Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013 Familia!

Pretty sunset.

This is the real us.  We are not super cute all the time :)  HNA Standly is the Amarican.  HNA Matamoros is the Latino.

Me and my comps at our Christmas shindig. I did my hair, put on make up and took of my glasses. Everyone was stunned. Some of my old comps didn't recognize me.

HNA Sanchez, Me, HNA Fernandez, don't know, HNA White. Sanchez y Fernandez were my comps in Caballito


All the elders at our luncheon
Wow this past week has been really different, but really good! First of all Christmas, obviously is different here. They really celebrate the 24th more than the 25th. On the 24th we had a lunch with the whole mission. It was really cool to be with that many missionaries again! Then we went to a bunch of member houses and ate tons of really good food! It was also the hottest Christmas Eve ever, for me. I think the members said it was around 40 degrees celsius. Which is about 105, and the humidity was brutal. I have never felt so disgusting in all my life.

Another different thing has been working in the office. We have had tons of phones transferred between areas, so I had to call every area and confirm that the number we had listed was with the area that we had listed. For most of them I was totally good, I would ask my question, say thanks, and Hang up. However, sometimes people would start asking me questions like I actually know things and can understand them. We all got a kick out of it. Then for the rest of the week I was helping work on the Mission History. One really cool part of it is the Spiritual Experiences from the departing missionaries. They all write a spiritual experience before they leave, and I get to type them all up. It has been really cool to read what the most impressionable spiritual experience was for each of the missionaries. What an amazing thing the mission is! ( this also has helped me make a resolution to have good handwriting... I should probably improve my spelling too...) (note from Mom:  yes, readers, MANY words get fixed before blog is posted!)

I think that I mentioned last week that we are living in the pension where the AP`s used to live and they are living with the office Elders for now.  Well one of the reasons that they chose to go there was because the pension for the Office elders is bigger, and better for 5 people. That was all fine and dandy until we got a call that two of the Tigre sisters were coming to live with us because their pension was a literal oven. SOOO now there are 5 of us in a one bedroom apartment. It´s cozy. However, what a huge blessing that the elders were able to find us another fan so that we don´t all have to sleep in the same room! (it is impossible to sleep without a fan it is so hot)

The Best Ice cream sandwich you will ever eat in your entire life
I feel like I have officially served a foreign mission, because I have now taken a shower using only a bucket. Yep. I am not lying. Saturday morning we woke up and the first Sister showered, and comes out saying that we only have hot water in the bathroom. And the water is hot. It burned me our first day here. So that would not work. However, oddly we still had cold water in the kitchen so the rest of us got a bucket, filled it with cold water, and used it to shower. It wasn't as bad as you would think, but  we didn't feel completely clean. By the last sister, we had NO water (don't worry she did get to shower.. sorta). Yeah seriously we had no water. Because of the heat everyone is using their AC non stop or a million fans and too much energy is being sucked so some places have not had light, and when the energy goes, usually so does the water. Dad, I have so much more respect for your water storage. It became quickly apparent how necessary water is. We had to go to a member's house to fill up our water bottles, because we would have died in this heat without any water to drink. I have never been so happy as I was when the water came back around 10 that night. We had heard it might be a couple days and we would have to buy water or carry it in jugs... I can't even fathom that.

