Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Once again an interesting week in Zapala!

I didn't write on Monday because we had zone conference. My first zone conference! It was really cool, like actually meeting missionaries here in the Patagonia, and also it's just a really nice bolster in all this chaos to see President and Hna. Peterson. There's nothing like being around your mission president and his wife. They bring such a calm and reassuring spirit, me encanta!

Our focus in conference was the Atonement and the Book of Mormon. We have a challenge to read the Book of Mormon before Easter as a mission, and we were encouraged to read with an emphasis in the Atonement. We talked a lot about that, and really what blessings we have because of it. I know it has blessed me to be able to realize what blessings I have received, what mercy the Lord takes on us. But also that so many people don't have this comfort or this hope. They don't know and they suffer because of it. How important are our callings as members of the Church to minister to all. My plaque (I think that's like the plaque from your teeth... I don't know how to spell that word, okay?) only has a little significance in the work. Everybody can invite others to come unto Christ. Everybody can open the door to a greater and more valuable relationship with the Savior.

We only have a few more weeks here in the transfer; we're already more than halfway through! How fast the time flies!!! I still don't know my area that well, but I've been working on that. My companion has only two transfers left and she's been here in Zapala for a long time, so I want to make sure I'm prepared to show someone else the area just in case she leaves. ARAHGIOGNAGN! My mission experience is crazy and like no other. I know everybody can say that, of course their experience is unique and crazy, but dude, really, mine is really crazy! But if the Lord thinks I can do it, then by gum I'm going to try to do it.

Oh! Funny story! I totally got mega sick on Tuesday of last week! I barfed in the house of a part member family. Let's just say that my breakfasts of banana and cereal still make me a little nauseous. Every week the president's wife gets another call from me or my companion saying "Um, Hna. Georgeson has another problem...." The Hna. Peterson and I are going to be tight by the end of my mission. I thought I was all better from my allergies and my nasal infection and everything, but my voice is going wonky again and I'm having trouble hearing, but I hope Hna. Peterson won't get another call from me. Curse you germs and sickliness! I will not give in!!! NUNCA!!!

Anyway, because of zone conference we had hermanas from another area stay, and so we did splits. I did splits with an hermana from Buenos Aires who has the same time on the mission as me, but way more mad skills with Castellano (obviously) and about two more months experience than me. We tried finding an investigator's house that we've been needing to go see, but I totally did not know how to find it. Hna. Porter tried explaining it to me, but psh, no way was I going to find it. We ended up stopping at a corner to pray, and I prayed that we could find the house, but if not, then we could be directed to someone who needed us and who was ready for the gospel. So, we kept going and we could not find the house. We ended up starting to do contacts at houses, and the first house was a woman who, oh man, my companion and I need to go see!! She was "re buena" or like just awesome, and I'm stoked to go back.

My Spanish skills are getting better. I take Alma 26:22 seriously, and right now I'm working on the exercising faith thing. But it's getting better. Not perfect. The phrase in Castellano "me cuesta" or like, whatever, you can look it up, is very familiar to me, but hey, I can have a conversation! I have a loco elder from Buenos Aires right next to me right now and he talks wickedly fast, and we can talk. Entonces, mejor.

Whoever wants to send packages can in small bubble envelopes, and hint hint I'd love hot chocolate or taco seasonings, or recipes for sandies! Or a nail file...
mucho amor! xoxox, Hna.Georgeson

Mamma, Try telling me about the boys! They might think their lives are uneventful, but I don't think so! Every week people ask me about my family, and all I can really say is "I think they're doing okay?" But I still love you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wink of an eye‏

¡HOLA!

We're in week three of our transfer! How nuts! My first full transfer. Wow. I feel all super.

Everyday from 1 to about 4 all the stores are closed because of the siesta, and normally what we do for lunch on Pdays is everybody from the district gets together. Today we made tacos! Mexican food doesn't exist down here, and you can never find cheddar cheese or tortillas, but today we went to a different store and found the cheese, and we just cook up some stretched out empanada shells and call it good. Needless to say I'm very happy right now :)

I can't really say too much for what's going on around here, the same missionary stuff at the same missionary times. Walking, teaching, walking, talking, teaching...But it's all for a good cause, right?

