Tuesday, July 5, 2011

la paz 18 - july 5


Thanks for the pics again. They are the BEST! So ya. I’m still here in La Paz….i will be here for atleast 6 months in total …if not more. But ya…We are finding more people…but they just don’t really progress…we have a few potentials, so we will see.

Soooo…remember that guy that we met in the mud that told us to go past his wife (Lorena)? Well, the other day we were heading over to her house to go and teach her again, and we found her on the way and she just started crying. It turns out the government had taken her kids that morning and she was on her way to go see them. But it seemed awfully suspicious to me. I already knew that Lorena couldn’t read or count…but she said that the kids were in the house with a lock put on the outside of the house (she was at her sister’s house), and that the police went and broke it down and took the kids. So we went with Lorena to go and see the kids. They were in a nursery. And the kids looked good. They had bathed them and put clean clothes and shoes on them. And Lorena was content to be with them. But the littlest, the baby of 7 months was not there…she was in another building.

But, through some connections that we have, we were able to find out why they had taken the kids… It turns out that Lorena and her husband are alcoholics. And on the weekend she locks her kids in the house alone and goes out to the clubs, and gets really drunk. And when Juan (her husband) is there, they go out together. The baby of 7 months weighed 4 kilos…which is a little more than 16 pounds.

So we decided maybe we can help them to turn their lives around. They won’t have the kids for about 3 months. So the other day we went to go visit Lorena. And their house is at the back of a circle of little houses all together…her sister lives in front (Beatrice). And as we approached this little circle of houses we saw her sister outside with a big bottle of alcohol…empty. My comp says, “oh no, they are all alcoholics, what are we going to do!?” and here comes Beatrice (the drunken woman). “I wanna talk to you!” to us. So she comes over…yes, very drunk. “Tell me why they took my sisters kids!” and she begins to cry.

I don’t think I will ever forget this moment. How this drunken woman clung to me, crying, pleading us to help her sister. At one point she told us it was our fault. “FORGIVE ME!” she said “But I believe this is your fault…because when the girls with the long skirts came, this happened!” and I was like …oh no…not again. Please not again…and we explained to her that it wasn’t our fault. The she says “OH. FORGIVE ME! I am catholic, but if you help my sister…I am with you!” So we tried to comfort her and I told her that she shouldn’t be drinking because it just makes the situation worse.

But anyway. That was one of our adventures for the week. Oh, and I am sick again. Yesterday we worked half day. But I feel better today. Oh and the conference on Friday….its half the mission….the other half go on thurs. but I am way excited to be able to see some people :)

all my love

hermana amundsen

la paz 17 - june 27

Hey family,

LOVED the pics!! It looks like it was fun. Sorry i couldn’t be there with you Jules! But i thought about you, and even told me comp...”my sister is graduating today!”

Well as you know, i’m struggling here on the mission. But i am grateful for the trails because they make me really evaluate myself. It just sucks sometimes too. This week was tough. It rained a bunch, so not a ton of people were out in the street. So i sang songs as we walked. “Hermana Amundsen sang as she walked and walked and walked and walked AND...walked!. “ We also knocked doors.

We contacted this one guy in the street. Or mud i should say. And he was super nice! He was leaving because he works out in the fields (and leaves for days at a time), but he told us to go by his house and that he wanted to go to church with us. So we started teaching his wife. She is super sweet. They are pretty poor. But i hope they will be able to progress. We invited them to church, but Lorena (the wife) didn’t want to go without her husband. I get the feeling she doesn’t go out very much, and is a little scared to do it.

Also, our one investigator, Veronica...we haven’t been able to find her this week. We’ve passed by and she hasn’t been home, and then the one time she was home she couldn’t attend to us. I hope she isn’t trying to hide from us. Her daughter said she wants to talk to us. So i hope she was telling the truth.

But anyways. We have transfers next week. But i already know that i am staying here with my comp because of the new traning program. But i think that means we will be writing on Tuesday. We also have a conference coming up in about a 1 ½ weeks to meet our new mission president. I am excited!! Welp. That’s all for now. A little shorter today. See you later guys!

