Tuesday, November 17, 2015

10/5/2015

Well, this week... it was a better week. Our health was pretty good, we worked some good days. Hna B has a foot problem, so that held us back this week, but it was a better week all in all. Well, that's not that important- there are two big newses (is that a word????)

1. The Bad News- TRANSFERS. It was the worst transfers of my life. Hna B  and I are staying together... that's the only good part. They took away E. Idaho and E. Chile. We feel like we just went thru the worst breakup ever! And the Elders left us with all of the investigators. It's a really big responsibility!!! They have this young guy who's really progressing, but he's got a lot of problems. We're freaking out because the Elders worked so hard with him, and he cried when they told him they were leaving, and we don't want to break him, and all the members are freaking out, and he's a young single guy and that's just awkward. Whoff, breathe, I think we'll get through it... any advice? And then they took out our district leader, and it's just like getting dumped. He'd been helping us so much and then they just took him out. And they're not giving us a new one. They're just leaving the Zone Leaders in charge. And they're really good guys, but they have a lot of responsibilities, and they can't call us every night, and focus on helping us, like our DL did. So there's that. We were just really sad last night. But we're really excited for this transfer. We're going to clean EVERYTHING in the house, change up the furniture (we're hoping the fung-shui gets better) and hit the ground running (well, limping in Hna B's case.) Did anything happen like this to you in the mission??? Any advice? Any consejo y consuelo?


2. The Good News- CONFERENCE!!!!!!!! Well, it rocked my socks! Knocked my lights out!! I just wanna send you all my notes, but I've decided to send you the themes that stuck out to me and some of the talks I liked on those themes. But it's funny, I was watching with like three "glasses"- for my investigators, for me as a missionary, and for me as a person, a woman today trying to find my way. So, it was just a really interesting perspective. And just some interesting logistical notes; the first session we watched in Spanish with everyone. Then we watched the second in English alone with the church computer, the third in English, but on a big, swanky tv and a cute little member lady who speaks English came in for a bit, then the last session we watched on the little computer, but with the new guy from the states and his Mexican comp (don't worry, he speaks English!). It was just a really interesting experience... well, with out further ado, the topics:
     *The plan of Salvation, with the emphasis on the atonement and exaltation- well, these were just buzzwords! I loved when President Uchtdorf said "Your goal should be exaltation." It was clear, and simple, and really makes a person think about what they're doing with their lives. Then I loved the talk from Elder Oaks, when he talks about the power of the atonement, that it conquers sin and death, but also sadness, heart ache, afflictions. That he knows how everything feels, so we are never alone. And Also Elder Eyring, how the spirit testified to his father of the plan of salvation. It made me think of Hno G, the dad of my converts who struggles with these kind of doubts, about life after death and the purpose of life, but he knows that the holy ghost is real and that he has and can feel his influence and companionship. I just hope he was watching. I think he was.
     *Obeying the commandments- with a focus on the Sabath day. I loved, loved, loved Hermana Stephens when she said in the words of her little granddaughter "So you're saying that you want me to wear my seatbelt because you love me?" I thought that was just all too true for us. And the focus was really the sabbath day. I don't know what the bad practice is that you've picked up. I hope it's not what Bryce, Hna B's little bro was doing- calling for delivery in the church parking lot during sunday school. But I suspect it has something to do with screen time. Well, as a missionary, I encourage you to listen to Elder Hales and "be the pilot of your life", to Elder Holland and Foster, and be the parents you want to be, and like the old Elder Uchdorf talk says "Stop it."
     *The Holy Ghost- the best example of that was Elder Lawrence. He talked about examples of people who asked life's hard questions in prayer, and received answers thru the Spirit. It just was really great. It was just a great reminder that the Holy Ghost is our constant companion. Someone else, I don't remember who, I think it was more than one person, talked about the power of the words in the Sacrament prayer, that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ and keep his commandments and we will have his Spirit with us.
     *Dating, marriage, kids and all that trunky stuff- I try pretty hard to not think about this one. One, I want to be a focused missionary and 2) EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, boys have cooties! But the quote I will share really reached our hearts and hit us really hard Elder Hales "Don't just date thru your 20s cause it's fun." and it brings us back to President Uchdorf said "Your goal should be exaltion." Well, I just, boo. But it makes sense, and I know it's right. But that's a problem for Hermana Long in like 7 and a half months.
     *The woman's role- that was just the best. Well, I don't think I explained myself well when I said that we "lectured them". We just had a discussion, where we explained how we see them and their priesthood and read scriptures and conference talks. Part two is that this week the Elders all wrote in our books, and almost all of them said something about how much we helped them want to change. But we just loved Elder Nelson's talk about the women- SOUTHWESTERN AIRLINES PLAY OF THE DAY for that guy. We loved when he said "Speak out and speak up!" and how he talked about "covenant keeping women." We just loved it. That's us and what we do!
Well, there were a lot of other topics that I loved, but these were the top 5. Hope you have an awesome week. Love you guys so mucho!

Love,
Hermana Long

Fotos from conference :)


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

9/28/2015

Alright, this week... well, there's not really a lot to tell you. It was quite rough, because we really just can't get healthy. So, on Monday we were feeling really good. Well, health-wise. During P-day, we went to the church to play frisbee in the grass. Well, some of the Elders didn't want to hang out with us, then we watched Meet the Mormons and one was just saying racist comments the whole time, then they got going with the "bad words in English" thing again. That just makes me really, really mad. So we kinda stormed out angrily. But health wise, we were ok. Then they sent us to Bahia Blanca to go do visa papers. An update on that, the goverment guy who was working on my papers messed up, so I may or may not be sort of illegal. But don't worry, he says my ID will come, it will just take a while. We may or may not have had problems with a bus station lady for my lack of ID. So when we came back from Bahia, we were sick. I've come back from Bahia with every comp and everytime sick. This time, it was tonsilitis. I don't even know what happened. Hna Bindley got hit worse- a head cold, some digestive problems (cleanly speaking). The food just hits us bad sometimes. So then we were just really sick for the rest of the week. So that's that. 
This was our group that went to Bahia Blanca... E Megli, Utah, E Da Silva, Brasil, Hna Bindley and YO... we got to know them really well on the bus ride... it was a long bus ride... 
Now, in response to your card. Sounds like the ward's pretty great! Love the description of your vt partner. I dunno if ya know, but I'm a missionary, and the church is the most interesting thing in the world. Keep the church descriptions up!  The church here is pretty great- and attendence of between 80 and 100 every week. There's a lot of funny little kids- some like us and some (GADIEL!!!!) don't. We totally didn't buy his love with an argentine candy once. Yep, that didn't happen.

