Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Evil Stepmother

December 31, 2015

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

As you have all figured out by now, my P-day has been changed to Thursdays - SURPRISE!!  I feel like I haven't written to you all in forever!  I hope everyone is doing well and had a very merry Christmas!

First of all some sad news, Juan Cruz wasn't baptized last weekend. :(  He wasn't able to attend church and has been at his grandma's house all week so we haven't actually been able to see him for a while.  Hopefully after all the holiday celebrations we can start teaching him again and set a new date for his baptism. :)

So last week on December 23rd, we had Navidad con toda la misión [Christmas with the entire mission]!  Oh my, it was so much fun!!  All 189 of us missionaries got together in the main plaza in the center of Bahia Blanca and just had a fantastic day!  

Christmas Party in the main plaza de Bahia Blanca
Now that's A LOT of missionaries...
We had a photo scavenger hunt, sang Christmas carols, ate lots of good food, watched The Emperor’s New Groove, decorated Christmas cookies, got a special video Christmas wish from our stake presidents (thanks Pres. Taylor!!:) ), ate more food, had a testimony meeting, and ate food one more time!

The best part though, was that I got to see my long lost amigos Elder Bakker and Elder Lee!!! 

Hey!  I know you...(Elder Lee)

Hey!  I know you too...(Elder Bakker)

When you run into two of your best friends in another country :)
Megan, Elder Lee, Elder Bakker



Oh my!  I can't tell you how great it was to see people from home.  We had a super fun reunion and were able to talk to each other lots - it really was the best!  Crazy to think just a couple months ago we were all back home in good old Draper, Utah and now we're in Argentina...No puedo creer lo.  [I can’t believe it.]

Feliz Navidad from all of your favorite Draper missionaries

Christmas Eve we spent visiting lots of members and finished off the day with a super yummy dinner at the bishop's house.  

Obisbo Correa's delicious chicken barbeque
Christmas Eve with the Bishop's Family

Christmas day...let’s just say it was by far the hottest day of my mission so far (over 100 degrees).  But it’s all good because we did get to visit with Santa...

SANTA!!! (aka our Zone Leader)

and I GOT TO SEE MY FAMILY!!!  Oh my heavens, best thing ever!! The time flew by and I really feel like we only talked for like 5 minutes; but it was the best 5 mins ever. ;)

SKYPE!!!!
The 2015 version of the Bartholomew Family Christmas picture :)

[To watch a short 2 minute video of our Skype with Megan on Christmas Day, click on the link below.  Warning - this segment is all in Spanish!]


So during our Skype call there was something I forgot to tell you all because I really wasn't worried about it then, but now it’s kind of a big deal.  The day after Christmas (Saturday) we had transfers! (First of all, can I get a “Whoot! Whoot!” for making it through my first transfer in the mission!!!)  But yeah, I wasn't worried at all because I didn't think anything was going to change for us.  Everyone stays with their trainer for at least their first 12 weeks to finish their training, right?  WRONG!  Yup, Hermana Palma got transferred to another area and was called to be a new sister training leader.  

Late night GOODBYE to my mom in the bus terminal :(
What?!  Yeah, so we found out this news on Saturday after I talked to you.  Sunday at 9pm we headed to the bus terminal to send her off and wait for my maldrasta (step mom) to arrive.  Haha in the mission your trainer is your mom and if you get a second trainer they are, in turn, your step mom.  :)  But don't worry, despite the title to this email, my new stepmom is not evil. 

Introducing.... HERMANA BAIRD!!  Another Yankee!!! Wahoo! :)  Hna Baird is from Rexburg, Idaho, has been in the mission for 1 year.  We are basically the same person :)  

Mi Maldrasta (Hermana Baird) :)

We've only been together for less than a week but I have already learned so much from her!  I was super worried at first when Hermana Palma left me because I felt like I didn't know the area well enough.  But Hermana Baird has helped me so much and we are really starting to get more organized and figure this whole Villa Floresta thing out together.  We get along great, love the same food, music, clothes…you name it - and to top it all off, we look pretty similar too. :) AND the best part - I CAN UNDERSTAND HER, and she can understand me!!!!

As crazy and unexpected as this change has been, I'm happier than ever! We both have lots of drive and enthusiasm for the work right now, and I'm very grateful to have her here to finish my training.  As stressed as I was at the beginning, I have really been able to see the Lord help me with my confidence in the knowledge of the area, the gift of tongues to speak the language, and all around I just feel better. Life is all good folks, don't you worry!

