Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rain, rain go away.... no wait, STAY!

January 28, 2016

Hola querida familia y amigos,

We had a very lovely, rainy week here in Bahía :) yay!  Oh man it was a much needed and appreciated break from the heat!  Now the only problem we have is trying not to slip and fall in all the mud puddles everywhere. ;)  But on the bright side, I haven't had to use sunscreen all week so... #countyourblessings ;)

This week was crazy as always, full of lessons with our investigators, less active members and creating new segments of Missionary Master Chef. ;)  Unfortunately, we are nearing the end of the month and we are running low on money.  So this next week is going to consist of a lot of grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and homemade mini corndogs (super yummy!!).  BUT, with the end of this particular month nearing, that also means that my old papi is adding another year to his life count, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!  Hope you all have fun celebrating - but not too much fun because I won't be there obviously. ;) 

Well, I'm running short on time this week.  Thanks for all the love, support, thoughts and prayers you all send my way.  I'm beyond blessed!!

I want to share a quick quote that my dear father shared with me at the beginning of my mission, 

Stick to your task ‘til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
Stick to your task ‘til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories after a while.

Even though we aren't seeing a ton of results from our work yet in the way of baptisms, I know that I am engaged in doing a great work here, and that we are helping our Heavenly Father’s children come closer to Him and our Savior.  We are sticking to our task…smiling and sweating all the way. ;)      

Hope you all have a great week!!  LOVE YOU ALL!

Hasta luego! 

Hermana Bartholomew

Pictures from this week:

The first two are from a lesson that Hermana Baird and I taught at Zone Conference on Christlike Attributes.

Faith, Hope, Charity, Virtue, Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence, Obedience

I went to college...
How pretty is this college here in Bahia Blanca though, for real?!

Finally, the Missionary Master Chef creation of the week:
Fettuccini de Argentina - YUM :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Missionary Master Chef

January 21, 2016

HOLA familia y amigos from 104 degree Bahìa Blanca....

Oh my heavens, I am going to die.  We have officially entered into the dead heat of summer and everyone keeps telling us that it’s going to stay this way for the next couple months...greeaaat. I'm just dying, but it’s fine. 

Two Peas in a Pod

How are the rest of you? :) Hopefully enjoying the cold for me!  The only relief we get is from ice cream.  Being in an area in the city of Bahia Blanca has its perks because today, we got to spend our morning playing volleyball with President and Hermana Cifuentes.   Afterward, we all piled into their car and they treated us to ice cream - what sweethearts!  Love that mission president of ours, and yes I got lucky with my shotgun seat. :) 

How Many Hermanas can you squeeze into a car?
We Love Ice Cream

Yesterday (Wednesday) we had the chance to watch a worldwide missionary conference broadcast from SLC.  We got to hear from two of the Apostles - Elder Anderson and Elder Oaks, along with Elder Clayton from the 70, the General YW President Bonnie Oscarson, and a few other leaders of the church talk to all the missionaries in the world.  It was AWESOME!  We had a bit of a slow connection issue, and broadcast to us in Spanish so I didn't understand everything, BUT from what I did understand, I learned so much!  They talked about how we can improve ourselves as missionaries and teachers to better let the Spirit teach and testify to our investigators.  It was like a mini general conference for just the missionaries and was so great to hear from our leaders! 

They say to Share the Gospel with EVERYONE!

Well this week was super busy and went by super quick!  We finally found Juan home again and had a great lesson with him on Saturday.  He promised to come to church the next day...but yeah it didn't happen. :(  Ugh it’s so hard with him because he always says he really wants to come to church and read the scriptures and everything but never follows through on his commitments.  Oh well, as hard as it is sometimes as missionaries, we have to remember that people have their agency to choose and as long as we do our job which is to invite them to come to Christ, the rest is in their hands.  

On the flip side of that experience, we had another lesson with Jessica!  Let's just say that she read the intro to the Book of Mormon and the chapter we invited her to read and had then written a little summary about what she read and several questions she had for us.  Who does that?!  Oh my, she's so great!!  She really is so attentive to what we are saying and wants to do what we invite her to do.  We have another lesson coming up this weekend and are so excited to help her learn more and come closer to her Savior.  

