Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Week 55: Gaining Appreciation for Our Area

                           "The Best Trio in the World" (taken a few weeks ago)

This week we had a lot of success and we found 8 new investigators again! For some reason very few other missionaries before us worked in the lower half of our area. We are focusing a lot of time there and it is full of people who are willing to listen to us! On Friday we had Zone conference and I enjoyed it a lot! I love these meetings that we have and I always learn a lot.

Then on Saturday morning we had a "Tormenta Blanca" (where a lot of missionaries work in one area for a morning)  in Banfield 2 (Lomas de Zomora) in the area of the assistants to the president and we gained a new gratitude for our area. The people there weren't very willing to listen and were rude at times. It was amazing how this area was so much more difficult to work in even though it isn't very far away from our area. We managed to give out the 9 Libros de Mormon we had in the 3 hours we worked. It was so hard to get the people to accept the book! I learned how to shorten our message down as they were all pretty busy and how to be a little more persistent.  

This week two of our investigators who we thought had the most potential told us that they didn't want to be baptized but that they would keep listening to us. We were a bit sad but we are learning that we need to have patience and understand that the people we find probably aren't going to get baptized quickly as it takes time to accept a new religion. We are planting seeds!

The photos are of  and of . Also the other photo is 

This week we will have the ETMs (the traveling sisters) with us- Hna Chaffin and Hna Ochoa! It should be great and we will find even more people- woo hoo!

 Here are all the hermanas that were at the Zone Conference

Hermana Johnson- she is from Utah and reminds me so much of Aunt Ellen! Her appearance, laugh, and fun personality are so similar!

Week 54: Hearts Being Softened

With everything going on at home with Dean's departure, you'd think that I might be feeling some homesickness. But don't worry, I am super focused on the work here! Being comp. mayor (senior companion) with Hna. Rivarola is more responsibility and I am working hard to be an example for her. We are really busy trying to visit all of our investigators and a few of them are really progressing! This week we found 8 new people- we are talking with as many people as we can in the street and I am so grateful that here in Argentina the people give out their names, address, and telephone number super easily. I feel like in the US the people aren't as friendly and wouldn't be so willing to give out information.

My favorite moments from the week:

Remember our investigator Genoveva from a few weeks ago? She had been super sick but we were finally able to teach her again this week! But it wasn't only her. Her husband, two daughters, and granddaughter all listened to us and they all accepted a baptismal date! It was such an amazing lesson!

One day we had 15 minutes to spare before a lesson and we decided to pass by an old investigator named Maria that we thought didn't have very much potential to progress but she let us in and we taught her in 20 minutes and she said that she wanted to be baptized! 

That day the next lesson was with a woman named Karina who is super sweet but has been Catholic all of her life and is having doubts about whether she should be baptized.

We also taught a lady named Elizabeth and I was amazed at her faith as she said she believed that Joseph Smith had the First Vision and that it made sense to her that it happened when he was 14 years old because his heart would be more pure than older people. She has a baptism date too! 

I can´t explain how much love I feel for these people as I teach them. My prayers are more fervent and I want them to accept the gospel in their lives so much!  So in my personal study I have been looking for scriptures that we can share with them that would help them with their doubts, or I study Preach My Gospel to learn how to be a better teacher or to gain more motivation to talk to everyone! The Lord really does help our weaknesses become strong- I used to struggle to focus my mind on the mission but now I can honestly say that I am more focused than ever! It is an awesome feeling to lay down at night and be able to say that I did everything in my power this day to invite others to come unto Christ. 

We saw so many miracles this week and I know this is God´s work! We are working with so many people that could get baptized this next month! We just have to help them feel the Spirit more in their lives and get them to come to church. I am so unbelievable happy and I am loving the mission!

Wow this letter was so hard to write... I kept starting to write in Spanish or had to think twice about how to form a sentence in English... My companion has been telling me that I have been talking in my sleep- in Spanish! In language study I was helping Hna. Rivarola with her English and she wanted to have a conversation and I have to think a lot to talk in English. It isn't natural anymore. Wow, amazing how the mind changes. I am trying to enjoy every moment in the mission and speaking spanish because afterwards I won´t use it as much!