Well, my hair... I was just looking in the mirror and it had faded into a gross ashy blonde with a little carmel and I was just like "Hey comp- you wanna dye my hair tomorrow?" I think in about a month, when the "grey" roots start coming in, we're gonna dye it a lighter brown. I just wanna go around the color wheel. Side note, hair dye is really cheap here. I don't know how I didn't realize earlier!

Re: Chile and Idaho.... its not like we look to hang out with them... we just run into each other in lunch, meetings, cyber to write on monday. We just really like their stories... Follow up story: We asked more questions yesterday. We started with obviously importand obra-related questions: shared menos activos and investigators, logistical stuff. Then Hna B... favorite video games Idaho: I'll just be honest, I didn't play enough to have a favorite one. Chile: The most recent FIFA soccer. Hna. B (probably her favorite to ask the Elders... she askes every one of them)- Converse, Nike, New Balance or Vans? Idaho: New Balance... and walked away, like he'd just proved his point. Chile: I don't understand... Hna B: shoes Chile: NIKE... I'll just let you guys interpret that one... 

Alright I'll send pics. Just know that even though I don't always say it, and sometimes say I'm never gonna leave, that I love you loads and miss you. And shout out to you for not sending what are lovingly called "trunky e-mails" For example, one mom sent"what are you gonna do when you get home with school? You're over half-way done, are there any attractive elders in your zone?" Those are just bad. So shout out to you for not sendin them.

Love ya,
Hermana Long
We found Hna Risser, my compa from CCM in bahia... it had been a long day, noone looks their best, but you know, it is what it is!
This is the picture I want on my placa. Well, it's the best I've got... now I'm seeing the shoes and the microwave... she if you guys can work some good photoshopping, cropping and then put it in.

My three areas... I really haven't moved around a lot
This is what outside our house looks like at sunset. That building is a bakery that our member neighbor-landlords own. It's the best of times and the worst of times




Monday, September 28, 2015

9/21/2015

Well, this week was just an interesting week. We're trying really hard to work, but were running into lots of obstacles. We, more than anything, feel like grandmas. But we're working anyway!!! 

So a few interesting things that happened- 1, we  had lunch with the Elders for 3 days in a row. That's just always interesting. We're trying to get to know them, so my comp just starts asking random questions- Who's your favorite disney princess? Who's your favorite person from the bible? It was just really interesting. The Elders names are E' Marin and E' Topham, but we'll just call them "Chile" and "Idaho" cause it's more interesting that way. Side note, when we first all got here, we thought they wouldn't get along, but now they've got a really great bromance going. They're REALLY different, but they've found common ground. Idaho teaches Chile English and Chile teaches Idaho Spanish. They told us they walk down the street saying "O" and they looked really happy about it. Well, about the questions- Chile said "well, I don't think I have one. But I just remember watching Tangled with my little nice before the mission. Idaho- Princess Leia. That just resulted in 3 days of arguing. He says she's Disney because Disney bought the rights. We say that happened after so it doesn't count. I told him it sounded like he'd been thinking about it for a while, and he said that as soon as my comp asked he started thinking about the weirdest thing he could say. And the bible one- Chile- well, Pablo, Paul, because in the new videos of the bible it's the same as Joseph Smith. Idaho- (he's an English major. He says he wants to teach, but before he was just studing literature) Well, that depends, do you want the character development, or who's just a good character, or who would be my best friend. We'll go best friend- (thinks really hard for like three minutes.) Gideon. And then launches into some story and gets really excited. Yep, they're really interesting. 


Another story about them- Idaho is always dropping his scriptures. Always. And there's an old-wives-tale among missionaries that every time you drop your scriptures, your future spouse gains 10 pounds (or 10 kilos for our international friends. That's worse!) Once we told him and he just said "It's just more to love." He's just a really weird guy! So the other day we were talking to them and he dropped his planner. I start laughing really hard, and he says "It's a planner, it doesn't count." And his comp, Chile, says "It's just one kilo." So Idaho picks up his planner and throws it at Chile's chest. Chile picks it up and drops it. I died laughing. Also, one more story about those guys (I really could write a book. They're like our only friends here!) So, one night I'm in bed and my comp's in the shower (It was early, like 9:30, but we'd already finished planning and we don't have furniture. So the phone rings, and I go to get it. It's the Elders. Idaho says "we wanna ask you guys for a favor?" I'm thinking they want help with their investigators, or that we bring them something to church, but no. They wanted the number to Grido, the ice cream of Argentina. I started laughing so hard. My comp comes out of the shower just in time to look for the number and we hang up and laugh for like 10 more minutes. We decided we just wanted them to feel real awkward, so we didn't say anything about it. Idaho totally freaked out and spilled his guts- it was even more interesting than we'd expected- Grido started selling pizza and they just wanted pizza. We laughed again for like 10 minutes.

Umm, what else. Oh, CHILEAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!! E' Marin, Chile, wasn't even excited. So we made him a card (pics to follow) He was really happy.

