Ok so this is gunna be super long becasue SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!! I left the MTC which was bitter-sweet becasue I have really grown to love my comp and district.
Super early in the morning last Monday we packed up our stuff and got on a bus. We took the bus to the TRAK station, and then took the TRAX to the airport. There were over 100 missionaries in our group. We then flew to Georgia where we had a 4 hr layover to call our families and eat and exchange our money for Argentinian Pesos. We then got onto a 10 hour red-eye flight to Buenos Aires. I was somehow super lucky and got the 1st seat in the economy section so I had a ton of leg room, and was the 1st off the plane. Once we landed we went through customes and got our luggage. Then our large group was split in 2; 1 group was of missionaries in Buenos Aires and the other a group of us going to other parts of the country. We then got onto a double decker collectivo (bus). And guess where we went?? The Temple!!!! I was sooooo happy!! WE didn't get to go inside but we got to walk on the grounds. It was beautiful! We then got to eat lunch; It was a wonderful meal of empanadas and alfajores for dessert ;) After we rested for a while, we got back onto the busses and went to the smaller local airport. There I was separated from the group because I was the only one going to Mendoza. I was kinda worried about going alone but I found a Brazilian sister named Hna Dutra who was also going to Mendoza from the Buenos Aires MTC. She is so nice, outgoing and fun. It was a little hard to communicate because she really only speaks Portuguese but it worked out fine. The two of us got on the plane and flew to Mendoza city! Pres and Hna Goates met us at the airport. They are so warm and kind and they made me feel right at home. We then went to the mission home which is a nice appartment in the city, and we spent the night there.
The next morning we went to the mission office for some training, interviews and to meet our trainers!! My Mendoza Mama is Hna Cerrato. She is 21 years old and is from Honduras. I think she is beautiful. She is so kind and motherly. I couldn't have asked for a better first companion! The 2 of us and hna Dutra and her trainer got on a collectivo to San Rafeal, which is in the southern part of the mission.
Hna Cerrato and I are opening a new area! They split an area of some other sisters in half and we are the first ones to serve in San Rafeal Barro 1B.
The first night we stayed in the other sisters pench because it was closer to the bus station. The next morning I woke up to a bloody nose because of the high altitude. So then we got ready for the day and took a taxi to our pencion. We share the appartment with 2 other sisters, Hna Lybbert from Washington state and Hna Japa from Peru. They are our the sister training leaders for our district and they are awesome! We are also in the same ward so we see them alot.
Because we are opening a new area the first few days were kinda slow. We figured out what the area boundries are and who we are teaching, etc.
A day in the life of a missionary:
First we get up at 6:30 and and exercise. Then 2 of us study while the other 2 get ready and then we switch. We leave the house around 9:30 and go to appointments, street contact and find people to teach. Then around 1 the siesta starts. We can't proselyte durring the siesta unless we already have a set appointment with the person. The siesta is from 1 to 4!! So we go to a member's house for lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day. Since I have been here I have had mealenesa twice and empanandas 3 times. The food steriotypes are true!! Yummy! One thing that's funny to me is that they put oil on lettus amd call it a salad haha. The bread here is super delicious! The other sisters are always laughing at me because I love bread so much!
After lunch we go back to the pench to study. Because I am a new missionary I have extra studies to do.We study FOREVER! We then leave the pench areound 6 and go proselyting again. It's a very full day!
I am learning a lot! There are so many colloquial terms and sayings here that I am starting to pick up on. Argentina is very different that the states .San Rafeal isn't a huge city.
There are 5 maliciones (curses) of the Mendoza mission:
1. Get bite by a dog. There are so many stray dogs everywhere! Some are super friendly but some are not as nice so you have to be careful.
2. Fall into a asequia. The side walks here are very uneven and unpredictable and in between every road and side walk is a long ditch called a asequia. They are to bring water to the trees and people because it is very dry here. You have to be very careful when you walk becaue you could seriously hurt yourself!
3.Get pooped on by a bird. (self explanatory)
4.Poop your pants. This is more of an elder problem but we have to be careful not to eat food from street venders and to only drink purified or bottles water because yeah.......
5.Get kissed by someone of the opposite gender. The culture here is to give a kiss on each cheek to say hello. At church I was kissed by about 50 strangers haha We are not supposted to give or recieve kisses from men. However, sometimes older men will do it anyway...
None of these things have happened to me (knock on wood!) But I seriously love it here! The people are so friendly. The ward here reminds me of our Lynnfield ward A small, close knit family. I love how the church is the same everywhere you go!
We wittnessed 2 miracles this week. The first was with the Gomez family. The other 2 sisters had started teaching them already. They are a beautiful family. There is a mom, a 17 year old girl, a 8 year old girl, a 3 yr old girl and a baby boy. The mom is divorced and they are very poor. Their main reason for not wanting to come to church is because the dont have enough money to buy cloths :( It was really humbling to see them. They were my first investigator lesson and we taught the plan of salvation.The spirit was so strong in the lesson and the mother began to cry. They agreed to a baptismal date of sep 20th! I hope that they will keep their committment to read the BOM, and pray to find out if our message is true. I pray for them every night.
The other miricle happened yesterday. We were walking to visit a less active member and were doing ALB (Abrir la boca or street contacting) on the way. We were almost to the house when we stoped to talk to an older man. We said we were missionaries and her asked for us to come in and share our message! We sat on chairs outside his house and taught him the plan of salvation because he is very depressed about the death of his wife. As we taught he asked lots of thoughtful questions like "why cant I remember life before my birth?, Why do people baptize babies because they cant sin? and Is my baptism valid?" We kindly told him no and then he said that he wanted to be baptised the correct way!! The spirit was very strong during the lesson and he said he felt peace and faith in his heart! He agreed to work to be baptised on the 20th on out very first visit with him!! It was truly a miricle because we were not even going to go on his street that day but we changed our plans last minute, and just happened to run into him! The Lord truly puts people in our path who are ready to listen and accept the word of God.