With tomorrow being the start of a new year, and a time when we are all setting new goals for 2016 (seriously can't believe it) I want to share with you all a quick thought I had during my personal study this week. 

In Alma 5:14-16 we read:

14 And now behold, I ask of you…have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?


16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

I really love the question at the end of verse 16.  It's my personal goal at the end of this life to be able to hear those words from my Savior.  I want to do all that I can everyday to live worthy and to make him proud.  I want to encourage you all, as you reflect on this past year and set goals for the next, to keep the end goal of returning to the presence of God and living with Him forever in mind, and make sure that everything you do everyday will help you reach it. 

I love and miss you all lots and want to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Don't stay up too late tonight okay? ;)  

Con MUCHO AMOR,

Hermana Bartholomew 


P.S.  Funny story of the week - So since Hermana Baird has arrived, we've been using the map of our area every second of everyday so we won't get lost, right?  Well, we were looking at it in the park one day when a huge gust of wind took our map away...shoot, NOOOO!!!  :)  We ran after it like our lives depended on it (because they kind of do, haha).  Let’s just say that we really are great entertainment for the people here. :)

P.P.S.  When I was at the bus terminal on Sunday night, waiting for my new companion to arrive, I met an Elder Roberts.  We discovered that we live like 5 minutes away from each other!  His family lives in the 6th ward, over by Boondocks.   

Another Draperite and fellow citizen of the Mountain Point Stake
Elder Roberts
He will be finishing his mission soon and I’m sure will meet you Dad when he reports to the Stake Presidency. :)  His little sister played on the CCHS Charger bball team with me too.  Super funny and super small world!!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ha Nacido Un Salvador [A Savior is Born]

December 21, 2015

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Let’s just say that this was probably the craziest week of my life.  I’m going to try my best to describe what happened, but sadly I'm gonna have to give you the shortened version haha ;)

Starting with last Monday- 

We had a P-day de zona [with the other missionaries in our zone] where we basically got together and had a picnic in the park followed by a water balloon fight.  

Picnic Time with Hermanas Palma & Ashby

Just chillin' at the park with all my dog friends

We had a real authentic Argentine asada [barbeque] and ate these huge sausages in a baguette....basically the Argentine version of a hot dog. :)  Super yummy! 

Argentine MEAT!


Ever since my first day in Villa Floresta we have been teaching an investigator named Juan Cruz.  He is 18 years old, and has a little brother Luis who is 11 and is already a member of the church (but less active).  Juan had a baptism date set back in May but he didn't show up to his baptism.  He works a lot, is sometimes hard to find at home, but he also loves to listen to the missionaries. 

So last Monday night, we had a lesson with Juan and talked about the importance of coming to church on Sunday.  (He has come to church a bunch in the past, but hasn't attended for the last couple of months.)  He told us that he would try harder to make it, but explained that it was just hard sometimes because his dad makes him stay home and help him with work around the house. 

At some point in our discussion, Hermana Palma finally musters up the courage to ask the question we've all been curious about- why he didn't go through with his baptism back in May?  Juan kind of smiled, and then said that he was embarrassed.  Juan is really shy and felt embarrassed to have a lot a people come to see him be baptized.  I asked him if he still wanted to be baptized and he answered with a big, “YES!”  After some discussion, we decided to set a new baptism date for this coming Saturday, December 26th - the day after Christmas. :) YAY YAY YAY!!!  As of right now, Juan is still excited and planning on going through with it. We have another lesson with him tonight so I'll let you all know how it goes next week and hopefully I'll have pictures of my version of a “white Christmas” :)

Super exciting right?!  Finally someone is progressing in my area, and things are looking up!!  But of course when things are going good in the mission, life always throws you a curveball right?? 

Well my curveball came on Tuesday when we had "super divisiones" with all the Hermanas in our zone.  Basically, this is where we all switch companions for a couple days.  I got sent to an area called Terrada with Hermana Ashby!! Wahoo!  She is the only other Yankee Hna missionary in the zone. :)  She's awesome and I was so excited!  

Hermana Ashby

Yankees for Life :)

So I hauled my little duffle bag to Terrada and went out contacting with Hna Ashby.  The next day she had a meeting at President’s house for all the missionaries that are about to finish their missions, so while she went to that meeting, I got to spend the day in an area called Hospital with Hna Recio y Hna Tovar.  (Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean I was actually in the hospital, it’s just the name of their sector.) 

