Wednesday, September 29, 2010

rafaela week 8 - sept 27

Hola Familia!

That's funny mom, that you fell asleep so early. It's all good. And yes we had a baptism!! My first baptism in Rafaela. We were kinda worried about it though because we weren't there this whole week. But when we arrived back in Rafaela Friday night, everything had already been planned! Guillermo had taken care of it all! And all we had to do was show up! I was amazed! This never happens! Our ward really is amazing, and it's starting to feel more like home to me.

So ya, this week was pretty fun! We went to a place called Santa Tome which is in Santa Fe or right outside the city santa fe. This is where i worked with Hna. Kusilek. There were 4 of us girls in the pench (apartment-really it's a house, but we call everything a pench). Hna. Kusilek and i got to work together for 4 days! And the area we worked in was really beautiful. We were out on all dirt roads, and there was a lot of campo (field) and it was really green. The houses were not as nice, more run down and just cement and brick houses, but i loved it! We would just walk down this one road and all there was on one side of us was this big open field. And you could hear the wind through the trees (which sounds really cool), and we got to eat lunch outside one day, and we ate it next to this giant tree overlooking the river that runs through. i really loved being out there. I hope i am not stuck in the city forever. I love Rafaela, but i just like the peace and the nature feeling better. We had fun though. There is this one family of 11 that i fell in love with. Only half are members, but we got 4 more of them to accept a baptism date! So hopefully they don't fall through. Hna.Kusilek is rad. We think we'll be comps soon. She doesn't think it's weird that i read her blog before coming out, she thinks it's cool.

But we got back Friday night, to find that everything was ready to go for the baptism. Hna. Hansen got a fever, so all we did sat. was the baptism, and then she rested the rest of the day. But the baptism went great! Everyone helped out, and the ward was awesome about welcoming Ruben and supporting him. Hna. Hansen and I sang “i feel my saviors love”…ya i sang…it's weird, here, no one can sing, so they all think that we all have beautiful voices cuz we can keep a tune. But ya, the baptism was awesome! I really felt the spirit, i think Ruben did too. We ate lunch with them on Sunday to celebrate, we joke and say they've got a house full of mormons now!

After the baptism it rained a ton! Not for super long, but just long enough for me to get soaked! I love the rain, i think it's fun! And we were on our way back to the pench anyways because Hna. Hansen was supposed to rest. Anyways. Ya dad, i didn't know you had a new calling! That's awesome. Sounds like you and mom are going to be busy. I guess that's a good thing though.

Thanks for your love and support. Dad, you can tell people i´m doing great because i am. It's definitely though sometimes, but we keep on going. I so wanted to send you guys pics...but i can't get the program to work. sorry! i know i would want to see pics too.
love ya guys.
hna. amundsen
p.s. ya, i'm definitely not fluent in spanish yet, i've got a long way to go...a long way...

rafaela week 7 - sept 20

Thanks for your letter dad, i know what you mean.. the opportunities that we have to serve in the church are really for our own benefit. We are the ones that do the most growing as we try and help others. Well this week should be interesting. Tomorrow i will have been in the mission for 5 months, that´s pretty cool! Tonight we are going to Santa Fe. We will be staying with hnas. Kusilek and Peterson. I will be working with Hna. Kusilek in their area until Friday, while our comps go to this big training thing. like luke said in one of his letters, they have made some changes, and now they are trying to teach everyone how to be better missionaries. I´m excited! we could always use some help!

so..we have a mission leader!!! we are so excited! i have never had one, because the one in venado tuerto was inactive. His name is Guillermo Franco (you could probably google him because he plays soccer as his work). He´s in his late 20´s, returned missionary, has a super cute wife and a kid, and he is super organized and just stoked to help us out and get the ward exctied about missionary work! This is big because we could really use some help.

Also we have a baptism this weekend! which we are kinda stressed about because we are going to be out of town til friday night. but, it´s Ruben Garza...Gaston´s dad. We are stoked for him though. The only thing with him is his silly kiosco that they still refuse to close on sunday. so instead of coming to church every sunday, he will come every other sunday...i hope we can change that.

