November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is absolutely no evidence of the happiest time of the year, aka Thanksgiving and Christmas, here. So please eat some food for me. (mom, make sure the turkey is cooked this year. jaja). Today we are making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies....and the festivities about end there! I did make one of those turkey handprint things that you make in 2nd grade, and write what you are thankful for. So as I am sitting at my desk in the sweltering heat I have a lovely little turkey to look at.

I assume mom has already facebook stalked about the hermanas conference.... But yes it was lovely! I felt like I was in young womens...with all the girls, even the table decor. There are SO many new hermanas. Well truth is,maybey they aren´t that new....I still feel like the new one, then people remind me I have been here for months and months. jaja. Pres and his wife spoke, and other people, there were little class things about hair and clothing (jajajajaj that´s gone down the drain), we even learned how to lead music. And the food. That´s always important.

I saw my little companera, hna cruz, that is in colón. I was SO happy to hear about the good things that are happening there, it´s being taken care of. 

We met lots of interesting people this week. People seem to share their life story, deepest darkest secrets, their body and health problems in detail, and more than you ever ask to know. This includes sweet little abuelas cannot hear us, even when I am practically screaming...and cannot walk to go to church....and cannot see to read the pamphlet. ja oh well. Testigos de Jeovah....this has tested my knowledge! These people are hard core. We had some very interesting discussions....but the truth is if a person looks for every fault or doubt, they cannot receive a testimony. We were with a menos activo, when the mom went mute. She lost her was one of the weirdest appointments I have ever had, turns out this is a healthproblem she has and it happens, but they don´t know why. Lipreading in spanish is hard. ja. I hardly knewwhat to do..It was crazy.

My testimony of Jose Smith and the restauracion grows stronger every day. People are constantly attacking our message and the church, but I know for myself that he was a prophet. There´s been many moments where I know the spirit testified strong,even if a person doesn´t want to accept the gospel. The interesting thing is that EVERY time we begin to teach the first vision and jose smith, there is a distraction -phone rings,baby cries, person walks in the room. This is not coincidence, because this is the moment the Spirit can be strongest.

Our miracle this week was Miguel. He is 25, the elders helped us contact one day in our area. We went back to this house to visit his mom, and met him. He has interest and wanted to go to the church! So we passed by Sunday and he came with us,it all turned out so good, the members were SO friendly,excited to have an investigador,and I think we have more confidence of the members now. He is unlike anyone I have taught, he is so open and very intelligent, he liked the church.

Sunday was primary program.Me and my comp played the piano, it was an adorablelittle program. There´s 8 kids in the a little different than the utah ones!

To answer moms questions, we eat with members every day. This ward is really good about this, even though there are also 2 elders. And we are in Costanera Ward. It´s the first ward in santa fe, my mision president served here 40 years ago. And Elder Scott was a mission pres. here. There is a family, the Chiapellos, that are the NICEST people ever. They feed us any day that we don´t have a lunch. Rosa is from Peru, Jesus is from here, they have been married a year, she is RS pres. They will do anything to help the misionaries.

This week I was reminded of the unity and humility that is always needed. I´m grateful for my comp, she is always willing to contribute and teach also. I wasn´t so good at that when I first got here...oops. But being with a person all day every day I am reminded of the humility.

I just love the people.Even the 98 percent that don´t even want to talk to our face. But I know that the work we do is real, the gospel istrue, so what else matters?

Summer is coming, it´s been hoooot. But I can´t judge yet, because everyone says it just gets worse. Other things this week....I discovered the most delicious ice cream i have had in argentina, found that they sale yummy dino shaped pasta (I have already apologizedto my comp for my food obsession. ijust can´t help it. i don´t even have cookbooks to read here). Oh shoot...I can never remember everything to share! Or it´s just not as funny as in the moment. Mabye we can do a tour of my mission when we are up in heaven watching the videos.

What are you doing for thanksgiving? Enjoy the festivities! and blackfriday. or whatever it is that we do in america. Mom, tell Heidi hello. Glad to hear she is working!

i was going to send some pics....but the computer is not the greatest here. Next time. 
Hopefuly I will be getting the dear elders you sent, we have a training manana.Thank you! 
And make sure to take pics of turkey day and all!

