Monday, July 26, 2010

Baptism of Diego Suarez

venado tuerto 5 - july 26

Hola familia!

How are you? It´s so great to hear from you and to have your support. I can´t believe how lucky I am sometimes, to have had the family that I have. Thank you for teaching me the principles of the gospel and how important every little thing is. A lot of members don´t realize that they actually have to obey every commandment. Like family prayer, and reading their scriptures, or not buying things on Sunday. But mom, you are so right. Obedience is key to everything. Our faith is a gift that we receive from being obedient. And the more obedient we are, the stronger our faith grows.

Already I have learned lessons that have changed the way I view things. I knew these things, but now I FEEL and really KNOW the importance of these things. The simple things are so important, and we need to show our Heavenly Father that we put him first in our lives. Something I learned is how important it is to serve. People here hold grudges if they were sick and members didn´t come to visit them. Some even go inactive because of it. It´s so sad. One less active member just let us have it the other night. I, of course didn´t understand a word of it, but it brought my comp to tears and we learned the importance of looking for opportunities to serve and strengthen others.

Well, we had another baptism this week!! A little boy named Diego Suarez. He´s so funny. The day of his baptism we found out he is not 9, but actually 8 (he tells us he is 9 every time we ask him so we just believed him). But it was so cute, he prayed that he could get baptized. And then after his baptism he was dancing, and running around, so happy. His 2 older brothers want to be baptized as well, and his mom Maria is not a member, but she has a testimony and wants to be baptized so bad! She always comes to church, she just has to get married. She is having trouble with that, because the process is kinda retarted, but she´s tried 4 times to talk to them. We actually went with her 2 of the times. But she is so great!

But I am enjoying the mission. It´s starting to feel a little more like home here. I was thinking that the other day as we were walking down the street, and then I looked into the window of a store to see 2 dogs sleeping among the things displayed, and was reminded again of how lucky I am to be here. It´s so great to experience a different culture and see the world a little differently. But I am learning so many great things.

The other day we taught a mom and son who are evangelists. They know their scriptures and started throwing questions at us, just trying to prove us wrong. But honestly all it did was strengthen my testimony so much more. Every question they had, we had an answer. I know the spirit guided us through that lesson. The doctrine of the church is pure and simple. It just makes sense. It breaks my heart when we talk to those kinds of people. But the great thing is, the work goes forward. There are people here that are ready for us, and we have had some great experiences. The language is tough. But I am trying to be humble, to be patient, and to learn and grow.

My shin splints have been fine by the way. They are practically gone. And before, the pain wasn´t much, I just knew that I was starting to get them. But i´ve been massaging and icing them, and the Lord is doing the rest. He is taking care of me. I just wasn´t sure if I trusted the doctor´s way of treating them, but it´s all good.

Dear elders we get every zone conference, and any other time the ZL go to the mission home, or the APs come here. I just got a letter from mindy today. Tell her thanks! I was so excited to read it. That´s awesome about Bishop Facer, how exciting!

Thanks for all your love and support. I am well. Just ending my first transfer here in argentina!! We´ll be going to the mission home next week to send hna. Redfern home! I love you! Thanks for all your love and support!

