Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our hands are a bit full...

April 21, 2016

Hola Familia y amigos!! 

Bueno, I don't have lots of time today so I'm going to try my best to explain the craziness that was our week here in Olavarría. 

First, last Saturday we had a show de talentos (talent show for those of you who don't speak Spanish ðŸ˜‰) with our ward.  It was super fun!  Hna. Cardenas and I had to participate so we printed off an EFY song called "Good to be Alive" and I played the piano while we both sang.  Poor Hna. Cardenas was a bit nervous because it was in English, but she did great and we had lots of fun!  To add to the happiness of the occasion, Alicia and another investigator named Raquel came!!!  

Hermana Bart, Alicia, Raquel, Hermana Cardenas
We had 3 investigators come to the talent show!

Wahoo!  Sadly, neither of them could come to church this week but it’s all good.  They both got to meet some ward members and have a good time! 

So last week we met a family that just moved into our ward - the Familia Garcia.  The parents, Sergio and Maira, had both been investigating the church off and on over a period of 10 years. Sergio is from Uruguay but grew up in Australia, then lived a bit it Europe, Brazil and New Zealand.  Maira is from Argentina, but lived in New Zealand for most of her life where they met each other and got married.  Crazy right?!  Yeah so they both know how to speak English, Portuguese and Spanish of course. J  They like speaking English with me, but I am having the hardest time understanding them... one, because I don't speak English here ,and two, imagine listening to a Latino with an Australian accent speak English.  J  Yeah, it’s pretty hard!

Anyway, 2 years ago, Sergio decided to get baptized but Maira still didn’t feel ready for it.  Fast forward to ahora [now]... they have 3 kids, the oldest of which is about to turn 8 and wants to be baptized.  Last week, we got to know them a bit and they came to the activity and church.  This week we went their home for a family night with the whole family.  As the kids were playing and we were all talking, Maira all of a sudden says, “So what requirements do I have to meet to get baptized, and how soon can I do it?”  UMMM What?!?!  Hermana Cardenas and I were both at a loss for words!  Just a couple days earlier Maira had told us that she wasn't thinking about herself, but was more focused in her son getting baptized.  It just goes to show that everyone has their perfect timing and will accept the ordinances of the gospel when they are ready.  

So, the big news is that we have a change of plans for the 30th of April...Alicia, isn't quite ready yet, but Maira accepted the date and will be getting baptized in just 2 short weeks!!! :) Yayayaya!! 

Stay tuned next week for more crazy news because we are still working with Juan and Alicia, as well as a couple new investigators that are progressing really fast. :) 

Hope you all have a great week and remember how much I LOVE YOU!!! 

Hasta luego! 

Hermana Bartholomew 

Teaching English :)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Rainy Days and Teaching English

April 14, 2016

Buenos Días a todos!! Como están?! Les extraño y les amo MUCHISIMO!

I've had lots of you ask how my Spanish is coming along so feel free to refer to the sentence above and decide for yourself! ;)  JK!  But the truth is that I feel lots more comfortable with the language and feel like I can really communicate with the people now.  Given, there are still some people we meet that have super strong accents or don't enunciate well and I have no clue what they are saying…so I just smile and look at my companion. J  It’s such a blessing to be with Hermana Cardenas because it’s much easier to learn Castellano with the help of someone who speaks it. 

That being said, I also now have the opportunity to help her learn English!  It’s not easy, but it has been super fun to try and teach her random phrases and words and help her practice her pronunciation without an accent.  This week she learned to say "What the heck?!" and "You got it dude!" J  She told me that she had heard lots of Yankee missionaries say, "What the heck?" and that she liked it and wanted to learn it.  So the other night when our district leader called us, he asked Hna Cardenas to teach him a phrase that they use in Mexico and she says, "Okay....What the heck?!" :) Oh, it’s too fun!  Don't worry, I'm also teaching her more useful and important phrases like "it’s time for bed"; "we are eating apples with dulce de leche"; "please open the door"; "I am hungry"; etc.  I’ll be honest - I'm quite enjoying being on the opposite side of the language learning struggle. :) 

Hermana Cardenas hit her 8 month mark in the mission this week, so I made her a special breakfast...complete with figure 8 pancakes, mini french toast, and ice cream too, of course! :)

Feliz 8 Meses Hermana Cardenas!!