Turns out that Wednesday was BY FAR the craziest day of my mission.  The night before Hna Tovar had tripped and sprained her ankle and her hand, so we were kind of stuck in the house brainstorming what to do for the rest of the day.  The other two Hermanas came up with the (not so) genius idea to call a member in their ward and ask to borrow his bike.  We helped Hna Tovar hobble through the streets to his house, talking to everyone in our path and singing Christmas carols all the way! ;)  The rest of the morning Hna Tovar sat on her throne of a bike seat while balancing on mine and Hna Recio’s shoulders as we pushed her through the streets.  Let’s just say we got a couple funny looks!  Oh and by the way it was raining too... 

Three crazy missionaries on a bike!

Now as for the rest of the day, it is pretty much impossible for me to explain what happened over email, mostly because I didn't understand half of it (#yankeeprobs), but let’s just say I understood that there was a possibility for a baptism service that night.  So we were running, no more like sprinting through the streets, from one place to the next, trying to get everything ready.  All our frantic efforts resulted in an overfilled baptismal font, three soaked missionaries, and an investigator that couldn't be baptized that day after all, because his family was out of town.  Yeah, I know, super confusing. Just know that I exercised lots that day, okay? :) 

Thursday I returned to Terrada with Hna Ashby and had a great time – mainly because I could actually understand everything she said.  And…we found some great new investigators that I believe were really put in our path for Hna Ashby and her companion to teach in the next few weeks.  

Friday I returned back to my beloved Villa Floresta where Hna. Palma got me caught up on what I missed while I was gone.  To sum it up, things are finally starting to progress with several people and I’m super excited for these next few weeks!  

Saturday we had a ward Christmas activity complete with a reenactment of the nativity put on by the youth in the ward.  I got to accompany the bishop’s wife on the keyboard while she played the flute to some Christmas hymns.

With Bishop Correa's wife at Ward Christmas Party

Sunday I somehow got roped into playing the piano for Sacrament Meeting, and as I told you last week, I got to play one of the songs for the primary program too.  It was beyond cute! 

Whew... sorry!  That was a lot of info and it probably made no sense. :)  But just know that they are definitely keeping me on my toes down here and that things are finally progressing in my area - yay! 

Well, I seriously can't believe it is CHRISTMAS this week!!!  Oh I'm so beyond excited to talk to you all!  I have one more quick experience to share with you and then I'll give your eyes a break from reading this long letter. 

I hope you have all had the opportunity to watch the church's new video for Christmas called Ha Nacido Un Salvador [A Savior Is Born].  If not, do it now…it’s so good! 


We were sharing this video with a family after they fed us lunch this week.  After sharing our thoughts on the importance of remembering Christ during Christmas, the cute mom of the family started crying.  She then expressed why she loves Christmas so much.  Her husband is Jewish and is very strict about not talking about religion, and especially about mentioning Christ.  He doesn't allow the family to have pictures of Christ in their house.  The only time he doesn't say anything is during Christmas time.  Think about that.  For this family, there is only one month where they can have a picture of the Savior in their home.  Wow!  How would that be?  I seriously loved this experience so much because it got me thinking deeply.

I hope you will all really take the time this holiday season to remember our Savior, and not take him for granted.  As you see his image in our home, let it be a constant reminder for you to really focus on loving Him, serving Him, and following Him every day of our lives. 

Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases all the way from Argentina!  I LOVE YOU ALL! 

FELIZ NAVIDAD! 


Hermana Bartholomew 

Weekly Sunset

Monday, December 14, 2015

O Christmas Tree

December 14, 2015

BUENAS DIAS FAMILIA Y AMIGOS!

My First Apartment - nice and GREEN!
Yes - the sign in the window says it is up for sale, but our contract doesn't end for a couple more months
so we aren't moving anytime soon.
So this week....I bought a tree haha!  I found the cheapest one I could, which was 25 pesos (about 2.50 dollars) plus I spent a little for the tiny bell decorations.  It’s super little, like barely a foot high... but I LOVE it.  I figured if I have to spend 2 Christmas' away from home, I deserve a tree!  I'll just have to store it in my suitcase over the next year haha.   Also, a shout out to Mom for sending me the best ornament in the world to remind me of home :)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...How lovely are thy branches!
The BEST Ornament :)

Last Monday evening we had something called refuerzos in our area.  I have no idea what it’s called in English but it’s where all the missionaries in the zone (14 people, 7 companionships) all go to one area and for about 2 hours everyone goes on splits with another companion and goes out contacting people.  So Hna Palma and I had to prepare lists of people from the area book and the references we had received, and map out 7 different areas for the missionaries to go work in.  It went really well and at the end of the night we had 15 new contacts!  All of that is super great, the only problem is that because of the size of our area, and the fact that we had contacts from all parts, there isn’t enough time to go and visit everyone.  We are trying our best to go visit one or two of the new contacts per day, I just wish they lived a little closer to each other so we could visit more people.  