Actually, I really like it here in Zapala. The people here are super friendly and open. You ask for their address and they just give it to you. My companion said that it's never happened to her in her entire mission, but we're so not complaining. I'm still learning to open my mouth in lessons. Although I've been here in Argentina for just over a month I'm still having trouble just listening and speaking with them. I can get the gist of what they're saying, but for some reason it's either "I'm talking" or "I'm listening," never " We're conversating." But I'm working harder on that. It's getting frustrating when people turn to my companion and say "Does she understand?" and I'm like "YES! HELLO?!? I totally know you're talking about me right now!" But alas, I'm going to change that!

Something that I've realized lately is that this mission is going to change me, like in the kind of way that it will hurt. I was so bent on not being that way, but it's something that can't really be helped. Now that I'm in an area where I can invest myself with the people, I find that when they have pitfalls or when they don't accept or refuse to understand, it kills me. So many people here have word of wisdom or law of chastity problems and they make excuses like "I can't do it. I can't change. They won't change. It's not going to happen." I think of how lame those excuses are. It's not impossible. Christ suffered everything so that he could help us if we find the faith to change. Yeah, so maybe Christ never smoked a cigarette, or lived with His girlfriend, or got drunk every weekend, but He knows what it feels like. He knows how we suffer, how we could suffer if we do these things. He knows how hard it is for us to leave these things behind. But He also knows that we can leave these things behind. I just need a scripture that says that! I've been coming to a greater appreciation for the atonement because I know that these things aren't impossible, and I just want so bad to let other people know too. Everyone, even those who don't want to know.

How are the boys doing? They can totally write me an email. They are still a part of my family after all.

And I would believe Adam. He told me that same thing when I was at the airport over the phone. I had been hoping he was still doing it. That makes me feel so much better. If he doesn't know, I wrote him an email a while ago, and he should WRITE BACK!!! For heaven's sakes, one of my elders from my second district from the MTC has already written me, why won't my brother!?! HDSAHDIFGANRTIOAGN!!!

That was the sound of frustration... or snoring.

Let everyone know I love them, even those who take a little bit of time to read the blog and those in Downey, Rexburg, and San Diego. Even my Bethy Bubbykins. She should be getting a letter soon.

Lots of love LOVE LLOOVVEEE!!! And take care xoxo

It's like that Micheal McLean song, "In the wink of an eye I'll be home."

I'll see you all in a sec :)

xoxo, Hna.Georgeson

p.s. The dog that belongs to our dueña (apartment owner) barks just like S'More. I just realized this the other night and it trips me out all the time! My baby! *tear*

Monday, March 15, 2010

Remember this: Niokis

Mamma, you don't have to email everyone. The reason I started the blog was for people to read whenever they had the chance. I appreciate it, but you don't have to do it.

Speaking of Janelle, HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY!!!! But I remembered on your birthday and yelled out "Happy birthday Janelle!!" Does that still count?

No, I haven't felt any earthquakes or anything since I got here.

Let's start from last week...My companion and I were getting ready to leave Puerto Madryn on Monday night for a 18 hour bus ride, when at about 6:00 we got a call from our zone leader that was coming with us that our ride was cancelled. They had major flooding on the route we were going to take and a bridge collapsed in a town that we were supposed to drive through, so we weren't going to leave on at least monday. My companion and I were " AJSNDGGUFIDÑ!!!" because we didn't have any appointments, any investigators, lunch or food or anything. But thank goodness we had a wonderful sister in the ward with mad cooking skills who offered to feed us. But still. It's hard to work in an area when you know you're going to leave it.

The next day we got bus tickets to drive through a town called Esquel, on the other side of the country next to the Pampas (I think that's what the mountains are called here, the ones that separate us and Chile), then up to Neuquén, and then to Zapala. By the time it was all over, the trip just to Neuquén took 26 hours. At one point our bus was broke down, so we got off for about an hour near Bariloche (a freakishly gorgeous city) and waited for another bus to come and take us. While we were waiting there was this couple with a video camera who stupidly left it sitting unattended and it was jacked. Well, duh! You're in Argentina, what did they think was going to happen? They were kind of freaking out over it, but when we got to Neuquén we had to be searched to make sure that nobody on the bus had the camera. At first they weren't going to let us off the bus until they found it. We were like You have got to be kidding me! It was like midnight. But all they ended up doing was doing a half-hearted search though our bags and we got to get off.

I said goodbye to my Hermana LeGrow *sniff* and went with two latin sisters to stay the night in their apartment. It turned out one of my elders from my first district was in their district there! Yay Elder Smoot!!

