Monday, December 26, 2016

Never Ending Happiness

December 26, 2016

Feliz día después de la Navidad!!!! 

I feel like talking to you guys yesterday was just a weird dream.  Sorry about the complications with the microphone but I’m glad we finally figured it out and could actually chat a bit. :)  I also feel like I did a lot of random rambling and have poor English grammar; but it was so great to see you and spend some time together on Christmas! ;) 

Even though Argentine Christmases are lots different from Utah ones, my comp and I made the best out of it and had a great time!!  Luckily, this year wasn't nearly as hot as last year on Christmas day.  It’s actually been super foggy these last couple days and I haven’t had to use sunscreen!  Much different from the 100 degree Bahia Blanca Christmas I experienced last year. ;) 

On Tuesday we had a Christmas zone conference with about 50 missionaries and Presidente y Hna Cifuentes.  We watched FINDING DORY!!!!!, decorated Christmas cookies, went on a foto scavenger hunt (during which a bird pooped on my hair... K super fun), sang Christmas songs and just had fun!!

Christmas Zone Conference - President Cifuentes

Our mission mom - Hermana Cifuentes
American style hamburgers
Decorating Christmas cookies

The finished product
We watched in Spanish, so it was weird not hearing Ellen's voice...but I LOVED IT!!!

During the week my comp and I were trying to figure out what to get each other for Christmas (because thanks to the Argentine government we haven’t been able to get any of our packages from home).  And well....let’s just say we found peanut M&Ms, KitKats and MANTECOL...guys... it’s so yummy!  Just imagine a peanut butter paste that just kind of melts in your mouth....can you imagine it??   Well don’t worry, I'm filling up one of my suitcases with it before I come home so you can all try it! J 

My favorite Argentine candy...SOOOOOOO GOOD!

On Christmas Eve we had an asado with Flavia and Clauido and their son Franco that was super yummy!  

Christmas Eve Asado with (LtoR) Claudio, Franco, Flavia, Hna Davidson
Genuine Argentine ASADO

We headed home at 10 and stayed up making cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.  
The dough expanded a bit!
The Process:

As we were getting ready for bed, we started to hear explosions out the window and I thought Mar del Plata was under attack.  As we opened our window to check out the noise, I remembered that these crazy Argentines put on giant firework shows on Christmas Eve at midnight!!  So, with our luck of living on the fourth floor of this building, we had a great view!!  It felt a little like New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July back home…it was super fun and pretty!! 

12 AM from our bedroom window :)

Sorry you can't see any fireworks in the picture...just my sleepy face ;)
But don't worry...I've got videos to show y'all later!

So on Christmas morning we had made WAY too may cinnamon rolls so the Elders in our district came over to help us eat them, and they also brought us little stockings from President Cifuentes.  Thank to my comp's mom we even had an assortment of different icings and they were dang good!!  

When you make wayyyy to many cinnamon rolls, and they come out huge too...
the Elders have to come help you eat them. ;)

The Elders aren't allowed in our apartment, but the hallway works ;)

After our little cinnamon roll breakfast, we headed to church.  Sadly, not very many people came…but Flavia and Claudio did! :)  It was great to be with them. 

After church, we were invited to eat lunch at the bishop's house and it was really cool because all of his children (1 son and 3 daughters) have served missions and his wife and sister in law too!  

Christmas Day Lunch with Bishop Henrik and his family

After lunch my comp and I went back to our apartment and opened our Christmas presents and had a mini Christmas devotional before heading out to Skype with you all back home.  

Our companionship Christmas Devotional...cute Hna Davidson

Presents under the tree...we bought each other candy basically :)

also...go ahead and make fun of the way I spelled Santa Clause (yup, with a "Z") :)

Honestly, it was a bit hard to concentrate with all the excitement of knowing we would be talking to you soon, but it was a great chance to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas…the importance of the knowledge we have that our Savior was born, that he died, and most importantly that he lives again...all for us!!  He loves us and that is why he came to earth, to show us the way and to give us LIFE.  

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are getting ready to set some new year's resolutions.  This morning I was reading in the scriptures in Mormon chapter 7, verse 7 it says,  “And [Christ] hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

I invite you all to set the goal to reach that state of never ending happiness that only comes through living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is my goal...not just for 2017, but for TODAY and tomorrow and forever.  I'm so happy to be able to be a representative of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and for all the happiness the message I carry brings to my brothers and sisters here in Argentina.  

Happy New Year everyone!!

Con amor y una panza llena de comida de ayer, 

Hermana Bartholomew 

Pictures from our district trip to P-Day last week:

Lobo Marino
This is the famous sea lion statue in Mar del Plata ;)
District selfie with the sea lion I was taking pictures, a bird pooped on my arm. :(

That's two times in one week...not cool.
...and another stray dog

Monday, December 19, 2016


December 19, 2016


Okay, so I might be just a little excited because IT'S CHRISTMAS WEEK!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! I can't believe I get to talk to the fam bam in like 6 days. Wasn't it just Mother's Day??  And what’s even weirder is that this is my last skype call home in the mission..... 😢   Where has the time flown?? 

