Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hermana Castillo & Her Companion

The computer stinks this week, so here's a pic instead. Will send more next week.
Love you,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This Week's Letter

I have now met the coolest, but ugliest dogs ever. They are native dogs that live in the mountains and the Indian tribes here use them a lot for their medicinal reasons. But here in town, a lot of people use them too. They are BALD and wrinkly with gray,black skin, but super super hot. People who have problems regulating body temperature have these dogs sleep on them and then they don't have the problem anymore. It is crazy but everyone says it works. So look this dog up. I don’t think they let dogs this ugly in the states.

We are now teaching 3 teenage girls to speak English. (I am also teaching my comp, but that is a mission rule.) All American comps must teach English to their Spanish companions for an hour every day, so its great. I love it, but it is hard when you don’t remember why we speak the way we do. lol I can't remember all of the rules of why. I just know we do. lol But, I am getting a book this week from the president to help out.

As for other opportunities for the discussions, we are going to teach an English teacher the gospel. He asked me to practice English with him and I said I would teach him only if I could teach him the lessons in English. He agreed. His mom is a member, he is 29 and teaches children English. It was funny because his mom invited us over for 'a snack' but really to meet him and teach him. Well, it worked. Mom’s are allowed to be like that!

So anyway, it is great here. Hard and always hot, but it is great. The people are wonderful. We have two more commitments for baptism and hopefully two more by the end of the week, but we will see how things go.

My comp and I were going to go buy some more sunblock and ran into this man who we always try to avoid just because he is a little weird. He grabs my comp and I by our hands and then proceeds to tell us how beautiful we are and how we should be married and not serving a mission. Then, he looks at me and asks me my age. I just tell him I'm way younger than him. (he is around 60-70) Then he tells me that if he was younger, he would marry me and that I am his Virgin Mary. I reminded him of the Virgin Mary?! My comp loses it and starts laughing so hard and I back up a few steps. I then grab my comp's hand and say my parting good-byes and we walk the other direction. Yeah, it was really gross. I didn't know what to say.

O.K. more stories of foreign language woes & strange customs. So this week, we were eating lunch with a member family and I mentioned to the older daughter (28yrs) that I like her earrings and they look great on her. She takes them off so I can look at them and then says that they are a gift for me. I said no and gave them back feeling very dumb. The father then started to tease me and say that it was rude and that I really didntt like them and so on. The whole family was laughing because my face looks sick because I thought he was serious. So I found out that day that I can turn red in the face. Well, when leaving their house, a man came out of one of the rooms to greet us. He was about 28 also so my comp and I thought that this was the daughter’s husband who was sleeping earlier. (her husband is not a member) So this man comes up and greets me with a kiss on the cheek. (When I got here, they told us the first time we meet people(non members) that it was ok to be greeted with a kiss, but the next time we are to explain to them the rules) So, he kisses me on the cheek and the whole family rushes in on us and starts SLAPPING THE GUY and shouting really fast!! Well, this was NOT the husband that my comp and I thought he was and it turned out that this person was the inactive brother we had never met. So anyway, the whole family was really embarrassed and kept apologizing to me and so on. Well, my comp had another good laugh and I was once again red.

So another funny story. My comp and I were eating lunch with another member family this week. On another previous dinnertime, we had talked about music and all the things we like to listen to. Well, the parents and I had a common interest, which was classical and opera, and my comp and I were able to connect with the inactive son (25yrs). So this dinner time, the family had prepared a series of songs that they played for us the whole time we were there. It was awesome and the son had made my comp & I each a CD of Latin music. It was awesome! He also gave my comp a game for us to play with our music too. (Its kind of like bingo but with music and lyrics) I had asked my comp what one word was and she started to laugh. In Argentina, the word Ramera means whore, (or tramp) but she thought it meant something else in English so she proceeded to tell me what this word was in English and said it very matter of factly (because she was proud that she new this English word) She said very loudly at the lunch table with the family there, "It means b####!" I was stunned. I looked at the family and they had no idea what was going on except for the son who spoke a little English. He and I looked at each other and then began to laugh so hard. My comp didn't understand that in English that was a really bad word. Really bad. lol So I explained it to her later, but who taught her that word? I sure never had during our English lessons! lol