So yesterday in church, we were talking about the sabbath day in gospel Principals. And Alicia Garza (ruben´s wife) was there. (the bishop´s daughter, carla, teaches the class...whom i love, she is amazing, served a mission, and just knows so much and i can understand her better than anyone else when she talks!) And we started talking about working on sunday, because Guillermo (who was also there) plays soccer on sunday for his work, and so sometimes he can´t come to church. so we talked about how the Lord understands that. and then Alicia says something like.."ya, exactly, it´s the same for us. Because we have a store and we can´t close it on sunday because we have had this store here for the last 40 years, and the people are just used to it being open."and what not...and i was like, oh no! she is totally taking this wrong, she doesn´t understand that Guillermo has a boss, and no choice, but they have a choice because it´s their store. Anyway. Carla says,¨"ok, lets talk about commandments for a second here..." and she explained how we receive blessings from keeping commandments. and then she shared a story from her mission where basically the same thing happened. And how this couple that owned this bakery closed their store on sunday, and the lord blessed them to have twice as many customers every saturday. and how not only were they now keeping the sabbath day holy, but they were also helping others to keep the sabbath day holy. I am so grateful for Carla, for the members here, there are really some great members here.

oh! we totally had a door slammed in our faces this week! haha. We went to visit this family that had been taught once or twice before in the past. And when we went the dad was home. "Mr. Cerda" he opens the door, excited to see us. "Hnas.! Pasen pasen!" which is like "Come in, come in!" so we asked if his wife was home, he said, that no one was home, just him. and then he repeated "pasen, Pasen!, don´t you trust me!" we said, we want to come in, but we have a rule that there needs to be another woman. and then we was like "don´t come back again!" and slammed the door really hard in our faces. i looked at my comp, and laughed. I was like, he´s kidding right?! because it happened so fast, his mood just changed so fast. But he really meant it. so we walked away, moved on, but we were like, that was so weird!!

Anyways. That´s about it. Right now we have this awesome couple Marta y Luis. they have come to church the past 2 weeks and are progressing really fast. they are really good friends of the bishop´s family, and are already talking about getting baptized! but they just have to get married! they have 2 little kids, but they are so great and really want to do what is right. But that is what is going on with me right now. This week will be weird, but i´m excited to work with Hna. Kusilek in Santa Fe! she is way rad!

Well. The gospel is true. i´m so grateful to have the truth on our side when we teach, especially when we have a run in with Testigos de sat...haha. it´s so great to know that the Lord is behind us in this work. I love the pure and simple doctrine! i love it! love it! love it! And i love you guys too! A LOT! i really am grateful for my family:) even when my mom forgets about me :) (totally kidding mom, don´t feel bad. i know you are busy and that you really do love me). until next week.
todo mi amor con todo mi corazon,
hermana amundsen

rafaela week 6 - sept 14

So we just got news of transfers which is why i am writing today and not yesterday. I am staying here with Hna. Hansen! We are pretty exctied because we feel like our area is just now starting to really progress! I can´t believe school already started. the girls looked cute in the pics:) i bought a few things for them first real purchases in argentina. but the girls might have to wait til i get home to get them. But i loved the letters, thanks for your help, and love and support. and the pics too! and dad, don´t worry, my back is fine, i just wanted exercises to do, so thanks!

We had 7 in church on sunday! and the best part is that they were all sitting with a member:) and we got the estandartes! which is the standards of the mission! It was all thanks to Heavenly Father, believe me, it was a miracle, we were so blessed this week. Oh! and we had to give talks in church. i gave a 15 min talk in spanish. wow. and President and Hna. Villalba (the mission pres) came to our ward...we had no idea until they called us right before church started. So that made me nervous, but i think it went alright. I am to the point where i can say quite a bit of what i want to, but i still don´t understand the natives very well. I understand all the north american missionaries when they speak though! oh! there is a member that i understand a lot of what she says. and also when people talk for a while i can basically pick up what they are the main point. And it´s not bad when we are taching either, i can have a conversation with them for the most part. but i still have sooo much to learn, no where close to fluent yet.

