Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Got A Baptism! ...sorta


This week just screamed by! There is a saying here in the MTC that every day lasts a week and every week lasts a day. Yeah, that's a real thing, they aren't kidding. It really just gets to the point where every day just blends together. Like we wake up on Saturday and say, for all we know this could be a Tuesday, because most days feel the same. 

So on Friday we had to practice doing our first contact, which is where we don't know anything about them, just go up to their door and hope to get into their house. It's so much harder than you would think....not to mention when you're attempting to do it in Spanish. So you could say that was pretty rough for Hna. Ridgway and me. However I have come to the point where I don't care how rough it is, because I know that it is just a huge learning experience. If you do it wrong the first time, you will know what NOT to do the next time. So it's really actually a blessing. 

So we've started to teach this investigator "Josue" (He's really just one of our teachers) and on the second lesson Hna. Ridgway and I committed him to be baptized! Although it was totally fake, it felt SO great! I mean, I can only imagine what it will feel like when we do that for real! If its this exciting when it's one of our teachers playing a character, it must be pretty spectacular out in the field. So as far as the MTC goes, we've committed one person to baptism so far. Jaja!! :)

As I have been learning Spanish, I have realized that I need to not stress so much about learning the language, and focus more on learning how to strengthen the investigator's relationship with God by helping them realize how His hand has been in their life the entire time. That being said, I know I will be completely lost when I first get down to Argentina, so I've come up with a little goal. My goal is even if the members and investigators can't understand me, I want them to KNOW how much I absolutely love them. Love doesn't need to be portrayed in words. I want them to know that I love them, and then hopefully through me they will be able to know how much MORE their Savior and Heavenly Father loves them. If I can at least do that, I know I can be successful. And honestly, that gives me so much hope. I already love the people of Argentina so much. I can't imagine how much more I will love them when I actually get down there! Ah, SO exciting!! :)

 Already in these short two weeks, I have seen how the mission pushes you to do things you would never otherwise do. I am the music coordinator in my branch, which means I choose the music for Sundays. Well the previous music coordinator left for Mexico before I could find out the details. So Saturday morning I was asking what exactly I need to do and I found out we had to have a special musical number for sacrament. Apparently there is one every Sunday. So since no one had prepared anything I had to whip out something on the piano. I decided to skip gym and practice the piano for an our. Thank heavens I had that piano book from Tricia with some beautiful hymns. It was such a blessing! So yeah, I prepared that in an hour. 

Then, every Sunday we all have to prepare 3-5 minute talks in Spanish. As I was writing my talk on Saturday I kept thinking, "I think I'm going to have to give this tomorrow." But I kept shrugging it off. So Sunday morning while I was getting ready, I mentioned to the other hermanas that I kept feeling like I was going to have to give the talk, but that I probably wouldn't since I was already doing the special musical number. Well, sure enough, as the meeting begins, the Branch President announces over the pulpit that Hna. Clay and I would be speaking and then after I was done speaking I would go play Abide with Me; Tis Eventide. All I could do is just laugh and smile. I had known it all along jaja. So Sunday I gave my first ever talk in SPANISH and then I played a piano solo with only an HOUR of practice. Two things I would have NEVER done before. And ya know what? Both went quite well if you ask me. That just goes to show you how much the Lord will push you, even in the MTC, but no matter what, He will still be with you the entire time. I know I couldn't have done either without the Lord's help. He requires a lot of His missionaries, but how lucky are we to have Him walk right beside us for 18-24 months and have Him be our perfect teacher. With such a teacher, it's impossible not to grow into something you couldn't ever before imagine. That is if we allow Him to push us and if we will have faith to be willing to do whatever it is He asks of us. 

The Lord is so good. Everywhere I look and in everything I do, I see Him. I am so fortunate to be called of God as a missionary to serve in Argentina. I'm not perfect, but I know that doesn't matter. All that matters is that I am willing to be His servant. That is all that is required of us. We must be willing to do whatever He asks. If we do that, He will shape us into something we could have never foreseen. I have a strong testimony of that already. I have seen it start to happen to me in just these short two weeks. I'm so excited for these next 18 months and all He has in store for me. I love you and miss you all more than I could ever adequately express! Thank you for your support and your prayers, I feel them so strongly. Miracles happen when we love others the way Christ does. Remember, stay anxiously engaged!! :)

Hermana Van Wagoner

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MTC Whirlwind

March 19, 2014 


Wow! My first letter of the mission! What a week it has been! It's been so long yet so short all at the same time! Lots to say!