Mom:  I am so glad that your leg is getting better.  I have been praying every day for you! Thanks for always writing me- love you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Week 53: Fantastic Conference with Elder Clayton; Transfers

This transfer I am staying with Hermana Rivarola in Banfield 1! Hermana Lopez left us and it is sad that we are separated now. She is going to be a traveling sister and will help a lot more hermanas just as she did with us. She is such a special person and a great missionary and it was a thanks to her example that we had so much success. She talks with everyone she sees in the street, teaches with confidence, and in the pench is always obedient and looking for opportunities to serve. It was a great blessing to be companions with her- our trio was so awesome! Now Hna. Rivarola and I are going to take what we learned with her and continue the work here! It is going to be a great transfer and I have found a new excitement and love for the work- I am more happy than ever! I feel so blessed to be here in the mission.

The conference on Wednesday was so great- it was the first time in my mission that all the missionaries were together. I sent the bulletin from this week that has a lot of pictures from the conference. It was so great to see old friends and to feel the spirit as Elder Clayton reminded us of our purpose here and the importance of our work. He talked about how quickly the church has grown in Argentina and all of South America and gave us tips on how to teach better. I also received a really sweet letter from Laura Fernandez by way of the missionaries in San Vicente. It was from the family who was baptized in August. She and her family are planning to be sealed in the temple in September and President Calquin said that I could go! I am super excited!

We found a few new investigators this week. We try to follow up with all of our investigators but a lot of them are sick or there aren't home for the appointment we set. As an update on Marcela who I love so much:  she is going through a lot of personal problems and needs to find a new job and is super stressed. We have only been able to teach her once in the last two weeks because she is so busy. She isn't progressing so we are going to have to discontinue teaching her, but I know that in the future once her life calms down a bit she will get join the church. 

On Sunday it was ward conference and the choir of new members and missionaries performed with me accompanying and it turned out so well! One of the photos is of the choir and the other is of a recent convert named Alejandra with her kids (and she has one more son). A few months ago her and the kids who were above age 8 all got baptized and they all come to church every week! Last week as we were arriving to the chapel we saw her with all of her kids a few blocks away walking to church. It was such a powerful moment for me to see Alejandra walking to church with her 4 kids- her faith and determination to live the gospel and teach her kids this new lifestyle that the missionaries introduced into her life. It gave me hope that there are other families like her who are ready to accept the gospel- we just have to find them! 

Sorry I am out of time mom- I´ll tell you about my personal studies next week! I love you all and will keep praying that your leg will heal quickly! Love you all!

Week 52: Over the Hump: the One Year Mark

It is hard for me to believe that I have been in Argentina for a year! I have obtained better study habits and a stronger testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have had to humble myself as I learned a new language. I have learned to trust in the Lord´s plan more. I know that complaining or comparing ourselves to others only hurts us. It is hard for me to answer if I have overcome weaknesses- I am proud that I have learned Spanish and have overcome thinking about home a lot. I am sure I have but it is hard to notice the changes in me- everyday I am learning little from the people we talk to, the positive attitude of my companions, from the experiences we go through but it is hard to recognize these little changes that become a part of who I am.

This week was amazing as we found 8 new investigators- 7 of them with a baptism date! We made a goal to talk to as many people possible in the street and I am amazed at how many people let us in! We are giving our about 25 Libros de Mormon a week and are teaching a lot- with all this practice I am feeling much better about my teaching skills! My companions and I have great unity and I love teaching in a trio. This has to be my favorite transfer so far in my mission.

From Tuesday to Thursday Hna. Rivarola and I went to Lomas de Zomora with Hna. Moreta while Hna. Lopez had exchanges with two other hermanas. My favorite part was that we got to teach Gaston again- the man (37 years old) that was so great who we taught one of his first lessons and got a baptism date with him. I was so happy to hear that he had gained his own testimony! It was so special to hear his experiences- he really is someone who was so ready to accept the gospel. Even his kids said that he was much happier since he started going to church and now the missionaries are going to start teaching his 17 year old son. He got baptized on Saturday!