I´m grateful for my family, for the gospel, for the life I have had, for this little time of my life to live far away and come to understand more who my Heavenly Father is, and to see his hand in the details of our lives.

Love you all!

hermana andrews

November 23, 2013

Buen Dia!

buen dia!

Another week has come and gone. Wow. This has definitely been a test of faith...... all the negative details don´t really matter, but let´s just say it didn´t provide the results of what you see on those District DVDS. jaja.

I think we had the record for most failed appointments in my mission up to this point. We were literally up to plan Z every single day. We set appointments, contacted, planned lessons with memebers, received references, tried to contact references, contacted in the street, searched old investigadores.....and nothing. Nothing. It was day after day, we did everything, studied, were obedient, worked the whole day, and nothing seemed to work. And the lovely weather always seems to play a part...days of blazing hot humidity, and other days waking up to argentina rainstorms. I was stuck, and just didn´t know what else we were supposed to do and change. We were trying to be good little preach my gospel missionaries, but I didn´t know if god was trying to teach us humility or patience or what. NO ONE wanted to talk to us. I understand Sterlings dilemna of nights with nothing...jaja. Sometimes I think it would be better to just go bake brownies and deliver them to all the old peple here for service.

But last night, Sunday, was a little miracle. Once again we had been through all our plans, back up plans, and plans of back up plans. We were contacting one last street, got the usual catholics who don´t even want to look at our faces. When we presented ourselves to a man, and he said ¨quieren pasar?¨......WHAT? he asked us if we wanted to enter his house. This never happens here. So we met Javier, a man who it turns out talked to missionaries a few years ago in a different city. He was so receptive, has a baby, really likes listening and learning about religions, he likes that our church has the name of Christ in it. It was a miracle and tender mercy to find him. He has a crazy work schedule, and we happened to contact his house one of the only days he has been home in the past 2 weeks...coincidence? nope. But this week it made me think a lot about success of a missionary. Lots of times it´s numbers, numbers, numbers. But our personal faith and confidence in God determines how we handle a situation, and in turn allows the spirit to work through us, even if we are not in the friendliest place in the world. ja.

Our neighbor warned us this week about the scorpions. Scorpions. Aaaahhh. They crawl up through the drains, because santa fe is hot and humid. I don´t know if it will be worse to see one, or to just be living where i know they are crawling around. and bite. Funny moment....we were talking to a contact, and a bird pooped on my comps leg. jajajaj. I didn´t even know until after, when she showed me that there was a big green and white dripping down. Another day a horse charged us, but luckily it was on a rope. Or I think we legitely would have died. A sweet little recent convert, Zunilda, made us lunch one day. She made empenadas, they were absolutely horrible and burnt and stuffed with green olives. But she is the sweetest, and her prayers are priceless. She said the prayer in sacrament...and i think some people were caught off guard, she does it more in the style of the catholics or some other church, with eyes open and doing the cross think with her hand. jaja. She is quite the caracter, and is still learning some of the differences in our church. (during lunch she asked my companion who is richer, me or her. My companion didn´t really understand, and zunilda then turned to my companion and said ¨yep, you look like you have more money than hermana andrews.¨jaja. i don´t know if it was my outfit for the day or what.) Another member made us lunch one day, it was rice with what I initally thought was bad chicken. Oops. She then said it was intestine (mondongo). This is one thing I just can´t eat.

Here´s a random fact....the FLDS church sends letters with revelation from their profeta to all the wards, even here in Argentina! It´s so crazy, it is straight from their profeta warren jeffs, delivered to the bishop here. funny huh.

We also contacted what is basically the hollywood of santa fe. Not knowing our whole area, we chose a street to contact, which turned out to be the RICHEST of the richest. haha oops. Everyone needs the gospel, it just takes a little more searching in areas like this. And wasn´t the most effective.

Tomorrow we go to Rosario for a conferencia de las hermanas:) with all the hermanas from the mision.

