Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fun Facts!

July 28, 2014
¡Hola! ¿Cómo andan?
Okay, so where to start. I feel like I have no idea what to say jaja. But for real.-sometimes I feel like I just write the same letter over and over again. So if any of you feel that way too, I’m sorry, really I am. But hey, every day feels more or less the same jaja. But then again, totally different. It’s hard to explain.

So.........Yeah, I’m just going to start with some fun facts and the mish and about what I’ve eaten. Yeah, I haven’t updated y’all about what I’ve eaten in awhile jaja. So a couple weeks ago I ate liver. Yeah, I know that there’s lots of people that do that even in the United States, but hey it was weird for me. It was horrible. Mostly just the texture was horrible. I mean, the member prepared it well, but you can only do so much flavor wise. Last week I ate Mondongo again....Stomach But this time it was a plateful, not just a simple little bite. It was horrible. I can’t even believe how fast I ate that meal. Every bite I took was HUGE and I only chewed it like 2 times before swallowing so I wouldn’t have to taste and chew it too much. It was soooo rough. Bleh!!! Just thinking about it is rough. So yeah, there was just some cow stomach in my stomach. Bleh.
Other fun facts! I just found out that I have the most famous street in Argentina in my area! It’s called Corrientes. It is FILLED with theaters and there are a gazillion famous people that work in Corrientes. I also have a suuuuper rich place in my area called Puerto Madero. It’s basically where all the famous people live who work in Corrientes jaja. When I was with Hna. Centeno, we saw a ton a ton of famous people.  I just never knew it because they’re pretty much only famous here in Argentina jaja. Also, in my mission we have the biggest and most dangerous villa (or ghetto) in all of South America! (Not Central America obvio) Isn’t that crazy?? It’s huge! I’ve seen it a few times and its nuts. Obviously I will never be going there. The Hermanas aren’t allowed to be in the villas sadly. They baptize a ton in the villas.
So, last Wednesday the whole Zone came to our area to work for a couple hours. When the zone leaders told us this last Monday on the phone I was so crushed-like I literally started crying immediately. Why-because of my dang pride. To me it was like, whoa, no, this is MY area and we don’t need your help to find OUR investigators. Oh how I needed to be humbled yet again. Pride’s a rough one. I mean, I knew it would be a good experience, but half of me was so upset about it because it made me feel like I was the worst missionary and that the Zone leaders didn’t have confidence that we could do it by ourselves so we needed others to help us. Tuesday I tried to focus on the good about the activity. We started making plans so we could have 7 members (one for each companionship...it was rough to find so many, but we did it!) and we divided up our area into 7 parts. We wrote down all of our old investigators and less actives in the parts and then we assigned a companionship to every part. It ended up being super productive because of that! I really am happy we were able to have the activity. It helped us a lot and I was able to learn a lot that night. Not to mention the elders got a taste of the city life jaja. Basically there is only one other area that is as city as Congreso, and both only have Hermanas. So the elders don’t understand what it’s like to be in the city city. They’re just used to villas...jaja no kidding, not all the elders are in the villas. But yeah, I’m actually super grateful for the activity.
Well, I got to get going!! Sorry I wasn’t able to include more this week! Thanks for all your support! I love you all so so much!! Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)
Hermana Van

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cien por Ciento, Soy Una Misionera!

