Monday, January 27, 2014

El Arbol de la Vida

Hi everyone,

I will start off this week with how everything went in Buenos Aires last week. This is kind of a long story, but it illustrates how much God is in the details of our lives so I’m going to just tell it. Basically smooth was not the word I would use to describe getting my ID.  It was crazy!!  First, we had to get a bunch of papers from Argentina Monday in preparation for the turno (appointment) we had with immigrations Tuesday.  We got all that done, and then Tuesday we showed up at immigrations in the morning to get my ID.  I got through the first part where they check your fingerprints and then send you to the second part where the people check your paperwork.  Everything seemed great, then the lady holds a paper up to the window and asks, “Is this your name?” And right there in my second FBI background check (the one the church ordered because my first one expired) was my name spelled “CHOLE”.  My heart just dropped.  The secretary of the mission’s heart dropped too.  Then, after that we spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday straightening that out.  First, we had to go to the U.S. consulate in Buenos Aires and have them write a letter that CHLOE MELINDA WALKER and CHOLE MELINDA WALKER are the same person.  Then we had to go to a place so Argentina could officially verify that all three documents are legit, but on Tuesday when we went to the place for verification there was a riot/huge protest outside so it was closed.  

So, I had to stay another day and then come back to Buenos Aires in a week because that is when they could get me another turno with immigrations.  Feww! This was all mucho.  But then we had miracles Wednesday.  When we got to the offices our remis wasn’t there. We had to wait a little bit.  Because the church has so many missionaries going to and from all of these office places they have a remis company contracted.  Our remis driver wasn’t lds but he was seriously the best guy ever.  He looked very official in a white shirt and tie--kinda like a missionary.  He took Hermana Hicken and I to the first place, and instead of just dropping us off he went inside and helped us.  He asked for my documents, filled out a bunch of papers, handed them to his friends, and 20 minutes later I had the document verifying my identity that they told me was going to take a week to get. MIRACLE! Then, he asked us where to next, but we told him back to the office because I didn’t have a turno to go to immigrations.  He just said that’s stupid, we’re going to immigrations--someone’s got to be able to help you if you were just there yesterday.  We showed up without a turno and talked to this guy who first said no, but then searched through the trash to find my paper from the day before, found my paper and agreed to fill out the stuff for my ID.  When he walked away I told my remis drive it was all because of his tie, he said that it was because I was linda and re-simp├ítica.  Then, we all agreed that it was a huge blessing from Heavenly Father.  

It is so amazing to see when He really does bless us in things not only spiritual but temporal as well. Now, I don’t have to take that 5 hour (each way) bus ride to Buenos Aires again this week and waste more of my mission time! Such a blessing for me!

So, when we got back to our area, we only had Thursday through Sunday to work for this week. Then, Thursday was cut out as well by a huge storm.  A bunch of cows died from the lightning so I think it was a good idea that we weren’t outside.  Then with faith that we were going to finish with all our lessons and key indicators for the week, we started working Friday.  I can not even express how grateful I am to be in 9 de Julio at this time.  We have gotten to see so many miracles, teach new families, and the family of four came to church on Sunday.  When we were finishing up yesterday we counted up everything and we had 16 lessons with a member in three days.  It is amazing how the Lord will bless you when you are working hard, with faith, and doing things the Lords way.  The Lord’s way is always the best way.

Something cool that I have noticed since I got to Argentina is that there are symbols everywhere of the tree of life.  I was blown away this week as I started the Book of Mormon over again and got to Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s interpretation.  The dream also has a special place in my heart after being in Argentina.  It is very common for women here to have jewelry with the tree of life (el arbol de la vida)  The tree is usually sliver and then the little round fruit are gold.  They have rings and necklaces.  I don´t know when but I am going to have to buy one before I come home.  But I really just can not believe how much our Heavenly Father loves us.  So much so that he has given us so many road maps back to him.  I would like to testify, my dear friends, that the Book of Mormon is true and the only way home is to keep the commandments and laws of God, to keep treading upon the path of righteousness with a firm grip on the rod, and to always keep our eye single to the glory of God.  Even if all we can do is attempt to do this, we will not be able to comprehend all of the blessings we will receive.

I love Argentina, I love the people, I love my companion, and I am surprised everyday when I realize that I am a representative of Jesus Christ, with the authority to invite people to repent and be baptized.  It is so humbling to know that I represent the very person that has made it possible for me to be here, he really is my brother, and truly understands.