At 6:30 the next morning I caught a bus to Zapala that was about another 4 hours long. So I should've gotten to my mission by Tuesday night, when I really got there Thursday morning. So honestly, I haven't really been in Zapala all that long. But there's something different about it. Especially amongst the members. There's a really positive attitude towards missionary work amongst the members. They always give us at least one refferal and we have lunch every day. Lunch here is the main meal. Normally they have dinner really late at night, but all the missionaries get into the habit of not eating dinner because it's just way too late.

Anyway, it's a lot different from Madryn. It's wickedly dry here with lots of wind and dirt. Everything is dusty here. Yeah, there aren't as many tourists (um, if any), our area is a lot bigger so we're taking taxis a lot, and oh my gosh, we have so many investigators! It's insane! Most of the time Hna.LeGrow and I had only three progressing investigators, but here we have at least 15-20. We never have time to do street contacts because we're always teaching someone, visiting someone. Holy Moly.

But although we're really busy with lessons, I realized yesterday that there are only 6 priesthood holders in the entire ward. Maybe. The size of the ward is alright, but there are all these women and children, and no men. What the crud!?!? I'm still trying to figure out details, but one of my goals for being here in Zapala is to find more men to be baptized and receive the priesthood. It kills me that all these women are in chruch without their husbands. All these kids don't have fathers to support and encourage them with their God given priesthood. There is a lot of work to do here.

My companion is Hna. Porter from Utah. She's a military brat, so she's lived in a lot of different states, but her family has been in Utah for a while. All of her extended family lives in Orange County, so we both love the California ways. Her cousin is actually the lead singer of the Aquabats (and that always reminds me of Ben from seminary, it made me giggle), she loves the same music I do, and she's a dancer and a hair stylist. She's a very loving and helping person. We're both blondes so the oogling doesn't stop, but she's been very helpful so far. She just finished training someone else, so she's ready to deal with me.

Yesterday we made a goal that we had to get some contacts done, so we went to knock doors on a certain street that she felt like we needed to go. We ended up finding this lady who, oh my gosh, is so ready for the gospel. We couldn't stay and finish the lesson, but we're praying hardcore that she let's us in again. She's totally ready and prepared.

So I babbled on and on again, but in more spiritually uplifting news, this week in my personal study I've been reading a lot about love. Our mission president has given us a challenge to read the BOM before Easter, and right now I'm in Mosiah with King Benjamin's speech to the people, and a common thread he has is about love, charity, and goodwill towards men, and therefore towards God. I also just finished reading Pres.Uchtdorf's talk from the last conference about love, and it was so good. Please just read it all! It's all so true! And because he is an Apostle of the Lord, we should heed his counsel and try to do what he asks us to do. Because if it's from an apostle, it's from the Lord. Keep striving, keep moving forward, and don't give up. Don't give up and I won't give up either, k? I promise.

love you all!!!

xoxox, Su Hna.Georgeson

Friday, March 12, 2010

Huh.... This has been an interesting week. And now an interesting Pday.

We have transfers? I don't remember the word in english anymore, it's only traslados. We have them today. The surprising news is that I'm being separated from my trainer already. I've only been with her three weeks and they already want to separate us! She thinks that one of the main reasons they're doing this is that she's leaving two weeks early to go home because in four weeks she'll have 18 months and her brother is getting married, so the mission president gave permission for her to leave the mission two weeks early. I think I totally now have the new record for the least amount of time with your trainer. I'm going to Zapala, about three hours away by bus from Neuquen. My new companion is going to be Hna.Porter, who I've heard is a really hard worker. We have something called the Standard, which are the mission goals for lessons taught, contacts, baptisms, and she's met the standard a couple of times. I'm going to be learning a lot from her. I leave Puerto Madryn at around 10:30 tonight (about 6:30ish Idaho time), and the bus ride is going to take all night and then some. But good news is I'm not going by myself. I'll have my companion for most of the way, and my zone leader now is going to be my zone leader in Zapala, so thank goodness.

In happy news, we found our Luis! He was missing for about a week. We could not find him anywhere, call him, anything. But a couple hours after we started our fast for Sunday, we went by his house and he was home! It turned out that he had to stay at his work for at least four days straight to get all the work done, and where he works he doesn't get reception. It's weird that he didn't tell us that he had to stay at work four days straight, but he commited to another baptismal date, and he says he's still keeping all of his commitments like not drinking, reading and praying everyday. We really hope he pulls through.

