Monday, January 13, 2014

Week #46 - Please Pass the Ketchup!

Hey everyone!!  

To start off, I'm just going to whine a liiiiitttle bit more about the heat. Okay, no I'm not. I'm just going to say that I'm going to whine about it, and the move on, because frankly, I'm a little tired of talking about the weather. When it gets hot here, that's all anyone every talks about, haha :) 

Great week! To start off with, I bought ketchup for the first time in my mission - well, here in Argentina - and I'm not sure if it is because I haven't had some in so long or what, but I forgot how much I love it! Scrambled eggs and ketchup? I was in heaven :) Also, I get a kick out of the fact that here, they pronounce it `ket- choop`, and then look at me weird when I say `ket-chup`. Haha, the culture differences sometimes still make me giggle :) And then I just give up and say ketchoop. 

 Okay, I lied. I am going to say something about the weather, but only this - it hasn't been this hot in 40 years. I thought they were exaggerating the first 20 times I heard someone say that, but then I saw it for myself on the news when we were passing through a house, so I can say it with confidence. It hasn't been this hot in 40 years. Well, the heat wave we had about 2 weeks ago, at least :) Okay. Now I'm really moving on.  

Its been an awesome week! Awesome pday. We went to Emelia to visit the other hermanas there, and had a fun time visiting the campground of one of the members in their ward. We had a picnic, splashed around in a foot of water that was their kiddie pool, walked around, and took a million pictures :)  

And surprise! I found a MAGNOLIA Tree! Here in Argentina! I didn't even know they existed here, but sure enough - there aren't any flowers on the tree right now, but I know it's a magnolia because Hna Ruiz brought me a picture of it about a month ago when it still had flowers. Brought back memories of Tennessee :)  

The best part of my week? That I have tried to humble myself to really receive inspiration and insight from my Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father is such a gentlemen, that He will never enter into a place without being first invited - including in our own lives or minds. If you feel that God is not present in your life as much as you would wish then I invite you to take a step back, and consider what is it that is blocking His presence -because I promise you that it isn't Him. That is exactly what I tried to do this last week, and testify of the power and concern that He has for each of us.  

He knows how to help you. He wants to help you. Please let him :)  

How dearly I love you all, and how dearly I LOVE my mission! It is the greatest decision I have made thus far in my life -  road bumps, hot days, and all :)  

Love, Hna Lake

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Week #44 - Happy New Year!!!

Well, hey everyone - Happy New Year!!!

I`ll admit, none of these holidays really feel very real to me since we don't do much else to celebrate than to eat a ridiculous amount of everything (then again, that was pretty much what I did before my mission) so, I guess it is the same, haha :)  Still - it has been a wonderful week of festivities! To celebrate the New year, we went over to the house of la familia Gazzoni and had a rockin awesome dinner with the BEST meat that I have had during my mission. Basically, it was the most expensive cut (as Hno Gazzoni so proudly told me, haha) that is called the lomo... sorry, but I don't have a clue what it is in English. I have never really been one to scrutinize the different cuts of a cow, and that still hasn't changed during my mission, in spite of the fact that is given to me almost every single day. Two times a day, haha :)  Ah, my poor cholesterol (okay, funny story - I tried to spellcheck that, because I have no idea how to spell it, and forgot that the computer is in Spanish. It tried to spell check cholesterol to tornalecho, haha) 

Anyway , it was a fun day, and yet another round of fireworks. Okay. Enough with the paragraphs. Fun facts? seriously, its was easier, haha :) 

1) Here, they celebrate not only the New Year with a huge fireworks show, but on Christmas as well! I was a little puzzled when all the Latinos were pumped up for the 24th, when for me, the big moment of Christmas was the morning of the 25th. I understood a little better with the 30 minutes of fireworks started up on midnight of the 24th and woke us all up. Needless to say, I've had my fill of fireworks this past week.  

2) Fun little tidbit of Argentina, here, they have a shortage of electricity, especially during the summer when everyone is blasting AC, and even more so since Christmas is during that time and everyone is cooking, etc. So... to solve this little problem, Argentina has a nasty habit of randomly cutting the power in different neighborhoods in different cities through the country to save up on power a little bit - they`ll cut the power in your house for a day, then rotate through so that everyone has a little share of the joy, and they save up on energy that way. 

Joy, right?  

Needless to say, it was a week of surprises when our power got cut two different times. What food we had was totally ruined, and when we went to the grocery store to try and buy some more - food that didn't have to be refrigerated this time - the power keep cutting and rebooting every 10 min, so the checkout machines crashed every single time, and had to reboot. Basically, we were waiting in line for about an hour and half to buy a few things. on the plus side, we got to know the people in line with us really well :)  

3) Funny moment of the week - Hna Condori and I were trying to ask directions for a calle, and stopped to ask a group of men sitting in the street. After we started talking with them for a while, I noticed that one was talking a little funny, peeked into the store that they were sitting in front of, and realized it was full of drunk men. And, that's the story of how Hna Condori and I contacted a bar, haha :) 

Overall, a WONDERFUL week! even more so with a beautiful experience that I had this past week. I was thinking a lot about my time here in San Nicolas - the things that I encountered when I first arrived, the things I have learned along the way, and the person I have become because of my time here. I was writing and reflecting a bit in my journal, when I had the following scripture come to my mind:

Ether 12:27

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I love this scripture. I love especially the wording that we read here - not that the Lord will show us our weaknesses, or a laundry list of everything that we are doing wrong, but rather our weakness, our inability to do it alone. I have such a testimony of this promise from the Lord - that when we truly learn to humble ourselves, that the Atonement can lift us to the point where our exact character flaws that caused us such heartache before can evolve to become our greatest allies and strengths. I have such a testimony, because that is exactly what has happened here in San Nicolas :) not only with my own personal self, but with my area - I LOVE San Nicolas so much, because is the area that has pushed me and forced me to better myself than cualquier otro area.

With that in mind, I challenge you all, especially at the start of this new year, to pause and think about the things in your life that cause you grief, that cause you pain, that cause you to slip and fall. And with that in mind, I challenge you to trust in the Lord as perhaps you never have before, and have confidence in this promise. Have confidence in the promise that through a whole lot of work, time, and walking in the sun - or maybe that was just part of my progression, haha - those can turn into building blocks, into foundations of good things to come.

I love San Nicolas. I love my Mission. I love my God. I just love a whole slew of things, okay? :)

Love, Hna Lake 

(there I go again with the love)