I'm just gonna jump right into the story, because there's so much to tell you. Firstly, Last Monday after writing you and enjoying a P day of Music and Soccer at the church (I LOVE my zone in Venado Tuerto!) with the other Missionaries, Hermana Alicea and I met our investigator Fred at this beautiful, 1800s looking school in our Area. Remember Fred? Hes our investigator who teaches English and asked if we spoke English, too. Well, he is only 19 and studying to become a teacher, but has already started his Practicum in teaching younger students English as well. He told the faculty at his school about us, and they were to tickled to have native english speakers that they invited us as Guests to speak to the whole teacher training college at the school! Hermana Alicea and I were so nervous at first, it was over 50 adult students (our age, college students) and the two head of department teachers in their 50s or 60s. We were overcome with excitement. We brought our Amercan quarters, pennies, 20$ bills and 1$ bills and photos of the US and our families in our bags as visual aids and said many prayers in our hearts. Fred invited us into the class, where we were met with a round of applause. It turned out, all they wanted was for us to speak in English so they could hear our accents. I felt like a movie star--everyone gazed at us in awe as we spoke. We shared why we're here in Argentina as missionaries, some of the things that surprised us about the culture, things we love about Argentina (like the food and the loving people). We shared our pictures and money by passing them around, expressed a little about our country and culture in the United states. We talked about the things that are hard about learning Spanish, and they in turn shared what is difficult about learning English. After sharing a little about these things, the questions began to fire from eager hands raised around the room. It was so neat to be able to have this cultural exchange with this fantastic Students, working so hard to become teachers of the English Language. And, in true miraculous fashion--as God always works this way--we were able to share a gospel message as well. Fred mentioned to the faculty that we sing, and so, after the eager cheers of every person in the room, we proceeded to sing "Come thou Fount" in English, and "I am a Child of God" and "Away in a Manger" in Spanish. We briefly shared our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, gave pass along cards, and invited them all to our chapel por 25 de Mayo y Junin. After we closed with a Prayer, which I offered in both Spanish and English, we were smothered with kisses on our cheeks and hugs from the women, and firm handshakes and broad smiles from the men. I wish I could describe the feeling that swelled in that room--it seemed like heaven would descend in a moment. We had two people ask us about our beliefs and if we could come visit them personally to share more about our message. The faculty were delighted with us, and asked us if we could come volunteer to help in their classroom a little every week. We of course, happily obliged. When we told our District leader about this experience in our nightly phonecall from him, he was ecstatic, and exclaimed "You're teaching multitudes like the prophets of old in the book of Mormon!" It was a treasure. Hermana Alicea and I couldn't stop grinning as we walked to our dinner appointment with Presidente Antuña and his family.
Tuesday we got another daily miracle. I prayed, with Hermana Alicea, specifically for 4 new investigators. At 11:30 am, we contacted a reference as given by one of the members, and the mother and daughter were cooking empanadas. They invited us inside to sit while they continued to cook, and we were soon joined by the Husband and son. We shared a brief message about the book of Mormon, and they invited us to come back. We left with a prayer and a grin on our faces. A family of 4, a lesson shared, and a return appointment. We received our daily miracle of 4 new investigators.
Wednesday Morning, Hermana Alicea told me she had slept awful the night before. Sometimes she gets very nervous in her sleep, and dreams about teaching appointments. She talks in Spanish in her sleep, and ends up waking herself up from the talking. Some nights she does not sleep much at all, and this particular morning was harder than the others. I think we Boren's certainly know about insomnia and sleep depravation. We said a prayer and she began to cry during companionship study. I called Elder Vergara and asked if we could meet at the Church for Hermana Alicea to receive a priesthood blessing. He replied of course, and that he'd be there in twenty minutes. We walked arm in arm to the chapel, and were met by Elder Vergara, Elder Tyndall, Elder Perkins, and Elder Solomon. Elder Vergara had brought his hymnal in English to sing to her to offer some comfort. We gathered around the piano in the chapel, and he played Be Still my Soul and Abide With Me, Tis Even Tide. I rubbed Hermana Alicea's back as we sat on the pews and listened a while, singing where we remembered the words. And then these four Elders, Righteous, erect young men Gathered around my precious companion to offer her a blessing. Elder Vergara offered a beautiful blessing of comfort. The warm spirit that filled our hearts, I will never forget. I am so grateful for the priesthood in my life. I'm grateful for the power of God on Earth, for us, to lead us, guide us, and direct us. I was also amazed at the love and care and concern that emanated from these good Elders in behalf of my Companion and her welfare. God is Good.
Feeling much better, Hermana Alicea and I set out to work, contacting, studying, looking for new investigators, and cracking up laughing during our language study.
Wednesday night at 10 pm the phone rang, Caller ID reading Assistant to the President. We answered nervously, not knowing why they would be calling unless we were in trouble! Elder Milheim told Hermana Alicea and I that we would be having emergency transfers. Three sisters had received their clearance to come to the Rosario Mission and would be arriving the next day. Hermana Alicea and I would both be training, Hermana Alicea would be staying in Venado Tuerto, and I would be leaving to open a new area in Cañada de Gomez, also training. We couldn't believe it.We were stunned, heartbroken, and overwhelmed in the same moment.
I packed my suitcases in a hurry the next morning, and Hermana Alicea tidied up. Almost all of our zone met at the chapel to have a mini farewell party for me--they made this super cute card that all of them signed, with Disney princesses on the front, and had printed me a picture of our district making funny faces. It was my turn to receive a blessing of comfort. Elder Vergara offered a beautiful blessing of counsel and comfort, and then they all sang "God be With you till we meet again" while I just bawled. I can't begin to express how much I love them and miss them. They have truly become my family on the mission. Venado Tuerto is sacred ground to me, now. I will forever love that city and hope, with all my heart, to return someday. It was hard not to have any time to say goodbye to members, to Ema y Jose, to Hermana IlsePuck, to no one. But at least I got that sweet farewell from my zone :)
Hermana Alicea and I traveled to the Mission Home. We couldn't believe we were already back. Soon we met our trainees--Hermana Alicea is training a Missionary from Peru, who has already been serving 3 months in Peru. I am now Training Hermana Martinez from Honduras, who is brand spanking new from the MTC. She only has 3 weeks in the mission. I am a for real trainer this time, and I cant believe it!
We came to our area in Cañada de Gomez with 5,000 pesos to buy furniture for our apartment from the Mission Secretary. We spent the first night on sketchy mattresses in our little room, and the next day we came to know every single furniture and mattress store in this city. My goodness, there are so many life experiences I never thought I'd have on my mission! We finally have the materials we need all situated in our apartment.
Well, there's so much more to tell you. But I'll leave it at this: Pray for me. I am certainly being humbled right now, especially whitewashing while training for the first time, and opening everything up brand new. I have so much to learn. Thank you for your love, your prayers, and everything. Love you so much, family of mine.