Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Mission Argentina Salta

This Friday is a special date for me.
It will mark 2 years that I have been home from my mission.
Even though a lot has happened since then, I still hold my mission very close to my heart.
In the next few days I will be doing a little tour of some of the experiences that I had there.
To learn more about missionaries you can watch this short movie:
When I turned 21 I was pretty sure I wanted to serve a mission.
As I prayed to know what I should do the answers came clearly and I met with my bishop to fill out my paperwork.
I waited very anxiously for my mission call.  My friends and family all put in guesses to where they thought I would go.  We proudly displayed this map in our kitchen with all the guesses.
My Aunt Pam Burgess and Cody Oakes won when they guessed Argentina!
My mission was called the Argentina Salta Mission.
It covered 4 Providences,
Salta, Tucuman, Jujuy (pronounced hue-hue-ee), and Santiago del Estero.
I had the privilege of serving in 3 of those Providences.
 After 6 weeks of serving in the Mission Training Center (MTC) the time finally came to go to Argentina.
My first area was called:
Alderetes, Tucuman
And my companion / trainer / mommy was
Hermana (Sister) Adriana Hansen from West Virginia.
She taught me all about the culture and how to be a missionary.
We met a lot of awesome people and had a lot of fun.
We celebrated Christmas and New Years together!
She was so awesome that I hardly felt homesick...okay maybe a little, but she certainly helped me to feel better.
We were only together for 6 weeks ( 1 transfer) but in that time we met some wonderful people.
My next companion was Hermana Fernanda Esquivel from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She didn't speak any English, so in the time that we were together I successfully masters my own language.
It definitely wasn't English...or Spanish...
 Despite our language barrier we were able to learn a lot from each other.
We also were able to see Angel Villagraa be baptized...
It was a super rainy day, but it was perfect.
A couple of weeks later Marta Castillo (on the left) was also baptized.
It is an amazing experience watching people that you love make the choice to follow the Savior's example and be baptized.
Marta was so fun to watch as she studied the Book of Mormon and was able to find comfort in the words that were there. I have never met anyone else that was so enthusiastic to read like she was.
Speaking of the Book of Mormon...
We found this one in a Saint Gaucho Gil shrine.  People leave things that were special to someone that had passed away in these shrines.  I thought it was appropriate.

(We were also able to teach Delia Soria and Milagros Monserrat and watch as they made the decision to be baptized, but I don't have a picture of them yet, as soon as I do I will post it on here)
After my time in Tucuman I was then asked to leave the people I had met there and go to
Tres Cerritos, Salta
I was called to serve with Hermana Marci Pickett
 We had a blast together.
We were in the same area as the mission home so we did a lot of our Preparation Day activities with the office Elders.
We had a lot of fun.
Hna Pickett always cracked me up.
We also knew how to work hard.
We saw HUGE miracles.
Like as the Familia Nunez prepared to be baptized.
Brother Aldolfo (Pelusa) Nunez had investigated the church for about 10 years after half of his family had been baptized.
He knew everything about the chruch, but just didn't feel like he wanted to be baptized.
Even though my Spanish was really hard to understand he said he could feel that when we talked that the church was true.
He, his wife Felicia, and 2 of their children, Emilio and Blanca, were then baptized.
The sweet Bruna Chungara (the girl next to Pickett) was also baptized the same day.
Soon following the Nunez's other son Jose also decided to be baptized, his older brother Ramiro was able to do the honors.
Jose always prized himself as being a "gaucho" (Argentine cowboy) and asked if he could be baptized in a river close to farm that he took care of.  We got special permission. I'm so glad that we did, it was such an amazing experience. Even though it was winter and the water was only knee deap the spirit was almost over bearing. The images of him coming out of the water will be in my mind forever.
Another Nunez family member also took interest in the church.
Milagro had been living with one of the Nunez boys and they had 2 beautiful kids together.
We taught her and she also wanted to be baptized.
BUT...
she needed to be married first.  We helped them to get things in order and they were married soon after.
Soon she was all ready to be baptized.

We also were able to teach Clarita and her grandma Clara.
(No relation to the Nunez family : ) )
Carla wanted to be baptized really badly too but she had been waiting for 10 years for her divorce to go through so she could get married to her real love.
She has since gotten married and is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They were the sweetest little family and we loved them very much.

After Hermana Pickett and I served for 2 transfers the time came for her to go home.
It was a sad day for me because we had become such good friends.
I didn't think I would be able to be a missionary with out her.
The Lord had big plans for me...
I found out that I was going to be going to a new area and that I would be training a new missionary.
I was really nervous and I didn't think I was capable of the task...in fact I still don't think I was capable, but we made it work.
You can read more about that experience in my next blog.

Read Part II Here

4 comments:

Janiece said...

Oh Sunshine...
What wonderful memories...I look forward to your upcoming posts.

Kara D. said...

I can't wait for the next post!

Lene said...

I can't believe you have only been home for 2 years.

Morgan said...

Hi! I don't know you but I am the future Hermana Wills, and I'm going to serve in the Salta Argentina mission (MTC in August)! I've been googling it, and your post came up! Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!!