Monday, July 11, 2011


July 11, 2011


Everyone who has told me that they saw the most miracles in the end of their mission is right. Maybe it´s because I´m looking (and praying) more for them. But I really hope my companion (who is just starting) realizes how incredible all of this is.
We did have one sad point. A family we were teaching decided they didn´t want to listen any more. They´re always sad when the missionaries leave and they have family members that got baptized in the Jehova´s Witnesses and it ripped the family apart. It´s hard when people can´t understand the beauty of the gospel and how important it really is for the family, but we´ve planted a seed there and hopefully they´ll remember us some day and go back to church.
This week we found a bunch of new investigators and a lot went to church. One very special little investigator is the daughter of a family that´s inactive right now. When we gave them the commitment to go to church she said "YES" before anybody else and they all went!
When we went by after to congratulate them she got really mad at her mom and said, "You told me I was going to get baptized when I was 8!  Now I´m 9 and I´m still not baptized! When am I going to get baptized???" so we gave her a baptismal date and her dad will prepare to baptize her on August 6th. I won´t be here, but I´m still very happy.
I also heard that yesterday Martina Helmer was baptized (the daughter of the inactive family in La Falda) and that her dad was able to stop smoking and go to church and baptize her. That made me very, VERY happy.
A family in this ward has been giving us a lot of references lately (because they think we work hard, tricked them! just kidding...) and so we´ve been teaching a lot of great, golden people.
Also, a man showed up to the church in Barrio Hospital yesterday and said that he wants to change his life and get baptized... and he lives in our area. We´re going to see him tomorrow and he will hopefully get baptized next week.
We went on divisions with two hermanas in the ward to do visiting teaching, look up inactive people, and teach some lessons, and they LOVED it and really inspired the other ladies to do their visits and coordinate divisions with us. This week we taught 10 lessons with members present (the weekly goal for the mission).
We taught the family Carrillo, a part-member/inactive family we´ve been seeing, and they´re going through economic problems. We taught the law of tithing and they not only accepted it, they LOVED it.  They´re going to stop working on Sundays and go to church. The 9-year-old grandson read all of the pamphlets we´ve left and keeps bugging us for his own Book of Mormon, so we´re going to give him the one that´s comic-style.
This week was incredible. I´m excited to see what miracles are in store for us this week, but next week´s email will probably be lame, so you´ll have to ask me about it when I get home.
I´m running hard to the finish! If we keep seeing these miracles, it will be easy!
I love you all!

Hermana LaPray

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still here....

            In case anyone was wondering, yes, I´m still here in Argentina... Did you know that "floresta" (my area) means "forest"? It´s weird, because there are no forests here... not even a lot more trees than usual.  Maybe they mean "dirt forest" because there is a lot more dirt than usual...
Well, the exciting news for this week is that we might have 2 unplanned baptisms. A guy contacted us in the street the other day asking us about church and how it can help his life and stuff so we´re going to teach him today and baptize him soon. He seemed really interested and is already reading stuff we gave him, even though we haven´t even had a formal lesson yet. Another is a girl named Sofia who has been to church before, but her dad would never let her get baptized (he´s kind of a crazy guy who has questions that don´t really matter) but we met him and asked him and he said that she could get baptized if she really wants to, and not because she´s just doing it for some boy. Good news: my companion and I aren´t boys! We´re hermanas and she´s going to get baptized soon... she just needs a baptismal date :)
            Other than that, our heater blew up this morning. It somehow turned off last night and when I re-lit it this morning it made kind of a mini-explosion and burnt my fingers. And then it went out again an hour later. So I re-lit it more carefully and was in the other room by the time it exploded. l like being in Argentina, but I´m excited for my central heating unit that will never singe my fingernails...
We might be doing divisions again this week with the hermanas from Pringles, so next week we´ll let you know how that goes. And we´re doing divisions with some hermanas from the ward, so we might be doing divisions while on divisions. Makes your head hurt, huh? And I think in english divisions are called splits. Something like that. I don´t speak missionary english, sorry. Someone can teach me when I get home.
So I hope everyone has had a good week. Happy 4th of July! I hear that´s a holiday or something... we´re just getting ready for 9 de julio down here. You know, Independence Day.
And I have officially decided to not write any more letters. I´ll probably get home before any letters I might write... I think the last letter I wrote was to Dan 2 weeks ago so if you´re not Dan and you haven´t gotten a letter, you´re not going to get one! But I still love you and I will email you when I get home :) Thank you for the letters, they really are appreciated. Even though I´m an ungrateful little brat and I won´t write you back.

Times up! Hasta luego!

Hna. LaPray

Monday, June 27, 2011

President Arnold

June 27, 2011
So the visit from president Arnold went surprisingly very well and I didn´t even have nightmares after. Even though I was sitting right up front next to his wife and I had to stand up in front of everybody like 7 billion times to answer questions or read scriptures or write on the board... he focused a lot on planning (weekly and daily) and really relying on the Lord to guide us in it. He also talked about "keeping your line in the water" and always sharing the gospel with someone. We should ALWAYS be talking with people and we should never waste the Lord´s time. It was a really great conference and President Arnold is a very inspired man. He truly is a representative of Jesus Christ on the earth.

This week has been same-old normal stuff, teaching, walking, contacting, walking, eating, walking, teaching, walking, giant dogs, walking, walking, contacting, walking, eating, and walking. Our area is HUGE and we´re finally getting everything figured out and organizing our work well to stay in the same area all day. We´re finding lots of people to teach and this week we found some who might even progress!

