Monday, December 30, 2013

Prospero Año Y Felicidad

This week was so much shorter since our last preparation day was Wednesday but it felt longer than any other.

Lujan got baptized! This one wasn’t nearly as hard as Oscar’s. Once she felt like the Book of Mormon was true, we were ready to fill the font! She is the friend of a member. We actually met her on a pday. We wanted to go to the Dique with Hector but we needed a woman to come with us. So he invited Lujan and the rest is history. But when she went into the font with Hector we could hear her crying. Not like a little bit of tears but like sobbing. We started to get worried that she wouldn’t go through with it but then they knocked on the doors to say they were ready. It all went down without a hitch. And afterwards she said she felt really happy. Then on Sunday she bore her testimony in Sunday School about how she had been starting to distance herself from God but once she started listening to the missionary lessons she felt so much better. She said that once she came out of the water she just felt this overwhelming desire to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of her life. More than anything she was so happy to be confirmed and to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. Oh it’s all so beautiful this thing they call missionary work.

We got a new presidency in the branch 2 weeks ago. The last president had the calling for 10 years! With that change they’ve had to change up a bunch of other callings too and now we have a new mission leader who is really excited to work, it’s the one who baptized Lujan. And the new ward missionaries are Faca and Oscar. We’re getting more people attending. We’re up to 85 and we need 100.

We did an activity in the church where we talked about our duty to constantly be perfecting ourselves and what goals we can have for the new year. Faca had an interview with the branch president and Faca said he wants to be on the mission in the year 2014! Ahh yeah! What are you going to do in 2014 to be a little better?

Christmas is still going on here. People are still dancing in the streets for Jesus and Mary. It’s kinda cute.

All four of us are staying in El Carmen, which is great because we’re the perfect little group. In no time at all we’ll be working in a ward!

Sorry this is so short. I've got nothing else!

Much love and I hope you all have a great new year!

Hermana Pearson
Lujan's baptism

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in July

This week we saw real progress in Lujan. She really wants to get baptized because she knows it's a commandment and wants the gift of the Spirit but she doesn't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon yet. So we talked about how Jesus had other sheep to visit and then we read of His visit to America. After we finished the chapter we asked if she believed that Jesus came to America after he was resurrected. She said YES. So we asked if she believed the Book of Mormon was true and she said YES. It's so amazing the power of the Book of Mormon and how quickly it testifies to people! How blessed we are to have it.

We had a Christmas party for the branch this week and Hermano Roman did a little BBQ. Two whole lambs and a wait for it....LLAMA. It was pretty good stuff! The missionaries sang a song for the ward and they just loved it.

Christmas here was really different for me. Everybody celebrates it midnight on Christmas Eve. And at midnight they all leave to go dance at the clubs and people do fireworks. The fireworks combined with the heat made it just like Christmas in July!

The 4 of us El Carmen missionaries did a gift exchange and that was really fun. We took all our mattresses to the front room to sleep next to the tree. That's about as festive as it got for us. Well we did go out and sing some Christmas songs to some of our investigators with the other hermanas and Faca and Oscar. That was really great too!

It's been so special to spend Christmas as a missionary. To be thinking so much more than ever on Our Savior and what He did for us. I read this week a conference talk by Elder Anderson, ''What Thinks Christ of Me?'' And it was so perfect to ponder if my faith in Christ is reflected in the way I live. And to remember that as I try to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, that when I fall short Jesus Christ is there to help me with the things I can't do on my own. I'm so thankful to have a relationship with my Savior and have the opportunity to be His representative this Christmas.

Oh and of course FELIZ NAVIDAD!
The sisters with Oscar and Faca

A family in our branch

BBQ Llama and lamb

Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Oscar For The Win

Well to start off I’ve got to tell you about my new little friend. Last night it was SUPER hot. I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom to splash my face with cold water. I went back to bed and was just almost asleep when I felt something on my face. At first I thought it was hair that the fan blew on to my face. I quickly realized it wasn’t. I popped up and lo and behold I saw a cockroach on my pillow. Eiww! It had been crawling on my face! Needless to say I think I’ve earned the title of Cucaracha Slayer.

We had another conference with Presidente Levrino this week because the Area Seventy was in town. Well like always we had to prepare talks. I already spoke last week so I knew I wouldn’t have to talk again. We were all sitting waiting for the meeting to start and I just started to get butterflies, and I knew I’d have to give a talk. Sure enough who did Presidente call on to give the talk? Hermana Pearson. AGAIN. Most the missionaries never have even given one talk. I gave two back to back! Haha I guess I just had something really important to say.

We’re teaching the friend of a member. Her name is Lujan and she knows the Bible really well. When we’re teaching she always says things that surprise us because she talks like how a lifetime member would. She’s been struggling with a desire to go to church. This last week she had a few questions about the Sabbath and why we did missionary work if we’re supposed to rest from our labors. We used the examples in the
Bible of Jesus teaching and healing on the Sabbath and it all clicked for her. She was so excited to understand better. The next time when we met with her, she tells us right off the bat that she really wants
to get baptized! Isn’t it amazing what the scriptures can do? Really they are the answer to all our questions. All we have to do is study them. Prayer is the way we talk to God, the scriptures are the way God talks to us and journals are how we remember.

This Sunday we took Oscar with us to visit people. He wasn’t very talkative and it seemed like he was a little uncomfortable at first. We had a pretty good lesson with a referral we got. We were told to go
help their family because the dad is always drinking. We get to the door and two little kids answer. They tell us their parents aren’t home but of course we know they're lying. The little girl was 3 and tells us that her dad left to go drink wine but that her mom was only hiding from us. So we told her to go find her mom. As soon as we started to teach the mom she started to cry, she really needed a little more of God’s love in her life.We talked with her about what she could give Jesus for Christmas and she said that she wanted to have more courage in her home because she wants to give her kids the best life she can. We read in the scriptures how we need to become as little children and gave the example of her sweet little daughter’s honesty. When we left, Hermana Gentry asked Oscar, ‘’Do you think she’s gonna get baptized.’’ He was beaming ear to ear and said Yes! He said he really felt the Spirit in the lesson. Later in a lesson with a less active he talked about how he had a really strong experience in that lesson and how he can feel much more now how true the gospel is. It’s been so amazing to see the change in him. He’s changed so much spiritually and it’s showing on the outside. He cut his hair, he comes to church in a shirt and tie, he has a new smile. It’s so endearing! He even passed the Sacrament this week.

I’m so excited to spend this Christmas as a missionary. It’s my first and only time I get to be a representative of Jesus Christ when we’re celebrating His birth. Guess that makes this really pretty special!

Much Love,
Hermana Pearson
Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

You´d Think He was My Boyfriend?

On Monday we had a great lesson with Oscar. It was an FHE with the family of the member who gave the missionaries this referral. He was telling us a lot of doubts and things that would keep him from baptism but the Spirit was strong and he firmly committed to get baptized Saturday. Well on Thursday we ran through the baptismal interview questions and from the way he answered we knew he’d need to interview with someone other than the district leader. Preach My Gospel says they should bypass the first interview if you know they will need another one. Long story short no one listened to me when I said that and our district leader interviewed him anyway. And it was terrible. Oscar was confused and he left feeling really really bad. We tried to call but he didn't answer. We texted him and he said ¨I don´t think I am going to get baptized.¨ We went to his house and spent so much time explaining and apologizing that we were 30 minutes late (don’t worry, President Levrino always says it’s okay if we’re late as long as we call him to explain why.) We set up an appointment for him to meet with the stake president but the only time he could was 7. Which is when Oscar’s baptism was scheduled. On Saturday we went back to Oscar´s to confirm  he would go to the appointment but he didn't want to. We were crying and finally asked him to go for us if he wouldn't go for himself because we knew he still wanted to get baptized. All this was going on and plans were changing and no one was answering their phones. Finally, they were in the interview. It didn't last 30 minutes or 60, BUT 90. I was dying! He caused me SO much stress, you’d think he was my boyfriend, but when he finally came out, the stake president asked if the font was filled. He got baptized at around 10. We were late again. But it was so amazing! After literally exhausting every last effort, we finally saw him in white!

