Monday, February 29, 2016

25 February 2016

The following are excerpts from conversations with Kate. Mom is writing in blue.  Kate answers in black.

Hi! Oh hey. How are you? Sitting. That's a typical argentine joke.

Gosh I enjoy writing you. Have the packets or letters arrived yet? No. Let me know, Ok? Will do. You gotta watch from your end and find out when they get here so you I can call and bother the elders until it gets here.

(About photos)
... I would like to remind you that 1) i have to buy an adaptor for my camera to send you pictures. 2) The internet is supppper sketchy here, so i cant send a lot of pictures. Do you realize that you have not sent any pictures since DECEMBER 7?!?!?! Do you realize that i am in a developing country with a budget and schedule of a missionary? Sometimes i don't even take enough time to go to the bathroom. There are a lot of factors that have nothing to do with me at play. 1- the lack of a cable. 2- the lack of adaptor 3- the difficulty of finding and buying one of those two things 4- I'm living in a developing country that's about 25 years behind the US. Everyone is just starting with screen phones. I have not seen one iphone. There is very little technology. I pay 20 pesos an hour to use a máquina that frequently stops workingTHAT'S ALMOST THREE MONTHS!!! I am a visual person! I need to seeeeeeeeee you and your life. Buy what you need- you have $$$$$!!! Money can't buy everything! It can't buy time and it can't make Argentina more technologically advanced. 

(About reading the Book of Mormon)
I'm okay. Still reading the Book of Mormon everyday. Yay, go mom!!!!! I was kind of blown away when you said the scriptures looked weird in English. You had been telling me about your Book of Mormon reading challenge, but I didn't realize it was in Spanish. Well, yeah, I do everything in Spanish- my agenda, my studies, usually my notes in church... sometimes I get trunky for English and write in English, but it's rare. I think I even talk in my sleep in Spanish. Wow. So are you just used to reading scriptures in Spanish? Well, yeah, I've been reading in Spanish since my first area, that was more than a year ago. I can't imagine doing my studies in English. How cool is that? I never did personal scripture reading in the language in my mission. Just a bit of language study. I struggle so much with language study. Secret weaknesses from Hna Long- sometimes I feel prideful about my Spanish and don't want to do language study. I have to make a huge effort to do my language study. Sometimes I read the dictionary. Lately I've been reading the himnos and looking up words I dont know. There's usually 1 in every himno, but they're super weird words that even the latinos don't use, like super formal and all that. But I have to keep learning. Most of my scripture study was in English. I even had my mom send me new scriptures (English) partway through, because mine were getting worn out. My triple broke a couple weeks ago, and I fixed it with tape (Hna. Taborda called me a redneck) and then the other side broke, so I fixed it with "wood glue" that's really just modge-podge. I'm so impressed. No wonder you English so badly. Hey! Anyway, back to the point- I really wanted Jacob and I to finish the Book of Mormon Pres Craig's style before he goes on his mission, but we just started Enos, so we have a way to go. Jacob basically is willing to do three pages a day. Tell him that I read 2 chapters a day. 3 pages is nothing. How's he gonna study for an hour alone and an hour with his comp like that? I really want to do more!!!
Well, that's our news. I hope you're healthy and happy! For the first time in a long time I'm healthy. I even went to Bahia 2 and didn't get sick. I did get sick two days ago, but it was my fault, cause we had a taco fiesta right after a fast, and we ate a boat load of super spicy stuff and it made us all sick. And I hope you're figuring out the senior companion thing. It's been going super well. We work super well together. Hang in there- I'm proud of you, and love you more than I can explain. Send photos! See previous notes about picture expectations