Last night we were teaching the husband of an hermana from the ward and he just kept saying "it´s not my time to get baptized." He´s been to church a lot of times and he´s read the Book of Mormon and he always supports his family in going to church. I felt like we should go over the baptismal interview questions with him, so that´s what we did. As we went through, he realized that he really is ready and that he wants to promise the Lord that he´ll follow Him. It´s tricky, because yesterday was the first Sunday in 3 months that he´s been home because he´s a trucker, but we have a lot of faith that we can get him baptized. He´s a wonderful person and he really wants to be with his family forever. Hopefully he´ll have another Sunday here before I go home :)

There are people like him all over the world who are ready for baptism and need it, but they just need someone to help them realize it. Share the gospel with your friends. You never know whose life you´re going to change.

I love you all, and I´m excited to see you (but not too excited...)

Hermana LaPray

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Feliz dia!

Today is día de la bandera... flag day. I´m not actually sure what it means, but it meant we had to walk farther to get to an internet place because everything is closed.
But anyway, we´ve decided that we like Villa Floresta. It´s the BIGGEST area of my entire mission, but we´re starting to get the hang of it. Some parts are so far away that the members tell us "don´t worry about walking there, we´ll drive you." It´s a WARD which means there are lots of people in church on Sundays and we have all the priesthood leadership positions filled and there are teachers for every class, so we just have to invite people to church :) The bishop did ask me to give a talk, though, and he assigned me "An Ensign to the Nations" by Elder Holland from general conference. It was a really great talk, and I mostly focused on learning by the spirit--making sure we spiritually prepare ourselves for our church meetings so we can learn what Heavenly Father wants us to. Sometimes we just want revelation and answers for free, and we overlook all the tools that Heavenly Father has given us to prepare ourselves to recieve those answers (reading the lessons beforehand, really preparing ourselves for the sacrament, patriarcal blessings, etc.). The bishop did make one mistake, though, he told me to talk as long as I wanted, so I just gave the entire talk I had prepared. It was about 15/20 minutes. haha, I guess he repented a little after because he had prepared a talk and had to cut out a lot of stuff. Next time he´ll give me a time limit :) ok next time will be a 5 minute testimony and I´ll be really freaked out so I won´t want to talk very much (you know, last testimony in the
We´re finding new investigators, but we really need to help them progress and I don´t think a lot of the people we found last week will really be that willing to progress. We´ll find some new, great ones this week.
Nobody died in our hammer/nail lesson last week. We brought 3 little scrap pieces of wood, some nails, and hammer to teach about baptism, repentance, and the sacrament. We had their 8-year-old son drive some nails into the first piece of wood and we started naming some "little-kid" sins (lie, not do your homework, steal a piece of candy, hit your sister). The really funny part was when he yelled, "Wait a minute, I never hit my sister!" hahaha we laughed SO hard, because he didn´t renounce any of the other ones. Then we explained about repentance, that you can take the nails out of the wood. But those little holes are still there, so what do we do about that? We explained the atonement and baptism (since he and his dad are both getting ready :) and how, because of the atonement, Christ can remove those holes and we can be a new person. So we took out the second piece of wood. And then had him drive a nail into it. So now, you´ve gotten baptized, but you sinned again. You repent again, but you can´t get baptized again--what do you do? We talked about the sacrament and how we renew our baptismal covenants and we can be just as clean and perfect as before. We then gave him all three pieces of wood and he named them Pedro and said he´d keep them by his bed, haha. He´s a really cute little kid.
Just so you know, people still tease me here about being lactose intolerant. They say "ok so for lunch we´ll have a pizza.... with extra cheese. And for dessert chocolate milk with a dulce de leche/cream cake with EXTRA butter" and I laugh and tell them how funny and original they are... haha. But now everybody knows and I´m not sick any more :)
President Arnold is coming this week (Thursday) for zone conference.
Everyone´s being REALLY serious about it. I´m scared. He´s probably going to eat me or fry me with his dragon breath or something. Just kidding, I´m excited. He can´t be THAT bad... though I am still haunted by that Elder Aidukaitis visit... I´ll let you know if I have nightmares this week.
Anyway, we´re still working and freezing our butts off! I love you all!


Hna. LaPray

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's the final transfer!

June 13, 2011
(Sing that out loud with the tune to final countdown, it makes the mission a lot more epic that way)
So we had a great week in La Falda, and then Friday afternoon our district leader called and said "Hermanas LaPray and Alston, you´re going together to Villa Floresta." This particular elder (Elder Hatch, mom) likes to make lots of funny jokes... so I told him "Funny joke, elder" and eventually he convinced me (after I called the zone leaders to confirm) that we really were being transferred... yikes! So Sunday afternoon the office elders got us in the mission van and moved us to the other side of Bahia. I was so sad!!! I was really ready to die (end the mission :) there in La Falda! But oh well, we´re here in Villa Floresta now, in a gigantic WARD and we´re excited to work hard.
We already have a baptism lined up on July 23rd. A man who needs to get married (his wife recently reactivated) and then he´s getting baptized and then he´s going to baptize his son! We´re going to have a family night with them tonight and we´re going to put nails in stuff and talk about repentance. Maybe we´ll nail some holes in their door, just to show them how mad we are to be here. Ok maybe not... but we´ll let you know if we hurt anyone in next week´s letter.

Well, not really anything else to report on for now... Today is the first day of my last transfer and I´m pretty nervous, but I´m going to work hard!

Thanks for all your love and support!

Hermana LaPray

Monday, June 6, 2011

What's the difference between a pony and Hermana LaPray?

