Friday, February 25, 2011

January 31--Re: Kato is Massive

(As for the subject, Kato is our cat that is on a diet. He really is massive.)

Mom, about the temple…The Argentine temple is not finished. It won’t be finished til October or November, but I went once already. I’m satisfied. I would LOVE to go to the temple when I get home.  That first week… I would really, really like that. I could go every day. I wanna go to the Oquirhh Hills temple, and Draper, and Salt Lake. Those three are goals of mine.

You mentioned Bishop Beecher. I have thought about him various times on the mission and Bishop Christensen, too. I am grateful for church leaders in Utah.

About the Scanlon family…I laughed so hard when you told me you had tried calling them and here’s why:  During the week I mentioned to my companion that I bet my parents have creeped on her and her parents to try to communicate with them. Haha. I like it though, Mom. And so does my comp.

My area…we are struggling a little bit to find progressing investigators. I was a little discouraged in Sunday when we didn’t have anybody at church and I feel like I’m working harder than I ever have in my mission. We will just keep going. We had some really intense lessons with members this week, though, that helped. I love working with the members. It’s so much easier. We don’t know if Delia is back yet cuz we can never find her or get hold of her, but today we are going again and I hope she’s there.

Beth mentioned something about the Holy Ghost in her email which was so true…that the people who aren’t members don’t have the gift of the Holy Ghost all of the time and that is something so distinct that I have seen between members and non members. I can actually see a large difference when before, I didn’t really self actualize the difference or realize. I feel like I never really paid attention to anything before the mission, or I’ve just forgotten my life before. You decide. 

January 24, 2011--Hermana Jordan Scanlon

Hermana Daniels (third from left) and her new companion,
Hermana Jordan Scanlon (fourth from left)

Mom, that heading is for you. That is my companion’s name and she is American and amazing. I love her. My comp is from Hailey, Idaho. “It’s by Sun Valley,” says Hermana Scanlon. She is a very pretty sister missionary. I’ll send you a picture if I buy a camera. I still haven’t be able to do that. She went to BYU for the last three years in the nursing program and we know some of the same people. She actually has been out on a few dates with Jake Cutler. Ha!

Today we tried to take a nap because we worked so so hard all week. I was dying and I didn’t sleep last night cuz all the mosquitoes and the heat. And today while we were trying to take a nap, I couldn’t sleep either. It reminded me of that one time when we went to Lake Powell with the Boardmans and it was 100 degrees at midnight and we were all still awake. Then it started raining and Brad and Matt were so hot they just stayed under the rain and let it pour down on them. Anyway….

We are truggling (I’ve not heard this word before….) along and practicing the language a lot in the street, but I’m a bad trainer cuz I like talking to her in English, but I’m working on it. Four new sisters got here and three were from Idaho, one from Utah, and they all come from big families, minimum of six kids. I thought that was interesting.

Delia dropped a bomb on us and had to go on a trip so she won’t be getting baptized til the 12th of February. It is stressing me out cuz it is super hard to get hold of her. When I split the area, I gave all of the progressing investigators minus Delia to the other hermanas so we could focus on finding new people. This week was a little rocky. On Saturday we entered into only one house all day and it was about 100 degrees, but we found a lot of real good people that day. I told my comp at about 7 p.m. that we could sit on the curb for a five-minute break. That felt nice. We chatted and ate some pepas.

This week in Las Heras we had ward conference and there was a shopping 64 people in attendance. That’s the largest number I’ve seen since being here so that was good. Everybody was sweating and having to go get drinks of water from the kitchen during church. Oh, I wish you all could experience some of these things. We ate pizza four days out of the week this week so Hermana Scanlon has a real good idea of what Argentine pizza is like…bread, cheese, boiled eggs, and tomatoes. That’s your average Argentine pizza.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

January 17, 2011--Transfers

I have a lot of things to tell you.  1. My camera broke today. Don’t ask me how or why, but it is broken and I had a few elders who are handy try to fix it and there’s no hope. I won’t have any pictures of the last of my mission, but that’s okay.  I’ll get some from other missionaries.  2. We had transfers today and I am training yet again.  All the new missionaries are from the states so I’ll be with an American.  3. President is sending two more sister missionaries to my area until I leave so he asked me to split the area in two and make a new area book and everything. Hermana Duarte, my old comp from Paraguay and another American are coming to live with me and my new girl. As of right now, this very moment, I am with Hermana Hulen, my MTC comp in Hurlingham!!! We are going to go see my old converts here. I’m excited! Hulen is training, too.  4. They are playing techno in the cyber right now and I might be dancing a little bit in my seat right now, you decide. 

