Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Week in New Area

So this week was a blast! It was really interesting to say the least because there have not been missionaries in this area for over 7 or 8 years. We are serving in an even poorer area than my last. We spend most of our days in the sticks walking around to houses made out of mud, cement/sticks and tarps, with the majority being tarps. I love them all.

We also have a large area that is way bigger than my last one, which I thought that was huge. Our zone is so spread out because we are serving in the country. I love to go walking in part of our area that is full of sugar cane fields. It's about a 45-1 hour walk depending if we book it (lol), but it's nothing but sugar cane fields on either side of us. I have yet to try it straight from the field but all of the people want to give us some. Right now we are in the proccess of finding a machete or a very large pocket knife to skin it so we can eat it. lol

In this new area, we are starting from scratch. We have no investigators, no converts and a very very old carpeta de area, which translates to knocking like crazy. Every day for at least half of our days we are knocking, but I especially love knocking in our areas. We are having some good luck and currently have 12 new progressing investigators and 6 people commited to baptism at the end of the month. We will continue to teach them to help them prepare for this date that they will feel confident of their decision. I am so grateful to be here and to have this opportunity to serve them and to share in their life experiences. Because of the size of this area, we have a lot of work to do but I know that president has confidence in us and we have to prove him right. lol I don´t know how but we are trying!

My comp is a good, good worker. I love her to death. I didn't know how I felt about an American comp because I like speaking Spanish all day with my Latin comps. It really helped me with my Spanish and I have developed a good accent but being with her is still great. We are working hard and giving it our all.

This week we asked the Bishop for a blessing to work in his area and we also wanted to talk to him about how we could help get the ward growing and going. Well he said he would but then started to talk to us about his life and how this calling has been very difficult for him and within the first couple of minutes of listening, I knew that this night was not for us but just to help him out and to listen. It was a good conversation and quickly found out that this ward needs a ton of help. There are about 450 members but only about 25 go to church. I was shocked! So this week we are going to be setting up activities with the R.S and Priesthood to visit menos activos. We are going to have a meeting and talk about the importance of members in this work and their role as members. A lot of them are really young members and don't really understand how these programs run and the importance of them so we will be having a lot of activites/meetings to learn about the church programs and the role of being a member. I'm excited but I feel a bit overwhelmed, but what can I do, this is the mission right?! So I'm just going to suck it up and work all I can during the day and sleep hard in the night. lol

I love the mission and I know it's going to be hard to leave them. Dad was right when he said that it is hard to leave people when you have invested so much into them and when you serve them with all your heart, you feel like you belong with them.

love amanda

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My New Area

My mission president is sending me to St. Pedro, Jujuy (San Pedro de Jujuy, Argentina). I am going to open up a new area for the hermanas with an hermana that is finishing her mission in 2 months. I am so excited but I think my president is crazy for sending me to open a new area! I don't know what I'm doing!! LOL

I am now in my new area and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to open up a new area! I don´t know really what I'm doing here but President thinks I can do something so I guess I will attempt to do ¨something¨. lol

Anyway, this week was really amazing but terribly sad. I never realized how attached I was to my area until these past two weeks. I have not been able to stop crying. I do fine until they hug me and then start crying, or the men shake my hand and the grip gets tighter and tighter as they begin to cry also. I always thought that I could hold my own in a hand shake, but man they can squeeze hard when they start to cry. It was almost as if this was their way of hugging me, but these types of hugs were a little stronger and a bit more painful than the kind I like.

This week was great! Veronica and Celeste were baptized and their whole family came along with many people from the ward! It was wonderful! I learned the song 'His Hands' in Spanish to sing for their baptism because it was the two converts' favorite song. That was really fun to do for them. Then our other investigator showed up with a huge cake that she made at the house for everyone that attended the baptism to eat afterwards. It was amazingly delicious!

Afterwards, she asked if she could speak to me alone. As we walked into the chapel to have some privacy, she started to cry. She then began to tell me how happy she was that we knocked on her door 4 weeks ago. Before then, she really never had faith in God, but every time we enter her house, she feels different and wants to keep her commitments of reading, praying and going to church. She said that we have given her a new strength, especially this week with her and her husband. They have not talked this whole week because he is gone for business and hasn´t come back yet. She said that prayer has helped her to come closer to God and that she knows with a surity that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the Church of God. She thanked me for sharing this gospel with her and the blessings that come from it and she wants to be baptized now and not wait any longer. I just lost it. I was so happy for her and I feel so blessed to be a part of her experiences! She has invited us to start teaching her children more regularly now and they all want to be baptized. Now all of that is left for my old comp and her new comp to talk to the father more about these things and teach him more firmly. I am so grateful to be here and to have this opportunity to serve the people in Argentina. It's not always easy but I have learned to love in a different way that is more profound and more sincere. I am beginning to understand more about the pure love of Christ and how I can obtain it and grow with it. The mission is really humbling and I realize every day how much pride I have and that hermanas are difficult. I feel for those elders that have to deal with us, but out of all of our stupid girl problems, I know that we can make a difference when we work with everything that God has given us and forget about our personal pride and self needs.

