Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hola from Argentina

Hola family and friends-

I don't have much time, but I wanted to tell a couple of cool stories from the last week.

1. THE BIGGEST MIRACLE OF MY LIFE!!!!! Ok, in my Ward there is this family. We met them a coulple of weeks ago, and we found out that they had taken a little boy into their house and were working on the adoption papers, but they were running into problems. He had lived with them for 9 months, and he really needed a loving home, but they didn't know if they could keep him. About 3 weeks ago, the government told them that they couldn't keep him. It's a really long explanation of why, and it wasn't their fault, but they were told that another family was going to get him. They were heart broken- this two year old boy had suffered so much abuse in his life, and he finally had a family that loved him, and he was going to get taken away. The family was doing everything they could to keep him, the whole Ward was praying and fasting for him, and then the Ward organized a protest to help the family keep their baby. And it worked! They family gets to keep the baby! That Sunday the family walked into chuch and it was the most beautiful thing I´ve ever seen. The mom got up and bore her testimony and it was the most powerful thing I've ever heard!

2. Ok, one more- I had forgotten my scriptures in MTC and I thought I was never gonna get them back. Then last week I went to district meeting, and someone in the MTC had found them and shipped them to me. It was amazing! Best thing ever!

Well, I'm out of time! Love you guys!
Hermana Long

Monday, January 19, 2015

Questions and Answers

Shane had some questions he wanted Kate to answer, but realized she really doesn't have a lot of time. So, to help her out, he made them multiple choice. The following are some highlights (Shane in black, Kate in blue):

Wow, ok, breathe! Ok, tus preguntas (questions), mis respuestas (answers):
1. (An 'oldie' but a 'goodie') What's your badness level?
A. Super bad
B. Slightly bad
C. Neutral (could go either way before the bar of judgment)
D. Not bad at all!
   1. Definitely A- JK! En serio (seriously), I have never been so not bad in my entire life! D!

2. What part of your body hurts the most?
A. Head
B. Shoulders
C. Knees
D. Toes (including feet)
   2. Right now, my shoulders- a combination of carrying myself like a representative of Christ, sleeping in almost the world's worst bed, carrying around a library of church literature and a touch of sunburn really aches. My feet aren't too bad- I have some old blisters that peel up, one of these I think is cancerous, but improving rapidly.

3. How much are you walking each week?
A. 0-3 miles
B. 3-6 miles
C. 6-9 miles
D. To infinity and beyond...
   3. DDDDD!!!!! We don't actually live in our area- we live in the other sisters' area, and it takes like 10 minutes to get to our area. And most of the ward members live in the other area, so we always have to walk back for almuerzo (lunch). Plus, we have a part MACR (menos activo convierto recien/less active recent convert) and part investigador family that lives seriously like three miles away. One week, the district leader told us to go over there EVERYDAY, because the son was gonna get baptized that weekend. Well, for many reasons that I do not have time to describe, that backfired! Some day, when I have time, I will tell you the whole story!

4. Have you met anyone who:
A. Claimed to be Jesus
B. Claimed to have seen Jesus or the Virgin Mary (this includes photo sunspots, burnt toast, and puffy clouds)
C. Claimed to be a prophet
D. Claimed to know somebody who had a '3-Nephites' encounter
   4. Ummm, actually A. And she thought she saw him in the moon. I dunno, that lady had issues! And E, other- one lady who claimed she could speak "in tongues" you know when people talk in gibberish and claim its from God or whatever. Yep. She had issues too!

Wilford Woodruff many years after his epic mission to the UK

5. How many discussions do you typically teach each week?
A. 1-3
B. 3-5
C. 5-7
D. More than Wilford Woodruff during his epic missions to England
   5. That's kinda a tricky one because we teach "lecciones (lessons)" when we do street contacts, or park contacts, or kiosko contacts (never underestimate the willingness of a person to listen to you when you buy their food), or door contacts. We teach a milllion of those. But "citas (appointments)" are when we go into an investigador's house and teach a full-on lesson. We teach maybe one or two of these a day. And then we have to teach MACR and member lecciones. We usually do one MACR, one member, and one post-almuerzo (after lunch) leccion a day.

6. What is church like every week?
A. Similar to our home ward
B. Similar to our home ward if you threw in a few 'candles' and 'speaking in tongues'
C. Similar to our home ward, but fewer 'candles' and 'speaking in tongues'
D. I don't know because I can barely understand what is being said
   6. Ummmm, kinda like our ward, but more casual.  For example, no one sits with their families, ALL the hombres jovenes (young men) wear sneakers, no joke, some of the men wear jeans, some of the women, especially MACRs wear pants, and I saw a kid wearing a Messi (Argentine soccer star) jersey yesterday. Only here. And backwards (3rd hour at home is 1st hour here, etc). 

7. How many folks are baptized each month in your mission?
A. 0-20
B. 20-40
C. 40-60
D. More than Wilford Woodruff's during his epic mission to England
   7. I actually have no idea. I´ll get back to you. I know in Balcarce we had one so far this month- a sweet 10 year old girl, who is the daughter of a MACR.
The Pope drinking mate

8. What's the strangest thing you've eaten so far?
A. PG-13 animal parts
B. Parts of animals that aren't PG-13, but still shouldn't be eaten (e.g. ears, tongues, stomach, tail, etc.)
C. Insects
D. I'm addicted to mate (that beloved South American beverage)
   8. I cannot, and have not, had mate in all my time here. But it's really not as sketchy as you think it is- just about all the members drink it. I can have mate cocida (cooked), which is mate in tea bags. I love that stuff. It's perfect when it rains! We really don't eat weird stuff here- I actually live in a pretty nice place. I'll think about it, look at pictures, and get back to you.

