Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 28 - Four weeks down, two to go!


It has been another long but great week here at el CCM.

Our Proselitismo return appointments didn't quite turn out the way we wanted them to, but we met and had actual conversations with people this time! We are moving to a different area this next Saturday, so we got some references for the missionaries who serve there full time. We are far from fluent, but we are learning and getting better!

This last Tuesday our second wave of Latino missionaries and the other group of North Americans left- we got to know the other North American district pretty well so it was sad to see them go. It has given us hope that two more weeks isn't that long though! New North Americans arrived today and we are excited to get to know them.

The days are becoming blurs of monotony, but mis compañeras and I try to keep things ¡fresco como la lechuga! (our teacher Hermano Cristeche taught us that one haha).

We do workouts during actividad física and try our best to memorize something everyday/throughout the week. We also love to laugh and the Elders keep us entertained, so it's not so bad.

I've been studying the Holy Ghost this week and the characteristics/attributes of the spirit and I had a cool insight. In 1 Nephi 17:47 Nephi describes himself as being so full of the spirit he had no more strength. There are also many other examples in the scriptures where someone- after they saw a vision or other spiritual experiences- was exhausted by having the spirit so much. It occurred to me that maybe working with the spirit is like working a muscle - at first we are weak and it is exhausting, but after a while we build up strength, become more in tune with the spirit and become more like what Heavenly Father envisions us as. Here in the CCM I'm exhausted at the end of everyday even though I've only been sitting in a classroom all day. Part of it may be just trying to learn Spanish, but I think it also comes from trying my best everyday to be obedient and have the spirit with me constantly. One day I hope to be spiritually ripped!

I hope all is well with everyone, I love you all!

¡Estoy aquí porque yo amo a toda la gente de Paraguay!

Hermana Carr

I love being a missionary! Bs. As. Temple on a perfectly sunny day=paradise

us being silly with our roommates that left this last Tuesday

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 21 - Proselitismo

It's been a great week and yesterday was my distrito's official half-way point in el CCM- ¡Double hump day!

Shout out to Leslie Lange - I met Hermana (Maddie) Hawkins at the Buenos Aires temple grounds this week. She's awesome and was so excited when I said I knew you!

Proselitismo. Was. AMAZING.

It was rough at the beginning. The first people we talked to turned out to be a Catholic minister (the grandma) and the grandpa claimed to be an apostle or something. We didn't understand much of what they said, but we're pretty sure they started preaching to us hahaha. They invited us to lunch and were super kind, but we had lunch already and continued contacting. There were many embarrassing moments: I confused a coach for a kid's dad and I didn't understand when they corrected me and proceeded to teach them about how Heavenly Father loves his children just as he (the coach) loved his son. Mis compañeras told me after the contact my mistake. I also forgot to look both ways before crossing the street. Luckily I'm pretty tall and angels guard missionaries - so no accident just a few confused Argentinians hahaha.

We had 3 solid contacts though and got return appointments for this Saturday! One lady, Nancy, was cleaning the outside of her house and offered me water when I started coughing trying to introduce ourselves. We taught her a 5 minute lesson, invited her to church and are returning on Saturday to see if she read the pamphlet and attended church! Later we met Marcello, who is Catholic but seemed very interested in the Book of Mormon after I had him read part of the introduction, so we set up meeting with him again too! 

Then came the coolest one. While we were walking, a man was riding his bike and stopped us and asked us about our message. He pointed to a pamphlet I was carrying in my arm that had a picture of Christ on it. He had to get to work, but he gave us his info and we are going to find him on Saturday too! We Hermanas seemed to be super lucky. No one else really had the same experiences as us. I don't know if our return appointments will amount to much, but we are hopeful and at the very least we are planting seeds!!!

Yesterday we watched a recording of an MTC devotional given by Jeffrey R. Holland that really motivated me. To him, as he put it, "My mission is everything to me". He explains that a mission not only blesses those seeking truth, but also allows you to come closer to the Savior by experiencing just a portion of the rejection, the joy, and love Christ experienced while on this earth. I am so grateful - this mission is truly a privilege to serve. It's hard work, and I'm not even in the field yet, but it truly is a privilege to be here. I am coming so much closer to my Heavenly Father through the spirit that is here. The work is great and marvelous!

We also had a fireside this Sunday about music. Music is a powerful way to increase or detract from the Spirit. We often joke about all the songs we use to listen to or try to remember songs from 3 weeks ago, but now it's fun to jam out to EFY songs because they're slightly more up-tempo than hymns. If you haven't listened to the "Embark" youth song, go look it up. That's our jam! hahaha Aca-awesome times in the CCM.

I love you all! I hope the Poultons are having a party at the reunion. Much love sent your way from Argentina! Also, congratulations Aunt Jenny! The temple is amazing and such a blessing- I love the temple!

¡Estoy aqui porque amo a toda la gente de Paraguay (y Buenos Aires)!

