Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 17: Quick trip to the Capital!

This week was better in the aspect that we had a lot to keep us busy. The references, if we found them in their houses were all nice and we were able to make an appointment to come back. So we had a lot of lessons planned, but one after the other, when we came for the appointment they weren´t home.  Or they said that something came up and that we would have to come another time. So we were only able to teach two investigators and then 3 less active or recent convert lessons for a total of 5 lessons this week. Three of our investigators committed to come to church as well and none of them came despite us sending messages and coming to their houses in the morning to accompany them to church. I am developing trust issues... (Haha. But 'tis the life of a missionary.)

And we can´t forget about the Capital on Thursday!! I just had to go to the U.S Embassy and wait in line for 2 hours and sign something, and answer a few questions. Then we ate pizza in a restaurant and got to walk around for a bit. I met some other sisters and Elders and had a great time. The Capital is so beautiful with statues everywhere and pretty trees and beautiful buildings. 

We also had a district activity where we played soccer and had a "silly string war." It was great fun. The Elders went easy on us sisters in soccer and made a rule that only we could make the goals and I am proud to say that I made 2 goals! :)

 Exchanges with Hermana Manner and member from her ward

 Hermana Abate Daga and I at the Open Chapel

 Silly String War with Our District
Aftermath of our Silly String War

Sisters I was with while in the Capital getting our Visa Paperwork Done

                                          Pictures of Buenos Aires, the Capital 

Wildlife Preserve

Time is up but next time I write I will have a new companion and may be leaving San Vicente. We will see!​

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week 16: The Work is Progressing!

 I am definitely in more of a routine now and the time is passing quickly. Transfers in 2 weeks will change that. I still struggle with the language at times but know enough to get by.

So this week was super busy. On Wednesday we had "tramittes" again for government stuff for Argentina and they wouldn´t accept my passport because there is a space in between the Mc and the Bride and on all the other documents there wasn´t, so now I have to go to Buenos Aires on Thursday and have an interview with government officials and sign something.  But then apparently I will get a little tour and get to eat lunch at a nice restaurant in Buenos Aires.  So I am excited because I have never got to see the Capital!

Thursday was the best day of the mission so far. We taught 4 lessons in one day, two with a member and they were all with new people so now we have 4 new investigators and one has a date for baptism. An investigator has to go to church 3 times to be baptized. She didn't come so we have to push the date back, but its okay we will work with her. We were so busy all day and it felt so good. 

The Capilla Abierta was a success and we got 65 references in total, 40 of which were for us and the rest were for the Elders. As part of the tour of the chapel was the baptismal font and 7 people accepted a date for baptism and want to be taught the lessons. The cool part is that they all live in our area! We had been inviting people to come to the C.A all week so I guess it payed off! We´ll see how many actually follow through and progress in the lessons but at least we have people to teach! The Elders are so jealous and I don´t know why it turned out that way. Now we have a lot of work ahead of us to contact all of our references. But it is really a faith builder that there really are people that want to hear the gospel in San Vicente. In the morning we did splits and Hermana Manner and I and a member got to go work together which was so fun.

In answer to your question about service: So I learned a few weeks ago that we only have 4 hours of service a week to use and often we don't use it because there aren´t very many opportunities. We are always looking for service to do, but people always say they are fine and don´t need anything. Our main purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We are supposed to focus our efforts in proselyting in the streets throughout San Vicente. Talking to as many people as we can a day and inviting them to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, with the main goal of us teaching them the lessons and helping them keep commitments so they learn and grow and change their lives for the better as they prepare for baptism. For me the whole mission is a service. This week we did clean the church in prep. for the Capilla Abierta and taught the gospel principle class on Sunday at church if that counts! 

At first I felt like I wasn´t helping anyone else, but our work with the less actives is paying off.  Now one whole family of 5 has been coming back to church and one other lady too because we had been visiting them.

[Since Audrey had a hard time posting pictures this week, here are some pictures from Dean participating in the Youth Cultural Event for the Philadelphia Temple and Adam singing in the Cornerstone Choir for the dedication of the Temple on Sunday, 9-18.]