Todo mi amor,

Hermana amundsen

Friday, July 23, 2010

venado tuerto 4 - july 19

hola mi familia.
Thanks for your letters, loved them! I miss your homemade bread mom! i can´t believe joseph is getting hitched! I didn´t even know he had a girlfriend until you told me he was getting married a couple weeks ago. But that will be awesome to have the family down for that.
Well, a lot of things happened this week I feel like. One thing I am learning is how many flaws and weaknesses I have. The mission kinda takes all your weaknesses and just lays them out for you. I´m learning how prideful and impatient I really am. Ether 12:27 is literally coming to pass for me. I am coming unto the Lord and He is showing me my weaknesses. But it´s all good, because that is how we learn, it is how we improve and become better. I pray for humility and the Lord answers my prayers. But I love that I am learning!
Well, some bad news….i have shin splints…yay! I could feel them coming on. I went to the doctor, he said I needed new shoes. I haven´t been able to wear my inserts because my feet fall out with them in, so I put them in my running shoes. And we didn´t even run this week because it was soooo cold outside. But I got new shoes today with a strap, so I should be able to wear the inserts now. But I talked to the doc a bunch because I had doubts, so I figured I would do everything that he asked me to do and see how it goes. I also got a blessing, and I feel that if I do everything I can to keep them from getting worse, that the Lord will bless me and allow me to work. They have been ok. They aren´t bad at all, I´m just worried they will get worse. But I have been icing them and massaging them, and they actually feel a little better. But just continue to pray for meJ
But, the mission is going great! I had my first baptism!! And also taught our first lesbian couple (they are really interested actually)! But the baptism was so great. But let me tell you, the adversary was working so hard on this family this week. Rodolfo is the last one to be baptized in his family. This means that the family can now start working on going to the temple together! But the adversary new that, and this whole week was really hard on them. The wife wasn´t even going to come to the baptism. But luckily everything went smoothly. And Rodolfo made it! But it was such a great baptism! The spirit was so strong, and the whole family was there. I think it definitely brought them together again. It definitely gave me a stronger desire to work and find others who are prepared!
Well I love you, am working hard, and have no more time to write to you and tell you all about all the things I would like too. But know that I am well. Thanks so much for your love and support. Hermana Amundsen!

Monday, July 12, 2010

venado tuerto 3 - july 12


well, once again you shall not receive pictures, because i havn´t quite figured out how to do it yet. sorry! i loved your letters! thanks jules for writing me, now you just gotta get jodi, sarah, and kris to do it too! kittens...haha, they´ll be good for keeping the mice and rabbit population down. and just so you know, happy fathers day! and happy birthday jodi! i can´t tell you how many times i thought of those 2 events, and everytime i come to type up this e-mail it disappears. but know that i thought about you guys! and those special occasions! that´s awesome about the baptisms! the spirit is definitely there, it´s such a special moment. And thanks for sending luke´s letters! it´s so great to hear about the success he is having with those families! my comp. shared a scripture with me the other day and it totally describes how i feel about hearing the work going on in other places. Alma 29:13-16, and especially from luke, it gives me a lot of hope to hear about his success because we are praying to find a family right now!

mom, i don´t think you should worry about me getting too skinny. lunch here is a big meal, so we always eat a lot for lunch, and it´s always super yummy! there are so many things i want to learn to cook! But exercise is good, my comp and i have been going running in the mornings, but we stopped for like 2 weeks because i was sick, but since i am almost 100 percent now, we have been running again. this morning it was super cold!! it´s below zero celcius today. we were hanging up our luandry to dry outside, and our fingers were dying! and i stopped sleeping with a sweatshirt because it´s actually not that bad at night. really, today has probably been the coldest. and as far as everything being in spanish, it´s kinda weird, especailly on the computer, but it´s not bad. this morning i had to get money out of an atm (the mission gives us a card and sends us money) and i couldn´t do anything by myself cuz it´s all in spanish!! ....but the people have been super patient with me, oh my goodness i love the members here!
so the Lord really blessed us this week! we have a baptism this sat. for Rodolfo Rivoira! He is the father of a family that has been getting baptised one by one. His family is so great, he is just the last one! We were worried about them not coming to church this week though because his wife was upset about some money that was stolen from Julian (their 19 yr old son) at a church activity. So we went over sat night to go teach them, and they had 2 of julian´s friends over who don´t believe in God. So we ended up teaching them. But the Lord works in miraculous ways, and Griselda (the mom) bore her testimony, and helped teach the lesson, and when we left she said she would come to church tomorrow. Teaching someone else the truths that you know, really strengthens your own testimony, and the Lord knew that was what she needed.
my favorite day this week was sunday. We´ve been struggling all week with trying to get new investigators, but the ones that we do have, are becoming so solid. One is Ademar, he is 28 and does not believe in God. Other missionaries have been teaching him, but he is only just now begining to pray and to read, and he came to church this sunday! Also a girl named Belen who is 19. Her boyfriend Sebastian (21 yrs old) is a member who is less active, but Sebastian´s family is amazing! la familia Rocha. (ademar is a cousin of theirs) but Sebastian smokes, and hasn´t been active in the church, but as we have been teaching Belen, you can see the changes in the both of them. I love these 2 so much! Sebastian jokes around with me all the time, mostly because i can´t understand what he is saying. But this week we had an amazing lesson with them, the spirit was so strong, i walked away feeling so good and i told my comp i want every lesson to be like that. But it has been amazing to see their desire to change, and to actually watch it take place, and most of it has occurred this week. And when they came to church, along with our other investigators, i felt soooo good. i wish i could describe it, i sat in sacrament meeting and just thanked my heavenly father. i looked at sebastian and belen with this big old smile on my face and kinda bobbed my shoulders up and down a little bit (i can´t describe it) and sebastian and belen just laughed and sebastian asked my comp what was up with me.(i figure that´s what he asked) she was like, She´s just happy! (i was so happy!)
this work is definitely not easy, i am so tired at the end of the day from all our walking, but it´s totally worth it! it´s so awesome the things i am learning here. and my comp is great, because she has learned all these things from being here and is now setting goals for herself for when she returns home in 3 weeks. the things i am learning are so important, i´m lucky i have this opportunity.