Daily Milagros
23-We had a great first lesson with a man named Leonardo. The spirit was so strong! Ti originally started with him not being interested and just wanting English Lessons, but it turned into a lesson (missionaries are real good at that). At the end, I said a simple, yet fervent prayer asking that Leo could be blessed in his life and be able to know the truth of what we taught. Then after I finished he asked us if he could try it too! So, he said a prayer, and it was so great! He also asked us to write down the steps so that he could practice on his own. It was so cool!
24-We went to this Peruvian family´s house and they totally just enveloped us into their huge family. We didn't feel awkward like we were totally crashing their Christmas, but rather a total feeling of love. It was really great especially because we have only been here for a week ( Well the other sisters have, I've  been here 3 days.) and we felt so loved.
25-Skyping my family! I am so glad that we have the technology to do that now!!
26- I talked on the phone. Up to this point I have avoided it like the plague...
27- Usually I can´t spell or type to save my life. (is that a surprise to any of you??) However, today I had about a 90% accuracy rate in both English AND Spanish as I typed up spiritual Experiences. I felt pretty good about myself.
28-Today we had no water.  We went to our lunch appointment and they were not there. Soo seeing as we had no real food in our apartment, we went and bought pizza. Turns out a member works there. We asked her if she had water and told her we did not, and then ordered our pizza. The way this place works is they deliver, so we left and went to wait at our apartment. At this point we had drunk the water in our bottles and were sorta dying. When the pizza guy delivered, we paid for our pizza and then he said, "Oh! I have something else for you," and then gave us a 2 liter bottle of juice, and said "no charge". We wanted to cry we were so happy to have liquid!
29-Today I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish!    I was so happy. I love that book. I know with all my heart that it is true! I started it in the MTC, so this took me a little longer than the English version, but it is so amazing. It´s interesting, even when I couldn't understand what I was reading, I could feel the spirit and know that it was true.

Overall this has been great. I am so grateful for the blessing of the last six months. Even though it is really hard sometimes, I would not trade this experience for the world. Overall I know that I have grown so much! Its really interesting to look back at what I have done and where I have been and see where I am now. I am so excited for this next year and to see where I will be a year from now. I know that this gospel is so true. I am so grateful for it. I am grateful for the knowledge that I can be with my family forever. I am so grateful for the Savior and his atonement.

I love you all and Hope that you are all well and Happy!
Love, Hermana Sirrine

Christmas Tree made out of Garbage. NO kidding.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 23, 2013 Almost Christmas!

Hola Familia!

This week was the best! I think part of it was because I have hardly been able to work and so this week I loved the fact that I was teaching. Also my companions are really great and lots of fun! I´m starting to get the language... well I don´t feel like I am running around with my head cut off at least :) So that is really nice. It´s really funny when I am talking to people and I think I make sense, but by looking at their face it is super obvious that they have no Idea what I am saying. Also, I have had companions from 3 different Latino countries, I am now on the fourth, and so my accent is weird. Well it´s North American, but then some words sound totally Columbian, others Argentine, and others we just don´t know.

This week we got dropped by one of our investigators.  It was sorta sad. I think that she knows there is a lot of good in our church, but has law of chastity issues and doesn't want to change. It´s a bummer. NO one here is married... however it was really weird, we had several lessons with her this week and every single one of them she brought up the law of chastity! EVERY TIME! It didn't matter what we were talking about, plan of salvation, prayer, word of wisdom, every time she brought it right back to the law of chastity. At least I am pretty good at talking about it now! Before my vocabulary was a little lacking, but you best believe I can successfully deliver a law of chastity lesson now.

However, on the upside of the investigators, we had two at church! They are a couple (not married, shocker) They are so great, and this past week they read part of the Book of Mormon together as a family (they have 3 kids)! And they were at church! I am so excited, because I know that Jaqueline is really meditating and searching for an answer! I hope that I can go back to Caballito and see them baptized!
I have started to not like air conditioning. It´s too cold. Hardly anyone has it except the church. Pretty much it´s just real hot always. Oh, and íts humid hot, sometimes we go in someones house and it´s just like an oven. Fan´s are my best friend.

Downside of this week, my foot is a burning fire of something. I would get to about five o´clock and be limping or hurting really bad. I have been taking Ibuprofin casi cada dia por casi dos mezes ahora, and I am sorta worried about effects on my stomach. However even with everything I am doing, I am not seeing an improvement in my foot. SOOOOO shocker, once again I am being moved. So yay new comps. So now I am in an area that has the mission offices. There are sisters that are opening an area here and so I will go to the offices after studies in the morning, work there till 5 or so when Sister Lyons (she and her husband are a senior couple) goes home. And then at that point I will go work with the sisters. At least I have something to do all day. Sitting at home was pretty brutal. So I will be an office sister, part time and out proselyting in the noches. Hopefully this will give my foot a chance to heal, while I am still working. If it doesnt´,,,, well we don't know.

