Monday, July 25, 2016

I've Hit My Mid-Mission Crisis

July 25, 2016
Hola Familia y Amigos,
This week was by far the longest and craziest of my entire mission (and probably of my life to be honest J).
It all started with last p-day when we found out we would have to travel to Bahìa to have my comp do her tramites.  Before we left, we had a scavenger hunt activity planned with our entire zone that took up almost all our time.  
Just for you Dad :)
Part of our scavenger hunt with a famous Romulos y Remus Statue
Monument to the Mother
Oh Argentina...look at her eyes :)

My new best friend
(stray dog number 3,098,887 that I've seen in my 9 months here)

Then, right before heading to the bus terminal, we had to go and say goodbye to my favorite convert Mayra (I can honestly say that because to-date she's my only one 😉).  Familia Garcia is moving back to the south of Argentina for work.  It wasn't a fun goodbye, but I am just so beyond grateful for the chance that I had to watch two members of their family enter into the waters of baptism and help them get started on their journey towards being sealed as a family in the temple.  They will forever have a special place in my heart and I will never forget the time we had together. 
Goodbyes are NEVER FUN :(

After saying our goodbyes, we headed to Bahìa for what we thought was going to be a quick 24 hour trip…only to find out that we would have to be there until Thursday night.  Great....
The good news is we got to stay with my mission bestie Hermana Darrington and her hija (trainee) Hermana Torres for the week.  We ended up going on a bunch of splits and divisions back in my old stomping grounds of Bahìa.
Unexpected week-long trips to Bahia are fun, right?
When the children are asleep...
...Hermana Darrington and I made them pancakes.

The bad news is that we didn't know that we would be gone all week and didn't bring enough clothes, and on top of that... I forgot my toothbrush.  So, yeah it was a fun week to say the least. 
On Thursday night, we were soooo tired and finally headed to the bus terminal to go home. Even though we were sitting right there and waiting and watching, somehow we missed our bus.  
when you miss your bus...
So we had to call the office Elders and buy new tickets for a couple hours later.  We finally made it back to good old Olavarrìa at 2:30am.  Haha, you never really realize how much you miss and love your area until you can't be in it for almost a whole week.
To add to the challenges of the week, we received news from our investigator Tamara that she and Matias decided to get separated and she moved back to Buenos Aires without getting the chance to say goodbye.  And then to top things off, Marcelo canceled our appointment that we had with him and didn't make it to church either. 
But just wait, it gets better.... my companion was washing the dishes in the kitchen on Friday night as I was finishing up some laundry and when I came into the kitchen I nearly slipped and died from falling in a huge puddle of water.  We discovered that our sink drain had a broken screw and had detached from the pipes and was quickly flooding our kitchen.  So that was a fun mess to clean up. :/
When you flood your house...
its for fun ;) #sendhelp

Other than all that, life is good. :)  It has been a bit crazy and hard to be out of our area all week.  We've got lots and lots to catch up on and are just a bit stressed, but we remain energized and excited as ever to brave the cold Argentine weather and save some souls. :)
I love what our sweet prophet taught us last General Conference when he said, "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.... As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day - whether to make this choice or that choice - if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice." 
Wishing you all a happy week full of good choice making. ;)
Love and miss you all!!
Con amor y manteca,

Hermana Bartholomew

Live action pictures from the Cyber (internet cafe) today.  This is where we e-mail every week.  #welovePday

Monday, July 18, 2016

Let it Snow!

July 18, 2016

Hola Familia y amigos!! 

Okay so no, sadly it still hasn't snowed here yet, and the truth is that I'm not sure if it will... but it’s FREEZING.  Holy Hannah…I have officially decided that there is no way I can ever live in a humid climate again in my life.  I miss Utah's crazy bipolar weather more than anything because it’s DRY.  The humidity sucks in the summer because you are just hot and sweaty always.  But winter is even worse because it doesn't matter how many layers you are wearing... the cold just cuts right to your bones and makes you all achy and cold and miserable.  But we love it!! ;)  In the end, it’s not that bad....only a couple more months and I’ll be sweating to death again so I might as well enjoy it, right? 

This is the look I get when it is cold and rainy outside, and she doesn't want me taking pictures of her.
#sassy :)

Good news of the week... Marcelo has a baptism date!!!  Wahoo!!!  Now, he still hasn't received a for sure answer yet, but we invited him to be baptized and he said yes.  He has committed that if he comes to know that the things we have taught him are true, he will get baptized on August 6th :)  Please please PLEASE keep him in your prayers!!  