The days are filled with walking, talking to people, clapping at doors, finding more people to teach, and walking. Wait- did I mention walking? Because we walk a lot. It doesn't bother me until Hna. LeGrow does her power walk, which is the pace of a steady jog. That's when it gets really intense.There are days where I get really discouraged with my "Castellano"(They don't speak Spanish, they speak Castellano. They make a big point of saying Castellano). There are days where I just wish I didn't have to speak Castellano because it just feels like Spanish word vomit. But I gotta keep moving forward, right? Because I can't give up.

PICTURES!!! I'm going to try to see if I can send you some.

It was kind of a surprise to hear about Bro. DiViesti. It's still weirding me out. I hope you're all helping Sis. DiViesti and Kent's wife. What are you all doing in Downey? I think the town has a secret quota for dead people every week. Downey: Town of Zombies.

Let everyone know I love them and miss them! Take care! Loves!!!
xoxo, Hna.Georgeson

P.S. If you could also send this to blancerich@gmail.com and jenneliza7@gmail.com and coppertree15@gmail.comAnd mamma, the last two emails, please make sure they have my address! Muchisimas gracias!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just like San Diego!!!‏

Surprising or not, I really didn't feel the earthquake. I know many places in Argentina felt it, but alas, I was not one of the lucky ones. I'm kind of on the other side of the country if you haven't noticed :) There are elders here who are from parts of Chile, so we're hoping their families are okay.

This week has been okay. Frusterating at times. Very hot. I'm still sick, I'm pretty sure it developed into a sinus infection, so right now I'm taking amoxacillin, a nasal spray that's a lot like flonase, and am going through tissues like crazy! I can't taste any of the Argentine food (sad day), don't smell much of anything, and can't hear anything either. It's been a lot better since I started the medicine, but from time to time it gets icky.

On the missionary front, things are okay. My companion had an investigator with a baptismal date, Luis. All he had left was to be interviewed and attend one more Sunday in order to be baptized on the 6th. The night before his interview we taught him the last thing he needed, went through the baptismal interview questions with him, did everything. He said he felt good and prepared for the interview. He had totally changed his life around. He said that to him the gospel meant change, and when he said that we were like "yeah yeah!" The next day when we went to go meet him at the chapel for his interview he didn't show up the entire night. We tried calling and calling, but his phone wouldn't get reception. He didn't show up to church the next day, and he still won't answer his phone. We've gone by his house and it looks like he hasn't been there at all. His neighbors say that he left for work Saturday morning and they haven't seen him since. It's so weird because according to Hna. LeGrow, the entire time she's been teaching him (for the past two months) he's never done anything like this. It's totally not like him, and it's weird that his neighbors haven't seen him. We keep hoping he's okay.

Besides that we have another investigator who's progressing. Hno. Andés Roberto. He's a wee bit awkward, but he's still a really sweet guy. We just challenged him to pray to know if baptism is right for him (and we're all hoping he's really listening to the spirit so he gets the real answer). He came to church yesterday, which was a pleasant surprise. We have a surprisingly good feeling about him.

Besides that all is okay. Yes, we're in the city part of the city right on the beach so we meet a lot of tourists. Sometimes it's difficult because they hear that we're from the Church of Jesus Christ and they think that we're just some other religion or other church and they're like "Thanks, but I have my evangelical church" or "I'm Catholic, I already have Jesus in my life" or "I'm a Jehovah's Witness and I don't really believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet or that the Book of Mormon is true." Everytime I just want to stare at them and say "Do you not realize we're just not preaching religion or just some church?!?!???? You're all ridiculous!!!" That's my hardest part. Needless to say I'm praying for charity. Lordy knows I need it.

Something I find I appreciate a lot more is going to church and the sacrament. As I was sitting in the chapel, surrounded by all these spanish speakers without my companion (she was at the piano), it was the one thing that was familiar, that I knew I could rely on. It hit me so hard what the sacrament really means. It means help, strength, and renewing an essential ordinance with my heavenly father. Definitely my most favorite part of the week, and something I'm going to rely on for the next 15 months of my life.

That's really it from this side of the equater. Know I love all of you and want to hear what's going on! I'll keep my eyes peeled for those letters.

xoxo, Hna.Georgeson