I have not lost my french toast :)


And speaking of cooking, when I got here we didn't have one of the most basic tools of the kitchen...a rolling pin!  But, no problem!  There was this random wood pole in our we washed it, and got creative. ;)

The world's longest rolling pin

This week the weather has started to change…it has been super rainy and cold and I LOVE IT!  It’s been a bit harder to contact and talk to people because no one is outside but hay que perseverar no? [we should/must persevere, no?] :) Just gotta keep on, keepin’ on! 

I've gotta get some use out of the snow boots that I brought to a place without snow...;)
But hey...they keep my feet warm in the house!

On Sunday, there were 95 people at church!!!  It was a bit overwhelming because I was used to like 65 in Floresta.  No idea what I'm going to do when I get home and see a Utah-sized congregation again. ;)  But yeah, our ward is super great and involved in the obra misional [missionary work] so that's good!

This week we had a couple more good lessons with Alicia but she didn't come to church again. :(   We are still working hard with her and hoping and praying that she can be ready to be baptized on April 30th, but if not, it will happen in May for sure. :)  Sadly, we weren't able to teach Juan this week either, but I'm sure by now he has to be half-way through the Book of Mormon.  I'll update you all on that more next week.  Please pray for us to be able to find people who the Lord is preparing to receive our message and that the investigators that we do have can progress! 

My ending thought for the day is a quote by our prophet, President Monson from his General Conference talk in October of 2012 (sorry I only have it in Spanish...). 

"Debemos cultivar la capacidad de ver a los hombres no como lo que son ahora, sino como lo que pueden llegar a ser."  [We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become.

I have been blessed to be able to develop this ability.  That is, to see my investigators and all the people I meet in my mission through the eyes of Heavenly Father.  Every time I teach people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I imagine them dressed in white, entering the waters of baptism and later, through the doors of the temple.  After all that's said and done, that really is the ultimate goal in this receive the ordinances of salvation – baptism and confirmation, and then make covenants with our Father in His house - the temple.  

I challenge you all to have patience and love with all those you come in contact with daily.  Try to look at everyone you meet…not as they are now, but as what they can one day become! 

I love you all and wish you a happy weekend! 

Hasta luego!

Hermana Bartholomew

P.S. Last Thursday we went mini bowling with our entire zone and it was so fun!  We were all pretty awful, but that made things super competitive at the same time.  Good times indeed! :) 

Some very small bowling balls...;)

Our Classy Bowling Shoes
P-Day Bowling with the Zone

You can't tell me this isn't the greatest photo ever!!
We got some weird looks, but this cute little old man who is a super good bowler was a good sport.
He was really laughing hard when we took the picture.
The things that happen on the mission!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

6 Months Down…1 Year to go…

April 7, 2016


Can you believe that I have finished the first third of my mission...como ya?!!! Because I sure can't!  Man, time sure flies when you're having fun!

After 6 months in the mission...I'm OFFICIALLY LEGAL!

Bueno.  This week was great!!! First of all, can we just talk about how amazing General Conference was?!  Oh boy, did I just LOVE it!!!  I've always enjoyed conference growing up, but there's just something special about getting to watch it in the mission. AND, I was lucky enough to be able to watch it in English too, so I was even more happy and excited to hear not only the words, but the voices of our dear Prophet and other leaders of the Church. 

One of my favorite talks was Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson when she shared the experience of the mother flying in the life-flight helicopter from Utah County to Primary Children’s Hospital with her son clinging to life.  It definitely brought a smile to my face when she mentioned that the mother saw the Draper temple out her window as well as other temples across the Salt Lake Valley.   (I even admit, I may have missed home just a bit hearing that.)  The thought came to this mother's head in that time of great trial, "Do you really believe it?" Like this woman in the story, and so many of us, I have been raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have known of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ all my life.  But like this woman, I often need to be reminded of this important question, "Do I really believe it?"  So powerful! 