Good job ethan and landon with all your awards and everything! What proud little parents i have:)

Happy almost thanksgiving! I´m grateful for all I have....but most importantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Cliche, cliche. But really, it´s true. My testimony grows more every day. I know that lasting happiness only comes through knowing who Jesus Christ is and applying his atonement in our lives.

les quiero!
love, hermana andrews

p.s. home sweet...welcome to prison. the next few nights we will be shoving extra 2 girls in there with idea how. just pray the scorpions don´t eat me during the night while i am sleeping on the floor.

November 15, 2013

Santa Fe, Santa Fe

Whoaaah. I am in santa fe. I survived the week of transfers.

Let´s just say, I´m probably in the most gorgeous area in the mision. Ok, I still love Colón. But once again, I am RIGHT next to the river. The name Costanera is exactly what it is. Truth is I haven´t even taken it has rained EVERy day since we got here. (More like argentina torments). But yes our area is right along the coast, has some of the most beatiful houses (think of like san diego on the beach). You can google it. There´s a huge Santa Fe bridge. It´s a lovely place. Except people say it is the most humid city in the mission....and summer is just miserable. ja. We will see how that goes. 

And we live in a crackerbox. Well, it´s a garage. I won´t even begin my dislike for apartments of elders...and how once again we had to clean it ALL. Boys will be boys. Ok I will start from the beginning of the story. 
Tuesday I had to say bye to everyone. And there wasn´t even time to see everyone I wanted. Tuesday during the night I went to Rosario, got there Wednesday morning. It turned out that almost all the hermanas that were training were the same that trained last transfer too...weird. My comp from the MTC trained again also. Then we had the little meeting thing with all the trainer and new people. There are 8 hermanas and 8 elders, and only one hermana from the states. And guess who I got?...Hermana Hickman from washington! jaja. The others are from Central and South America, and there is one from Spain!! She is the hot item around here, with her accent and all.

Hermana Hickman is 19, fresh from the MTC. I think she was plenty freaked out her first day here. We got here Wednesday night, were given the address of our aparment. We went in a taxi, got there, and people told us that missionaries haven´t lived there for over a year. A guy explained where he thought the missionaries now we got back in the taxi and went there. We didn´t even have a phone during this time, our luggage was with some other guy in another truck with our zone leaders. So we pull up this dark street.....we didn´t have an exact house number or anything. The taxi driver told us this is a dangerous area...I had no idea what to do, there was no one to communicate with. Luckily the elders showed up a little after, confirmed that this is where we live. It didn´t help the fact that the the metal bars on the window and door had a broken lock...jaja. The owner of the house was explaining that this is a dangerous area, to always keep everything locked....jaja my poor comp. And it was not the cleanest inside. But hey, she got her first taste of Argentina! We spent a day cleaning, reorganizing, and it´s a quaint little place to live. The elders had to move out and are looking for another apartment.

We were left in this area with zero investigadores. We spent time meeting and visiting members. It´s actually pretty great, because our area is very untouched. We split the ward in 2, it´s super long hot dog shaped, which means the missionaries have always worked in about the same area, as it takes time to walk from one point to the other. But now we are here and it´s basically opening a new area.

The members are great so far:) There´s a family that goes to the US a couple times of year...they had pics of moab, park city, all the church history was so weird to see all this, they have been to more places in UT and the US than the typical mormon family! jaja. There are some VERY wealthy areas in our area....also some more humble neighborhoods. We still have hardly even seen our area, as most of the members live in the area of the elders. But we are working to contact and with references that we have already received from the members. Some people are quite happy to have hermanas:) That´s always nice.

I´m quite content to be here. It´s a lot of work. Starting from nothing. But I love the faith and animo of a new missionary! It helps me a lot, she has so many desires to find and teach. I understand what it´s like to be new. Exactly. I´m grateful for the perspective, and to see the things that I have learned and now hopefully will be able to help her with. I love the changes through the mission...being able to learn more and more, to communicate with the people, to have more meaningful studies, to develop the ability to teach. I´m not freaked out of the same things. The mission either can kill your confidence, or help build it up centered in Christ. I know it is being built on him, because I know without him I am nothing. And even when people are not the nicest, or don´t want to talk, I know that there are more people that are waiting for the truth, and that I am just a little instrument in the hands of God. It´s all quite humbling, but also empowering.

