Monday, July 25, 2016

2016.07.25 Week 8 - photos

2016.07.25 Week 8 - I am a blonde, white, blue eyed giant

It´s been a fantastic week for me! Definitely some hard parts but compared to last week it has been very very very VERY good. Shockingly I still am not fluent in Spanish, but despite this I am surviving. I notice everyday that I can understand more than I could the day before. Every word here is slurred together and this is called a sentence, but still everyone tells me my Spanish is very good. I´m assuming its like when I tell people their English is good. I say it because I can understand them and I get the point of what they are saying, not because it is perfect or even correct at all. I guess this is fine. Bowling last week was fun, but it turns out I am horrible. I LOVE THE FOOD AQUÏ! When the members make us lunch it is always super super good. The food that I make on the other hand is just the worst. Oh well. Everyday I eat oatmeal. OATMEAL. I hated oatmeal at home. But here I cover it in black sugar (yes black not brown), canela and slice up an apple in it. I just can't believe that I am eating oatmeal. Unreal. 

Get Up
Breakfast (OATMEAL)
Study for 4 hours (4 HOURS)
Teach A Lesson (Drink Mate)
Almuerzo con un miembro (lunch with a member)
Teach about 4 more lessons/walk around for 6 hours while people tell us they didn´t actually want to have an appointment with us and can we come back another day. (Drink 50 more mates because rather than eat, people drink mate)
Plan for the next day
Dinner (Some form of a quesadilla)

We walk a lot, a lot a lot. And it´s not walking, it's hiking. My calves are growing in like bricks. We live on a mountain and it seems like no matter where we are going we have to walk uphill, it's defying some law of science. I love the members of the ward, they are super nice and really want to help the missionaries. They also make really good food as previously mentioned. Sunday I got a blessing from the Bishop because our mission president asked all of us to get a blessing in order to strengthen our relationship with the Bishop. It was a super good blessing and helped me a lot.

Funny Stories of the Week:

We have an open house in the chapel every week for 1 hour on Fridays. This guy stops purely because he can tell that I speak English.  (I am a blonde, white, blue eyed giant here, there is nowhere for me to hide, kids are actually scared of me) I talk to him for a while and ask him where he's from. He says he is from the United States but was kicked out for practicing his religion. I ask what religion. He says, "I guess you would call it Christian" Hmm. Ok. Whatever. We talk more about religion and it turns out him and his family have been kicked out of a bunch of countries for practicing their religion. He was actually LOCO. We asked him what he believed about God and he went into some commentary about how the church is the spouse of Jesus, and how evil the government is. Then we found out that his family are the only people practicing whatever religion. I can't be sure but I am pretty sure their religion is some form of terrorism. PSYCHO, but really funny.

I go to turn off the sink in the kitchen after washing some dishes. The knob just falls off of the sink. Water is just shooting in this giant stream into the kitchen. AHHHHHHH. I start yelling AYUDAME (help me!) My companion comes over and then we spend forever trying to fix it. It was seriously sooooo funny, but so annoying. The whole kitchen was a lake. We tried to turn off the water in our house but that switch apparently doesn't work. So we were trying to fix the knob while the water kept shooting. Eventually we got it fixed and it was very very funny! We are both soaking wet and the kitchen is a lake. WELCOME TO NOT AMERICA.

Spiritual Thought of the Week:

The gospel truly blesses lives. It is so much more obvious here than in America because most people in America are just richer in general, but here the people who are members just have so much more. You can see the gospel in their homes, their food, their faces, their cars, their clothes. Everything. The gospel isn't just this fun nice thing. It actually makes a huge difference in our lives. And when we live it we are SO blessed. I want more people to receive these blessing and this is just another reason to serve a mission!

Monday, July 18, 2016

2016.07.18 Week 7 - I felt the need to invent the word "enojambre"

Craziest week of my life so far. Monday morning I flew out with my district to Atlanta and then Buenos Aires. It was tan loco.  About 24 hours of travel. Then we arrived in Buenos Aires, were driven to a different airport and shipped to each of our missions. This was about 3 more hours of flight for me. We got to Neuquen and went to the mission home and had some empanadas that were the best. Then spent the night with some sisters in Neuquen.

The next day we spent the morning dealing with our visas, and met our trainers in the afternoon. My trainer is also an STL so we had to stay an extra day at the mission home so she could attend a meeting. She went to the meeting on Wednesday while I sat in an apartment all day and starved, then we had a bus leaving at midnight to go to my area Bariloche. This was 9 more hours, we got to Bariloche by morning and then just started working.

