Sunday, May 30, 2010

Feriado! May 26, 2010

Hello family,
This week was pretty good. It was feriado (holiday) this Monday and Tuesday because it has been two hundred years since Argentina fought their revolutionary war with Spain. They had this sweet parade in the plaza with a ton of people there so we got a bunch of contacts from that. And there was a guy selling cotton candy so we got some of that and popcorn with sugar (they eat it that way here instead of with sugar and butter. You should give it a try and you will be so Argentine). We also had a ward activity where they eat this stuff called locro. It´s a tradition that they eat it every year on this holiday. We heard from a bunch of people that it´s really nasty and I was nervous, but everyone went to the church and they cooked it up in the biggest pot I´ve ever seen (it´s kinda like a soup) and then we all sat down together and ate it. To me, it tasted pretty much exactly like all their other food, but I liked it. And I will be here on May 25th next year so I will get to have it again. That´s kind of a weird thought.
I got a CD Player this week. Hna. Davis just has an MP3 player here so I haven´t been able to listen to my CDs, but Elder Drennan is going home this coming week and he said he would give me his CD player. I still have $20 from the States that is always in my wallet even though I can´t use it here so I said I would give that to him. He said that was too much so he threw in some rechargeable batteries with a charger. Sweet. I´m really excited to listen to my CDs finally. Hna. Davis has some good stuff, but there´s only so many times you can listen to a conference talk or Disney music in Spanish before you want something new. Also, can you tell Hna. Gubler thanks for the CD and the letter they sent to me in the MTC? I meant to write her, but then I left and life got crazy. I appreciated it though and I´m excited to listen to the CD now.
Oh, this week, we walked down a street called Pasaje 30 de Octubre. I´m not exactly sure what happened here on 30 de Octubre, but it made me think of Kortni, since that is her birthday. I´m sure they have some sort of holiday on that day. Argentines are super lazy so anytime they have an excuse for a holiday, they take it. Seriously, they celebrate the day of the mothers, fathers, grandparents, workers, grandchildren, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, and then there´s the week of the student. It´s ridiculous, but also kinda sweet. Anyway, I´ll let you know when 30 de octubre comes what they´re celebrating, but the Argentines and I will be celebrating on Kortni´s birthday this year.
Also, Hermana Davis and I started teaching a 25 year old student this week named Tupac. Yup, like the singer. He said that even here, people think it´s weird and no one believes that´s his name. He said he has to carry his ID around to prove it to people. And one time, he told someone that was his name and the person said,"yeah, and I´m 50 cent". He´s pretty cool though. He´s met with missionaries before and knows a lot of stuff and he´s so ready to get baptized. He would be a great member of the church. We just have to help him figure that out.
I don´t remember if I told you last week, but I found out that Argentines don´t go to church if it´s really hot or really cold or if it rains. So last week, it looked like it was going to rain all last week, but it never did... until Sunday. So Sunday came and the chapel was super empty. Even the faithful members stay home when it rains so our investigators also stayed home. We are trying to go by and see all of our investigators and see if we can get them to come to church, but we are also always looking for new people. We know that there are prepared people in Toay, but we are having trouble finding those that are prepared enough to want to go to church and even fewer (like none) who actually go. Hna. Davis gets discouraged by the fact that we can´t help anyone progress and then I get discouraged and then we get excited again and then Sunday comes and then we cry and then we get excited again and find someone cool and then they don´t come to church and then we have a good lesson and.... this is the cycle in which I have found myself. Generally, I am very happy here. There are a bunch of people in the ward that I really like and I know that they are going to be faithful to the end. I realized this week that I am going to be in Toay for a few months and then I will leave, but the faithful people who live here will be here, going to church for the rest of their lives and they try so hard to make their ward great. So I have to work hard for them and try to make their ward stronger so that they can help and support each other here and teach their children for the rest of their lives. Sunday is transfers. I am going to feel like I have accomplished something once I hit one transfer. I have quite a few more, but I feel good about my mission so far and I know it´ll just keep getting better.
Toay is doing great and our zone is good and Hna. Davis and I are healthy (probably would be healthier if we didn´t eat so much, but I´ve learned how to make crepes and omelettes and how to turn on our oven to make toast) and happy. The life of a missionary is a strange one, but I get to meet lots of interesting people and I do feel like I am helping some of them. I pray for you all. Be nice and help the missionaries where you live. :) I love you all! And I know now, more than ever, that the gospel is the most important thing in this life and it can bless and change the life of every person.
Hermana Seegmiller
P.S. Sometimes the men here give us kisses on the cheek before we can stop them and it really freaks me out. It´s just a custom they have here, but it feels super scandalous to me. Don´t worry though. I´m being a good missionary.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Buenissimo! May 19, 2010

Picture 1: Me wearing the hat Kayela made for me and hermana Davis, making a face that looks less than happy
Picture 2: Me and Hermana Davis in Acha with their famous grafitti, Jesus drinking mate
Picture 3: Hermana Davis, me, and our zone leaders - Elder Taggert and Drennan on our P-day in the campo. We took a picture next to a horse while having fun with the color accent feature on the camera
Picture 4: Hna. Davis and I having our asado in the campo. We got the elders to buy and cook our meat for us and it was so delicious! I love meat!