by the way...i actually can´t receive e-mails from friends, i was misinformed. but you can still send dear elders to the Rosario Mission! that way you don´t have to pay for postage;) i got one from aunt tami, tell her thanks for me! i loved it. also jules, i don´t have time to write to you separately this time, i hope i can sometime. don´t worry about singles ward though, right now just focus on the here and the now, and how you can be an example to the younger girls. remember when you were younger and how you looked up to the older girls. but you can hang out with the singles people during the week and what not, but ask heavenly father why it is that he wants you in the home ward right now, because he has a plan for you. but i loved your letter. thanks for the pics! send pics every week if you can! pero, yo tengo que ir, entonces, hasta luego!

todo mi amor,
hermana amundsen!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

venado tuerto 2 - july 6

Sorry, I know it´s Tuesday, we had a little switch just for this week. But it´s too complicated to explain, but next week it will be mon again. But thank you for your letters, I love them! I seriously have the greatest family!
So i´m not sure if you saw the right thing on google earth or not. I don´t live next to any tall buildings, and there isn´t any snow. The weather here hasn´t been bad. I have been warm enough, it´s a little chilly but with a coat i´m fine. It´s only sprinkled a little, but hasn´t rained which is nice, though yesterday was super windy, and Sunday was warm. And the church is actually out of our area, about 12 quadras (blocks) from our house. I´ve seen a couple parks and yes shopping (which we haven´t done). I think there are about 10 missionaries in venado tuerto, but 14 in our zone. And we all have a different rama (branch) as far as I know.
Hna. Redfern is from the U.S. she is from nor. Ca. most recently but has lived a bunch of places. We figured out she knows jay tibbits and steven ingelbretson (sorry, can´t spell last name) from byu-Idaho as well. But she is awesome, we get along really well and I am learning a lot from her. She really is great, and very bold. She isn´t afraid to tell people they are wrong and they need to repent, and the people totally take it. The culture is pretty open. They tell hna. redfern that she is fat (which she is not) and that I am skinny, and they think it´s totally ok. It cracks me up.
The food is good! The members feed us way too much. We have lunch with a member everyday. The meat is good, but it´s not to die for like people seem to describe. The pollo (chicken) is my favorite. And the other day I tried this blood sausage thing, it was….alright. they eat pan (bread)with everything though. They just have it on the table with every meal and you break a piece of and eat it. Also potatoes, they eat those a lot. And their salads are also pretty good, they just take raw vegetables, put some oil, salt and vinegar on it and eat it, and it´s actually really yummy! We aren´t supposed to drink the water unless it´s from a bottle, which isn´t really a problem because all they drink here is juice and soda (not my favorite). And the fruit is good, no problems with that.
My shoes are good, they´re holding up so far. My nylons on the other hand though….they rip on the toe, not sure why, but it´s the same place everyday. But they have them here, so no worries. And our apartment is on the colder side, but i´ve been fine at night. I usually sleep with a sweatshirt on. But the water on the bathroom floor takes a long time to dry! It won´t dry unless we open the windows. The mission provides blankets, and they are good, and then I have my own pillow so i´m good.