This week we went on our little road trip to Tandil that ended up being less than 24 hours and honestly feels like a dream.  We left late Monday night, “slept” on a freezing cold tile floor, went to the church and had our zone conference, which lasted all day, and then ran to the terminal to catch our bus back to Olavarrìa.  Sadly, we didn't get to see anything in the city besides the view from the bus window.  But from what we saw, it was super pretty!!  Who knows, maybe one day I'll get transferred there and get to see more.

Tandil, Argentina
(This is about all we got to see of the city - from our bus ride home)

Road Trip Selfies

We also just found out that we have another fun road trip ahead of us comp and I have to go to Bahia Blanca so that she can get legal in Argentina.  Gotta love paperwork.... Super fun!  

That's about it for this week - sorry nothing too exciting happened.  But we did get to go visit our best friend Raquel this week.  I seriously love that woman so much!!  Poor thing has been sick these last couple weeks and as a result hasn't been able to attend church or go to school.  She was telling us about how hard it’s been for her but also how good this little time away from the things she loves has helped her realize just how important they are in her life.  She really helped me understand the importance of realizing the blessings that we have and taking advantage of the opportunities that we have in front of us every day. #countyourblessings okay? :)  
Well I love and miss you all and hope you have a warm summer week :)  

Con amor y anillos, 

Hermana Bartholomew 

With my buddy Elder Holmes at the Zone Conference (we arrived in the mission together)
Thumbs up for surviving our first 9 months in Argentina!

Monday, July 11, 2016


July 11, 2016
Hola familia!!
So this week was filled with lots of birthdays and mission milestones.  It all started last Monday when we celebrated the birthday of our first motherland, America the Beautiful; and then Thursday when I officially completed 9 months and passed the halfway mark of my mission; and then Saturday when we celebrated the birthday of our current motherland Argentina; and finally today my cute hija turned 2 months old!! 
Happy 2 Month Anniversary Card for Hna Ahlmer

9 month card from my cute hijita Hna Alhmer

I'll be honest with you, I have no clue where these last 9 months have gone because they've FLOWN by!!  It’s such a surreal feeling to finish the first half of my time here in the mission.  I'm so grateful for all that I've learned and done these last 9 months and can't wait to see what kind of adventures the next 9 have in store. :)  BRING IT ON!
On July 9th, Argentina turned 200 years old!!!  
Happy Birthday Argentina!!
To celebrate, we had a ward locro party. 
The Ward Independence Day Party
Locro, is a traditional food in Argentina that they only eat one time a year to celebrate their independence.  It’s basically a stew that has all kinds of veggies, beans and spices, along with pig.... and I'm not just talking like some yummy pork...but rather every part of a pig but the real meat.  :/  
Let's just say that my companion is super glad that we don't have to eat with the members anymore because she hated it!  Haha it really wasn't too bad and I quite enjoyed it. :)  I just didn't enjoy all the slimy and chewy pig skin I ate.  Being the good mom (and trainer) I am, after finishing my plate, I helped my hija finish hers too.  
Our first experience with locro
Let's just say that I was beyond full and my stomach wasn't all that happy with me.  But hey, we had lots of less active members make it to the activity and Marcelo came too... so it was worth the stomach ache.  :)  Needless to say, we aren't all too LOCO for LOCRO.
Sadly, Marcelo wasn't feeling good on Sunday (might have been the locro!) so he didn't make it to church, but he loved the activity and wants to keep learning more and more.  Juan y Alejandra haven't been home all week so that wasn't too fun but it’s all good.  We've got lots of people with lots of potential and I'll keep you updated within the next few weeks about what happens.