And not only he was in white but earlier in the day, Jose got baptized too. Technically he wasn´t ¨our¨ baptism but we taught him everything and so I'm counting it. Wow what a change in him. He used to be one of the men on the streets. I can't believe how much he changed. It was the sweetest experience.

On Sunday in Sunday School they both bore their testimonies. They talked about the power of the gospel that literally changed their lives. How Jesus Christ changed them. Jose's mom bore her testimony too. That she knows Jesus Christ lives because just as her family was nearly destroyed, He sent the missionaries to rescue her son. It was sad though because Jose started to cry when he talked about how he's done everything in life with his twin except this and how he hopes Juan can change too and make the same covenants that Jose made.

Then in sacrament they both received the Holy Ghost and really it was so beautiful. I feel so honored to be a part of such a mighty work. It really is the work of salvation. I still am amazed at the changes they've made. When I met both of them I really thought it was a waste of our time because they never kept any commitments but it was amazing how God gave them trials that helped prepare them to come to Him and be baptized.

We had a Christmas Conference this week that was really great. We always have to prepare talks for the meetings like this and they call on a few to speak. Hermana Gentry told me she had a feeling I'd get called on. So I made sure to prepare. Sure enough I did. The topic was on what present we can give to the Christ Child this Christmas. I invite you all to think of what you can give him too.

We did a gift exchange which was really fun. And President and Sister Levrino gave us all blenders and toasters for the pensions. It´s weird that it´s Christmas time because it´s so hot. And rainy. But I LOVE the rain. It offers a few minutes of relief from the sun. And sometimes it pours so we trek through the streets in rain up to our mid-calves. One night this week it was so strong that it made the power go out. Which was kinda fun but a little miserable too because we couldn't use our fans to cool us so we could sleep.

In other news, we painted a house as service for a little old guy who wanted to surprise his wife. He showed up at church too!

Wow it really was a crazy week. And I´m completely exhausted. But everything was worth it to see people change their lives and to make covenants with the Lord. What joy there is as a missionary!

Much Love,

Hermana Pearson
Oscar's baptism

Jose's baptism

House painting!

I love the rain in Argentina!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hot, hot Diciembre!

Thanksgiving was on our planning day. Since it takes all day to plan (because there are a ton of people to plan for) we always make our own lunch. We tried to make it as special as we could. I’ve thought so much recently on how grateful I am for my family. All my siblings and my grandparents are such great examples to me. But I’m even more thankful for my parents. They have taught me so much, the most important being that we should always put God first and when we do that everything else will fall into place. So many people don’t understand that. The gospel of Jesus Christ asks us to make many sacrifices but most people are too focused on other things to give of themselves and keep the commandments. But my parents have taught me that to sacrifice doesn’t mean we’re losing. It means we are giving up something good for something better. Thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me that any sacrifice is worth a closer relationship with God.

My Spanish is really coming along. I’m to the point where I understand nearly everything and sometimes I talk in the lessons more than Hermana Gentry. I feel really blessed that it came so quickly. I always hated my Spanish classes in High School but now I’m so glad I had them because now I have so much more ability to share the gospel with these loco Argentines!

Facundo went ‘’missionarying’’ with us all day Saturday. He was testifying and teaching more than we were because he’s so excited about the gospel. We were walking down the road and he had us stop at a house
because he thought one of his teachers from his Catholic school lived there. She did! And he was so courageous in the way he shared the gospel with her. That’s something wonderful about these Latinos. They aren’t afraid to share the gospel with anyone. In Indiana it was so much harder to get referrals from members because they’re often too shy to speak up. But really we should all be a little more like Facundo and share the great gift we have.

There is a family that we visit often because half are less active. The mother died and left behind 10 kids. The youngest is only 2. They have a very humble home and don’t have much but every time we come, they’ve bought ice cream to share with us. It’s so sweet how they give when they have so little. They recognize missionaries as representatives of Jesus Christ. How great it is to have this calling!

Today we went to the capital of Jujuy, San Salvador, to buy gifts for a Christmas exchange at the Christmas Zone conference. The city is so my scene! El Carmen is great and I’m glad to be here and have the experience of living somewhere so humble but it was also refreshing to be out on the streets of the big city! My favorite part is that you don’t have to pay what they ask for. We almost always haggle the price.

We almost made it through the week without a barracho moment but over the weekend we had not one but two. We were teaching a lesson to Oscar (who hopefully is going to get baptized next week.) when his drunk uncle walked in. He started saying a bunch of things in Spanish that we couldn’t understand and then told us he’d be waiting for us outside……uh I don’t think so.

The next day we were teaching a family and their drunk uncle was listening. He had a comment on everything we said. So we’d listen to the first part which actually made pretty good sense and then we just start talking again even though he was still rambling on and on. Then as we left he gave Hermana Gentry a kiss on the hand. I decided not to give him a handshake goodbye…

I guess really ya’ll probably don’t care about all the barrachos here but I love them!

It was nice and cool this last week and I LOVED it but it's back to terribly hot. Que raro for the holiday season!

Shout out to my pops. Happy fifty-something tomorrow. Love you!

Hermana Pearson
My birthday hat from Facundo

Las Hermanas

San Salvador, Jujuy
San Salvador, Jujuy

Monday, November 25, 2013

And 2 Became 4

My birthday was pretty normal but Facundo stopped by and gave me a present. A super rad hat from Jujuy. Also we bought alfajors to celebrate and found a few candles in the fridge to light in the alfajor.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present…2 more hermanas are now working with us in El Carmen. One is from Peru and so talking with her in the nights and mornings is already helping me with my Spanish. The other is brand spanking new straight from  the CCM. I think this is the best of all because I see her and all she’s doing to get accustomed to Argentina and I take solace in the fact that I’m no longer as miserable as she is. That seems kind of grim but it really makes me feel better!

But the down side is that we had to split El Carmen and our progressing investigator Jose is now in the other sisters' area. And now we have to fill our days with a whole bunch of different stuff because we can’t meet with our regulars.

Facundo went with us this weekend to proselyte. It was so great because he was testifying left and right and teaching doctrine and it was so powerful. We were teaching Oscar who has a baptismal date but is feeling unsure because of all the sacrifices he’ll have to make. But Facundo talked about how it was all worth it because after he was baptized he was a different man. I was grinning ear to ear because it was so wonderful to hear how in just a few short weeks his life has changed from the message of this gospel.

A few nights ago Hermana Gentry had a dream that one of Faca’s friends got baptized. So the next morning we texted him to ask him which friend. He said he ALSO had a dream about his friend Jonny who was his missionary companion on his Catholic Mission. The problem is he hasn’t talked to him in a couple years and doesn’t know where he lives. But he’s going to find him!

Borracho moment of the week…We were in the plaza talking to a member and this guy started yelling ‘’I love you’’ He started coming over to us and saying things like that so the member told us we better escape so we said goodbye and took off speedily in the other dirrection.
Also we were cutting across a field to get to a neighborhood faster and we ran into a whole camp of homeless borrachos. Complete with fire pit.
Time flies pretty fast. I’m just trying to treasure my time as a missionary because I know it will end all too quickly. There’s nothing quite as great as being a representative of Jesus Christ. What an opportunity!

Much Love,
Hermana Pearson

November Sisters Conference photo from Sister Levrino

Monday, November 18, 2013

El Carmen Round 2

We had the most amazing lessons this week! We went to Jose, the twin’s, house. Ever since he went to church he’s been soo much happier. He got a job, but it’s been really demanding so he started praying for help. Praying helped him want to read the Book of Mormon, which made him want to get baptized! He came again to church on Sunday. Which really is a miracle because it means he didn’t leave Saturday night to be one of the street dwellers.

