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 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


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


November 14, 2015


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 :( , 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!!! :)
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 :) 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

TRAVEL PLANS and Orca Whales

November 7, 2015


Can we just take a second...It's NOVEMEBER?!  Say what?!  I seriously can't believe it.  One month ago today I was saying a tearful goodbye to all you beautiful people and now I'm emailing you for my second to last time before I'm bouncing out of the MTC.  It's nuts. 

So some good news, I am no longer sick!  BUT, my companion is.  We thought she'd get out of here unscathed but that darn MTC plague gets everybody.  So we've been trying to keep her rested and get her healthy again while still having class for 9+ hours a day...super fun stuff!  Luckily, yesterday we got the best slip of paper ever in the mail that cheered us all up immediately...TRAVEL PLANS!!!!  In the MTC when you get travel plans that means that everything went well with your visa and passport and such, so no need to worry anymore…I'm officially going to ARGENTINA on November 16th!!!!


Yesterday was probably my favorite day in the MTC so far...1) because we got our travel plans and 2) because it was our teacher, Hermana Richard's, B-DAY!  

So the night before (Thursday), Elder Stockton had the brilliant idea to make a piñata.  Hna. Richard's favorite animal is an Orca Whale so he somehow made the shape out of cardboard and we then proceeded to cover it with tissues.  Let’s just say it was pretty incredible.  Especially considering the lack of resources we have here.  

Creating the Whale

Last week he also got a package of birthday party stuff from his family so we had banners and party hats and streamers (we used toilet paper actually) and we cut out lots of paper balloons.  

Decorating the room for the big FIESTA

The best part though was what we came up with for her gifts.  In each classroom building there are bins for people to put notebooks, textbooks and really anything else they don't want any more (things you don’t want to carry with you when you leave here to fly to your mission country).  It's kind of like a lost and found, but anything you find in it you can take if you want.  Anyway, we all grabbed random Spanish textbooks and wrapped them up in pages we ripped from those same textbooks and then used crayons to draw pictures to look like wrapping paper.  Super classy, I know.  Hey, we did the best with what we had. :)  

Makeshift B-day gifts

Now I bet a few of you are wondering when we had the time for all of this and why weren't we studying.  Well, worry not because during all of this we practiced telling each other stories in Spanish practicing the past tense.  Very productive and very awesome.  

Hna. Richards loved the Orca and the party!  We ate lots of candy and sang Cumpleanos Feliz too.  It was a much needed break and for a great cause!  We are by far her favorite District ever. ;) 

Waiting to surprise Hna. Richards
Hit the pinata Hermana!

I'll finish this week with a spiritual thought that was shared by Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy at our devotional this week.  He recounted an experience he had when he was speaking at the Missionary Training Center in the Philippines.  He was about to stand up to give his remarks and saw a painting of Joseph Smith praying in the sacred grove on the wall.  He said, "As I looked at that painting, I thought there he is.  Joseph Smith.  14 years old, representing every investigator ever.  Why?  Because he had a question.  There they are, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the first missionary companionship of this dispensation, appearing to him.  Why?  To answer his question."  Elder Maynes encouraged us as missionaries to follow the perfect example of that first missionary companionship and find those that are lost and confused and simply answer their questions. 

I had never thought of the First Vision like that, but now I don't think I'll ever be able to think of it another way.  I can't wait to follow the example of my Father and Brother and serve in Argentina with my fellow Hermanas, to try to bring our other brothers and sisters to the same sacred knowledge of the experience of Joseph Smith, and the restoration of Christ’s church here to the earth.  I'm grateful for his simple question every day of my life.  Without it, I wouldn't be here.  That's pretty cool if you ask me. :) 

Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Thank you all so much for all the letters, emails, packages and prayers!  I've said this before and I'll say it again...I'm the luckiest Hermana in all the world!  I Love you all so much!! THANK YOU! 

1 month down... only 17 more to go... :(  However, the fact that for my second month-a-versary in December, I'll be in another country turns that frown upside down for sure. ;) 


Hermana Bart 

Funny story of the week.  So my companion has gotten lots of weird questions about her titanium prosthetic leg throughout her life.  Elder Johnson (the one that calls me Hermana Granger) decided he wanted to come up with a unique question she had never been asked before.  His question was "If you were flying toward the sun, which leg would melt first...?"  Ha-ha what?!  Too funny.  But then, without even trying, a couple nights later I beat his question by asking "is one leg heavier that the other?"  My comp looked at me super confused because she had no clue.  She said "I'm not sure, but you're welcome to come try to see (kind of jokingly)"  But you all know me.. I thought she was serious so I walked over to her bed and alternated lifting her ankles and came to the conclusion
(amidst her uncontrollable laughter because I was actually lifting her legs) that I couldn’t really tell a difference.  One day she’s going to have to figure out the real answers to these questions so that we can all sleep again at night ;)

Picture of the week - last Sunday we ran into Elder Thorsen, one of my good friends from high school.  He will be serving in California!

My good buddy Elder Thorsen