Glad the birthday was great ethan! holy smokes, I cannot believe he is 15. 
thank you for the emails and remembering me:)

love, hermana andrews

I love this girl and her family. Ailen. I had a super good experience with them the last night I was there...and can´t wait to hear of the day her dad is worthy to baptize her, and her mom is baptized:)

November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Happy birthday ethan!!! I hope you enjoyed the day! Did you keep up the tradition of a bonfire?

Guess what....I´m leaving Colón! My Coloncito!!.....Once again, I am training. Yep. Tomorrow (or maybe in the middle of the night tonight?) I go to Rosario, and then we will be in Santa Fe. Good thing revelation is real, and president Giuliani is called of God. There are SO many changes here. Crazy thing is I was only here 3 transfers. Either I have messed things up, didn´t do training right the first time, or something like that. ja. But I´m excited! I have no idea what the area will be like...only that right now there are 2 elders, and the area is splitting. I am leaving my hermanita Cruz!..... :( 

Also....there are 2 more hermanas coming here to Colón! This week I officially entered the real estate business....we were initally given 2 days to find an apartment and buying everything you would need to live. This eventually turned into a week of hunting for an apartment. (Which basically doesn´t exist, as it is summer in Colón and every single house is for tourists.) But we still haven´t found anything. And after complications with money, the hermanas will be lucky if mattresses get delivered for them tomorrow. All in all, it was quite the week. You all know how I love home depot and RC Willey....the thing is it isn´t quite the same here. I had to hunt down prices for everything, we went to about every furniture store in colón, called every inmobiliario. Quite the experience. And at least 3 times this week people asked if I am from Germany.
Yesterday we rearranged everything in our apartment, to make room for 2 more hermanas, until we find other apartment. (I even redid the wall decor) And then what happened.......ring, ring, ring, hermana andrews you are changing areas. I think this is the theme of the mission, just when things start to get going, boom....changes.

Sunday was a miracle though, and it was a sweet little piece of fruit from months of efforts. Sunday there were 3 families, the Castros, that went to church. They have all been less active, we have visited and worked with all three of them (brothers) lots and lots....and after all this prayers and fasting and frusteration was the happiest day to see them all dressed up in white shirts and ties. One of them, David, blessed the sacrament for the first time in years and is going to baptize his daughter this week. Another brother, Sebastian, was there with his wife (non member) and his baby was blessed. The other brother Eduardo was there with his kids, after about 15 times that they have commited to going to church but haven´t. I can see the changes in these families. All the brothers, and their kids, bore their testimonies. The gospel absolutely changes´s difficult to return to the church, but I have seen evidence in this area that it is possible. I look forward to the day these families go to the temple:)

Church was just lovely, even with the usual noise of screaming wild children. There was a hilarious moment during sacrament mtg., a little boy was up and the stand, when his sister and cousin walked right up and hauled him off by his hands and feet. It was just so out of place to see a little child being hauled off by other little children in the middle of church, I think i busted out laughing.

It rained this week. And rained. It´s always a little bit more complicated with this (including we had to cancel our activity we planned)...but our sweet Rubencito made us torta a scone. I finally convinced my comp that it is worth it to purchase boots (haha even though the next day was warm and sunny). We saw a guy on a bike get hit by a taxi driver...I am always just waiting for something like this to happen.
Well truth is I can´t even think of what else mind is in 50 million directions. Or maybe I am just aging.

Aaahhhh I am leaving Colón! I absolutely love it here, muddy streets and all. It´s hard to understand how much you love the people and everything, until they are all you think about 24-7. I´m waiting the news one day for when there is a church here:) It makes you think about all you tried to do...and all you didn´t do. But I feel content, that I gave God everything I have, and so hopefully I fulfilled my purpose here. Answers to prayers come in funny ways. Or something like that. We will see what this next little part of the adventure, called a mission, brings.

As you can see from the fotos, pres Giuliani sent us new transportation. The food, well Mom, you would be proud of my diet. A healthy salad and fruit...ok ok, with a little dulce de leche. (I blame the fat cankle legs on the walking all day....and the whiteness....maybe summer will change that) That would be my beloved district! Not sure if it was purposelfully segregated like that, with giant americans and little latinos. Happy birthday hermana cruz!

