H o l a familia! Como le va? I feel like I haven't heard anything from you this week so getting your email today was the best (someone sent me crazy good croissants though so that must have been you...)! Oh man what a week!! I don't even know where to begin!!
Well first of all we got our travel plans!!! So I will be leaving for Rosario Argentina on Monday the 25th! We have to be at the travel office by six in the morning and then we board a flight to Atlanta at eleven. We arrive in Atlanta around five and then we board a flight to Buenos Aires at nine. So I'll have those four hours to call home (!!!!!!!). Our flight arrives at eight thirty in the morning in Argentina and then how ever many more hours till we arrive at the mission home. AH! This is happening! I was a little worried about what I would do on the flight for like what 12 hours but I'm excited because nine people from my district are going to be on it too, including Hna. Knapp, so it should be a party! OH MY HECK I'M GOING TO ARGENTINA!!!!!!!!!! (excited photos of us with our travel plans attached!) What is this life.
Sunday (my fave día de la semaña) was great as usual. I finished my talk early that week so I had more time in the morning to not think about it and just enjoy Music and the Spoken Word. I also didn't have to lead the music so zero stress. Our speaker for Relief Society was Sister Esplin who is the second counselor in the Primary Presidency. One of the best things she said in her talk was that "you develop the strength through the struggle"- and how true is that?! Little did I know it was something I very much needed to hear going into this week. Anywho- we had the usual line up of meetings as STLs. Then we get to sacrament a little early (Knapplesauce had to finish up her talk) and we just sit and I help her look up words for her talk in the dictionary. Then the meeting begins and we are sitting in the back for the first time in forever because we weren't over the music. (p.s. did I tell you all we got new zone leaders? they are literally the best.) The meeting gets started, we take the sacrament, and then the next thing I know President Carpenter is calling on me to speak! WHAT. Luckily I was very prepared. The topic that Sunday was el arrepentimiento o en ingles repentance. What surprised me was that it had been very easy and naturally for me to write a talk that week- so it just felt right. I got up and I was like:
" Hola! Estoy muy agradicida por este opportunidad a dar mi discorso. Pero lo siento, estoy un poco nerviosa y mi corazone es.."
" Hi! I am very grateful for this opportunity to give my talk. But I'm sorry, I'm a little nervous and my heart is..' and then I was like trying to demonstrate that my heart was wigging out in nervousness but everyone just starts laughing. Hahah! I didn't think it was that funny but whatevs. Anyway I was very blessed in giving my talk (that I could even make words come out of my mouth...) I pronounced everything properly I felt really good about it as I bore my testimony at the end but the spirit obviously helped because I was a scared out of my mind for a minute there! Afterwards one of the members of the branch presidency came up to me and said my grammar was vI ery good and asked me if had written the talk- that made me feel great because I'm always so worried about my spanish....It was a wonderful experience and I kind of wish I could do it again (kind of). So stoked to give my first talk en el campo! I'll try to send you a copy of my talk so you can read it! Later that night we had a crazy cool devotional with Sister Jenny Oaks Baker who, yes, is the daughter of Elder Dallin H. Oaks. She has this crazy musical family and they preformed together throughout the devo. She is a renown violinist and it was amazing to hear how her foundations in the gospel brought her to where she is today and how Christ was able to help her through the challenges that came along with that. So neat. Then instead of watching a movie we went a watched a talk that Dallin H. Oaks gave over Easter of this past year so that was neat. Cool fam bam.
