This week was good! (yet another reason sometimes I get sick of writing about my week - I feel like I say the same things every time, ha :) A little interesting. I cant remember if I have written much about this before, but Argentina is pretty rough on the economic side of things right now. The inflation on the peso is incredible, and if I remember right, I think its $1 for 12 pesos at the moment - incredible high. That being so, there are quite a few problems in Argentina with that - the prices of everything going up, but the salaries staying the same. I have seen many different strikes going down in Argentina during my mission, but the biggest one yet happened this last week, here and in Buenos Aires. From what I understand, various people were killed, but all in BA and nothing too bad here.
I tell you all this not to make you worry, but to help paint the picture for the incredible experiences we had this last week. With all the troubles that are happening economically right now, there are so many families suffering. There is another very real problem with drugs and the law of chastity, and it is very common to see an 18 year old girl with 2 children along her side - in Parana, I met a girl who was 13 years old, and already pregnant. I literally felt my heart would break just looking at her. With the pregnancy rate so high, High School dropouts are very common, and few people have the education necessary to provide for their family. This past week, we passed various families searching through dumpsters, just trying to find something to feed their family. Perhaps the most heart wrenching was yesterday when we past a young teenage girl, searching for food while her little cried weakly in his stroller - it was the worst, because we literally had nothing to give her, other than a hug and a Book of Mormon.
This was a little of our theme this last week. On Thursday, we were walking to a lunch with a member when we passed a mom and her daughter on the curb, all their belongings in a plastic wrapped shopping cart eating a packet of crackers. Hna Perez and I headed into a nearby store, and bought all we could - bread, ham and some crackers, but when we went back to where they were seated, they had already gone. We searched almost 5 blocks in every direction, but didn't find them anywhere. After our lunch, we were determined to try and find them, and began walking through the parks and streets, contacting any needy people we came across. We spoke with Susanna for quite some time, a woman who had a beautiful life before with a car, job and family, but lost everything because of abuse and hatred. now, she lives on the street with her family scattered through all Argentina, and doesn't know where her children are. we hugged her, gave her some food, and taught her to pray. She was thrilled by the relief she felt when she truly learned how to speak with someone who understood her. She said one of the most beautiful and simple prayers I have yet heard, and it makes me tear up just thinking about it :)
Next was another homeless man, who vehemently rejected our help, and yelled all sorts of stuff about us. No thrown mashed potatoes were involved, haha, but it was still an adventure :)
We then met Javier, an incredible, incredible man. He has lived on the streets, homeless since he was 18 years old - most than 15 years. His body has been wasted by cheap wine, but he has one of the most genuine smiles I have yet seen. We sat alongside him on the sidewalk and just talked for almost 45 minutes, and learned so much about this man who had - has- so much potential. He loves basketball, martial arts, and accounting... that amazed me. Who on earth loves accounting? haha :) But he never had someone who believed in him and the talents he has and here is where he ended up. We talked to him a lot about goals, about the blessings it is to have a father who will always believe in us, and invited him to church. He is such a good man, and I hope that he finds the faith to change.
Overall, it was really an incredible week. Difficult at times, but only because I feel so effected by the suffering here - I love these people so, and wish they could recognize the light we bring them.
Truly, I think the lesson I have learned the most during my mission is exactly this - that there is no wrong, no sacrifice in this life that cannot and will not be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know my Savior lives, and that he knows how to help us - we only need to let him :)
I am so sorry! I realized going through and reading this that perhaps I sound a little weighed down or depressed - I promise that is not the case! I really am happy and doing well - how can we be anything but when we do the service of the Lord? :)
Also, Owl city just came on through the cyber speakers, so I'm happy :) Haha.
I love you all so! How grateful I am for your testimonies and efforts to live the gospel - the only thing that will ever make us happy in this life. Have the courage and love to always try to share that gift with others. How proud I am for all the examples of my family and friends who have served such worthy missions, and for your continuing efforts as members to lift the weary hands and strengthen feeble knees :) This gospel is the greatest message we have and the gift the world needs to hear!
I love you alll!!
Love, Hna Hillbill :)