July 21, 2014
Buen Día mis queridos!!
How’s it going everyone?? I sure hope you’re enjoying the warm weather back there in the good ol´ USofA. We are in winter here, however, we’ve been super blessed and it hasn’t been super super cold. I believe that will be coming any moment though. Can’t wait...............
Okay, so I’m just going to be straight up here. This past week has easily been one of the absolute hardest weeks of my mission. Now that Hermana Centeno is gone and I’m the oldest in the area, I have to be the one to make all the plans at night and lead us everywhere in the city. The hard thing about making the plans at night is that we have to have just about a million back up plans because even if you have a set appointment with someone here in the city, it really doesn’t mean that they’re going to be there, ya know what I mean? Not to mention our investigator pool keeps decreasing. So we don’t have a ton of set appointments every day like we’re supposed to. Lately we have been talking with lots of people in the street (like usual) and pretty much every single one either lives out of our area or isn’t interested. Thus, it has been super hard to find new investigators. And all this happens right when I’m out of training and my trainer leaves to another area. I’m going to be honest, I could go on about the other "bad" or "rough" stuff that has happened, like having chewed up oranges thrown in our faces, but I don’t want to continue to complain or be negative. I have been so stressed this past week, and in all honesty, many tears have been shed. Many prayers of questioning and pleading have been offered. The hardest thing is trying to understand God’s will. I know with my whole heart that there is a purpose to these trials I’m having. I know that God sees my potential and is the only one who knows what I need to go through in order to reach that potential. I have to trust with everything I have in my Savior. I have to continue to have faith and work hard, even when it’s far easier to just give up. I know I’m learning lessons for the rest of my mission and for my life. I truly am grateful for these trials, because it means that I am strong enough to overcome them with the help of my Savior, and that God trusts me. However, it is only through the Savior that I can do it...I have come to realize that so intensely on my mission and I have really become so humbled. When it comes down to it, the roller-coaster of the mission is something that can’t be explained.
So, it has happened. I am 100% a missionary, through and through. Like, I’m weird now and everything. Jaja! Let me explain—
So yesterday in the evening, we were in the apartment so my companion could rest a little bit. She has back problems, and then about a week and a half ago she was in a bus when it crashed and now her whole right side has been hurting lots. So yeah, she was resting when we get a text that said at the young single adult party there was a nonmember that was interested in learning more about the gospel and asked us to come to the party to talk to him. So that’s the first good reference we’ve received in a while, so we were out the door immediately. Well, we arrive, and the amount of awkwardness I felt is indescribable!! I mean sure I can interact with JAS (Jovenes Adultos Soltedos....Young Single Adults) when we’re at church, because I’m in a missionary type setting. But being at a party for the young single adults where they were interacting and flirting and what not??? SO AWKWARD!! I felt so out of place and I didn’t know what to do with myself. AND, I only have 4 months in the mission!! I’m warning you now, don’t be surprised when I get home and I’m super awkward and call you all "Hermano" and "Hermana" all the time. So to finish the story we talked with the reference, Alex, and taught him a little bit of the Restoration, but everyone was being super loud and socializing so it was hard. Also, he doesn’t live in our area, so that was a bust. Super interested though, so the Elders that are going to teach him are super lucky.
Well that’s just about everything for this week. Oh, and my companion is super great, I really love her! Yep, now that’s everything. During personal study today I was reading about scripture study jaja, and I thought I’d give you and a friendly reminder to read the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY individually and as a family! That book is so incredibly powerful as you all know. It changes lives. Anyways, love you all! Thanks for you support and prayers, I definitely need them! Les amo y oro para ustedes cada día! Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged! :)
Hermana Van

Thursday, July 17, 2014


 July 15, 2014
Hola hola hola!!

Well, needless to say, I´m suuuuuuppppppper bummed that Argentina didn’t win the World Cup....and I’m a gringa, so I’m sure you can imagine how my dear Argentines feel. Sunday, we went to Church and then we had to be in our apartments at 4:00 and couldn’t leave at all after that. However, there were tons of people passing in the street by our apartment and it was nuts, so we couldn’t go out before 4:00 either, just for church. I can’t even tell you how much I love that the people get soooo into soccer here. It’s just a bummer that it affects the work sometimes... So anyways, right before the game started Sunday there were a ton of people passing and we were out on our balcony watching when all of a sudden someone looks up at me and starts shouting stuff that I’m from Germany and I’m German and what not, and then others decided to join in, so I quickly re-entered the apartment jaja. It was hilarious!! So all day Sunday we just did various things, like watch church movies and what not. It was crazy being in the apartment all day. 
Hannah and Hermana Centeno Sporting their Argentina Soccer Jerseys
So, today is cambios!! I really can’t even tell you how sad I am that my time with Hna. Centeno is over. She is the best missionary! I love her so so much! I learned so much and I’m eternally grateful that she was my trainer!! (Mi mamá en la misión) I’m still in Congreso, and my companion is Hermana Quintana. She is from Salta, Argentina. Funny enough she was the "twin" to Hermana Centeno. They were trained together, in a trio, by the same missionary. Crazy right? She is 22. I’m super excited to work with her! :) It should be great! Also, I’m completely done with my training in the mission. I’m just a regular missionary now!! How crazy!! I can’t even believe it!! 
This is where Congress meets.  Her area is called the Congreso Area.

Well, I don’t know exactly what I should say so I’ll just share a quick experience that we had last ....Friday...I think. So it was the end of the night and we were on our way to an appointment at 8:00 and we didn’t have a member with us. So we’re just walking a long talking about the spirit and how even if it doesn’t seem like it, as missionaries we always have the spirit, and how the spirit protects us and what not. So we say a prayer before entering the building, and then we go in. So we go in and it’s not the right building, we had made a mistake, which is odd because we’re at this building almost every day and we never make this mistake. So we exit, and then we see two guys running towards us suuuper fast. They enter the building that we were just about to go into. Then there was someone running behind them. It turns out they had robbed a store. If we hadn’t made the mistake of the building we would have entered the other building right when the robbers were, and we would have been in their way. Then, if the door hadn’t been open for them to enter quickly, they would have turned and ran straight into us, and who knows what could have happened. It was the craziest thing. I felt the spirit protecting us so strongly! I mean, how crazy that we had just been talking about the spirit and its protection! Let me tell you this, missionaries really do have extra protection. Oh, so we didn’t end up going inside because then the police came and it was a huge mess, and we felt like we needed to stay away from the building. So yeah, that happened. 

