Thank you for your birthday wishes. I love you all more than you know! Thank you for the 22 beautiful years of life that I've been able to spend with you! And though I've had all of my 21st year apart from you physically, I have felt you near spiritually on so many occasions. ¡LA BENDICIÓN MAS LINDA DE MI VIDA ES LA FAMILIA QUE TENGO! I thank my Father in Heaven every day for all of you.
It has already been a marvelous day. Firstly, it's my first and only time to have a Winter Birthday, which I think is pretty cool :) also, Because we are Sister Training Leaders (o Capacitadoras), my comp and I each have our own phones. Hermana Rasband has been scheming this past week with Hermana Sainsbury and Hermana Shotwell of 5 Esquinas B through text, and this morning while I was in the shower Hermana Rasband sneakily let both of them in. They had gotten up a little early to make me breakfast and get ready, and came over from their apartment at about 7:15 and waited outside our apartment til the "coast was clear" from Hna Rasband. When I came out of the shower they were standing with a giant pink sign that says "FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS" and started singing while I stood there in my towel. I was so surprised I even screamed, how embarassing! It was really sweet of them. We enjoyed crepes with peaches and syrup, and the sisters stayed for Personal and Comp study. They're just the sweetest. My phone began blowing up with phone calls this morning from President Giuliani, Hermana Alicea, Hermana Van Wagnen, Virginia (a ward Member), My District Leader and the Elders that live with him, and Hermana Martinez all calling to wish me a happy Birthday. I feel so loved! Later today we're getting together to eat Authentic Argentine Pizza and take a field trip as a zone to Walmart to celebrate (who knew! There's a WALMART in Paraná! I'll tell you how it compares next week.)
The street jugglers in Paraná have kicked it up a notch. It's nice because the big cities always have the most skilled street jugglers. With the cold weather, they've kicked it up a notch and light some of their juggling bars on fire. It's kind of intimidating to cross the street sometimes because in the middle of the crosswalk there's a man with dreadlocks down to his knees juggling fire, but we always find a safe way to mosie around him. I wish I could describe how neat it is to see them dance and juggle at the stoplights. Like live magicians that just poured out of the novel INKHEART onto Argentine Pavement.
This week Hermana Rasband and I both traveled to Esperanza in the Provincia of Santa Fe. Usually one of us stays behind and the other travels, but this week we had the privilege of both going to work with the Sisters in Esperanza for another CHOQUE DE FUERZA. While We waited in line to board the Colectivo, Two random folks from the Paraná News, with a news camera, light, microphone, and everything rushed to us and shoved the microphone in my face and began spurting the question, "HOLA, COMO TE LLAMÁS VOS?" And I responded that I'm Hermana Boren, and I'm from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They began asking If I was traveling for the long weekend (This past Friday was Dia de la Bandera, or Argentine Flag Day), and we explained that we're headed to Esperanza to preach the Gospel of Christ with other Missionaries there. They looked a little miffed that this was our response, but I just smiled and they walked away, looking to flash interview other people. I have no idea if it actually made television but it was a fun chance to share at least the name of the church with the news caster and camera man. Every day is literally a new adventure!
Esperanza was so much fun. Hermana Rasband served there before for 6 months, so it was like going to Disneyland with a little kid she was so excited. The other Sisters, Hermana Haynes & Hermana Wilde, only have 2 beds in their apartment, so I set up camp on the tile floor with a few blankets. As the little bear kid says in Brother Bear, "It was the fifth or sixth most coldest day of my entire life!" It was a fun mission sleepover, filled with laughter, hard work, and spiritual experiences. It's amazing to see what 4 determined sister missionaries can accomplish in an evening. We found several new investigators, Contacted A FUL, Invited many to baptism (many declined, pero no importa). My favorite part was singing hymns and Comp study. The spirit filled the room as we had a 4 part harmony to Joseph Smith's First Prayer.
Saturday Morning we were Back in Paraná and had a miracle. Rosa, Eric's mom, was FINALLY home. We taught her the Restoration with Eric and Tatiana there, and the best part was that Eric taught half the lesson. He explained the first vision in his own words, offering his sincere testimony to his smiling mother, explaining how he's come to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that this is the Restored church of Christ. His words were simple but so sincere, and the light that filled Rosa's face was without words to describe it. She accepted our invitation to baptism without hesitation. Now the struggle is helping her come to church, But I know that the changes she's seen come to her son's life through his Church Membership will help her feel that desire. Thank you for your prayers for this family! We're still teaching Brenda but she is having a real struggle with the word of Wisdom.
Gloria, our beautiful, 57 year old investigator who lives right on the River Paraná is doing Great. She also has accepted a baptismal date and she is always excited to learn more when we go to her home.
Paco, a homeless reference we received from Hermano Coria our ward mission leader, 1) EXISTS (we have had the hardest time finding him because he's a homeless person. We began thinking he was Hermano Coria's imaginary friend or something, we were told that sometimes he hangs around a certain Meat shop or in front of this house. Well, we finally found him!) 2)Had a great family night lesson in the Coria home with him this past Monday 3) CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! 4)Told us he's been reading the book of mormon and sharing passages with his Sister, with whom he sometimes stays the night. We are so excited for him and know that the Gospel will get him sober, change his life, and help him learn to be self-reliant and have self confidence.
Last story--Sebastian is a 6 foot 5 man that we thought was going to rob us a few weeks back, it was during the quiet time of the siesta and he walked up to us REALLY fast, we were a little afraid. When we saw him smiling we were a little less afraid. First he asked if we were Jehovas Witnesess, and we explained that we're actually from La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días. We explained where the church was and at what time and gave him a pamphlet of the Restoration. He said he'd come to Church the next Sunday and walked off. We were both so surprised we forgot to even ask him for his address or number! We felt so stupid afterwards and felt like we'd lost out on a big miracle. This is about 3 weeks ago. But, HE CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! And we're going to teach him this week!
God is Good. He loves us. I trust him and I know that I must always trust him and keep His commandments in order to be happy.
Thanks for the best 22 years :) Sepan que los amo con todo mi corazón y que mando un abrazo gigante. Sé que Dios me ama porque me mandó a ustedes!