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