Have a great week.  Share the gospel with everyone!

xoxo,

Hermana Chloe

Monday, January 20, 2014

Busy week

I'm emailing a little late because I was in the office all morning.  Good news I got the package with the soup mixes and seasoning packets! Maybe I will have more to eat now. I was getting tired of eggs, plain rice, and apples. Haha. Today we have been in Buenos Aires all day doing stuff to try and get my ID--my Argentine ID. It looks like a drivers license. I either have to have an ID or be in the process of getting my ID to stay in the country. I am staying with Hermana Hicken in the apartment of another set of hermanas here in Buenos Aires tonight.  We have more paper work tomorrow, and then I'll go back to 9 de Julio tomorrow night.

Sounds like you had a busy weekend with birthday parties and everything, it has been crazy here too.  I am sick from not sleeping, our bus left at 1:30 in the morning, and because it is so hot that sometimes I think that I am going to die. I'm trying to do my best; it's hard sometimes not to get discouraged that my best isn't good enough; lately I am very aware of my inadequacies. With the Lord's help, I have learned more than I thought possible. Still, I'm worried 6 months isn't enough time left. My time in Argentina seems so short.

But things are going good, I guess.  I wasn't transferred :-) Hermana Cordova and I are both staying in 9 de Julio.  I love 9 de Julio. I have been in 9 de Julio for 3 1/2 months, and I really feel like I belong here. This is the longest I have been anywhere on my mission. It feels good to belong somewhere--I think that is a basic human need. 

Yesterday, we had a family of five come to church, 4 of which have a goal to get baptized February 15th.  So for that we are super excited! We received a referral from a member for the mother of her two grandsons and the two older children.  When we went to the house, they were willing to listen to us because of the change that they saw in the grandma when she joined the church.  They listened to the Restoration, accepted a baptismal date, and all four came to church on Sunday.  We were blessed to find the answer to our specific prayers--to find a family with children the ages to get baptized, ready to listen to the gospel, and attend church the same week.  The mothers name is Maria and her four oldest children would like to get baptized with her on Feb 15th.  We also still have Raul, the miracle from last week.  He had to go out of town for work, but he is excited to attend church this week and prepare to be baptized the 8th of Feb.  We are still doing a lot of finding, and working on turning our new investigators into progressing investigators and families.  We know that if they feel the spirit in the lessons, and then keep their commitments to pray and receive answers, they can receive power and light in their lives through a testimony of Jesus Christ and that this is His true church.

I am going to go, because we don't have much time today, and I really need to sleep a little bit, but I will write more next Monday when I am back in 9 de Julio.  Love you! 

xoxo,
Hermana Chloe


PS. I will take that picture for Jill Stewart.  We only have 3 young women here in our little branch, but they stand and recite the Y.W. theme every week. I'll get a picture of it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Identity Crisis

Hi all,

This week we were truly blessed here in 9 de Julio. We started off working super hard Monday, but at about 6:15 in the evening the front tire of Hermana Cordova’s bike made some serious contact with my left knee. I braked at an intersection for cars to pass, and she couldn’t brake fast enough. But luckily, my bike was there to keep her from riding into traffic.  Down side--her front tire was stopped by my left knee, and I have a killer bruise to show for it. I am doing better now, but it made for slow moving on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Injuries really mess with my desire for efficiency. We still worked so hard. We had a lot of CPV´s with investigators and were able to bring members to many lessons. By Thursday, the Lord had led us to enough new investigators that we finished our key indicators by Thursday night. It was such a blessing to keep moving on with our momentum and keep finding and teaching for the rest of the week. I would say it was almost a completely stress free week, but with transfers coming up there is always a little stress. Because Hermana Cordova has only three weeks in the area, I am trying really hard to help teach her the area so that we can be ready for whatever happens. (If I’m transferred or no.) Our two progressing investigators right now are Raul and Ester. They are progressing really well towards their baptismal dates of Feb. 1st and Jan. 25th.

I had a small panic attack this morning when I realized that I have been on my mission for 11 months! I am also finding myself in relatively the same situation as my investigators. After they learn of the gospel and start making changes they are no longer who they once were. But at the same time, the vision starts to grow of who they can be. This vision is motivating, but sometimes there is this little moment in the middle, when they are no longer who they once were and not close to who they want to be, where Satan can gain power as they try and redefine themselves. And just like my investigators I am currently in this position. No longer who I was, not even close to who I want to be. I think that this is a kind of an identity crisis. And, yes, this place in the middle is very uncomfortable. With less than 7 months left in my mission, I am having a hard time with feeling like I don´t have enough time to progress like I want. I am trying hard to remember that who I want to be is a lifetime goal, that I don´t need to feel so bad that I am not that person yet, and that I can always keep working because the Atonement doesn’t have an expiration date. 

I will still have anxiety, but I have faith in the Lord's plan.  I feel so strongly that the timing of my mission is divine. 