Gabriella, one of the sweet less-active church members who came to the locro party

This week, during studies, Hermana Ahlmer said "I just love Preach My Gospel!  It’s like a guidebook for life in general, and a survival guide for missionaries."  So true.  The leaders of the church have invited everyone to have their own copy of this great manual and read and study it.  I too love that book so much and know that as we read and study what it says, we can learn more about our Heavenly Father, his plan of salvation and happiness for his children, and know how to be better people in general.  So... if you don't have a copy, go get one, read it, and let me know how much you love it too! :) 
Tonight, we are taking a road trip to a neighboring city called Tandil to have a zone conference with President Cifuentes tomorrow.  So be looking forward to pics of our adventure next week. :)

I love and miss you lots and hope you have a great week!!
Con amor y jamòn (haha sorry we ate more empandas de jamòn y queso hoy and they were super rico...),

Hermana Bartholomew

For our ward activity, we had a cake competition and we made a cake!
But as I was trying to take it out of the pan and put it in a tupper,
I dropped it..... :( hahaha I have the worst luck ever!!! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday America (I miss you...)

July 4, 2016
Good day lovely fam and friends,
I hope you are all enjoying the warm weather, bbq's, and fireworks for us...because Hermana Ahlmer and I are pretty cold down here in Olavarría, and a bit sad we're missing out this year. :)  But it’s all good…we used your celebrating as an excuse to have our own little party today.  We made some good old fashioned hamburgers and completed our feast with some Argentine potato chips too.  
Our 4th of July BBQ...we did the best we could :)
You do what you can right??  Haha, let’s be honest, I can't believe it’s already July…mostly because the time is just flying by, but also because it is so cold and cloudy every day.  So yeah.
I am enjoying training Hermana Ahlmer, and introducing her to the best of Argentina…including the food (empanadas) and the city of Olavarría.  

One of the super cheesy and poetic murals of Olavarria...deep stuff!
[I don't want to return to see you
I want to see you return

She in turn has served me by dying my hair back to its natural color!  Turns out she went to hair school before her mission, and the Argentine sun and water have made me blond, which I wasn’t liking too much! :)

When your comp went to hair school...

Hoping she got the color right :)
I'm a new woman!
Back to being a brunette

This week, I had the lovely blessing of getting sick…again. :( It was pretty awful.  But at least this time it came on super fast and left fast too, so it wasn't too bad.  It’s just what happens when you’ve got to be out all day saving souls in this cold weather. ;)
We had a successful week igual [just the same] because Marcelo came to church!!!  Did I tell you about him?  I think so... anyway he came for the first time this week and we were super excited!!  He participated in all of the meetings and seemed to really enjoy it.  The members in our ward here are super great and took good care of him – making him feel important. :)  But yeah, it went super well and we are super happy!!
Next, we taught Juan and Alejandra this week.  In our lesson we were open and honest with them, and asked them to tell us what they are thinking.  They both said that they think listening to us is the right path for them to take in their lives.  When my cute comp invited them to be baptized, THEY ACCEPTED!!!  Now, the down side is they have a long way to go (they need to officially get divorced from prior spouses, get married, stop smoking, etc.) before they can actually be baptized, BUT we are more than happy to help them start preparing for that special day in the future.  Even though we might be transferred to another area and not be here to see them enter in the waters of baptism, we are going to have the privilege to help them get ready and couldn't be happier for them. They are both so great! 
As we left the other day, Juan asked us if we liked lemons and gave us a huge bag of like 15.  :)  THANKS!  Receiving the lemons immediately reminded me of a story that a member in my ward in Bahìa shared in church back at the beginning of my mission.  Hermana Turner said that her husband had a friend at work that had lots of lemon trees and gave their family boxes and boxes of lemons.  She was super grateful and excited to use them!  She started making anything and everything she could come up with to use all of them, and was in heaven because her house smelled like fresh lemons for weeks.  After a while, she started running out of things to do with the lemons and was worried they were going to go bad so she asked a friend for some more ideas so that she wouldn't have to waste them.  Hermana Turner said her friend’s response was so simple yet had a big impact on her.  She said, "Why don't you share them with your neighbors and friends? That way none of them will go bad."
Hermana Turner then related the lemons and her experience to our testimonies.  In order to keep them from going bad, we must SHARE THEM!  We are so blessed to have the knowledge of our Heavenly Father’s plan for our happiness and should want nothing more than to help others have this same knowledge.  That's why I’m sitting at this computer screen, on the other side of the world, freezing on the 4th of July. :)  I want nothing more than to share my testimony of my older brother and Savior Jesus Christ and help others know that HE LIVES and HE LOVES US.  I invite you all to reflect on the testimony you have this week and share it with those around you!
Wishing you a super happy and warm 4th of July, and a delightful week of summer!
Con mucho amor,

Hermana Bartholomew