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Monday, August 25, 2014

Leaving the CCM!!! (MTC)

HOLA!!!!  I leave for the CCM in the manana!!!  I have some bad news they told us that we can't call in the morning!  I'm so sorry to get all of your hopes up! But I propably won't call.  Anyways my flight number is AR1260 and I leave at 5 in the morning my time, so that's like what, 2AM back home?  They should let me email when I get to my mission to just tell you that I made it!  Oh and one more thing from now on my pday is on Monday! Love you all!!!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week 5

Familia y Amigas,
To be honest, this week has pretty much been just a normal week at the CCM.  They changed our prosyliting area Saturday.  We didnt really have a big spiritual lesson like the last two but it was good!  This area had a lot more kids!  We did meet this one little girl that was so cute she reminded me of Lillie!  It's so fun to talk to the little kids.  She told us her favorite disney princess was Sophia the 1st and her favorite movie was the Mickey Mouse 3 Musketeers movie.  I told her I had a sister close to her age, and she was way interested in Lillie!  She was so cute. 
I also feel like my Spanish is slowly getting better!  I can understand nearly everything that's said to me now! its speaking with the right grammar that's hard!  It's alright though.  I'm working hard and Heavenly Father makes up the rest!  People can usually understand me!
I have a funny story today!  First of all, the elders in our district are great!  One of them has one of those super, old super loud alarm clocks, and they've been taking turns setting it to wake each other up at different times in the night. Elders Hartvigsen and Bentley made it clear that if the clock went off in their room there would be consequences!  Ignoring their warning, one elder hid SIX alarms in their room with the annoying one last.  The Elders slept through a few alarms but woke up twice before the annoying one went off.  When they finally found it, at 3 or 4 in the morning, they looked at each other, looked at the window, Elder Bentley opened the window and Elder Hartvigsen threw it right out of their second story window, and went right back to bed!  Probably the funniest thing ever!  Poor Elder Wilson doesn't have an alarm clock now, but hey, he got a natural consequence!
We also have had new American sisters that I dont think I've talked about yet! They're great!  Their names are Hermanas Bohemer and Farish!  Hermana Farish plays the piano and stuff, shes really nice but we dont have a ton in common, Hermana Bohemer on the other hand actually plays BASKETBALL!!!!!!  She's pretty good and we play during physical activity sometimes. It's awesome to be able to play, but I miss the team!  We also play tons of soccer!  It's fun too, because the court is so small its like playing indoors!  I FINALLY scored a goal yesterday!!!!!  I'm actually getting pretty good! 
Well that's pretty much all I have this week!  This is the last CCM EMAIL!!!!!  I leave for ParaguayTuesday morning!!!!!!  Can't even tell you how excited I am! 
Love, Hermana Austin

Here are some more pictures!  This is the last group of Latinas and the other American sisters!  Hermana Ruiz is the one Latina I'm with in that picture. She's amazing!  We got pretty close so fast!  We actually exchanged jewelry when she left. I have a Argentina bracelet she had, and she has a pair of my earings!  She's amazing and I miss her!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Week 4!!!!

Familia y Amigas!