I am excited to be in my new area and excited to open it up and to break ground here and be the first to tread the ground and share what I have. Next week I will send pictures of my new area and also of the baptism. I love you all tons! Remember to thank God for all that we have because we really do have it all and the people here that have nothing are more humble and grateful than we have ever been. I love it here and I think it is going to be very difficult to come home. I miss you all very dearly (don´t think that I don´t .. lol) but I am learning what true service is and that my heart and soul is truly with them right now.

love amanda

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Hi All,
This week was busy! I found out ahead of transfers that I am changing areas because my comp is going to be a trainer. We are going to be in a trio this week. The new girl will arrive here tomorrow and I will leave Monday in the morning with everyone else. I don´t know where I am going but I will find out Friday so Monday I will email you again. I am really sad because I love this area and my comp is so much fun. All this week, I have been telling the people here that I am going to another area and that I leave on Monday. Well, it's been nothing but water works. Everyone, I mean every family, investigators, and members have been crying. I was doing great at first b/c I always knew that I had to change areas as some point, but darn it they are making it really really hard. I have cried with every one of them so it has been pointless to use makeup because it is all gone to waste after the first visit.

There have also been some good things this week. I have two baptisms this week and 3 next week. I am sad that I can´t be there for the 3 next week b/c they are a family that we found while knocking doors that have been inactive for about 12 years. We started teaching them, we have family home evenings and now their kids want to be baptized, including their cousin. They are 3 boys ranging from 10-13 years old. I love them to death and now the family has been active this past month. I am so happy for them! The two that we are baptizing this week are two sisters that are part of a inactive family also. They were a referral from their aunt, who is a memeber. We started teaching them and invited them to be baptized. The mom is a member and always talks during the lessons. She talks the whole time but always finds an excuse to not go to church, which is really irritating. And now she has been resisting us to baptize her younger daughter. The two girls are amazing! One is Veronica, 22, and the other sister is Celeste, 9. They are so smart and always keep their compromises with us!! Regardless of the silly mother, they are both going to be baptized this weekend.

I had a miracle happen this week! A couple that I met my very first week and worked my whole time with my first comp finally came around. Their names are Diego and Marisol, both 30 yrs old. They have a kid about 2 years old, are not married but are amazing people. They were my very first investigators and I love them to death, but when it came down to it they didn´t want to get married. Well I should correct this he didn´t want to get married, but she is dying to be married to him. So about 4 weeks ago we stopped visiting them because they were not progressing and they can´t be baptized without being married. This has made me so sad. But this week, a member ran into them and started chatting and told them about me leaving and all of the arrangements. They asked the member if they could talk to me one more time before I left and if it was allowed that they see me off at the terminal. Well obviously this member called us asap and my comp and I stopped by their house this week. We chatted and caught up on life. They gave us the usual tea and bread and my comp pulled out her scriptures to share a part and then we would leave. After she shared her part and started packing up, about this time I was thinking to myself that this is sad because I love this family but I am so irritated with them that they won´t talk about getting married at all. I really love them! They were my first family and I wanted so much for them but you can´t help people that don´t want help. Just as I started to stand up, I felt a strong pulse in my body to sit back down, so I did. The next thing I felt was my heart beating rapidly like I had just ran a hundred meters. I have never felt like this before and had no idea what the heck was going on, though for a split second I was sick or something of the sort, but just as quickly as all of these thoughts came, they left. I can never forget the next feelings and thoughts that came to me. I looked at Diego and Marisol and felt more love in my heart than I can describe. I knew clearly what I needed to say to them and had no trouble explaining my thoughts or feelings to them. I began to tell them what they meant to me and then with all the firmness that I possessed, I don´t know why but I began to tell them all about marriage and the importance of it for them right now!!! I told them that they had to get married now and set a date and start to change their priorities to the things that they knew to be right and true. SO basically, I talked for about 10 mins. and then ended with a question. I asked Diego if he wanted to be married to Marisol, which he replied yes. Then I told him to ask his wife. SO he did he ask her if she wanted to be married to him. She beamed at him and said yes! It was the first time she had heard this question from him and was so happy. He was shocked! He asked her again if she really wanted to be married to him!!...( well it was a new experience for all of us) lol After that, he asked when they wanted to be married and she said that July was enough time to get all the things ready for the wedding and for her family to save some money to visit. I just wanted to cry. I was so happy! So the miracle is that they are going to be married on June 24th and then be baptized the following weekend. They are now in the process of getting their paper work done. A member in our stake gave them the paper for free, which is normally 350 pesos. That's a lot of money for them, but now they have more money to save. I am so happy for them and I cant´wait to write them from my new area and hear about all the plans.

So now for the funny story of the week. We were at a member's house and I was sitting at the table talking with the family & my comp and playing with the dog. Their dog has a toy and I was playing fetch with him. Well, we had been playing for about 10 mins. while I was just sitting at the table. He would bring me the toy and I would throw it so on and so on. Well I had the toy and my comp asked me a question and I began to look at some book with her and our member. I had completely forgotten about the anxious dog and had my left arm up on the table to prop my head (my body leaning forward) and my right arm on the top on the table with my hand hanging off the table in front of my chest (this hand had the toy). Well, not more than 1 min passes by and the anxious dog wanted his toy so in his haste to snatch the toy from my hand he bit my chest the first try and then bit my hand with the toy on the second try. He then tried to run off with the toy and my whole fist in his mouth, but lucky for me he was a pup and doesn´t bite hard. So basically I just felt a sting in my chest and slobber and a bit more sting in my right hand, but that is the story of my life.

Well I have to go but I will talk to you later. I love you tons.
love amanda