Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Week One in Argie-land

April 28, 2010


Well, here I am! I´m serving in Tandil with Hermana Jessica Perkes from Washington. (Hermana Hansen, Joelyn´s sister who I was emailing before the mission trained her!) She has about a month left in the field, so my "childhood" is being cut in half. Usually Americans are with their trainers for two transfers, but I only get mine for one.

She went through the list of other Hermanas in the mission and next transfer my companion will either be a native Argentine or Hermana Wilding, from my friend Daniel´s ward in Texas. It would be really helpful to have an Argentine companion to learn Spanish faster, but I already met Hna. Wilding and she and I get along really well so it would be fun to serve with her, too. So we´ll see what happens next transfer!

OH! This is important. My mission address has changed. The street address is now "Chacabuco 1755." Everything else is the same. So if you sent anything to the old address, it isn´t going to get to me. Pouch letters take about 1 week to get here and other letters take about the same. Dear Elders are sent with the pouch and I´ll get them every Thursday (the day after P-day). If anyone ever wants to send a package, send something under 4 lbs in a BUBBLE ENVELOPE. They won´t make me pay for those and they always get through customs. Don´t send beef jerky or penut butter (because it´s a law AND because I don´t want them). Also, DON´T use FedEx or UPS. That is really expensive (for me and for you). Know what, just don´t send anything, ok?

So on to the good stuff! Argentina is awesome. The food is still incredible. Luckily we do a LOT of walking. In our area the streets are paved... sometimes. It´s about 50/50 but most of the streets we tract on aren´t paved. Dad would love it here because everybody drives like him. There are lane lines sometimes, but they usually ignore them. I think there´s one stop sign in the entire town and one street light on the main highway. Aubrey would love it here, because there are dogs all over and people ride horses in the street. We don´t carry our cameras around with us during the day, so I don´t have any pictures of that for you, but I´ll get one some day.

I live in a tiny little house (Mom, smaller than my apartment in
Provo) and so far I haven´t seen any cockroaches. But I´ve heard we do have them. And we have a washing machine! That is a luxury here. And our back yard is big enough to hang our clothes to dry. AND we get to choose our water temperature in our shower. I´m really being spoiled here! In the house live me, Hermana Perkes, Hermana Villegas, and Hermana Sommermayer. They´re both from Chile, so we only speak Spanish at home. Sometimes Hna. Villegas tries to correct my Spanish with the Chilean way of saying things, but don´t worry, I´m learning Argentine Spanish.

Speaking of Argentine Spanish, they don´t actually call it that...
They call it "Castallano" (in English, "Castillan"). All of the members have been surprised at how well I speak and understand... they always ask, "Did you speak Castallano before at home?" So that makes me feel good, but I know and they know that I´m still not very good. But I´ll get better! My goal is to be able to communicate without my companion helping by the end of the transfer.

The branch here is great. I think there are only about 30 active members, but the ones who are active are REALLY active. There´s never been an emphasis on members doing missionary work before, but I talked to my trainer and we´re going to really push that. We´re meeting with the lider misional on Friday to update the branch mission plan and we´re going to pump them up for missionary work on Saturday at our branch picnic. Saturday is Labor Day here, so we´re having a party with food and games--basically everything good in life.

There has been one convert in the last 3 months--Jorge. He´s a great guy and he loves to learn about the gospel. We´re trying to work with his wife now (Alicia). She definitely has a testimony and she loves everything about the church, but there´s something keeping her back from baptism... we just need to find out what that is to help her along. They have two kids: a 15-year-old girl and a 19-year-old boy.
They didn´t have their kids take the lessons with them, but I hope we can somehow start talking to them, too. They´re all really nice and it would be fun to have them in the branch.

Since we do a lot of walking, my feet are getting really gross. I wore my chacos today for p-day and it was excellent. Pray for my foot--it´s starting to hurt again. Nothing serious, I just don´t want it to get worse. Today for p-day we went on a little hike to a tiny fake castle. Haha. It was fun. They we went to a little lake and swam (haha, just kidding) and played soccer. After that we went back to the chapel and played ping pong and ate empanadas. I would call that a successful day! Don´t worry, we´re going out to work after email :) Next week we´re going up the Sierra, the small mountain they have here. I already told the Elders I´m going to beat them to the top. And I will.

Missionary work is WORK it´s true! It´s hard and frustrating and I go to bed exhausted every night and wake up exhausted every morning, and I know it´s not going to get any easier, but I´m excited to be out here! This is the Lord´s work and I want to do whatever I can do help it along. People are out here for me to meet and teach as long as I´m working hard to find them. Yeah, it´ll be easier to find them when I speak Spanish better, but in order to learn Spanish I have to get out and PRACTICE! This is going to be a long mission, but I know when I look back at the end it will seem SO short. And I know it´s going to be incredible!

Let me know how everyone at home is doing. I love you all.

Hermana LaPray

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