The sisters that are here, like I mentioned, are opening an area, and were living with the Lyons because they can´t move into their apartment until the first of the year. However, there is not space for ANTOTHER sister in their apartment, so we moved into the AP´s apartment. Don´t you fret, they moved out and in with the office elders. You would think ´Oh, the AP´s are responsible, they probably have a nice clean apartment¨´ nope you thought wrong. It was terrible. And it has collected a ton of stuff from elders who are now home. SO they said, "sorry sisters... you can clean  and throw out what you want". You best believe we cleaned. It was so bad. However now it seems way bigger. I guess it´s the least we can do because this whole thing is a mess.

Totally awesome moment from this week:  We were talking to a recent convert through the window, and there was this man who was totally listening and you could tell he wanted to talk to us. So we said "hi" and he came up and asked us if we were from the Mormon church. We said "why yes, we are" and he then started asking lots of questions. They started out totally normal, and then it became very apparent he had read anti and wanted to get us to say something so he could prove us wrong. Sister Sanchez has never encountered that, and sister Fernandez is new and doesn't talk a whole lot, so yep, I was the one answering. It was so cool to feel the power of the spirit as I just testified of what I know is true, because I knew he really wasn't going to listen a whole lot. He just wanted to contend. It was funny because he quickly realized that nothing he would say was going to change my conviction of what I knew to be true. He also couldn´t say much after I told him that if he doesn´t read the Book of Mormon he can´t tell me it´s wrong, and so he left. It´s funny how hard people(and Santánas) work to prove us wrong. They could be really good missionaries if they would convert!

Daily Miracles:
Dic 17- We found a new investigator!" Her name is Jessi and she is so sweet!
Dic 18- My comps are so great! They are dedicated and really hard workers! I love them so much!
Dic 19 We had a thing at the church and they asked me to play piano. (Pretty much if you wear a skirt and a black name tag you can play piano) so I got to sit and play Christmas songs for 30 minutes of so . It was so great!! It really helped it to feel like Christmas.
Dic 20- I was SO happy today. I mean things still fell through, my ankle is still on fire, and it was HOT, but today was SO good. I was so content. I really think learning to be content is the key to life.
Dic 21- We were able to have an unplanned lesson with familia Salas and the member that we brought bore a really strong testimony. Then they  committed to  come to church tomorrow!
Dic 22- Jorge y Jaqueline Salas came to church today! It was so great to see them there! It took 4 weeks of working with them but they finally came. YAY!

I love you all and I hope that this week is the greatest for all! I hope that you remember WHY we have Christmas, and think about what gift you can give Christ this year, seeing as he has given us everything.
I just want you all to know that I know with all of my heart that this is the true church. I know that Christ lives and that through him we can become clean and pure. I know That he restored his church through Joseph Smith. I know that through the power of Christ, Joseph was able to translate the Book of Mormon. I testify that it is a true book. I know that it can help anyone. I know that the book of Mormon is the key to happiness, and through it´s pages we can come to know Christ. I have no doubt that it is through living the commandments that we are able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to see this gospel change lives. Thank you all for your love and support! You mean the world to me.

Con Todo mi Corózon,
Hermana Sirrine
3 Nephi 13:5

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17, 2013 Hola! What a weird week!

Beautiful sunset!

Amazing view from our balcony


Wow, what a weird week! I left the house twice, let´s just say the small pension got smaller. Good thing it had cute yellow walls. So pretty much the set up was I was always in the house and since I went where there was a trio, they rotated who stayed home with me. The Sisters are amazing! I was with Hermana Sanchez (not my old comp, and she is from Guatemala), Hermana Standly (from Provo, Utah, and she speaks like a native because she was smart and paid attention in Spanish class), and Hermana Fernandez (she is from ARG and she is waiting for her visa to Mexico. She leaves mid January I think). They were so great. I will totally admit there were some really long days, but overall it went pretty quick.
Me and my two comps: Hmna Sanchez on left, Hmna Fernandez middle

Today was transfers, and we all had a really strong feeling that Hermana Standly and I were leaving. Last night we got the calls, and no surprise, Hermana Standly se va. Y Yo no fui! En serio! (Google translate says:  "Hermana Standly leaves and I did not!  Seriously!) So My area is with these awesome girls here in Cabillito. I am so excited. So now I have two native companions. Man am I gunna learn. We were all super surprised to hear that! It´s crazy, pretty much my entire mission has been change after change. These girls are my 10th and 11th companions, and this is my 6th area. I have been out for less than 6 months. I cannot even fathom what it is like for some of these missionaries who have 6 or 7 months in one area! Weird!
I´m also really excited to meet the investigators we have. I have helped plan for them, and studied for them, and heard all about them... and now I get to meet them! I´m excited!