Monday, February 22, 2016

18 February 2016

Well, what can i tell you about this week... Last p-day, I decided that I'd waited enough and I was gonna buy a cactus. So i did. His name is Boris. They are all the rage here in Argentina. Also, I bought an oregano plant, and we have enjoyed it on several days, and cilantro seeds, cause there is no cilantro in Argentina. I'm still waiting for them to grow.
We've been working like crazy here in Trenque Lauquen. We've found a really awesome investigator, M, a crazy grandma who's looking for a change. And we've had some interesting lessons. One day we went to visit an ex-investigator named Pascual. We started talking about prophets and he says "Oh, but anyone who shares the word is a prophet. You guys are prophets." And I say "if you go by that definition, yes, but in the scriptures it uses a different definition, that there are holy prophets, called by God, to direct the church." And he says "Well, no, you guys are prophets." And he proceeded to correct us on everything. Well this no, that no, God doesn't do that. Ummm, who are the almost prophets here? But aside from the funny citas, we've had some really good, spiritual citas. We're teaching a woman, Maricel, and her son, Ramiro, who are getting ready to be baptized. She and her husband are gonna get married in the beginning of March and then she and the son are gonna get baptized. The husband's got a lot of doubts, but we're working with him little by little. We had a nice noche de hogar with them and a member family. We watched Jose Smith: Profeta de la Restauración. That's my favorite movie ever! It's the best. And they loved it!

Well, what else happened this week... Oh, yeah, so here they sell little suckers with fake tattoos and I bought some for me and my comp and they stuck out of our shoes and Elder R says to us "Hey, I like your tattoos" right after we said "I hope no one says anything." It was so awkward and funny and it became the theme of the week. 

Well, I'll leave you with a spiritual thought. I don't know if you've been studying very much your Preach my Gospel, or Predicad mi Evangelio, as it's better known, but there's a really great section called "Christ-like attributes" or "attributos semejantes a Cristo". It's super great, I really recommend reading it. But there's one section that says "Diligence". I love this section. There's a line that talks about how the diligence in the work is a sign of our love for the Lord. I'm now in the second to last transfer, a transfer famous for missionaries who don't work or take it super easy. But I love the Lord and I don't want to have a transfer like that. Everyday I put on my shoes and sunscreen and we head out to work. And we keep working. We've been so tired this whole week, but we keep working. Even my sweet, oh so young-in-the-mission comp is tired. But we keep working. Because we love the Lord and understand that we have to use every moment to serve Him. And we're seeing good results. And we're happy with the work we're doing. And I feel like the Lord is happy with my work. And that's the best feeling in the world.

Well, hope you have an awesome week. Love you!!!
Hermana Long

Sunday, February 14, 2016

12 February 2016

What a week I had: TRANSFERS.... Dun, dun dun. I was transferred. After 5 long weeks in White with Hna Islas, they took me out so she could train. And now I'm here in Trenque Lauquen. What you guys don't know about the grand Bahia Blanca mission is that in the north corner of the mission, there's a little area called Trenque Lauquen. It's super small, a zone with 3 areas, and the 3 of them are different pueblos. And about a year ago my district leader called and said that we needed to fast for Trenque Lauqen. That started a whole bunch of jokes on my part. That Trenque Lauquen always needs help, that they're out of the way, that no-one ever escapes. All of these jokes were always followed by "one day they're gonna send me there, for all of my bad jokes. And they did. I'm writing you live from a ciber in Trenque Lauquen. And I've got a new comp- Hna Nomellini, from Fresno, California, an hermana with 5 months in the mission, and passed them all here in the famous and infamous Trenque Lauquen. We've been together for 3 days now, and I think it's gonna be a great transfer. We live in a sweet bachelor pad in the middle of the city, on the 4th floor. And the chapel looks like a castle. It's huge. I'm so excited to be here :)  And... we share the area with elders! Yes! One is Elder Perkins. We were in Zona Olavarria together for a long time. The other is Elder Rickeburg... everyone here has really weird names. I'm the weird one with a short, pronounceable name. Elder Perkins is dying this transfer and Elder Rickeburg is rather new. Its an odd dynamic. So I'm super excited to be here. The last 2 months have just been super crazy- Olavarria, Punta Alta, White, Trenque Lauquen, it's left me with some serious commitment issues. I'm always expecting a call kicking me out,  I'm scared to unpack, I don't want to get to attached to the people. It would make sense that this is my last area, cause I've 6 areas already and only two transfers left, but I'm not really sure.
Yesterday we had a conference with half the mission. I got to see Hna Islas, and my old zone, and Hermana Bindley and Elder Jensen and Hermana Shiffler and a bunch of my other mission friends. And we got to hear from a 70. I'm not entirely sure how to spell his name, but he's from Argentina, and he and his wife talked to us and it was just an awesome conference. I love being a missionary!

