Piñatas, Hair Cuts and Lunch Appointments

Hola Hola Hola!!

This week was fun.  It started out with a special pday, where we got to hang out with all the missionaries in San Nicolas area.  We did a piñata (I thought I was in Argentina, not Mexico jaja) and I was the first and last person to hit it.  Apparently my strength is just TOO much.  Or it could be the fact that we hung it off a table that was stuck over two chalk boards.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Also, I let my companion cut my hair this week.  It was like a total Parent Trap moment, luckily I already have my ears pierced so we didn’t have to go that far jaja.

So remember my first week in this area, when we only had 2 lunch appointments in the entire week?  Well we’ve worked it up to having one every single day, and we even got invited to two lunches and a dinner on Saturday!  We were going to cancel one of the lunches but we were like, “hey, we can eat it all!”  So we showed up to both lunches, ate two helpings at both of them, and I felt ready to ROLL home afterwards.  But totally worth it.

Yesterday we had this special area conference for like all of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.  Quentin L. Cook and Robert D. Hales spoke and it was SO GOOD.  They were definitely dropping the cane on a few things.  But only like 3 members from our little branch came.  So that was kind of a bummer.  But I guess now we just have to go spread the word to everyone else!

So I’ve been totally obsessed this week with studying about our potential here on Earth.  Like we each have this huge divine potential to become whoever we want to be!  And we are constantly changing!  Every decision we make goes toward who we will become.  And even better, when we are losing ourselves in the service of God, we are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ!  And if I would want to be like anyone, it would most definitely be like Him.  One of my biggest fears here is that I’m not doing enough to be able to become who God sent me here to become, or in helping others to reach that potential.  But it keeps me going in trying each day to be a little better, and helping others to do the same.

Love you all SO MUCH.  This is the true church!!!

Con much amor,

Hermana Strong

Chucking Cigarrettes and Stolen Sheep

Hiiiii familia!!

I feel like I was just writing you yesterday… the weeks are FLYING BY.
This week was pretty good. Lots of UPS and lots of DOWNS, as usual.  Currently, we are working on getting 3 seventeen year olds to quit smoking.  They totally have the desires and everything so they gave us their pack of cigarettes.  Which resulted in us walking down the street with the cigarettes.  Until we realized, wait this probably doesn’t look very good, you know, two missionaries carrying around cigarettes.  So we found the nearest dumpster and just CHUCKED them in the trash.  Definitely a satisfying feeling.
We also were visiting this family who we’ve currently been teaching.  They’re super awesome.  And the other day they come in with their baby lamb and start feeding it with a bottle.  I was like THIS close to feeding it, but then I chickened out.  But I was like, no worries, I’ll just feed it next time we visit them and bring my camera this time.  So the next time we go, they tell us that someone STOLE their lamb.  WHO STEALS A LAMB??  I honestly would love to know what the purpose of that is.
Also, since we are in the MIDDLE of nowhere, we have to take buses EVERYWHERE to get out of our little pueblo to the real world.  Which means that we’ve been making really good friends with the bus drivers.  They always speak English to us and honk at us when they drive by and its hilarious.  Next step is to get them to come to church lol.
So the whole world here is SICK with the flu.  Literally every house we went to, someone had the flu.  But that doesn’t stop them from greeting us with a kiss, or sharing a cup with us.  Its honestly a MIRACLE that we haven’t gotten sick yet.
But anyways, I just have to say that I LOVE being a missionary.  For reals though.  Satan worked SO hard on me not to go.  I doubted myself SO MUCH.  But I just learn so many new things everyday that I could have never learned anywhere else.  And meeting people that I never would have known, and seeing the power of God in ways I never thought possible.  I don’t have any doubt in my mind that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.  And that it’s only through HIM that we can reach our full potential and become the people God sent us here to become.
Love you all SO MUCH.
Con muchisimo amor,
Hermana Strong

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan

Comp Shephard

Hola Hola Hola!

This week it rained A lot. And while you all are complaining about the heat, I’m cold cold cold!  But the sun will come out, tomorrow! (at least lets hope so)

Can I just say I can not STAND the dogs here.  Every single day a new dog decides to follow us, and then when we enter a new neighborhood, all the other dogs freak out and start barking and chasing us.  And they’re all so DIRTY.  Okay enough venting about that.
We had a lot of highs and a lot of lows this week.  Currently we are teaching this seventeen year old who is the definition of PREPARED to hear the gospel.  Last week, he received a HUGE answer from Heavenly Father that these things are true.  It was AWESOME.  And then this week we had a lesson with him every single day.  And he invited a new person to listen every time.  And he shares his testimony so powerfully about the love of God.  Like can he get any better?  We always want to count the lessons with him as “with member” but then we remember, oh wait, he’s not even a member yet. So yeah, we are just seeing HUGE miracles with him everyday.  At one point, we were eating lunch with a member, and were telling her about who we were teaching.  Her grandson (less active member) came in, and she asked him if he knew any of them.  Sure enough, he knew this chico.  So the member tells him to go invite him to church.  So he leaves right then to go invite him.  HOW GREAT, we think.  So then like ten minutes later he comes back, but only to get his Book of Mormon so that they could read together.  Like is this real life????  Things like this never happen.
So then later that we day we go to have our daily lesson with him, and he’s sitting there reading his Book of Mormon waiting for us.  And invites us to go to a Family Home Evening that a member had invited him to.  SO GREAT.  Every time we see him he just tells us how excited he is to get baptized, but the things he’s lacking: he STILL hasn’t come to church.  It’s like Satan knows that that is one of the only things that’s stopping him at this point.  So Satan works EXTRA hard to keep him from going.  We literally did EVERYTHING possible this week so that he would go… And he STILL didn’t make it.
That’s something I’m learning a lot of on the mission.  Is that the harder we work, the harder Satan works too.  And it can be SO FRUSTRATING SOMETIMES.  But it just means that you have to keep going.  Because he is NOT going to win!  You can’t give up at half time… You have to keep playing until the end of the game!  Plus, we have Jesus Christ on our team, and with him, there’s no way we can lose!!!
Love you all so much!  The gospel has the power to CHANGE LIVES.  I am seeing that power every single day and it’s amazing.
Con mucho mucho amor,
Hermana Strong

