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
MisiĆ³n 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?