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

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Week 48: "After the trial, cometh the blessings!"

So sorry that I couldn´t write yesterday! It was a holiday here and everything was closed so we couldn´t write!

Here is my update: 
So last week we taught Fanny and Maria Mercedes  everyday and everything was so ready for the baptism. Maria is her niece who lives with her and takes care of her. She is less active in the church. On Saturday morning Maria Mercedes sent us a message saying that Fanny wasn't going to be baptized. She offered a bunch of excuses and then hung up on us. When we tried to call back she wouldn't answer the phone or respond to messages. We don´t know what happened or why they are acting like this.  We had such a great relationship with them. So we had to call and tell all the members who were a part of the baptism that it was cancelled... I hope it is just postponed, but with Fanny very dependent on Maria Mercedes I don´t know if she will be able to progress. We still haven´t been able to talk to Fanny so we don´t know how she is or if all of this is just her niece. I really don´t like all of the drama.  We are going to pass by today and see if she can talk to them.

The whole week was a bit rough. We couldn't find any new investigators and we ended up discontinuing with 4 investigators because they weren't progressing. The ETMs (training sisters) arrived just in time to help us find more people to teach. It is times like these when the lunches with members save us and it is what we look forward to everyday. 

Saturday we helped deep-clean the chapel with the ward. It was so great to do a little service and be surrounded by members while we were disappointed about the baptism. On Sunday I gave a talk about faith and hope and it went really well. You guys should study Ether 12 and Moroni 7 this week. They are such great chapters! I just had a few quotes and scriptures to read and then just said what came to mind about what I had studied and prepared during the week.  I remember before the mission I would write word for word my talk and read it so I am glad I am progressing in my public speaking skills a bit. The members were so nice afterwards. I really love the members in this ward. 
Me, my companion Hna Roman, Hna Diaz, & Hma Ochoa

We are going to try to coordinate where and what time we will do our mother's day Skype this next week. I am so excited to see the family again! I don´t know how my English will be! Even today just writing in English is a bit hard. I keep wanting to write the Spanish words...

Hermana Roman and I are staying together for another 6 weeks! Yesterday we got a call and we will be having the ETMs (the traveling sisters) stay with us this week! For this new transfer there are 3 of the 4 hermana ETMs are new. We will have one pair this week and the other two the following week. This week is Hna. Dias and Hna. Ochoa and the next week Hna. Davis and Hna. Menezes! I´ve had great experiences with all four of them so it is going to be so fun! We will do the same thing as before- rotating companions everyday. I will be planning and guiding the area for my half and Hna. Roman for her half. I am so excited! 

Today marks 11 months in the mission! I cannot believe how fast the time flies. It is May now! I also finished studying El Libro de Mormon cover to cover today! I have a testimony stronger than ever that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it can help us everyday of our lives. 

I love you guys so much!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Week 47: Upcoming Baptism

On Monday we had a fun district activity! We just ate and told jokes
and played Uno. I learned that I am not very good at understanding
jokes in Spanish...haha. I love the freindships that I have made in my

                               Fun District Activity!

This week we had three run ins with Jehovah's Witnesses. Three times
too many if you ask me. They always want to Bible bash with us and are
super closed off to anything new.  We don´t want contention and we
always just defend our religion and beliefs and try to calm the
situation and leave. Two times we were in an appointment and Jehovah's
witnesses already there or knocked on the door and were really rude to
us. They started pushing their beliefs on us and telling us we were
wrong. Another time we were making a contact in the street and a pair
of Jehovah's Witnesses just came right up and interrupted us and told
the person we were wrong and that he shouldn't talk to us. I could not
believe they did that and we were both amazed at how many times we had
problems with them this week.

But it was all good when on Saturday the doctors told Fanny, our
investigator in the wheelchair, that the infection she had in her leg
had healed and she was now able to get in wet and be baptized! What a
miracle! Members gave her a ride to church this week and she will be
baptized this Saturday! We will be busy all this week organizing the
baptism and teaching her so she will be ready for her baptismal
interview. We are so happy for her!

Other than that we found 3 new investigators this week and taught a
good amount of lessons! Next week is transfers!

Love you all!