We had the most spiritual lesson with Lucky. She wants to get baptized but it will require an extreme sacrifice on her part and a HUGE lifestyle change. So far she hasn’t been willing to make that change but as we taught God’s plan for all of his children to be happy, she could feel how true our message is. When we asked her what she would do to make it to the celestial kingdom, she told us with tears in her eyes that she’d do anything God commanded her to do. She’s making such progress!

Another investigator, Oscar is progressing so much too. Before he was really lukewarm about it all but his uncle was really sick and he started praying a lot for him. We taught him a lesson when his heart was really vulnerable and he really had a strong desire to believe in the plan of salvation especially because he’s already lost both of his parents. The next lesson was even better because a member came with us that faced many similar experiences.(We didn’t know) and Oscar said he’s prepare to be baptized. Oscar told us that when he went to his uncle’s funeral, everyone was crying, and he wanted to cry too but he couldn’t because he felt peace that everything was going to be okay.

A member of the ward died this week and we went to the funeral. It was REALLY different than a funeral in the states. The casket was actually a coffin shape. I don’t really know how to describe it other than it was really different.

All the death themed things this week made me so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the peace it brings. Especially because we found out this week we’ve been consuming potentially hazardous substances. So the first week here, my companion and I were pretty sick and the doctor told us we had to filter our water better. So we have been, but it makes the water taste gross so we add to it handy dandy Tang. Well this week we had a conference for all las hermanas and Hermana Levrino told us that Tang causes CANCER and that’s why it’s not available in the states…it’s illegal to sell. So if anyone would like to tell me what type of cancer to expect, it’d be greatly appreciated. Now I just have to decide if it’s worse to be sick from good tasting but dirty water or to be sick from clean water with cancer causing Tang.

One day this week, an appointment fell through in a far away  area but we both still felt like we should go up to the neighborhood. We were walking down the street and this guy called and whistled at us. Normally we don’t pay attention to that because it happens all the time but we started to talk to him because we felt like we were in the neighborhood for a reason. He was pretty baracho and I started talking to him but he said I don’t speak English. I repeated myself because obviously I was speaking Español (or Castellano as they call it here.) After explaining that I wasn’t speaking English, he started listening to us. We explained who we are and he told us that he’s a believer. He said I’m Castellano…Cristiano… The funniness of the story doesn’t really come across written down but really the drunks never fail to provide us with entertainment. Especially because they aren’t just any drunks, they’re Argentine drunks. They do things in their own Argentina way! Especially the whole drunk driving bit. Instead of cars, they’re on horses and they steer the horses left and right and left all the way down the street. That’s definitely a sight you’d only see here!

Today we went to the feria which is a bunch of tents set up where you can buy used clothes. The South America versión of Good Will! Needless to say, I bought myself a birthday present! Haha Thanks for all the birthday wishes. There’s not really a better way to spend your birthday than to spread God’s love.

Speaking of love, I love you all!

Hermana Pearson

PS Both Hermana Gentry and I are staying in El Carmen for the next transfer.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do They Think We're Missionaries or Therapists?

This week two investigators spilled their life stories of all the terrible things that happened to them as children and how as a result it led them to lives of really serious sins. It’s amazing the stories people tell us. Sometimes I think they misread our tags and think we’re their therapists! But it’s amazing how we can feel God’s love for them despite their pasts. To help them, I’ve been studying the Atonement and repentance a lot. The Bible Dictionary and Preach My Gospel say three times that repentance changes how we view God, ourselves and the world in general. I really liked that. How beautiful is the power of repentance.

Another investigator, Oscar, really wasn’t progressing but we visited him one day and he’s been facing some really hard things and his demeanor was all different. He seemed so much more open and had so much more of a desire to have more faith. We visited again with a member who faced many of the same difficulties (even though we didn’t know) and Oscar is finally willing to prepare for baptism. It’s amazing how trials help people strengthen their relationships with God.

We teach twins, Juan and Jose. They’re 20 something and like to party. We managed to catch Jose on Saturday evening (we sneakily text his mom a lot because she wants them to get help to change their lives so she told us that he was home and awake and we could come over) It was a good lesson and in the closing prayer Hermana Gentry prayed that he wouldn’t leave for the night to party so that he could have enough sleep to go to church in the morning. Lo and behold, God answers prayers. He came to church. He said he didn’t leave because he had no money to spend. Haha.

We were so happy to see Jose at church because EVERYONE tells us they’ll come and then 1 or 2 show up. Every Sunday we spend an hour in the morning going around to investigators houses to bring them to church. We talk to them the night before and they always say they’ll be ready to leave with us but they NEVER do. The Argentines tend to be little liars…Except one, Facundo. He’s the one that got baptized within 2 hours. He told us he’d go with us to find people to go to church. And what do you know, when we left our apartment he was right there sitting on the curb waiting for us. He got the priesthood this Sunday. We keep encouraging him to go on a mission. He wants to! He already served a Catholic mission in Córdoba so it’s only fitting that he serves a Mormon mission too. Faca kept us entertained as we searched for people as he rapped about the góspel. It was pretty funny!

It’s been sooooo hot. And it’s only spring. I feel like I’m living in an infierno… And the worst is yet to come. One afternoon, we were walking home after lunch to finish studying, just dying to get inside by the fans when a drunk bum calls, ‘’Hermanas’’ and walks over to us. He starts blabbering about who knows what. I mean I can barely understand the regular Spanish let alone when the barachos are slurring their words. Then out of nowhere he starts trying to bite me or bark at me or something. Hermana Gentry was dying of laughter. Then he precedes to lick his hands and then holds out his hand to give me a handshake. All I wanted to do was get inside so I thought he’d leave if I shook his hand. But he grabbed my hand and kissed it. Hermana Gentry was dying of laughter! The drunk bums-callejeros barachos-as we call them are more common than they should be…I think it’s cause the wine is cheaper than soda and water for that matter. They let anyone of any age buy it. It comes in cardboard boxes instead of bottles. What class, no?

Hope all is well with all!

Hermana Pearson

Monday, November 4, 2013

When The Going Gets Tough

Hmm let’s see.

Halloween we saw a handful of trick-or-treaters that went around to the businesses. People though for the most part don’t celebrate it. But a lot of people were asking us what type of holiday it is and such. So the holiday wasn’t at all different for us. The next day was Day of the Dead though and people spent all day cooking and making offerings for the souls of their loved ones and then take huge offerings to the cemetery.

Hermano Ramon is a recent convert that we eat lunch with every Saturday. He always makes really good food and this week he went to Salta and found ostrich eggs on his journey that he brought back with him and that’s what he fed us. They were really huge and really tasty! He also brought us back souvenirs-a little penguin made of bone and wood and a handmade wooden spoon that’s made out of some sort of wood that smells really good. He’s the sweetest thing ever! He also knows everything and spends the whole time teaching us things we never even thought about before. He taught us a little of some Quichua-a language from natives that live in Peru.

All the missionaries in the zone went to the chapel in Alto Comodero to do our weekly planning so that we could receive a little training and have the zone leaders there to help us. They are pushing that we plan and work with the members more. And also to train them before hand on various things and ask them to be the ones to extend commitments to the investigators. Which obviously is the ideal but it sometimes seems impossible because a ‘’set appointment’’ means nothing here. Also no one ever answers their phones so we have to walk 15 minutes to talk to someone that may or may not be home.  Plus this is only a small branch so there are only so many people to work with. It was completely devastating because we went to a recent convert’s house to kind of train her on how she can best be a tool. She is always giving referrals and she knows a lot of people and so is a big help to us. One of our solid investigators, Lucky, is basically her daughter and she was already planning on taking Lucky to church. But when we went to visit her she told us of all the struggles she’s having and that she’s offended by some members and isn’t planning on coming to church anymore. Hermana Gentry and I were both crying our eyes out because it really is so sad to see people let other things get in the way of their testimony. And if we felt that sad I can only imagine how sad God feels when we don’t put him first. That’s definitely the problem here. Nobody seems willing to put God first. When we’re with them they commit to everything. They say they’ll come to church. We spend an hour in the morning on Sunday going to people’s house to ‘’pick them up’’ but they’re always still sleeping or for whatever other reason don’t answer their door and don’t come.