This week the weather was super hot and then super cold and then super rainy and windy.  Let’s just say that Mar del Plata, by far, has the most bipolar weather EVER.  

When you are walking through the streets during siesta time, and it's like 100 degrees outside...
you've just gotta buy watermelon! ;)

Also, we are right near the port soooo... it smells like fish all day every day…but not just rotten that’s super fun!! 

Last week for P-day we went with the other missionaries in our district to la Plaza San Martin in the center of town.  There is a street named Bartolomé Mitre that runs right through the plaza (a sure sign that I was meant to be here), along with a beautiful Catholic cathedral.  We found a way good panini place for lunch… and they also had frozen yogurt – the first I’d had in 14 months…super yummy! 😋🍦

District P-day in the plaza
El Catedral de Mar del Plata
Paninis and fro-yo...superrrrr yummyyyy
There was a big Argentina flag behind us...but I suck at selfies and cut it out of the picture
Can you tell that it was a bit windy?? ;)

This week we taught Gloria (who is the daughter of a recent convert from another ward here in Mar del Plata) and she was able to open up more to us during the lesson.  The best part of all is that she CAME TO CHURCH on Sunday!!! Wahoo!!!  Please keep her and Flavia & Claudio in your prayers.  This area is super great!  Lots of potential... just gotta get the ward members to work more with us.  Nothing that lots of love and patience....and maybe some banana bread can’t fix. ;) 

Barrio Puerto Christmas Dinner
That's A LOT of chicken...

Well, I just want to wish you all a super FELIZ NAVIDAD!!  Even though I'm on the other side of the world where it's either super hot or super windy and rainy... I still can feel the spirit of Christmas with these crazy Argentines.  ;) 

In Isaiah 9:6, it says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I hope during this Christmas season that we can all remember the true importance of what we are celebrating and take the time to think of the little boy that was born in a manger and the difference he has made on each of our lives.   He truly is the way, the truth and the LIFE…and HE lights the world!! 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas my family and friends,

Con amor y mantecol (a super yummy classic Argentine Christmas treat), 

Hermana Bartholomew 

I look like a 5 year old...and I am now banned from using knives.
(Don't worry...I'm fine! ;))

Monday, December 12, 2016

Let's go to the BEACH

December 12, 2016

Hoooollaaa familia y amigos!! 

It officially feels like summer because my new area is on the BEACH! Haha.  Sadly, Mar del Plata is a super touristy city- especially during summer- and as missionaries we aren't allowed to go to the beach.  But, we see it from a distance almost every day, so it's better than nothing. :) 

La Playa - my first view of the beach on my taxi ride to the apartment
First sunset in Mar del Plata from our 4th floor apartment

Haha I feel like I’m going to be singing "Mele Kalikimaka" instead of "White Christmas" this December.  Am I really still in Argentina??  This area is SO different from good old Olavarria and Bahia Blanca. 

My new companion, Hna Davidson, is from Tooele, Utah and has been on her mission for 7 months, and has been in this area for 6 weeks.  It feels so good to be with someone who knows what they're doing and not have to be training.  I never realized how stressful having hijas is until I got a break. ;)  But yeah, we get along great and work well together.  

Hermana Davidson
Trying to take a cute, new comp pic together...

Our area is pretty big - with one neighborhood that's super rich called Playa Grande.  Like we're talking MANSIONS...but the other half is tranquillo and the people are nice.  

My companion has made me start running with her...never thought I was soooo out of shape ;)
We run along a golf course down to this beach overlook area every morning.

Morning runners - don't mind our sweaty and tired was 6:30 AM ;)

Marina of Mar del Plata

We have quite a few good and new investigators that we are working with, apart from always looking for new ones.  One couple, Flavia and Claudio are super great!! They are planning on getting married in the next couple months so they can get baptized. :)  Also, we are teaching a young girl named Gloria.  She’s the daughter of a recent convert from another ward here in our stake.  So we'll see where things go with them. 

That's about it for this week.  I'm just super happy and excited to have a new area to work in and even more excited because CHRISTMAS IS IN 2 WEEKS!!!!! AHHHH I can't even wait to see my cute fam bam!  Hope you guys are enjoying the snow and getting all ready for the best time of year.  While you drink hot coco these next couple weeks just think of how much sun screen I'm applying everyday and enjoy the cold for me. ;) 

The church is true, the playa is blue, and I hope you have a great week too!!!! :) 

Con mucho amor y sol, 

Hermana Bartholomew  

Hasta la proxima semana