Hola familia,
This week has been quite the entertaining one. Many things have happened, but unfortunately, I forgot my journal where I wrote all of them down so I will have to try to remember the good stories. I do remember that I was going to tell you that I was eating lunch with some members last Saturday (also, we have the same meal with every member family - some form of pasta with some really watery sauce and little slices of meat added to it. And for dessert, fruit! I like fruit, but it's not chocolatey so it's not a real dessert. I don't really know how to break that to the Argentines.) and I was eating an orange for dessert when it was really slippery and it totally slipped out of my hands and rolled away on the floor. I was pretty embarrassed and the dad wanted to give me a different piece of fruit, but the mom just wiped it off and gave it back to me. It was still delicious, but just so you know, your daughter probably looks like she doesn't have any manners. They always make sure that I have a towel on my lap when I'm eating because they know I always make a mess with the bread (it gets a lot of crumbs when you break it!).
We also found this lady last week that we thought was golden. I contacted her in the street and she said that she used to meet with the missionaries, but she stopped when her friend told her they were a cult. She invited us to her house the next day. So we stopped by Rafaela's house, taught her lesson one, and challenged her to be baptized. She said that she had goosebumps when we were telling her the Joseph Smith story and she definitely believes it and that she needs to pray about baptism. So we went back on Monday, all excited to teach her the next lesson and she met us outside her door. Then she gave us our Book of Mormon back and said that it's not for her. We asked her if she prayed about it and she said that she did and the answer was negative. So we took it back and walked away. It kinda felt like we'd just gotten broken up with, but we had only known her for like two days. We were all excited about her life changing and her finding the church and getting baptized, but I don't think she's ready quite yet. It was pretty rough, but I'm sure that it's not the last time that will happen to me. I can hope that it won't happen that many more times.

We went back and taught Cesar twice more last week and he seems like he is actually progressing. He told us that he wants his daughters to someday be as sure of themselves and as pure as we are. He also said that he knows we're here to help him and he wants to learn more and become a better person, but he feels like he has sinned a lot in his life and he needs to change in order to get baptized. He's really great and we like him a lot. Getting people to church is way hard though so we are working hard to get him there this week. The hard thing is that he started working again this week so he's not always at his house.

We also found another couple this week - Ornela and Rodrigo, who we met on the street and they are way nice. We went back to their house one night and Ornela answered the door and said that she was busy right now, but that we should come back tomorrow and that she told Martin that she was going to go to church this next Sunday. We were totally confused because we didn't even invite her to church and we have no clue who Martin is. We went back the next day and had a really good time talking to them. They have a ton of questions about suffering and the purpose of life so we're going to teach them the Plan of Salvation. And they said they're definitely coming to church this coming Sunday. And she said that when we come back, she's going to make us tortas fritas (a delicious fried Argentine treat! It's my favorite thing when people offer us food when we go to their houses because I thought people would do that a lot more than they do).
This week for Pday, we actually did something way fun and we went out to the campo to have an asado like real Argentines. So basically we went out to the middle of nowhere to grill some meat and eat it. We also walked around in a field for a while and chased some cows. They had some horses too so some of the elders tried to ride them and two of them totally fell off. I tried to tell them not to because they would die, but they really wanted to. It was so fun. Then we went to the chapel and played some card games and had our district meeting. We have to take the bus back to Toay tonight so we're not going to get home until late, but the meat that we ate was so delicious. It was totally worth it. I think it's better that we actually do something on Pday because then we're more ready for the craziness of the week and the disappointment that Sunday always brings when no one comes to church (except this week... because a bunch of people will come!).

We're also teaching a brain surgeon! We ran into his super nice wife when she was watering her bushes outside and she said we could come back. They have a big house and like four cars (no one else here has even one and if they have one, it doesn't work very well and it's like 1000 years old). They were really nice and really smart and seemed receptive. We're going by to see them again next weekend because they have no time because they're too busy fixing peoples' brains during the week. We were kinda intimidated that they're so smart, but the gospel makes a lot of sense and the spirit will tell them it's true so we have faith that they will understand how important it is.

