Monday, September 9, 2013

Week #28 - Choosing to be happy!

Hello all!!

I seriously never know how to start these emails. I feel like these ´talking to myself conversations´ that I send off every week (complete with me laughing at my own jokes) are getting increasingly more awkward. Truth be told, I´ll bet that's why RMs have a reputation of being a little awkward - talking to yourself this much will take a toll for sure, ha ha :)  

Anyway, with that soapbox on awkwardness, you know that this is going to be  good letter, ha ha :) Let's hit it off with some more fun facts about Argentina, shall we? I feel like its been a while since I had some good ones.  

1) I learned something vitally important this week. In Harry Potter, you know how Voldemort has the nickname of ´He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named¨? (I´ll have you know all that punctuation is very difficult to do on an Argentine keyboard). Well in Spanish, his nickname is actually ¨Ya-Sabes-Quien¨, which pretty much translates to ¨You-Know-Who¨. Really, that has nothing to do with anything, but I thought it was funny :) 

2) In Argentina, the President (Cristina) passed a law a little while back that nothing could be sold in Argentina that wasn't made in Argentina. It was a slightly socialistic move in efforts to boost the economy, and has caused some serious problems with the work here. Since the church cannot send us supplies due to that law, there are no triple combinations in the whole mission (Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants together - other revealed scripture), no garments, no Restoration pamphlets, and we just used our last sacrament cups this Sunday. It makes for some serious adventures - at one point this year, the mission totally ran out of Book of Mormons, ha ha! From what I heard, it was a little difficult to baptize without being able to give away B of Ms, but the work kept moving forward anyway! :) 

3) Summer is starting to hit, and along with nasty heat, all the Jasmin flowers have started to bloom! Man, they smell so wonderful, and I have seriously contemplated pulling some tricks back from Eden and my childhood days. When we lived in Arizona, we used to pick rose petals, put them in empty milk jugs, add water, and try to sell our ´perfume 'to all the old ladies in our street, ha ha :) I might try the same trick with the Jasmine, who knows? 

4) Jill! A guy in my ward here recently returned from the London South mission, who says he knew you - Elder Maura Mansilla? no idea if you remember him or not, but he said he recognized your name, and served in your mission :)  

Also, before I forget - will someone please update me on whatever Obama did this time? It seems like every person we talk to on the street makes it sound like American is heading into WWIII - something about Obama wanting to declare war on Syria? Not sure, but everyone here seems to think that my country is falling apart. Then again, that could just be the Spanish dramatic flare :)  

In other news, I totally got bit by a stinkin´ dog this week! Man, I strongly dislike these dogs. It wasn't  bad enough to do damage through my coat and skirt, but I´ve had a serious bruise on my left thigh for the last week, and a new fear of anything 4 legged. Or 3 legged.  

My favorite 3 legged dog that lives in our neighborhood. We pass this good ol guy everyday, and I have affectionately nicknamed him ¨ Señor  Silver¨ after long john silver. He's great!
Exequiel's baptism! It was so awesome to have 5 of the less-active aunts attend the church meetings and Exequiel's baptism this past week :) Such a wonderful miracle! Annnnd, as always here, I got stuck in the back, haha :)

Miracles of the week! I told you to stay tuned, didn't I? Sure enough, there is more :) 

1) We were teaching piano lessons to Priscila and her sister Elen, and Hna Miranda was talking wtih the Mom, Luciana. Luciana said something along the lines of ´wow, its been an awfully long time since I've been in this chapel´. Hna M did some investigating, and we learned that Luciana is a lost member! (sounds like something from Peter Pan, huh?) She was baptized when she was 11, but we have no idea where her records are. It was awesome, and we know that the Lord wanted us to find another one of his daughters :) 

2) We taught Evelyn yesterday - remember her? The heavily pierced girl who was walking a pig? She is a little eccentric, but amazing! The lesson went wonderfully - she agreed with everything we said, and is seriously, hardcore prepared (can you be hardcore prepared? No se'). We are so excited to teach her more, and are thrilled with all the miracles here!  

3) We also dropped by Joel's family - the little boy with the kite who we found in the street, who was so excited that Christ was living? We did some wandering in some pretty sketchy parts of town (hurrah for prayers and guardian angels) and finally found the family. Joel's mom is only 26, and has 6 children, all of who constantly wander the streets, and seriously need some love. We knew it was Joel's birthday that day, so we brought him a little bag of suckers that we purchased at the nearby grocery store the day before. He was THRILLED! It was really sweet. He told us that they hadn't celebrated at all for his birthday, and was so happy to have some sweets to celebrate with :) We taught him and all his siblings about prayer, and Christ, and they all wanted pictures of Christ by the time we left. Joel and his sisters then walked us back to the main road, when Joel mentioned that his grandma lived close by. We did some investigating (you seriously do so much of that as a missionary) and learned that his grandma is Mirta - a lady who we have already been teaching for about 2 weeks now.  We didn't even knowing that they were related! We were completely blown away by that, and have a lesson with a member in the grandma's house this next week with Joel and his siblings. So excited :)  

Basically, life is awesome. The language is coming slowly and surely, and my English is leaving, slowly and surely as well (obviously, from my letters :) But I love being a missionary. I love choosing to be happy, I love serving everyday, and I love loving other people (again, with the English). 

I have been thinking a lot about a quote that my Mom always says, from Sister Hinckley - ¨Be kind to everyone; for everyone is fighting a hard battle¨.  How true that is! Sometimes, we have to remember that life is hard, and everyone is truly doing the best they can. We have no right to be impatient or judge another for their situations - when we choose to be kind, you will be able to look past flaws, and love like you have never loved before. That is what it means to have Charity :) 

Speaking of which, I love you all! Thanks for supporting me, and supporting my family while I am gone. You can probably guess which one means more to me - it is the same wtih our Heavenly Father. May we all choose to support HIS children, every day :)  

My awesome MTC companion finally made it to Argentina, and I was SO thrilled to see her at the training :) She was so excited and happy, that she pretty much burst into tears as soon as I saw her, haha :) It was wonderful! (Note the nametag - Hermana Lago)
Con Cariño,  

Hna Lake

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