Sorry I don´t have pictures this week and that this is a little short- I am out of time! We are all super nervous to hear what will happen next transfer. On Saturday our leaders will call us! On Wednesday we have a special Conference where all the mission and the Argentina MTC will be meeting in Adrogue to listen to Whitney Clayton from the Presidency of the Seventy. It should be an awesome experience!

Love you all!

Hermana McBride

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 51: Miracles in Banfield

Thanks for all your prayers! Our health got better quickly and we saw miracles this week.

On Tuesday Hna. Rivarola and I had exchanges with Hna. Molinero and it was great to work with her and laugh about old times.

It was still really cold and we were blessed for our sacrifice and we found 5 new investigators, 3 of them on Thursday! It was rainy all day but in the morning we found a woman maned Nancy who is family of members in San Vicente and in the last 15 minutes of proselyting we found 2 more! The blessings of obedience and enduring to the end. We were so happy that we went and bought a dulce de leche pie and used our matching mugs to celebrate! On Saturday it was Hna. Rivarola´s 7th cumple mes (anniversary) in the mission. We bought sub sandwiches and ice cream. We are enjoying our time together! This week Hna Lopez and I have our cumple meses as well so the parties will continue!

We are Enjoying Being in a Trio

On Saturday we found a man in the morning who agreed to listen to us and he said that he just wanted to find more happiness in his life. It was great to teach him and promise him that he has a Savior who suffered for him and that has a Plan of Happiness for him. He was our other new investigator. 

Saturday night we were teaching one of our investigators named Romina and one of her friends named Genoveve knocked on the door. We introduced ourselves and she began to tell about how her daughter died and that she has been struggling to find peace for years now. Throughout the lesson we felt the Spirit so strongly and she accepted a baptism date for June 10. The next day Romina, Genoveve, and one of her daughters named Millie all came to church! 

Update on Marcela: She was sick all week but was finally able to listen to us last night. She didn't come to church but also accepted a baptism date for June 10. The lesson was so great and she had been studying El Libro de Mormon. She opened up a little more about her life and it turns out that she loves theater and has done a lot of shows in a theater in Buenos Aires. She showed us a video of her as the wicked witch in Wicked and she sings and acts so amazingly well! She is super talented and it was so cool to get to know her more. I love her so much.

This area is a gold mine of people ready to listen to the gospel- I hope I can be here for a good couple of months! My faith that there are people ready to listen is growing and I am learning so much from my companions. I feel so grateful to know that God is looking out for me.

Enjoy the temple with Dean! I love you all!

Week 50: Good Conference, Principle of Obedience

This week was a little rough. It got super cold and it rained almost everyday. Now all three of us are sick and we hope that this next week is better.
We taught about 10 lessons this week one of which was with Marcela and two with another investigator Miriam. They are our investigators with the most potential to get baptized but I think they both need a little time. Neither of them came to church. Three of our investigators told us they weren't interested anymore and we couldn't find anyone new. 

Family Home Evening with a Family that was Recently Baptized

Thursday was interviews with President and before hand they took away all the mini CD players TVs that the mission provided (every pench had one) and that we were not allowed to listen to any music not even hymns and that we will only be able to go to the temple in the last week of our mission as is tradition. (Evidently there was some abuse of the rules in this area by several.) I was sad that now we couldn't listen to music and that now we couldn't go to the temple. Before it was nice to watch church movies and we would do exercise videos in the mornings. But it's ok.  Now I thought of other ways to do exercises. The only electronics we have is one cheap cell phone just for messages and calls- one for every companionship. It really bugs me when we have privileges taken away because of the bad choices of others. I felt a little strangled by the strictness of the rules but I promised President that I would obey. I know there are deeper purposes for the mission rules than what may appear and that we will be blessed as we obey them. 