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 15: Open House, Teaching, and Yummy Food!

This week was really busy and a little different than the others. We lost our studies in the morning a few days because we had tramites (I don´t know what it is in English) in Lomas de Zamora on Wednesday so we had to wake up at 5 am to take the bus and train to fill out paper work to make me legal in Argentina.

Then on Thursday we had to wake up at 5:30 am to travel to Glew for my first Zone Conference. It was all morning and the president of the mission, the assistants to the Pres. and the Zone leaders all spoke to us and I enjoyed it a lot. Apparently Pres. Calquin is more strict than the other, (no more disney music) but he has a lot of energy and excitement about the work. I really like him and overall I enjoyed the conference. This transfer there is another Elder from Pennsylvania in my zone so there are two of us representing Pennsylvania! Elder Jesson from the Erie area. We have a Zone Activity today in Glew and we were going to play volleyball and frisbee (the elders went crazy when they heard that I had one) but it is raining today so we will have to see what happens.

On Friday was a branch Family Home Evening and we had the lesson. We decided to focus on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," and made a house out of the characteristics a family should have. The lesson went really well. 

Teaching Aid that We Made for our Lesson

Then on Saturday we had to get up at 5 again for a Capilla Abierta in Burzaco. Remember this is when 30ish missionaries come to one city and proselite all morning giving out invitations for the afternoon until 1 and then give tours of the church. We didn´t stay for the tour because there were enough missionaries already. We slept really well that night. The big "Libro de Mormon" was one of the props. (see photo) There is going to be a CA (Open Chapel) in San Vicente this Saturday so we are keeping busy preparing for this too. This should help us to find more people to teach.
Huge Book of Mormon we Made as a Prop for our Capilla Abierta

The members brought "factoras" for all the missionaries for breakfast at the Capilla Abierta. Delicioso! One thing that I have noticed is how many bakeries are here. I have counted 7 here in San Vicente. People love their cakes and bread here. For this reason the obesity epidemic is similar to that in the US. Maybe a little better, but there are a lot of people that struggle with weight. They only eat the French style bread, not sliced like in the US and they eat it for nearly every meal.  I am not complaining. It is so good!

Factoras- Incredibly Deliciosas!

Bread that Most Argentines eat with Nearly Every Meal

On Sunday, Hermana Abate Daga gave a talk and then we had to teach Relief Society. We weren´t very prepared for the lesson because of our busy week but nevertheless it went very well and by the end of it my companion had the whole class crying because the Spirit was so strong. She is a great teacher and I feel so blessed to have her as a companion. These last two weeks, we have been becoming more and more close. We can have more in depth conversations now and we are such good friends! We both don´t want to leave San Vicente- it is known as one of the best areas in the mission with one of the best penches (apartments) too. We are nervous for what is going to happen the next transfer and we don´t know who is going to stay or go because we both came into the area at the same time.

Sweet Message from my Companion's Family in Cordoba, Argentina. The sign reads: 
"Happy 3 Month Anniversary [in the mission] Hermana Macbride. With love, the Abate Daga family, [from] Oncativo, Cordoba, [Argentina]"

Also, yesterday was the mission farewell for two young men from our branch of San Vicente. One is going to serve a mission in Peru and the other in Bolivia. They are both leaving today. Last night was the going away activity and about 60 people came. It was held in the chapel and my companion and I organized a musical number with 10 members of the branch singing The Army of Helaman with me of the piano. First all the family members of the almost missionaries spoke as well as the stake president and president of the branch.. Then we all ate food in the gym and returned and everybody watched as the two missionaries were set apart. It was strange for me because there were friends and nonmembers in attendance so it wasn´t personal like mine was. Nevertheless, it was a great night focused on missionary work and I reflected on when I left on the mission 3 months ago. It seems like so much more time than that, seriously.