There were so many things on top of that that made this week by far the most difficult one on the mission. When we left the house one day Hermana Gentry said that this was gonna be a better day. Immediately after that, she stepped in gum. Yep it was a sign. But we’ll keep working and I’m sure things will turn up!

Today we went to the famous El Carmen Dique lake that everybody talked up and said was wonderful and beautiful and that we HAD to go to take pictures. It turned out to be a big pond. It was still nice though. Haha

Well I love you all and hope all is well.

Nos Vemos,
Hermana Pearson

Twenty-six new missionaries!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Errand of Angels

This week we had plans to visit a girl we taught once. We were almost to the door when Hermana Gentry turned around and said we needed to knock next door. She had talked to the person that lives there only once and every time we've tried to go back an angry man tells us they aren't home. This day, however, the mom was home and she let us come in. She used to meet with missionaries but for some reason or another they stopped coming by. She has a cute little family that listened to us and they were rather receptive. We invited them to prepare for baptism and they said yes (although a lot of people say that here even if they don't mean it) and said her whole family could prepare. She said the closing prayer and it was beautiful. She thanked God for knowing we would come. After the prayer we thanked her and she just started to cry. She said that she had a dream the night before. In the dream two angels came, bringing the word of God and God told her she need to return to the Church of Jesus Christ. Then she said she knew we were those angels. We really are on God's errand to do his work! She wants her whole family to have the blessings of God's word. It was such a tender experience! But get this. The very next day we visited a referral who sent us to his neighbor (we actually knocked the wrong door but he gave us a referral too.) He told us very specifically, go to number 68. When we got there we knocked and the women said pasen, pasen. and let us in right away. It was two friends, one had met with missionaries before and had gone to church and liked learning but then stopped coming. The other never met with missionaries but she has a really close friend that is a member. We taught a great lesson, again, they said they'd prepare for baptism. When we ended with the prayer, the women, Lucky (named for her good fortune) said the prayer and the same thing happened! She thanked God that she knew we would come. We asked her how she knew and she said she was having a really difficult time and she didn't know how but knew someone was going to come visit her to bring her peace. Two days in a row, we experienced the same miracle! I still can barely believe it!

I'm still getting used to the craziness of this place. Yesterday were elections and we woke up in the middle of the night to some sort of fireworks or explosives and another parade of cars all honking their horns in the street with flags. That's the norm here. Everyone is so loud and our walls are paper-thin and we can hear it all. As far as the food goes, it's plenty good but I quite miss American tastes. They have a few things like Oreos and Doritos but they don't taste true to the brand. The only thing that tastes American is Coca-cola so it's the only thing I ever want to buy. I never even really liked coke before but now I'm in love! Who knew I'd develop a coke addiction on the mission....

The problem is I can't buy any at the moment because last week we thought that more sisters were coming to El Carmen so they told us to buy a mattress. Well it took all my money to do that so I've been living on a few pesos this week. It was about the equivalent of 2 dollars. Then President Levrino called and said there was a change in the plans and they aren't coming until the transfer. But I'd already bought the mattress. No worries it was only 1000 pesos. Haha I should get a reimbursement next week.

Something I really love here is that everybody gives kisses on the cheek when they say hello and goodbye. It's so cute! But as missionaries we can only kiss the chicas but the men are used to kissing so we always have to step back and quickly say we don't kiss. Haha. There's one guy that likes to talk to the missionaries so he can practice his English and he knows the rule but forgot so when Hermana Gentry reminded him he just said, ''Ahh but I want to kiss you!'' In his Spanish accent. Haha too funny.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Pearson

Facundo's baptism

Yes, I am in Argentina!

Monday, October 21, 2013

They Speak Spanish Here...

The flight to Buenos Aires was the most uncomfortable experience of my life! To sleep was impossible...and that's saying A LOT because I've fallen asleep in a roller coaster before...After a long and never ending flight we were led through a part that said ''foreigners" and they scanned our passports, took finger prints and pictures. She kept asking me if I had more documents and I kept giving her other papers but none of them were what she wanted apparently. Finally, some other man came over talked to the lady and they let me go. Then we retrieved our bags and went through customs which was surprisingly simple. Then we found the guy with the church logo sign where a bunch of other missionaries were waiting too. We hopped on a double-decker bus and started driving through Buenos Aires. After 20 minutes we stopped in the middle of the road. The bus driver got off and was talking to someone. We had no idea what was going on. They told us to bring all our papers and we entered a building. It all seemed so intimidating, but it turned out it was a church area office building for South America. They took care of us and fed us and all that good stuff. They said we had plenty of time before our flight so we all took a long lunch and a 30 minute break after that. Then we all got back on the bus and headed to a domestic airport. We got all our luggage off the bus and 20 of us are all standing on the curb. Then the bus driver says good luck and drives away! We didn't have any instructions or tickets or anything. Luckily, inside the airport there was another group of missionaries and some sort of director that we couldn't really understand. We checked our luggage and waited for this director where he told us to wait. He comes back and tells us we have to hurry. He hands us our tickets and we had to literally run to the airplane! We took a shuttle to the tarmac where we boarded a tiny plane. After 2 hours we were in Salta.

President Levrino and his wife picked us up and we rode another bus to the chapel in Salta. Then we had dinner. Mind you at like 10 at night when all we really wanted to do was sleep. We all slept the night at a youth hostel (which at the time seemed a little shady. Now I wish I was in a place that nice!) In the morning, they herded us to the police station where we signed some sort of paper. In all honesty, none of us had any idea what was going on. THEY WERE ALL SPEAKING SPANISH!  haha I guess I better get used to that. After that, we had training I thought was never going to end and in all honesty was quite repetitive of the last 4 and a half months of my life. There hasn't been too much of a culture shock for me but there's been a shock in the missionary numbers! Some things are at least double and others are triple like the number of referrals we IN we'd get a couple three a week. Here we get more than 30! There's not enough time in the day to see all the people. For that reason we don't have a dinner break. We eat a big lunch with members and then after lunch when it's siesta time and all the businesses close and the people take naps, we work.

Then we left for our areas. Like I said my companion is Hermana Gentry and I like her a lot! We work in El Carmen and there is only one word that adequately describes this place. LOCO.
If only I had time to explain (I only have 45 minutes on the computer though from here on out so my letters are probably going to get a whole lot shorter) But for example in the last week there were not 1, 2, 3 but 4 parades in the street.

I'd tell you about the investigators we have but it just so happens they also speak Spanish and I only understand the half of what they say. But here's one crazy story for the record books. The missionaries here have been teaching a guy my age for a bit. He actually served a mission for the Catholic church. He's very smart and he knew all the material but said he couldn't get baptized until later for many reasons. Well we set up kind of a surprise baptismal interview with the district leader. So Facundo talked with him for no more then 10 minutes and he says he'll get baptized in November. He signed the form and had to date it so jokingly I said that since he dated it for today it means he has to get baptized today. He said he couldn't because he had plans that night. But then he said either right now or in November. So our district leader said okay and turned on the font! They waited there while we went on a search for white clothing and another witness. And with that, Facundo was baptized within 2 hours of arriving at the church. What a LOCO miracle it was!

Well that's all I have time for!

Much Love,
Hermana Pearson

Monday, October 14, 2013

From Carmel to Carmen

This has been the craziest day and there is a REALLY good chance that this is all I can write or all that will get to you today.

It´s raining cats and dogs (as if there weren´t enough stray ones on the streets) and the power has already gone out already today. Now we have to run back home to meet the plumber because our toilet (which really is only a step or two up from an outhouse)  isn´t working and we´ve been breathing toxic fumes for the last 2 days.

