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