So, we did have a couple of really great experiences this week. Once, we were walking in the street, thinking "who wants to talk to us" and we pass this lady and we say "hi" and she says "hi" and then "when are you girls gonna come to my house?" So that was just an answered prayer. Two, was with the Elders- all the Elders, not just Chile and Idaho. So, we'd been really frustrated with the way some of the Elders were acting. We felt like they weren't taking their priesthood seriously. So, as the only hermanas, we stepped up to plate. First we started studying the priesthood, and our role of keeping them in line. Then we took like ten minutes to talk to them. We talked about the priesthood. That they have to man up (see Elder Christoffersons talk in GC in October of 2012 "Brethren, we have work to do".) And that they need to listen to us. And it really got to a few of them. And now we're really focusing on that- finding our role in the mission- as women, as Hermanas, as Hermana Long and Hermana Bindley. And we like what we're finding.
Another was "Y". She's menos activa. They had been working really hard with her before I got here. She's come back to church, had a calling, and then she disappeared because her grandma had some really serious health problems. But now the grandma's ok. We went to Y's house and she shared her testimony of the church. Then she came to an FHE or NDH like it's called here, and to church two weeks in a row and brought her son and she's just really excited again.

Well, those are some of the news from this week. I want to hear your responses to everthing. I'm sending pictures now.

Love you bunches!
Hermana Long


Sunday, September 27, 2015

9/14/15 Mission Con, Service Project

Our adventure in Mar Del Plata... Top From left to right: Elder Topham (aka Idaho), Dinkins (aka Dad), Da Silva, Roberts (our awesome district leader who left us for Bahia), Megli, Yeates (aka Michael Scott), Gonzoles. Bottom row: Elder Parades (i'm pretty sure he's from detroit), Perkins, Marin (aka Chile), Bellido, Landeros (just akwardly in the middle) Hna B and me :)

We had a mission con this week- we went to Mar Del Plata!!! It was the best! We enjoyed a great conference with a 70, that I can't spell or say his name (Elder Texeira.) You would have loved his accent- he's a yankee, married to a German, who was a mission president in Brazil. It almost all came out in really bad Portuguese. But he's a really good speaker. He got us all pumped for the obra! His wife talked in broken English with a great, thick German accent and our Zone leader (the crazy one who always talks about our clothes) tried to translate. It was just really funny. I got to see Hna. Lopez again. We walked around super happy all day and then it was so hard to say goodbye. She cried- twice. I guess I was a good compa. I also saw Hermana Shifler, from MTC and Hermana Fasanando, and a bunch of Elders I knew. And I met the famous Canadian Elder. And his ex comp who's in my zone made us take a picture. I don't have the pics yet, but I'll send them all to you when I have them. 
In Mar del Plata for Mission Conference



Then on the way back, the Elders were just crazy. We laughed so hard. We got to know Elder Marin a lot better, the chilano in our ward, and the dorky side of Elder Topham, the one from Idaho, came out hard core. We taught Elder Marin to say careful- and he's been saying it to everyone all week, and swag, and since then we've taught him "Yolo", "Flirt to convert", and "Dad and Mom pouch" (what we call the belly that all the missionaries get. More on that later). It's pretty great. Elder Yeates taught him "she's a hottie!" and now we're trying really hard to explain that he can't walk around calling everyone hotties! Freaking elder Yeates!!!!

So, in other news, I dyed my hair last week. That was pretty funny. We asked the Elders for their advice- Elder M got super excited and Elder T just looked like he wanted to die. They're such crackups. But now it's dark again. Hey, can you send me some more pics from the university- my hair when I first dyed it, culture night, classic selfies? Thanks :)

Ok my new area- it's literally the best area I've ever been in. Like, you know how there are areas that are big, and hard, and the members are hard to get to know and in the end you just love them? And then there are areas that aren't too big and the members are great and the people are nice? Yep, we're in one of those. We're working with a few investigators- Daniela and her family. They're a young family that want to get to know the church. Lara, an 8 year old girl who's been going to church for months, but her parents aren't really into the church. We were teaching a grandpa, but we gave him to the Elders, cause we can't go into his house but they can. We've got a few ladies that we're just starting to teach. I'll tell you more about them next week, when more has happened. The house is great- in the middle of everthing, big enough for the two of us. Its only downfall is a bunk bed- I'm on the bottom and I always chunk my head on the bed. I hit it really hard the other day and I still have a bump. But the best part, we live behind some really great members. They're the parents and grandparents of like half the ward, and they're super sweet and own a bakery in the other corner. Between not a lot of working and walking and a lot of facturas, I'm gaining a little bit of weight. But that changes now! But the Gallis (that's the members we live behind) are really great. The other day when I felt really bad (dad has more of the story) the hermano was able to give me a blessing. I just felt really safe and protected. So don't worry about me here in Olavarria. We're ok!

Well, that's all for this week. Love ya!!!
Hermana Long

This was our service project selfie. From front to back- Elder Marin (Chile), Hermana Bindley (Utah), ME, Elder Yeates (Washington), E Parades (Paraguay),  Elder Perkins (Idaho, I think), Elder Megli (Utah) and Elder Landeros (Mexico).

MARANO MORENO (My compas really short!)
​So the Elders crouched down to make her feel less short. One, they're both still taller than her. 2- Elder Topham looks like Doofenshmirtz!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

9/7/2015 Still Sick

Sounds like everything's going well over there in the land of maple syrup, ice, and cold, happy people. The other day I told some Elders that Idaho just has potatoes and cold people. And the Elder from Idaho says "what do you think Canada is?" And I said "a bunch of happy, cold people in the PROMISED LAND" I'm telling everyone that Canada is the promised land, and they just don't believe me! I don't know why!!!

Given that we were in bed dying, we had a pretty good work week. We've got a pretty good group of investigators, and we're really enjoying their progress. I really love seeing the conversion process- in me and in my investigators. Me and Hna B are really enjoying being together and we're really enjoying the work and the opportunity to be a part of it! Yesterday was testimony meeting, and I really loved hearing all the testimonies. It's all true- we have the true church, the gospel is true, Jesus Christ and God live and we have prophets living and inspired.Well, that's all for this week! 