All my love.

hermana amundsen

la paz 16 - june 20

Hey hey hey.

¡¡HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD!!! Too bad we can’t call on fathers day too. And i enjoyed your letter, it wasn’t dumb. Hope you had a good day. Sorry you were sick, i know that’s not fun. I love you a lot! Jules…good luck with graduation tomorrow. I want to see lots of pics next week!

So again. Lots of contacting. We are having a lot of trouble finding people that actually want to learn and progress. It is quite hard sometimes. This is just part of the work.

So we found out some interesting information. We are teaching Veronica Melgarejo, she is pretty cool. She is 27, she has 5 kids, and is Ivan’s aunt. (Ivan is the little 11 year old that we baptized) . Well, we were teaching her neighbors…the flia. Melgarejo right…and we haven’t seen the flia. Melgarejo for some time now because they have been hiding from us. Veronica has got the inside scoop. It turns out that a couple of the older girls started getting into some trouble…not sure if it was with drugs or boys or the both…but it all started happening after they started taking the missionary lessons. So naturally they have put the blame on us, and think it’s because of us that they are having problems. And then it doesn’t help that their dad is spreading lies about us. He says that we are here to destroy families, and that the Book of Mormon is all part of that as well. So they don’t even want to talk to us. Yesterday we were coming up the street, and they were outside their house, and when they saw us they all went inside. It just hurts to hear stuff like that, and to see that they avoid us like the plague.

Then there is Silvia, the mom of Ivan, and sister of Veronica. Silvia and her husband have been on bad terms recently (Ivan’s parents)...they too started having problems about the time that Ivan started taking the missionary lessons and was baptized. So Silvia as well put the blame on us. She told Veronica to burn the Book of Mormon. But Veronica has seen changes in her life, and loves reading the Book of Mormon and told her sister that. She also told Silvia to let Ivan go to church again and let him listen to us because he likes it. She says Ivan is always sad now. I guess his mom told him it was his fault they were having problems in the family. Poor kid.

We even saw Ivan in the street the other day with his older sister Erika. I ran up to him, I haven’t seen him for a while, so I was super stoked! Erika said that Ivan has been getting bad grades in school, and so his parents told him he couldn’t go to church until he raises his grades. We know what is really going on, and they have used that as an excuse in the past. But it makes me sooo sad to see this happening here. People are saying good things are bad and bad things are good, just like the scriptures say.

So here we go. We are looking for new investigators. But they haven’t been easy to find. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here, because I don’t feel like I am making a difference. The people we found last week don’t want to have us over either…so we keep contacting and keep looking for new people to teach. Am i doing something wrong?

anyways. i love you guys a ton!!

love, hna. amundsen

la paz 15 - june 13

Hey there family.

This week in Argentina…most of this week was spent contacting people. Super duper fun! (that was sarcastic). I am getting better at contacting though…not as afraid to do it. I think it will always be hard for me though.

We found a cool girl this week. We had contacted her brother, and set up a cita with him. But when we went he wasn’t there (typical), his sister answered the door. so we asked if we could share something with her. She is 21…her family is super catholic, but she doesn’t like it, and has always gone to church out of obligation. But her name is Fernanda, and she was really focused on the lesson, she asked good questions, and wanted to know why we were members of the church, and how our conversion took place. She wants to read a pray:) so we were super stoked! We’ll see what happens. She told us flat out that her parents aren’t going to like it. We kinda picked up that hint when her mom walked in, she wasn’t the most friendly with us. But hey, maybe they’ll be accepting in a little bit.

I forgot to tell you guys how we almost died the other week…So…on Sunday (a week ago) we were walking down a dirt road, coming down the hill a little. All the sudden i hear this rumbling, and look to my left to see a giant cow running…luckily he passed by a little behind us, no problem…and continued, scared me a little but we were safe. But then we realized he was just the first of about 7 cows…all headed in the same direction! There were bushes and plants around us, and one of the cows turned into the bushes; which meant it was heading directly toward us, while the others just followed the path of the first that had run by. I grabbed my comp, thinking how when that cow comes out of the bushes we were going to get squashed. My comp wasn’t even looking, she was just watching me.

