Yoga, Dead Bodies and Transfers

Indepence Daysister from Brazil Cotton Candy Hermanas
Hola Familia!

It was a fun filled and busy week, and definitely an improvement with what its been like before haha. 

On Tuesday we had a Special Conference with all the hermanas in the Mission Home.  We ate choripan (choriso sandwiches), talked about faith, and had a secret card giving activity, where we anonymously gave a letter to another hermana.  It was so cool because the letter I received was like EXACTLY what I needed.  The highlight of the day was doing yoga (pronounced shoga) out in the yard with Hermana Zanni.  We all had a good laugh trying move our bodies like pretzels, but it was also really relaxing so I was content with that. 

So we’ve been working with a menos activa, and her mother passed away this week.  The bishop told us to go to the mortuary to see her, so we went but only her sister was there.  She was just about to leave and told us to go ahead and wait inside.  So we walk inside and the only person in there was the body of her mother…. OKAY thanks for the warning!  But we had no where else to go and wait so we decided to just hang with her mom for a bit.  Later some of the members were asking us if we knew here. “yeah” we told them, “we got to know her real well in the mortuary” hahahaha. 

The other day after lunch we were walking along, and I was super full and ate too much as usual, and suddenly I feel everything go a little bit more loose, and realize my BELT had broke.  My worst nightmare is coming to pass!!!

So I am in a new area: Ramallo in San Nicolas!  Its just a little pueblo and the complete OPPOSITE of my last area.  I’m already in my 4th area in 6 months, which is way too many, but I’m getting to know a heck of a lot more people, and overcome my WEAKNESS of getting to know people over and over again.  The people are way nice here, super easy going, and the weather has been beautiful so I love it here already.  My companion is Hermana Sheppard, from Virginia, and she already has a year in the mission, but we get along SUPER well and she knows how to braid hair so thats a major plus!

Today I was reading in Alma 36, the story of Alma the Younger and his process of repentance.  And something that I love about this chapter is that it’s Alma sharing this experience with this son.  And that the experience that he had was an answer to his father’s prayers.  And that in the moment of his deepest despair, he remembered the words and testimony of his father.  The example that parents have on their kids is SO important!!  Obviously I’m not a mom yet (thank goodness) but I am a daughter, and I can testify that the example of our parents changes everything.  Maybe your kids aren’t doing everything their supposed to in the moment, but one day they will REMEMBER the words and example and testimony of their mom and dad.  We just always have to continue faithful, and find opportunities to share our testimony, and LOVE as Christ would.  I’m so grateful for great parents!!!!

Love you all.  This church is true!

Con Amor,

Hermana Strong

Tranquila Week

Sass-Vanessa
Hola Familia!

Esta semana.. Wow, I just started writing this in spanish, and then I realized, wait, nobody’s going to understand.  Anyways… This week was a LOT more tranquila than the week before and I am honestly very grateful for that!  On Tuesday, after our district meeting, a bunch of the youth were outside playing volleyball.  So like ten of us missionaries challenged them to a game, and it was EXACTLY what I needed to relieve my stress (even though I was playing around in my skirt) and I felt like a whole new person afterwards haha.  Nobody realized that I actually play volleyball, so they were all surprised when I could serve and spike and what not (I just couldn’t dive due to the whole skirt thing haha.) Plus we won so I haven’t lost all my skill yet lol.   Tomorrow we’re supposed to have a pday especial with all the hermanas and the Zannis.  I’m so excited!  Presidente recently had to have surgery for a hernia, but apparently he’s well enough now to keep taking care of us!

We also had divisions with our sister training leaders this week, which meant I got to work with Hermana Fairbanks (who is also the mission nurse, and who I lived with for two transfers.)  It was super fun to reminisce about old times and to actually speak english!!!  This is the last week of transfers and I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen! This area kind of freaks me out after what happened last week so we will see if Presidente will keep me here!
We had a lesson with Vanesa (who just got baptized)’s husband, and it was the best lesson ever.  Before, he didn’t want to listen to the missionaries. But now he has all sorts of desires to listen, quit smoking, and get baptized, mainly because of all of the changes he’s seen in his home after the baptism.  The spirit really changes hearts and its amazing!
Also, all of the young women in the ward somehow found me on Instagram and Facebook, and I have no idea how because I didn’t even tell them my first name!  So now they know all about my former life and know what I actually look like (en serio, missionaries are just not cute haha).
We worked a lot in the villa this week, and I still can’t get over some of the things I see there: people walking their horses from their cars, kids sneezing into the food you’re about to eat, plants growing out of tires.  It’s an interesting thing but I think its necessary sometimes to see a new way of life.
Anyways, thanks for all the love and letters this week!  Keep following Christ, even when its hard. Following Satan and giving into temptation is easy.  But following Christ requires effort, something from the depth of our souls.  And the reward for following Christ will bring us a LOT more happiness, which will last an eternity longer, than the rewards of Satan, which only last a second.  It’s hard, but it’s WORTH it.
Con MUCHISIMO amor,
Hermana Strong