NOTE - This was posted out of order.

May 30, 2011
What’s the difference between a pony and Hermana LaPray?
One´s a little HOARSE (or little horse...)

Good one, right? I´m sure you´re all laughing your heads off. I remember I read that joke once in a joke book when I was 10 or something. Anyway, I had the blessing this week of experiencing strep throat. And then the medicine the doctor prescribed me had lactose in it. We´ve had quite the adventure this week, hahaha. So now I´ve finally changed my anti-biotic and my throat is feeling better. Ok so it hurts a little more because I was off the first anti-biotic for 2 days when we discovered it was the cause of my stomach pain but today we got the new medicine and I´m sure it will start to feel better again, haha.

But other than that, it was a great week. We had a great district baptism (ok so the Elders in our district had a big baptism together, the guy we were going to baptize has disappeared...) on Saturday and it was great to see the entire front row of the chapel filled with people dressed in white. I just love baptisms! Then we did a musical number (except I didn´t sing because I had strep throat) and it was great! So basically it just seems like everyone wants to do great things and just leave me out... Just kidding.

We now have a baptismal date with the daughters of our re-activating family. Martina and Julieta will be getting baptized on June 25th and we´re very excited for them! They are wonderful, beautiful little girls and they really want to get baptized! Now we just need to work more with their dad to help him stop smoking and get ready to baptize them.

We also have an appointment with a great family tomorrow. We found them knocking doors. The wife and kids are ex-investigators but the husband didn´t like the young men that kept coming over to visit his wife and kicked them out and threatened them and told them to never come back. So they never went back. But we knocked on their door and we´re girls so we´re allowed in :) They´re really great people and we really want them to progress! They´re members of some sort of reformed Catholic church that´s a little bit more like ours, but they don´t even really believe in that church. The husband is "looking for God"
and the wife is "looking for His church." It´s almost one of those stories that´s too good to be true...

We´re excited to keep working hard and knock on more doors like that one. People NEED this gospel. I really love the quote underneath the pictures of the Sacred Grove and I´ve been thinking about that phrase a lot this past week. "What happened here changed the world. Let it change your life." God has restored His church on the earth. His authority. The authority to bind things on earth AND in heaven (Matt.16:19). I know the restoration is real and that families are forever.

Let the gospel change your lives.

I love you all!

Hermana LaPray


June 6, 2011

No, not the chips. You have to say it with a Spanish accent. That´s the little town I went to this week to go on divisions with Hermana Villegas (a Chilean who I started with). hna. Tingey came here to La Falda and I headed out to Cnel. Pringles. It reminded me a lot of my first area, really small town and really receptive people. I enjoyed my time with Hna. Villegas and at the end Hna. Alston and Tingey came out and I went with Hna. Tingey and taught some lessons and took some cheesy missionary pictures. It was so energizing to get out and see another area and learn from another companion.
Transfers are this Sunday, but I don´t think there will be any changes. I´m just going to die (in missionary talk, finish the mission, haha) here in La Falda with Hermana Alston. But I´m excited, I really like the people in this area.
We´re really picking up with the work now. For some reason, people have decided to listen to us now and we´re teaching lessons and we have a new baptismal date with Vanesa! Hopefully we can get her baptized on the 25th, but she still needs to get married. They both want to get married, but it´s more of an idea they have up in the air.  We want to get them to go with us this week to the civil registry to get an appointment to get married!!! Make it less of an idea and more of an ACTION. But people usually have to wait about a month to get a time slot for the marriage so we might have to put her baptismal date in July... but hopefully we can have a miracle, that would be nice.
We should be having the baptism of Martina, the daughter of the less-active family, on the 25th, though. Her dad has decided that he wants his kids to know more before they get baptized, but tonight´s lesson should show that they know plenty and baptism is really important so they need it NOW! Their dad is also a bit prideful and admits it... so hopefully we can get her baptized soon too!
The family we were supposed to teach changed our appointment from last week to today... hopefully they´re there! I´m sure it´s going to be a great lesson and they´re going to accept what we teach.
Now that I´m approaching my last transfer, President has stopped reminding me how much time I have left. And I´m starting to feel it more. This transfer (last 6 weeks) has gone by WAY too fast so I´m hoping this next one slows down... I still have a lot of work to do and 6 weeks is not enough time!
We´re still in the mission home. They say repairs should be done next week-ish and we´ll be back in our apartamentito. I´ll be glad to be back closer to our area!
Sorry this letter is kind of scattered today, my thoughts are kind of scattered. We have an appointment in 10 minutes so we have to get out of here!!!

But I still love you all, haha

Hermana LaPray

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Montanas rusas

Montanas rusas
It's been such a rollercoaster here--and you know how I don't like rollercoasters. We have lots of people progressing, then they all disappear, then we find more people who progress, and then they all disappear. Right now we're stuck her sin nada. Well, we have the little recently activated girls who are getting baptized on June 18th, but all the other investigators have kind of fallen away. But we've been in that sector of our area for a long time now and we're going to move on to another sector. Find new people, learn new streets and baptize tons of people! I'm really ready for a little change of pace and new faces. A fresh start!

So this week was kind of mas o menos and at the end of the week we were just very tired with not very many numbers (which is what our leaders are always looking for). And we didn't even get to meet president Arnold! I guess he techinically had his stuff in our house Saturday and Sunday but we were busy doing missionary stuff and he was busy doing Area President stuff and we never even got to see him! But he's coming for zone conference in July so I'm sure he'll be in the mission home then, too.