Well, that cow came running out of the bushes, and took one look at us and stopped dead in his tracks. I couldn’t believe it. They are scared of us, and he hadn’t seen us until that moment. Then he turned and went on his way. We got out of there pretty fast. Turns out a dog had been chasing them. My comp burst out in laughter. I did too. My heart had just about leapt out of my chest. Those things are huge!! We could have been pancakes. I asked my comp why she was laughing! Like how can she cry when a giant puppy wants to give her kisses, but when a giant cow comes charging at her she just laughs. She said she didn’t look at the cows. She said she kept her eyes on me the whole time and was laughing because of my face, the expressions that i made. It must have been pretty funny. It all happened sooo fast, and i was terrified. But we had a good laugh about it afterwards.

We also had district conference on Sunday, that was pretty cool. It was a broadcast, Elder Packer, and Anderson spoke, one of the 70 and then Sister Wixon. So that was a real treat, i love hearing from them! But that’s about it for this week. Thanks for the letters. Love hearing from you guys.


Hna. Amundsen

la paz 14 - june 6


Sooo this week was different. Had quite the adventure in Buenos Aires. Here in Argentina, we travel by bus wherever we go…they say “collectivo.” So I got on a bus Tuesday, and traveled to Rosario, and stayed in the mission home that night. Then at 7am, Wednesday, a bus came to the mission home and picked us up..there were 16 I believe…me, the only girl. But it was so fun! There were about 6 of us that I was in the MTC with, so that was way fun. So all we did was drive to Buenos Aires, we got there, like in the middle of the city, and we had to go into some government building. It took about 30 minutes for all 16 of us to go through. So that was nice. I sat down and talked to a guy in Spanish…he took my finger prints. It was funny because he was flirting with me. And the elders that were in line could see that this guy was laughing a lot with me, and so when one of the elders sat down in the booth next to me, he leaned over and said…”he’s flirting with you!” in English. It was really funny.

Afterwards we stayed in Buenos Aires for lunch…we went to Mcdonalds. And then headed back to Rosario. We got in about 7:30pm. I stayed the night and left the next day. My comp was in Santa Elena with the Hermanas there….it’s a little city about 45 min away from La Paz.

So working this week…I don’t know why, but our investigators just don’t want to get baptized. UGGG! Like, we invited the Flia. Melgarejo to be baptized again, and they kept telling us that they wanted to be sure, that in the future yes. But now they don’t even know if they want to get baptized. They’re like, “we’ll come to church and everything” but I don’t get it. And then Horacio is the same. He doesn’t understand that he was baptized without authority. He thinks his church has it, and I explained to him that NO, they can’t have the authority, it’s impossible, because they would be members of our church if they had it!!! But he still believes our church is true…?? Yes, we are looking for new people, always…but I don’t get it.

Everyone says La Paz is the place where you go and baptize…and here I am NOT baptizing. But on the bright side I met this really awesome guy named Osvaldo! I was on the bus coming back to La Paz from Rosario, and this 50 yr old man was assigned to the seat next to me. So there I was sitting, thinking about how I would start the conversation with him and he turns to me and starts talking. “you’re not from around here are you?” I just laughed. so we started talking, I explained that I am a missionary. He is from Rosario and said he passes by the elders all the time on the street and always says “hi” to them. So I taught him about the Restoration, and he really liked how logical it all was. He said he has a Book of Mormon but has never opened it to read it. So I pulled out mine, and we read part of the introduction, and I invited him to read and pray about it. And then I invited him to be baptized. He just kinda laughed and was like “already?!” and I explained, “well ya, you gotta if you feel it’s true!” so he said he would pray. He gave me his direction and phone number so I could pass it along to the elders. He is married with 3 kids, just this awesome guy. He got off at Santa Fe, so we had talked for about 2 hours. But he just told me how he felt like we had known each other for a while, and thanked me for my warm smile and friendliness. But I felt so good afterwards, he totally made my day. And I already talked to the elders where he lives, they are stoked to go by him and are going to keep me updated:)

