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