April 28, 2014
Hola Familia y Amigos!
Wow, the subject of this email really does explain it all. This week has been one of the most difficult things I´ve done. I don´t even know where to start. I guess with the basics.
My companion is from Mendoza, Argentina. Her name is Hna. Centeno. In our mission everyone leaves bilingual so the natives are required to learn English. She understands pretty much all english, but she doesn´t speak much english. Having a native companion is what I´ve wanted, but it definitely is hard. I love her though. She is literally the best trainer I could have hoped for her. ¡Le amo con todo mi corazon! So, yeah, she´s been out for almost 9 months and she is 22 years old. She is a rockstar. Love her. Now, for my area! I am in capital my area is called Congreso. Honestly, I didn´t want the main city at all, because I want like authentic Argentina, but it´s been really good actually. We walk a ton, so I love that. The members in Congreso are the greatest. Our goal in the mission is to never have a lesson without a member, and we have some great members and recent converts that for the most part really help us achieve this goal. Because I´m in the city, we live in an apartment. I happened to luck out on getting the best housing in the whole mission. It is suuuper awesome. Like, my apartment just feels like an American apartment. We have a gym upstairs and a laundry machine. Can you believe it?? I can´t! Anyways, its a lot nicer than all the other apartments I´ve been in. I´m very very blessed.
So basically I´m going to be straight here. I knew the mission was going to be hard. I was preparing myself for that, but it doesn´t matter how much you try to prepare yourself because you will never be truly ready for just how hard it is. I never thought it would be this hard in just the first week. Like, I didn´t learn this language in the MTC hard. I know people always say that, but its a real thing. I feel like I know 0 Spanish....or Castellano. The hardest thing is focusing on the Investigators and their needs instead of what I´m going to say and how I´m going to say it in Spanish. I need to rely more on the Spirit to impress me with what I need to say, even though I have no idea what is being said. And then trust that Heavenly Father will give me the Spanish I need to communicate what I need to say. Every day is such a huge challenge. I thought I had a ton of faith, but now I see I need more and I need to exercise that faith. Not just say I have it. Diligence and action is so key when it comes to faith.
On Sunday I did have some hope though. I really didn´t understand much. And honestly it is so hard because so many people will say something to me and I don´t even realize it and then they expect me to respond and I have no idea how to. Its the worst. However, I had several people tell me that my accent is very good. One investigator at church kept telling me this over and over and asked if my parents were from the United States or if they were latino or if I had any latino family. I kept saying no, and he couldn´t believe it. It was pretty funny. So hey, even if I can´t speak the language, at least my accent is decent jaja.
On Saturday we contacted a referral. His name is Marcos and apparently his girlfriend is a member in Salta. So we started teaching him and, again, I didn´t follow much of the lesson, but I could see how much he needs this Gospel. So at the end I extended the invitation to be baptized in 2 weeks and he said yes! What and incredible feeling!! I loved it! However, he didn´t come to church on Sunday so that means we have to push his baptism back a week which really stinks. Why can´t the investigators all be perfect and do what you want?? Jaja just kidding. Agency, thats why. But really, its frustrating.
Another quick experience. Saturday night I was absolutely exhausted. We had such a jam packed day and my mind and body were completely spent. So it´s our second to last lesson and we´re at a recent convert´s apartment and it was my turn to give the lesson/spiritual thought. I sat there having absolutely no clue what was being said. Like, I couldn´t follow the conversation one bit since I was so tired. I thought to myself "How am I going to speak, I can´t even follow what´s going on." So I prayed so hard to be filled with the words I needed, because otherwise I wouldn´t be able to even form a sentence. And sure enough the Lord delivered. My companion told me afterwards that it was the best lesson I had ever given. The Lord really does come through when you put your faith in HIm.
Well folks, sorry for the long letter. I could go on forever, but I don´t want to make it too long. This week has been a whirlwind and it has been far harder than I could have imagined. Thank you so much for your prayers. Remember when you love the way the Savior does, you will see miracles happen. And as always, Stay Anxiously Engaged.
Hermana Van Wagoner
PS I ran into a glass window....suuuper hard...my first day here. The doormen to our building were laughing pretty hard. It was great. Jaja.