Also, I loved the focus of many of the speakers reminding us of what it means to really understand that we are children of God and that He loves us.  Sometimes we let things get in the way and we forget the importance of remembering where we come from.  As President Uchtdorf shared, Jesus Christ IS the Shepard, and He knows His sheep personally and will do all He can to help us, love us, and bring us back to Him when we are lost. 

Let's just say I'm on a bit of a spiritual high right now that's not going to go away! :) 

Okay, now I need to clear up something super important from last week....I messed up and was too generous to my companion when describing her height...she's actually only 4' 9" hahaha :) Oh, but isn't she just the cutest!  

Yeah...I'm HUGE, but it's fine...

I seriously LOVE Hna. Cardenas!  I also have to admit that I've been a bit of a slacker this week writing in my journal because we like to sit and talk and laugh at night instead of getting ready for bed.  But hey, that's not a bad thing right?!  At least we get along. ;)  Haha she's awesome!  

She likes it when I cook for her...
This is an Argentine Special - "Tortas Fritas" - basically scones...SUPER YUMMY!!
Dulce de Leche is my life now...Whoops ;)

I'm also helping her with her English - it’s just so fun and her accent is the best! Speaking of English... I can't speak English anymore haha!  It’s a struggle but SUCH a blessing to have a Latina compi!

Oh, and just to clarify, Hna. Cardenas was here in Olavarría last transfer too, so she's been here like 6 weeks more than me, which is bastante [enough].  But yeah, we are still getting to know the area together. 

Now I've got some really great news for you all... 

So we have this investigator right now named Alicia.  A couple weeks before I got here, she stopped the missionaries in the street and told them her son was a member of our church and invited them to come back to her home and talk with her later.  The Hermanas passed by a couple times, but she was never home or was super busy.  So when I got here, we got to actually start teaching her and she basically has already accepted everything we have shared with her as the truth.  She even said, without us saying anything, that "I was already baptized in la iglesia evangelica [the evangelist church], but I’d like to go to your church, because I like how I feel when you guys come into my home, and when I read the Book of Mormon, and if I have to get baptized again, I'll do it."   Ummm.  OKAY!!  What?!  That never happens.  So in our last lesson with her, we committed her to be baptized on April 30th (which happens to be my favorite brother's birthday ðŸ˜‰)!!!  She's going to come to church with us this Sunday too!  So if you can all imagine, we are just a bit excited here in Olavarría right now!!  Please keep Alicia in your prayers so that she can receive a sure answer that this is the path she needs to take, and that she will take it! :) 

Also, this week we received a reference from some members in another ward in the stake. They had given their friend Juan a Book of Mormon because he was interested.  When we met with him, he told us that he was already in 2 Nefi.  Say what?!?!  We set up a lesson with him and when we asked if he had any questions so far about what he was reading, his main concern and question was that he didn't understand what the footnotes were at the bottom of the page or how they worked/how to follow them.  Don't you worry, we can help with that, and help you understand so much more!! :)  He is really interested to learn more and we are excited to keep teaching him too. 

So yeah, it’s been a pretty good week :)  This morning, President and Hna Cifuentes came to Olavarría for interviews and then we had a zone meeting - that’s why I'm writing later today.  Don't worry, I'm still alive! ;)   So our p-day just got shifted to the afternoon, and tonight we are going bowling as a zone!  Whoop! Whoop!  Haha, I haven't bowled in 6 months so it’s going to be pretty rusty.  ;)  (Not that I was ever good at bowling before anyway, but oh well). 

Last Week's P-Day...3-Legged Relays in the Park!

P-Day Picnic in the Park

I hope you all have a great week and remember that you are each a very important son or daughter of Heavenly Father and HE LOVES YOU!!! (And I love you too!) ;) 

Hasta la proxima semana! 

Hermana Bartholomew 

Never been so excited to see a Walmart in my life...