If we get to go to the temple, it will be in zone conference at the
end of May. We will see! And no Harrison didn´t write me.

I am excited for Mother´s Day too! It is coming up soon!

Week 46: Bikes- Manna from Heaven!

Thanks mom! Last week we received bikes which helped a lot. Our feet were so tired from walking all day...everyday if nobody received us. This week I overcame a lot of my fears because Hermana Roman had me guide the area this week instead of me following behind. Our area is so big and it is so hard for me to remember where all the people we visit live. But this week I learned to use a map better and I was reminded that I can do hard things! I might get a new companion in two weeks so I would have to take the lead and I was pretty scared by the thought of this before. But I feel a lot more familiar with the area this week. And I can make contacts a lot easier now. It helps that I have improved in my language skills and with my time in the mission the rejection doesn't hurt very much anymore. I am so happy to be in this area with my sweet companion Hermana Roman. We get along so incredibly well and we have a lot of fun together!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 45: A Remarkable Connection; Loving the Area of San Jose!

This week was really great! On Tuesday we had a really great district meeting and had a pair of hermanas and elders visiting other areas helping out join us. We talked about overcoming our fears and had us imagine what things we could accomplish if we overcame our fears and weaknesses. It was a great exercise and the best part is that it is possible to overcome our weaknesses through Jesus Christ. I love the opportunity, the challenge to become better, of changing our bad habits and strengthening our testimonies. I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ.

After the meeting we had lunch with a member named Marie Velasquez. She turns 74 today but still is in great health and has a lot of energy and is still really active in the church. She was baptized at the age of 15 in 1958 and she showed us a book she has of pictures and cards from missionaries throughout the years. I was thrilled when I saw a card that said Elder Delbert W. Ellsworth! What a cool connection! I took pictures of the mission president too- I don´t know it Brother Ellsworth knows him or not. It was so cool to see the history and her old pictures and papers. 

Hermana Roman, Marie Velasquez, and Me

Missionary Card from Elder Delbert Ellsworth, a dear family friend in my ward back home in PA who served his mission in the 1960's!

Announcement of the Creation of the New Argentina North Mission

District Conference 3 February 1959 with Visit from Elder Spencer W. Kimball & wife Camilla

On Wednesday and Thursday highlights are that we got a baptismal date for two of our investigators! One is a man named Demasio that we found two weeks ago. He had come to general conference but didn't make it to church this week because there was a big rainstorm all Saturday and Sunday. The other is a sweet lady named Fanny who is in her 60's and is in a wheelchair. She has incredible faith and love for God even though her life has been very hard. She said she had never been baptized before and was excited about the idea. But with the rain she didn't make it to church either so we have to move the baptism dates later. Thursday after lunch my eyes started hurting and soon I could hardly keep them open so we returned to the pench at about 4 pm and I took a nap and took some allergy medicine thinking it was allergies. But afterwards it was worse and some sweet members took me to an eye doctor and I had pink eye in both eyes! They gave me drops that my compi has to put in my eyes every 4 hours and the next day my eyes were already much better. Now I can´t wear my contacts or makeup for a week- woohoo glasses! 

 Friday we had interviews with President Calquin in Adrogue and it was only about 3 minutes long. He just thanked me for my service and expressed his love and told me to be careful in the streets! We have to return to the pench at 7pm and asked if I had any concerns.  Afterwards Elder Burton, an assitsant to the president had us imagine waking up on the last day of our mission and asked us how we want to feel about our missions, how Heavenly Father would feel about our work. Basically he challenged us to change the things that are disobedient and decide now to work in a way that would make Jesus Christ happy if He were always along side us. Because the truth is that He is always watching! What a mind exercise! I am not ready for it to be the last day of the mission yet!

At lunch we ate milanasas and afterward they showed us our lunch for next week-  a pig head! I don´t know if they were serious but we had fun taking pictures it! The ward was a part of a blood drive so I was able to go and donate blood! Woohoo- it was basically the same as in the US, but everything in Spanish obviously...

Next Week's Lunch?

Audrey Loves has Always Loved to Serve by Giving Blood!

