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!