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

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Hola hola hola!!

SO this week started out with interviews with Presidente.  Presidente Zanni would make a really good basketball coach because WHOA I feel so pumped up to just find everyone and teach everyone and love everyone!  Sorry, a little bit over enthused.  But he just got me and my companion so motivated and ready to just conquer Ramallo.  BUT we couldn’t even work in our area for 3 days because I had to go to Rosario to make myself legal in Argentina (I was an illegal immigrant for like a week, oops!)  But all is taken care of now and we are good to go!

But once we got back, we were just TRUSTING in the Lord that he would send us MIRACLES so that we could make up for the lost time.  And sure enough, HE DID.  Just putting us in the right place at the right time to find those who NEEDED us.  I truly was able to see the power of God in conversion this week.  We had some of the most spiritual lessons that I’ve had in my entire mission.  I don’t usually cry during lessons, but I was crying like a baby during a select few haha.  Literally the best is having someone look you in the eyes with tears in their eyes and simply saying “gracias chicas.” ahhh, so good!

So as I said earlier, there was a ton of rain this week.  Our apartment flooded, but not because of the rain, but because our bathroom is like broken.  I have not had one apartment that hasn’t had some sort of problem with it.  Argentina… whatcha gonna do!

This week was definitely an emotional roller coaster, from spiritual highs to spiritual lows.  But I had this dream the other night that I was home from my mission, and I was SO UPSET because I was thinking “wait, I didn’t do all that I needed to!!  I didn’t get to finish!”  Being on a mission is probably the best decision I’ve ever made.  It definitely wasn’t part of my plan, and there’s still moments where I’m like, wait, how did I get here?!  I’m learning things and meeting people and having experiences that I never would have had the opportunity to have if I hadn’t come.  God is SO GOOD and constantly blessing us with miracles.  Sometimes they’re little miracles, and sometimes they’re just UNDENIABLY huge.  Dios vive, Dios nos ama.
Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Strong

 

 

Twins and Muddy Dogs and God’s Will before my own

Hola Familia!

Let me just start  by saying that I LOVEEEE this area.  It’s just small town, everyone knows everyone and and everyone is connected in some way.  Maybe I love it so much because it reminds me a lot of Ojai.

My companion is amazing.  Everyone thinks we’re twins, but the ironic thing is that she actually has a twin sister… So I guess I’m just taking her place for a bit lol.  

It rained a bunch here this week.  My lesson from the rain this week:  don’t go near dogs. Because they WILL play in the mud and then JUMP all over you right after.  Thankfully I got the mud stains out of my skirt shortly after! 

We saw tons of miracles this week and I felt the spirit superrrr strong the whole week.  Me and my companion are too similar in a lot of things, especially in the things we don’t do all that well, so we have tons of goals to improve on and conquer our fears!! 
We’re finding a ton of awesome people to teach and still searching for those whose hearts are prepared.  On Saturday, we had this crazy awesome lesson with one of our investigators and his girlfriend.  When we invited them to church, they were super excited and ready to go.  So we fasted, and we prayed and we prayed some more that they would come.  And Sunday came along.  And we waited at the doors for them.  And we waited some more…And they never came…  
I expected to be super bummed out, but surprisingly I wasn’t.  Like yeah, I was disappointed that they didn’t come, but I realized that I did all that I could do.  I was diligent and faithful.  But then there comes the point where you have to accept the decisions of others, and that others have the freedom to choose.  But it doesn’t mean that I was lacking faith, or that I was a bad missionary.  Part of being a happy missionary is accepting what comes and continuing forward, loving with all your heart and trusting in GOD’S WILL.  Because really, HE knows a LOT better than I do.  And He never just leaves us with nothing.  Because we had so many other miracles at church:  people that hadn’t been to church in YEARS came, and shared their TESTIMONIES and were able to feel the spirit of the Lord soooo strong.  It was probably the most spiritual sacrament meeting I’ve had since I’ve been here.  SUCH A BLESSING.

Anyways, love you all so much!  No tengo ningun duda que esta es la iglesia verdadera.  Tenemos un profeta hoy en dìa y Jesucristo nos ama màs que nosotros podemos comprender! 

Con muchisimo amor,

Hermana Strong