I´m in a pueblicito called El Carmen that really is exactly what I envisioned Argentina to be like.  My companion is Hermana Gentry from Richfield, Utah. That's really all that´s important anyway.

Hermana Pearson

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Your missionary has arrived!

Dear Pearson Family,

                We wanted to inform you that your missionary has arrived to our mission, has eaten dinner with us, has been trained, is with her trainer, and today is in her new area. We are very thankful to have her with us, now counting her among the Lord´s messengers. We know that you, like her, will receive great blessings because of her faithful service in this Work.
                We advise you to always send uplifting letters to help her and allow her to stay focused on her mission. When sending packages we advise that you do not let her know you are sending the package, because the missionaries become very anxious and the mail system may delay in sending the package.
                We have a group on facebook where we put photos of the Zone Conferences and other moments where when we have the opportunity to be together. You can access that group by sending a request with the last name of your missionary. The name of the group is Mision Argentina Salta 2011-2014.
                We appreciate your prayers for this wonderful work of saving the souls of our Heavenly Father.


Elder Acevedo|Secretario
Misión Argentina Salta

On the bus from the Salta airport

With President and Sister Levrino
My first companion in Argentina

Monday, October 7, 2013

Where E're Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part

I don't even know where to start. This has been the CRAZIEST week.

So Patti, we met her last Thursday and taught her on Tuesday. We taught her the entire Restoration and she just ate it up. Sister Hansen and I were such a great duo and her cousins were backing us up left and right. We told her an analogy about the restored gospel being the yeast that we add to our knowledge of Christ from the Bible. Then Sister Brost says "but if you just add yeast, nothing will happen, you have to knead the dough and act on what you're learning." Then Patti says "and once you make the bread, you need to share it!" It just clicked so well for her. All these misconceptions of Mormons were melting away. She said when she went to the Relief Society broadcast she was kind of looking for something that would turn her away but she said everything they said felt so right. When we asked her if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, she said YES! Without ANY hesitation! So we extended to her a date of November 9th to pray about and prepare for. She said that couldn't be a more perfect day. She's been "witnessing" as she calls it to her daughter and sister and telling them all about our message. IT WAS THE BEST FEELING EVER. Afterward when we were saying goodbye I had a profound feeling that I had promised this family before that I would come and find them. And I did.

The next day we taught Colleen's family. The girls are getting baptized this Saturday! We knew at least one of us would get transferred so we had to say goodbye. It was so hard. I love this family so much. We wanted to hug the kids so bad but we couldn't. I had another moment at their house where I was just so grateful to have met them and to be a part of their journey for a short time.

And then came the call. We got to the car and the phone showed a missed call from one of the assistants. The first thing that came to my mind was "they're taking our car again." But instead he said my visa came and I'd be leaving. I think he expected excited squeals but he didn't get that from me. I was just mostly sad. I love this place and it felt like my heart was breaking. When I got off the phone I just cried. Telling people has been hard. And I'm so sad I won't be here for Julia, Maddy or Patti's baptism. But as the days went on, the more excited I was to go to ARGENTINA. I had to go get more finger prints at the police station but Carmel City was nice and considered me a resident and didn't make me pay. I had to sign a bunch more papers too. Originally they said I'd leave Tuesday but then a couple days later they told me Monday. Last night I couldn't sleep and it felt like Christmas. I'M MOVING TO SOUTH AMERICA TODAY! In about an hour I'll go to lunch with President and Sister Cleveland (I'll sure miss them) and the other Salta missionaries. Then we're flying to Miami at 6 and from Miami to Buenos Aires. Altogether that's only 12 hours on the plane. Then in Buenos Aires, we'll get more information on how we're getting to Salta. Cause that's like flying to California and needing to go to Indiana.

The saddest part of it all is that Sister Hansen's getting transferred so she won't be here for the baptisms either. We're so sad! She doesn't want to leave but whether we're in Westfield or Salta, South Bend or JuyJuy (or however it's spelled), we'll do what needs to be done and do it how God wants it done.

At the Zone Meeting they had the missionaries leaving give departing testimonies and I was surprised that they announced my name too. The first Elder got up and mentioned how he's dying (the weird missionary term meaning they're leaving the mission field) Anyway when I got up I said " I guess if he's dying, I'm being reincarnated!" So there it is. I'm off to a new life.

Hasta Estoy en el Sur,
Hermana Pearson

PS Conference was great, didn't y'all think?

Monday, September 30, 2013

One Step at A Time

Are you all ready for the exciting news?!?! And behind door number 1? A BRAND NEW CAR! Quite literally. We are now the proud drivers of a 2014 Chevy Cruze. We got it at the end of preparation day, last Tuesday. The best part is that I got to drive! Since it was the week of the training where I'm supposed to take the role of senior companion, we got permission for me to drive too. When I started driving, it was fresh off the lot and literally only had 29 miles on it. Never again will I drive a car that new. It's pretty overrated if you ask me. But we're definitely grateful to have a car back. It makes our work so much more efficient. And helmet hair isn't a problem anymore.

At the beginning of the week all of our appointments started to fall through. We were trying hard to contact all our investigators and potentials to set up some appointments so we could arrange for members to come with us and we could meet our goals. But alas, to no avail. We, of course, started praying to be inspired as to who we should call. So then Sister Hansen says. This is going to sound crazy but we need to visit John and Sharon. (They're a less active couple.) I said "You're right, that's crazy. Let's go." The reason it's crazy is because they live at the tip top of our area, in the middle of nowhere and it takes a lot of time and miles to get there. We've never met them before and the ward council has never even mentioned them before so why we decided to put them on our map, I don't even know. So the next day we planned them into our schedule. We went but they weren't home. However, their cousin Patti was. She was very distant to us at first and just as we were about to leave I thought I should ask for John's number, which we didn't need because we have their number on the ward directory. She said she'd go find it and let us come inside. It didn't take long for her to warm up to us and we were able to keep talking to her. We ended up inviting her to the dinner the stake was having for the Relief Society Broadcast and she got real excited about that and thought it'd be fun. Then she called Sharon to let her know that we had stopped by. That was all and we didn't think too much of it.

The next night we get a phone call from Sharon. First she asks some details about the RS activity and then she says, "Are you ready to start teaching your new investigator?" She told us that Patti had felt something special when we came by. She really liked us and was impressed with us so they had a 3 hour gospel conversation and Sharon invited Patti to take missionary discussions. And she agreed! Sharon asked us why we decided to visit them and we responded that it was all from a prompting. She told us that she and her husband have been struggling lately and the day we stopped by they offered a prayer asking God to help them get back on the path. Four hours later we showed up. Patti and Sharon both came to the broadcast and all the talks were exactly what they had talked about the night before. Patti said everything she knows about us fits with her beliefs. She's already realized that God has been preparing her to hear this message. She's moving next year and already looked up where the closest church is to that home. She's been wondering what church to affiliate herself with lately and she said she felt she had received her answer that night in President Monson's talk. She talked about how she moved in with her cousins to go back to school-culinary arts-but knew the whole time there was a bigger reason. In her classes they've been working with yeast and when President Monson mentioned a story about homemade bread she knew that was her answer.  It was all such a miracle! Isn't it amazing how God is in the details? I love the way he works. This was the answer to John's prayers and Sharon's prayers and Patti's prayers and Sister Hansen's prayers and my prayers. We are so excited to help this couple get back to church and to introduce Patti to the blessing it will be in her life.

This week I was driving and I noticed a college age guy sitting on his porch. I didn't think too much of him but then the car turned itself into the circle across the street. Literally next thing I know the car was parked. So I took it as a sign and told Sister Hansen that we needed to stop and talk to him. He was dressed in all black. He was wearing a dog collar and a bone earring, a wig, high heeled boots, red lipstick, and mascara. As we approached I whispered to Sister Hansen to imagine him in white. We actually had a wonderful lesson with him and he was willing to learn more. As we walked away Sister Hansen said "I didn't see him in white. I saw him in a suit and tie with a black name tag."

