Thursday, March 17, 2011

la paz 2 - march 14

Hey family

Thanks for your letters and the pictures. Sarah looks a lot older in the pictures, so that is kind of weird. But glad to hear she had a fun birthday. She's getting to know a lot of people. It's really an opportunity to share the gospel, sarah, you can be a good influence on your friends, because junior high is where a lot of kids start making a lot of mistakes when they don't have the gospel in their lives. Love you girl. I don't know what I want for my birthday. Nothing really. Just save money so I can buy new clothes when I get home. Haha, cuz i'm so sick of the ones that I have…which reminds me, mom…i've been pulling money out of my personal account. Can you tell me how much money I have in there? I've only pulled money out twice I think, but i'll probably do it again soon.

Another week on the mission. Wow. This week went by a little smoother for us. I don't think I have had so many new investigators in one week. I now understand why there were like 100 in the area book when we arrived. A lot of people are willing to listen, but a lot of them aren't really looking to progress. So that's kind of what we've been dealing with this week, a lot of new investigators. So we are trying to find those that are really willing to change, because we can't do anything if they don't do anything.

We did find a family this week. The familia MiƱo. We contacted Miguel on the street at the beginning of the week, and we passed by on Saturday. Miguel was heading out the door, so we stayed and taught his wife and his oldest son. There are 6 kids, the oldest is 15 years old. So we taught Lorena (the mom) and she was really receptive, and even asked us what time church started on Sunday because she wanted to go. So we made plans to walk to the church together the next morning. I was so stoked…this is a 40 min walk that they are willing to make as a family to go to the church!

So Sunday morning my comp and I made the 40 min trek to their house. But it had rained the night before and the climate had changed from a hot day sat. to a cold windy day Sunday. And when we got there Miguel was outside, he said he didn't think they were going to be able to go. So he goes inside to talk to his wife for a sec. and i'm sitting there thinking…they’re not coming, it was just too good to be true. And out walks Miguel, dressed up and ready to go. I almost exploded with excitement. He told us the rest of the family wasn’t going to be able to attend…and explained a little what was going on, but told us that he would go with us and next time the family would come. But I was so stoked just to have Miguel come. And he was so great, he was so friendly with everyone. We only had about 24 people in church…and we only had sacrament meeting because the church building is half destroyed because they are remodeling it. We have an appointment with them tonight. I hope everything goes well.

But we are having a problem with the new members, they haven’t been coming to church, so we gotta try and help out those that were recently baptized too. We went to one this week…Juan Manuel…he told us that he had never received an answer from God that the church was true, he’s never prayed to know, so we talked a lot about that and how he can receive an answer and how crucial that is.

I have a question, is there any proof that the change in climate makes us sick? Because here I am, walking in the street all day, rain or shine, and people won’t leave their houses because it’s a little chillier. I know the climate can weaken your immune system, but sometimes I think it’s just silly the excuses. Like we were in a taxi, and it was really hot outside and the driver wouldn’t turn on the air conditioner because it would make him sick to have cool air blowing on him…

Anyway. I love you guys a lot. Good luck with your trial dad. Almost over! Just another week or two. Oh, and my comp is totally improving! She talks a lot more to me now too, and in lessons. She’s pretty cool. love you guys. Til next week.