Wow…you have lots of questions. Haha. But it´s all good, I would want to know too. But missionary work is awesome! I´ve learned so much this week. Last week my companions and I set the goal to reach the estandartes, or the standards, and we had one less day to work because of the game. (We weren´t allowed to leave the house because Argentina lost.) And there were a couple times where I wondered if we would be able to reach our goals because we had been walking all day and not getting into a lot of houses, so we weren´t really teaching. And then the Lord would provide for us, it was awesome. And we reached our goal! this week our goals are even higher. But if we are obedient and do all that we can, the Lord is going to help us reach our goals. I´m learning so much the importance of the little things. We need to be obedient!!! It is so important that we are reading the scriptures every day and attending church, and praying! The people here don´t fully understand that, and that is why we have so many menos actives (less actives)! We visited a family yesterday where the parents drop their kids off at church, but they don´t come because they love the peace of not having their kids for a few hours. I testified of how important it is to come to church and to be an example for your kids. I´m so grateful that I have parents who taught me the importance of those things, and I told them, I have a testimony because of the example of my parents.
So many times people forget why they joined the church, because they take everything so casually. It´s part of the culture too, the people are so great, but they don´t understand organization and consistency. As missionaries we are trying to set the example. The members that do come though, are awesome, and strong. I have such admiration for them, because they don´t have strength of the church like we do. They don´t have friends that are all LDS that have the same standards that they do, they are very much the minority. And for their faith I admire them.
The Lord has provided miracles in our lives this week. We are so blessed, and if we don´t look for those miracles we won´t see them. The first week we met a boy named Pablo. He´s about 23 and doesn´t believe in God. We contacted him outside his house, but he wasn´t interested. A couple days later we see him again…and he waves to us, so we go and talk to him. Hna. Redfern and I decide that we need to give him a B.O.M. so we went home and marked passages for him and wrapped it up so we could drop it off at his house. But we couldn´t remember where he lived! So after carrying this B.O.M. around for him for a few days Hna. Redfern says, ¨I want to take it out of my bag, but I know that when I do we will run into him again.¨ and so she keeps it, and later that day we run into him! You don´t see the same people over and over again here, that is rare. But we give him the book, he says he will read but he won´t come to church. But now we have an appt with him! That was a miracle! And we were so excited! And stuff like that happens, but some will say it´s coincidence, I say it´s the Lord.
I have such a testimony of this gospel, I love it! Missionary work is not easy, but i´m realizing how important it is! The world needs this message!! Alright, I love you, I have an hour and 15 min to write to you and the pres. And to read letters. Friends can e-mail me, but I have to write letters. But i´ll talk to you next week! Love ya!
Todo mi amor,
Hermana amundsen

Saturday, July 3, 2010

day one in Argentina!

Hna Redfern (trainer), me, Pres and Hna Villalba
first comp. Hna. Redfern

venado tuerto 1 - june 28

hi hi hi hi hi!
sorry for all the wait! i have arrived in Argentina, and i am safe and sound. i have so much to tell! so i´ll start from the beginning... mon, we flew through the night, and our plane was huge! 5 seats in the middle and then 2 on each side. i kinda slept, but it was hard to sleep sitting up. but we arrived about 7:30am, and went through customs and what not, and then someone met us on the other side. going through customs the officials were trying to talk to us, but we had no idea what they were saying, and then they just let us pass through, it was funny. but someone met us, not the president, some man....i don´t really know who it was, but when another man came they kissed each others cheeks. that was new.

so the elders and i got into a van, and we started off on our way to Rosario, which was about 3.5 hrs away. my first thought when we started off was that the people here are the worst drivers! they basically do whatever they want. they get super close to other cars, cut in front of anyone and everyone, stop in the middle of the road to turn around. i don´t think i ever want to drive here, i think i would die.