In the April 2015 General Conference, Elder Robert D Hales said "The blessings we enjoy now are because we made the choice to follow the Savior before this life.  To everyone hearing or reading these words, whoever you are and whatever your past may be, remember this; it is not too late to make that same choice again and follow him."  I love this quote because this is really what I am doing right now in the mission.  My purpose is to remind people of the choice they made to follow our Savior Jesus Christ before this life and help them to make it again.  How great is that?  

Life is good folks, super hot and busy, but good :)

My mad pano skills

Wishing you all a great week!  

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Bartholomew 

This week on Missionary Master Chef (Hermana Baird and I are thinking of starting our own TV reality show to teach missionaries how to cook) the Hermanas of Villa Floresta made their own bread, fajitas, fettuccini alfredo, grilled cheese and banana bread again! haha :) 

Missionary Master Chef

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Estoy Feliz! :)

January 14, 2016

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

How are you all?!  Gosh I miss and love you all so much!  Being away from home just makes me realize everyday how grateful and lucky I am to have the love and support of all of you for me.  THANK YOU for everything!!!

This week was great!  Hermana Baird and I are literally the same person.  I swear everyday we find something new that we have in common and we are constantly smiling and laughing!  

Since Presidente Cifuentes changed the mission rule that we can't eat with the members, we have had to start cooking for ourselves right?  Oh my, it’s so fun!!  It’s funny because you would think that the two Yankee companions would be eating lots of foods from the states right?  Haha nope!  Hna. Baird has had lots of Latina companions before me, so as a result the first couple of weeks we were eating all different types of food from Peru, Paraguay and Argentina of course. ;)   But this week we tried some recipes from home finally.  For example, Sunday we made meat loaf with a side of steamed veggies - haha we totally felt like little moms :)  We've also made grilled cheese and banana bread - my favorites!!  Yep, life is good for the master chefs of Villa Floresta. :)

Now for our investigators.... 

Sadly, Juan Cruz has been out of town since Christmas and we haven't seen him in so long! BUT he's coming back on Saturday so hopefully we can get him to come to church again!!

JESSICA!!!  Oh my, she is so great! She's a cute young mom with the two cutest kids in the world!!! We contacted her in the street one day and although she was a little apprehensive at first, she accepted a cita [appointment] in her house the next evening.  We had lots of appointments that night and were running everywhere so by the time we got to her house we had to be in and out within 15-20 mins.  We taught a super quick and powerful first lesson about the restoration and committed her to read and pray about the pamphlet we left with her.  A couple days later we came back and she had read it and totally remembered it all and was very enthusiastic.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and talked a little bit more about prophets - both in the olden days and now; and we also taught how important it is to follow the promise in the Book of Mormon to read and pray about it.  She was super attentive in our lesson and accepted it all very well.  She even told us that her cute little 4 year old son said "esas chicas son muy buenas" [these girls are very good] after we left the first time.  We have a lesson with her tonight and are really excited to keep teaching her!  She's super prepared and ready and we couldn’t be happier!  Also, she’s the first person in Argentina (other than the American missionaries) to pronounce the "TH" in Bartholomew... so obviously she's a keeper right?! ;)

We have a couple other investigators Carmen and Mariela who are super great- we just need to find them when they're home haha!  

Besides all that we are working with lots of less active members and recent converts trying to help them come back to church.  My favorite is a cute older lady named Edith.  She knows more about missionary life than I do! :)  She's been a member for a long time and has had the missionaries over to her home for years!  She loves to tell us random facts she knows about our life as a missionary - like what day is our "free day" and what time we need to go to bed and stuff.  Super funny and cute!  Right now she is struggling to quit smoking so we are trying to love and support her.  

That's about it for right now.  Just want to let you all know how happy I am. The work is hard, the days are long and very hot, but there's nothing else I'd rather be doing.  I really feel like I have a purpose here and can really help these people.  If you're ever feeling down on yourself, go read Alma chapter 26.  In this chapter Ammon is reflecting back on his mission, and he perfectly explains the joy and happiness I am feeling right now. I have so much to be grateful for and so much to rejoice about.  Like Ammon, I know this joy comes from my Heavenly Father and "I will boast of my God forever!"

Wishing you all a great week!!

