Monday, July 25, 2016

Week 8- "I Just Want to Learn Spanish Already"

The flag of Argentina.
 Dad:   If you are praying for us it might be good to know that my companion´s name is Hermana Âbate Daga (both parts are her last name. Haha, but no biggie.) The exclamation point on this computer doesn´t work but there should be some. and this keyboard is really weird so sorry for all the weird marks.
Dad, that's a cool story about your mission. P-days (preparation days) are super busy around here too. I wanted either my Sunday or P-days for some down time but no there is not. I am so glad that you guys are able to help with the temple open house. It sounds amazing and many hearts will be softened and brought closer to Jesus Christ.  
     This week was really hard and I just really want to learn Spanish already. My companion is good at encouraging me and helping me believe in myself and have patience. This week was hard as well because we got rejected a lot. But at some point of each day there was a tender mercy. One day after knocking doors and lots of "no´s" we finally found a lady who let us in and we taught her a lesson. Then another day, we found a lady who´s dog had escaped and we helped her catch it and she let us in and now she is taking the discussions.  Another day we had a lot of street contacts and Î got a lot of practice. And one of the inactive members we met with came to church with us.

My first ice cream in Argentina
Here are some cool things about this mission:
I love Dulce de Leche! Also, we get to listen to Disney music and watch Disney movies during district and zone activities. We have a district activity today so we are watching a movie, playing ping pong, and eating. So that should be fun. My district here is awesome and my companion from the MTC, Hermana Manner, is in my distrct. Yay! There are two other gringo elders that help me out and encourage me about the language and the culture.

About the currency: 15 pesos is 1 dollar here. Each companionship gets 600 pesos refunded every 6 weeks for fruits and vegetables. It is pretty cheap here so that is awesome. I get 1400 pesos a month for food, transportation, and personal items. The few active members are really kind to us missionaries and we have lunch with someone everyday. Dinner is held, if at all, at 8 or 9 at night so it is too late for us to eat with members for dinner.

 Some yummy dessert from a member.

Here are some Challenging things:   There are dogs everywhere and I don't enjoy handwashing laundry.

[Answers to Brenda's Questions:]

This computer is so old and the exclamation point button doesn´t work but there should be some in here. To answer Mom's question, my first name does sound so weird now and it seems like a whole other life that I was called that. It is completely flat everywhere here and yes at times I feel like I am back in time. This computer is ancient and the poor little houses are super sad. And we have to wash our laundry by hand and hang dry it. It takes forever and we don´t put clothes in the dirty clothes bin unless it is really dirty. But there are still cars and tvs and phones so it is still somewhat modern. We ride bikes part of the time and walk as well so we can do street contacting. I love you JJ and I miss you too.

The landscape is really flat. Sometimes all the farming and country reminds me of home.

All right time is up. Love you family! Keep praying for me. This is really hard.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 7- Into the Mission Field I Go!

I have almost finished my first week officially in the mission field! I am in San Vicente with my companion who will train me for the next 3 months. Her name is Hermana Daga. (Her full name is Abate Daga).  She is from Cordoba, Argentina and doesn´t know English. She has been on her mission for 7 months. We get along great and laugh a lot because I make a lot of mistakes with the language. Everything is so new and different. She is very kind and patient with me and we always need a dictionary handy to look up words I don´t know in Español.

Me with my Trainer- Hermana Daga

Formerly there was one pair of elders here but they just split the area in half and put us here too. So we are both new. We have spent a lot of time lost and trying to figure out the area this first week. The streets are not well-marked so it is hard. About half of our area is "campo." (Rural and primitive) and is really poor with dirt roads. This means lots of mud when it rains! Most dwellings are tiny little huts. The other half is city and has nicer houses and paved roads.

We have bicycles that we ride. Riding in a skirt actually isn´t so bad!

Bundled Up and Ready to Go

It is definitely winter here and we bundle up all the time. Our "pench" (apartment)  is nice and roomy with the conveniences of a normal kitchen. But we only have one little space heater so it is always super cold! My companion has begun turning on the oven and stove and leaving it open for more heat. We have a water filter for the water so I am fine. I have only become sick once for a little bit when we ate some soup at a member's house that didn´t agree with me.

There is a really nice chapel here that is much larger than I expected! I was so surprised to see that there was only one branch of the church here. Only 30 people showed up to church. Every new missionary is asked to speak and share their testimony in their first week in a new area.  But I have to say I rocked it. My companion had helped me beforehand to make sure I had the right grammar. I remembered everything I had wanted to say and the members were really welcoming. I played the piano for sacrament meeting too. There used to be over 80 active members but many have had struggles and attendance has dwindled. There is a hope here to strengthen this area a lot and eventually make a stake out of it and some surrounding cities. There is a lot of work to do. The branch president told us to to knock on every single door on our area and to make sure every body knew about the church and was invited to come.

Chapel in San Vicente

As far as the language goes, I don´t really understand anybody yet. I only catch a few words every once in a while, but I am good at initiating our street contacting! Lunches with members are still a little awkward because I don´t know what is going on, but all is well! Little by little I am learning. Times up now . Love you all!

-Hermana McBride

WEEK 6 Update:


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Dear McBride Family,
We are excited to have received Sister McBride here in the Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission. We can feel the great enthusiasm and joy that your daughter radiates. We are sincerely grateful for the support that you will be able to provide her throughout her missionary service through uplifting and inspiring words given weekly by way of email each Monday. It will be a wonderful experience to observe the progress of your daughter, in the Gospel and as a servant of the Lord.
We are committed to help and work with your daughter in this marvelous missionary effort. We convey our deepest gratitude and appreciation for sharing your daughter with our mission.
We pray that Gods choicest blessings may be with you and your family.
Elder Pribyl y Elder Maldonado
Asistentes del Presidente
Celular1169247470  1169243005
New Logo 2013 Transparent - Copy        Misión Argentina Buenos Aires Sur

Hermana McBride with President and Sister Calquin

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Week 5- One week 'til we enter the Field!