Me and Hermana Standly put together a list of things about Argentina. I will try and not repeat what I have already sent, but thought this might be enjoyable.
-A lot of people don´t flush their toilet paper. Actually most of them don´t. It´s not like the plumbing is really bad... . but in some areas it is so it´s a habit.
-Latinos leave food out forever. Doesn't matter what kind of food it is.
-Most houses don´t have AC so windows are always open. We are lucky, our pension has a small AC unit in the bedroom so we can run it at night. It is bliss
-Everyone has a dog. Everyone´s dog has a dog.
-The bread is SINFULLY good. Seriously
-You have not eaten good ice cream unless you have had it here
-Doors lock from both sides
-Milk comes in bags. So does mayo
-There are bars on every window and doors are real sturdy. Lots of them have bars too.

Some insights that I had this week: (I would tell you about the work.. but my studies were about my extent....)
We are not meant to fit a mold. God does not want or need cookie cutter missionaries, or cookie cutter members for that matter. The gospel is to make good better and better best, not to make everyone the same. This is something that probably sounds stupid, but was a really big thing for me to realize. I think we sometimes as missionaries try to be the same and lose our personalities, when in reality God needs all of us to be unique, because the people we are helping are unique.

The power of Prayer. Well actually, the power of a RIGHT prayer. Over and over in the scriptures we read that if we ask, it will be given. BUT it also says that if we ask, and it is right, we will be given. I think this is the key. If you notice, in many instances when Book of Mormon heroes are liberated, they pray for the Strength to change their circumstances, not to have their circumstances changed. Nephi is a great example of this. When he is bound, he prays for the strength to burst the bands. He still had to make an effort to break them, but with the added strength of the Lord he was able to do so. SOOOO here´s the epiphany. So many times when I have been going through hard times, I have prayed for the circumstances to be different or changed. However, all my life I haven´t been going about it the right way. What we need to pray for more is the strength and guidance to change our circumstances. For example, I should not pray to know the language. But I need to pray for the diligence to listen and learn and have the perseverance to learn this language. Interesting. Along with that thought, the enabling power of the atonement is SO COOL! and amazing, and pretty much I would be nothing with out it. I know with all of my heart that he is with me always and sustaining me physically and spiritually. I hope you all can know and feel that too.

Daily Miracles:

9 Dic- The Tri that I joined has 2 natives, and the other sister talks like a native but is from the states. I am amazed at how much I can understand. I am learning. YAY!
10 Dic- Laughing till it hurts
11 Dic- Today I had the best study time. I was on a spiritual High. I love the scriptures so much!
12 Dic- Today I was sitting on the balcony watching the sunset. It was beautiful! Absolutely lovely. I was filled with such a peace and calming reassurance that god loves me and is with me, I just need to ´look up´and see him.
13 Dic- Hermana Standly told me that she loved having a day to talk and joke and laugh and also do it in English. I am so glad that my presence has been able to help her.
14 DIc- I got to leave the house to go to lunch at the bishop's house!
15 Dic- Today I got to take the sacrament. The lesson in Sunday school had been on repentance, so I was already thinking about Christ and his Atonement, so the sacrament was extra special today. It is truly amazing the literal lifting of a burden that you can feel as you repent, and then take the sacrament.
16 Dic-  The time to have a deep spiritual conversation with Hermana Standly and really refocus and think about what I want in the mission.

Well I love you all like crazy! I hope that you are enjoying the cold (for those of you that have it) and that you think about your Savior and how much he loves you right now!
Les quierro con todo mi corozón!
Hermana Sirrine

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 9, 2013 Hello! Hello!