Well, so like I've said before, our area is huge!  It is filled with all different kinds of people, houses and streets.  We've got everything from asphalt roads, to cobble stone streets to just plain dirt paths.  As a result, it’s very important that you watch where you are walking AT ALL TIMES - si no [if not], you will most likely trip, get your feet caught in some garbage, sticks or wire, or the best of all... you'll step in a nice little present left by our rabies infested four legged friends.  Can you guess which one happened to me this week? Yes, ALL of them...haha, the worst though was that I seriously stepped in dog poo!  Ugh, I can't get over it, it was disgusting!  Hermana Palma was seriously laughing forever about it.  Lesson learned - watch where you are stepping…ALWAYS!!!!

Speaking of stepping, I've figured out which of my shoes is my favorite!  (aka the ones that don't hurt to walk in)  I know that you are all going to find this hard to believe, but I'm actually TAN here!  Holy cow - one month in Argentina and this is what happens to you!  This is not a joke people.

It's not DIRT!
Fridays rock in the mission because for 1 hour every week I get to go to the capilla [chapel] and practice playing the piano!  Oh it’s so great!!  The absolute best way to unwind, relax a little bit, and do something I enjoy so much.  Next Sunday is the Primary Program in our ward Sacrament Meeting and the Primary pianist has a hard time playing one of the songs so she asked me if I could play it for the program.  I'm so excited!  We had practice this Saturday and I can't wait to hear the cute niños sing “I'm trying to be like Jesus” in Spanish :)  

The truth is that I've been on a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions this week. I've been super frustrated and down on myself at times because of the language and the fact that we aren't seeing any progress or results from our work.  Plus I feel like we don’t have enough time with the size of our area and the amount of people we need to visit.  BUT at the same time, I've been super grateful and happy because I love Argentina and our ward has been super awesome and willing to help us out lots this week. 

In 1 Nephi 11:17 we read, "I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things."  As hard as missionary work is, I'm not here to show off my knowledge of the gospel or the Spanish language (or lack thereof :)), I'm here to share my testimony of the love that God has for each of us and invite my brothers and sisters here in Bahia Blanca to come closer to Him. 

Yes this week was long and hard, but it’s not about me.  I'm going to keep working hard, continue to smile and just love the people, cause that's the way the Savior would do it. 

El Campo Blanco (a different one...there's literally millions here)
I LOVE you all and am so grateful for the prayers and support you all send my way every day.  

Wishing you all a fantastic week!  

Con mucho amor,  

Hermana Bartholomew 

P.S. I started a little notebook of random observations and thoughts about Argentina and I'm going to try to send you all one per week, because they are pretty funny and random. 

Paper is long here... like normal printer paper is a good 2 inches longer than in the states... it’s just a little strange.  Haha sorry that was super random and unimportant, but just thought you all should know. ;) 

Crazy Cloud...someone please explain this to me?
Weekly Sunset
I'm pretty sure Hna Palma is getting sick of how many pictures I take of sunsets...
whoops, sorry - they are just my favorite

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mother Knows Best


December 7, 2015

2 MONTHS!! Wahoo!! Can you believe I've been gone for 2 months already?! Because I can't! Time is flying by my friends! And the best news is that there are only 2 more P-Days until I get to see all your beautiful faces for NAVIDAD!!  Oh I'm so excited! 

Well this week was hot and cold and rainy and cloudy and very very windy.  Glad that Argentina weather is just as bipolar as good old Utah.  Reminds me lots of home!  However, I am super tired of putting on sunscreen and then having it be super cloudy and cold, or wearing a sweater or jacket on a hot day and then having to lug it around. Haha - make up your mind Argentina!!

This is completely classic Argentina campo!  Lots of wheat fields.
(Con my filtered water bottle too haha)
Okay so funny story about that.  One night as we were leaving the house, Hna Palma told me to grab a jacket, but I was being all stubborn and didn't want to carry it around if I didn't need it.  So I didn't bring one - because I'm a tough missionary you know, I don't get cold right?  Wrong.   Haha it ended up being freezing cold that night and I regretted my decision lots.  I later admitted to my companion that she was right, and she started singing "Mother Knows Best" from the Disney movie Tangled.  Hahaha oh boy!  Too funny!  Glad I've got a mission mom to look out for me... next time I should probably listen to her though... ;) 