I´m glad everyone had a happy halloween. It´s basically nonexistent  here. I used my orange tic-tacs to make a little pumpkin shape on my desk, and took a picture. That would be the extent of our festivities.

Good job ethan with band!

I read one of the best talks I have ever elder maxwell, Jesus the Perfect Mentor. Instead of giving 
the whole schpill, you can all just go read it. But it has changed my attitude and view on the person that I need to be. (yes, it´s like 10 pages long, but worth it.)

love you all! thanks for the emails, they all mean a lot...the advice, the love, the updates. 
love, hermana andrews

November 3, 2013

happy halloween

I have seen one store in all of Colón advertising halloweeen.... And reeces and twix don´t exist here. I will just have to settle for some dulce de leche and buy a funny looking squash to look at. Speaking of which..... I must be converted to argentina, as I have discovered that dulce de leche in my bowl of cornflakes is delicious. Other things that happened this week....

- I found out last night that my retainer glows in the dark. has taken me 5 years to discover this....I NEVER knew that my little watermelon retainer glows in the dark, until last night. What a moment that was. 

- Why was I so blessed to grow up in a family with both parents who live the gospel, with so many opportunities for school and work, always enough food and money, cars, traveling??.... my life before feels like a dream. People here have NO idea what we really live like. 

- The hardest thing is when we work all week long to have people go to church, they commit to coming, we have lessons with members, we call them....and then they still don´t come. Sometimes we work, work, teach, invite....and then everything falls through. It just makes my little heart heart, when people don´t progress. 

- I had a good experience to relate to a member in our branch this week who has a daughter with lots of difficult problems, as I was able to relate with what happened to uncle boyd. It´s a thing that others who don't have this experience just don´t understand. 

- The majority of people really don´t understand who God or Jesus is. I have realized more and more that even many people claiming to have religious beliefs and faith don´t really understand WHO he is...our loving heavenly father who we lived with as spirits, and who one day we are going to return to. And that Jesus Christ was not just a man living in the world who died on the cross, but our Savior, our perfect example, that everything we do and believe is based on the faith that he suffered for every sin and pain we have passed through. And that he lives. 

- The most beautiful moment was as we had a FHE with the familia Castro, we were singing a hymn, and literally every person was on a different note...and then we read the scriptures....but I just saw this little family sitting here with so much potential. I could see that there is nothing more important than a family who reads the scriptures and teaches their kids about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sorry, dad, we were always little snots with FHE and scripture time. But I was so happy to see this family and the changes they have made. The worth of every single person really is so important to God. 

- We are still teaching Ruben. For every lesson we teach he has more questions, and then more doubts. I know the spirit is the most important thing, as we cannot change the heart of him. Also it is important that people understand what prayer really is, and to ask specific questions. He loves learning everything, but sometimes people don´t do their commitments and progress like we want them to!

-We have found some new investigadores and famliies this week. There is a difference between going around and teaching lessons, and finding the people who are prepared in this moment. This has been our challenge...but segimos adelante!

-Another happy moment was to see a menos activo, Sebastian, ride up to the capilla on his moto with a white shirt and tie, and his daughter on back. 

Ethan, thanks for the email and hour by hour update of your trip! Did you tell mom about all that?....jaja. 
Woohoo good job landon! Maybe you can sign up for a marathon in argentina?...
I hope daniel and seth are still alive and kickin, as it has been quite a while since i heard. They better have an excuse as to what they have been occupied with....
Oh that little hallowwen party sounds delightful! What goods are you handing out this year mom? and your scary movie?
Enjoy your week evrybody! This week we will find out what is happening in colón...presidente and other people have called, we are looking at other apartments, there may be elders sent here, or hermanas....lots of crazy things happening, emergency transfers, tons of new missionaries coming. 
Love you all, 
hermana andrews

"grace is not something received down the road, it is received right here and right now"

p.s. Cuanto leche da una vaca en argentina?.....moooocho. jaja. maybe mom at least gets it?!
p.s. i literally feel like a giant.....i am huuuuge. THat´s why i had to share this. Not to mention my face looks like an egg in this pic. We were doing some service one day.