Sending all my love and prayers, 

Hermana Bartholomew 


Sad news, we tried a new ciber [internet café] today and I can't send picturess on this computer :(  Lo siento!!! [I’m sorry!!]  Next week for sure!! CHAO!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Drought after the Storm

January 7, 2016


Is it really 2016?! Because it sure doesn't feel like it! Don't get me wrong, I love the mission and all, but holidays as a missionary seem just the same as any other normal day.  Honestly, it’s pretty sad and super weird to not celebrate in the way I'm used to.  It just doesn't feel real...for example, on New Year’s Eve, we had dinner with some members and then headed back to the apartment where we made our own "cocktails"- which consisted of water with some fruit on a matchstick. :\  Hna. Baird and I clinked our plastic cups and headed to bed at 10:30....What a celebration right?!  

CHEERS to a New Year!!

So yeah, hope you all had a little more fun during your New Year’s celebrations!  

I knew you all were going to be a bit shocked by the news of a new companion...but can you imagine how I was feeling?!  It was nuts!  I was super stressed out at first because I felt completely inadequate to show a new companion around this area that I hardly know myself.  But Hermana Baird came right in and took me under her wing.  She immediately took such a strong initiative to get to know the area, the members and all of our investigators.  We are so much more organized now and I really feel like I understand the work so much better.  I'm super glad that I had the chance to be with Hermana Palma.  There were things I definitely needed to learn from her.  But just know, I'm really happy for the chance to now work with Hna. Baird.  She has helped me be much more sure of myself.  It was definitely an answer to my prayers!!  I've learned that Heavenly Father answers our sincere prayers, not always in the way we think he will, but he will. 

This week was super great!  We had lots of great lessons and have lots of investigators with the potential to really progress in the next few weeks :)  It just took a little patience and perseverance.  This week was also WET. 

On Monday, as we left the apartment after dinner and were walking to our appointments, we saw some dark clouds off in the distance and knew it was going to rain later in the evening.  Well... let’s just say 20 minutes later, we were caught in a DOWNPOUR.  Of course we were in the middle of the dirt road sector of our area and as a result, we were linking arms, trying not to slip in all the mud, dying laughing and walking as quickly but as carefully as we could to the house of our adopted mission grandma, Hermana Ortiz, for refuge. 


By the time we arrived, we were soaked from head to toe and our saving angel quickly took us in.  Hna. Ortiz gave us towels, made us take off our muddy shoes and socks so she could wash them for us, and brought us a little tub of water and bar of soap.  

Hna Ortiz - our abuela y angel

She then told us to wash each other's feet like Jesus did to his apostles (insert audience "awwwww" here ;)).  

Washing Feet Like Jesus Did :)

Service with a SMILE :)

After drying our feet, she then gave us these very cute, puffy-sleeved shirts to wear so we wouldn't be so wet.  Haha - we were trying not to laugh at each other because honestly we looked like something straight out of the 80's or 90's.  But truly we were so grateful!  

The Puffy Sleeve Twins

That night was a sweet experience – being able to serve my companion by washing her feet; and then to in-turn receive the service of Hna Baird and Hna Ortiz. :) 

Why is it that the days after a rainstorm are always so hot??  Well, the rest of the week was really hot and dry, and on top of that, apparently some pipes broke and the whole city of Bahia Blanca didn't have any water yesterday!  Haha it was nuts.  Luckily, we had just gotten a new 10 gallon bottle of clean water in our house, so we were fine; but the rest of the city was in panic mode.  However, we had a huge pile of dirty dishes that we couldn't wash, and we couldn't shower... so let’s just say we smelled great yesterday. ;)  I've never been more grateful for running water in my life.... 

From all this, I have learned how important it is to be prepared in our lives…in things both temporal and spiritual.  This week I've been studying in Alma in the Book of Mormon and have been reading about all the wars and battles and how the people prepared themselves beforehand.  Yes, it was important to be prepared temporally with armor and weapons, but the people who always won the battles were those who were prepared spiritually as well.  My challenge to you all this week is to prepare yourselves spiritually everyday by doing the small and simple things- read the scriptures and pray every day.  I promise that by doing this, you can and will receive the strength and help you need from the Lord. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Bartholomew 

Funny story of the week:

So with all the rain this week, there was lots of mud right?  Yeah, so I unintentionally invented a new sport that Hna Baird and I have named "mud skiing".  You guys know those people that can't ice skate and that just try their hardest to stay up?  The ones that look like they are constantly falling, but somehow keep walking?  Yeah, so that was me with the mud this week... don't worry I never actually fell!  But I got super close and we had some good laughs out of it! 

Another amazing sunset ;)

Divisions with the other Hermanas in our area

One of the cute young women in Barrio Villa Floresta - she's my fav!!