Todo mi amor,

hna amundsen

Monday, March 7, 2011

la paz 1 - march 7

Thanks for your letters. And for the package! I got it a few days ago…it made my day. Thanks for sending that. HAPPY BRITHDAY SARAH! Officially a teenager. ¡Que cosa, no cierto! Espero que tu dia haya sido fantastico! And glad to hear that Bro. Graff enjoyed that story. It really is so great to see the fruits of another one’s labor.
Well, what a week. Full of adventures. We got lost a few times. walked a bunch! Ran into a couple of drunk men, one tried to dance with me in the street, the other cried and told us he didn’t want to drink anymore. And just trying to find houses here. But it’s true what you said mom, the fear passes, and we rise to yet another challenge and we become better for it.
Well, we didn’t open this area, there were 2 hermanas here last transfer, a white wash is just 2 new people in a new area. But this area here is a little different. The streets don’t have names…well, the map has names but you ask the people what street they live on and they say “I have no idea”. “how do you not know where you live?” and then you contact and ask for their direction and this is what they tell you “just go down this street and turn at the corner, go down til you hit a grove a trees, and my house is in there, you can’t miss it.” and then we try to find it later and end up asking every single person on the street…”do you know so and so? And by the way we are missionaries….” And in the area book there are like, 100 investigators…so we just pulled out a bunch of papers and put them in order of where the streets are and then we go and try and find these people. It’s like a game. On the map, all the streets are straight like a grid…then you get out there and they are all windy and curvy and the streets don’t go all the way through and so we try and find another way and end up in a beautiful field where we have to cross over this sketchy looking bridge and we get to the other side and find roads, but now we don’t know where we are.
La Paz is pretty small…there are two districts, and there are us and a pair of elders in our district…so we share the area. so…we have La Paz A and La Paz B. they are both new as well…the other day they asked me, “are you guys walking as much as we are?” I just laughed, “yes.” And it’s up and down…there are no flat streets, they don’t exist here. And every night this week we have come home exhausted. And every morning I wake up a little more tired then the previous day, wondering how I am going to make it through the day. But it is BEAUTIFUL here. A little dirty, but so pretty. This morning we went to the river and played soccer on the sand…the 6 of us here in La Paz. Central here reminds me of Laguna Beach a little; sloped streets with all the little stores on the sides. And the people here are really friendly, for the most part. But the district is pretty small…there were about 40 of us on Sunday…including the kids, but this area is progressing a ton. I wanted to come here just because everyone talks about how pretty it is. But it’s not super hot here... it’s about the same as San Nicolas.
My companion is Hermana Escobar. She is 25 years old and is actually waiting to receive her mission call. She sent her papers in January…it takes a few months here. She is pretty quiet, but she has been talking a little more every day. She is the only child…and her dad passed away when she was 10, so it’s just her and her mom. She was scared to teach the first few days, but now she is starting to add more in the lessons. But she just follows me and doesn’t ask a lot of questions. But she is from Ramallo, a little town outside San Nicolas…she is in the stake San Nicolas…and we actually were at the same baptism, but I don’t really remember her.
But we are working hard, trying to find these investigators. I really hope we can help this area. La Paz has only been open for a little over a year, and it has seen a lot of progress, so I hope we can make a difference here. I feel like I have to prove myself, but it’s good for me, I think I work better when others have confidence in me and I am put under pressure. It forces me to rely even more on the Lord, and to really put my trust in Him. The mission has taught me a lot, and I continue to learn…
I love you guys so much! Thanks for your support. You don’t know how much that means to me, to have a family that loves me and supports me in all that I do. I’ve had a pretty blessed life.
Todo mi amor,
hna. amundsen

san nicolas 11 - march 1

Well…the unexpected happened. I left San Nicolas. Right now I am sitting in a ciber in the city La Paz which is in the province “entre rios.” This is the place I have been wanting to go to. It's really green and pretty and it's right next to a giant river. I am doing a white wash with a mini missionary. It's crazy!! All the hermanas in the mission changed early for transfers….normally we don't have transfers til tomorrow, but because 6 hermanas went home we had to move around yesterday. So I got a call Sunday morning from the assistants, telling me what I was going to do. This is harder than last transfer. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, just thinking about how I am going to do it…(a white wash with a member who is set apart for this short time…that has not been through the MTC.) my comp just looked at me and said, “you can tell president has a lot of confidence in you.” So here I go again, putting my trust in the Lord and just hoping that He knows what He is doing.

So we just got here about an hour or two ago. We dropped off our stuff in the pench and came here to write. So far so good. It was easier to leave san Nicolas than it was to leave Rafaela. My last comp was really great, I loved her a lot, and we had a lot of fun together. She is staying in san Nicolas and they put back together the 2 wards again for the missionaries. She'll do just fine though.

So, funny story. So we ate with the Patriarch of the stake and his wife the other week. Their last name is Morera. He's older and so we got to talking about their conversion and what not. It turns out he was baptized by an Elder Graff about 50 years ago or so. I told him about Brother Graff and he says…”the son of Elder Graff also served in Argentina and came to visit here one time. I took a picture with him”…so he pulls it out and I just started laughing. I couldn't believe it. I was looking at a young Jeff Graff. So there you have it! I'm sure he will be pleased to know that his father's convert is now the Patriarch of San Nicolas. They had 5 kids, all active in the church, with grandchildren, many of whom have served missions. One just got back today, and another is still serving. The picture with the members outside the church…3 of those girls are his granddaughters and the man on the very left is his son…also “Morera.” It's so neat to see how a missionary can have such an effect…one baptism blesses so many people's lives.

My last week in San Nicolas was great. A lot better than the one before. Missionary work is tough, but I am still so glad that I came out to serve. A girl from my ward in san Nicolas got back from her mission and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting. She said that the mission was a lot harder than she ever thought, but that she learned more than she had ever thought. And it's so true! The lessons here are priceless. There is no other time like it. I feel I am really learning to put off my own desires and do the will of the Lord…even when I don't want to. It's a process, a purifying process, and I am learning. But I love this gospel with all my heart! I know it's true.

Mom, the recording worked. I loved it! That story was hilarious to me! What a small world. Tell luke I got the package he sent to me! I was so very excited. That was really nice. But your package hasn't arrived yet mom. I'm sure it will get here soon. And dad, thanks for letting me know about the mission president…maybe mom can take a photo of their photo. It would be cool to see. I also got to say goodbye to hermana Hansen yesterday, she is a little nervous, but excited. It was neat to see all the sisters leaving and say goodbye to them. I also got news of Rafaela…the ward just keeps growing, and our converts are going strong! I was so excited to hear about them! Anyways…I gotta go. I love you guys a lot. Good luck with the trial dad! And mom with the calling! I'll write next week.

Todo mi amor

hna. amundsen