The next day we went to visit a former investigator. She wasn't home but we decided to knock the 2 doors on either side of her. Well, as we approached one of these houses we realized it was actually on a different street and weren't gonna knock it. But I thought I heard something and felt like we should go there. No one was home but being at that house, Sister Hansen saw a street that she felt we should go down. Sure enough two houses in we met this awesome guy. He told us if we had knocked 9 months ago, he would have pushed us away because he was an atheist but after he prayed alone in the woods one day, he knew there was a God. So we told him we knew of a similar story of prayer and shared Joseph Smith's experience alone in the woods when he prayed.

It's truly amazing the people we are led to each day and almost always we're guided there one step at a time. We have to show God that we're willing to follow even when we don't understand. Then as soon as we take one step into the darkness the path is illuminated. But only one step at a time. First we have to show our faith and that we trust God's plan for us.

It's also amazing to me how much preparation God makes. Missionaries met someone in that neighborhood 6 years ago that they taught a couple times and wasn't interested. But that was enough to get missionaries back in that neighborhood to meet someone else. It's truly amazing.

The sweet deaf woman that is friends with a member came to the broadcast too. She was a bit overwhelmed but had a very positive experience. There are so many members that know sign language and were willing to help translate and she was so impressed. We've haven't taught her lessons yet but hope to soon.
When we followed up with Blanca after the baptism, she said she liked it and is thinking she should get baptized. Which is great but she definitely has so much more to understand before she could get baptized.

Wonderful Miss Mae had been thinking about a certain person this whole week, who is struggling financially, so she bought her more groceries. Well she's been busy and we haven't been able to meet with her so we just dropped the groceries off at her house. Their door has a broken window in it so instead of leaving the food outside in the sun and exposed to people and animals we slipped the 4 bags through the broken door. Well, we got a phone call from this said person being very upset that we went in her house. We explained that we didn't and apologized she was upset about the groceries. Ah we couldn't believe how ungrateful she was. It made me really sad because the first thing that ran through my head was my mom after she sacrificed for me and I was ungrateful for it and she'd say "This is how you repay me?" So forgive me mom for all those times. Thank you for all the sacrifices you've made in my behalf. This experience made me think about how when God gives us a blessing but not in the way we expected, are we angry or displeased with Him? We shouldn't be. We should be grateful for all the things he gives us even if to us it wasn't ideal.

So fun sidenote. I wore a 4 and 1/2 carat diamond ring this week!! So what if it was only for 5 minutes. It was large and in charge.

Como Siempre,
Hermana Pearson

Large and In Charge!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm a REAL Missionary Now

We started out the week by getting bikes. Some members are letting us borrow them while we're carless. The one that I ride is a super cute light blue beach cruiser (s/o to Maddi Ostmann, totally reminds me of you every time I ride it.) Poor Sister Hansen is all of 5 foot nothing and the one that's smaller is still way too big for her. Her feet don't touch the ground, so she can't stop without getting off the bike. It is quite...interesting...riding a bike in a dress or a skirt. But it's manageable. I finally feel like a real missionary. No more of that cushy car. It's all about feeling the burn, flying skirts and helmet hair! I really like the bikes but it does require more detailed planning and more travel time. No longer can we have appointments every hour; it takes an hour just to bike to the next place. The first day we used bikes the GPS told us that the bike route would take 30 minutes. It took 90. Part of that though was because Sister Hansen had a near death experience. (Don't worry mom, we've been totally careful) A concerned passerby stopped to ask if we were okay. So of course we did what missionaries do and talked to her about Jesus so I guess it was meant to be! We got stranded because it got dark super fast and we knew we couldn't ride in the dark on the busy streets if we wanted to live, so we called one of our favorite members and she rescued us.

Thursday Sister Hansen was scheduled to help interpret in ASL for the colleague of a member (who we hope to teach soon) at a business meeting. When we were both doing language study we sang hymns. I sang in Spanish, she sang in English and then signed it too. We had 3 languages going at once. It was pretty cool if I do say so myself! The night before we woke up to intense thunder and lightning. So of course we wanted to be prepared missionaries. We put all our things in plastic zip-loc and brought towels to dry off our bikes. We  broke out the rain jackets and boots and decided we'd better ride up in pants and change once we got there. Turns out the rain decided to go away and we were burning up from our boots and jackets. After miles and miles of biking, we were up by Westfield High and we called one of the laurels that has taught with us and asked if we could leave our things in her car so we didn't have to drag them around all day.

Whelp, next day, after we left our rain things behind, the rain decided to come back. Typical.

We had a week of cancellations, which was difficult because we were depending on those appointments for rides to and from where we needed to go. So we had a bit of stress figuring out little things like that. We were supposed to get another car on Thursday but it looks like we'll still probably have another week on bikes.

Nova, the girl we met at the library last week, has met with us 3 times already! She's great and a bit eccentric. Our second lesson with her she got a phone call and found out she lost her job. She was quite devastated because she supports herself. We ended up teaching her at Miss Mae's. Miss Mae excused herself and said she'd be right back. When she came back she had bought groceries to send home with Nova. It was so touching how sweet and thoughtful she was. We sure love her.

We took Blanca for a church tour and afterwards had her attend a baptism. She liked it just fine but I wish it would have been in Spanish for her to understand a bit better. She did say she felt peace and it seemed like a special place but there's still something not clicking for her. At the end she had us come out to her car and she had gifts for us. She gave us each a shirt and jewelry. She was so cute and had to make sure we knew she loved us both and not one more than the other. Aw their my favorite couple!

President and Sister Cleveland were at the baptism. Afterwards we chatted and President Cleveland asked if I heard anything about my visa. Rough, cause he's the one that's suppose to hear about it before anybody else does!

We got a call from a very upset son-in-law saying his wife's mother was not interested in finding another church, that she was upset we kept coming back and she didn't know why we kept coming back. (I'll tell you why, she kept setting up appointments with us for certain days and times. Of course we're going to come back) On the voice mail he threatened to call the cops on us if we ever returned and "trespassed." It's all good though, her memory wasn't very good and she couldn't remember what we taught her. It really blows my mind though how threatened people feel. We're just two girls who love Jesus. Not much scary about that!

Last Sunday we met this guy watering his yard and we shared with him a 5 minute lesson and he said we could come back so yesterday we went back and asked for him. He wasn't home but his 18 year old god-daughter was. She mentioned she was from Noblesville (That's where Abby is from, but so are a lot of other people, so usually I don't say anything.) I asked her if she went to Noblesville High and she did. So I said I knew it was a long shot but asked if she knew Abby Alvey. She does. They're are friends on facebook and the whole bit. We ended up teaching her a short lesson and got an appointment to come back. Crazy the connections I have in good ol' Indiana.

Well as always, I love you all!

Hermana Pearson

Me and my super cute light blue beach cruiser

Monday, September 16, 2013

Things Like That Don't Happen Everyday...Except When You're a Missionary.

So, Ernie, the man from the first street we tracted, we taught his wife and him another lesson. He's much more interested than his wife. He had a bunch of questions from his studies and he asked us to backup some of our doctrine with Bible references. We were able to do that and he wants to keep meeting. Here's the kicker. He's out of town until November. We asked if we could skype but he didn't like that idea. He said he wants to read the whole Book of Mormon by the time he meets with us again. I guess we'll just try to keep up with him by some phone calls. We're trying to do better at following up with investigators in between visits anyway so I guess it will give us good practice.

We got to help the Hammocks this week. I can't remember if I've written about them before. They are an older midget couple in the ward and are so cute. They raise their 10 year old grandson who has Downs syndrome; he's twice the size they are! They've been going through a lot of struggles recently and need some extra help. We've been before to dust, wash windows and clean out the fridge-all places she can't reach. This week we helped moved some furniture, open a ceiling vent and put away things on the closet's tallest shelf. Their whole house is normal size except for their toilets. Aw the bathroom was so cute. In her closet she had the cutest small shoes. And her car's my favorite...She has a pink zebra booster seat so she can drive.