Dad, thanks for sending the flight plans. Wow, I have a LOT of layover time—three hours in Peru and four in LA. I dunno if any of you remember, but once upon a time I lived in LAX for three days—sleeping in the airport. We have a past together.

Our investigators are doing super well.  Delia is the sister of a recent convert and she told us she wants to get baptized. The two little model girls that I love are supposed to get baptized this Saturday, but I split the area so now the new hermanas will be visiting the little girls.

I’ll probably have more details next week about who my new comp is and here she’s from and the investigators and how we are balancing my area with four hermanas. It’s only until I leave, then they are going back to two. We will see if we can find a lot of good people in Las Heras. I love my area. I am happy Hermana Duarte is coming.

January 10, 2011--?me entendes?

Greetings here from South America.  We are doing very wonderful here, just sweating away.  I just looked over my shoulder and saw a rain cloud out the window so my hopes are high.

This week in the mission field was interesting.  We had plans to have a large number of investigators at church, but a large number fell through so we will have to keep working with the members to help us.  There are two sisters who want to get baptized, but their mom won’t let them and we have gone by every single day of the week to find the mom.  We even made her a cake cuz it was her birthday and she is never there.  We’ll keep trying.  I dunno if I told you guys that President Benton gave the whole mission a challenge to read the Book of Mormon so I have been doing that, but the Ensign came out in English with the conference talks, so I have been a little distracted.  That is something I will really like to do is to go to conference. 

We have transfers next week.  I guess there are four new sisters coming from the states.  I dunno if you guys understand, but it’s a little exciting for us when we receive new females just because we are so few here. 

Argentina news updates:  The whole country is out of money.  We had to pay rent this week and we had to travel yet again an hour by train to wait in line for about an hour to get money.

I had an epiphany this week when I was walking in the street.  I was thinking about my relationship with God the Father and how I really don’t think about him all too often with the hecticness of all the goals, appointments, deadlines and things of the mission.  But I thought if I think about Him always I will have such a happy desire to do all that is asked of me.  It was a nice little thought I had.  Family, it’s been a while since I have shared any spiritual thoughts, but I want you to know that I have felt the love of Jesus Christ in my life and am extremely grateful for the life he has blessed me with and for all of you.  This is the only true church and I have a testimony of its truthfulness.  I want you all to know that. 

I hope you have a good week and enjoy the warmth of an inside heater.  I’ll just use the sun! 

January 3, 2011--Limbo

It was so good to talk to you all on Christmas.  I just thought I would repeat that again cuz I loved it so much. 

There have been mass bank robbing here in Argentina and none of the banks have money.  We have to travel two hours in a train today to go to a bank in a large city and still waited an hour.  It’s nuts!  How can the country function if nobody can get cash.  It’s weird.  And here they don’t really take credit cards in too many places.

We had a lot of people in church this week and it made me so incredibly happy because I have been a little stressed for the progress of the area.  For sacrament meeting Hermana Claros and I had to sit outside of the chapel looking through a window cuz it was so packed.  They passed us the sacrament through the window.

I was thinking how I have never taken a picture of the church.  Well, it’s not a church, it’s a meeting house cuz it’s literally a house. We found a new family—the only downside is that they tell us they are moving on the 20th of this month, but they loved church. Hopefully, they stay to get baptized or if no, we can send the reference I don’t want them to get lost in the move, 

December 28, 2010--The Call Aftermath

The Christmas call made me so incredibly happy—you have no idea! I didn’t realize you guys missed me. Well, let me explain…I figured you did, but you never mention things in your emails so I just figured it was casual. It made me feel real loved that you are all excited for my return.