                                              Hermana Lopez works her Magic with my Hair

 After the interviews we did practices with the assistants and it was super awesome. We talked about promising specific blessings, talking less in the lessons, and choosing our words more carefully so the concepts are clearer and more powerful for the people. It is harder than it sounds to do these things, but I did pretty well in the practices with them even with the pressure. Hermana Lopez, Hna. Rivarola, and I are practicing- it takes a lot of effort to be a good teacher! I hope to improve in my teaching skills before the end of my mission.

My favorite part of the week was a Family Home Evening we did with a family of recent converts and practicing with the ward choir of recent converts. I love the power of music and that I can accompany the choir on the piano. 

Sorry I am out of time! But I love you!

Week 49: Unexpected Change

This week ended up being really different than I thought it was going to be- but it was so much better than what I had planned! On Monday night, the Sister Training leaders arrived and we worked super hard Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We talked with so many people and it was so fun working with my roommate from the MTC Hermana Ochoa and my old companion Hermana Dias .With Hermana Dias we found a lot of people with a lot of potential. One lady named Susanna even said that they had been looking for a church but hadn't liked all of the ones she had gone to. She said she felt she needed baptism in her life and wanted a closer relationship with God. She was a miracle! We also talked to Fanny and she said that she was having some problems with her family and her health and that she didn't want to get baptized or go to church for now. She said we could pass by in a few weeks. We promised her blessings and invited her again but we can´t force the people so for now we just have to wait. 

Hermana Lopez, me, Hermana Rivarola and Hermana Abate Daga (sitting down)
Thursday night us four hermanas were enjoying ourselves chatting and eating popcorn and hot chocolate when we got a call from the assistants to President Calquin, calling in his behalf. They said that an Hermana had gone home early and so as part of emergency changes her companion, Hermana Ortiz (with whom I was in a trio for two weeks in Aldo Bonzi) would be coming to San Jose and be Hermana Roman´s new companion and that I would be going to the area Banfield 1A to be in a trio. We were so surprised and they said that they would come to pick me up the next morning at 8:30. Luckily, Hna. Roman, Dias, and Ochoa were there to comfort me in my tears and shock and they helped me pack my suitcases. And just like that I was in my 5th area in a trio and I had to start all over with meeting the members, learning the area, and getting used to all the new surroundings. I loved my short 6 weeks in San Jose and I didn't get to say goodbye to any of the members. It took me a few days to get my mind around the change since it all happened so fast.

 But I have learned that God had a better plan for me and now I am very happy in my new area. My new companions are Hermana Lopez from Paraguay with 9 months in the mission and Hermana Rivarola from Cordoba Argentina with 6 months. I wasn't excited to be in a trio again but they are both really awesome, sweet, and crazy at the same time and it is so fun to be around them. This weekend was so special because my trainer Hermana Abate Daga was living with us for her last week in the mission. My companions and I had some really fun experiences in Hna. Abate´s last days of her mission. There were lots of jokes about dating and marriage and all the new things awaiting at home. We also had super spiritual experiences talking with her reflecting back on her mission and the things she had learned. We were able to look at pictures and notes from the beginning of my mission when Hna. Abate and I were companions and remember the good times we had together. We both couldn't believe how fast the time flies. She was picked up for the airport this afternoon and we were all crying and hugging and it was such a bittersweet experience. I never thought that I would get to see her in her last days of the mission. It was such a tender mercy to be able to spend these last few days by her side.

 My Hair-Do for Church by Hermana Lopez

My two new companions- Hermana Rivarola (sitting down)
 and Hermana Lopez (braiding the hair)

To help me accept the change of areas, Friday night, we found a lady named Marcela outside of her house raking leaves and we offered to help.  (It´s fall here! getting colder every day!) With a little persistence she finally accepted and we helped her rake for a good hour. While we were working we told her who we were and what we believed and she was super interested in the Plan of Salvation. We gained her confidence that day and we were able to teach a lesson on Saturday. She is seriously so ready to accept the gospel and has so many great questions! I am so excited to keep teaching her and help her progress! 

The going away party for Hermana Abate Daga