Not much more to report this week. It’s been super crazy today with transfers! I want to say that I received your letters mom and dad! And I also received the letters from the aunts, uncles and cousins. And oh my lanta tears for days!! Thank you so so so so much! They meant the world to me!!! I seriously have the greatest family ever!! Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers!! Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged! :)

Hermana Van 

PS Vanesa returned to her old ways of not wanting to change religions and isn’t going to be baptized. :( Dang agency!! jajaja!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Aguante Argentina!

July 7, 2014


What a week it has been! I can’t believe for the life of me that I only have one more week of training! Ah, I definitely don’t feel nearly ready to be considered just a normal missionary jaja, but at the same time, I’m anxious to start this new phase. It will definitely be interesting. At this point it’s crazy to imagine having a companion other than Hna. Centeno. She’s all I have known here in Argentina jaja! What an adventure it will be!!
Hannah with her companion Hermana Centeno
So last Tuesday was the greatest ever. We had a mission conference for completing our goal for June. I think we had 186 baptisms in June which is super awesome. The whole mission worked crazy hard and we really saw the most amazing miracles. June was a month of miracles! So we had a mission conference and then after the conference....wait for it....we got to watch the Argentina World Cup game!!!! It was basically heaven! It was the funniest thing watching it with 250 missionaries. Everyone was super into it and cheering like crazy. In order to watch the game we had to end our P-Day at 4:00 last week. But it was super worth it. Today we’re going to end our P-Day again at 4 so that we can watch the SEMIFINALS this Wednesday!! I am so incredibly stoked!!! The world cup is seriously the greatest here! When there is an Argentina Game the whole city basically shuts down. There practically isn’t anyone in the street, and all the shops are closed down. Everyone is either in their apartment or a restaurant, watching the game. I love it so much jaja! We always have to be in our apartments whenever there is an Argentina game because these people are crazy fanatics, and ya never know if it’s going to be dangerous during, or after a game. Don’t worry fam, the mission takes super good care of us in these circumstances and we’re super cautious. So there’s nothing to worry about. :)

So last Saturday we had yet another miracle. :) Let me give ya a little background knowledge first. So there is this old investigator, Vanesa. Hna. Centeno and her companion before went and visited her once in the transfer before I arrived. So they were talking to her, and come to find out her husband had died a little while ago. Apparently pretty recently before he died he converted to the Evangelist church. It really changed his life and he became super dedicated and faithful in his church. So they start teaching her and what not and she tells them that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and she knows everything we teach in the Church is true. Basically she knows that the Church is true. But because her husband died in the Evangelist church she said she wouldn’t ever change her religion and be baptized. Fast forward to now. We have been thinking a lot about Vanesa, but we haven’t been able to get a hold of her. One day last week we happened to see her in the street. So we set an appointment for Friday night. Well, we go, and she’s not home. Awesome. So then Saturday we went again in the morning (since there was an Argentina game in the afternoon we left at 9:00am and had our studies in the afternoon...side note). And she was there! So we have a lesson on the Plan of Salvation and it was suuuuper great! Like super spiritual and we were able to explain it in unity and clearly. So at the end of the lesson we extend the baptism invitation and she ACCEPTED!!! For this weekend!!! (Since she’s already been to church a ton, but we might change it for the next weekend since she hasn’t been to church in like 5 years.) Anyways, it was a HUGE miracle!! And she’s was like, "You’re going to come and visit me during the week right?" And we’re like Heck yes we are!!! Jaja! Anyways I’m just super excited!! I seriously am so lucky that I get to witness such beautiful miracles!!  

Ya know, I gotta be honest. Sometimes I doubt that I’m ever going to have a baptism. The hardest thing is not being able to always see the fruit of our labors. And also not comparing ourselves to other missionaries. That’s the roughest. Because success in the mission is not always presented in baptisms. But sometimes...maybe a lot...I wonder, "Why is our success not in baptisms? Why are we the ones who are having the other success?" Anyways, it’s hard. But I know it’s all a learning process. I know that the Lord is giving me these trials to prepare me. Prepare me for the rest of my mission and my life. I know that with patience, diligence and obedience I WILL have baptisms that I am longing for so much. I love my Savior and my Father in Heaven and I know there is a plan for me. I know trusting in them is the most important. 

Hannah is a River fan.

Watching the World Cup with her mission.
Well, I think that’s about all for today!! I love you all and thank you so much for your prayers. How lucky I am to have such supportive people in my life. Also, if you watch Argentina in the Semi Finals this Wednesday, know this, WE ARE WATCHING THE SAME THING!!!!! JAJA!! :) Well, that’s all! Love you all and miss you! Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged! :)

Hermana Van