Big News: Vanesa was called to be the first counselor in the Young Womens this Sunday. I thought that was cool. And yesterday we went and did a visit with the new Young Womens presidency to our other recent convert families house and Vanesa shared her testimony and it made me really emotional because I actually feel somewhat included in the process of her gaining a testimony. They will stay active and they will get married in the temple. That makes everything worth it.

Let me explain to you about the heat here….remember at Lake Powell during the middle of the afternoon if we have the air conditioner off on the houseboat and everyone is so incredibly hot we just lay around like zombies?  Well, that is what happens here in Argentina.  Lots of people don’t have air conditioning so they just sit outside in the shade in their lawn chairs and shirts off trying to not overheat.  It’s incredible how hot it is.  Today when I was doing my exercises, I couldn’t do them like I did in the winter cuz my body get completely overheated.

December 13, 2010--Small Town

My new comps name is Hermana Claros. We just got done waiting at the bank for about an hour at the atm. All week we have been trying to get money out, but there has always been a huge line in the morning and we never have time and by nighttime, there is no money. There was no money all weekend either. You are probably thinking, “Jill, why don’t you use your credit cards?” Well, here in a small town, there aren’t too many places that take credit cards. The only place is a chino. That’s a grocery store run by Argentines because the Argentine government said all immigrants don’t have to be taxed on their businesses so there was a massive immigration from the Chinese and they put supermarkets all over the country. I remember when I first got here I was so confused. And they don’t really speak Spanish. I thought maybe English, but no luck there either. Anyway, that’s a chino.

Hector baptized his wife and his daughter yesterday. It was…how can I describe it?  It was one of the most fulfilling baptisms I’ve had on the mission. The last two families we have baptized are super strong. When I got here, the ward was about 40 in active existence. Now we have about 46.

President came here during the week last week to have an interview with Vanessa and he talked to me about finding a new place to have church. He found this place on a corner behind the huge Catholic church. I got the number. I just gotta call them. Maybe we’ll get some real estate practice in, too.That would be funny, though, when we invite people to church to say, “We’re just right behind the Catholic church.”

December 9, 2010--Tardy

So a LOT has happened.  Sorry I didn’t write on Monday, but we had transfers and it was a holiday so when I got back to my area, all the internet places were closed.  I HAVE A NEW COMPANION.  The zone leaders called me and Hermana Hobbs on Saturday night and told us that she was leaving.  I didn’t believe them and neither did she. We were really sad. I was so happy with her!

My new companion is from Jujuy. It’s in northern Argentina. She was just recently companions with Hermana Hulen, my MTC comp. We are having a lot of problems with Hector’s baptismal records. We had it all planned out that he was going to baptize his wife and daughter, but the register that came through from the MLS doesn’t have a baptismal date. I have been on the phone with the office elders and they have been communicating with Salt Lake and it looks like he is going to have to get baptized again. We are pushing for this Sunday that the whole Velazquez family can get baptized.

Yesterday we had a ward activity for the end of the year party in the part of the area that is in the middle of nowhere. It’s like Circleville—Argentina style. Instead of walking around in cowboy hats and cowboy bots and tight jeans, they walk around in beret hats, aparagatas, and these linen pants. That’s the style. Anyway, we had an activity where we had a rope that we threaded through the whole yard of this members’ house. They have a huge yard. We blindfolded all the members. We had different obstacles and stations. They had to hold on to the rope, a.k.a. the iron rod, to get to the end. It worked super well and everyone was just having a good old time. My comp and I were at the end of the obstacle course with a Book of Mormon for each family. Our new converts were there and the Velazquez family, too. It was fun because we had been fasting with Hector and Vanessa for 24 hours before the activity so when we finally got to eat, they were pretty excited.

Hector and Vanessa pray with their whole family every morning kneeling down. They are amazing. They both have to have interviews with the mission president today, so I am hoping all goes well. Helpfully, we can work out all the paper stuff about Hector. That would be super cool if he got rebaptized cuz he doesn’t even remember his baptism.