Alright. That’s all for now kids. Love you guys,

hna. amundsen

la paz 13- may 30


So. New transfer, new comp (Hna. Gossen) same area. I’ve been here in La Paz for 3 months, and will be here for another 3 months…as I am told. So Wednesday I went to pick up my comp in Rosario, and it turns out that we have a new training program. The training program is 12 weeks long (2 transfers, or 3 months). And instead of having 1 hour of comp study, we have 2 hours every morning. This time is dedicated to learning and practicing, so that the new missionary is really prepared. So far the program has been good. This is the first time they are doing it, we are kinda “guinea pigs” so to speak. So that is how I know I will be here in La Paz for at least 6 months total (and maybe more…we’ll see in 2 transfers).

I’m a little worried, scared for this transfer. My comp is from Paraguay. She is pretty quiet, but has a desire to serve. She has a fear of big dogs, which doesn’t help here in Argentina. The first day we were out on the street we passed by “Bruno” a rather large puppy that knows us really well. I had no idea that my comp had a fear of dogs…Well, here comes Bruno running towards me, jumps up just to give me kisses. I’m laughing and my comp starts freaking out. She started crying as I shooed Bruno away. I then tried to calm her down, explaining he’s just a puppy. Needless to say, we’ve been doing everything possible to avoid that street. But he’s not the only big dog. She is so much like a little kid. Just so unaware of what happens around her. And she has freaked out about a couple others things too. I can help her to adapt to this new life. I feel likes it will be a challenge.

So I hope everything goes well. I am a little nervous. I think I will be learning a lot of patience. I think the Lord likes to test me, to see how dedicated I really am to this work. He’s stretching me so that will grow. But the truth is i’m scared to grow.

I’m super worried about Ivan too. Our little 11 year old convert. He didn’t come to church, he says his mom won’t let him go. We went to go talk to him last night and his mom was in a BAD mood. So we didn’t end up talking to Ivan. But we started teaching his aunt, and she is way rad. I guess Ivan showed her pictures of his baptism and told her that she needed to follow her heart. He’s such a good kid, already a missionary.

I really love some of the people here. I have really grown close to a few people. We also are teaching a girl named Natalia Espinoza. She is 18…we haven’t been able to find her recently, but sat night we got to talk to her. She said she prayed and felt the spirit. She was like “and ya, it’s true.” And she wants to get baptized, but she hasn’t come to church yet, so that is a problem. But the Flia. Melgarejo is progressing. I’m growing closer to them too. They still don’t want to get baptized. They know it’s true, and they read, pray and come to church, and are asking questions about baptism, but not yet. I think we are going to invite them to get baptized again…we’ve already done it a few times, but hey, why not again. They just know that it is a big commitment, and want to be sure of themselves before they take that step.

And wow…I just got a call from one of the assistants, apparently I have to go to Buenos Aires on Wednesday. So tomorrow I am traveling to Rosario, and the Buenos Aires, and I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday. Wow. Cool. I guess I have to go do some papers. No worries, I’m not the only one going. I’m not in trouble or anything. But I am leaving the mission boundaries! Alrighty, I gotta go. Thanks for your letters. And for sarah’s address. I have a letter I’ll be sending her today. Thanks for filling me in and what goes on. I really take a lot of strength from hearing from you guys. It gives me an extra boost. There’s nothing like family. LOVE YOU GUYS A TON.

hna. amundsen

la paz 12 - may 24


My comp is leaving :( But the good news is i’m training again…and here in La Paz:). My second daughter in the mission…i feel it’s more like my fourth after training 2 mini missionaries as well. I’m always a little astonished with the trust that the Lord has in me. I hope this transfer will be a good one…I’m gonna miss Hna. Calderon, we had a lot of fun together. I think I’ll go visit her in Rosario some day if I get the chance to return to Argentina.