This week was amazing! Literally, I don't even know where to start! I will start with prosyliting on Saturday because it was awesome. We were knocking doors like normal, right accross from the church actually, and we ran into Pedro. He's twenty one and a really short and stocky Latino. Honestly, he reminded me a lot of Chris Warner, only Latino, not Asian. Anyway, he seemed really interested in the church, and we taught him a little about the Book of Mormon, and told him that it can literally change lives! He told us when we finished that hes been needing something like this in his life. We also told him that God loves and knows him personally and wants him to be happy. This really meant a lot to him. He told us he has a four year old daughter, and what he wants most for her is to know and understand that there's always someone who knows and loves her. It was amazing. We got his contact information as a reference and told him that other missionaries would come visit him and talk more about the church. He was amazing and I hope our contact with him goes somewhere.
Another story from prosyliting that was just as incredible was Ana, Juan, and Paz.  Remember that guy with the wife who's an alcohol addict I talked about last week? We were in the same area on Saturday and we decided we should go back and talk with him again for a minute, so we went over to where he said his house was and clapped at the door. His son, Juan answered. Juan told us that Mariano (the dad) wasn't there right now. I, being the amazing missionary I am, asked him if we could teach him for a minute. He said that would be great and INVITED US INSIDE!!!!! His sister Paz (Peace in english) was there too, and she joined us while we taught OUR FIRST DISCUSSION INSIDE A HOUSE!!!! Literally, the coolest thing ever. We taught them a little about basically everything. We were just about to wrap up and I was bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon when Ana walked through the door. She is the mom/wife. She was confused to see us, and Juan told her who we were and she seemed REALLY interested to hear our message.  So we started teaching her, I will tell you right now, I've never felt the Spirit so strongly as I did on Saturday. Hermana Thorne started to bear her testimony at the end, and I looked up and Ana was crying. She was so grateful for us and told us that she needed this message. She was feeling the Spirit. We closed with a prayer, and I said it. Honestly, there wasn't anything special about it. I gave a normal prayer, but I really put my whole heart and soul into it. When I finished I looked up and Ana was crying again. She thanked us again for coming and it was obvious they didnt want us to leave, but we needed to go back to the bus. (We had been there for at least an hour.) Paz asked us what we liked to do and Hna Coleman and I both said basketball, and they both thought that was interesting because basketball isn't very big here. Anyways, when Hermana Thorne said she was a singer they asked us to sing something. We agreed and decided to sing I Am A Child of God. We sang the first verse twice, once in English and once in Spanish. I never realized the power the words in that song have. It's a song you learn when you're a baby and sing your whole life, but I think you never really realize it's importance until you sing it to someone who doesn't understand the gospel. The song was amazing and Ana cried AGAIN! The spirit was so strong in that lesson, and I am so sad that I dont get to go back and teach them again. I really hope the missionaries go back to teach them. We got their contact info and everything. Oh, and mom, they wanted to add us on facebook 'll give you their info later.
Anyways, aside from prosyliting we had an awesome fireside on Sunday. Hna Thorne sang The Olive Tree which is beautiful, and there was a Latino elder who sang I'm Trying to be Like Jesus, which was also beautiful, but the best part was at the end. We sang Hijos De Dios. I'm not sure what it translates to in English, but it's a mash up of As Sisters In Zion and Armies of Helaman.  It's beautiful , look it up! Music is amazing!!! 
I don't have much more time for today, so I'll end with that. Thank you all for the emails and support. I love you guys!!! The Chuch is TRUE!! Have an AMAZING week!!!!!

Love, Hermana Austin

Friday, August 8, 2014

Week 3!!!

Familia y Amigas,

Hola! It's been such a crazy week! This week literally flew by! Mostly in this email I want to talk about prosyliting! IT WAS AMAZING!!! Mom, I have a few missionary miracles we felt during prosyliting. My Spanish is horrendous, but it was really amazing to see how well I could speak while we went prosyliting. There is no way I would even be able to say anything with out the help of The Lord. That's miracle number one. 

Number two is we actually ran into a few people who spoke a little bit of English and were really receptive to the message. Literally, the second guy we ran into was Claus. He was this really old guy with a GIANT black dog. (Literally, there are dogs everywhere here, but Claus' dog is the biggest I've seen, he was huge!) Anyways, we started to tell him who we were and about the church and he was willing to listen. He isn't very religious but he told us there was this light about us that he couldn't ignore. That hit me so hard and I realized people can tell there's something different about us and it has nothing to do with the fact that we're pretty Americans, or from the states. It's the gospel of Christ. People are attracted to our message because we're different. Anyways, we taught Claus a little about the Savior and God and the Holy Ghost and left him with a Book of Mormon! We also took down his information for the elders in the area.

The last thing I want to talk about is the guy we taught after Claus. He also spoke English and was way interested in the gospel. He's a strong Catholic and enjoyed the message. He told us that he'd been an alcoholic in the past and had sworn off the stuff for 11 years, but his wife needed help. We told him about our church and the word of wisdom and that we were proud of him for his decision and that the missionaries could help his wife if she was receptive. Apparently she's a pretty bad drug addict. We also got his info and he said we were an answer from God. 