This week though by far Hna. Knapp and I have had the greatest struggles. Our calling has really taken a toll on us this week. There are two dear sisters in our zone who have been struggling as a companionship. They had each talked to us before about it and we tried to counsel them as prayerfully as possible and have been really watching out for them. Nothing seemed to be getting better though. It got to the point one day this week that it could have gotten violent very quickly. The sisters had to be separated for a time and the situation seemed almost hopeless. They spoke with the branch prez that night but nothing was changing. Sister Carpenter (his wife) came over to our apartment late that night in tears. She had spoken to them and there was just an impasse and hardness of hearts. She told us that she had come to us for comfort. That if there was anyone who could help resolve the problem it was us. That was humbling. We were absolutely crushed. What were we going to do? She left and we were a huge mess. Hna. Knapp had already been completely stressed that day and I was having a lot of anticipation about leaving for Argentina and this just kind of set us over the edge. We both fell on the ground in our apartment and started pleading for help from Heavenly Father. We probably cried and prayed for a solid two hours. I don't think I can remember many times in my life when I've prayed this hard, when I've prayed with all my soul and then some. But after Hna. Knapp and I both got the same very distinct feeling that everything was going to be good and a hope entered into our apartment and into our hearts. I then felt the sudden prompting that we needed to fast then next day. So we got down on our knees and began our fast that night. The next day turned out to be awesome. We ended up not having to give this super stressful lesson we though we were going to have to give. Everything just went right and those terrible feelings never returned. The best part of the day was getting to host and welcome the new missionaries! As a host you get them off the bus and carry their bags to their room and get them to their classrooms and on their way! It was so exciting- I love being around dork dots and their contagious enthusiasm! I asked everyone I hosted what their last meal was- okay I'm going to admit it...I'm sick of MTC food. They thought I was crazy. Anyways later that night we see one of the Hermanas from the companionship that was dying and asked her how things were going that day. She smiled and said that it was incredible because when they woke up then next morning it was like nothing was ever wrong and like they never had any problems and all of a sudden they were getting along great again. Wow. These sisters were about to jump ship because of each other and now everything was good again. The power of fasting and prayer and faith and the list goes on and on!!!!!! I've seen miracles on my mission I can't even describe. I wish a lot of the time that you all were here too going through these crazy things with me just so you could experience the incredible things I have! Words can not even describe my gratitude to my Father in Heaven- His greatness, His mercy, His patience with us, His unwavering love. One of my most favorite scriptures is in Alma 26:16:
Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
Wow. I know God sometimes puts us in difficult positions where we don't feel like we are enough or that we can go on, but I know he does this because HE knows we can. He knows that we will be able to do it and that we will be better off because of it. One of my favorite phrases in spanish is ' vale la pena' which means 'it's worth it' or literally in english means 'it is worth the pain'. I love that. Oh man this is hard. So hard! But it is MORE than worth it!!!!!
Oh and that reminds me of my other favorite scripture! 3 Nefi 19:26 ' seguid orando' osea 'pray on'. It's Jesus speaking and I love that. I shared that with our dear investigator Hely and she love it too! So pray on my dear family, pray on!
Speaking of my dearest Hely, we said goodbye to her and Jose today. That was too hard. I didn't like it at all- but OH MAN things are happening there!!! First of all Jose also committed to be baptized!!!! WHATTTTTTTTT! He bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon today as he explained how he found out for himself it was true and it was AMAZING!!! This is the same dear man who didn't want to come to the CCM and listen to the missionaries in the first place! I have seen hearts change and it is truly incredible! They both gave us a little something as a going away gift (which was completely unnecessary but so beautiful) and said they wish they could have given us more which was ridiculous because if we could have given these people the moon, we would have! Jose sincerely wrote us the most beautiful poem I have ever wrote in my life. He typed it up and gave us both a copy. It is beyond incredible. And they said that they will be writing a letter or email to you all soon so get ready for that and send them lots of love back!! They call us their angels. I never thought it would be soooooooooooo hard to leave the MTC. It is so hard. I never thought I would love my zone, the leaders I serve with, the people I serve, and this place so much!!! But I know Argentina will be even better because it is where the Lord wants me right now. I'm stoked! I love my dear Hely and Jose though with all of my heart and I will miss them terribly and look forward to coming back after my mish to visit them (hey and who knows maybe go through the temple with them- with their kind of faith and diligence it is inevitable!!!)!
Oh we had an incredible devotional on Tuesday night. We got to sing the most beautiful song in the choir called precious savior- a song hasn't touched me like that in a while- amazing. And apparently we got lots of camera time so there's that hahah! Then we had the opportunity to listen to Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson- the general young women's president. That was crazy cool. She is amazing. And then I found my new fave hymn, #281.
This morning we got up early and went to the temple. It is my favorite part of the week. Something kind of funny happened but it would only be appropriate to tell you in the temple so I'll save that for another time... haha! P.S. should you go to the Provo Temple they have KILLER omelets that I highly recommend. We are so used to eating fake eggs that they are miracles in and of themselves. YUM.
Well! This is the last time I'll be emailing from the good ole U. S. A. so that's weird. I heard letters take six weeks so I'll try to get your birthday cards mailed as soon as I get to Argentina! Hahah! Oh and I heard not to send packages because they steal things out of the mail so I won't expect anything!
I hope you are all doing well and good. I'm so excited for everyone and school! Buena suerte! I hope you got my letters!! I'm sorry I can't reply to everyone...let people know that but that I do read their letters and LOVE them! Every piece of mail is like...like... I don't know- the best thing you can possibly think of! I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and your support- it means the world to have my family behind me! I brag about you all time!!! I have the best family ever.
Okay so I went over time hard core this week but I love love love you and I'll talk to you on Monday!!!!
I'M GOING TO ARGENTINA!