Friday, September 24, 2010

My accent is changing!

September 22, 2010

My accent is changing!!!

So I have some GREAT news from this week! We were in a taxi going home last week, and Hna. Acosta and I were talking when the taxi driver asked her where she´s from. We talked about Paraguay for a little and then he asked, "Y ¿vos sos de Bahía?" (You´re from Bahia?)... but then I explained I was from the Estados Unidos and he told me I spoke great Spanish. Then we got out of the taxi and I told my comp "that was weird... my accent is definitely North American" and she told me that it´s not really that noticeable! So I was REALLY excited about that. One of my mission goals is to come home talking like an Argentine...and when I got here I thought it was going to be impossible, but now I have more .hope for the future.
We went on more divisions this week. This time I went and worked with Hna. Abarzua in La Falda. She has been companions with Hna. Tingey and now she´s Hna. Seegmiller´s companion (both from my district in the MTC). She´s from Chile and she´s really sweet and nice and obedient.
And she´s an amazing teacher. It was a lot of fun to work with her for the day and learn from her. And she cut my hair! Just a little bit, but my first hair cut of the mission. I trusted her to do it because she went to beauty school before the mission and she´s not Argentine (I am convinced that Argentines don´t know how to cut hair).
The work continues here as usual... Martín came to church on Sunday, but Magalí had to work so she couldn´t... But Martín really liked it and made lots of friends and they´re both coming this Sunday. We have to change their baptismal date, so they´ll probably get baptized between conference sessions.
Other than that, we´ve been "killing" investigators who weren´t progressing and looking for new ones. There´s a lot of work to do here!
I am so glad to be here in Argentina. The Church is true! And that´s why I´m here. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and they love us. They want us to be happy. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and thanks to Him we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and live with our families forever. And be happy for eternity... I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through Joseph Smith and that this gospel is what we need to be truly happy. I know that we have a prophet today on the earth, and he is Thomas S. Monson. He, his counselors, and the 12 apostles are special witnesses of Christ. They have the authority to lead and guide us in these latter days. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Through it, we can recieve inspiration and spiritual witnesses of eternal truths. I love this gospel and I love this work. We all have a special responsibility to help our brothers and sisters on the earth who don´t have this happiness and truth that we have. I hope that we can always remember these things and do our best to follow the example of our Older Brother, the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ.
I love you all and I´m praying for you.

Hna. LaPray

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I don't have a witty title for you this week, sorry

September 15, 2010

Another good week here. The weather is REALLY warming up, and I don´t want it to get any warmer. It would be nice if it would stay like this for the summer. I´m pretty sure I´m going to die in summer.
This week we´ve been changing up our investigators a little. Getting rid of some that aren´t progressing and trying to find new ones who will. And we found some great ones! Marlene, who let us in her house because whenever she passed "those boys" on the street (meaning the Elders) they always smiled and said hi to her (not common in Argentina... or anywhere except Idaho Falls). She wants to read the scriptures with her family and pray with them.
And Magalí and Martín. They are REALLY special. Magalí is from the Dominican Republic, and she listened to the Elders there and went to church a couple times... but that was about 20 years ago. She was working, cleaning a house in the other Hermana´s area when they knocked on the door. She told them, "I don´t live here, but please come to my apartment!" So they passed the reference to us and we found her! She let us in and told us that she had always gone to the Catholic church, and then she studied with the Jehova´s Witnesses, and then she went to an Evangelical (is that a word? it´s "evangelica" in Spanish) church, but she never really felt like any of them were right. When we went to the second lesson, we took a Sister from the ward for the lesson and it was GREAT. In the end, she asked us what happens to her family that weren´t baptized but have already died, and the Hermana testified about the spirit world and work for the dead and Magalí cried a little. Martín is great, too. He´s 11, but he really listens and understands well. He asks great questions during the lessons to show that he´s listening, like, "Why would God tell them not to eat the fruit if he really wanted them to?" Good kid... we challenged them to get baptized, and they´re going to! The 25th! We´re really excited for them.
Other than that, work continues as normal. We played futbol again this week for P-day and ate some choripan (bratwurst) with our district. I have a huge bruise on my leg, and I´ll send a picture that you can kind of see it in. We´re planning a ward activity for the week after General Conference and we´re going to invite all of our investigators and baptize them all. And then the rest of the people in our area. And then the rest of the city, and the rest of the mission, and then Argentina. Just wait, it will be in the Ensign next month. "Hermana LaPray and Hermana Acosta baptized the whole world this month. They broke some kind of record." Just watch for it.
I love you all, and I´m praying for you. Take a friend to a ward activity then give them a Book of Mormon. And befriend a less-active member.
Until next week,
Hna. LaPray

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Divisions and Zone Conference!

September 8, 2010

Divisions and Zone Conference!

We had another great week here! As we keep working, we keep finding investigators! Weird, huh?

This week we found Graciela. Her son has prostate cancer and she wants to know why. A lot of people have that question. "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Fortunately, we have the answer if they really want it. (A lot of people don´t really want to understand why.) But Graciela did. I told her about how Mom had cancer and right after Baba did, and how now Mom thinks that she got cancer to help Baba. (You said that once, right? haha, maybe I lied. But I´m pretty sure you said that.) We taught her the Plan of Salvation, but only until we talked about baptism... then she cut us off to ask if she could come to church and get baptized. We told her, "NO!" Ok just kidding, we told her "Sure, I guess, if you really want to." Except she´s going to Buenos Aires for a while to be with her son during his treatments and everything... so we´ll have to wait for her to get back. The Lord really is preparing people for us out there!