Saturday the Elders in the ward had two baptisms and it was really inspiring. One was a man in his twenties with tattos- a tough looking guy who you wouldn't think would accept the gospel. The other was an old man in his 80's. I loved watching their baptisms and could feel the spirit. It just shows that the Lord works in mysterious ways and that we shouldn't assume that people aren't interested in religion. Even in his 80's, the old man decided to change his life for the better and accept the gospel. He's an example that it is never too late to change.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and it was powerful. The people who bore their testimonies were so sincere and humble. The Spirit was so present. I am loving serving in this ward and I love the people who surround me. I love being here and every week there are moments that I think that my mission is perfect for me. God really does know me and has his reasons for sending me to Argentina.

Dad,  I hope that your trip to Israel goes smoothly and that you all return safely!
 I like the poem you sent. It really is true that we can make almost any place sacred when we have the Spirit dwelling in us. I feel so lucky to be living on a higher spiritual plane in these 18 months and to learn how to follow the Spirit more. 

Love you and the family too! Happy Easter to all!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 44: Zone Conference, General Conference, & Seeing Old Friends and Companions

On Wednesday we had Zone Conference in San Vicente! It was so great to go back to my first area! After the conference, we all ate pizza and empanadas and played sports for a good 4 hours and President Calquin and Hermana Calquin joined in for the fun too! Hermana Manner was there too- we hadn´t seen each other since October and it was great to catch up! We played volleyball, frisbee, and a few other games and the following days we were really sore since we aren´t used to that much excersise in one day. At the end of the conference, president announced that for the next conference we would be going to the temple! We all cheered and I am so happy! I had been wanting to go for so long! 

Fernandez Family from my first Area Came Back to See Me!

Another great surprise was that the Fernandez family who got baptized in August came to the chapel and I got to talk with them for a few minutes! Laura is a really sweet lady in San Vicente who fed us every Tuesday and in the few minutes we talked she asked me about how my family was along with how was Matthew Rodriguez, Grandpa, if my mom was still teaching tennis,and if we had gotten a new car!  She remembered what I had told her in almuerzo over 6 months ago about when Matthew was diagnosed with leukemia, when grandpa had his heart attack, and when the car accident happened. I could hardly remember myself what she was talking about at first but I felt such love from this act of remembering things about my life- how sweet is she? Seriously I am so impressed with her and I hope to see her again! That´s the bad thing about a mission- when you change areas its hard to go back to see the people again and I was so lucky to have a few minutes with them.

 Former Companion Hermana Molinero

 Hermana Roman (comp, me, Hermana Molinero (former companion), & 
Hermana Manner (MTC Comp)

In the week we found 2 new investigators and one of them came to a session of general conference and brought a friend too! On Sunday, the ward all met at the chapel and we all went to the conference in Adrogue together. It was so fun to be with a bus full of members and writing about it doesn´t sound that cool, but being there was so awesome.

Also, I ate cow intestine this week and it wasn´t too bad but I don´t want to eat it again...haha  

I loved conference- we went to the chapel in Adrogue to watch it and they had an English room where about 15 of us missionaries from the US watched it. My favorite talks were by Elder Rasband about following the first promptings of the Spirit and Elder Uchtdorf about fear. As a missionary we have the responsibility to talk to everyone possible about the gospel and it can be hard at times to have the courage to talk to strangers especially after a lot of rejection. And we have to follow the Spirit to know what houses to contact or which less actives or investigators to focus on and I feel like I can definitely improve on acting on first promptings.
Mom: I don´t think I will will need to buy new shoes for the rest of my mission. I did buy rainboots here but my Clark´s flats summer proscelyting shoes are worn but are still holding up great! I have another pair of Clark summer shoes that I have hardly touched as backup. My winter boots from last year are destroyed but I have another pair that I brought. No there isn´t air conditioning in the new pench but we have a fan that we use at night. It is starting to cool down too. I am guessing Chile for Dean´s mission call! I had a dream about it.

I love you guys!!  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 43: Finding Place in my Heart for a New Area/ Hermana "She-Plays the Piano"

The beginning of this week was a little rough- I had forgotten how difficult it is to get used to a new area. I often felt nervous and strange walking around in a new city and I just had to follow my compi around because I had no idea where anything was. I missed Cañuelas and the people there. The members cancelled lunch two days but all the other days I enjoyed getting to know the members here. 

