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!!!
(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 ;)