We also went to Rosario this last thursday for a conferencia de hermanas! so all the sisters in the whole mission were together. and i got to see Hna. Buys and Mitchell from the MTC! we just talked and talked, and laughed. We also got to watch the Errand of Angels, that movie about the sister missionary. It was cute. So funny though, because before the movie there were previews, and one preview was for Forever Strong, and the main guy in it is pretty cute and the other sisters were like in ahhhww, so Hna. Villalba had to cover it up so we couldn´t see. it was funny. and then the main girl in the missionary movie is super cute too, and as soon as it started Hna. Dunford goes, "we never look that cute" and then later Hna. Recinos says, "this is like a fashion show". it was just fun to be with all the other sisters and to get to talk and i got to find out about Venado Tuerto! It´s doing well.

so yesterday we went to go visit this young couple... so we get there, and we hear someone yelling. we can´t understand and don´t know who it is. So we clapped outside the house, and the grandma came out. I began asking if silvina and dario were home and she interrupts me and just starts yelling at us. Telling us that nobody is here and that she is sick of people coming to her house asking, and blah blah blah...she went off for a little while and then slammed the door shut. i just said, "bueno, gracias." and then we could hear her yelling at someone in the backyard. I started laughing as we walked away. i thought it was hilarious, she was so angry. My companion was like, "i was scared!" and then she laughed with me. people just look silly when they are mad. I´m not sure why i wasn´t scared, probably because she is just an old lady in a bad mood and i didn´t really understand what she was saying. so ya, that was fun.

But i am doing well. I was really really happy on Sunday. My comp and I were just so stoked to have been able to reach our goals and to have that many people in church. It was truly a miracle to go from 0 to 7 in 2 weeks. After church we ran back to the apartment to drop our stuff off from our talks, and we just knelt and had a gracias prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for everything! So i hope we can keep it up. Sometimes we have days where we really don´t feel like working, but you gotta just keep on going, keep pushing. I think about the sons and Mosiah and how much they went through and how we really have nothing to complain about. I love the scriptures, they give us a lot of drive to keep working. they were really written for us.

Thanks for all your love and your support! i am well, just preaching the gospel here in argentina:) my testimony continues to grow. i can´t express how much i love this gospel, and how greatful i am to have it in my life. But i know that where much is given, much is required, so lets do our part and preach the word of God! love you guys with all my heart!

todo mi amor
hna. amundsen

Monday, September 6, 2010

rafaela week 5 - sept 6

Hey FAM!

So good to hear from you. I can't tell you how much I love your letters. Jules – you are correct about the driving here, it's CRAZY! They have laws that they do obey, but they cut each other off, and I don't know…I wouldn't want to drive here.

Sorry about not sending pics recently. I really want to, but the computers I use don't work that great, so I can't right now. Dad, also…do you have some back exercises I can do? Or maybe mindy knows something I can do. I run everyday and do crunches…but my back faults something. Also…Sarah, we are teaching a couple 12 year old girls right now. Their totally obsessed with the Jonas bros. they are really great girls but I wanted to see if maybe you could write your testimony, or have some words of advice for these girls. One (Veronica) she comes to church every Sunday with her grandma and cousin who are members, but she is scared to get baptized because she doesn't want a calling, or to have to give a talk in church. And she is afraid that she won't always be able to come to church after she is baptized. Maybe there is something you could say to her, or an experience you have that you could relate to her! Or Julie or Jodi, if you have words of advice - I am all ears.

This week was kinda special for me though. I am starting to feel my love for these people grow. We had a couple of rainy days this week, which was kind of fun! (I have a rain coat that I inherited from hna. Redfern) And we went and contacted this reference that we had. The family that gave us this reference is the bishop's fam. (the Rohrmanns) the reference went really well. It was a younger couple with 2 little kids. They said the Rohrmanns had invited them to church before, but they had never gone. We invited them and they accepted for this next Sunday. Then during fast and testimony meeting Hna. Rohrmann got up to bear her testimony and thanked us for going out and working in the rain. She talked to this family after we had been to see them, she said they were excited to come to church next Sunday. It was very sweet. Then last night, we had a lesson with the familia Garza like we always do, and at the end Ruben (the dad) just went off and told us how much he appreciated us. He said they were so lucky to have us, that we come and talk with them and laugh and bear our testimonies and talk about the love that we have for our families and he said it just touches his heart and that he is just really grateful for us. They say they miss us when we don't pass by, they always tell us that. He said we are like that plant that eats flies, (venus fly trap or something) that we are so beautiful and appetizing and we just trap our investigators. It's all the spirit. But I really love that family. Ruben is getting baptized the 23rd of this month! We are excited!

