Monday, September 30, 2013

Week #31 - I have arrived!

Dear Loved Ones, 

Good morning all!! It's a beautiful day here in San Nicolas, and I couldn't be happier :) I was thinking about all I have to update since I wrote last, and realized that it goes allllllll the way back to Melina's baptism! SO nuts. That was only a week ago, and yet I feel like I've been here in San Nicolas for a month at least, ha ha :)

To top off my time in Parana, Melina's baptism was amazing :) Ramiro Escalada baptized here, and HUGE amount of the ward turned out to support. It was such a blessing, because I was able to see a lot of the members before I headed out. It was so sweet to hear all the expressions of love from the members, and spend some time with them. What a blessing that ward has been for me!! Hna Miranda, Hna Gomez and Hna Negro were hard to leave - I love those girls! Especially since Hna Miranda is on a few more days of bed rest and literally can't move, it was a tough thing to leave her in that situation. But, I know that Lord will take care of her! 
With Virginia and all the kidlet crew - Cata, Luci, Octavio, y Carmela :) They brought me a stack of letters to the baptism, and a cute little notebook so that I could write them letters - along with a blue pen! They knew that was my favorite color, so they searched all the Kioscos until they found me a blue one :) I love this family!! 

I headed to the mission home early on Wednesday morning, and was up and moving by 5:15am to be at the terminal early enough to catch a collectivo to Rosario. Once we got there, we made our way to the mission home, had a meeting with Presidente Giuliani, and finally was able to find out who our new companions are! I am currently serving with.... dum dum dum... HNA NUNJA!! Ha ha, that means nothing to any of you (YET!), but she is amazing. She is the oldest of 4 children, from Peru, and has more faith and excitement for this work than any other missionary I've seen! I am so blessed to be companions with her, and am ridiculously excited :) 
Hna Giuliani, Hna Nunja, Yo y Presidente Giuliani!! 
 We made our way to San Nicolas Wed night,and had a great welcoming crew waiting for us!! Our zone leaders - Elder Rubio (nope, hes not blonde) and Elder Valladares (who was in my zone in Parana!) were waiting to help us find our pension, and waiting in front of our pension was our Bishop, dutifully stationed to help us carry our suitcases to our apartment (3 flights of stairs by the way. That was an adventure, ha ha :) Once we actually got into our apartment, added to the welcoming crew was the stinking HUGE spider on our wall, and 3 avocados in the fridge :) Needless to say, I was thrilled :)

 Although we woke up thoroughly exhausted on Thursday morning, we set off to work! Unpacked, and pulled out the area book to make a game plan. We visited a ton of less actives and members this work, and are working on getting to know the ward. The ward here in San Nicolas is WONDERFUL! They have such a love for the missionaries (we have lunches with a member every single day! For the next MONTH!. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that concept), and functions wonderfully. After having the opportunity to meet all members this Sunday, I was thinking last night about Hna Nunja and my purpose here. Truthfully, the Lord has given me a situation that is seemingly perfect - an amazing companion, a great ward, and wonderful mission leaders. With all these great ingredients, what is the Lord whipping up here in San Nicolas? Ha ha, After thinking about it, I realized that Hna Nunja and I are going to play a very important role in San Nicolas. The ward has listened to too many complaints and lamentations from the other missionaries who have served here over the years, and have a dampened attitude for the work here because of it. Almost every single member who greeted us said `Welcome to San Nicolas! We`re going to warn you right now though - the work here is really hard, and the people are really hard.` After this was repeated with almost every single member in the ward, I began to realize what our purpose is here - Hna Nunja and I need to reanimate the ward members here, and prove to them that the Lord is preparing people in every single city, in every single town, and that frankly, there is nothing special about the people here. The work is just hard everywhere in the world, ha ha :) The work is hard, because salvation is hard. But not impossible :)  

With that in mind, Hna Nunja and I are determined to find, teach, and baptize here in San Nicolas. Not because we desire this for ourselves, but because the ward, the people, need a reminder that the Lord is in charge of HIS work. We`re off to change the attitudes of every member in our ward - wish us luck , ha ha :)  

With all that sermon, here's a few more highlights of the week:

1) Elder Vasquez (District Leader) called us and asked if there was anything we needed from the mission home. I told him that Hna Nunja had forgotten her tennis shoes there, but mixed up the words :) I asked him if they could bring Hna Nunja her zapallitos(little squash) instead of zapatillas (tennis shoes), ha ha!  

2) Miracle of the Sunday! We asked for references on Sunday, and were given 2 from a member - la familia Gazzoni.  However, she couldn't remember the address of her friend, and promised to give it to us later. However, later that night we were walking back from a leccion with had with a menos activos, when we started talking with a woman who was walking along side us on the sidewalk. We started talking with her, and about halfway through our conversation, we realized that she was the exact same woman who Hna Gazzoni had referred us to earlier that day! So, we figured out where she lives, and left her with a testimony :)  

Basically, I am loving life. I have never worked harder in my life, never been more exhausted, and have never been happier (and that's saying a lot!! Ha ha :) I love you all, and encourage you all to think about what you can do this week to go the extra mile. When we fulfill all the Lord asks us to do, we are promised blessings. When we do more than what is expected? Miracles.  

With faith and a good attitude, there is nothing we cannot do! 

Love, Hna Lake

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