Oh, also.... I gave a talk this week. It was missionary Sunday so Hna. Davis and I both gave talks. I talked about the joy that the gospel and living the commandments brings to our lives and then about small ways that they can better share the gospel with their friends. I was kinda nervous because I hadn't planned it out very well, but I got up there and started talking and I gave like a ten minute talk totally in Spanish. The people in the congregation understood it too! I talked about how mom's friend, Connie, shared the gospel with her. I hadn't really realized before now how much that one act of sharing the gospel affected so many lives. Mom got baptized, got married, and had six kids. A bunch of them have now served missions and so many lives have been affected by her just sharing with Mom. I also realized how much my life has been affected by that because Mom is so solid in the gospel and her example has taught me so much about what I need to do and the kind of person I need to be. I would definitely not be in Argentina right now, sharing the gospel. I talked about that in sacrament meeting and I was shocked that I started crying. But one lady in the congregation who is kinda inactive and going through a hard time right now, totally started crying when I was talking and later she told me that her mom also joined the church and that the children of converts have a special testimony. I had never really thought about it that much, but it is true and now that lady likes me so it was success on all sides! Also, I was so proud of myself for speaking in Spanish for ten minutes and sharing things that I wanted to say. It was great.

I got my memory card and a bunch of pictures of Jarrett at prom and stuff from Daddy this week. It was really fun to look at all the pictures. Then I got to show Hna. Davis who Najee is because I didn't bring any pictures of him. She was also shocked by how big Jarrett is. He has gotten very tall.. my little hermanito. Well, I hope everything is going good on the homefront. Everything's all crazy in preparation for Kortni's wedding and I am very sad that I can't be there, but I did write it on Hna. Davis's calendar and we're going to do something special on that day in celebration. Maybe a dance party to MoTab on that day in her honor. I love you all so much. The gospel is so important and it is changing lives every day, mine included. I miss you and love telling people about each of you and showing them my cute picture of my redheaded family + Jordy. The Argentines love it too. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the stories. Get excited for next week when I will tell you all about the people that went to church and want to get baptized!

Love you so much,
Hermana Seegmiller

P.S. I almost got hit by a car this week. I was just walking across the street with Hna. Davis and a suburban-like car was turning next to us. We had plenty of room and we were going to finish, but then the suburban swerved to hit me! I screamed (my screaming reflexes are in tip-top shape) and ran to the side of the road. The driver's face was totally calm so we don't know what his problem was, but it was quite scary. I'm alive and well though. :) No worries.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 12, 2010-Hola

Hello family,
Well, Argentina is doing just great and so am I. I feel like we are getting farther in our work every week. At first, we just had to spend all our time finding people to teach. Now, some of the people we´re teaching are already getting somewhere and we are still finding new people. We had a good lesson this week with a man named Cesar, in which we finally got somewhere with him. He said that he knew we came to him for a reason and then we talked with him about how he´s not sure that God exists. But we told him that we are going to help him figure that out so hopefully he´s serious about this and he´ll do the reading this week. The ward mission leader is also really excited about missionary work right now and so we´re going to try hard to members more involved in the work. We also contacted this family on the street that said they just moved here and they went to church like four times when they lived in Santa Rosa. So they are coming to church with us this week and then we can teach them more... We found a bunch of people this week that look promising and we hope they turn out to be as good as we think they are.
Other than that, Hermana Davis and I are addicted to the bread here. It´s so good! We eat it with jam all the time. I´ll probably die when I can´t have it anymore. Maybe i´ll start disliking it before I have to leave Argentina because it will have made me very large and I¨ll be angry at it for doing that to me. I wore my boots this week. It was a pretty exciting day. It was pretty cold outside so I decided to wear them so I can try them out. They were black when I put them on and totally brown when we came home at night because Toay is covered in dirt and sand and it got all over my boots. They totally kept my legs warm though so I´m excited to wear them more. Also, Hermana Davis and I have been using that workout book that you gave me when I left. A lot of the exercises in it make you look really stupid when you do them so it´s pretty entertaining to watch each other try to do them at 6:30 am when we´re practically still sleeping. We´ve only done them for three days so far, but we are going to keep doing it and be so buff by the time we leave.
Well, missionary work is calling to us so we must go. I hope everything is going well for all of you. I love you and am so grateful to have you as a family. Make some non-member friends this week and wait for them to ask you about the church. Maybe Jarrett´s friends´parents... then eventually you can invite them over for dinner and stuff and someday you can go with the missionaries to teach and baptize them. ´Then they will love you. Next week, I will report that a ton of people came to church and some of them want to get baptized. This is me being very optimistic. Well, the gospel is true and it is a huge blessing in our lives! Love you all!
Hermana Seegmiller
P.S. Everyone here gives besos when they meet you and every time they see you. It gets kinda tiring because you have to go around and kiss everyone hello and then kiss everyone goodbye. I´ll probably continue that tradition after I get home though...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 4, 2010-Finding, finding, and more finding