On Thursdays we have time for service, so we can go help out members, menos activos, or investigators for a couple hours.  This week we met up with the Hermanas in the bordering area- called Hospital.  We were painting a less active member's new apartment. We had a great time and the house looked great.  (Well, as great as it could look with 4 inexperienced missionaries painting it.)  Hna Palma and I needed to leave a bit earlier than the other Hermanas because we had an appointment to get to.  As we were saying goodbye, Hermana Recio was standing on a chair and had her paint brush and can in her hand...you can probably see where this is going.  When I gave her a hug, she slipped and paint went EVERYWHERE. RED PAINT.  Hahaha I was the lucky recipient of some of that paint on my shirt, shoes and arm and the rest went all over the ground.  It was hilarious!  Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me then but we took a picture when we got back to the house.  If you need a laugh today, just think of me riding on public transportation through Bahia Blanca with this lovely red spot on my shirt... :( But don't worry the paint came out! 

I HATE the color red...
My companion thought it was hilarious and couldn't stop laughing about the situation.  The best though was that night at our appointment, we were having a family home evening with a less active family and Hna Palma totally knocked over her cup of juice soda and that went everywhere too!  Haha we struggle a little bit to say the least!  Good thing I've got someone clumsy like me as my companion!

On Friday we had a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with our ward!  Honestly Barrio Villa Floresta is the BEST!  The members are awesome!  Granted, I still don't know what half of them are saying to me, but I love them none the less. For the entertainment, the youth and ward mission leader put together a little band (complete with a piano, two guitars, box for drumming, two singers, harmonica, and some weird accordion type thing).  The band sang a couple songs in Spanish and then the entire ward joined in on one.  No idea what they were singing about, but it was very entertaining! Then an announcement was made that everyone would sing a song in English as a welcome for me to their ward... AWWW :)  They gave the most heartfelt (and off-key) version of Coldplay's song "The Scientist".  It was awesome! I so wish I could send ya'll videos!!  Be excited to see them in 16 months!  It was great to hear music from the real world, let me tell you! It made me miss music from home a bit, but don't worry, I've got all the MOTAB and EFY music I could possibly want to keep me entertained ‘til I get home ;)

Well things are a little rough in the teaching department right now.  We don't really have many progressing investigators and due to the largeness of our area (is that even a word?) 

The poor feet of a missionary in Villa Floresta
It is really hard to plan when we will be able to visit people.  Luckily, we've got a great ward that is willing to help us and gives us lots of references!

This week I felt a lot more comfortable with the language in our lessons and they seemed to go much better - small victories my friends! A really great quote I heard in the MTC that has really helped me stay positive this week is, "God has a perfect plan for His imperfect children.  This is the good news you carry to the world."  We are not expected to be perfect, just to try our best and share this message of hope with everyone! 

I can't express enough my love and gratitude for you all!  Thanks for the uplifting emails and prayers every week.  They are really felt and needed.  Love and miss you all!  Enjoy all that Utah snow for me! 

Hasta luego y con mucho amor, 

Hermana Bartholomew 

Sunset of the week




Monday, November 30, 2015

Sun-burnt with a side of French Toast, please

November 30, 2015

HOLA Familia y Amigos!  

Can you believe that it’s December tomorrow??  Because I can't... mostly because in my mind it’s way too hot here to be December, AND because time is passing so fast!  


Now I know what you all were thinking when you saw the picture of my companion and I last week - wow Meg is white!  Yes I know, but don't worry- the sun has already changed my skin color...TO RED!  Hah! I didn't last a full week without a sunburn, but what else is new? ;)  Don't worry mom, I'm using sunscreen now. :)  It’s seriously SO HOT and it’s not even fully summer here yet... Great…

This week we had a multi-zone conference!  Basically we talked about health, nutrition, exercise, and the new plan for the mission starting in the New Year.  It was super fun to meet lots of the other missionaries here in Bahia Blanca.  I was also able to have a much needed all ENGLISH conversation with Elder Holmes (one of the Elders that arrived with me).  Our poor little brains are a bit overwhelmed and fried from all this Spanish! We had Subway for lunch... super weird to have food from the states ha-ha! 

Now, in answer to some of your questions…

Hermana Palma is from Santiago, Chile and her family lives in an area called La Reina.  Dad, she knows the areas that you served in back in the ancient days.  She has been on her mission for 10 months, and I am her 13th companion!  Poor girl has been moved around A LOT.  She is awesome as a trainer.  She can speak a little bit of English – she mainly knows random phrases and Disney songs :)  But, she does seem to understand English well and when I don’t know how to say something in Spanish, I can normally say it in English and she can figure it out. 