Love you so much!!!!
Hermana Long

Sunday, September 6, 2015

8/31/2015 Sick Sick Sick

I can't believe how much everything is changing. My big news, I've just been really sick for a long time. It's not anything super serious, just a cold that doesn't want to go away. I was fighting it in Tandil, but then I got here, and me and Hna. Bindley were just sick all week. I think you know more about my area than I do. But I've decided we're just gonna keep working. As long as I'm not in the hospital, were gonna keep working. So if I don't write next week, it's because they put me in hospital. Well, I don't know what else to tell you about this week. Apart from having a bit of cabin fever, I'm really happy. I loving being with Hna Bindley. We're just laughing the whole time. I don't think they're gonna let us stay together too long. But, I'm just gonna enjoy our time while we have it. The area is smaller than Tandil. We're still the only two Hermanas in the Zona (boo!) but there's another area for Hnas that I think they're gonna open up again. 

I really don't have a lot of news, because, like I told mom, I've been sick all week. And I'm still sick. But we're gonna keep working! My 5 news would have to be like this:
5. Well, spring is starting here. It's a lot hotter here than in Tandil because it's really high over there and not over here.
4. I spent about 2 and a half days just sleeping and eating.
3. Hna Bindley painted my nails a "granny pink" because that's whats "acceptable" for missionaries. And then a real, live granny told us that she loved the color. It was a little awkward.
2. I went to ward council. This ward's a little weird. Everyone told me that this was the heaven of the mission and that it was just really great, but I think it's a little weird.  But that's ok, I'm gonna love it anyway.
1. Yesterday, we heard the first piece of news in a long time- Zayn left One Direction. It was weird. We still can't believe what is going on in the world.
Well, hope you have a good week. I hope I have more news from you next week. Have an awesome week :)

Love you!
Hna Long

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24/15

First things first, we still can't go to the circus :( and now, even less because... I GOT CHANGED FROM MY AREA!!! Now I'm in Olavarria- about 2 hours in collectivo (3 hours from my first area, I can't seem to get far) and my compa is... HERMANA BINDLEY, from the MTC. I'm stoked!!!!
And about the tracks... in Tandil, we have to cross them 2-3 times a day. It's si o si obligatorio. But it's a wide open space and you can see the train coming from the next city. Don't worry. But now I changed areas, and I don't have to cross the tracks. It was tough saying goodbye to everyone. I made more than one person cry when I shared my testimony, I took pictures with EVERYBODY- almost all the families, the YW the YM the kids of the primary... EVERYONE. 6 months is a long time to be in one area. What was the longest you were in an area? Was it hard to leave? Below is a picture of me with the bishop and his family. 

My other news...
5. We went to Bahia Blanca. This is always an adventure. My compa had to go to a training to be a Sister Training Leader and I had to give a strong talking to to all of the Elders in the office. Everything went well. It was good to get out of Tandil and talk to other Hermanas.


4. We had the last Zone Meeting with this Zona, and I finally got to take pics :) Yep, Zona Tandil. It took like 25 tries to get good ones. Our Zone leader, the bear-football player seated in front of me, almost ate us alive. He's always angry.
3. I bought myself some ribs. They changed my life. I love Argentina.
2. It was the birthday of my conversito, (well, almost convert. I dunno if you're following the story with the Almadas- they moved into our ward in time for their baptism), Samu. It was just about the sweetest thing ever. This is what we brought him. Inside is a game of chess and checkers. He fell in love with our gift. IT WAS AWESOME!!!

1. The big news... the familia Grondona/Mellis had their baptism. It was the sweetest baptism in all my mission- the members did everything. And I mean everything. It was a huge change but a good one. The mom gave the prayer, the "tia" gave the first talk, the dad baptized them (that was the biggest miracle, he finally felt worthy!), the bishop and lider misional gave them the holy ghost, the primary sang one of the hymns about the holy ghost, and the "prima" gave the closing prayer. It. Was. Awesome. I really feel like I was sent to Tandil to help this family. It was the most special, sweet baptism I've ever seen in my mission. It was so much work. and love, and sweat and tears and prayers and fasting, but they got there. Now they're a family with 5 active members, and the other son went to church for the first time in a long time. The Elders are gonna get him on a mission!!!

Well, that's all for this week. I'm gonna send you some more pictures. Love you BUNCHES!!!! I hope everything is ok over there in Canada. I heard you guys went to the Temple.... I hope that's true and right this minute you're writing a note with pictures and spiritual experiences and it's just so full that you can't send it in time. I hope you're going to the Temple a little more than humanly possible. I really miss the Temple! You get to enter, to take pictures of the grounds, go alone, go with the ward, JUST GO!!!!! Send my love to the Temple!!!!

LOVE YOU MUCHO MUCHO MUCHO :)
Hermana Long

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hey, Hey-
What a crazy week you guys had! My week was ridiculously normal in comparison. I dunno if I can even fill the 5 noticias of this week.

5. The circus is still here. It came for winter break, which started a month ago and ended two weeks ago and hasn't left. I WANNA GO!!! But the mission president told us that it wasn't worth our time. And we're flat out broke. Oh well, I hope they have circuses over there in Canada, cause when I get back, you're gonna take me :)

4. We plastered a 25 cent coin with the train. Yep, it was awesome. The timing was just right when we passed by the train tracks the other day, and we put it on the metal, and the train ran it over. Woo-hoo. Then we left a bunch. We haven't been back to see what happened with these coins yet. Oh well. I heard a train last night, so I hope it plastered them and they're still there :)

3. I got sick, again. Stupid cold. It started Friday night with a sore throat. Saturday I woke up worse- more pain in my throat, and full blown sinus infection. We stayed in on Saturday. I hate staying in. Then on Sunday, I woke up even worse. Everything hurt worse, I felt like I got hit by a train and my ears were stopped up. But my compa made me go to church. Good thing, because the Elders and an Abuelo from the ward gave me a blessing, and now I'm almost cured. Just have a runny nose now. I'M NOT GONNA DIE. Yet.