My new comp is Hermana Gossen. She is from Paraguay. And that is all I know about her. I have to leave tonight at 1:00 am to travel 8 hours to Rosario to pick up my comp. and then tomorrow, travel 8 more hours to return. Wow. Luckily there are a lot of us traveling together, so that will make it more fun! But I just hope I don’t have to go to the bathroom very much. Heehee. But I can’t believe she is my 5th latin comp….that’s a lot. It’s super good, I like it because it totally helps with learning the language…so hopefully I’ll be able to learn more from her.

This week I got sick. Tuesday morning I could feel a fever coming on, but I thought maybe my body would fight it off…it does that sometimes. But I was slowly starting to feel worse and worse. We went to an appt. after lunch, and I was so out of it, I was really struggling. And then we went to our district meeting. The elders thought it was funny that I was so out of it. It was kinda funny. Then about 4:30 or 5pm we went back to the pench and I got in bed and didn’t really get out again. It sucked, because I wasn’t sleepy, so I just laid there. So we were in the pench for 2 ½ days. The last day I felt a lot better, and could at least do stuff around the pench. And then we headed out the other days.

SOooo. Horacio knows the church is true…we are just trying to get him baptized now!! We’ll see what happens. And this family….the Flia. Melgarejo. There are 4 that have been coming to church regularly…and they want to get baptized, but not yet, because they want to be sure of what they are doing. But they are so cool! This is the family with 9 kids…I’m pretty sure I told you about them. Anyway…today is a rainy day…but we are going to have fun, and enjoy our last day together as comps.!! Nos vemos!

Hna. amundsen

la paz 11 - may 16


So next week is transfers! Yikes! I think this was the fastest transfer of my mission. We are hoping to not change! President Villalba and his wife came to our ward for church yesterday, and my comp asked if they needed more mini missionaries, and President was like, “yes!” and so I wrote him today, like…”you know…I wouldn’t mind if my comp stays…” But we’ll see what happens. It has to be the will of the Lord as well, but I feel like she’ll stay. But ya, i’ll be writing Tuesday next week to let you know how it goes. Haha. I really like it here, the days are going by so fast, we feel like we don’t have any time to work. That’s how it should be though.

We are working with a big family right now…there are 9 kids! And a few of them came to church on Sunday! Then we are working with Ivan (our recent convert), Ivan gave us a reference of his friend Kevin, and so we are teaching Kevin and his older sister, and they are both way rad!! I love Ivan. He is such a cool little kid! He is just so pure and wants to be good. He’ll be a big help to the church here when he is older.

The shooting…ya, things don’t happen like that too often. Haha. Stuff happens, but people don’t say anything. But we are really protected here, as long as we are keeping the rules and have the spirit with us, we should be safe.

We are also teaching a guy named Horacio. He is sooo prepared. He just needs a little push in the right direction. He’s coming to church this next Sunday he told us. The thing is we always find him in other people's houses or walking in the street…he is never home. So it’s harder to teach him, but he is catholic…but not. He is a member of a church that is a branch of the catholic church…and they don’t believe in the virgin mary or the saints, and they pray like we do. He had a dream/vision thing while praying, where he saw a multitude of people with their right hand raised…like we do when we sustain the prophet. And we told him that! And the spirit was so strong when we testified! Then he and a group of people were praying for guidance, and they felt that the true church would be called “la iglesia de Jesucristo de los ultimos dias”…which is almost our name…we were like…”have you seen this!” as we point to our name tags.

We are also teaching another girl named Veronica…but her husband got into a really bad accident a couple weeks ago…Her husband Javier was driving 6 girls for his job, and they hit a truck (like the BIG ones) and 3 of the girls were killed. And he tried to pull them out. But the girls are from La Paz, so people were talking about it for a while. So it’s been a little harder to find Veronica, because she started working while her husband recooperates, but physically he is just fine. It was a miracle he survived. Really…we’ve been pretty busy. But I like it that way. Like you said dad, always something to do.

Let me know if you got the pictures…cuz I got an e-mail about some error. Who was sarah in the play? Oh, and I have been thinking, maybe I will go to saddleback one semester, that might be a good idea. But ya…we’ll see. Love you guys a ton. My prayers are with your guys.

hna. amundsen