Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Maiden Voyage

Dear family and friends - Well, here it is. My first attempt at blogging about our mission.  Our time here has been so challenging and yet fulfilling and yes frustrating at times, that it's hard to know where to begin.  I guess I could start with just this last week.  Last Sunday seems like a month ago just because so much has happened since then.  We went to visit the last of the six branches in our District.  It required a 6:00 AM  bus ride to what we thot was a small little town 2 & 1/2 hrs away from where we live.  It was a really cold day and everyone sat in church with their coats and scarves on the whole time.  No such thing as central heating!  As we're soon to find out, there's no such thing as central air either.  I can hardly wait!  Come to find out ,Villa Angela is no small town but the 4th biggest city in the Province.  The people were warm and friendly as we've found them to be everywhere we've visited.  I got to play the electric piano as well as say a few words and bear my testimony.  Somehow it's easier to do when you don't know a soul!  Afterwards, we went to visit a less-active sister with the District President and then made the 2 & 1/2 hr bus trip back home.  After eating and resting up a bit we walked the 10 blocks to the church for an 8:00 choir practice only to find the building dark and nobody there.  Since we'd been gone all day, we didn't know it had been cancelled and had to walk the 10 blocks back home.  Needless to say, it was a rather exhausting day.  The up-side of all the walking however, is that we've both lost weight!

The very next day, Mon., was not only our P-Day but Argentina's Independence Day.  We had a get-together at the church with the Branch members which included a spaghetti dinner [lunch] , a short lesson and then games such as ping pong and soccer.  Yours truly managed to beat Dad a couple of times as well as a couple of others.  You guys had no idea your good ole Mom was good at a sport, did you!  We spent the rest of the day and it was very enjoyable.

Tues. we had an interesting invitation from the director of an English language school here in Saenz Pena where we do volunteer work.  It's their winter break and she invited us to go along with her when she took her two boys to the zoo here.  She speaks very good English and has a delightful personality besides.  It was nice to get better acquainted and see some of the local culture besides.  The next two days we made some more visits and did catch-up here at the apartment.  One visit was notable to me at least.  We were visiting an older couple [yes, older than us!] who have been less-active for l5 yrs.  He's been a Bishop and in the District presidency and yet here he is out of the church for many years.  Well, even tho I couldn't understand all the words, I could tell that Dad was starting to ask the hard-core questions and the tension in the room began to rise.  The other two brethren who had gone with us were looking down and figeting with their hands. After a few more minutes I could hardly stand it any more and wanted run out the front door, but with the 3 locks on it, top, middle and bottom there was no escaping!  It actually ended well with both the man and his wife receiving priesthood blessings.  Dad discribed it to me later as excising an abcess to let the poison out, which can be painful but then allows the healing to begin.  It was painful alright!

Fri. was a really wonderful day.  Lorena [the school director] had invited us to meet her husband and go with them to his parents cattle ranch.  We haven't eaten much Argentine beef yet but we've seen it on the hoof, up close and personal!  After a small tour of the ranch [they have over 2,000 acres], we were served a light "tea" and were having a nice visit when the conversation turned to religion.  Well, did we have something to share with them!  Dad basically gave a first discussion and the conversation was very positive.  We'll keep you updated on any developments.

Sat. Dad had Presidency and District Mtgs. [he's been asked to be the District executive secretary] and I had been asked by the R.S. Pres. to teach the sisters how to make the childrens activity bags like I was making at home.  My interpreter couldn't make it so I "managed".  In spite of the language barrier we managed to make five bags.  The only sisters who showed up were the wife of the Branch president and her four daughters, but they each went home with a finished bag!!

Well, were up to Sun. again and the end of this saga but what a day it was!  We had been asked to speak in church and when we walked in, who should be sitting there but Lorena, our non-member friend!!  That wasn't the only surprise.  When Pres. Avalos announced the meeting, my name wasn't mentioned.  There were several others speakers already so I saved my talk for another time.  When I told the missionary who spoke I had enjoyed his talk, he said he had no idea ahead of time that he was supposed to speak!!  Go figure.  But that's how it is here in Argentina.  That's only one weeks worth of experiences [thank goodness, some of you might be saying!] but I'm really loving it in spite of some of the frustrations. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  I love you all and appreciate all your help and prayers in our behalf.  I'm sure it's part of our success.  Write when you can and we'll talk again soon!!


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