anyway, we drove for about an 1.5 hrs and then our driver (who only speaks spanish) realized he had forgotten to pick up a missionary at the MTC here, which is right next to the temple, only 5 min away from the airport. so we had to turn around and go back and get this missionary and then start again for Rosario. so, we had a lot of traveling! a-lot! when we got to the mission home in the late afternoon, Pres and hna Villalba greeted us. along with a bunch of missionaries (not our companions). we had some empenadas (not quite as good as the ones you got for my birthday though mom) and we just talked. the APs had a surprise for us, so we just walked with them to the surprise. it turned out to be a baptism! so that was cool, and then we contacted a guy in the streets that the elders had talked to before and i had to pray in spanish. that was kinda scary.

but we had dinner with the pres and his wife, and we just had stuff that we had to go over, like rules and what not, and then off to bed. next day, same thing in the morning, just rules and what not with the APs and also an interview with the pres. pres villalba told me that my companion would be with Hna. Redfern, and our area is called Venado Tuerto and that this is a white wash...meaning, neither one of us have ever been there. Then we got to meet our companions. we walked out of the house, and all the companions were lined up waiting for us, mine was easy to spot, she was the only girl:) She is super happy, and cute. I was excited, because i was told she is a hard worker!

we all had lunch together, took some pics, and then it was off to work! we got in a taxi, and drove to a big bus station where all the missionaries meet on transfer day. I actaully got to meet a few of the other sisters there, including hnas. dunford and kusilek! so that was cool! but then me and hna. redfern got on our bus and were off to venado tuerto! the bus ride was 3 hours so we had a lot of time to talk! we are in the southwestern part of the mission, and it´s pretty cool here!

so i am in venado tuerto, in the province santa fe, we live behind some members, who are awesome! seriously, the members here are so rad! we went to church yesterday and there were only about 50 people there, but they are all very sweet. we have lunch basically every day with a member, they really take care of us here. and we have some really great investigators!

the culture is very different here. and oh ya, i´m sick, i got sick the first night we arrived in venado tuerto. so i have to blow my nose all the time! and i am coughing now...but i´m on the way to recovery and the members still want to kiss my cheek even though i am sick. ya, everyone greets you with a kiss, but not really, it´s more like cheek to cheek and you just make the kissing noise. but the men only get a handshake of course! but everything here is so disorganized. it´s pretty dirty, a lot of houses we go to are very run down, but that´s just how they live. everything is really close together. when i walk i have to look down so i don´t fall in a hole or trip over something. and alot of the roads are dirt roads. and they have the weirdest trash system...every house has a pole with a metal basket on top just outside their house, and they place the bags in the basket and someone i guess runs by and throws it into the back of a truck to take to the dump. but if they don´t put the trash up high, the dogs get into it. and yes, there are lots of dogs here! they don´t hurt you, but they will follow you everywhere.

But i am well. i don´t want to be sick right now though. I was really tired the first few days, but am getting better! that´s what i want though, to be tired, so i know i am working hard. we walk a lot, but luckily no blisters yet, just sore feet (not too bad). it´s kinda cold here, not as bad as i thought. but i really love the members here. they are so funny and nice. they joke around with us all the time. But i am excited to work here, we have been trying to find people and get referals from the members a lot. the biggest problem is retention, there are a lot of members, but they don´t come to church. so we´ve been talking with some menos activos (less actives).

the language is hard sometimes, when i want to help teach. lots of times hna. redfern will turn to me in the lesson to bear my testimony, but i have no idea what is going on, so i don´t even know what to testify about. it´s hard, but already i can understand a little bit more. also, yesterday (sun) i had to bear my testimony in church, but it was easy, we had already met most the people in the ward last week anyway. but ya, i ask lots of questions, and am doing my best. i am trying to rely on the spirit so help me with the language.

p-day is mon by the way:) and i´ll have to send pics next week! sorry! i just don´t have time. but thanks for your letters! you now know where i am. you should look it up on google earth and see if you can get a picture of my house:) dad, i laughed when i read your letter about the rolly pollies. ok, i love you, i wish i could have written to you earlier, but ya, you´re right mom, the pres doesn´t really roll that way. hasta luego!

todo mi amor
hna. amundsen