Robin who finally started progressing, text-dropped us this week. Man, enough with the text dumping! We stopped by though to see if we could talk to her about her concerns in person. Her daughter opened the door and told us Robin has bronchitis. We asked if we could just come in and pray with her and she let us. Robin's big hangup is the Book of Mormon so after we prayed, I shared with her Alma 31:31 and asked her to pay attention to the power and the peace of the words. " 31 O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me." I think it really touched her because a few hours after we left she called to tell us thank you for coming by. Hopefully we can keep teaching her after all!

Thursday we had Zone Conference. It was great. This really is an awesome mission. The stakes are so on board with getting member missionary work going. I realized maybe part of the reason I'm here is to take some of this amazing training and ideas down to Argentina with me when I go. It was a great meeting with lots of great training. We did some role playing and I did it in Spanish with Elder Langford who is also waiting for a visa to go to Argentina and whose grandparents are in our home ward. I also got to see Hermana Howard which always boosts my spirits.

On Friday the 13th we went to the Relief Society activity. One of the sweet ladies in our ward, Heidi Wells, brought a deaf friend. Well lucky for us, Sister Hansen took 3 years of sign language. Just a couple days earlier, Sister McKinlay (the stellar member who always goes out teaching with us) mentioned that she had learned sign language to be able to interpret for a boy at church. She got a degree in it and then started translating as a career. So when Sister Wells called us to tell us she'd like to introduce us to her friend at "Fabulous Friday" we were able to tell her Sister McKinlay could interpret for her. The friend, Heather, was really impressed with how nice everyone was and how different the building felt to her. Sister Wells is going to set up a lesson to teach Heather in her home, so we're looking forward to that.

Saturday was the BEST DAY EVER! Why? Because we spent all day volunteering at the Special Olympics. I remember doing a big project on Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her work with the intellectually challenged in elementary which got me involved with Best Buddies in high school and college and I've always wanted to help with Special Olympics. The missionaries got involved because it was a softball tournament at a complex that a man in our ward owns. Seriously, it was so great! We started off as cheerleaders but at one of the games, the Elders were being boring announcers, so we took over to add a little pep! We gave the players nicknames and tried to get the small crowds pumped. One girl asked us how many coffees we had had that morning to be that chipper. We tried to tell her we had never had coffee but she didn't believe us. Then she asked me how old I was. I told her 19 and she accused me of lying about that too and I had to be way younger than that. I guess it's good to have a youthful face. I'll appreciate it when I'm older! We made friends with a pair of twins that go by Zack and Cody like the twins on the Disney Channel show. (See picture) One of the assistants, Elder Sorensen was asked to be the pitcher on a team called the heat. And the other assistant, Elder Rodgers was their announcer. They took a gold medal so Elder Sorensen got to participate in the awards ceremony. It was so cool! In case you didn't think it could get better, you're wrong. Hermana Howard was there too! I got to see her twice in one week! I loved every minute of it. We were there for 6 hours and it wasn't long enough!

Well there were some car problems and so Elder Hodges had to shuffle around different cars and we're the lucky ones to go without a car for a week, starting yesterday. I'm really happy about it! It'll be good prep for Argentina. The weather is absolutely perfect and I love the fresh air. Sister Hansen was really stressed out about it but I think it'll be just fine! I loved walking last night because we got to talk to so many more people we would have talked to otherwise.

I was just about to end this letter but I literally just experienced a miracle. Rewind with me to a couple weeks ago. Elder Coles and Elder Bromley met a girl named Nova near Carmel High School. She really wanted to meet with missionaries and learn more but didn't have a phone and is living with a friend so didn't feel comfortable giving out her friend's address. They set up an appointment for us to teach her the following day and we'd meet at the library. We went and waited and went searching for her but couldn't find her and had no way to contact her. Okay fast forward to yesterday. We were near Carmel High School so we decided to take a minute to walk around the building to see if Nova was possibly there since that's where the missionaries had met her before. I just felt that God was going to lead us to Nova. But we didn't find her yesterday. Fast forward again to 10 minutes ago. Some Elders walk into the computer lab (this library is inundated with missionaries on Mondays) and there's a girl who notices the white shirts, ties and tags and starts talking up a storm. I wasn't paying attention too much but heard her say she was supposed to meet with them at 3:30 and it immediately clicked in my head. I turned around and asked if she was Nova. Her eyes lit up and said she missed the appointment because she had to work and she's been looking for us since. She has a phone now so we exchanged numbers and we're going to teach her this week. Wow! Things like that don't happen. Oh wait, yeah, they do.

Un Especial Salud,

Hermana Pearson

Twins - Zack and Cody

Sisters at Special Olympics

Sister Pearson and Sister Hansen - Announcers Extraordinaire!

Zone Conference with Hermana Howard

Monday, September 9, 2013

If This Were A Movie

We did an exchange this week with the Sister Training Leaders. So since I stayed my area, I got to drive the car. It was pretty exciting with all the round-abouts or rotaries as the GPS calls them. I swear there's a round about at every intersection. The 4-way stops that don't have signs saying they're coming soon (see attached picture.) Haha. It'll probably be the only time I get to drive on my mission. President Collins didn't even bother to certify visa waiters to drive but President Cleveland did so that's the only reason I was allowed to anyway.
At the beginning of the week, we had a lesson with Elvira. We talked about the apostasy and shared Joseph Smith's experience. She said she was confused because she didn't know what was true so we told her knowledge would come as she continued to meet with us. It was a strong lesson. We set up a return appointment for 2 days later. Well she dropped us flat before we ever got to go back. To make matters worse, she made her daughter do it. In a text. I mean, come on. The whole world knows you shouldn't break up with someone in a text message, let alone a text message from another person. That's just low. I don't understand why people don't follow the social norms when it comes to missionaries. We're people too! They said they already know about Jesus and want us to go teach people that don't know Jesus. Quite the switch from "Mi casa es tu casa"
We visited the Hernandez's and they are just too caught up in the details. He's worried about how the Book of Mormon mentions chickens and horses and other animals that as far as he's concerned weren't brought to America until the 1500's. He also doesn't like that in Jerusalem quite quickly after Jesus died, we say there was apostasy but in America the people lived for 400 years in righteousness. To him, if Jesus taught the people in the middle east, they should have stayed stronger longer.
Remember how we saw the bug boys last week and they gave us a referral. Well it was a sweet referral! The lady has a Jesus fish over her door so we took that as a good sign. She welcomed us in right away and said she had just been talking to a Mormon yesterday. We told her we didn't think it was a coincidence. She didn't either but it seemed she felt that way because she felt the need to correct our ways (maybe, she was too nice to actually say so.) She let us talk for a bit but really, she started teaching us. She does a Bible study for the ladies in her neighborhood and I'm sure she is an amazing teacher. We have an appointment to go back and actually teach her this time! 
At district meeting, we focused on planning to reach goals so we were supposed to take 15 minutes to make a specific plan to meet a specific goal. Well, we were really worried this week on teaching enough lessons so we're talking about what to do and our phone rings. A guy we taught last month called to set up an appointment. We didn't go back for so long because he was going to be busy with a work project for a month. He said when it was over that he'd call. And he actually did! I felt like I was in the Best Two Years when the missionary prays: "Please bless that young man that he might call." And then the phone rings. It was cool! So if the movie plot follows, he should get baptized the day before I fly out. I might have talked about this guy before. His late mother and his brother are members and he's investigated the church before. Well since he's such an analytical person, our commitment to him was to reread the Book of Mormon, this time marking only the references to Christ and then everyday after reading write down how he FELT. He was really surprised with such a request but said he'd do it.
We met Robin again this week and took a member with us. We've been hesitant to bring someone before because I guess she had a negative experience in the past with a member but we really needed to to meet our member present goal. Well turns out the lady that came with us has the SAME life. They had so many connections, it seemed never ending. Both grew up baptist, left the baptist church for the same reason, divorced their first truck-driving husbands for the same reason, remarried and then those men died. That was only the basic stuff. They really made a connection and the member was able to so wonderfully tell of her testimony of the Book of Mormon and we could just see the progress in Robin immediately!
Another appointment we had, we were reluctant to take a member because what the man had said to us before, but again we did it to make our goal and it turned out great. We met with Jim Davis. His wife had a stroke 11 years ago and he has lovingly taken care of her ever since. When we got there he had these books for us that his father-in-law published about Indians- since we are in the wonderful state of Indiana and he has Indian blood. He had all these arrowheads on his wall and I told him how my dad majored in archaeology and had a bunch of arrowheads of his own. We we read with him in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon where it talks about the Lamanites being the principle ancestors of the Native Americans, he thought that was way cool. He had a Mormon friend back in the day who gave him a Book of Mormon and Jim read the whole thing (although he admits he forgot a lot). We shared the restoration and it was really powerful.
We stopped by Miss Mae's with the plan to read 3 Nephi 18, talk about church attendance and the Sabbath and see what we could do to get her back at church. Well before we got into the lesson she mentioned planning to go to the store to buy an ice cream cake for her granddaughter's birthday on her way to dinner on Sunday. I was a bit nervous to go ahead with the lesson plan because I didn't want to offend her but Sister Hansen went right ahead and sweet Miss Mae kinda chuckled about it and said how obviously God sent us to remind her that the little things matter and add up and that she wasn't gonna go to the store on Sunday after all. She was super cute about it.
We stopped by a referral from the Carmel Elders of a guy named Evan who has met with missionaries a couple times. It was really cool because I felt God really pick me up and use me as a tool. He used every bold, eloquent and charismatic bone in my body and magnified those abilities to engage Evan in conversation and we really had a great doorstep lesson with him. He's afraid to commit to even lessons because he knows eventually we'll ask him to make a leap of faith, but hopefully we helped him to see that right now all we want is for him to take one step.
Como siempre, envio mi amor a ustedes!
Hermana Pearson

