Monday, September 5, 2016

A New Decade of Life

September 5, 2016


Birthday week has come and gone and I couldn’t be a happier 20 year old!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes and packages I received!  Most importantly I felt of all your love. I am the luckiest missionary in all of Argentina (and probably the world) 

Before I give you a recap of the big day, I want to tell you that we are famous here in Olavarrìa! Remember that story I told you about how we went to centro plaza last week and drew with chalk.... well there was a cute old man there that worked for the newspaper and he took our pic and put it in "El Popular" on Tuesday. :)  Nothing like some free publicity for the church!

When you become famous in Olavarria, Argentina...;)

OK let me tell you about my awesome birthday.  Things started off bright and early when I couldn’t wait a second longer to open the packages that had been sitting under my bed!!  

The B-Day stash

My new favorite piece in my wardrobe ;)

Handwritten letters from my aunts, uncles and cousins

Thank you Lacee & Rachel - you are the best!

After blowing up all my balloons and eating my favorite French toast breakfast we headed out to work.

Nothing better than b-day French Toast

Birthday signs and balloons make everything just happier :)

As awesome as the remainder of the day was, the real highlight happened as we were able to teach a new investigator we have named Graciela who was a reference from some members here in our stake.  She lost her son a couple years ago in an accident and we were able to teach her about the plan of salvation.  We felt the spirit as we helped her realize that she can be together again with her son after this life.  The lesson went well and we are excited to see her again this week.

Next we headed to buy empanadas for lunch and went home to make a cake. 

Birthday lunch...empanadas, OF COURSE!!

Mmmmmmmm, good!

After, we went and taught Valeria again.  The lesson went well, but she just feels like she's happy where she's at right now and doesn't feel the need to have a religion in her life.  We're not giving up on teaching her more though!  Then, we headed to the church to eat cake with the Elders.  

The Elders are always looking for a reason to celebrate with cake!

Happy Birthday, Sister Old Lady

After we ate more cake with our ward mission leader and his family too... haha whoops! 

To top of the night, we went to Lujan and Joaquin's house where I was met by endless surprises....  She had decorated the house all cute and made an American and Argentine flag cake which was just too adorable!  

The most original B-Day cake ever...Master Chef worthy!

Lujan bought me a sweater and bought us huge chocolate bars too cause she didn't want my comp to feel left out. ;) 

With Lujan - my new beautiful B-day sweater

I was so happy and grateful but that was only the beginning. 

Next we went into the living room where Lujan surprised me with a video of Hermana Cardenas wishing me a Happy Birthday!!!  THEN, she pulls up another video of Hermana Palma too!!  I was shocked, surprised and just amazed at how she had pulled it all off.  But wait, there’s more... Then Lujan says, "Well... I guess since we're already here, we can show you one more video...."  My companion covered my eyes and as she moved her hands I see and hear my two younger siblings singing Happy Birthday to me, and spent the next 15 mins dying laughing and crying a bit as I got to celebrate a little bit of my cumpleaños with the video you all put together for me back home!!  

My reaction to my crazy family!

THANK YOUUUU!!!!!!  I really had the best day and am so grateful for the love I received from everyone.  (Now there is no hiding how crazy our family really is from any of the people here :

To top off the best week ever... we had a new investigator come to church yesterday!!!!  His name is Luan (haha not Lujan...), he's 19 years old and we found him 2 weeks ago when we knocked on his door and just started talking to him.  He let us in and we taught him and his mom the message of the restoration.  Luan accepted our challenge to read in the Book of Mormon and we set up another cita [appointment] to go see them during the week.  When we passed by, he couldn’t meet with us right then, but said he would come to church.  We were disappointed that he didn’t end up making it that first week, but we passed by his home again during this last week and he apologized and told us that we would make it on the next Sunday for sure.  To our pleasant surprise, HE CAME!!  He really seemed to like Sacrament Meeting and the ward members made him feel super comfortable!  He stayed for all three hours too!  So that was pretty great!!!  I'll keep you updated on him. 

Elder Holland said, "You can have what you want, or you can have something better."  Our Heavenly Father always has something better in store for us but we have to use our agency to accept him and his will and look for the better things in life.  For that reason he sends missionaries into all the world, to bring not only something better, but the best thing ever to his children - the knowledge that He lives, His Son is our Savior and they have restored the gospel so that we can not only be happy in this life, but forever. 

Wishing you all a very happy week!!  I love you all lots!!

Con amor y velas y globos galore, 

Hermana Bart

P.S. Go Cougs!

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