So it doesn’t stop there. Right before we left, the son gave me lyrics to a song called Beseme Mucho and told me to read it later. Yes, I have a problem so look up the lyrics and have dad or the boys translate it. lol The son likes me and now I don't want to go eat with them again, but we eat with them every week on Wednesdays by assignment. Keep laughing! He is way cute. Probably the cutest guy I have ever seen, but I'm a missionary and now there is a problem. I have only met him twice now and spoken with him for maybe a min or two. We always talk with the parents because he doesn't like missionaries. He's inactive and thinks that we are here to get him back to church. So I told my comp and she just laughs and thinks this is such a funny situation. We'll have to fix this somehow. lol *sigh* More awkwardness for me. Guys move way fast here.

Ok. Next thing, I love you all so much. Next week, I will send a ton of pictures and videos. Send me some more photos. I loved the last ones, Denise. Thanks. My members love to see all of the photos of our family. I love you and pray for your safety always.

love amanda

Monday, January 18, 2010

Note from Argentina


So it rained for the first part of the week. It just poured and poured! It was funny b/c we were up to our ankles is water in some areas, and in others, my comp and I both lost our shoes in mud. They broke, so we took them in this week to get fixed. lol It was funny! Then, when it stopped raining it was scorching hot!!! It has almost been unbareable, but we make it. My clothes are drenched at the end of the day and we look really gross. lol Oh, our New Years was amazing! Wow, I have never seen fireworks like this before! We went on our roof at 11.45 and the fireworks were all over the city. You know all the fireworks that are illegal in every state beacuse they sound like a war is going on and make a lot of messes? Well, they are allowed here. lol It was amazing! For a full hour, we had the whole cities for miles around doing fireworks and all sorts of things. The had little floating hot air balloon looking things all over for wishes. It was awesome!

Ok, next, pray for Damian and Andres. They are the kids I told you about that just became members a week before I got here. Damian is 10 and Andres is 15. Their father is a good for nothing bumb. Andres works all the time filling up tires and cleaning windows on people's houses. I want to help them but I don´t know what to do. We bring them food about every other day and members invite them over for lunchs sometimes, but pray for them that they can get out of their bad living situation. The bishop wants to adopt them, but the dad of the kids said no. We think it is beacuse then he would have to work to feed himself. See, his kids wouldn´t be there anymore to take care of him and so forth. Bum. I am sooo angry with him. I really want to punch him, but i won´t. But if he ever gave me the chance, well man I sound like a mean missionary. I'm not, I'm just passionate. lol

So next, I have come to terms with my illness. I am just going to be sick my whole mission, I know it. I drink a half of a bottle of Creme de Bismol a day and it helps, so its not soo bad, but all the food is not good for me and the ONIONS! Oh the onions! I have been having some serious issues with that, but you can't say no so i have lost 6lbs. I think from all the heat here and the walking it's great b/c then I can eat more lunch.

OH so here's a really random story. My comp and I were contacting people and we came across two people making out under the tree. We figure ha why not?! lol So we aproach them and start talking and end up teaching them lesson 1 and lesson 2. In the middle of lesson two when we were talking about the Atonement, the guy starts crying. UMMM?? It was a little random. His name is Dani and he is 25. We stopped and asked what was wrong. Then, he sobbed harder and told us this story. When he was 16, he and two of his friends broke into our church (the church my comp and I are at). He waited outside as a watch while his friends went and stole a ton of things. Afterwards, his two friends were arguing about who gets what and he started to wonder if robbing a church was right. Then all of a sudden, his friend pulls out a gun and shoots his other friend and kills him. He watched the whole thing and didn´t know what to do. Well, the guy that shot his friend was caught and sent to jail and is still there. Dani said that he knew that God had punished them for stealing from Him and he was going to live with it for the rest of his life. He never stole from a church again, but he steals from other people. (I don´t know the logic, but there you have it) So anyway, he was crying because when we were talking about the Atonement and how you can be forgiven, he said that he knew that God had sent us to him at that moment to teach him these things and to forgive him. That after all this time, he can now be forgiven. (wow...) So he invited us to his house and we met his family and set up a time to meet with him tomorrow. He is really excited. I am really excited. So anyway, that is a way cool story I thought I would share with you.