Apparently this mission is harder than other missions in Argentina and generally the church grows anywhere from 40-70 baptisms a month. Despite being a really good area, the missionary work in San Vicente is struggling. None of our investigadores are progressing and we are constantly trying to find people who want to listen to us. So, we have also been focusing on having lessons with less active members. We feel blessed that we had 4 lessons with less-active members this week and two people came to church!

P.S. I'm praying for Grandpa that he will be healed and fully recovered. Wow I am glad that you found a renter- I had been praying for that. I want a picture of the new van!

Oh and the whole food situation is fine. We were able to get money from the bank later last Monday and stock our cupboards!

Yes my boots are working out great but are already pretty worn because of all the walking. I am glad I brought two pairs because these won´t last another winter. My bike ripped one of my skirts already and I have had to sew a hole in one of my sweaters. The red rain shoes already broke too. But yes it is getting warmer. It is so weird one day it will be sunny and pretty hot and the next will be cold and rainy. It rained 3 days this week. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week 14: Liking Spanish More!

This week I really started enjoying my mission more and I feel like I am being blessed with the gift of tongues. Before I didn´t enjoy Spanish very much and kept wishing for an English Speaking mission. But now I feel grateful for this opportunity to learn Spanish and I feel so cool when I realize that I haven´t spoken English all day and that I am understanding almost everything my companion says. 

One day at lunch with the Campagna family, Gonzi the 10 year old kid wanted me to say the prayer over the food in English and the parents agreed. I did and it was really hard! All of my prayers for the last 2 months have been in Spanish and I had to think hard to remember how to pray in English. Then an Elder wanted me to tell him a story in English and I kept wanting to say the words that I knew in Spanish. It has only been 8 weeks since I left the MTC and looking back, I have learned sooo much. It seems like I have been in the field for so much longer than that. My first tranfer was so slow but this week flew by really fast. 

The highlight of the week was exchanges again. The other two times I went to Adrogue but this time I had to stay in San Vicente and be the ¨"senior companion" and lead everything for 24 hours. The planning, guiding the area, I was in charge of the cell phone, the keys, everything. It was like the ultimate test to see how I was learning the area and the ways of a missionary. I was nervous but everything turned out just fine and actually wasn´t so hard. My compi has taught me well I guess. I was with Hermana Rodriguez from Spain. She goes home this December and we had a good time together. (Sorry I forgot my nametag in the picture) Whoops!

Hermana Rodriguez from Spain

On Friday was my "Cumplemez" or my 3rd month anniversary on the mission! My compi made my breakfast and I bought factoras for her, which are a kind of pastry. My companion´s is the day after mine and hers was number 9! She´s halfway done! 

Happy 3 Months in the Field!

Yes Mom, I am alive and well for now. August was 5 weeks and this was the first p-day in September so we really had to stretch our money. Right now we are both completely out of money and food and the bank has been closed for 3 days now so we can´t get more money yet! My compi is using her last personal money to pay for this computer time. We are discouraged to use our credit cards in the stores because of fees, but we might have to if the bank doesn´t open soon! Compi and I had planned on starting a diet today because she wants to lose weight too and it is easy now because we don´t have any food!  We do walk and ride bikes a lot, so that helps. The members just feed us so much so its hard. 

Waiting for the Bank to Open...

Spiritual Thought
Alma 5:48 I am appreciating more and more the Atonement of Jesus Christ. His suffering for our sins makes it possible for us to start again and progress in this life. Because of him, we have hope for a better life and for change. I am so grateful for his grace and mercy.  

Wow, nothing is going to be the same when I get home! New kitchen, new car!
Dad, what a great experience you had with the Wells family.  You are so awesome for putting that all together and I am sure the family was so appreciative of you. You are so caring and truly have a gift for helping others and empathizing with them. You have charity- the pure love of Christ- a special spiritual gift.
 I love you and am so grateful to have you as my dad. A lot of families here are broken and every day I feel so blessed to come from such an amazing home with wonderful parents.

 J.J. looked super tall in the picture you sent me. Just please don´t move across the country or something crazy like that! I am glad everything turned out fine in the accident [Adam & Brenda were in a minor car accident] and that you had fun with Mary Catherine and Jeremy at the US Open.