So with my first cambio in my mission comes a lot of new changes in the mission. So i would like to present a couple of new changes that have occured in the last week. I hope that they are changes for the better...
Cambio Companera – I have a new companion. She is from Oregon and apparently she milked cows to save money for the mission, which is pretty much amazing! She also likes to bake which is good for me becuase i like eating. So we get along very well in that aspect. She´s a lot more quieter than my first two companions which is a little different but it leads to my next cambio...
Cambio Castellano – I am learning Spanish!!! Woot! Woot! My last companion did not care for silent lulls but my companion now welcomes them. So I now have the opportunity to talk a lot more in Spanish. I figure that I talked more in the last week than in my entire first transfer. It´s crazy! All of the members are amazed at how much I´ve been speaking. Now when I say amazed, I don´t mean impressed because I still don´t speak Spanish very well but it is definitely improving! Ya! Feliz día!
Cambio Salud – One thing I have learned in the mission is about commitments. If you make a commitment, you need to follow-up on it. So in respect to the commitment about eating more healthy, I am not going to follow up on my progress. My companion is crazy healthy and wants to lose weight before she leaves so I kinda´ have to eat healthy. Está bien. I went a whole week without factura, criollo, ni ice cream. Instead I bought plenty of fruits and grain and dairy. Notice how vegetables are not on that list. It´s something that´s going to take a little longer, but i`m working on it.
Cambio Lluvia – We had an entire week of rain. It was crazy! Apparently we´re in the monsoon season so it´s really hot one second, and then pouring rain the next second. I have got soaking wet about every day but I love it! I love the rain except Sundays, of course.
Cambio Llorar – So kind of on the same subject as rain... if you know too much about me, you should know that I´m not much of a cryer. I may even be a little bit anti-crying. But this week, one of the investigators, johanna, backed out last minute for the baptism. She didn´t feel ready and one of the reasons was because Hna. Brown left. So i felt kind of responsible and took it pretty hard. I only cried when i got back to the pension but i think my companion thinks i´m over emotional. That´s cool, i guess. But her husband Juan still got baptized and that was amazing. And we´re going to continue to work with her. But it´s kind of amazing the love I gained for these people in just a short amount of time. My companion was kind of teasing me on the phone with the district leader because she didn´t understand why i would be so upset about just one person. But that´s why i´m grateful for the scripture in D&C about the ¨worth of souls is great in the sight of God.¨ It´s amazing to see the change that the Gospel makes in people´s life and that we can help them make that change. I know that this work is important and that we shouldn´t take it lightly. Anyways, I´ve gotten a little preachy again but I´m grateful for the many changes in my life and also the changes in the lives of the people we teach. Well, just know that I love you and pray for you!
So we just had cambios/transfers today! And I am still in La Calera! Hna. Brown left me and handed over the keys and the telephone. I´m kind of embarassed to tell you what happened next but here ya go… I was all alone waiting for my new comp and so I did some deep cleaning to make a good impresión for my new comp. Well, i went to take out the trash and tried to get back in. I got back in okay but it took me about five minutes to figure out what key it was supposed to be because the keys are trippy here. And then I had somebody call and I can´t understand a dime of spanish over the phone. So moral of the story – this is going to be a little harder than I anticipated. I now have a new companion, Hna. Widmer! She´s pretty much amazing but she doesn´t know anything about the area, the members, the investigators…so i´m going to have to step it up and not be so dependent. Yep, i´m way stoked for this next transfer…
So I have made a goal this past week to eat more healthy. I know that doesn´t sound anything like me but we had a sad realization this past week. We were calling for the last Grido (ice cream) that we would have as a companionship, so we got a kilo. Anyways, we called the number and they knew who we were by our accents and where we lived. They call us the ¨Gringas.¨ And to make it even worse, they know our favorite flavors. So yeah, it made me realize that I need to eat healthier food. Wish me luck!
But I´m way excited because we have a baptism this week!!! They have been waiting to get baptized for a while now but they had to get married first and marriages are kind of complicated here with money and paperwork. So they´re getting married Friday and then baptized Saturday. They´re very excited, more so for the baptism!! They are called Juan y Johana and they´re 22 and 20. They´re pretty much amazing people and I´m so excited for them!
Well, I hope all is going well and just know that I love you and miss you but I don´t miss you a ton because I know that I´m supposed to be here! I love being on a misión and helping the work of the Lord. I love that I can go to Church or a charla and not understand everything that is going on but still feel the Spirit so strong. That for me strengthens my testimony that the Church is true and that this work is the most important thing that I could be doing. I´m so grateful to be here in La Calera teaching the people the Gospel in my broken Spanish. And I´m grateful that the Spirit can carry the truthfulness of my words to their hearts. This work is real. I am reminded of something Elder Holland said, ¨I am not living a fairytale.¨ I am not dedicating eighteen months of my life to a gospel that is good and can bless your life. I am dedicating my life to THE Gospel of JESUS CHRIST that WILL bless your life. I KNOW that this Church is true and it is the ONLY true church of Jesús Christ. I am grateful for that truth and the knowledge. And I am grateful for your prayers.
So check it! So you know that missionary picture in the hallway. The framed picture with the title Ellsworth Missionaries. In case you don´t know, There´s me and my four siblings and we´re all pulling these incredibly cheesy missionary poses. Well, i´m the first one (because i´m obviously the favorite.) and I´m doing this weird gangsta face or something but my hand is pointing to the Book of Mormon. I´m just kinda´ pointing to say, “You know you want this book!” Anyways, you want to hear something pretty much amazing. That hand sign has a meaning here in Argentina. It´s not like a gang sign or anything (not to say that wouldn´t be cool …) but Argentinos love to talk with their hands and the sign i´m doing means “¡Qué capo!” Translation being “How cool!” or “Amazing” How capo is that!! I didn´t even know but i was doing argentina things before i even got here! Anyways, I would like to share with you some “Qué capo cosos” in the misión.
