Monday, August 8, 2016

Walking on Sunshine :)

August 8, 2016
Hola Familia y Amigos from a very sunny day here in Olavarrìa!!
Good morning from SUNNY Olavarria!
I'm going to be honest, the weather these past couple months has been so ugly, cold and sad that I never thought it would get better... but this week has been a dream!!!  It's been sunny, pretty warm and the days have started getting longer too! :)  I just wish it would stay like this forever instead of getting super duper hot again...
This week was great!!  Hermana Ahlmer and I have been working super hard while enjoying ourselves too.  One highlight was taking a tour of our favorite panadería (bakery), 
Now that's A LOT of flour!
Working the oven
The "pan" man 
This bread is called "pan de miga" and they use it to make special little tea sandwiches
and we also invented a new game called Rolling Pin Baseball. :)  
The things we do to have fun...
Playing baseball with a rolling pin is safe, right?! ;)

But the best part of the week was that we had much better luck and were able to find and teach quite a few new people! 
First there's Pablo.  Pablo and his family own a little store in front of their house and Hna Ahlmer and I started buying avena (oats) from them every week to make oatmeal for breakfast in the morning. (The super yummy and convenient Quaker oatmeal packets don't exist here…sad, I know.)   About a month ago, Pablo started talking to us and asking us questions like why we are here in Argentina, etc. and eventually about the gospel.  He knows the Bible VERY well and when we told him about how we had another book that is similar to the Bible, it sparked some interest.  So, one day we took Pablo a copy of the Book of Mormon and a couple weeks later were able to teach him about the Restoration of Christ’s Church to the earth.  At first he was super hesitant and wasn't really open to the story about Joseph Smith's first vision, and the translation of the Book of Mormon.  But with time, you could tell he started to feel the Spirit, and he is now excited to keep reading the Book of Mormon, “together with the Bible to see if he finds any errors," but he also said he would pray about it.  We'll see what happens!
Next, the other day we were out contacting people and we knocked on the door of a young mother named Tamara and her mom who was living with her named Marcela opened and let us right in. Tamara... MarcelA....coincidence?  I think NOT. :)  They are super great and interested in learning more too. 

Finally, we also had a cool experience on Sunday night while we were out contacting.  Sunday is the last day of our work week, and based on our monthly goals, we needed to have 13 contacts this week. (In our mission, we only count talking to someone as a contact if they give you an appointment to come back and teach them.  It doesn't matter how many doors you knock, we’ve got to find those that are interested in our message.) 
When half of the people here in Argentina talk to you through their door... have to get creative with blindfolds to practice contacting, right?!  hahaha - no joke :)

Well, come Sunday night, we needed 4 more contacts to reach our goal.  Possible, but a little hard in our area, especially when we were quickly loosing daylight.
But, we had the dedication and determination to meet our goal, and coupled that with faith that the Lord would help us and just started knocking on every door we could.  We had some success and had made 3 contacts when it was completely dark, and we needed to head to a street with more lights. As we left the 3rd house, I said a quick prayer to my Heavenly Father, asking for help and guidance to find the last house that we should knock. My comp and I walked a couple blocks and we both felt prompted to knock on the same door. 
An older couple named Susana and Miguel opened the door and after introductions, they let us right in.  They had lost their son a couple of years ago and we were able to leave them with a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation and the role of families in God’s plan.  We also made an appointment to pass by their home again later this week.  As we walked away, we were all smiles!  One, because we had reached our goal, but more importantly because by being persistent and showing faith, the Lord led us to find some of our lost brothers and sisters to help. 
In our Missionary guidebook, Preach My Gospel, we read, "Hay màs posibilidades de lograr la felicidad en la vida familiar cuando se basa en las enseñanzas de Jesucristo y cuando la familia ocupa el lugar màs alto prioridad para los padres." [Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ and when parents make their family their highest priority.]
I know that the reason I am halfway across the world writing this email to you all is thanks to my great parents that raised me in a home centered and based on Jesus Christ and gospel teachings.  I want nothing more than to help these people here in Olavarrìa come to the same knowledge and have that same happiness in their lives. 
I hope you all have a great week!!  I love and miss you lots!
Con amor y folletos,
Hermana Bartholomew

P.S. Can you believe I completed 10 MONTHS!!! Because I sure can't!!

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