2. The Great Flood- well, it wasn't really a flood, just a lot of rain. It started when I bought myself rain boots (still not sure if that was a good idea or a bad idea, because I saved my other boots, that are not built for rain, but now I'm out of money.) And it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained. So. Much. Rain. But it didn't really flood here. I had my worries, because Tandil is built like a bowl, and we are like at the bottom, but the rain went away. I don't know where it went. Maybe to the fake lake. Anyway, we didn't drown. Yet. They say the rain only gets worse from here. That 15 days before and 15 days after August 30th there's a lot of rain. Something about a curse. I dunno. They said that in the past, the rain was so bad that the missionaries couldn't leave the house to work. That's saying something, because we always leave.

1. The Famila Grondona just keeps progressing. This week, we had to talk the dad out of copping out of his kids baptism. He felt like he had to be perfect to baptize them, and it wasn't worth trying so hard, and he was just gonna ask someone else to do it. We shared with him that he doesn't have to be perfect, that the bishop already cleared him as worthy, and that it's gonna be an experience super special for his kids if he baptizes them. Well, it's a good thing that we have the spirit on our side, because he felt it, and decided that he would baptize his kids. Then they showed up for church, again, and the other son was ordained a deacon and passed the sacrament. They announced the baptism, and everyone is super excited.
Well, that's the news for this week. This weekend is transfers, so next week's e-mail's gonna be interesting.

Love,
Hermana Long

When Elder Machado left- it was losing a brother.

My favorite missionary selfie so far

Reunited with Hna Brindley in Olivarria for Stake conference

8/10/15 The Great Flood

Hola!!!
I hope everything goes well on your big backpacking excursion. Don't die, if you and mom stop writing me, that's like 50 % of the people who write me. I'm glad you liked my letter :)
Well, the news of the week?
5. The Grand Flood of Tandil 2015- It has been raining for 5 straight days. I don't remember the last time I was properly dry. There's a river (a small one, but still a river) in all of the streets. I keep telling my compa that we need to build a boat.
4. We went to a new cyber today. (That's what they call the place with a bunch of computers where we pay to use internet.) It's got a kind of secret hole-in-the-wall kinda feel. I like it. But I feel like were cheating on the other cyber. Weird.
3. Conferencia de Zona- One week, interviews, the next week Zone Confrence. I like this president. It was awesome. He talked about the Atonement and my brain exploded. Then he talked about leadership and councils and my brain exploded. Then he talked about finances (he was a money guy before he was a mission president. He told us he's gonna teach us how to be "chetos", that is to say, richy rich.) and my brain exploded. Then he did a question and answer sesh, and my brain exploded. It. Was. Awesome.

2. The Familia Grondona just keeps on progressing. They did a Family Home Evening without us, are reading their Book of Mormons and they showed up for church. The kids are super excited for their baptism, the mom is so happy to see her family progressing, the dad is building his excitement little by little. It's great to see things like this.
1. I bought rain boots. They're super comfy and fit great, and clean really easily and don't get wrecked in the rain. Woo-hoo! Success!

Well, that's the news for the week. I hope you enjoyed your trip with the bears and the mountains. Send me pictures!!!!
Love you,
Hermana Long


Hey mom!
I hope you enjoyed your trip and didn't die!!! I'm still hear, in Tandil, freezing cold, and this week, soaking wet (well, that's an exageration), but it's been 5 days of rain. This last week was a long one- a lot of walking in the rain, and lot of knocking doors of members hoping they want to share their hot chocolate, a lot of putting one foot in front of the other and keeping going. It wasn't a bad week- a lot of fun and funny things happened. Yesterday was the birthday of one of my favorite members in Tandil and she made us empanadas and breadsticks and a cake. It was more like our birthday. She was just happy we spent her birthday with her and her family. We went out one day with the President of YW. She's awesome. We laughed and laughed and talked about how we can work together. It was awesome. Then she invited us to teach the mutual about the obra misional. And we did and it was awesome. These were some of the good moments here in Tandil.

Well, that's all for this week. Talk to ya later.
Love ya,
Hermana Long

8/3/15 I love love love Tandil

Well, the news of the week.
5. Afro- there's a street artist here who writes his tag, or his name, Afro, everywhere. And all of my time here I've wanted to find out who he is, is it a group of people, the question has always been WHO IS AFRO???? And 5 months later, I almost have an answer. We went to dinner at the house of a less active family, and the mom started telling us that her son likes to do art. We asked him what kind of art, and he said graffiti, street art. And I asked him straight up- Are you afro? He looked shiftily at his asado and said no. And I asked him again- I see afro everywhere and I want to know who he is. Are you afro? I really thought I'd found him. He said again no. Then his mom said- no, but he is- and the kid cut her off and told us that he knows afro, but that he writes another tag- PIGS. He says that it's a group of about ten kids, but that he started it. And that he knows who Afro is, but it's a secret. I told him that I wanted to meet afro, but if he can't arrange that, that I would pay him to get me a t-shirt from the hand of afro that says afro and he said he would do it. WOO-HOO!!!!

4. The Familia Almada- This week the familia Almada- I think I've talked about them before, they are a family of 5- the mom, who's a member, the dad, who's more active than a lot of the members here, but can't get baptized until they get married, and it's really complicated for them to get married, two kids who got baptized in Rama 2, but the Elders of Rama 4 taught and baptized them, and a little baby. Well, the baby, who has 2 months and was a premie, got sick. We didn't know anything until we passed by and the two kids, 8 and 9 years old, were home alone and told us that the parents took the baby to the hospital and he was hospitalized. Well, we started making calls- first, the RS president, then we passed by the Elders Quorum leader and the bishop (they're brother-in-laws and neighbors). Well, they started moving like ants. The visiting teacher passed by to take the kids to her house, the bishop went to hospital to give the baby a blessing, everyone started calling, the ward really ralled to take care of this family. And let me tell you, this isn't something that usally happens here, for a long time this branch and then ward, didn't know what to do or how to act, we were a chicken with his head cut off. It's been amazing to see the change in this ward.
3. The LLUVIA DE HIELO- The other day, it hailed. A lot. And fast. But it's ok, because we were in a bus the whole time.
2. Presidente- the new mission president and his wife came to do intervistas. IT. WAS. AWESOME. He's changing everything. I'll send more details about him another week. But now we can write for 2 hours. YES!
1. The Familia Grondona- This is the part member family weve been working with and we're really seeing changes with them. The dad has decided that he's gonna baptize the kids. And they showed up to church, earlier than we did, and they want to keep going, get the kids baptized, and go to the temple. Its awesome to be a part of these kind of changes.