Spanish is hard but it’s coming along.  Everyone always compliments me on my Spanish and says how good it is, but I think that’s only because the other Yankees that have been in this area have come knowing absolutely nothing and have really bad gringo accents.  I got lucky to have Dad and Jess help me with that!  My comp helps me lots with Spanish.  I just get frustrated over the stupid conjugations of verbs, you know?! 

Yes, we do have hot showers!  But the water heater is completely bipolar and really touchy so it takes like 5 minutes to get the temperature right.  It can go from freezing cold to frying your skin off in a matter of seconds.  Oh, and the toilets work great!  We are technically supposed to put the paper in the trash, but sometimes I forget. :/        

So over the past couple weeks I've obviously been eating lots of new and different foods.  But honestly we mainly just eat a lot of bread, pasta, meat, and dulce de leche!  My favorite thing is after we've had a huge meal with a member and then they bring out bananas with dulce de leche...it is really good!  I've also had my first Argentine Helado (ice cream)!  Sad to say, it’s not as good as the ice cream in the States, but that is probably good because I won't eat as much as I did back home...haha :)  Speaking of eating with members, for now we eat lunch with a different family every day, but starting in the New Year that will all change.  Too many missionaries are getting sick, so we will have a new mission rule that we can’t eat with the members.  We will be making our own meals everyday. 

Lucky for us, Hermana Palma likes to cook.  She makes this really good apple tort/cake thing that we have every week.  So this week I decided to give back and introduce my new mom to the wonderful world of FRENCH TOAST.  Only thing is, we encountered a few problems.  One, syrup is not a thing down here, so plain French toast it had to be.  And two, we are poor missionaries and could only afford the cheap baguettes the day we wanted to make it. So we had weird, mini-French toast on baguettes without any toppings.  Yum.

Hermana Palma's first taste of French Toast

Sun-burnt with a side of plain French Toast!

BUT on Thanksgiving, while you all were having incredible meals, we splurged and bought a real loaf of bread, milk and cookies for our Dia de Gracias feast...don't be too jealous ;) 

Our Thanksgiving Day Feast

Thanksgiving Day was hard...I was missing home and my favorite weekend of the year (Thanksgiving with the Family and decorating the house for Christmas).  As a result, I was quite sad that morning and to top things off, nothing was really going well.  All our appointments fell through, no one was home to visit, plus we were walking in the scorching heat for hours.  It was at this point when I decided to pray for help.  

Luckily, my Heavenly Father was looking out for me and knew that I was having a hard day.  That night we had a great lesson with some investigators about prayer.  We taught them about how we need to pray for specific things and really treat prayer as a conversation with our Father in Heaven.  We played the game “telephone” (where you whisper a word or phrase into someone's ear and they have to pass it down the line until the last person gets it and says what they heard).  Of course I don't know Spanish very well and so I always screwed up the phrase and the boys found it hilarious!  We all got a good laugh out of my bad Spanish and had a very powerful lesson... and I was happy!  I didn't realize it right then but after the lesson, as we were walking back home and saw the most beautiful sunset, I knew my prayer had been answered.  My Heavenly Father helped me to be happy and blessed me with the tender mercy of a sunset to remind me how much I am loved and how much I have to be grateful for!  

Thanksgiving Sunset :)

One of my favorite scriptures says, “Be of good cheer little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you; and inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.

I love this verse because right now I feel like a little child - I hardly know where I am, I'm living in a country I've only known for 2 weeks and talking to people who don't speak the same language as me…BUT I'm not alone or forgotten. 

I hope you all have a great week and remember how much love and divine help we have every day.  LES AMO MUCHISIMO!!!!

Hermana Bartholomew 


P.S.  Just like Dad and Jess experienced on their missions, people here have the hardest time with our last name, and it cracks me up! 

Hey Mom!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Estoy Aqui!!!!

November 23, 2015

Hola Familia y Amigos,

I'M IN ARGENTINA!!!!!  What even is life?!  I honestly cannot believe it one bit! The moment I have been waiting for since May 18th is finally here and real.  I'm a missionary in Bahia Blanca, Argentina.  Wow. 

Okay so I'm going to do my best to try to describe how I got here and my first week here in Argentina! 

Last Monday morning I said goodbye to my sweet companion and roommates from the past 6 weeks, and left the MTC in Provo at 8:30am with a group of missionaries who were all going to different areas of Argentina. 