9. How obedient are you to the mission rules?
A. They're not 'rules', they're guidelines
B. 90% obedient
C. 95% obedient
D. Not sure, I'm addicted to mate....
   9. C. I pretty much struggle with basic human things- like it's really hard to wake up at 6.30 every day! Especially Sunday, because we can't work out, or even study before church. So I think; get ready for three hours, or sleep. But apparently that's not allowed. Also, we only have an hour for lunch, but there is no way we can get out of members' houses that fast. Stuff like that.

10. What's the strangest animal you've seen so far?
A. Rhea (large, flightless bird)
B. Llama-like animal
C. Penguin
D. Feral, street dogs of Bahia Blanca
   10. Definitely A- there's a farm of them right outside of Balcarce that we pass every week to go to district reunion (meeting) in Mar de Plata. There are no llamas or penguins here. And there are so many street dogs here that it's strange when we don't see them.

11. How many investigators are you teaching?
A. 1-5
B. 5-10
C. 10-15
D. Only three, but they claim to be natives of the Americas, more than 1000 years old, and referenced in the Book of Mormon
   11. We have one with a fecha bautismal (baptismal date), 3 that are almost progresando (progressing), and a monton (lot) of not progressing investigators.

12. What one thing from your pre-mission life do you wish you could have on your mission?
A. Your longboard
B. Your Mac
C. Food from the BYU-H caf
D. Other
   12. A!!!!! Mostly because I feel guilty when we have to walk forever and spend and hour or two hours not sharing the gospel.

13. What's the hardest trial you've had to face?
A. Rejected by an investigator who seemed so promising
B. Low-quality email support from friends and family
C. Blisters big enough to be seen from the International Space Station
D. Fighting to speak Castellano/Spanish when my tongue and lips seemed possessed by the adversary
E. Don't know, don't care - I'm addicted to mate
   13. A, B, C, D. I'm ok on E- definitely not addicted to Mate.

14. Favorite 'sacred speculation':
A. My compa (Hma. Gomez) and I will be called as the first female sister-APs to serve in the mission office.
B. My next transfer will find me headed to the UK (Falkland Islands?) to follow in the foot-steps of Wilford Woodruff's epic mission to England.
C. The wild street-dogs of Balcarce will flee from me one day and some bystander will ask us "who were those three guys with pepper spray standing behind you when the dogs suddenly ran away?"
D. My compa and I will be the first missionaries called to serve in Cuba since the Three Nephites passed through that island nation a while back...
   14. E- none of the above. My favorite sacred speculation is that the zone leaders are gonna move here, we'll have 6 missionaries working, our area gets smaller, and we have zone reunions here!!! We waste so. much. time. going to Mar de Plata.

Well, I could prattle on and on Kate... but the quality of my questions is sinking - so I'll close for now. I love you beyond belief. Your goodness and willingness to serve is the brightest star in my constellation. Stay safe, keep working really hard at the language, and keep preaching the gospel.  I look forward to your 'one-letter answers' to all my pressing questions.  MWAH!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hola from Argentina

Hola mi Familia y Amigos!

This week has been another great week. Lots of working, lots of walking, lots of talking. Some of the highlights of the week:

The other Hermanas had a baptism- it was a baptism of a sweet 10 year old girl of a less active mom. The daughter got baptized, the family has been at church for the last few weeks, all in all, it was a success. There is such a powerful spirit at baptisms.

Last P-day we went for a hike. There's a rather large hill in the middle of a park, and we climbed up early in the morning to study. It was peaceful and I always feel the spirit really strong in nature. Then we played on the playground in the park like little kids. It was so much fun! The funniest thing was that while I was studying, my sweats hiked up a couple of inches above my ankle, and I got a sun burn at the base of my leg, and I went around for a few days preachin' the gospel in a skirt with a sunburn around my ankle.
View from a hill of a park in Balcarce. Picture from the internet.

Ok, a funny story- we were at a casa of a Ward member, with her and another member of the Ward, a recently returned missionary that comes with us sometimes. We were waiting for our investigator to arrive, and while we were waiting I tried to tell a funny story, but I could not in Spanish, and finally I was like, nah, it's not important. I don't speak this language. And the Ward member, Johny was like, don't worry about it, your Spanish is fine. And I was like, it's a struggle every day! There's a phrase in English, "Struggle Bus" in Spanish it's "lucha colectivo" and he and the lady whose house we were in thought it was the funniest thing ever! They laughed for like 5 minutes.

Ok, one more Spiritual story- in that same appointment (or cita in Spanish), after our investigator, Sandra showed up, we taught an awesome lesson. Both me and my compa talked throughout the whole lessons, and we asked some really great questions (thank you, Holy Ghost!) and after we taught the first visión Sandra took a deep breath and said "Wow, I didn't know" and I knew that the Spirit was talking to her. I love the Spirit- without it, we would be the two most awkward missionaries on the planet and no one would learn anything! But we are blessed to be able to work really closely with the Spirit. It's awesome!!

Well, that's all for this week!
Con amor,
Hermana Long

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'm out of time...

I dunno what happend today, but I am out of time. But I'm alive! All is well!! I'm planning on writing a letter by hand today, cause I have so much to tell everyone and so little time!!!

Mucho Amor!!!!!
Hermana Long