This has been probably the most humbling, difficult, and spiritual week of my life. Due to my ankle, this past week I have been on crutches. For those of you who have had crutches, you can empathize. For those who have not, I pray you never get to experience it.  Let´s just say I have not worked out my upper body in a REALLY long time. So, we were only going to set appointments (there was no way I could crutch around Belgrano. I thought the sidewalkes were peligroso before...) However, even doing this was extremely painful. I thought that I had learned to pray before, but this week put an entirely new meaning. I have never had to physically rely on the Lord more in my entire life. I felt a LITTLE bit of what the Savior might have felt as he physically suffered to bring salvation to others. Sometimes I just wanted to sit down and cry, but I knew that if we did not go to our appointment this person would not have the spirit in their life that day. There were times where I litteraly felt the Savior help carry me in order to make it a few blocks.
Due to not being able to work a lot, I have tons of study time this week. I loved it. I mean I wanted to be out working so bad, but I love learning about the savior and his teachings. It is especially exciting when I am reading in Spanish and really understand it! This week I really studied Alma 38:5. I am not sure what it says in english... but in Spanish it says ´en proporcion de tu confianza en dios, será librado de tus affliciones etc.... i love that. In proportion to the amount of trust we put in God, we will be liberated from our trials. What a humbling concept.

Having so much time not working really made it special to teach. It definitely made it so that I really tried to put all my attention right then in that moment, because it would be a while before I could teach again.
This upcoming week however, I will not be going out much. They found someone who is looking at serving a mission to be a mini missionary for a week with my companion, so I am going to a different area that has a tri and they will rotate sisters to stay in the house with me. This is quite unfortunate, for them and me, but I need to help my ankle heal, because if it does not... I cant exactly work. So yeah this will be interesting. Then Tuesday is transfers so we will see where I will be next week!

Random tidbit about Argentina, they use Vos (you). It is like vosotros.  I am not sure all of the differences (I am still working on the other 5 conjugations I do use...). As missionaries we are not aloud to use it. it´s pretty casual, and uses the same (I think) conjugations as vosotros. This puts a different spin on understanding! However, it is easier to say vos than usted...

Also, everyone and their dog has a dog here. Seriously. I don´t know how because the apartments are not real big and there is not a lot of park space here. One job that this creates it the job of walking the dog. Yes this is a real big person job. They walk about 10 dogs at the same time! It´s quite interesting to see. Dogs of every size all in this big clump. I am amazed that they get along.

Daily Miracles:
Dic 2- My relationship with my companion feels like it is improving. I have never worked at a relationship more in my entire life!
Dic 3- the elders here are so amazing. I know they did not have time, but they went and picked up crutches, and then our lunch. They are so willing to do anything to help us out. I feel really bad because I know they are busy but at the same time I am so grateful for them!
4 Dic- Today we had the best lesson with Samuel. When I was talking about the Savior and his atonement, I could really feel the power of the spirit. It was really cool to see someone hear and understand for the first time that Christ is their personal savior and knows all their challenges, and how to succor them. At the end of the lesson he told us he knows it is true! I was so happy I wanted to jump up and hug him! (dont worry I refrained) it was really amazing to see how happy he was!
Dic 5- I am so grateful for my knowledge of the Savior. Today I literally felt him lift me and help me to physically do what I needed to do.
dic 6- Today I had the thought to call Anna, and investigator that we had a first lesson with but have not been able to have an appointment with for two weeks, and she answered and we got an appointment for tomorrow! I am so happy!
Dic 7- Today we went to go ask Samuel why he didn't show up to his appointment yesterday, and he was talking with some guy. Hna Snachez didnt want to interrupt them and just go to our next appointment, but I couldn't fathom walking at the moment, so we went up and talked to them. As I was sharing the scripture, Alejandro (the guy mentioned earlier) was riveted. He was super interested in what we had to say, so YAY! New investigator! Oh, and he accepted a baptismal date! WooHOo!
Dic 8-I have the best mission president in the whole entire world.

Les Quierro Monton!
Con todo mi corozón,
Hermana Sirrine

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 2, 2013 I have been here a month....

There is a Statue of Liberty in a park here!