We really are enjoying Tandil now- the people still are hard, but we're finding soft people that are ready for change. The members are awesome- this week was fast sunday, and we were tired of forgetting, all the members tell us that they're tired of forgetting, so we started on Monday passing by the members and giving them a little card with a scripture about fasting. It. Was. Awesome. Now that we're sharing the building with Barrio 1, we talk a lot more with the members from over there and they all tell us the same thing- that they're tired of the Elders, that they want Hermanas. And one of the members told a friend from the other ward that we'd passed by to give her the scripture and was really happy. Woo-hoo, victory.

I love, love, love Tandil. I love the members, I love the streets I love the people, even when the reject us. I love being here and serving the Lord. My compa says that this means that they're gonna switch me this transfer. I sure hope not. I want to keep helping this area, keep helping the members do their missionary work. I don't think I'm gonna go until Christmas- I got work to do!!!!
Well, that's all for this week. Love you bunches.
Hermana Long

Monday, July 27, 2015

7/27/2015


Well, a few news items-
5. Our new mission president wrote. Por fin! I still haven't met him, but baby steps, baby steps.
4. Juan- Two Sundays ago, a family of 21 people showed up for church with the Elders. And a grandpa showed up. They told us we could teach him, because they already had 21 investigators. Well, we talked to him, and went to his house. Long story short, HE WAS ALREADY A MEMBER!!!! He acepted a babtism date after the church. Awkward.
3. I made pasta salad. It was awesome. And spanish tortilla- you taught me well. Oh, but the olive oil here is horrible and super expensive. You'd go crazy. You have to mix it with normal vegtable oil so that it dosn't taste like it's gonna kill you. I understand why nobody uses olive oil here. 
2. The Sister Training Leaders showed up to do splits!!!! It was awesome!!! I worked with Hermana Taborda- she's from Colombia and super awesome. She's super chill and knows how to talk to everybody.
1. The Grondona Family- they are a miracle. There isn't time to tell you all of the story. I'll send more next week. They're a family that's been inactive for a long time, and they have 2 sons that were never baptized. But we helped them go to church this Sunday. And the dad is gonna work to be worthy to have the priesthood so he can baptize his sons.

Well, that's all for this week. 

Love you bunches!!
Hermana Long

Sunday, July 26, 2015

7/20/2015

This past week was a long, rough week. Around lunch on Thursday, I started feeling sick. My throat hurt, I had a runny nose, and my head was starting to hurt. Friday we stayed in casa, so that I could rest and drink fluids and be ok to work on Saturday. A member came by with his wife to give us lunch and a blessing. Saturday came and I felt a little better, so we left the house to work. Sunday came and I felt super sick- everything was worse, and a migraine was starting. By the end of church I had a full-on migrane. We went home so that I could sleep. By nighttime I felt a lot better. Today my head doesn't hurt- my throat still hurts and my ears a little, but I don't think I'm gonna die!

The good news: we had an investagator in Church yesterday. A member brought his friend, and now he's our investigator. And we hit 102 asistencia yesterday. Woo-hoo! 

Well, that's all for this week! Love you bunches!!!
Hermana Long

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pretty Good Week

6/22/2015

Now, my notes from this week: this was a pretty good week. 

1. We found and worked a lot with a few really promising investigators. A family and a sweet lady. We're working hard with them to help them progress.

2. The big news from the other week that I forgot to tell you guys- an Elder in Mar de Plata, who happens to be a friend of mine, who was in my Zona when I was in Balcarce, got hobo-knifed about a week and a half ago. I've heard a million diferent versions of what happened, but it involved his cell phone. Also, I know him, and he's your typical football player- I think he tried to act- run, fight, say something to the chorro, and that's why he knifed him. They told us that he didn't hit anything and that he was recuperating fine.

3. The stake arrived yesterday- I'm now working in a Barrio. We went to Olavarria, and I got to see Hermana Bindley, one of my friends from the MTC. It was great!

4. One of the Elders in my district, a sweet little Dominicano, told me that I am his best friend in the mission. It was just about the sweetest moment of my life. He's like my baby brother!

5. Rice. My compa is from Peru, and she cooks us rice almost every day. I have never eaten so many different types of rice. She fills it with all types of vegetables and its delicious.

Well, I'm outta time. More next week!
Love ya!
Hermana Long




6/15/2015

Kate: Hi! Oh man, I think i'm gonna die here in Tandil. Everyone says that it just gets colder from here on out!
     Mom: Hi! Please don't die of cold. Please buy whatever you need to stay warm. Hats, gloves, scarves, parka, a second sleeping bag, a down comforter, whatever. Don't freeze! (Dad says he liked using curtains and tablecloths from his apartment as blankets on his mission.)
Kate: Ummm we don't have curtains or tablecloths... I don't remember the last time I was really comfortably warm here... no one has real heating. People have gas powered heaters, but these just heat up one part of the room really really hot! Right now I'm sleeping with 5 blankets and a sleeping bag and more than one pair of pajamas and that seems to be ok. But when we're outside working, I have my jacket and gloves and hat and pants and tights and I'm doing ok except my face!!! All day my face is ice!!!! When are they gonna start selling pants for the face?!?!?!
     Mom: They do. It's called wrap your scarf around your face.
Kate: Yeah, but I cant do that when there are people in the street. I have to contact them. PS... I'm currently writing you and I can't feel my hands... what is happening??? It's not even winter yet and it's colder that any winter I've ever been a part of!!!!!
     Mom: So sorry your hands are cold...KEEP WRITING!
Kate: I'll... brr.. do... brr.. my... brr... best