Zone conference was amazing. President talked about the atonement and how it works in our lives and how to help others to let it work in their lives. He also talked about  working more with the members--but more that we just help the members (like we have to walk around at church to meet all the investigators they bring and we're tired of filling up the baptismal font because it just takes too long). So this Sunday (on the 5th sunday) we're putting together a special class for our branch to map out our goals and show them how they can help us and show them a little more how they can do it. And tomorrow night we have a branch activity, so hopefully there will be some future investigators there for us to meet.

We also got to sing in a baptism for another branch on Saturday. My companion and I both sing so President Detlefsen sent us over, haha.
But I love going to baptisms and we got free food, so it was pretty great.

I've also been eating mandarinas (kind of like clementines) like the world ends tomorrow--but then Saturday came and the world didn't end and there I was just stuffed full of mandarinas. Too bad that evangelical guy was wrong. Now I'm all out of mandarinas.

And I would just like to say hi to Sister Orton, your daughter told me that you read my blog and that you love my mom because she's the only one from the missionary mom website that answers your emails. Whenever the elders ask us how our moms know each other and we say, "" they just kind of groan a little bit. You know, that pained kind of groan that teenage boys sometimes do. But anyway, I hope you enjoy my letters home, haha :)

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Thanks for the prayers and letters and support.

Hermana La Playstation

Monday, May 16, 2011

President Arnold is coming.....

No, not for zone conference or anything, just for a YSA fireside, but he´s going to stay in my house! O sea, the mission home, but the area president is going to be down the hall from us this weekend. I´m a little scared. Needless to say, this will be the most strictly obedient weekend of my mission.

We had a good week with good lessons and commitments to go to church, but when we went by on Sunday nobody answered their door even to tell us they didn´t want to go... And we passed by EVERYBODY.
Investigators, ex-investigators, inactive members, less-active members--we missed Primary! But nobody... Then we passed by them again in the afternoon but they weren´t there. Ok one family was and they say their roof started raining Saturday night... and their entire house was flooded. So I guess we´ll take that as an excuse for now, but it better not start happening every week!

We´re struggling with Walter, who we thought was so golden at first.
He´s missed church 3 weeks in a row now and we´re going to have to change his baptism date for a second time. But he did just get kicked out of his house and lose his job... he´ll get there, we just need to be a little more patient.

Vanesa is doing well. She´s been reading the Book of Mormon and she likes how she feels when we´re teaching her, but she hasn´t prayed yet to know if the Book of Mormon is true. She said she would do it and we´re going to see her right after internet so hopefully she has good news for us. We want to teach her husband (well, her boyfriend), too, but when we´re there he´s either sleeping or working. Hopefully we catch him today.

We also do have zone conference this week, so I´m going to get to see Hermana Collette and Hermana Tingey! And I´m sure President is going to teach us some cool stuff.

Speaking of President, he and his wife have been learning English and right now their English teacher has them learning the song "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra, so I told President that it´s making me trunky (it´s a joke, I´m not really!!!) and so now whenever he sees me he turns the music off really fast. But he still keeps telling me every day that I go home soon and he shows me the papers he has to fill out for all those missionaries who go home in July. I think he wants me to feel like sudden destruction is right around the corner, but he doesn´t want me to think about home too much. I just keep doing missionary work.

Well I hope everything is going well on that end. I love you all!

Hermana LaPray

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

more transfers, one hermana "dead"

These transfers were CRAZY! We didn´t get time to write yesterday because Hermana Olsen was DYING. So we sent her home. It was really weird because now I´m in the next group of hermanas to go--but I´m just not going to think about that and work hard!

We´re doing GREAT with Walter--he hasn´t smoked since Tuesday and he loves how his lungs feel. He´s really excited for his baptism next Saturday. He´s a funny guy, he makes fun of me a lot (especially lately because I lost our cell phone... yeah... don´t judge me
please...) and always reminds me not to forget my shoes or anything like that.

The daughters of the Helmer family went to church on Sunday (they´re an inactive family with baptism-age girls). The parents didn´t go because their little boy was sick, but they´re excited to come this Sunday. We´re waiting on a baptismal date for them because our branch president is going to put a goal with their dad for HIM to be able to baptize them, and then hopefully they´ll be going to the temple at the end of the year!!! We´re so excited for them.

Oh and there´s more big news: We now live in the richest neighborhood in Bahía Blanca, Palihue. We live with President Detlefsen´s family.
Our house is currently being torn apart because the foundation was collapsing from underneath us and I guess that´s a bad thing. Now we live in the NICEST house and they give us food all the time and they have central heat and soft mattresses... I´m hoping these construction workers take 3 months to finish our house :) haha

Anyway, I´m so grateful that I can be a missionary right here, right now. They changed our zones to get ready for the third stake here in Bahía. We´ll be part of the "new" stake and it really helps us have more of a vision of what we´re working towards. This work is so great!!! The Lord is helping us so much right now, and I´m really grateful because I really need it.

Well, I´ve got to go now, but I´m excited to talk on Sunday :) If some old man answers speaking Spanish just ask, "está Hermana LaPray?" and hopefully I´ll be there, haha. You better not be trunky when you call me! And make a list of things to ask me, because I don´t know what to talk about. I don´t even speak English any more!

Hermana LaPray

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hasta la vista, baby

Our ward mission leader told us that one day this week... we then explained that he can't say that to sister missionaries. It was still really funny.