My cute companion and roommates dropped me off at the MTC travel office on Monday ;(


Adios Provo!
The 3 Argentine missionaries from District 35E ;)

We took the Front Runner train to Salt Lake, then TRAX out to the airport where I got to talk to the fam bam for a couple of hours, which was awesome.  From SLC we flew to Atlanta.  During the flight I had my first real missionary experience talking to a woman in the seat behind me (along with one of the other Elders on the flight) about where we were headed and why.  We basically gave her Lesson 1 on the restoration of Christ’s true church.  It was awesome!  She was super interested and we talked for the full 3½ hours.  She is going to request a Book of Mormon and said she would read it, yay!  

In Atlanta we boarded the long 10 hour flight to Buenos Aires - taking off at 9pm and landing at 9am the next morning.  I couldn´t sleep on the flight, mainly because I was so excited, but let’s be honest, who can really sleep well on airplanes anyway?  Once we landed, we all got through immigration and customs without any problems and walked out into a sea of people that were all speaking in a language we couldn't understand one bit!  The only thing we could understand was the writing on a clipboard being held by a cute little old man that said "La Iglesia de JESUCRISTO".  That was honestly so relieving.  We followed this man to a bus, which then drove us about 45 mins through Buenos Aires.  We passed by our LDS temple, and what looked like the slums of Buenos Aires.  Keep in mind, up to this point we still had no clue where we were going or how exactly we were getting to our individual missions.  

We eventually arrived at a little domestic airport in Buenos Aires around 11am and had to wait until 5pm for the flight to Bahia Blanca.  During that time we sat in the corner of the food court with all our bags, just waiting.  Super fun!  Around 3pm, the native missionaries from the Buenos Aires MTC arrived and met up with us.  In total there were 11 of us heading to Bahia Blanca - 3 Hermanas and 8 Elders. 

At 5pm, we boarded our short 1 hour flight to Bahia Blanca.  

Boarding our little Argentine flight to Bahia Blanca ;)

I spy with my little eye something that is green...THE CAMPO of Bahia Blanca
We were met at the airport in Bahia Blanca by President Cifuentes and the AP's [assistants to the president] who loaded us up into cars and took us to the mission home.  We met Hermana Cifuentes and had dinner, which was none other than...EMPANADAS!!  Oh boy they were delicious.  Seriously the best first meal we could've had in Argentina!  That night, we stayed in the mission home and in the morning we had an orientation with the office Elders about the mission.  President and Hna Cifuentes are AWESOME and so funny!  I can't wait to get to know them better! 

Next came the much anticipated meeting when we would meet our trainers.... 

There were 3 Hermana trainers there... 2 Latinas and 1 Yankee (that’s what they call the white, gringo missionaries here).  Right before I met my trainer, I once again prayed like I have been praying since May that my trainer would be Latina.  Let me tell you my friends...God hears our prayers because my companion is HERMANA PALMA!!!  

Hermana Palma
(You've gotta love the mission home door!)
And you’ll never guess where she’s from.... CHILE!!!!  Hahaha - I guess if your name is Hermana Bartholomew, you are going to get a Chilean trainer! ;)

Mi Chilean mami :)

After lunch we headed out to our area, VILLA FLORESTA.  Our area is located in the north part of Bahia Blanca, and I kid you not, it’s HUGE.  We honestly walk about 30mins to1 hour one-way every time we are going to anyone's house.  Its nuts.  But yeah, we took all my bags to our cute little green apartment and then immediately headed out to teach. 

My first lesson was with a part-member and less-active family.  I could hardly understand a word that was said, but I just smiled and testified about the importance of going to church as best as I could in my broken Español.  (Side note - the best part of the lesson was definitely when the mom just pulled her shirt down to feed her baby right in the middle of our discussion... hahaha it’s totally normal here, but I was not ready for that - super great welcome to my new home ;) )  As hard as it was to not understand much of anything, that evening, as we were walking back to our apartment, I was welcomed by the most beautiful sunset.  It reminded me of the ones back home in Draper and was definitely a little tender mercy from the Lord that calmed my heart.  This place is beautiful! 

My first Sunday was great!  I had to get up in sacrament meeting and introduce myself and bear my testimony.  Luckily I was able to make a little joke about my Spanish and get everyone to laugh so hopefully they will forgive my lack of knowledge of the language.  

