing more than a compilation of words. Some books are long, some short, but in reality they are nothing. They could have very little significance if someone didnt know how to read, but the thing is, we still all have favorite books. Books we love because they have impactedus in profound ways. Heavenly Father sees that we are nothing in reality, but we are special books to Him, who can impact peoples lives. Our books are written experiences of one heartbreak or another and the moments of joy we experience. These experiences have the power to influence other people and change their lives for better or even for worse. Heavenly Father sees this potential of what kind of book we could be and as long as we allow Him to be the author, we can be used for immense good."

Hermana Allen

Argentina: Week 4

This week! Well if I had written a few days ago I would have been more excited to tell you about what happened but because no one came to church besides 1 person who is not an investigator (I will explain in a second) I´m a little upset. We found three families last week, two of which were more promising than the other about coming to church, but we were still excited to teach them and see them grow. First, the guy who came to church is the boyfriend of one of the members. I would be more excited about him coming if he wasn't an 18 year old dating a 13 year old. Correction: she is 14 as of Sunday, but it doesn't really redeem anything in my eyes because I would band all of my sisters together to scare off any creeper that old who tried to date my 13 year old sister. The entire time I just thought of Ashtyn, and while I realize 4 or 5 years is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, it feels like a big deal when they aren't over 18 with that significant of a difference. Anyway, moving on to less disturbing news: one of the families we found was actually a contact. We taught her last Tuesday with her boyfriend (we thought they were married but no :C ). She turned out to be a less active member who was baptized when she was 13, fell away, and is now excited and ready for her family to come to church. She has a 16 year old, 14 year old, 8 year old, and a 1 year. She is 31 and has been with her boyfriend for 11 years. He is also super prepared and doesn't particularly realize it yet. He had a dream that he was baptized by immersion just like Christ and we were like YEAH! We haven't taught her 16 year old because he is always in a rush and it is actually kind of awkward because we haven't had the chance to tell him that he cant kiss us on the cheek like custom because he just kind of abruptly goes through the room to leave and does it. We haven't met her 14 year old, but her eight year old was with us in our lesson yesterday.

Natalia dropped us last week. I´m not sure how to be more tactful than that because it still hurts to talk about. She is having legal issues with the father of her kids and she has things that she doesn't want to leave behind yet. We found this out after a pretty busy and exciting day, so that made it a little more bitter than sweet.

My Spanish is coming along. I can speak a lot more than I used to be able to, but I have days where I struggle so much when the day before it went awesome. By this I mean that I will have days where I understand so much and can talk pretty well, then I will have other days where I don't really understand anything or anyone and I cant get my point across for the life of me. It is so frustrating and I´m not sure what Heavenly Father wants me to learn besides patience, which is not something I particularly want to learn. Haha. I know.

So I wanted to share something that I thought was pretty significant but before I do I just wanted to say that Gangam Style just came on the radio in the internet cafe where I am which is kind of upsetting because I thought for some reason I would be safe from listening to that dumb song. Anyway, what I wanted to share is a quote from a talk that I have read multiple times. It says "Your world is in your head. Get your head right and your heart will follow, and you will be right." So much of our successes and failures are actually in our head. When we see every action with the thought of it´s eternal significance, all will be well. We can see what things we need to change and do better because we can see where we are in our eternal progression. It makes me sad to think about the time that I wasted before my mission with meaningless activities.

Now a little more about Argentina. We shop at a place called the Anonima which is kind of like a Walmart but not really. They have a meat station and a bakery station, and you can buy shampoo and conditioner there, along with all other groceries, but you cant buy things like eyeliner or anything electronic. They don't really have a one-stop-shop place which is frustrating sometimes. We ride the bus a lot because our second area (which is significantly smaller than the area closest to where we live) is a couple miles away. This area is actually where we spend more of our time because it is the ghetto part and many many people are prepared. Many of our appointments are there and it is awesome. Anyway, I love you all very very much! Thank you for all your support!

Hermana Allen

Argentina: Week 3

So, wow. I wish I could properly convey how you have the chance to grow on a mission, but words do not sufficiently cover it. I finally understand just what had driven me all those years back to be determined that I would serve a mission and that is: any missionary can gain an understanding of just what Heavenly Father has planned for him/her. A mission puts you through the firey furnace in a way that no other experience possilby could. Their are other things that could happen that could potentially be just as hard on you in all the ways a mission is but I firmly believe that this is an errand of angels and He is qualifying us for His work. This week was one of those weeks were I feel like a completely different person. I think of the things I did before my mission and some of the decisions I made and it is hard to find that person in me anymore (thank goodness). I was more of a child than I thought and I´m still growing to be the woman that God see´s I could be. I still dont know how to be an example or a leader, which is something that He has told me I will be, but I trust that God sees a bigger picture than me. That is a grand lesson that I have learned this week. Every one of us has divinity and potential far beyond what we see with weak mortal eyes. He gives us trials and experiences to change us and make that choice to draw closer to Him. What an amazing gift! He trusts us with trials so that we may be humble to have Him change our heart. Everything comes back to choices and I feel so blessed that He allows me to make the choices that will make me happy.

Anyway, you are all probably wondering what is happening besides my newfound understanding so I will start with what happened right after I sent my email last week. Last monday we found out Hermana Pereira was leaving the next day (Tuesday in the morning) and so this whole week has been two new Gringa´s! Hermana Rayburn has been in Argentina 2 months and I have 3 weeks now so wooo! I understand a lot more than when I first got here, but I still have times when I dont really understand a word of a full conversation. It is also frustrating that even though I know I am congugating right and saying what I think is perfectly easy to understand, some people dont know what I´m saying to them and it is so irritating. I´m trying to be like, OK! all is well in Zion!, but sometimes I just want to talk in English to them and have them understand me. The language is slowly coming and I´m trying to build my vocab which is pretty hard, but Heavenly Father is helping me a ton.

Natalia didnt come to church yesterday because she was in Allen (which is a town not too far from my area, which is why everyone remembers my name :D ). She will come the next two weeks, though, so hopefully she will be baptized on Aug 24. We found a new family last night and taught the mom who seems so great. She was saying how she wanted to do this with her family, but it will be super hard for us to teach all of them because there is never a time when they are all around. Sunday we have a lesson scheduled because her husband will be there and atleast we can teach the both of them. This coming week should be pretty crazy in general because we have a ton of contacts that we scheduled times with to meet this week, so we will see what happens!

Also, I made cookies here with Marsha Mortenson´s recipe and because the ingredients are so different here they didnt really taste that great. It was pretty sad. My body is slowly starting to adjust to the food here. I still cant get over how expensive everything is, but what can I do? Anyway, I love you all so very very much! I hope all is well in the states. By the way mom: I just received your first DearElder that you sent me in the MTC. I got to read again about how one of your chickens died because of a poopy butt. I am going to send some letters today but they will be all in the same envelope because it costs so much. For a letter that doesnt really weigh that much costs over $3 in USA dollars. Talk about dumb. Anyway, LOVE YOU.

Hermana Allen