Ok, top 5 noticias de Tandil...
1. I FOUND  A FOUR LEAF CLOVER... 20 years of searching, and I finally found one. It was small and a little ugly, but I found one. And then it fell out of my book, and I lost it. It's ok because I found another one!!! My life is forever changed.
2. In transfers I lost something very important... our district leader! Elder Scruggs, also known as el Boracho, because of his voice that sounds a little like Jack Sparrow at the end of a bottle of rum, left Tandil to go to the Pama. 
3. Ummm, what else. OH, THE STAKE. This weekend they're forming the Stake here in Tandil and Olavarria. Several Seventies are gonna come. Everyone is stoked!!!!
4. I have a new favorite cd to listen to. Imagine the Carolina Chocolate Drops singing hymns. It's awesome!
5. Oh, there's a menos activa that we've been working with, who wants to come back to church, but she wants to come back with her husband who isn't a member. Well, when we first met him, he was really friendly and talked a lot with us, but then he didn't want anything to do with the church. But everything changed this week- he decided that he's gonna start listening to us, and they watched a bunch of church movies, including Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration, and now he goes about quoting Joseph Smith, and they have plans to go to Stake conference this weekend.

Well, I'm out of time! We'll talk more next week. Love you bunches!!! Send my love to everyone!!!
Hermana Long
6/8/2015

Hi Mom! Ask me questions, I'll answer them... AND I DON'T WANNA WRITE A LETTER OF THIS WEEK, because I have no stories and it was a week of rejection... no one wants to hear about that.

     Mom: It's okay to tell about rejection. It is what it is. Were you rejected knocking doors? Visiting members? Part-member families?
Kate: Everyone rejected us- people in doors, people in the street, our investigador of gold (well, her teenage son... I dunno what she thinks because she's never in her house).

     Mom:  Ok. Can you think of a time this week that you were led by the Spirit?
Kate: Ummmm, that's a good question... when we went to a house of menos activos for a noche de hogar, who live really far away and in a dangerous part of town, and I managed to get us on a bus without dying... what else, oh, we had plans to visit some menos activos who lived in one area, but I felt like we should visit our investigators instead. So we went to visit them and they were home and said they wanted to go to church.

     Mom: Easy question- What is your new companion's name? If you can't spell it, guess. Or look at her placa!
Kate: She is Hermana Fasanando... she's from the jungle of Peru.
     Mom: Do you ever call her Hermana Fascinando? I bet she's fascinating...

     Mom: What do you find yourself praying for? How do you see your prayers being answered?
Kate: Right now, I'm always praying that the hearts of the people of Tandil can be softer, that we can find people who want to listen to us, that we can work better with the members. I think I'm still in the waiting phase of these things. Before I always prayed that I could be stronger and have more self confidence and I dunno what changed but that's not a problem anymore.
     Mom: Maybe what changed is that your prayer was answered, and you were helped to become stronger and more confident? BTW- we pray for many of the same things- that the hearts of the people in Tandil will be softened, that you will find those who are prepared to listen. We also pray for your safety. You know, cuz we're parents and we worry.

     Mom: Tell me more about your golden investigator and her son. How did you find them, who are they, how far have they gotten, etc.
Kate: Her name is Cristina. She got to know a member in the ward who's awesome, super strong, and he always talks about the church, so she wanted to know more about the church. This was way before I got here. She works a lot and when Hna Lopez arrived and then when I got here, we lost contact with Cristina. And then she moved. Then she ran into Hno Ferrando one day, and passed him her new address and her phone number and asked him to ask us to visit her. We finally got in contact with her and started teaching her. She's awesome. Super spiritual reads the bible and prays everyday. She loved the things we were teaching her. She started reading the Book or Mormon everyday, and told us that it was true. And then we passed by her house a few times and she wasn't there. The last time we passed by, the son told us that she wasn't interested in the things we left her and started going to a different church. Yeah, I dunno what's happening with her.
     Mom: Wow! That's amazing about Cristina. I wonder if she has some concern she hasn't told you about- like not wanting to give up smoking, or if someone told her something negative about the church? I really hope you get a chance to talk to her, and find out the deal. This sounds a lot like a story from your dad's mission- I think he also had an investigator that seemed golden, and then quit meeting with the missionaries, and started avoiding them. You'll have to ask him the rest of the story- I don't remember the details.

     Mom: Where did Hermana Lopez get transferred to? Why?
Kate: We were together for two transfers of 6 weeks, and at the end of the second transfer, she got transferred to Necochea. I dunno why she had to go. And what's worse is that they took away our lider de districto who was awesome, and now we have an inexperienced lider de districto.

     Mom: Tell me more about the family that got sealed recently- what's their story? How long have they been members? How did they join? etc
Kate: That is a really great story, but I'm out of time. I always go to cyber at the same time, so next week you can wait for me and we can keep chatting :) Oh, and tell Jacob that if he doesn't get his papers in this month that the same thing that happened to me's gonna happen to him- all the apostles go on vacation and he'll have to wait and he'll get a departure date after school starts and that's the worst!!!!

love you tons :):)
Hermana Long
6/1/2015

HI All,
This weekend... TRASLADOS (TRANSFERS)!!! Hermana Lopez left, and arrived my new compa. I'm not sure how to spell her name- it's really long, complicated, and Peruvian. Hermana Lopez told me that she's from the Jungle- and I believe it. But she's great! She's 23, a convert of 11 years, and super funny. She has a little bit more time that me in the mission. We're going to enjoy Tandil a lot. 

