|Leaving Seattle-After finding out we got our visas/had to pack/close our area/everything else, |
guess my brain was a little fried, I literally walked out the door with two different shoes?
View from President pension.
Wow, I can´t believe I finally get to say that!
So obviously a lot has happened in the last two weeks.
It was a lot harder than I ever thought it would be to leave Washington. I really found a place in my heart for the people there, and it was especially emotional knowing that we had to close the area we´d worked so hard to grow. Only because they didn´t have housing for more Spanish sisters. But, seeds are planted, there are connections being made, and The Lord has a grand plan for the people there, I know it!
We left Seattle on Monday morning, arrived in Atlanta, where we met dozens of other missionaries on their way down to Argentina. Four of us from our original district were reunited, and there was definitely a buzz of excitement as the moment we´d all been waiting so long had finally arrived.
The flights were....long. and no one really slept. We arrived in Buenos Aires mid-morning on Tuesday, and then we were whisked away to the mission office there to await further instructions. We filed papers, got some tips, and then had lunch. Then they stuck 12 of us on a bus with some guy, and off we went. He wasn´t a member, didn´t speak English, and frankly, we had no idea where we were going. and, neither did he. we drove around for hours stopping every once in a while for him to ask directions and take a smoke break. We all just kept counting our blessings that we were together. We ended up at some public office where we were asked to fill out papers, and give all kinds of personal info, we all felt like we were signing our lives away. eek.
Then we were herded back onto the bus, and ended up at the airport. Finally, Mendoza bound.
We finally arrived in Mendoza at about 9:30 Tuesday night, and President and Hermana Avila met us at the airport. Can I just say, they are FANTASTIC! I loved them instantly!
We had dinner at their penthouse that night, and then stayed at a hotel near the misison home. The next morning we went to get instructions and find out who our new companions would be.
My new companion is Hermana Keller, she´s a native of Buenos Aires, with a German dad and a Japanese mom. AND, she learned English from Britney Spears. HA!
She speaks beautiful Castellano, and we are seriously so alike it´s scary! She has Chrons, so the food thing, we just battle it together. it´s nice to have someone who understands and can help me work the system. So don´t worry mom, I´m not starving!
We hopped on another bus to our area, which is in the city of Tunuyán. Our area is mostly ¨country¨ which really it turns out is just code for ¨has absolutely NO lights!¨ so the work is interesting, we have to work our schedule a little differently in order to make the most of the daylight hours.
This area has only ever had elders! We´re the very first hermanas, ever. Which, to be honest, we know why....
Our apartment is named Sebastiana, and it´s actually really nice. we don´t really have hot water, or a heater, but it´s big, and has a door that locks! Due to the fact that it´s only ever housed elders, we had to spend quite a bit of time putting some love (and a lot of scrubbing) to even make it liveable. But it´s home now, and we like it.
So... the work here. It´s... extremely different. Like I said, our area is extremely spread out, very poor, and to be honest, a little sketch. But. The capilla here is huge! and super nice. La rama split not too long ago, and so there was a substantial amount of members....notice that word WAS. We met with the president our first night here, and he told us that there are over 500 members in the branch... living somewhere out there...but they only have about 30 that attend...on a good day. So, we´ve got our work cut out for us as far as reactivation goes.
There are a lot of hard feelings, and a lot of ¨reasons¨why people have chosen to go inactive... but honestly it just comes down to helping them ¨keep that fire burning¨and reminding them of their testimonies. We´ve met with several families this week, and they´re great people. They just have kind of lost sight of the things that are most important.
President Avila told Hermana Keller before we came that he was sending us to one of the toughest areas. He told her that things here have been a little corrupta, and that it needed a different flare. Welp, we´re working hard to figure out what that is.... I´ve never been so tired in my life. physically, mentally, spiritually. We walk, ALOT. la pensión is out of our area. and there seriously is just so much to do and cover and fix. but un día a la vez. one day at a time.
This week in my Book of Mormon reading, I read Mosiah 4. I love King Benjamin. But this chapter talks a lot about our roles in this life, as members of the church, as brothers and sisters, as children of God. We have so much to be thankful for. And ¨with great (blessings) comes great responsibility¨. We have the priviledge of loving, serving, and uplifting one another. Without that structure, the church doesn´t function. I´ve never known how true that was until now.
I´ve never had such a strong feeling of gratitude for all that we have there in Utah. Our house is a palace! Clean water is a blessing, hot water is a luxury. Knowing that there will always be food on the table is something that I will never take for granted. Knowing that there´s something moving in my food is something I can definitely go without knowing. Families are everything, and the eternal kind is the only kind for me. There are a lot of dark and scary things in this world, but we have the light that can conquer it all. The church is true, no matter where you are in the world. The people are different, and everyone has their problems. But one thing I will always know to be true is that Christ lives! He is the Savior of the world, and his grace is sufficient for us all! I love this gospel and I thank my Heavenly Father every day, ten times a day, for the opportunity he has given me to be his missionary.
I love you all, and although I´m half way around the world, I can feel of your love and prayers. They keep me going. And I hope that you can feel them all being sent right back!
Until next week.
Your Hermana Cox