Happy late Thanksgiving! Yes, mom, I did think about it. We have Americans in our ward and they made sure to remind me :)

This week was a medical adventure. Thursday we went to the doctor to get my foot X-rayed, and we had to go to a specific doctor.  It was up to us to figure out how to get there. Oh, and it was way far away. It ended up being about 2 hours by bus to get there! Lets just say I am real glad that my comp can speak and understand Spanish because we asked a TON of people for directions! It was super great. Dont´you fret, its not broken, however I have a consult today with some other doctor about the ligaments or something. I am not exactly sure seeing as I don´t speak Spanish... but my comp does and she talked with the mission nurse and they said I need to go. So pray that it goes well!

Donating blood! Yay!
On Saturday we got to donate blood! It was so great! It was really funny to see all the elders freaking out. Some of them were such pansies about it! The nurses there were really impressed at how many of us missionaries came to donate blood. Especially because so many of us are North American and it is not ever ´´our people´´ we are helping. When my blood was being sucked I had a nice 5 minute conversation with the nurse about why we are here and what we are doing. I am not sure if anything will come of it, but at least she knows that we are good people and helping others. (Dont worry mom, it was totally sanitary)
Me and my District Leader after donating

The past couple days President told me that I need to rest and stay off my foot, because it has been a month and it is not getting any better. So this meant I had plenty of study time. I loved it. I studied a lot about 3 Nephi 5:13. ´´For behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, Son of God. I have been called by him to declare his word among his people so they can have eternal life´´ ( I think that is correct, I have it memorized in Spanish and don't have an English BOM close)  I was amazed as I studied the power in this scripture. Read it and contemplate it, even if you are not called as a full time missionary, God has commanded all of us to share the gospel.

As I was studying it I read a lot about what a disciple is. A very simple definition I came up with is a disciple is a pupil or follower. A disciple Acts, Loves, and Gives all. Sorta changed my perspective on what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

We don´t have much success by way of numbers or missionary work right now, but we are trying. However, I can totally feel the change in me. I am starting to understand the baptism by fire concept. Sometimes things have to fall apart so that other things can fall into place. Just like when a wild fire occurs, it is painful and it seems like it is devastating, but it gives opportunity for new things to grow and take their place. I can feel this in me. I know that I have learned things in the past month that I could have learned no other way. A quote that I read and really liked is "We are never left to walk alone, no matter how dark your pathway". -Tomas S. Monson. I know that this statement is true. I have no doubt that our savior is constantly with us. He loves us and is aware of all of our needs. Only with his help can we reach our potential and become the person that we can. I know that He Lives. I am more sure of that now than I have ever been. I know that this gospel is the only way that we can return to Christ, and the only way to find true happiness.

Daily miracles:

Nov 25- I got the best letter from Leigh. It was totally positive, and exactly what I needed!
Nov 26- We had a lesson with a recent convert/ less active member and the members that we had with us were so perfect. It was especially great because he is super hard to find at home and so when we can teach him it is great!
nov 27- We had a lesson with Louis (recent convert). Every other lesson fell through, I think we had 4, so we were super happy to have a lesson with him. He is 12 but you can tell that he really knows that it is true!
Nov 28- We did not get lost in Camino going to the hospital today!
Nov 29- We had President's interviews, and man I have the best mission president ever. I am so grateful for his support and help!
Nov 30- Today as I was studying I could really feel the love of the savior through the scriptures. It was amazing. I mean I always feel peace when I am reading or studying them... but I felt such a love today. Amazing.
Dec 1- There is this man, Samuel, who is a street vendor and is super nice. He wants to learn about the gospel and we even see him reading the Book of Mormon. However, we were told we could not teach him because he does not live in our area. Today he came to our church! he said that he would rather come here because he works here every day and does not feel as comfortable at the other ward. And guess what!? Today we got permission to teach and baptize him! Today we set a date for the fifteenth of Diciembre. I am so excited. he is super open and receptive!!

I love you all so very much! I hope that you remember your Savior in this time of His birth and really search to understand his role in your life!

Love, Hermana Sirrine

Food for thought: Many people are willing to die for Christ, but the more important question is, are you willing to Live for Him?