Know what- while you're starting to die of heat, I'm starting to die of coooooollllllddd. I'm pretty much an icicle all the time. And it's a humid cold. And the mountans trap it in. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

About rodents, houses and Tandil

5/25/2015- 

[Last week Kate asked her Dad to identify an animal. This is the rest of the conversation:]
Dad: Off the top of my head, I'd say you ran into a Capybara - an animal that looks like it was born in Chernobyl as the love child of a Beaver and a Rabbit... You're on the southern end of it's range in South America. Here's a photo:
From the internet
Kate: Yes, yes, yes you IDed my new best friend!!! Woo-hooo!!!! I'm gonna try to find him again and take a picture. Capybara... I thought those were the stuff of legends. Speaking of stuff of legends, I learned something new here in Argentina- parrots really can talk! I though that was myth, but i've run into a few that talk for real. MY WHOLE LIFE IS A LIE!!!!!

[After hearing that our family is moving to Calgary, and I'm spending time house-hunting:]  As for houses, one thing I've learned is that we as people really don't need big houses. The people's houses here are so humble and people are so ok with that. My compa saw a picture inside our house on facebook the other day in the house of a member, and she couldn't believe it was our house. She thought it was a hotel or something. What's more important is that we have time with dad. I've seen a lot of families destroyed because they don't have enough time with their fathers. Please, please, please do not let us move into a nice big house at the cost of more time for dad out of the house. It's not worth it!!! Focus on the people of the family- close to dad's work, a good school and por favor CLOSE TO THE CHURCH!!! Another thing I've seen in the mission is that people who move to a house far away from the church are really, really susceptible to the natural man, and go inactive!! PLEASE DON'T LET US GIVE IN TO THE NATURAL MAN!!!!!! 

[After hearing that her siblings are applying to private schools with names like "Strathcona-Tweedsmuir:]  I love the picture of the schools!! Who names these things?!?! Stuffy British men! Tell Ben and CC that everyone in Argentina has to use uniforms- and a lot of the uniforms are labcoats! Anything is better than labcoats!

I can't send pictures this week, because i'm struggling with my camera, but i promise i'll send some stories this week, and stories with pictures next week!

[In response to the following by her father:

I want you to introduce ten codes into your mission. You know - 10-4, 10-20, etc. I challenge you start with these: (A) 10-10 (meaning: that guy is so cute (hence the "10", as in "perfect 10) he has to get baptized, (B) 10-666 (meaning: this discussion is going to a dark place. Investigator may be possessed).

I miss you so much "I've had all I can stands. I can't stands no more!" To quote one of my childhood comic heroes - Popeye the Sailor. 
I'm 99% sure that I'll be coming to visit you next week - incognito, of course (ie as an investigator named "Mauricio Fidele"). I imagined in my mind's eye what you and your companion might say to each other as you walked away from our discussion:
You: "Something seemed really, really odd about that guy."
Your compa: "Was it his video-game style plumber's pants, fake mustache, and goofy painter's hat?"
You: "No..."
Your compa: "Was it the way he teared-up when he saw you and wanted to hug you before we left?"
You: "No... That happens all the time."
Your compa: "Was it when he blurted 'Kate - your mother and I miss you desperately! For the love of all that is sacred, please come home now!!!'?"
You: "No... Not a big deal. I know what it was! It was his sketchy Iberian-Spanish accent! - I've heard that somewhere before. The case is closed!"]

Oh, you always crack me up!!! It's a little dangerous, because i'm in a public cyber- that's where people go to use computers from the 80s with internet.

Tandil is.. well, it's Tandil. It's not a pueblo, it's a city, but a small city. And half of the city is ridiculously rich and the other half really poor. Everyone is always working. Always. The people are kinda closed off. It's hard to get to know people. But when people do let us in, they are our new best friends. We're really struggling to find people. Talking to people in the calle and knocking doors is basically worthless. We have to talk to 20 personas to find 1 trucha investigador. We've started working more with the members. There's a kid, Santiago, who is 16 who's already prepping for his mission. He gave us a reference the other day, and he's one of the best investigators we've had in my whole time here. We're trying to work with the menos activos too, and this is actually a gold mine. The Elderes in Rama 2 already had 2 baptisms of kids of menos activos and the other Elderes had 1 but now he lives in our rama. The rama is struggling a little bit because we're on the edge of becoming a barrio and everyone is waiting to act, and I don't know if we're going to become a barrio if people don't start acting. We're doing all we can to help the rama, but it's not easy. I hope the estaca comes quickly!!!

Well, that's the news for this week. Thanks for your tips! I'll keep you posted on the progress of Tandil 2!!

Love,
Hermana Long

After the Temple Dedication

5/18/2015

I don't have a lot of time, but I'll tell you a little about what happened yesterday... TEMPLO!!! Woo-hoo. We all went to the capilla en Rama 1, which is like the stake center here, even though we're not a stake yet, to watch the dedicación of the Temple in Córdoba. It was awesome!!! I loved it!! I wish you could have seen it. President Uchtdorf tried to speak in Spanish, there was a tiny choir, we used white handkerchiefs, it was awesome! I dunno if you've ever been part of a dedicación of a Temple, I don't remember if you went when they dedicated the Houston Temple or some other Temple, but it's an awesome experience.
Not my picture- from the internet

Also, Dad- I need your big brain and googling skills- we made a new friend last night. And animal of unknown origin. It looks like a nutria, but on steroids!!! It was huge. A good yard in length, and gordito!!! And it didn't have a tail. I was thinking wombat, but they don't have those outside of Australia, and i think he's a little bigger. Let me know.

Love you bunches,
Hermana Long 

Day after Mother's Day

5/12/2015


Sorry we didn't get to talk yesterday- I got sick! Super sick! Aparently I have a virus, but it's almost run it's course. I puked outside of the chuch, went to the hospital (every one goes to the hospital for every little thing here- I miss Doctor Marlow), fainted trying to get in the car, slept all day, but today I feel a lot better. We're gonna try to skype today during the hour of the siesta- we're going over to the Ferrando's house at 3.00 today. I'll have Hermana Ferrando shoot you an e-mail when we get there. I hope I can talk to everyone!

Hermana Long

And then we talked!!!