Anyway, I still can't believe I'm here right now!  I'm in a different world, let me tell you!  But I love it!  I'm so grateful I have Hna Palma as my mission mami!  She’s taking great care of me and helps me out a lot!  She knows a bit of English and is super patient and good at helping me understand what the heck is going on here.  
The food is fantastic!  My only complaint is the milk.  For those that know me well, you know that I'm addicted to milk and it’s been a bit rough here... it just doesn't taste the same as it does back home. Plus it comes in a bag which is super weird.  But at least I have a filtered water bottle....#countyourblessings ;)

Well I love and miss you all, but I'm super happy that I get to be in Argentina right now!  As hard and weird as this first week has been, I know my purpose and know that I have my Savior on my side helping me every step of the way (which I need because my feet are super beat up right about now).  I'm so grateful for the chance I have to share the reason I’m so happy with the people here in Bahia Blanca.  I can´t wait to see what this next week brings.  

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Con mucho amor from Bahia Blanca ARGENTINA, 


Hermana Bartholomew ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ARGENTINA!

November 18, 2015

We received the following e-mail this morning from the Assistants to President Cifuentes in Bahia Blanca.  Megan has arrived safely in Argentina and is ready to go to work.  

Dear Bartholomew family, your daughter has arrived in the Great Mission of Bahia Blanca, she is an excellent missionary and she will help thousands of souls here in Argentina, we send our greetings and a photo with the President Cifuentes and Sister Cifuentes.  

--
Misión Argentina Bahía Blanca 
Los Asistentes-"Por amor a Sión , no callaré"
Elder Ramirez
Elder Carhuaz 
Elder Hansen

First Day in Bahia Blanca
President and Hermana Cifuentes

Sunday, November 15, 2015

PAZ out MTC

November 14, 2015

HOLA HOLA HOLA!!  

Well my lovely family and friends.. this is it.  After today, the next time you all will hear from me I'll be closer to Antarctica than home.... just go ahead and let that sink in for a second.  Its weird I know.  BUT, its also the best feeling ever!

I can't believe that I'm actually leaving this place on Monday. It's been a long but enjoyable time here at the good old MTC.  Nothing new or exciting really happened this week, just a week full of a lot of lasts... 
  
Last time teaching our MTC “investigators”,

This is Yvette, one of the "investigators" we have been teaching for the past 6 weeks.
It's been so fun getting to know her and inviting her to come closer to Christ.
She's an AWESOME lady and we are going to miss her lots!

Last time being taught by our teachers Hermana Richards and Hermano Rowley,

Goodbye Hermano Rowley
Last time schooling the Elders in bball and last time getting schooled in four square ;),

Last time emailing in the USA for the next 18 months,

Emailing for the last time from the MTC.
Now for the real fun to begin...Peace out District 35 E

Last time eating the MTC food...hallelujah,

Last time being in the same classroom for 9 hours a day, 

The Elders get a bit tired during the last hour of the day...:)

Last time going to the temple for 18 months, 

Last time receiving packages from my amazing family and friends, 

Last time eating BYU creamery ice cream in the MTC :( ,

...you get the picture. 

These last 6 weeks have flown by!  I'm so grateful for the MTC and the people I've met and the things I've learned here.  We've had some good times and some hard times too but through it all we've had each other and the gospel to keep us going. I'm going to miss making piñatas, playing with yo-yos and mini footballs to de-stress, having ice cream eating competitions at dinner, seeing all my other elder/sister friends here, and mostly just being in Utah. 

Speaking of other sister friends...I found Sister Lant!  It's been fun seeing all my Elder friends from home but its been especially great having a girlfriend from home to talk to!  She's doing great and is already a cute little Asian with her Korean :)  Sad to have to leave her here but so glad I got to see her! 

I found Sister Lant!!! :)
SO HAPPY :)
As hard as its going to be to leave my companion, district and the country and state I've lived in my whole life... I'm so excited to go to Bahia Blanca and actually be able to help real people come to know their older brother and Savior.  The happiness of the message I have to share not only can provide us with happiness in this life but eternal joy in the next life.  I have thanked my Heavenly Father everyday of my life for the gift of the gospel in my life- Now its my responsibility to share this gift with the people of Argentina, and I don't want to let him down.   

During our time here at the MTC, an elder in my district came up with this quote that perfectly describes how we are all feeling right now.  

Care not about tomorrow, 
or the storms that it may bring.
For now you share a message fair,
He Lives, Our God and King. 

I know that these next 18 months in Argentina are not going to be easy, but I know they will be worth it.  Its hard to be away from family and friends but I know that I have family and friends down south who need me more right now.  Just know that I love and miss you all so much and keep you in my prayers everyday.  I cannot express my gratitude for the love and support you all have given me throughout my life and especially these last 6 weeks in the MTC.  I can't wait to see you all again and give you the biggest hugs ever in 16 & 1/2 months! Gracias por todo!!!   

Con mucho amor, and until next week from Bahia Blanca...

Hermana Bart :)