[Shane asked Kate the following] I'll put a question to you- What hymn has taken on special meaning- or become permanently tied to your mission? For me there were a few - Llamados a Servir, Secreta Oracion.... That's a good question- Secreta Oracion has been my favortie my whole mission. And Llamados a Servir has always been up there. I've been adding onto the list for a while now- Divina Luz- I love the part when it says "Momentos hubo en que tu ayuda no suplice confiando en mi propio expiriencia no tuve fe" I get emocional just writing it down. I listen to that song in some form every morning. Umm, Trabajemos hoy en la obra del señor. That's a big one. The other day we sang "cuando enseñe a tus hijos" and it really spoke to my soul. "
  1. Cuando enseñe a Tus hijos,
    dame, Dios, inspiración
    pues quisiera motivarles
    a buscar la perfección.
  2. Quiero guiar a mis hermanos,
    al desviado, rescatar
    y mostrarle el camino
    a Tu celestial hogar.
  3. Dame las palabras aptas;
    bríndame Tu comprensión.
    Quiero ser un buen maestro;
    toca, Dios, mi corazón.
  4. Guíame a tus ovejas
    que errantes andan hoy.
    Quiero yo apacentarlas
    y traerlas a Sión.
It was just a hymn that knew everything I was going thru every day, everything I want to ask for in prayer that I never can find the words. And everything I'm going to miss when I have to leave the mission and give up being a full-time missionary.

Well, that's all for this week. I love you bunches!!!! Next week I'll send you more information about Trenque Lauquen.
Hermana Long :)

Selfie Sunday- me, my comp, and a sweet girl, Sara, from the rama. She's waiting for her mission call. So my comp, her name is Hermana Nomellini, she's from Fresno, California, she's 19, she went to BYU-Idaho before the mission, and she's studying exercise and health. In Hawaii we call that EXS, I dont know what they call it everywhere else. She's got 5 months in the mission and this is her first area.

This is our chapel. Its pretty nice. I think its the biggest, prettiest chapel I've ever had.
The view from our balcony of our bachelor pad/frat house. That's a school. The kids are outside playing all day.

4 February 2016

Today was a super p-day. We went to a little town outside of the city, where a few hermanas are, who can never come into the city. We drove up and then hiked to the top of a hill, then we went and played "capture the factura"- it's like capture the flag, but with facturas. I realized that I'm super out of shape, but not as out of shape as I thought. It gives me hope for the future. Also, I realized just how much I miss being outside and camping and hiking and I have hope for a future in which I can do all of those things with out dying (I think there are several doctor visits and massages and long bubble baths and gym visits between now and then. I've got my summer cut out for me.)

As far as how I'm doing, I'm doing really well. We've hit the end of another transfer, and I think it was probably my favorite. We've been working super hard and having a lot of fun. I'm tired all the time, and my joints are about to give up on me, but I'm still working like crazy. My health is hanging in there... I thought I was gonna get a sinus infection this week. But it went away without problems. We've been cooking and I've been following "my plate guidelines" like a crazy person. We've got named days... you'd be so proud: Milanesa Monday, Taco Tuesday, Molletes Miércoles, P-day de Pabadas (thats funny business), Jueves, Variable Viernes, Sandwich Saturday and Fideos Sunday (that one doesnt have the same letter thing, but we learned from the argentines.) So that's been good. And we've been running. A lot for my poor broken body. 2 times a week. I think I'm gonna start running more, 'cause I really want to run the Hartford half in the fall, but I think that's a really rough goal. I don't know if I'll make it. But the idea is out there.

