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! 


Hermana Bartholomew 

Weekly Sunset

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