Hermana Carr

Photos from the CCM

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 14 - Field trip to Buenos Aires temple

¡Buen dia mi familia!

It's been another full week with lots of Gospel study and Spanglish!

After last week's email, we attended the Buenos Aires Temple. Even though everything was in Spanish the spirit was still very present. After the temple I was thinking about the people in Paraguay and wondering if I would ever be able to teach them in their "native tongue" and mis compañeras y yo stopped and talked with a family. The father was very excited and spoke English/Spanglish with us. He introduced all of his boys to us and explained that he did not have any names for his boys when they were born, but turned to the Book of Mormon and named his boys after prophets and great leaders. He and his wife currently teach seminary and work very hard for their family. He asked us where we are going to serve and when I said Paraguay he said "Oh! I was born in Paraguay! You will learn much!" That man and his family touched my heart - it was so wonderful to have a real life example of what my goal is out here. If I can help someone's family come unto Christ and even just start to become like that man's family then I will have so much joy.

Language learning is hard - but I have faith that if I keep at it, it will come eventually.

On Sunday I played a special musical number with Elder Thompson singing "Praise to the Man". It wasn't super spectacular or anything, but special shout-out to Mom for pushing me through piano lessons! I'm the only one in my distrito who can play and add to the generic himnos.

Later on Sunday we had a great lesson in Relief Sociedad on hope and humility. Our teacher quoted, "Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less". I definitely get down on myself at not knowing Spanish very well (which is silly, I know) but it helps me to keep in perspective that I am learning Spanish so I can communicate with the paraguayans, not for my personal gain. My patience is growing - both from the language and by having to cut the meat in our meals with plastic knives - which is really good.

This last Monday I caught a cold/sore throat that's been going around all the missionaries in the CCM. After sleeping through most of Monday and a lot of cold medicine I am almost 100% better! I just have little sniffles now. And my compañeras haven't gotten sick (knock on wood)! Heavenly Father definitely answers prayers.

On Tuesday our Latina roommates and the first wave of missionaries left and it's been very quiet and English-speaking these last couple of days - which has been a nice break after being sick.

I hope everyone is doing well, I think of home some but my mind is usually preocupado with Spanish.

On Saturday we go out into Bs As to proselyte!!! I have no idea what we're going to do... but we've got an exit plan! haha - If all else fails, we don't understand anything they are saying and we feel we can't just say "mucho gusto" and leave, we will say "¿Podemos cantar?" (can we sing?) sing a hymn in Spanish and leave a pass along card with the missionaries of the area's phone number. It'll be good to get out of here and practice listening to native Spanish speakers more.

Estoy aqui porque amo a toda la gente de Paraguay!

Hna. Carr

P.S. Funny things in the CCM: 1) my name is always at first Hna. Aúto or Hna. Alto, depending on who I'm introducing myself to haha and 2) When you say you're from utah the Latinos always say "oh, la fabrica!" meaning Utah is the factory of missionaries! They get a lot of Utahns coming through here I guess. haha

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 7 - CCM

Hola mi familia y amigos!

(psych! my p-day is on Thursday, sorry about that)

I can't believe it's been only seven days since I've arrived! It feels like it's been a year, I've learned so much.

After saying goodbye to my familia, I met Hermana Carlson and Elder Cottam at the gate. We flew to Atlanta and met pretty much all of the people in our district here en el CCM (distrito Mormón) and then had a long flight to Argentina. We got to the CCM a little later than planned, but they immediately started getting us into our rooms, doing introductions and starting us off on a good note. Mis compañeras are Hermana Carlson and Hermana Porter, both are going to the Uruguay Montevideo Oeste mission. I love them so much! They keep me sane here. All of the Norte Americanos that arrived on the same day as I did are in our districto of nine - three hermanas y six elders - except for Elder Parada who was moved to the 2 week track because he already knows Spanish pretty well.

The first 3-4 days were kinda rough - in a MTC video a guy said "the first days are like drinking from a fire hydrant - you get some water but mostly your face just hurts". SO TRUE. I couldn't understand any Spanish yet, so I really had a lot of time to think about why I am out here. I am here because I've felt the power of the atonement in my life and I want to share it with those I love - just as Lehi wanted to share the fruit of the tree of life in his dream with his family after he partook of the fruit (1 nefi 8). I love everyone and now I have a special place in my heart for the people of Paraguay. Learning and teaching the gospel in Spanish is HARD - but I'm doing this for the Paraguayans.

The days are long, the food is mostly meat (awesome) and cheese sauces (not so awesome), this place is tiny and the work y schedule is exhausting, but I feel like this is where I'm meant to be and I feel satisfied and the end of every day. My district makes me laugh SO hard everyday and the spirit is so strong here. I feel the support of your prayers.

I love you all! Yo sé que nuestro Padre Celestíal os ama tambien!

Estoy aqui porque yo amo a toda la gente de Paraguay.

Con amor,
Hermana Carr