Friday, April 8, 2011

Mission Argentina Salta - Part II

My next transfer started in the offices waiting for a new missionary,
I was a nervous wreck.
I didn't know Spanish,
I only had 6 months in my mission,
I didn't know how to teach.
Luckily Heavenly Father blessed me with an angel.
Hna Rodriguez (from Buenos Aires) was amazing.  I was so excited to have her as my daughter.  She really knew how to serve and she knows the gospel really well.
We were sent to
(pronounced hue-hue-ee)
I learned a lot in my time with Hna Rodriguez and she was oh so patient with me.
She got in and took control.  I learned so much from her and we spent a lot of time making up songs and laughing.
Going into this new area, with a new companion, was really hard for me.  Not because the area was hard, or because it was more work than any other area, but because I was way too arrogant to want help from anyone.  I wanted to prove to everyone that I could do this. I wanted to do it all by myself.
I quickly learned that missionary work doesn't work that way.
Missionary work is not doing what WE want to do.  It is being in the right place at the right time and listening to the spirit. 
I was trying to do all I could do to make sure we had success.
That's when I learned the meaning of the scripture, "Be Still and Know that I am God."
We slowed down and I started putting my trust in Heavenly Father instead of in myself.
When I figured that out how wrong I was, we started seeing millions of miracles.
We literally had people come up and ask us to be baptized.
One of them was Valeria.
Hna Rodriguez and I had been praying to know what we should do to find people that wanted the gospel.  We were sitting in chruch next to a new convert named Camilia (the darling little girl in the picture).  In the middle of sacrament meeting she leaned over to me and said, Hermana, my mom wants to be baptized, can you come over and teach her.
Of course we did...and she was baptized a few weeks later.
We also met Javier.  He showed up to church by himself and told us that he had already had all of the discussions in another area, but he couldn't be baptized but now he was ready.  I started to ask him a few questions and he already knew EVERYTHING.  He had an interview with the Elders and was baptized that same week.
It was an amazing experience.
We also found Nicholas.
We found him as we were sitting on some steps taking a break from the heat.  We asked him about his day and the conversation turned to how he already knew about the Church because his mom was a member before she died.  We were just in the right place at the right time.
One of my favorite people that we taught was Silvia Sanchez.
She really found answers to her prayers when she asked to know if the church was true.  It was an amazing experience for all of us.  I am so grateful for her amazing example as she continues strong and serves in the church.

Hna Rodriguez' and my time together came to an end, but in the next transfer we stayed in the same apartment together as I trained another new missionary.
The people that Hna Rodriguez and I taught in our time together continued to be baptized in my next transfer with my new companion.
I stayed in Coronel Aires with the mightiest person I know, in the smallest little package.
This is a picture of Hermana Romero (Lima, Peru) when we first met.
She is such a special part of my life.
Overall I think the missionaries I trained learned exactly what NOT to do as a missionary.
Again when I trained I really struggled with myself personally. I passed through one of the hardest depressions of my mission.  We still watched people make righteous decisions and follow the example of Jesus Christ.  I give all the credit to Hna Romero for her Giant like faith.
We continued to teach Silvia's family.  We watched each of them progress in their own way.  Her son Horacio (next to my mom on the right) was even baptized!  He is now finishing up school and preparing to serve a mission.
We found Poala after her husband died.  She had investigated the church before but couldn't be baptized.  Her sister-in-law was already a member and really helped to make things come together.  She is a stong woman.

We also received a reference to teach Viviana and Maria de los Angeles.  I don't have their picture, but I learned a lot as we spent time with them.
Pablo found our church building after talking to a friend online and then looking up the address of the church building online.  He was fun to teach.  He was baptized after I had already lef t the area. 
Hermana Romero and I also had a lot of fun teaching the children.  Since we were then in October, we were often asked about Halloween so we decided to take the neighborhood kids out trick-o-treating to different members in the ward.  It was an awesome way for them to meet ward members, and we had a blast!
We were dressed up as penguins and the kids were pumpkins and Jack from Night before's pretty famous in S.A.
I am so grateful for all that I learned while I was in this area.
A lot of things I had to learn the hard way, but the companions I was given really were sent from God.  They have been the ones the have been by me in the hardest times and were willing to tell me the way things are even when I didn't want to hear it.  I will be eternally grateful for them.

Read Part III Here


Janiece said...

You too were an angel for those you taught...our Father in heaven is so wise.

The Kuykendalls... said...

I found your blog when searching for information about the Salta mission for my nephew who is getting ready to go serve over there. Is there anything that you can recommend about food and packages? I know they say not to send packages, but did you ever find a way to receive one intact? Also, what can he expect as far as food? Do the members feed missionaries regularly? Any information or advice is greatly appreciated. you can email me at

Kira Rivadeneira said...

I am so glad that you were able to find my blog when looking for information about the Salta Mission. He is going to LOVE it over there! The people are so kind and loving. It was a lot different than I had imagined. I thought it was going to be like Mexico or the typical “South America” that I had always heard stories about. In reality the style of the architecture and food is very European. The majority of the people that live in Argentina are immigrants (Spanish, Italian, Arabic). In his mission the farther north he serves the more Native Indians he will meet.
In Argentina they eat lunch instead of dinner and then have a siesta (nap). – Not as missionaries, but everyone else ;). We always ate with members, except for on Pdays. As long as they keep a good relationship with the members they should have food. I could count the number of times that we didn’t get fed by members on one hand. The members love the missionaries and are happy to have them in their homes.
We ate a lot of pasta and never anything spicy. Some typical foods include Empanadas (Salta and Tucuman have the very best empanadas in the country,) milanesa with chicken or with beef, homemade pizza, homemade noodles, stew, soups, etc. If he is really really lucky he will get to eat Asado (barbeque) I have never eaten more deliciously cooked meat than while I lived there. I never ate anything there that I didn’t like. Ever. In fact, I gained a lot of weight because the food was so delicious. They almost always serve a yellow rice, noodles, or salad with every meal and ALWAYS bread. Occasionally they will offer you blood sausage or different kinds of barbequed intestines, but they are pretty understanding if it you don’t want to try it as long as you decline politely. Argentines are generally quite friendly.
Argentina’s economy has changed quite a bit in the last few years so some of the food choices might have changed since last time I was there. I know when I was on my mission they ate a lot of beef, but the beef prices are so high right now they eat a lot more chicken.
His mission also covers several different types of climates. The northern part of his mission (Jujuy – pronounced hue-hue-ee) and northern Salta are a lot like southern Utah. It’s pretty dry and full of beautiful colored mountains and is close to the Andes. (look up the el cerro de siete colores, Jujuy) It has more the of the Native culture. Tucuman is more sub-tropical. They have the beautiful thick green trees and it is pretty humid. I only served in Salta for a short time and I never served in Santiago del Estero. Santiago is very very hot and dry, like Arizona. Overall it is a warm mission. Winter only lasts a couple of months and it’s usually not very cold. Tucuman is very wet and rainy in the winter.
As far as packages go, the system is actually really good. I only didn’t get 1 package and it is because my mom wasn’t being 100% honest on what was inside. It was a Christmas package full of clothes and things. When she filled out the customs sheet at the post office she only mentioned that she was sending me some candies and boots. So, I received, boots and candy and nothing else. Their customs department can open the packages and take out anything that wasn’t listed on the paperwork and keep it. So as long as you fill out the paperwork right you shouldn’t have any problems. I never heard of anyone else not getting packages either. A helpful hint or heads up though, if the package is too heavy it will have to go to customs and it does cost the missionaries to get it out. Try to stay under 1 ½ lbs.