Monday, January 18, 2010
I’ve now been in La Calera for 10 days!! It feels like a lot longer, sorta´. Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days. It’s kinda of weird. I don’t know really what to tell you so I’ll try to tell you a little more about the life of Hna. Ellsworth. It’s not a lot, but it’s my life!
First, do you remember that thing I had before the misión called ¨my personal bubble? ¨ Well, it has officially been destroyed! You have to greet and say goodbye to every hermana with a kiss on the cheek. It is still a little weird for me but I am starting to get used to it. But Relief Society is crazy because you have to give everyone a kiss when coming in. Everyone is just so friendly and loving!
Another new thing for me is there are dogs everywhere! I’m not a huge fan of dogs but they’re pretty fun. We’re always being followed by a dog in the streets. But the useful thing about a dog is that they will bark when you’re at the front gate. You usually have to clap instead of knocking on the door. But a lot of people can ignore the clapping but it’s a lot harder to ignore a barking dog. Yep, the dogs are helping our missionary work.
Also, another weird thing is that it definitely summer here. I feel like its July not January. But I have realized the importance of sunblock because I’m getting sunburned in places that I have never been sunburned before. But I would definitely rather be hot than freezing in Florida or something. (JK Kris!)
Anyways, I just realized that I sound whiny but really I am loving everything here! Everything is new and exciting and I’m already addicted to Argentina! I am talking and understanding a little bit more Castellano every day! I can understand Gringo pretty good but Argentina Castellano is still too fast for me. Everyone is really nice about it, maybe even too nice about it. They don’t want to hurt my feelings by correcting me. But I’ve learned to make friends with the kids because they’re not too shy to tell me when I’m saying it wrong. So hopefully I’ll have the language down soon.
Well, I have one of the coolest experiences that happened this past week. We were teaching a new investigator and I wasn’t being too much of a big help. I was switching off with my companion teaching but then the lady we were teaching, Andrea, would ask questions or give her comments about it, and I would get lost. She spoke really fast! Anyways, it got towards the end of the lesson and Andrea had been talking for a really long time and my companion turned to me to talk. I had no idea what was going on so I just said a quick prayer for the Lord’s help and testified about prayer and the Book of Mormon. And I had no idea what I was saying, I was so nervous. And then Andrea started talking again and she would point at me and I thought I had offended her or something because all I could understand from her was ¨cosas malas.¨ (bad things). I still had no idea what happened until we left the charla and I asked my companion what she had said. She said that Andrea had felt the Spirit when I had talked and felt peace for the first time in a long time. We visited her yesterday and she prayed and felt that same feeling and she wants to learn more. Now I didn’t want to tell that story to brag because I know that I didn’t do anything. That was entirely the Holy Ghost teaching to her. It doesn’t matter what is said but the Spirit that is felt. It’s amazing because we really can be instruments in the Lord’s hands when we put all our trust in Him. So I’m grateful for the divine companionship of the Holy Ghost and the opportunity to be in an instrument in the Lord’s hands. I love my Heavenly Father and I know this Gospel is true! El Reino de Dios o Nada!
Monday, January 11, 2010
January 11, 2010 (First email from Argentina)
I finally made it to Argentina!!! Woohoo! The plane trip was really long and I got no sleep but I finally made it to my area which is called La Calera. The people are nice and the food is great, but I can’t understand a thing that they are saying. This was to be expected but I hate not understanding anything. But I have learned three different things said about me in Spanish in the first five days I have been here (They tell my companion and not me because they know that I don’t know Spanish)...
1. La gringa is really tall and skinny!
2. How do you say la gringa´s name
3. Why is la gringa so white?
So just to summarize really quickly - pretty much “I’m the skinny, little white girl with the weird name.” Yep, it’s kind of catchy. I want that to be on my gravestone when I die.
La Calera is tons of fun and pretty big. We are walking all the time! My poor feet were not ready. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re going to tell me that I should’ve broken my shoes in, and I tried! What I should have done is gone hiking in them because I have had them for months but they still tore my feet apart. I have blisters, mosquito bites, and a pretty bad sunburn covering my feet. But I came across a good scripture in my personal study that you should all look up – Isaiah 52:7. It brought a smile to my face when I read it.
Even though I don’t know Spanish, I am loving it here! My companion is Hna. Brown from Ogden, Utah and she has 15 months in the mission and she has been La Calera for over 6 months. So she knows what she’s doing. We’ve decided that we are kindred spirits because we love a lot of the same things, one being Anne of Green Gables. A quick, funny story about her. So I loved her the moment I met her, but I remember the first night when she put her toothbrush in the fridge. I thought it was kind of weird but I didn’t say anything about it. After a couple of days, I was joking with her that I thought I had a crazy companion who keeps her toothbrush in the fridge. She told me that she does it so the cockroaches don’t get at it in the bathroom at night. I couldn’t believe it! I asked her why she didn’t share this useful piece of information with me and she said she forgot. But I learned an important lesson. Don’t judge or you’ll be brushing your teeth with cockroaches. Needless to say, I threw out my toothbrush that night.
Anyways, besides the cockroaches I have a really nice pension aka apartment. It’s two stories with two rooms upstairs and a kitchen and a study room downstairs. I had problems with the stairs the first day because the ceiling is really short and I kept hitting my head. I learned quickly, thanks to the bumps on my head, and I practically crawl up the stairs. But it is really nice compared to most places that I have seen here so I am blessed.