Still no food. At this point I realized food was not actually important to my trainer and then felt the need to invent the word "enojambre" lo mismo as "hangry" in english. So we went to the store and finally bought some food, the food is very different here. It is much cheaper than in America but because of our budget we can´t actually buy any of it. This is very depressing because apparently I am addicted to food. We were able to buy something similar to tortillas and something kind of like cheese so I have been making some version of quesadillas. 

My trainer is really awesome. She only speaks Spanish which is really lonely but I know it is a good thing because I need to learn. Every person I talk to says I am paired with the best person in the mission. We had quite a few lessons this week and I invited a woman named Marela to be baptized and she said yes so that´s cool.

Before Argentina I dreamed of things like the Bahamas and MacBooks, now I dream of Vacuums and toilets that don´t need to be fixed after every use.

Honestly, it has been an extremely hard week and I realize that this letter is pretty depressing, but I have come much closer to Christ as I am forced to rely on him, he knows English.

Today is finally P-Day and after this, I am going bowling so all is well.  HAHAHA. The other thing I forgot, I got to church and ended up having to speak and also taught Gospel Doctrine. The mission is a weird place, we are the people that everyone relies on to know everything. Also, I taught my companion how to make french toast because I figure it is cheap and we have all the supplies. So we had breakfast with some investigators that we took to church. They all think it is "tan rico."

You are all awesome and thank you mucho for your prayers!

I have no idea what any of these pictures are and they took half of my time to upload so I hope they work, but if there is a picture of a potato its because its the best food I've eaten since arrival. The MTC weight is probably already gone.

(Editor's note: It's super common in South America to see clothing with English words on them. No one knows what the words mean, but the items are popular because they're "American." I once saw a man in Ecuador walking down the street, wearing a shirt that said, '"Baby on Board.")

Editors note about Bariloche:
San Carlos de Bariloche (commonly called Bariloche), in Argentina's Patagonia, is a town bordering Lago Nahuel Huapi, a large glacial lake surrounded by the snow-crowned Andes. It's known for its Swiss alpine architecture and its chocolate, sold in shops lining Calle Mitre, the main street. It's also a popular base for hiking and skiing the nearby mountains and exploring the surrounding Lakes District. (via Google)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016.07.12 Week 6 - lots of flying and travel

SLC airport on July 11th.

The group then flew to Atlanta, then to Buenos Aires, then to Neuquén.

First e-mail home from Argentina on July 12th:

I am alive and in my mission. Yay! Lots of flying and travel but here I am, asking every second if this is real. Love you all and will tell you more about Argentina when I actually email. My mission presidents are awesome!
Hermana Lejos

Saturday, July 9, 2016

2016.07.09 Week 6 - thanks to a fabulous companion

I'm still alive. I'm not dead. I leave the country on Monday. 

I've spent the last 2 days in the Dentist/Hospital/ER. My companion will no longer be coming to Argentina with my district. 

She went to a last minute dentist appointment yesterday because she thought she might have a gum infection, it ended up being a root canal so they just fixed it right then. Talk about disgusting, I had to sit and watch her get a root canal fixed. So because of that, I missed 4 hours of in-field orientation. She was kind of out of it and feeling sick for the rest of the day. I think because of the drugs, she was just super tired. So our teacher told us to go home a little early so she could go to bed. We walked home and when we got there she was feeling a little pain in her chest. It just got worse, she told me not to worry about it but I could tell it was really bad, eventually I went and called the front desk. They sent security and we headed to the emergency room. So I was in the ER with my companion until about 2 AM when they left her in the hospital and sent me back to the MTC. It turns out she has a super inflamed pancreas, i think it's called "Pancreatitis" They let us go back today and say goodbye to her because she will not be coming to Argentina. 

Last night was honestly super hard and made me want to come home. Usually in emergency room situations I just call home, but in this situation all I could do was try and lay on the two folding chairs in the room. It's hard to feel completely helpless. So I was basically just in the ER with no phone or anything, the MTC just dropped us off. It was super depressing. Also I felt soooo bad when they made me leave, my companion was crying so hard and I was literally the only familiar thing there, so I had no idea why they wouldn't have me stay. Also, it was just me and a male security guard on the way home. It was fine but I am pretty sure that isn't actually allowed.

So overall, all is well. But I have had a super crazy few days. I have not packed anything. I got about 4 hours of sleep. And I missed 4 meals. Good thing this church is true because missions are really hard. NO ME GUSTA. So please pray for Hermana Thompson so that they can figure out what is up. I am grateful to have a super supportive district here helping me.  It was a really hard end to what should have been an exciting week.

