Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baptism & Zone Conference

Well this week was great .. again. lol I guess that's about it! Just kidding. What did we do? ummm.. So we had a baptism this weekend and it was my comp's first baptism. It was a great baptism of a woman, Carmen Domingo Castillo. It's family! lol She is 67 and is amazing. In two weeks, her 16 year old son is going to be baptized. It's really awesome to see the change with this family because now all the older siblings are being taught.

Two days before the baptism, all of her children were in her house when we happened to stop by. It was a great blessing. The three older ones listened to us explain a little about our church and what their mother was about to do and why she felt like it was right. Carmen was able to finally share with them her feelings and thoughts about the church and it was awesome. We asked them to continue learning and to find out for themselves if it was true upon which they accepted. We passed them on to the other elders in our district because they are not in our area but they are golden references. They really were actively listening and participating and it was so amazing to see Carmen just radiating with joy from the fact that her children were listening.

This week we had a surprise conference with Elder Foster. He is now in the area presidency here in the 70. He and his wife are actively learning Spanish. He knows a decent amount (maybe from a mission) but it's fun to see them learning just like us. Anyway, at the end, we got a pic with him and our zone and he took one with all three zones that were there for this conference. It was really great! I loved every min of it, but the really cool part was after we got our pic with him. We were shaking hands and my president said he needed to talk to me for a min. and that it was nothing serious but to hang around. So my comp and I hung around.

After all of the hand shaking, my president pulled me into a room with Elder Foster. I thought to myself, "oh shoot what did I do?" My pres went to shut the door and never came back. It was just Elder Foster and I. I looked at him and my heart began to race. He then began to talk and said, "Hermana Castillo, I saw you out there during the conference and felt that I needed to get to know you." ( I just looked at him with a blank expression.) Then, he began to ask me about every question that someone could about my family, my life, before the mission, my dreams, my goals, my hobbies, my mission, how it was going, if my zone was obedient, if I think that we could be better and so on and so on. We talked for about 10-15 min. It was fun, but at the end I was really confused as to why he wanted to talk to me and what he had told my president. But, that was that and he wished me good luck and said that we will meet again. Ya, it was sweet! I got to talk with Elder Foster, but I was way nervous and I think my answers were very basic and to the point. lol Oh well, it was fun!

On Sundays at a member's house, I began learning to play the guitar. It's not that hard actually and I just need to practice. lol The mom is always cooking for a while so that gives me time every Sunday to practice a little. It's really cute because the dad and his four sons are helping me out. It's so much fun and always at the end the dad sings folk music. He sounds like a real native old singer.

The sons have taught me how to beat the Rubik cube. I can do it now in about ten min. My comp and I bought one and we practice when he have really long walks between appts. and at night before we sleep. lol Yep, real nerds, but we aren't going to stop until we can do it in less than two min. lol So, this family is really funny and I love them all.

This area is really great with a lot of room for improvement in all parts and for all of us, but this area has potential to be the baptism city. There are so many people that are progressing and that want to know the truth.

I have to go but I love you all so much.

love amanda


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

From Argentina With Love

So a lot has been going on here. I was really happy with this week. My new comp really doesn't know Spanish very well but I am very sure that we all went through that. lol It's very interesting to be with her when I am still learning the language. I now have to really study hard to learn something new. I find myself wanting to revert to the old Spanish when I am with her. lol. (the broken everything in the infinitive form never conjugated). It's really fun because we laugh a lot! So I guess her trainer was a little rough on her and she never got to teach nor have the phone. (well nothing really)

So all this week I let her start the lessons, have the phone and do all the fun paperwork. She loved it! lol I was happy for her and we set a goal that we could only talk in spanish in the streets and in the house she could have a break. This next week, she will ask someone to be baptized. It's really fun to be with a new person because they have all the confidence in you and are wanting to do everything all at once.

When we had our planning session, I put our numbers down and she just laughed. She said there wasn't any way that we could do this. I have been in this area and I have never been close to getting these numbers. She also has not had one baptism in 3 months. This area is a little slow right now and she thinks that this area can't change and that she will never have success. Well, this week was amazing! We met all the goals I put and above and every day she just laughed and said that she couldn't believe we taught so much. She never though it was possible. lol Every night, she went straight to bed after planning. lol She has been really really tired, but it was amazing. So, we got a call from our zone leaders and said that we blew out all the numbers in the whole state of Jujuy. lol I just laughed and said he needed to tell my comp. When she got on the phone and heard the news, she started screaming and jumping up and down. Then, after all the happy things were over, she fell asleep in 5 min. This morning, she woke up and asked if this week was going to be like last week because her body was screaming at her. lol It was really funny and we all just started laughing.. (PS: all four of us hermanas sleep in the same room with bunk beds. The other two hermanas are great and am so glad I get to live with them and get to know them. We are all gringas in this pension.)

I loved this week! We worked really hard and now my comp really believes everything I say and is so pumped to get working and get her first baptism. lol I love it! I love the mission so much. All of the little joys I get out of it are incomparable to everything else. There truly is no time like now. lol

One investigator that we have is addicted to drugs, smoking and, drinking. My comp has been teaching him for 3 months and nothing has changed. This week my new comp & I met with him and we began to talk. One thing my comp didn't know is that his daughter just passed away. That came out during our talk. Evidently, when he was visiting her in Bolivia during a holiday called Dia de niƱos, (Kids' day) an accident happened and his daughter died. It was a sad story that he told us, but it allowed us to talk about his goals and were he wanted to go after this life. We taught him about how families can be together forever and that in order to receive these blessings we must be obedient to the commandments. We read him the scripture from 2 Nephi 2:27 and how we are free to choose our own happiness,or our own destruction. At the end of the lesson, he was asking a ton of questions of how he could change and how could he start and if it was possible to live with his girl again. We developed goals for him to quit the drugs and alcohol cold and to only smoke 15 cigarettes rather than 20 a day. We also set up appts every day with him to have an activity with people and to give him a little boost. This whole week, he completed all of his goals and now we are going to cut his smoking down to 15 every day. He accepted to be baptized and so we are hoping that he will be able to keep up with his goals to be baptized. We will be meeting with him every day to help him out. We will always have an activity at the church with a few members to help give some support since we can't go to his house.

This area is great and I know I am going to love it. I think I will be here for a while since my comp has been here for 3 months. I am thinking I will be here for 4 to 6 months, then one more area before I think I will be home. It's sad to be thinking that, but I think that is reality.

Well, I have to get going, but I will talk to you later.