Hello familia,
It´s me again, from Argentina. The weather has been quite good lately, which is a lovely change from the week before when it was freezing. It´s going to be a cold winter and I´m not super excited for it, but at least now i have my jacket (i left it in the mission office when I first got here... oops. But they sent it to me this last week.) So it was a good week. Hermana Davis and I haven´t done much better on not eating all the time, but a lot better on teaching lessons to people that might actually be interested in learning about the gospel. We still get rejected a lot because the mission goal is 40 contacts every day. My favorite is when people see us coming so they run inside and close the door. Because then it´s like hello, we´re not afraid to knock on your door. Silly Argentines. I like Argentines and my accent is getting a lot better. I´ve also learned some new things this week - they say "rey" instead of muy and they do say "che" a lot, especially if you are a mother talking to your disobedient child. Also, you sound like an old person or totally weird if you say Adios. You have to say ciao. I have not yet mastered this so I basically sound like a weirdo all the time. I´m working on it.
Something weird that happened this week was that we were listening to my companera´s MP3 player that has church songs and other church stuff on it and I suddenly heard Uncle Dan´s voice. It was very strange, but I looked at the MP3 player and sure enough, it was his talk from conference. It was totally weird because I´m in Argentina in this tiny town and Uncle Dan´s voice was in my house. It was actually very comforting and i listened to his whole talk. It was a good talk and it helped me think about my teaching and how I can improve it. So thanks Uncle Dan!
We went back to a bunch of houses this week of people we contacted on the street last week and some of them were actually there and then actually let us in! Milagro! Then we taught them a lesson and gave them a Book of Mormon. We got 11 new investigators this week, which was the mission record of the week and we got put in the newsletter. Very exciting. We actually have zone conference tomorrow so that´s why I´m emailing today. I´m excited for the President and the Hermana and the assistants to come. I think we could use a little pumping up and advice right now. Hermana Davis and I also got asked to give a taller about weekly planning so we´re pretty excited about that. We´re going to do a really cheesy demonstration and say something like "weekly planning gives you vision" but it´ll be in Spanish. My Spanish speaking abilities are going pretty well, but it´s still hard to understand. When people talk to me, my mind goes completely blank and I look to Hermana Davis for a translation. I love Hermana Davis. I feel so grateful for her because I feel like this whole adjusting to another country and being a real missionary and walking like 400 kilometers a day and not really knowing what a kilometer is thing would be really difficult if I had a rough companion too.
The frustrating thing about this country and the members who live here and probably all members in the world and probably me just a few months ago is that they don´t realize how important the gospel is. They´re all like oh yeah, maybe I´ll go to church next week. Or someone spread a rumor about me once (like this one lady got a rumor spread about her that she is a prostitute - that´s actually kinda intense) or said something mean to me so now I don´t go to church anymore. And we visited these inactives this week who said "I´m just not sure about this new prophet. He just loosened the rules on the missionaries too much." Hello lady, he´s the prophet! He´s just fine - I´m pretty sure it´s you with the problem. And when they have the gospel, they don´t really feel the need to share it even when all their family members need it so badly! When people really understand the gospel and all the wonderful things it offers, they want to share it with everyone they know. I think that´s what I´ve learned on the mission so far. The gospel is everything. That´s why we are here. We are here to get closer to Christ and bring others with us. I hope that is what I´m doing right now.
Something really cool that happened this week was that we taught a lesson to this lady who was busy sewing some dance costumes by hand, putting the sequins on one by one (way impressive - I would never have the patience) and we taught her about the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. We read Moroni 10: 3-5 with her and she was totally fascinated by it. She started reading the rest of the book while we were just sitting there for like ten minutes and she asked if we sell the book because she really wants one. So we´re going back to her this next Saturday because she´s really busy during the week and we shall see what happens with her and with all the other people we taught this week. We really need people to start coming to church this week if we want them to really progress. We shall see.
In the meantime, I´m having a good time with Hermana Davis and we´re working hard and eating a lot of baked goods and candy and ice cream and fruit and bread. I really like the bread here. Surprisingly, I haven´t had that much meat. I think it´s really expensive right now. We eat a lot of pasta though. Our patriarch´s wife fed us some milanesas de soja (kinda like breaded chicken, but it was made of soy!). Pretty weird, but I had some real ones with a little family with four really cute kids. The Argentines are taking good care of me and so is Hermana Davis. I pray for all of you and I love you and miss you a lot. I think I need a better picture of our family, but everyone loves to see the picture I have. I also love to look at it and remember how much I like all of you. I have an hour to email so any of you who want to email me, I now have time to read it and would love to hear from you. I love you all so much and am very excited to spend eternity with you.
Hermana Seegmiller