The Worst/Best/Longest Week of My LIFE

 

Baptism1

Okay, so I don’t usually like to do this, but can i please just VENT about all of the things that went wrong this week:

It all started when we didn’t have gas in our apartment, which meant we didn’t have hot water, nor means to heat water to bathe with.  SO we got permission to let us stay the night with the hermanas in the other area so that we could be clean and pretty for the wedding the  next day.  So as we’re on our way to go to the other area, we needed to buy some things for the wedding; but EVERYTHING was closed because it was a HOLIDAY.  Our patience was very limited at this point, as we hadn’t showered in days and NEEDED this stuff for the wedding.  As we sat at the bus stop, frustrated and thinking that things couldn’t get any worse, I see two men on moto ride by and stare at me.  Not a total rarity as people always stare at us, but I just had a bad feeling.  And with good reason.  Suddenly, I feel someone tugging at my backpack and yelling “damelo damelo!” and i realize, aw dang it, we’re getting ROBBED.  But this time, I wasn’t going to let them take anything.
So I put my self defense moves into action and started screaming my head off “ayuda ayuda!!” and the screaming scared him off and on to my companion. But my screaming attracted a ton of people and the blessing of it all: they left with NOTHING.  And we got a free taxi ride home!
So then when I  thought it couldn’t get even more worse, I was sick throwing up all night the night before the baptism.  Probably because of the stress, but that didn’t stop me from witnessing the total blessings we had this week.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE WEEK:
Vanesa is officially married!!!
Vanesa and Brisa are officially BAPTIZED.  And it was the coolest thing ever to be able to see the spirit working in them and the power of their testimonies!  After all of the terrible things that happened this week, it made it all worth it to be able to see two daughters of God who are truly converted to Christ!
So even when everything is going WRONG look at all of the things going RIGHT.  I’m still in the process of doing that…haha
I just want you all to know that i KNOW this church is true.  I KNOW that Christ lives, and loves us and knows us.  I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is by this book that we can have peace and hope and happiness in this life.
LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
Con much amor,
Hermana Strong

Humble Circumstances in Belgrano

Sister Cerna In the Rain
So this week, I decided to study the Christlike attribute of HUMILITY.  And I learned more than I thought I would about it this week:

We FINALLY were able to move into our new apartment.  But, upon arriving, we discovered that the only thing left from the last missionaries in Belgrano were two mattresses and two blankets.  We didn’t have hot water, heater (because its winter here, I still can’t get over that!), or clean water to drink (we aren’t allowed to drink the tap water, maybe that’s why I had stomach issues lol).  SO Friday night was humble circumstances, and caused me to really appreciate the simple things that I ALWAYS take for granted.

However, we were not left to fend for ourselves.  I learned that when we are truly humble and obedient, the Lord will always provide!  The next day, our mission leader went and bought everything we needed: beds, desks, dresser, everything.  Plus, his father in law, whose also in the ward, came and fixed our kitchen, our hot water and lights.  It was HEAVEN SENT.

Also, we weren’t allowed to leave the apartment Saturday night because ARGENTINA was playing for the finals of Copa America!  But they lost… So ashamed… Just kidding.

Just as we finally were able to move to our actual area, they changed the location of church, to the building of the area where we were living before.  They are remodeling our area, so now its a major trial of faith for everyone in the ward.  Only half of the usual attendance came… So we have a lot of work to do.  But it will be all worth it in the end!
I’ve also come to really enjoy the bus trips that we take.  They’re short and sweet, but I see the coolest acts of service.  People giving up their seats for the elderly, or for the young mothers.  Or helping the disabled.  Or giving someone a little bit of money to be able to ride.  It makes me realize that the world isn’t so bad after all!

So we’re probably gonna be pretty busy this week, planning a wedding, a baptism, and then a party to celebrate it all!  So far everything is looking really good and I’m so excited to see what will happen!  It’s moments like this when I remember how HAPPY I am to be doing this work and to be helping others experience the lasting joy that comes from the gospel. The gospel is for EVERYONE and EVERYONE has the opportunity to feel it for themselves!

Love you all so much!

Con amor,

Hermana Strong

Mosiah 2:41