That's mostly all I have to say about prosyliting, but I realized that this gospel changes lives! You always get told that growing up but I didn't realize how amazing the message really is until you talk with real people that don't have it in their lives!  I am going to be making a difference in three short weeks and Im so excited!Prosyliting was an amazing experience and I'm so excited to go again this Saturday!
Other than prosyliting things here are pretty much the same. One thing thats different is that since the old Americans left, we needed some new leadership for Sundays.  President called me to be the Sister Training Leader on Friday. Basically it means I make sure all the American sisters are doing okay, and I'm pretty much the Relief Society president on Sundays, which is cool I guess. Lots of responsibility though. I'm only just realizing how much of a blessing playing basketball was in high school. I relate so much to that experience and have realized it made me a really good leader. Being a leader isn't hard, but I learned how to do it in that experience, and I'm glad I dont have to learn that while Im here! (Haha) I've already got enough on my plate! 
We also got a new group of Americans! I really like the Hermanas. There are two of them, and they're both really nice! There are some new elders, too. They have strong testimonies. I still miss the group that just left a lot mainly because of physical activity. There were four of us who played bball every day and Elder Stone left!  so now there are only three: my comp, Elder Call, and me. It's kinda hard to play ball with three of us, so we usually just end up playing soccer. I don't love soccer like I love bball, BUT I am getting better at it! Hopefully I'll be way good for the Copa in 2016! 
Anyways, that's all I've got for today! Don't worry about me at all, cause I really am doing great! Some things have been hard, but the good outweighs the bad most days! I love you all tons have a good week!

Hermana Austin

Friday, August 1, 2014

Semana Dos (Week 2!)

Family and Amigas,

Dad, you said you wanted honesty so I'm going to be honest. This week was harder than last. I didn't tell you about these guys last week, but I made some new friends really fast when I very first got here. There were six American sisters already here when I showed up and I became really good friends with all of them in bassically ten days. They remind me a lot of my friends back home and I think that's probably why we got so close so fast. Anyway, I had so much fun with them and then they left the MTC on Tuesday morning and suddenly my companions and I are the only American sisters here until later today when two more show up. I've been pretty homesick without those guys. I'll tell you a little about them so you understand.

Hermana Border is from North Salt Lake and was probably one of the funniest people I know. She was constantly cracking jokes and making people laugh. We spent a lot of time just chatting about home and stuff the last little while. Hermana Jones is another one that I feel really close with all of a sudden. She was a cheerleader at BYU (Hannah maybe you've  heard of her?) Anyway, she's way cool and we just kind of get each other. She grew up in a sports home and always watched football on Sundays and stuff so we could relate really well. There's also a Sister Wiscomb that I got to be really good friends with.  She was awesome and I'm so glad I got to know her. She's a little older for a sister, like 20 I think, but she is way cool. All of us would stay up after hours (I'm a rebel I know) and have heart to hearts like I used to with my friends back home. Needless to say, I was sad to see them go, but I'm sure I'll see them again in the future. I don't think that was the end!  It was so cool to get to know them.  That's one thing I'm going to learn on my mission. I think you say goodbye to people you love and care about all the time, and it hurts every stinking time!  I'm doing better today though. Oh, and BTW, those three that I told you about are all serving in the Paraguay Asuncion North Mission. I'm hoping I run into them sometime in the next few months cause it would be awesome!

Another goodbye that was hard this week was the Latinas in our room. We got to be pretty close with them and they taught us SO MUCH SPANISH!!!!! I learned more from Hermana Sanchez and Barridos than I did in the classroom. That goodbye was really weird because I'll probably never see those two again. I think I'll be having a lot of those in the next 18 months and that's going to be hard.

Also, I kind of feel like I'm getting worse and worse at Spanish. The first two weeks you just speak as much as you can and don't care about the grammar. Now I know all the rules and I'm a little less confident because of it. I'm still working hard though, and I know it'll pay off in the end. It's gonna be a work in progress.

Anyway, that's pretty much it for the week. It's  been kind of a rough few days but I think I'll be moving up from now on!  (At least until I leave the MTC.) One more thing, we're going PROSELYTIZING on Saturday!!!!!! They're letting us out of prison to go preach to actual people for four hours!  (haha) I know I'm not in prison but I feel like it sometimes. The MTC is tiny and we can't leave the grounds! My new friends had lots of fun stories from proselytizing and I'm excited for that!

Also another funny story. The Latino elders are obsessed with American sisters! It's creepy, I know, but they all have crushes on us and everything. I feel like a celebrity. They're always asking to have their picture taken with us. They think we're really pretty. I'll try and send pictures soon to help you understand a little. Basically I'm a really attractive person in Argentina, which is REALLY weird.

I also want to thank mom and dad for the candy really fast! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A REESES PEANUT BUTTER CUP IN SOUTH AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   My friends were so happy to see those and we used to eat them all the time.  (hint: If you want to send me a package, REESES will always be a good thing to send.) I'm going to have withdrawals when I run out and I'm not looking forward to it.

That's all I have for this week. I love you guys and I miss you.  Thank you for writing, and keep writing!  P-day emails are a huge part of what keeps me going! I print them off and read them over and over!

Love you all!

Hermana Austin