On the 4th of July here at the MTC we just all dressed up in red white and blue and sang patriotic songs all day and decorated our board. We definitely missed our families a little more than usual. Thank you Mom for letting me know about how the Hill Cumorah Pageant is going! That is so cool that you guys are all missionaries with me! Wow Mom, a speaking part! Does it have dancing too? Keep telling me more!

This week during proselyting it rained nonstop for 3 of the 5 hours. Luckily I had an umbrella with me. We didn't talk to a large amount of people because they were all either rushing inside out of the rain or in their houses and wouldn't answer the door! You would think they would feel bad for us standing in the rain but no. It was disappointing but we were in a much nicer area this week than last week. We had a lot of shopping and nice houses in our area this time. No stray dogs, graffiti, or as much trash either. The houses still all had tall gates in front of them and were not as big as houses in America but were still very pretty to look at. 
I don't know what else to say because we have just been doing the same classes and activities every day. We will all leave the CCM on Tuesday the 12th and I am excited! I loved it here, but I am ready for a change and to see more of Argentina. I think I will learn faster out there anyway.I will miss our teachers and my district. My companion and I are the only ones going to Buenos Aires South and the rest are all going to North. 

Love you all!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Week 4: "Beware of the Shoes!"

     This week was the best yet! For two days a teacher named Hermana Grecco substituted for one of our teachers. She is from Argentina and was called on her mission to Japan. She only knew Spanish and was sent to the Provo MTC to learn Japanese in English because that was all that was available! I can't imagine that and we certainly didn't whine as much about how hard Spanish is. She came home knowing 3 languages and she is so amazing. 
     She taught us fun language games and has great insights into how to do missionary work. One activity she did with us was super amazing. She told a story about one of her companions who didn't believe she had the power of discernment. Hermana Grecco told her to pray about it and ask a question and she would do the same and then they would both open up to the Book of Mormon and then the Spirit would tell them what to say to fulfill their need, even though neither of them knew each other's question. 
     She testified that it worked and that the power of discernment is real and is given to missionaries so they may know the needs of people around them. Ammon used it in Alma 18:16. The Spirit flooded the room as she told the story and I was amazed at her faith. Then she said we were all going to do the same thing right now. She used my companion as an example so I was put with Elder Wellman, our district leader. I don't think I have ever prayed so hard in my life because I wanted it to work so bad. As I opened to a scripture and told him what came to my mind, I felt the Spirit stronger than I ever have before and it was amazing. He said that he beleived I was definetly led by the Spirit and helped him. The scripture and words he told me answered my question as well so now I have an undeniable testimony of the power of discernment. 
     The next day was our day to go out into the city to talk to people, but beforehand we had our first Spanish testimony meeting as a district! I felt the Spirit as I bore a simple testimony in the words I knew and as I heard others. It was so great and I love my district so much. 
     Afterwards we were on our way to our 2nd week in the city and we were in the same area. One thing that Sister Manner and I learned that we are both gullible. It was colder than last week so there were not very many people on the streets but we did have a handful of good conversations and gave out our first Book of Mormon. 
     Within the first hour we ran into two American Elders who were actually in the field and in our mission. We showed them our map and they told us it was really dangerous and that we should switch areas. We were given instructions not to do that so they just crossed our streets to avoid and told us just not to talk to people that didn't look nice. As we said goodbye one of them said that we should avoid anywhere with a shoe tied to the telephone pole because that was a gang sign that indicated where someone was killed. We were pretty scared after hearing all this but took comfort because we had walked all around our area last week with no problems and we didn't remember seeing any shoes.
      So we went on our way and met a nice lady and sang her "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" in Spanish as was our game plan to switch things up this week. The next street we were mortified as we saw one shoe, then two and then a pile of six shoes on one telephone line. My companion and I were nearly in tears at the thought of so many lives lost. Throughout the day we saw over 20 shoes in all. As a result we didn't talk to many other people because we were so suspicious and scared wondering why we were sent to such a terrible place. Our fears were extinguished a little when we told our teacher that night about the shoes. He told us that shoes just signaled a place where people sold drugs. We felt pretty stupid but the Elders that told us seemed so sincere! I wonder if they were tricked by some Latinos in the mission or something or if they were just messing with us. My companion was so mad about the whole situation that it was funny.
      Yesterday we watched a missionary devotional by Elder David A. Bednar and I loved it! He talked about how the Lord knows and loves people One by One. That is how we must teach as missionaries. He said that there have been many times that he as an apostle was sent somewhere for one person. My favorite quote was "There is no such thing as a coincidence when you are on the Lord's errand." The closing song was called "One by One" and the lyrics were written by Elder Bednar! It was beautiful and he said it is coming out in the New Era in July. My favorite line is "Strength from His power gives us power to become." 
      It is just comforting that God never gives up on us and that we can always turn to him for strength. "There is no progress in a comfort zone and there is no comfort in a progress zone" as President Benton said. I can use His grace to strive to become more like the missionary he wants me to be. My weaknesses can be turned to strengths. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect and I am so grateful.

 To answer your question, Mom:
     There is an hour for exercise in the afternoon and we all change into exercise clothes. Every Sunday President and Sister Benton speak to us in our English sacrament meeting. And then there are two firesides a week by President and Sister Benton. Somehow they have sat next to us at dinner nearly 10 times and they are great. She is so sweet and he is really loud and funny with the Latinos. I saw the picture you guys took at Chiques' Hill and you all look so good!