We had a great week! We found a lot of new investigators, and some are progressing! Alberto was investigating the church a few years ago and became really good friends with the Elders who taught him. At that time he felt like he had to start studying before making any decisions (like that was the answer to his prayer) so he stopped going to church. My companion found him knocking doors (we were on divisions) and he accepted a baptism date (as a goal) for May 14th. He believes the Book of Mormon is true that that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but he still needs to feel good about getting baptized. Another one we found this week, Walter, is already excited about HIS baptism on May 14th! We found him a couple weeks ago knocking doors, but didn't actually get to teach him until Saturday. Usually at the end of the lesson, we challenge people to get baptized when they know it's true and set a baptismal date as a goal to show their "real intent" (Moroni 10:3-5) but my companion surprised me at the end when she asked, "Walter, would you like to be baptized into our church?" and then he surprised me even more by saying, "Yes, I would. When?" Amazing! For Bahia to have 3 stakes, La Falda needs to be a ward instead of a branch, and that means MORE PRIESTHOOD. So we're convinced that someone (or lots of someones) are praying for more priesthood in the branch. Because all of our progressing investigators are men! And recently quite a few men have gotten baptized here. It's really great to see the miracles and the answers to prayers. So now we're helping Walter prepare for his baptism and trying to help Alberto get his spiritual confirmation.

Easter was fun, but mostly uneventful, like most holidays on the mission... just another day to work! But we did eat candy and smash chocolate eggs (the tradition here). The Holy Week was actually kind of disappointing, even though we live in the same block as a Catholic church. They walked around with olive branches LAST Saturday (not sure what that was about) but there were no palms on Sunday, no ashes on Wednesday and Friday just wasn't that good. (haha, isn't that "punny"?) I had heard it was a little more crazy, but I guess just not here.

I'm having a great time with Hermana Clark, but transfers are on Sunday so we'll see what happens... I really hope she stays one more transfer, we get along and work together well. But we'll know on Friday! Well, I'LL know on Friday, the rest of you will know on Monday.

Hermana Olsen (who was new when I got here...) goes home next Monday.
When we did divisions, I spent 2 days with her in Punta Alta (a city close to here) and she's so nervous that it made ME nervous. She leaves and then I'm in the next group of Hermanas to go... yikes! I see Hermana Tingey every once in a while and she's pretty freaked out, too. I've decided we're working too hard, because it just makes the time go faster. We need to be a little lazier to make the days go by slower... Don't worry, I'm just kidding. It's amazing how fast so much time has gone by, but I've loved it all (a lot of it I only love looking back :) and I'm excited to see what I have left to learn in these next 3 months--but get those raspberries ready for me!

Thank you all for everything you do! I got the letters from Mariah, Nathan, and Sam last week (is Joel too cool to write to me now?) and I'll write back on Monday. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,     Hermana LaPray

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let's Get Some Spit Crackin'

That's what Hermana Clark said one day this week when we were getting ready to leave to go to work. We're still trying to figure out how to crack spit, but we've decided it's definitely one of our good qualities. The weird things like that are what make me love my companion, haha. And how she doesn't mind my huge, frumpy, "I've been on a mission for over a year and I don't care what I look like any more" clothes.
We're still trying to find new people... we found a nice girl named Antonela this week and we're hoping and praying that she progresses.
We've been working a lot with less-active members and one of them actually came to church! (That is something that has never happened so far on my mission, a less-active person comes back because of my efforts as a missionary. It probably means that I'm just a bad missionary and need to learn better how to work with inactive people.) Estela Maris has been going through a lot of rough times in her life and has started to drink again a little (she's an alcoholic and almost drank herself to death before she was baptized 10 years ago), but she doesn't want to fall back into those bad habits so she's been reading the Book of Mormon and praying and coming to church! This Sunday her
1.5 year-old son will be getting a baby blessing from the branch president so we're pretty excited about that.
Some hilights this week were when Hermana Detlefsen's mom didn't understand lactose intolerance. She asked me what the disease I had was called that I couldn't eat anything with lactose and wanted to know if there was a cure. I told her no, that it was like an allergy, but she still didn't really get it and told us about how her daughter couldn't have fried stuff once because of her stomach but that she'll pray for me that I can get over it. Later in the week, Victor (a recent convert) told me that my husband is going to be a very special man with a unique sense of humor... so that he can understand mine.  Basically everyone here just thinks I'm crazy and I have some weird milk-disease. I'm sure when I'm gone they'll say, "What ever happened to that one who couldn't have milk? I wonder if she ever found someone as crazy as she is to marry her..."
Despite all the setbacks, the work keeps moving on! Hermana Clark and I keep working ourselves to death to bring the gospel to the people who need it (which is everyone). Thank you for all your prayers and support. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. He won't always answer them how we want Him to, but that doesn't mean He isn't answering them. He loves us and knows what we need (more than just what we want) and He will help us return to His presence.

Have a great week!

Hermana LaPray

Monday, April 11, 2011

another time!

Sorry, but I only have about 4 minutes left to write this... oops!
This week has been a little crazy. We have some strange blisters in our throats, my companion has some stomach virus, and we are getting a giant crack fixed in our apartment wall... all of that and we're trying to find new investigators. So we're walking a TON (even though this is a small area) and working really hard.

Yesterday we got to go to the baptism of a woman in another ward (because we were the ones who found her :) Nancy Gutierrez has been waiting for 6 years to get baptized. She lived with a member of the Church in our ward until he got cancer and passed away. Unfortunately, she still needed to be divorced and married to get baptized, so she had to wait for her divorce papers to go through (which is a nightmare here). In September that member passed away and she moved to another area, and just recently she came back here to find out how to get baptized. We sent her to the Elders over there and at the end of the week was her baptismal service :) I got to play the piano and my companion and I were waiting for her (with towels :) when she came out of the font. She said she felt wonderful and it was like a dream. We were so grateful to be able to share that moment with her and feel her happiness.