As far as investigators goes, we've found a few new investigators that are super great. One is Noelia. Shes 21 and pregnant with her 3 child. And none of the fathers of any of the kids is in the picture. She's super sweet and funny and passing through a part of her life that's very dificult. But she's learning a lot and starting to gain a testimony. Then there's Fernanda. Shes a mom of 3 kids and lives with her husband. He's listening to us too, but he works a lot. She's looking for the purpose of life and has a lot of questions about those kind of things. She loves to learn about God and his plan. She's super loving and always says hi when she sees us in the street and always asks us to come over. Then theres Gimena. Shes an 18 year old girl with a lot of questions. She's got a neighbor who's a member and she's been helping us teach her. Then there's Lourdes. She's a 10 year old girl. Her mom is a member but her dad no. She doesn't really know much about God or the church, but she's learning about these things little by little. And her mom is reactivating little by little too. Those are our investigators for now, but as always in little White, we're still looking for more.

Well I'm about out of time. I'll leave you with these thoughts. This Saturday is transfers, and president told my comp that he wants her to train again. She started out training, but her new missionary had to go to an English speaking trainer. So we'll see what happens.

Love you bunches! Enjoy your week. Please take care of yourself.
Hermana Long

28 January 2016

The weather here's been odd. It was suuuuuuper hot the week before. Then it rained and it's been cold since. I'm not really sure what to expect.

Today I'm gonna tell you about my shoe adventure. So, about the time Hna Fasandando showed up in Olavarria, my shoes started breaking. But i just ignored it. Then the hole started getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Until about 3 weeks ago, it got unbearably big, and we were doing a lot of walking where there is no road. So, I had to do something. I tried to take them to get fixed, but they just laughed in my face. So I went to buy new shoes. I bought some cute grandma sandally ones, but they gave me blisters and started breaking. Then the blisters started getting infected.... and my whole ankle swelled up. It was bad. So I tried to take them back and exchange them. The cranky shoe store lady told me that she'd give me half the price of the shoes. And the only other shoes that fit me that were misión aceptable were dude shoes. They look like super snotty sperrys. I went from grandma shoes to frat boy shoes. Its been a weird turn of events.

Other notes, we've been working like crazy this week... we've got a few investigators, a few part- member families, and a few converts to teach, and we're always visiting and teaching. And when we're not in a house teaching, were contacting like crazy women. Also, we knocked a door the other day looking for someone. And a grandma said to us thru the window "Quien es?" and I said "somos misioneras" and she said "no hay nadie" also known as "nobody's here" and then I kept talking to her and she realized the ridiculous thing she said and said "well, I'm alone here, so I can't let you in" we laughed for like an hour after!

I show up at the house super, super tired every night, but its a good kind of tired. Also, I've been reading the Book of Mormon like a crazy person.  Weve got a reading challenge to read two chapters a day, finishing around March. I've been behind since we started, but this last week I decided to take it super seriously. And it's been going really well. As I was reading in Alma, the letter from Helaman, I was thinking wow, that's super powerful and spiritual, I should write to my mom like that. But then I forgot and just remembered. Ooops. I finished the book of Alma last week. An Elder in my zone told us something really cool about Alma, and I wanted to share it with you. He said that Alma is famous for the war chapters, and there was so much war because of the change in government. The same thing happened in the Bible, with some of the Israelites, I don't remember all the details. But the idea is that a little farm boy with no education was not gonna know these things, that the book of Alma is one of the strongest points of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I thought that was super cool.

But a spiritual note... the other day we were in district meeting, and we were just talking about the chapter in PME about the Christlike attributes, and Elder H, who's super new, was bearing his testimony, and I felt the spirit so strong. Then Elder P, the zone leader, had to finish up the meeting and said- `Wow, how powerful it is to listen to a missionary bear his testimony, and to be together and feel the spirit.' And bore his testimony. And then he gave his comp a little side hug. And it was just a moment of super strong spirit and super strong feeling of love in the zone- a love for each other, for the gospel, for the Lord. It was just a really nice moment. Im so greatful to be a missionary here in this moment, to have these nice Little Moments that strenghthen my testimony.

Well, I have to end. Im gonna run out of time!
Love you bunches!!!
Hermana Long