We only have a few investigators here and are constantly looking for new people to teach- we are contacting a lot using El Libro de Mormon and we found a few people this week that have potential to progress. Also we walked a ton- our area is so big and I missed the bikes that we had in Cañuelas. I feel like we lose a lot of time just walking from place to place. Hermana Roman and I get along great. We taught 4 lessons this week and also did service for an afternoon cleaning and organizing the house of a lady who is investigating the church. On Friday we went to the ward Noche de Hogar (FHE) and a good 25 people came. 

Sister Roman (Ecuador) and I

It was great to play some group games and listen to the message. This ward appears pretty unified and the people are very welcoming.

All week I wasn´t sure how I felt about the area, but at church on Sunday I fell in love with the ward of San Jose. The chapel in sacrament meeting was full.  I counted 95 people and the talks were so great. I gave my testimony as a new missionary in the ward and I couldn´t believe it as I said I have "10 months in the mission"...where did the time go?! They didn't have a piano player so I played and afterward throughout church a lot of people thanked me for playing. Hermana Roman said that there are two ladies who can play a little out of a simplfied hymn book but they don´t come to church all the time so they had to sing acapella a lot. I know I always talk about the piano but I am so happy that I can serve in this way and it helped my transition into the ward. Nobody remembers my name because it is difficult for them to pronounce,  but I am known as the hermana that finally arrived who plays the piano! There were 35 women in Relief Society and it was so great to be surrounded by so many people. What a change after the small branch in Cañuelas where we had 5 or 6 hermanas in Relief Society and 25  people in attendance! I am very grateful to be here in San Jose.

Also I learned this week that an investigator in San Vicente that Hermana Abate Daga and I had taught was baptized and that her mom wants to get baptized too! And apparently the congregation in San Vicente has doubled to 65-75 people every week! I was so happy to hear about the progress of my first branch of the mission.

For the coming week we have Zone Conference on Wednesday and it´s General Conference weekend! I am so excited! Enjoy listening to the words of the prophets! :) Lots of love!

Wow what a week- Heidi Baker's funeral sounds like it was a touching experience! You are so beautiful!! I am so blessed to have you as my mom! 💟😘Thank you so much for your long messages- I love reading them! To answer your question, my Spanish is just fine! Yes, my accent is still pretty strong but people can understand me- I´ve learned to accept it and now I feel more confident than ever talking to people in the streets. I know my Spanish could be better but I struggle to study the grammar- it is so boring and I do better just listening and learning that way. I often try but end up using my language study time memorizing scriptures and reading El Libro de Mormon and looking up the words I don´t know.

Thanks for this email- haha its true that the water is terrible in Cañuelas but after a few weeks I got used to it and now the more normal water here tastes weird. Oh and I found out that our area and ward is called San Jose but we work is actually called Rafael Calzada and our address is Fournier 1536. San Jose is the area of the Elders and is a little more dangerous. 

 Area of Audrey's Apartment in San Jose

                                      Neighborhood Area (via Google Earth)

San Jose Chapel

Dad: Heidi´s testimony is amazing and it is inspiring to see Matt´s huge smile from the photo even in this hard time.

Thanks for your example of service- this week helping out with the funeral and with the temple too- amazing! As I hear about the families of my companions I am continually realizing what a great blessing it is to be a part of the McBride family. Hermana Roman is the only member of the church in her family and is one of 14 kids from different marriages but doesn't talk to her dad. She listened to the missionaries and was baptized when she was 15 years old. Her mom moved to Spain while she was on the mission and Hermana Roman won't be able to see her for a while when she gets home from her mission. Hermana Dias only has one sister and an aunt and uncle who are members. Her parents are separated and don´t have an interest in the gospel. Hermana Molinero´s parents are divorced too and are both members but are both really inactive. Her mom hasn't forgiven her as of now for her decision to stop studying and leave on the mission and they don´t talk. Their family situations are all complicated and broken.  And here I am with my parents still happily married and in the gospel and wonder what did I do to receive such an awesome family? You guys are in my prayers every night and I love you so much!