Capo 1 - So you know that beautiful thing called home delivery where they bring pizza or food to your house. Well, here you can call for ice cream delivery! It´s probably the smartest thing I´ve ever heard in my life. So when we get back to the pension, we can have grido waiting for us (grido is pretty much the most amazing ice cream ever.) Anyways, i´m pretty much in love with it. And the cool thing is that it is helping me in my goal of gaining weight. No one has called me gorda yet but almost. One of the members told me that the Jody dress I was wearing made me look like I had a belly but she blamed it on my ugly dress. (yep, that´s exactly what she said.) I just love Latino honesty! But i digress…
Capo 2 - They have a beautiful yet frustrating thing here called the ciesta. Every day between they hours of 1 and 6, the entire city shuts down. They close all the stores and go home to take a nap because it´s so hot outside. It´s crazy! They have the idea, “Fiesta tonight, ciesta tomorrow.” Before the misión, i would be a huge fan of this. but during the misión, it´s a little frustrating because it´s hard to find people because they´re always sleeping and they won´t answer their door. But it´s all good, we can always find people, it´s just a little harder. Anyway, coming from a person that loves naps, I definitely think the United States should adopt this ciesta idea!
Capo 3 - So the hardest thing in the misión for me is the language so far, but I had a really capo experience with it this last week! So usually my companion starts and chats for a while and I sit there quietly and say one word commentary. (Small talk is incredibly hard for me!) Anyways, then I will say the opening prayer. After the prayer, without fail, they will ask where I´m from and how long i´ve been here. It´s like the nice way to say that I talk like a gringa. Well, I had one charla that didn´t go so well because i didn´t have the vocabulary to describe a story in the Book of Mormon. The lady went off on me that I need to practice more and yadda yadda. I felt pretty crummy but I said a little prayer and asked for help. And then the very next appointment was lunch with the members. These are the hardest for me because I can usually do pretty well with talking about the gospel but i don´t know every day life vocabulary. Usually the members will give me “pointers” on learning the language. But I went into the house and tried to say things here and there and I gave the spiritual thought afterwards. It was so capo because i was part of the conversation and understood everything that was going on. For the first time, the members complimented me on my castellano. They said they thought i was doing really good for only a month, better than other missionaries. I´m not letting it go to my head but I was grateful that the Lord answered my prayer and gave me that tender mercy! I love these capo experiences and I love being on my mission!
So i have almost been here for a month and I´m still experiencing a lot of ¨firsts¨ this last week. Por ejemplo, this last week was the first time I used my American debit card, and it was also the first time that a machina ate my card. No big deal. But I would like to dedicate this email to the ¨firsts.¨
This last week, I experienced my first marriage proposal. My sister told me stories about this but I forgot. But thanks for the warning, Em! So we were in calle on our way to a charla and this drunk guy proposed to me and my companion. I didn´t understand him so I may have nodded my head. That´s usually my response, smile and nod. I´m just grateful that I have a companion that saves me.
Another first experience for me was teaching a former nun. That was one of the coolest charlas ever. I´ve never even met a nun before, not to mention a former nun. I´m not sure if she´ll progress but it was still pretty cool.
Another first for me in Argentina is that we reached the triple digits in the weather. Or in South America temperature, we hit the 40´s! It was so hot!! Good thing I´m from Arizona or I´m not sure I could hack it. But the good news is that I´m not longer the skinny, little white girl but the skinny, little red girl. Feliz día!
Another first was the day after, we got rain. Now, i normally love rain… Rain has to be one of my faovrite things in the world! The Carpenter´s song ¨Rainy days and Mondays¨definitely did not apply to me… until now. I still love rain and welcome it always, just as long as it doesn´t come on Sunday mornings. We had about 10 different investigators that were going to come to church with us but only ended up with 2. And each one of their excuses was the rain. It broke my heart! But it´s all good, we´ll just have to do better next week.
For the first time, I have seen an insect that is bigger than my face. Possibly the coolest thing ever and it comes with a funny story. It makes me seem like a heartless person but it´s funny so i´m going to share it with you. so we were in a charla yesterday with recent converts – a couple called Valeria and Ezequiel. I love these people so much! So my trainer has a huge fear of bugs, mostly flying ones. anyways, there was this huge moth about the size of my face. ( Quick sidenote: the word for moth and butterfly is the same in castellano – mariposa. Wierd!) anyways, i´m not a huge fan but i can tolerate them. but my trainer started freaking out and Ezequiel thought it was funny and wanted to get a video of it on his phone. So we had to go get our stuff which was right under the mariposa. And the horrible person that I am I only got my stuff and let my companion get her own bag because i wanted to see what would happen. (i´m still working on that whole thing called charity…) So right when she was right under the mariposa, Ezequiel throws something at the mariposa and it starts freaking out and then Hna. Brown starts freaking out. It was possibly the funniest thing I´ve ever seen.
Anyways, I´m just loving the many wonderful ¨firsts¨in my life! I´m excited because I´m understanding more and talking more and people are noticing it too. I love it because I´m actually part of the conversations now! And I love meeting new people and teaching them more about the restored gospel and the Book of Mormon. I love helping the work of the Lord. El Reino de Dios o Nada!