Miracle of the week. You asked about my Spanish, and I had a little miracle this week. Friday morning, we woke up, and my companion asked how I slept.  I said that I had slept a little restlessly, and she said that she could tell because I was talking in my sleep.  I told her that this happened a lot with Herman Sanchez, and I apologized to Hermana Cordova for disturbing her sleep.  I told her that Hermana Sanchez always said it would be a lot more funny if she could understand what I was saying.  But then Hermana Cordova said, “No you were speaking in Spanish!” I did a happy dance! Then, I asked what I said.  And she said that I was talking like I was in a district meeting, hahaha.  Ohh, dreams in the mission.  So the good news is that I am pretty sure that I really speak Spanish.  I think in Spanish,  I talk in Spanish, I read in Spanish, and I even dream in Spanish and talk in my sleep in Spanish. Anyone, who was in my Spanish classes in school, knows that this is a miracle. The only problem now is I am worried about having to switch completely back to English because there are just things that mean more to me when I say them in Spanish.  Spanish is the language of the thoughts of my heart.   But we shall see.  The weirdest thing is that it doesn’t even occur to me that it is another language anymore.  This is probably adding to my identity crisis.

Lots of birthdays this week! Happy birthday to my awesome, handsome, smart, studly brothers this week! Stay away from the girls and start your mission papers without delay!  You will never regret that decision. Love you. Happy Birthday Josh, Jazz, and Sean.  Send me pictures of the baptism.  If I’m missing someone--happy birthday to all my family with January birthdays this week.

I find out about the transfers this evening.  I’m fine either way.  Love you all.  Have a great week!

xoxo,
Hermana Chloe

First, this is my new hat. We are allowed to wear hats because the sun is so strong.  Also, this is a cute little puppy.  About two weeks ago all the dogs in 9 de Julio gave birth to puppies, and now we have these cute things running around everywhere.  It is so cute and fun.  I love me some puppies!  It is true that in Argentina there are a lot of dogs in the streets, but fortunately here in 9 de Julio those dogs are cute and mostly friendly:)
I bought the ribbon separately and tacked it on, a la Aunt Wendy! In the back the hat is split and the ribbon is at the bottom and ties into a bow.  I bought this hat for 4 reasons. One, because my head is to big for any other hat I could find here; two, because of the pony tail slash; three, because it is cute; and four, because it was cheap.

Hermana Cordova y yo





Monday, January 6, 2014

2014

Hello,

I cannot tell a lie, I am not too happy to be writing 2014 these days.  But as I look back at 2013, I am humbled that I got to spend almost the whole year of 2013 completely in the service of the Lord, as a set apart reperesentative with the authority to prepare my Father's children for baptism and invite everyone to come unto Christ and repent.  How great is my calling, no? (The"no" thing is Argentine.)

This week our faith was tested as Satan worked hard on the people in 9 de Julio.  We were rejected so many times.  SO many.  Our new ward missionary is the wife of our Branch president, and she is so amazing.  She went out with us four times this week, and two of those days we had no lessons because everyone rejected us.  To try and make our time with her worth it, we clapped some doors close to our appointments that fell through and talked to everyone in the streets.  After about  an hour of people rejecting us hard core, we said sorry to the Hermana that we couldn´t teach a lesson with her.  She started to cry because she couldn´t believe how disrespectful people were.  She also expressed how grateful she is for us.  I only mention this because ya, missionary work is hard, but even after being rejected for an hour I still felt happy.  Maybe not completely full of joy, but I was still happy and could feel the Spirit. I think that this is an important blessing that is given to missionaries--protection from discouragement and some thick skin!

In answer to your questions--Yes, cheek kisses are the thing. If I walk into a room and do not salud (greet) every woman in  the room with a cheek kiss, they assume that I am offended or upset or rude.  I actually really like the cheek kisses.  It is more like touching the cheeks together and making the kissing noise.  I am sad I can´t always do it.  And it is the cutest with the little kids.  As for your other question, if you read there are fireflies here, I assume that you are correct, but we are always in the apartment before dark because it is light really late, so I haven´t seen them. Thanks for telling me how tall I am in centimeters.  People always ask me how tall I am because I am just HUGE down here.  I am about the height of a man on the taller side.  I can´t wait to not feel so huge again! And I can't believe how tall Anna looks in that picture with the sister missionaries!  She is so cute, and I am proud of her for being willing to share the gospel!

This new year has already started off great.  We have lots of free time to find new investigators and families ready to receive the gospel.  We are working hard and following the Spirit! Transfers are in a week and a half and I really don´t want to leave 9 de Julio, but we shall see!

Love you,
Hermana Chloe

ps.  Shout out to my beautiful cousin Aubrey today for her birthday! Love you :)
Zone picture!

Hermana Cordova (new companion from Peru), Hermana Aldredge, y yo
Happy New Year lunch with Bartolo :)