Moments like that really help me to renew my energy with this work.
Even though we don't always see the results right away, eventually people have these great changes in their lives. A member in Mar del Plata told us she had been fasting and praying for Cecilia and her family for 6 years before they were baptized. In these moments the Spirit testifies to me and strengthens my testimony that this really is the true Church of Jesus Christ. People can argue with the things we teach and try to explain away the commandments, but I know that these commandments were not invented by men, they were sent to us from Heavenly Father. Living our lives how He wants us to will make us happier than any other thing in this earth. I love this work and I'm so grateful to be here and see these miracles (like Nancy and Cecilia).

I love you all. In our scripture study this week we found Proverbs 25:25. Study it thoroughly and decide how to apply that scripture in your lives--and in MY life :)

Have a wonderful week!

Hermana LaPray

Monday, March 28, 2011

“You have reached the Sisters of the Skirt; Please leave your message after the translation.”

It's fun to be in areas after my MTC hermanas because we always find funny stuff they did. Well, just stuff they did most of the time. Like Hna. Tingey's scriptures all over the walls, Hna. Seegmiller's to-do lists, and the title of my email. Hna. Seegmiller was with a Chilean companion and they decided to leave that on the voice mail box (as the answering machine). So first Hna. Abarzua said that line, and then Hna. Seegmiller said it in spanish. The members all think it's hilarious. Everyone loved Hna. Seegmiller and Tingey, I hope they love me, too!
We had a good week with LOTS of walking. The area is small, but we're trying to find new investigators so that means walking around a lot and not so much teaching... But we're having a good time and Hna. Clark are keeping each other entertained.
This week we had lunch with President Detlefsen and all the new missionaries. It was really fun to see them all, even if there weren't any Hermanas. And apparently president is going to remind me every week exactly how much time I have left because he wants me to feel like doom is eminent and that I need to work harder and harder. He's a good guy.
Yesterday our old-man investigator, Alfredo, went to church with us.  He's great and he's going to get baptized on April 30th. He's been really lonely for a long time (his wife died a few years ago and they never had any children) and he really loves going to church and now nice everyone is. He also loves to read the Book of Mormon because it helps him feel better.
Another investigator, Marcelo, is getting married in July! He lives with a woman who has started re-activating. We had a lesson with them this week about the importance of goals and how if she wants him to know if the Book of Mormon is true, he needs to be able to show Heavenly Father he's willing to get baptized. And he can show he's willing to get baptized by having a baptismal date. And in order to have a baptismal date, they need to have a marriage date! Marcelo was always fine with getting married, but Eli didn't want to because she wanted him to stop smoking first. He's making great progress with that and now they're getting the wedding planned for July! So I'll have that baptism right before I go home--a reason to keep working hard!!!
I'm having a really great time here. Even though it's hard sometimes, I know this is the Lord's work. I know that everything I learn here is something He wants me to learn that will make my life better and help me grow as one of His children. I love this gospel. It is truly the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know because I've read it and I've asked Him. The truth is there for those who dilligently seek it, and so many people are looking!

I love you all!

Hna. LaPray

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great week in Puerto!

Hna. Collette and I really had a great week, we found some great people to teach who want to get baptized and one (his name is Elvis--how cool is that??) has already read a TON of the Book of Mormon on his own! Basically we're really stoked about that.

But all good things must come to an end, and we all knew that Hna. Collette would have to spread her wings some day... so they took me out of Puerto and put in Hermana Seegmiller! They're going to have such a great time together and baptize everyone! And now I'm in La Falda with Hermana Cassidy Clark from California. She's crazy and fun and we're going to have a great time here! This is a branch in Bahia Blanca in the Villa Mitre stake. It's the branch where President Detlefsen lives. We'll eat with him every week and apparently HE gives the spiritual thought at the end of lunch... so I can't drill him to make sure he's reading his scriptures and having family and personal prayer.

So I'm excited now to get to know my new area and companion. We're going to work hard (and not eat anything with milk in it) and see miracles!

I love you all, thanks for your support and prayers! And thanks, Aunt Janet, for the letter, I really appreciated it :) And now I'm in the district of the office elders, so I'll get all my mail as soon as it gets to the office! Wahoo!!!

Until next week,
Hna. LaPray

(March 14th, 2011 posted a week late) It's a boy!

March 14th, 2011 (posted late because Mom was out of town)

It’s a boy!

Just kidding. But I did have an ultrasound today. Everything is in it´s place... nothing weird going on that they could see. So right now we´re settling with lactose intolerance. But Hermana Collette was really excited to tell her family that I had an ultrasound and one day she´s going to tell my husband that SHE was there at my first one.
She´s a hoot.

We´ve had a good week with LOTS of rain. Our district leader blamed it on the earthquake in Japan, but I say it´s just the changing seasons.  It was always like this in Maryland, with lots of rain and wind and then BAM it´s fall. Just like now. So it´s been cooling down but I´m having fun breaking out the warm clothes again.

So it rained on Sunday which means that nobody went to church... not even that many members. But Cecilia went, just like always! She´s really great, but she´s really struggling to make her kids want to go to church with her. We´re trying to help, but they just need to get in the habit. I´m really grateful that my parents helped me get in the habit of just going to church every Sunday! I can´t imagine what I would do on Sunday if I wasn´t at church...