First, let's start with the basics. My companion is Hna. Ridgway. She is 22 years old and is from Orem, UT. She is headed to the Canada Toronto Spanish Speaking mission. I have 6 hermanas in my district including me and my companion. Hna. Lange (Argentina Buenos Aires North mission, from Springfield, UT), her companion Hna. Weitl (Argentina Buenos Aires North mission, from Anacordas, WA) and Hna. Shotwell (Argentina Rosario mission, from St. George, UT) and Hna. Sanders (Argentina Rosario mission, from St. George, UT). We used to have two other districts in our zone, but they all left for Mexico on Monday so we're alone. Well actually we're getting a district of 5 sisters today and that'll be it for the next few weeks. 
So all the days are basically the same so they blend together, but I will do my best to recount them.
We had a new missionaries meeting on the Wednesday night and we sang We'll Bring the World His Truth and when we got to the end we sang "and we are NOW the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth" and man was that powerful. I am NOW a missionary and that is my mission, to bring the world His truth! So spiritual.

On Thursday we learned how to pray and bear our testimonies in Spanish, so I'm basically a pro....not.

Friday was the hardest day yet! Man oh man. We had to teach our first SPANISH!! I felt like a complete and utter failure afterwards. The feelings of inadequacy and home sickness and what not were unreal. I thought "There is no way I'm going to be able to preach this beautiful news to the people of Argentina because there is no way I can speak this language." Okay, good thinking there, Hannah. I was thinking all about MYself and MY abilities. Well I got a wake up call and realized this isn't MY mission. It's the LORD'S. And if He wants me to do this, He will HELP me do this. It's as simple as that. I literally felt so small, so humbled, and so inadequate, and yet I felt so LOVED. Because that's how the spirit is at the MTC. It's so loving and happy. So after hearing other missionaries' first lesson stories in Spanish I started to feel capable again. I dusted myself off, learned from my horrible teaching and Spanish mistakes and Hna. Ridgway and I were able to teach a great spiritual second lesson to our investigator, Benjamin, on Saturday. I know the Lord humbles us to we can learn and grow from our mistakes. I have been so humbled through this whole process and I know I will continue to be humbled. 

Oh and in one of those days, I lead Hna. Ridgeway to the wrong apartment building and we basically ended up trying to break into the wrong apartment so we could get ready for gym. So since our keys weren't working we went to the information desk to ask for a spare key to get into room 298 (even though we're 292, we didn't realize it), but we were told we would have to come back Monday since everyone was gone for the weekend. We were there for a really long time figuring out what we could do. Well, with no luck we decided to just go the apartment that is our classroom and just study. It was then that it dawned on me, I had gone to the WRONG building. Yeah, it was all my doing, completely my fault. Basically I was trying to get the information desk to help me break into someone else's room, and they were totally going to help me, had the administrators not been gone for the weekend. I literally laughed so hard when I realized what I had done. 

Sunday was the most spiritual Sunday I've had in awhile!! Oh it was so great to take a break from everything!! :) After we attended devotional, we watched a devotional Elder Bednar gave and it was incredible! One thought I'd like to share: It is NOT enough to have a testimony. We must be CONVERTED to the LORD. We will NEVER fall away if we are CONVERTED. Conversion is being consistently true to what we know. My primary job at the MTC is to become CONVERTED to the Lord and not just have a testimony. My second job is to learn Spanish. I think we should all evaluate our lives and decided whether we are converted to the Lord or if we just have a testimony. Let us all strive for the complete conversion. If we do, we will never fall away. 

Oh, fun fact. I have been told multiple times I look like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. So that's fun. One Hermana told me it was her favorite musical ever so it was a real compliment that I reminded her of Elle. So when she told me that I was very flattered. 

Well mi familia y mis amigos, I think I have made you read enough. I know, I'm long winded. I hope you all have a fun week. Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios y es verdadero. Yo se que el Evangelio de Jesucristo es verdadero Yo se que Jesucristo es nosotros Salvador y Redendtor. Remember, love someone new the way Christ would, and watch your life change. And of course, Stay Anxiously engaged!! :) 

Love you and miss you all so much!!
Hermana Van Wagoner