Indianapolis Temple under construction!

Round-abouts everywhere

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Team Reject

There's not nearly as much to talk about this week. Unfortunately it was rather slow and we had a lot of cancellations and rejections. But let's start with the good stuff first.

Back on my first day here, Sister Hansen said "Look at the map. Pick out a street." We started tracting it. Turns out it's a pretty long street. Well on our 2nd day of tracting it we met Ernie. His house was daunting and intimidating and we really didn't want to go up to it. But we're missionaries. Of course we did. We taught him the restoration and gave him of Book of Mormon and said we would visit his church if he went to ours (he goes to NorthView...along with every other person in Indiana. It's a HUGE church.) Well then he went out of town on business for a month and so we had to wait to meet with him. And we finally did this week. He came prepared with 2 pages of questions. He would read online and in the Book of Mormon on his lunch break. We taught a great lesson to him and his wife and they definitely want to learn more. But he's going out for another business trip. We think we may try to embrace the whole technology deal and see if we can teach his wife in person at their home while we skype him. We'll see.

A really great family in the ward signed up a while back to have missionaries come teach a lesson. Well that happened to be the night his sister was staying with them. So we taught her a lesson too. This ward is great when it comes to being involved with missionary work. I'm spoiled here. Well I guess really every ward should be like that. The sad truth is, they aren't.

We taught Justin another interesting lesson. We planned to teach plan of salvation but didn't get far because he doesn't believe that the past is set in stone. Sister Hansen asked him to say a prayer right then and ask if we lived with God before we came here. Before I knew what I was saying, I promised him that if he'd sit and listen after the prayer, he'd get his answer. And then I started to panic. I prayed fervently for God to answer him immediately. I felt like I had made too big of a promise. But I felt peace that Justin had gotten an answer. So we asked Him what he felt and he just said calm. But we talked about how that is how the spirit speaks to us. Especially him since he has anxiety, calmness is something so needed for him and so that's how God answers him. I told him I was scared I had made such a big promise but that God told me I needed to and told me He'd follow through. I felt really bad because Justin asked me if I get frustrated with him. I don't ever feel frustrated I just worry about how I can help him but I guess that came off as frustration to him. I explained that if I was frustrated at anyone, it was me for not teaching clearly enough.

On Wednesday, new Elders got double transferred into the ward. They have a very similar situation like what Sister Hansen and I had a transfer ago. They have no investigators and they're starting from scratch. We'll help them out though. We already have. The ward mission leader doesn't want us to teach single men anymore since we have 2 sets of missionaries so sadly we had to give up Justin. We stopped by his house to tell him we wouldn't be the ones to teach him anymore. Sometimes we feel like he doesn't make progress but I think that's mainly just because we really have to start from the basics. But he told me that I shouldn't be frustrated at my skills as a missionary because I had truly helped him. That meant a lot to me and makes me sad that we can't teach him anymore.

We were so sad because the Garcias definitely took a step back this week. They didn't read what we asked them to and they expressed concern over why the Bible doesn't mention the Book of Mormon. When we talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, they said they don't need that because they already have the Spirit with them. We started preparing "homework" for them so they have reading assignments every day. We hope that can help them progress faster.

We met with the Hernandez family who have met with missionaries for years. We asked them what their intention was in having us over. Their answer blew us away. They like the friendship they get from the missionaries. The question made them think at least a little though, because they asked what our intention was. So we basically told them to teach them the truth so that they can get baptized. Maybe with a clearer purpose set, we can make progress with them.

We tried a lot of less actives. 90% of them have moved.

We had a tentative appointment scheduled with a referral, Todd, so we called to confirm. The lady that answered asked who we were so I said "missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Then she said "We already have our church. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" So I simply started to say "Yes, I'm just looking for Todd, is this the right number?" But before I could get through any of it she repeated ''DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" So I just kept saying yes. She literally yelled the question 15 times, said "YOU GIRLS SHOULD BE SMART ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND." And then hung up. We got a little laugh out of that one!

We tried by a former investigator and when we got there she said "I was wondering when you missionaries would come back." Good sign, right? Wrong. She told us she had tried to read the Book of Mormon but she couldn't stomach it because it was of the devil. She spent a good 5 minutes explaining how evil it was. Weirdly enough she was a very sweet lady. She offered us water. She said she's a single mom that works and goes to school but she'd make time for us to do a Bible study if we'd come with open minds. She says she prays for the missionaries every day and probably always will that we will realize the error of our ways. She hopes we can find Jesus. She started to say she wishes us luck but then stopped herself and said she hopes that our missions will be difficult so we realize that we follow the devil. It was hard to listen to her deny the Book of Mormon. All we could say is we've prayed about it and know that it is true. We still asked for a referral though. And she even kind of gave us one. She said to talk to the neighbor across the street playing basketball. So we headed over and stopped in the driveway. The guy grabbed his basketball and literally ran away.

Sorry I wasn't able to write home yesterday. We did have a fun Labor Day BBQ though. The new Stake Presidency Counselor is in our ward and his family invited over 3 ward families, and all the missionaries in the ward. So it was fun to eat with President Cleveland. It's so nice to get to interact with him since most missionaries don't get much of a chance. No surprise, he talked sports with Elder Coles. That's what you get when your mission president is a coach. He said his favorite coaching job was his first one at a high school in California when he taught AP gov and econ. He's really cool. We all really love the Clevelands!

On our way to a less actives after dinner we saw the summer sales boys that are in our ward selling door to door. We talked to them for a minute and they gave us a referral of a lady they sold to. They said that one house they had been in, the man told them they have the hardest job in the word selling pest control door-to-door but then paused and said, No, those Mormons who try to sell religion have it harder. So then of course they told him they've already been there and done that!

I got an update from the Missionary Department on my visa. Pretty much all they said was it's not here. With the last transfer we got two more visa waiters. They'll be headed to Australia. Crazy.

Pues, Hasta Luego,

Hna Pearson