We´ve been finding new investigators and tracking down the ones we lost track of while I was sick. I´m trying to leave the area with lots of investigators for the next hermana who comes in (this time we KNOW I´m getting transferred out because President told me in my interview... haha). But we´ve got a few investigators who might progress to baptism by the end of the month, we just have to get them to church!!!

I´m really grateful for this time I have to be a missionary and share the gospel. It´s the only time in my life I´ll be able to be dedicated to it 100%!!! And it´s amazing. I´m learning so much as a missionary and I´m excited to see what I have left to learn and who I have left to help. I know that this is the Lord´s work and we always have to look for His guidance. There are SO many people in our area, and surely a TON of them need to hear from us so we´re trying to get more guidance to know where to go. We can´t find those people without Him.
And the missionaries always need the members help! The members often know about people the missionaries will never find and do SO much for the missionary work.

So I´m going to leave you with a challenge for this week: Share your testimony with a friend, even if they´re a member of the church already. It´s the best way to make your testimony grow! And afterwards write to me and let me know how it went!

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week! And I also hope there are no more earthquakes!

Hermana LaPray

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lactose intoler-WHAT???

            So for those of you who haven´t heard, they´re thinking I have a food allergy. Either to lactose or gluten. When the doctor mentioned lactose I wondered how I will live when I get home--no more Reed´s Dairy??? I can´t imagine life without milk (I usually drank 2 gallons a week). Life without gluten would be hard, too, especially in Argentina. EVERYTHING they eat has wheat in it. Bread, pasta, tarta...
more bread and more pasta... empanadas... more bread. Just a lot of gluten. So either of those would really explain all the stomach pain.  We´re closer to the end of the studies... but still so far away.
Things just take a long time here.
But this week has been great. We´re focusing less on contacts (the big push for my entire mission so far) and focusing more on references from EVERYONE. We found some good new investigators this week and we´re really trying to make sure we get members to their houses and to get them to church.
A family in the ward brought a friend to church and at the end of sacrament meeting she said, "Me voy a bautizar en esta iglesia" (I´m going to get baptized in this church). So that´s pretty exciting, right? haha, we are so excited! We´re going to see her and start teaching her on Thursday. It will be hard, though, because apparently her husband is a "very bad man" who hates ALL missionaries and even puppies (according to a crazy old woman in our ward). But I´m sure her husband will see the changes in her and want to know more... we´ll pray for him. A lot.
We had a very interesting lesson yesterday with our 80-year-old investigator, Juana, and that crazy old woman in our ward. Hna. Prieto kept calling her Ramona and insisted on ALWAYS talking about the Book of Mormon (during every part of the lesson) and then told the ENTIRE story of how Joseph Smith translated it. We don´t usually talk about all of that when we teach the Restoration, but it turned out alright.
Juana loved her because she´s crazy and talks a lot and she didn´t really even understand anything she said anyway. This old woman member also gave us fruit juice concentrate to drink. It was really gross... I got mine done fast but Hna. Collette had a little more trouble, ahahah. Hna. Prieto saw I was done and asked if I wanted more so I said, "NO! NO THANKS! I´M FINE!!!!" It was a close one... And everything else we ate that day was VERY sugary... haha. We just love the crazy old church members...
We´re working on planning a ward FHE this week and it´s going to be AMAZING. I will send pictures some day of all these things that are happening, I promise.
We´re still having a good time here in Puerto, teaching all the stray dogs. And sometimes the people. I love this work and I´m so glad I get to be a missionary. And I can´t wait until we find out what I´m allergic to and we can work even harder! I know that the Lord directs this work, because as I´ve been sick we have seen even more miracles.  Someone is helping us and making up for what we can´t do. And I know that I am being strengthened in the moments that I need it most. I know the Church is true. I know the gospel and priesthood power were restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love us, and there is a reason for everything that happens in the world. Even when life isn´t perfect.
Heavenly Father answers our prayers, even when it´s not the answer we want. He knows what´s best for us. This is His plan and I´m so grateful for my knowledge of it. I´m grateful for the Book of Mormon to teach me these things, I know it´s the word of God and that it has a special power to help us in our lives.
I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week.
Hermana LaPray

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Trunky papers!

Man, just the name of those papers makes me trunky. They got here on Tuesday to tell me that I have go to home on July 26th. Scary, huh? So I need to know the names of our Bishop and Stake President. Because I´m a bad ward member and I don´t even know those things... So just let me know!

This week was not so great... Luckily the results of the studies we did get back on Tuesday (tomorrow) and I go to the doctor on Wednesday and they can get rid of whatever I have in my stomach. But we did get a couple good lessons in, including one with Lidia, our new investigator. She now has a baptismal date for March 26th and we´re really excited for her! She just moved here from a smaller city outside Mar del Plata and she´s staying with a member family. The mom of this family invited her to church and the relief society activities and she´s really just jumped on board with everything. All she needs now is to go through the water! We´re actually going to try to push her baptism up a couple of weeks...

We also had an incredible lesson with Cecilia (our recent convert) and an investigator from another ward. We went over to Cecilia´s house for lunch and there was another woman there, who apparently she had just met. She´s a friend of a friend´s sister´s brother´s... I don´t know, something complicated like that, haha. But this woman (Soledad) mentioned that she had just gone to church and Cecilia said that she had just gotten baptized, and that there was no way they met on accident. So Cecilia had talked to her a lot about church before we got there and then we had a great lesson about faith. Unfortunately, her landlord is kicking her family out of her house so they have to move, but she might move into our ward and we can baptize her!

