hola mi querida familia!
I write to you from la Bella del Sol! I am finally in Argentina, serving in a tiny rama (branch) called Centro I. My companion is Hermana Ferraez, she is from Mexico and doesn´t speak any English. My goodness, this has been such an incredible week, and my heart is full with so much gratitude at everything that has transpired over the past two weeks. I have so much to tell you!
Last Monday dawned in Washington, a hot, Sherbet Orange sky. All my things packed in my bags, I said goodbye to the little blue house on the bay with my dear Sister Young. We listened to lower lights (my new favorite mission music! It´s folked out hymns and I love it) all the way to the mission office. Once there, I was blessed to receive a priesthood blessing from sweet President Weaver in my last moments in the WA-TAC. I was blessed to be watched over, and placed in the hands of the Lord throughout my time in Argentina. I was also blessed to "win many hearts" as I love them with persuasion and kindness and teaching the Good word of God. President Weaver also gave Sister Young a blessing of comfort. We have had such success in Gig Harbor, there are many investigators and many details she was left with. She was blessed to know that she can do it! That she has the capacity to care after everything and everyone in our beloved part of the WA-TAC in Gig Harbor. Saying goodbye was hard after those amazing 5 weeks together. Tears in her eyes and mine!
Elder Higginson and Elder Decker couldn´t believe it. When they pulled up and saw I was there, both exclaimed "You got your VISA!" Soon, President Weaver and his Assistants were driving us to the Airport. There was a bad accident that transpired on the freeway just left of us as we drove, we missed it by only a little bit. Thanks be to Heavenly Father for our safety! He takes care of his missionaries. This I know! Once at the Airport, both my checked bags were exactly 50 lbs.on the dot! Again, God takes care of us. I needed everything that I brought to Argentina, and was afraid they´d be too heavy.
Our journey began. A 5 hour flight practicing Spanish with the Elders en route to Atlanta (family! It was so good to talk to you, my goodness! Especially to catch so many of you before leaving to Lake Powell. I sure love you, each one of you! Sorry to cut it short, again, there were 30 or so japaneese missionaries waiting to call home). Once in Atlanta, we encountered Elder Hill from the MTC, and that was a joyous reunion. We exchanged stories and laughed and reminisced while we waited to board our flight.
The longest night of my life was the 11 hours overnight on the plane. Kind of awkward, my seat was right next to Elder Decker´s. It just feels especially weird as missionaries not to have a companion of your same gender while traveling. We tried to make the most of it by talking about why we came on a mission and attempting to nap with our seats upright through the long voyage. I did enjoy some free time to write in my journal.
And then we arrived, encountering Elder Topham and Sister Whitaker in Customs. What a joyous reunion!!! Our passports and visas were checked at long last, and our group of about 16 new missionaries were met by a bus driver sent by the mission office. He checked to make sure we were all there, put our suitcases on the bus, and we boarded. 5 more hours of chatting, sharing stories from our stateside experiences. Everyone but 2 of us sisters in the Rosario group served Spanish speaking. I was very intimidated!
Soon we found ourselves at a victorian looking building, the mission home. We met president and Sister Giuliani, wonderful wonderful people. We were blessed to spend the night in the mission home after a dinner of something like mancotti, but Argentina style.
The next day we met our companions, and were off. I was so intimidated at first, my Spanish is more limited than I thought, and Sister Ferraez speaks only Spanish. At first, I could hardly understand her, she speaks so quickly! We embarked on another journey of taxi rides and a bus for the next 4 hours. Finally, about 9:30 pm, we arrived at our little apartment. Oh, man. What days of travel!
Already my time is up. I wish I could express to you more of the transformation my life has taken in only a week! I once had a wish to never grow up. I think it´s been granted, because I speak as a little child once again! It is humbling, frustrating, enchanting, and confusing to be thrust into a new language. Spanish here is a little different, it´s Castillano (cast´ish´ahn´oh) with lots of sh sounds. But I love it. I´m understanding more and more each day, and I´m delighted to be here. I feel so grateful for all I´ve been given, truly, and look forward to all I have to learn. God is Good. He is watching over me all the time. I have no need to fear for anything, I have felt his hand guiding me already in my short time here.
I´m sorry this is so brief. I will send more details about this amazing place next week when I have more time to write. I love love love love love love love all of you!