The people here have gone through so much than we ever dream of and have seen so many horrible things with their government, in their homes and just everyday living. I admire them for their courage to live and their effort to make this world and this life better for everyone.

So another cool story. This Sunday was Fast & Testimony meeting. Well it was Damian's first time in this type of a meeting and he came over and grabed me and said, "Will you help me bare my testimony?" Well, I was nervous as all get out b/c of my Spanish!!! So anyway, I walked up there with him with him pulling me all the way up there by my hand wanting to sprint to the speaker. lol It was cute! Everyone had a good chuckle out of it. It was a great experience for me to help him give his very first testimony and then afterwards I bore mine. I was already up there so why not?!

Man, I love it here! Even with all of the humidity, crazy men, GIANT SPIDERS and crazy dogs, I love it and I wouldn´t change it for the world. Dear elder me and I will keep in touch. I am sorry I wasn´t able to reply to anyone this week, but I love all of your letters and I love all the stories.

Haley and Ammon,
I love you guys so much and miss you like crazy. I hope you are happy and doing well. Make sure you guys pray for me and play nice with each other. Oh, and tell Daddy he is a weenie tadepole. Give your mom and dad big hugs and big kisses for me. I love you very much and think about you all the time.
Aunt Amanda


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stories of the Week: SPIDERS!!!

So, the story for the week is about spiders.  Yep, that's right, the thing
I hate most in this world next to Satan himself. LOL So I have been
feeling great this week. I am pretty much over the bad food problem,
I only have to use the bathroom every 2-3 hours instead of every 15
min. LOL So, we are studying in our pention and I get up to go get
my laundry from the line hanging out in the sunroom. I look up and
there is this huge spider. Well, I heard they were big, but I hadn´t
seen one yet, so if you take your middle and thumb finger and put
them together in a circle, that was the spider. I am gossed out
because it is huge and has a giant white back. I didn´t know why it
was so ugly, but there you go. So, I knock it off the ceiling and it
drops. We scream, of course because its a spider, and then I take
the broom handle and squish it.

Well this is the nasty part, it made a huge crunch noise, squirted
juices and THEN a hundred babies started to run from it! It was
pregnant!!!! Now we were really screaming, stomping our feet
everywhere trying to get them all, crunch here and crunch there. It
was so nasty! I mean REALLY NASTY! My comp ran into the kitchen
and vomitted in the sink and I started gaging. Oh, I hate spiders!!!!

After we cleaned everything up, we left the pension for an appt. with
an investigator. On the way, we had to go through some pretty tall
grass about waste high when we came to a little clearing (we were
walking in really lucious areas for creepy crawly things and snakes....
ewww) I saw somthing drop right in front of us off of a palm looking
tree. I got closer and screamed again and jumped back into my
companion knocking her into the mud. (Woops on my part, sorry)
But I had a good reason. On the ground was a GIANT MUTATED
SPIDER! It was the size of MY FIST!!!!!! It was giant and brown and
it just ran away into the grass. The same grass that we walk through
almost everyday!!!! AWWWW, Ya it's nasty and I hate spiders! So
that is the story for the week.

Oh yeah, Mom, the scripture that I like is Alma 26.22. It's how to be a
kick butt missionary. I love you all soo much and I know this work is
amazing and what God wants us all to do. We are all missionaries.
Be that example to everyone. Read Alma 26.35-36. I hope we all
feel this way!!!! I love you all and think about you all the time every
second of my day. After all, am I not doing this to bless families!! And
you are one of my biggest drives to work hard and diligently. I want
others to have what I have and to experience the joy, happiness and
peace of mind that this gospel gives!!! 3 Nephi 18.20-21 Keep me
updated on everything! Send pics.

love you