And on to other news. No need to dwell on the WORST. Elder W admitted his love to me, he says he plans on growing a few inches on his mission so we can get married. Hahaha, he was friends with Caleb in high school and he also knows JoJo (BYU friends). So he will have to fight Joe for my hand. I know for a fact that Joe would win.

I had some really spiritual lessons this week with our investigator Andres. Thanks to a fabulous companion. I'm just super bummed about the whole companion situation because I was so blessed to begin with.

I got to see the Cutlers when I hosted on Wednesday which was super awesome. Gotta love a familiar face. Love them.

I appreciated an awesome package from the Christianson's. I pretended that the glowsticks were fireworks and I was celebrating the fourth of July.

Yay for Argentina and trying to be happy. I know that through Christ I can be happy and that things will work out for my companion. I finished the Book of Mormon this week and it was super awesome. This is one of the things I read this week and it really helped me and my companion with everything that has happened. 3 Nephi 21:10 "But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." I know that this is very true and that she will end up in Argentina when God needs her there. I have really loved reading the Book of Mormon again. Most likely because I have actually been studying it this time. It is such a fun and interesting book, LOVE IT!

I am excited because I am planning on getting Cafe Rio in the airport on Monday. We have a layover in Atlanta and I've been designated as the travel leader of my group. Yikes. I know nothing. But I feel very good about the whole thing since I will be with my whole district.

Ciao. Next post will be from Argentina.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2016.07.06 new missionary host

Rachel got to see her "Trek Grandma & Grandpa" while working as a host for the new missionaries coming into the MTC.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2016.07.02 Week 5 - two miracles occurred

One month down, seventeen to go. That is the craziest thing ever. It has gone by SUPER fast. To start off the week we got slacks from the MTC. I think mine are actually from Nordstrom and Banana Republic, but honestly, they are mucho feo. It is necessary that they be 98% wool, CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW HOT I AM GOING TO BE. Oh well. We are even supposed to wear them to church and then change to normal clothes when we get there. #unreal 

On Wednesday we hosted for all the new missionaries that got dropped off. It was super sad to see all of them saying goodbye to their families, especially since we've been here and realize what they are in for. They are going to have our district do it again next week. I didn't end up hosting anyone because all the other sisters were being psycho. I'm not gonna get in a fist fight with someone over who gets to walk someone to their room. Oh well. I did end up getting a sunburn from this, it was actually hilarious because I was wearing a shirt with a peephole and I had a perfect tan/burn of that hole on my back. My district spent the whole time making jokes about what we would actually say to these missionaries if we could say anything:

"I hope you took a nap before, because you are not going to sleep for the next 2 years."

"Have you had acne before, no, well get ready"

"How do you feel about gaining weight?"

"What language are you learning? **********Burst out laughing"

"How do you feel about diarrhea?"

"Are you prepared to rap all of the hymns in your mission language?"

Also, a million other things that we would never say but apply perfectly to the MTC. It's funny that by week two in the MTC you are a complete expert.

Thursday we all had a mental breakdown. I ended up getting a blessing from one of the elders in my district and it was superbien. I just got hit with a huge feeling of inadequacy. I realized how soon I am going to the field and how little I feel like I know. I definitely do not feel prepared to tell the people of Argentina something that is super important, and I was just feeling bad because I don't feel like I have done everything I could have to prepare. The blessing was exactly what I needed to hear and it is super cool to see the elders use their priesthood.

We got our flight plans on Friday and we are leaving a week from Monday. LOCO. Two miracles occurred in regards to our flights. First, somehow we all ended up on the same plane which is great because we love each other. I don't separate from my district until Buenos Aires. Second, we leave the MTC at 8:50 AM. Everyone, literally EVERYONE, I have talked to before has left at 2 AM and somehow we get sooooo blessed and get to leave at 8:50. Anyway #Godisreal It's super crazy that we are all actually going on missions, I am so excited and so scared. Also very happy because the airport has a cafe rio.

Hermana Lejos

Me doing laundry.

I'm sure my blog had enough followers by now that no matter what I do they want to see.

My favorite Hermanas. I love them mucho.

Me and Elder W looking #enfermo.

Us and our favorite locos.

The most awkward picture I could take with Harry Potter.

The people that I love.

Guess what, I'm going on a mission.

Perfect description of the district.

This is me.

A small taste of what it is like in the real world.