Now the news you´ve all been waiting for... divisions! Sorry, Hna. Seegmiller and I didn´t embarrass ourselves. We had a GREAT day together and we got to talk about everything we´ve done in the past 4 months. She´s just so much fun to be with and we work and teach really well together! And we understood everything the people said to us! So it was cool to see that we actually have learned some Spanish here. And we contacted some crazy people... like the lady who told us that we don´t have faith if we haven´t seen the Lord give someone a new heart (like... a literal heart transplant) and the old guy who wanted to marry us because of our blue eyes (we told him no). But it was a great day, and I hope we get to do it again some day. We probably will.

And we also had Zone Conference with Elder Aidukaitis (one of the 70). It was AMAZING. He talked about having good goals, increasing our faith, elevating our hope, and being more diligent. And he has a cool accent (he´s Brazilian, but he speaks a lot of Spanish and even more English). I can´t even explain all the things he taught, it was so powerful and I left really WANTING to do EVERYTHING better. Every once in a while he would come up with an "excuse" to not have baptisms like, "Yeah, we can´t have a baptism this week because our investigator hasn´t gone to church" and then finish with something like, "Because that´s too hard for God, he can´t get people to go to church." Maybe it´s not as funny when I write it, I´ll just say you lose a lot in the translation and blame it on my poor English. But it was funny. And it´s true, we need to have more faith and God will give us the people who are ready or help the people who we´re already teaching. He also told us to think about how our goals would be if we were working one day with the Savior. And we realized that we can improve our goals, haha. It was such a great conference.

I´m glad to hear that everything is going well at home. Tell Aubrey to study hard and not go too crazy at those BUY-I parties. And tell Shawn to enjoy married life. And enjoy your winter while I suffer through an Argentine summer. I heard that Bahía Blanca sits in the bottom of a hole, so the heat just kind of sinks in and the wind won´t even help us in the summer. I´m really excited. (Not really.)

I love you all and I can´t wait to hear from you!

Hna. LaPray

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dust in the wind....

September 1, 2010

Dust in the wind….

There´s been a lot of wind here. Ok so there´s ALWAYS a lot of wind here, but with the changing seasons there´s more. But I guess it´s blowing away the cold and bringing the warmer weather, so I shouldn´t complain. But there is a lot of dust in this wind. I don´t know where this city keeps all it´s dust, but it´s all escaping out into the street and into my eyes and nose and ears and mouth. But it´s ok! Soon the wind will be gone and I´ll have the terrible heat to complain about!
This week was pretty normal. On Monday we had a family home evening with an inactive girl and her mom (who is an investigator) and they fed us a TON. We ate pizza and tarta (like an empanada, but huge and cooked in a pizza pan) and CAKE. A gigantic chocolate cake with cream in the middle and dulce de leche and chocolate on top. It was probably the most delicious food I´ve had on my mission, but I got so sick after. I´m on a strict "rice, white noodles, and cheese" diet. Luckily it was the last thing we did that night and I could go home and sleep.
This woman, Carmen, investigated the Church a few years ago, too, and she says she loves to see how the missionaries get fatter after being in this zone after a couple months. So we already know that her goal is to fatten us up. But it´s ok, because she´s an amazing cook, and the more we eat, the more she likes us, so hopefully if we eat enough chocolate cakes she´ll get baptized!
We also visited with a recent convert named Oscar. He got baptized in February and he LOVES the church. He´s older, about 70, and very educated. He´s a university professor here in Bahía and he loves to study. When we first met him, he said that a lot of his life he felt a lot like Joseph Smith. He investigated a lot of churches, but none of them convinced him. But then he found "the Mormons" (because of a Sister in another ward) and WE convinced him. haha. So he got baptized. And he wants to know everything NOW. He loves to study, but he gets a little impatient with himself sometimes. We go over to study with him and answer his questions, but the members are great and help him a lot with that, too. I want to find more investigators like him!
But investigators like him come through the members. So all you members of the Church out there, go find an Oscar for the missionaries!
I´m loving the work here. I love to talk about the church, and I get to do it all the time now! I was talking to one of the Elders the other day, and he said something like, "When you feel sorry for yourself, you can look around and easily find someone who´s worse off. Like sometimes I say "Poor me, I have to walk around in the street all day and talk to people!"" But then I cut him off and told him that´s a BLESSING! So now he has to find something else to complain about. In 2 days we´re doing divisions with the Hermanas in the other zone... and I´m going to work with Hermana Seegmiller for the day! So we´re going to see if we´ve actually learned anything. Especially with Spanish. I FEEL like I´ve learned a lot, but I´ve always been with companions who speak better than me... so we´ll see if we have any uncomfortable silences or awkward pauses on Friday. But I´m really excited to get to work with her! It´s been a long 4 months since the MTC days...
So tune in next week to see if we made fools of ourselves in divisions! I´m sure I´ll have some good stories, even if we don´t make fools of ourselves. Hna. Seegmiller and I always had fun together.

I love you all!
Hermana LaPray