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!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Week 42: Transferred to the "Big City"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Week 41: Scripture Hunt, Flooded Apartment, Upcoming Transfer

Next week is transfers and I should leave Cañuelas! I am so ready to leave to a ward where there aren't so many problems and where finding new investigators may be easier. It is so hard to find new people here and the people we have don't progress very much. We started teaching a new less active family this week and they are so great but they don't feel like they have friends or support. The branch here isn't very unified or very big and it is true that is is hard to feel a part of something. When the branch isn't very welcoming or very organized it is hard for investigators or less actives to progress and stay firm. It is sad because this will be my last week with Hermana Dias. She goes home on June 12 so we might not cross paths again! I will find out on Saturday where I will go and who will be my new companion!

Mom, the Relief Society activity sounded really great and the music night with the missionaries too! That is so great that Beth could go to both and feel the Spirit too.  We organized another activity this week with the goal that the members and investigators can have cool experiences in the church. The activity had the theme "Busqueda del Tesoro" (treasure hunt) where different scripture hints would lead to other hints hidden throughout the church and eventually lead to two different treasures- a bag of candy and more importantly the scriptures. My comp made an awesome treasure chest from cardboard. It was sad because none of our investigators or less actives that we invited came.  But a few of the elder´s investigators came and three member families. Those that participated enjoyed it!

Finding the "Tesoro" at Our Activity

The weather is starting to get cooler here too. Good luck in the snow! All three of my companions and a lot of other missionaries who live in South America have never seen snow! Somebody said that 7 years ago it snowed a little bit here in Cañuelas for the first time in a long time. Even though it can be annoying, I am so grateful for my memories of playing in the snow! It would be so sad to never have those experiences!

Highlights for this week are that we found a new investigator named Mirian! She has an incredible amount of faith and is so humble and accepting of the gospel. She was so excited about baptism and has a date for April 8. She has to work on Sundays so that is a problem. We´ll see how it goes with her!

On Friday we had interviews with President Calquin and it was so great as always. He always knows exactly what to say to help me. He is doing a great job as mission president. His youngest son is leaving for his mission to Lima, Peru this next week. It is interesting that he will be in the same place as you guys- a parent of a missionary. He already had other sons that served missions but still. 

Look above the church sign and  you can see that someone threw a rock through our window this week😟

Lets see. On Wednesday night we had a huge wind and rainstorm in the middle of the night that woke us up. The doors here in Argentina have the a crack at the bottom of the door so we have to be really careful not to leave food out because ants will crawl in through the crack. We found out that it is also a problem when it rains because water comes in! It rained so much that water was just flowing in. Our living room and kitchen was flooded with a good inch or two of water. Luckily we woke up and moved our mattresses from the floor. And the floors here are all tile so is wasn't too bad to clean up. We needed to mop the floor anyway!

Other than that, I still loved reading the scriptures. Since November I have been doing my studies in Spanish. This week I was especially grateful for this opportunity to learn another language. I read through Alma 42 this week and I loved it so much. The book of Alma is amazing! The scriptures have different meanings or stresses on different words in Spanish and it gives a new perspective on the verses. I am finding that the lyrics of the hymns in Spanish are much prettier than English and have more meaning in Spanish too! I am out of time but I love you guys! I am praying for you too!

The Train that Takes us From Cañuelas to the rest of the World

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Week 40: "Over the Hump," Planting Seeds, I Love the Scriptures!

We really are paving the way for other missionaries to baptize our investigators. Regina was visiting family all week and didn't come to church. Maria del Carmen who has been searching and in need for a better job found one, but she has to work Sunday mornings so neither of them will be baptized on their planned date. Throughout the week we were searching for someone ready who could be baptized quickly and we thought we found three potentials but they all three of the appointments fell through and we could never end up teaching them this week. One of the contacts we had made was super friendly and we got so excited but when we went back a few days later for the appointment. He was outside his house and when he saw us coming he went inside and then didn't answer the door. Strange huh?

That was how it went all week- we taught very little and were out clapping doors more than usual (most people here have gates outside their houses so we have to clap instead of knock). At least this week it was a little cooler than usual. People have their lives and their things to do and we couldnt find anyone outside of our normal investigators who would let us in. At times it is hard to keep the faith that somebody will listen and accept the gospel but then I study the scriptures and they always help me out. This week I read D&C 15 which talks about the importance of preaching the gospel. I read Alma 10-24 too about when King Lamoni and his father and then a whole bunch of cities are converted. The Anti-Nephi-Lehi´s are formed and they would rather die than fight against the Lamanites. And then when the Lamanites see their example and great faith and repent and are converted too! I am gaining a new love for the scriptures and I can say I am feasting on the words of Christ more than ever. They are incredible!

The highlight of the week was a baptism of an investigator of the Elders. Our ¨baptismal font swimming pool thing broke so we had to travel to the nearest chapel to have the baptism. It was a really great service! The girl is 18 years old and should have her baby in 2 weeks! I played the piano and the Elders of the other ward said that nobody knows how to play the piano in their ward. They just sing a capela every week. They said it was so good to sing with a piano! Tell the kids to keep practicing because it is so useful to know how to play!

After the baptism we had lunch with the Huertas family and while we were waiting for the train we decided to have a mini photo shoot on the tracks. This huge white dog came and I guess wanted photos too! If you guys have forgotten there are so many dogs here!  

Also, Hermana Dias surprised me with a "cumple-mes" ["Happy Month"] banner for my 9 months in the mission! She is so sweet!

Well that's all for this week- sorry its not too exciting! Love you guys!