Oscar is doing good. He didn't get baptized because you have to come to church 2 times before, and he has only come once. He always seems to have an excuse, I told him that too. I told him I don't think he really wants to get baptized, that I know he's been sick, but that he's feeling better and why doesn't he come with us. He says he really wants to get baptized but that really his health is not good. And then he said maybe he shouldn't get baptized because he knows he won't be able to come to church after so maybe it's better that he has no baptism. But he knows the gospel is true, that this is God's church restored to the earth once again. We are going to talk to President. But we told Oscar about the special sacrament, and what not.

But ya, that's what is happening. The ward is pretty great here, it's actually a branch. We have a chapel that we share with another branch (the elders have that branch). We had a member come with us this week and do some teaching to a couple menos activos, and she was really great with them! And we just learned this week that we are to focus right now on menos activos and part member families. So we'll see how that goes, i'm kinda excited actually.

Mom will you tell clare I got her letter! And thank her. Can't believe she is going to Idaho! How exciting! Tell her to watch out for those boys. I hope luke is doing alright with his amebas, I don't know what that really means but I hope he feels better. I apologize to everyone that has written to me and has not received a letter back. Usually grocery shopping, washing our clothes by hand, writing our families takes up the whole time. But know that I appreciate it so much.

Alright. Love you guys! Until next week. Thanks for your prayers.

Todo mi amor

Hna. amundsen

rafaela week 4 - aug 30

Thanks for the letters! i didn´t get a letter from Julie, but if she sent it to dear elder it usually takes a couple weeks because it goes to the mission office in Rosario. But i got one from aunt tami! that´s so cool that Russell is going to Brasil. What a great opportunity to get to live in so many countries. I also got a letter from Bro. Mortensen, it was great to hear from him! And also Lisa McAffee, tell her thanks, because her letter really helped me. She said sometimes we are the ones to plant the seeds and other times we are the ones to do the harvesting. And right now i feel like we are doing a lot of planting. Sometimes i forget that we have to plant in order to harvest, and we don´t always see the fruits of our labors.
This week was hard with our numbers. We knocked a lot of doors, but not many answered. My energy is also dying. By about 4pm my legs start to complain, and by the end of the day me legs are exhausted. But the lord blessed us in another way this week. i love my comp. and this week we were able to find joy in the little things. One day i think we didn´t go 30 sec without laughing at something. I was laughing so hard as we were walking down the street, that i couldn´t see where i was going, and i walked into a tree. and then we laughed even harder. So even though we had a tough week and didn´t see a lot of the fruits of our labors, we were still able to find joy.
This week I also really felt my testimony of the Savior grow, and the love that i have for Him. I was studying in 2 Nephi 9 this week; almost every verse is now highlighted. Do you know what would have happened to us if the Savior had decided to not take upon the sins of the world? If not, you only have to read the 10 verses of that chapter.
Saturday night we went to the Familia Garza´s house. This is where Gaston lives (he and his mom are recent converts, but his dad ruben, not yet...he´s getting baptized the 23rd of september). So we started talking with them, and come to find out that none of them were planning on coming to church the next day. I just started to cry. I thought about the Savior and what He went through, what He did for us, and what He asks for in return, and how unwilling we are sometimes to do what He asks. He asks that we attend church to partake of the Sacrament to remember Him. It´s so simple. I was also crying because i love this family, and want them so badly to make the right decisions in their lives. Because i´ve seen the blessings in my life, and don´t want them to miss out on those. My comp was crying too. We bore our tesimonies and left with a prayer. They said we didn´t understand, maybe i don´t. But i do know that God comes first. And when we put God first in our lives, everything else falls into place, He will take care of the rest.
Sunday, we had no investigators in church. they all told us no when we invited them. Alicia Garza came. Gaston and Ruben no. It feels like our fault, but i know they have to make their own decisions. But my tesimony continues to grow, every day. I know this church is true. i have no doubts.
By the way. It´s spring, and this week was lovely, except for today. You should write back to Gaston. I´ll have a christmas list next week:) we don´t nap during the siesta. Oscar didn´t get baptized, but he is feeling better now. i love you guys. soooo much.
todo mi amor
hna. amundsen