Speaking of blessings... I got to witness a baptism my very first week here. It was amazing! I couldn’t understand anything that was being said but I could feel the Spirit so strong! Valeria was who was baptized and she had been taught the lessons for over a year. So it was really a tender mercy that I was there when it happened. She got to get married on Friday and then baptized on Saturday. I went to the marriage and it was interesting. I definitely enjoyed the baptism better. A few of her friends and family came, so we have more people to teach. I’m excited for that!
Anyways, we have a lot of awesome investigators. We have four with a baptism date and they are keeping their commitments! How amazing is that! The hard thing is getting married. They make it so hard with paperwork and everything. But they have the desire. It will be exciting to see the results in the next few months. I am trying to contribute and help with the teaching. I don’t understand much but we usually take turns teaching and I can usually understand what Hna. Brown is saying so I comment and testify on what she is saying. I am willing to do whatever she asks. I’m doing contacts in the street and knocking doors. It is so exciting! I feel like I am a lost puppy following my companion sometimes, but I am trying to be more of a help than a hindrance.
I have met most of the members in La Calera and they are really nice and patient with me. They asked me to bear my testimony in Sacrament Meeting but I didn’t even understand at first. I thought they were just welcoming me there and then my companion leaned over and told me that I needed to go bear my testimony. That might’ve been the scariest moment of my life! Just imagine me trying to talk in my broken Spanish to a whole room full of Spanish speakers. I think it went alright though. I didn’t get too many weird looks.
So you asked about the mission president and I don’t really know what to say. He’s amazing, of course, but I don’t know too much about him. We met him that first day and he explained our purpose to us and the Spirit was really strong. I’m excited to get to know him but he’s obviously a busy man so I’ll be content with getting to know him at a distance. His wife was really sweet and nice and their house is very pretty. Their house is connected to the mission office, of course, and right next door is where the temple is being built. Right now there are tennis courts, but they are tearing them down in two more weeks because they just bought the property for the temple. They are till in the planning stages but it sounds like we will be here for the ground breaking and building of the temple. I’m very excited!!
Anyways, I am excited to be here in La Calera. It has been a crazy first week but I hope that I am going to get the hang of it. It’s pretty scary to try to talk in my broken Spanish to complete strangers, but I just try to remember that you can’t have faith with fear. So that is my goal - to put all my faith and trust in God and to teach His gospel to the best of my abilities. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and to do His work. I know the Church is true and everything is possible through Him. El Reino de Dios o Nada!
Friday, January 1, 2010
1. This is actually a shout out to my mother, so everybody else can ignore and skip to the next one. Mom, here is the moment you've been waiting for after 12 years of complaining and whining... I am grateful that you made me learn the piano. Yep, that was really hard for me to say, but it's finally out there. I have played in every sacrament meeting with my zone here in the MTC, which has gotten me out of plenty of singing duets and quartets. Gracias, madre, gracias.
2. I am grateful that I got to spend my birthday here in the MTC. It was my first day and a day I will never forget. It was one of the best birthdays ever and I never even heard the Happy Birthday song once. It was kind of exciting because I got to show around the new sisters who came in this week. That was me eight weeks ago. It's crazy how time flies when your'e having fun!
3. I am grateful to have spent Thanksgiving in the MTC. I love spending all the main holidays in the MTC because I got to focus on the true meanings of the holiday which are all centered around Christ. I loved spending Thanksgiving with Elder Holland and serving others.
4. Hna. Dickey aka my companion. Seriously tho. I have heard horror stories about companions and I am so lucky that I got a cool one for the MTC. We've already decided that we're going to be friends after the mission and watch Anne of Green Gables b/c we're pretty much kindred spirits. (We usually play the role of Anne and Diana whenever we are pretend investigators. i love it!)
5. I am grateful to have spent another holiday in the MTC. Christmas in the MTC was possibly the best Christmas I've ever heard. I missed my family like heck and I wanted to dress up like a Wicked Nephite so bad, but I was glad to be in the MTC.
6. Eating with the Natives was one of my favorite things to do. I never could understand a word they were saying, but we've decided we're going to be friends. We all wrote down each other names and they told me they want to add me as a friend on Facebook. It was possibly the happiest moment of my life!
7. I feel blessed to have heard from four different Apostles. I have heard from all of them in person from General Conference but it was so much more personal in the MTC. It felt like they were just talking to me and not the other 2,000 missionaries in the room. I loved it!
8. New Years Day in the MTC was tons of fun. Of course, I did go to bed by 10:30 and I couldn't find any Martinelli's to drink, but it was still tons of fun. Thanks to my sisters, I had the opportunity to kill about a dozen baby ducks. (Sorry for the inside joke, but shout out to Allison and Rachel). Thanks for making my New Year's Eve special!
9. I was also grateful to have 2 Days in the Field and then a Testimony Meeting with my District afterwards. A day in the field in the MTC is where you get to skip classes and such and just teach all day! It was so much fun! I got to teach the 1st and 2nd lesson about a dozen times each. I am so stoked to go to Argentina and do it for real! And the testimony meeting with my district and teachers was amazing. The Spirit was so strong.
10. And lastly, I am grateful for this opportunity to Come unto Christ. I have loved the chance to get to study hours everyday in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel and strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I'm glad to finally be here on a mission!
Anyways, that is my last email that I send you from America!! How awesome is that! thanks for all your love and support and just know that I love you and miss you! The Church is true!