We´re just having a good time here in Argentina. It´s been cooling down and the kids started school again today. People are getting home from vacation and stopping their summer jobs, so there will be tons of people at home for us to teach now :)

Thanks for all the prayers and support. Tell Andrew I´m proud of him and try to get me his emails. Does he leave for Guatemala soon to finish the MTC there?

Have a great week!

Hna. LaPray

Monday, February 21, 2011

I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills......

We´ve had fun here this week singing that beloved camp song, but changing the words to things about Argentina. But usually they´re things we don´t really love... like the burning garbage in the streets and the creepy men and the pot holed streets. But it keeps us entertained and I can usually keep Hermana Collette laughing for a long time :)

By the way, I´ve heard some complaints that her emails are better than mine. I say you should just be glad you´re getting the information from somebody! She´s new and she still thinks about what she´s going to write beforehand :) I´m just old and lazy and I remember the strange things that you apparently don´t want to hear about :)

Anyway, this week has been great. We finished my lab studies and next week we´ll know what´s inside of me. Aren´t you just waiting in anticipation on the edge of your seat to know what it is???

We found some great new investigators this week. First Perla and David. David is the brother-in-law of a less-active woman in the ward.
We see him ALL the time and his wife is always at this member´s house.
The problem is that she works all day every day at the beach and he´s busy with the kids (isn´t that the life? "Working" at the beach and leaving the husband with the kids :) but the other day it was raining so we figured she´d be home and we passed by... and they were there!
So we talked about the Book of Mormon and how they can know it´s true and they said they would read it and they want to know. They have 2 young kids and I´m excited to help them progress. We also taught a woman named Lidia. She´s a member woman´s friend and is living in her house right now so she came to church once. We had a lesson with her yesterday (we called it a family home evening and talked about the Book of Mormon) and invited her to listen to us to decide if it´s true and she said she´s going to start reading the Book of Mormon right away! She´s really nice and already goes to all the Relief Society activities (they have one every week) and she loves the friendships in the Church. We just have to get her to go a couple more times and feel like it´s true and then she can get baptized :)

Last Monday we also taught Iara´s dad, Alejandro, again... he didn´t want to listen to us for about a month, but we finally found him and I think he really wants to change his life now! It´s going to be hard for him to admit he was wrong (he laughed at his wife for a long time for going to church and insisted it wasn´t true...) but he´ll come around with time and testimony. The big news is that he´s actually trying to get a new job now! With his current job, he can´t go to church on Sundays, but there´s a member (our ward mission leader :) who works in the port making nets and we think that Alejandro is going to work there with him! And his whole team will be Mormon! hahaha! He won´t be able to resist...

So basically it was just a really good week and we´re really happy to be here and be missionaries. We have so many great experiences and we´re learning so much!

I got the letters from Mariah and Aunt Melissa and I´m in the process of writing back... and I´m glad Sam has those new scriptures, but he better be reading them, too! haha

Hna. LaPray

P.S. I was looking at my birthday calendar and I realized something that might be slightly embarrassing. I sent a birthday letter to "Laura" back in September, and now I realize that the birthday of "Laura" is coming up in March... That should have been to Laura Cook and I´m sorry if you´re birthday isn´t in September! I actually can´t even think of another "Laura" and why her name would be on my birthday list... So just pretend I haven´t sent that letter yet!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Special day!

Happy Valentines Day, everyone! I would like to spend a special greeting on this special day to someone VERY special... Mommy! Happy baptism day! Thank you so much for following the spirit and deciding to be baptized. You were a special miracle for those Elders who taught you, especially the one who baptized you. And you´ve been a great influence and example in my life. I just want everyone to know that I love my mommy :)

This was a good week with a lot of sun, I practically have latin skin now. Just that pesky hair keeps getting blonder... If I would just die it black I might fit in here! We´ve been enjoying the weather now that it´s not as hot and humid. We had a couple days of good, solid RAIN but now just blue skies and sun. Great for missionary work!

Elder Aidukaitis came again to the zone leader conference and congratulated us for how much we´ve improved, but warned us to keep going uphill. Our goals for this month are 1000 new investigators and 180 baptisms (as a mission). President is focusing on more meaningful prayer to recieve revelation. It´s really true that as we pray more (and really mean it more) that Heavenly Father will talk with us. I just wish there was more time in the day! This past week I have felt the Spirit much more strongly and I know it´s because of my increased communication with my Heavenly Father. He is ready to guide us and show us where we need to go, just sometimes we don´t take the time to ask.

This week we´ve been working with the Relief Society president to find the inactive women that nobody knows anything about. We´ve found some great incomplete families and more women who are willing to have visiting teachers. Some of these women don´t even know why they stopped going to church, they just missed one week and never went back. Luckily the Church is fairly organized and we can always find them :) I really liked the Ensign of this month. How much do we really FIGHT to get a less-active or inactive member to come back? I know I never did before. I didn´t even know they existed! So now I just need to be a better member for the rest of my life and really try to help our lost hermanos :)

The gospel is so great and so perfect. I´m so grateful to have the knowledge I do and I wish everyone could just understand how perfect it is! Some people just have a hard time seeing how much the commandments really protect and bless us, they just see them as restrictions. But everything the Prophets have revealed to us is really for our good and benefit. I really know that now. Share it with your friends! (Well, have the missionaries come over and share it with your friends.)

Andrew, have a great mission! We´ll Spanish it up when you get back.
See ya in 2 years! I also sent him something in the MTC, so could someone let me know if he gets it? And forward me his emails?
Guatemala is going to be so great, and you´re going to be an awesome missionary! Go change some lives!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Hna. LaPray