Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Year Anniversery

A year ago from today,
Sergio and I were getting off a plane and starting a new life in the United States.
Although saying good-bye was hard,
this last year has been far from boring.

A few days after we arrived, Derek also returned from his mission in Indianapolis, Indiana.
We surprised him when we were there to welcome him home. 
A couple of weeks later (May 14th)
my amazing mother received what we had been praying for.
A new heart.
It was so hard being away from home when I knew my mom was sick.
This great gift came as quite the miracle, knowing that I didn't have to worry about how long my mom was going to live anymore.

A short time later we found out that we were going to have yet another new life in ours.
This was my dad's Father's day present last year. 
It was quite the surprise.
Most of the rest of the year was spent waiting our our little gringanada.

In June we snuck home for this sweet gift:
It was our first niece from my side of the family.
It was a really special day.
But, it did make us even more anxious to get to meet our little girl!

Nothing makes waiting go faster like keeping busy...
The World Cup of Soccer did just that for us.
(At least for a couple of weeks.) 

The first 6 months or so of our time in the U.S. was spent on back and forth trips to Utah.
I can literally drive the I-84 without hands.

We loved our first glances at our little doll. : )

As my belly continuted to grow: 
We celebrated Sergio getting his green card.
It was a lot of work, but it was a pretty sweet Christmas present!
It was also awesome to have Darlene and David's family over for the holidays.

Febuary 9th, I finally burst.
We welcomed this little bundle into our arms.
The last few months have been spent loving on her.
She's already getting so big and beautiful!!

I can't believe that so much can be crammed into one year,
and this is just the condensed version.
It has been pretty amazing.
Even though some days I really miss Argentina,
I can't imagine what I would have done if I would have been away.
I am so grateful for my parents that have taken such good care of us as we start our lives all over again.
I am grateful for Sergio and his willingness to leave his family, friends, job and everything he has ever known to come be with me.
And mostly, I am grateful to my Heavenly Father and the way that He has answered every one of our prayers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Simple Testimony

I am so grateful for this special time of the year.
I love to watch as the death of winter loosens her grasp and the new life of spring breaks through.
I know that Heavenly Father has given us many symbols throughout the world to help us remember the amazing love that He has for us. 
Each winter we eagerly await for the flowers to triumphantly break through the cold ground.  Likewise, Easter is a special time of year to remember the suffering and crucifixion of  our Savior Jesus Christ and anxiously await the day of His resurrection.
I am in awe at the great love that our Heavenly Father has for us.  He was willing to send His Son to this world of trials, fears, injustice, sickness, pain and death.  Our Savior didn't receive an easy pass through this life  just because of who His Father is, but instead He was asked to pass through more than any of us can comprehend,  and yet He was able to overcome each of them without spot. 
He suffered in a garden for each of our sins.  During so great a suffering that blood came out of His pours He was betrayed by one of His closest friends.  He was beaten and bruised for us and on the cross He died, knowing fully that it was for each of us. 
Afterwards He was locked away in a cold tomb, shut off  from his mourning family, friends and believers.
Without avail He triumphantly conquered the grave.
After three days of anxious await, the mob, death and the stone was no match for the power of the Resurrection.
Death lost her sting, forever.
I know that today my Savior, Jesus Christ, lives.
I have felt how His Atonement has blessed my life and healed my wounds.
I pray that as each of us watch the flowers bloom this year we can remember this infinite sacrifice and remember that we are loved.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Little Piece of Argentina!

Freddy Carrasco and his friend, Paul came to visit this weekend.
Freddy's parents took care of me as a missionary and as a member when we lived in Tucuman.
I even met Freddy in Tucuman when he came to visit for Christmas three years ago.
He was also at the SLC airport when I got home.
It was good to see him again.
Especially since Sergio made delicious empanadas and got to listen to all the music he loves.
It was our little slice of Argentina.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Immunizations:

It's the day that I had been dreading...
Isn't that the saddest face you have ever seen?
Our sweet little baby received her first set of immunizations.
Hepatitis B,
Polio,
Pneumococcal Disease,
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis
&
Hib
(in 3 separate shots.)
She was also suppose to get a Rotaviris immunization (for diarrhea), but since it is a live vaccine, and since my mom is on a lot of steroids, she wouldn't have been able to be anywhere close to grandma for a week.
No one wanted that so we opted out of it.
It must not have been too bad since she only cried while we walked out of the waiting room
...you know just enough to freak out all the other mommies waiting to get their children immunized.
Then she took a 3 hour nap.
Maybe all that Tylenol had something to do with it... 
We had a happy baby for the rest of the day.
We are looking forward to her sleeping all night again tonight.
Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Feliz Cumple Mes!! - April 9th, 2011

Who knew that 2 months could go by so fast?!
She is such a little doll.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mission Argentina Salta - Part III

My mission started to come to an end when I was transferred to
San Miguel de Tucuman, Tucuman
This turned out to be the most rewarding part of my mission.  I really learned and applied the lessons that I had learned throughout my mission and I had an awesome companion that showed me how.
This is the hilarious, lovely, obedient, amazing
Hermana Melody Ream
I love her.
She is from Orem, Utah and we quickly found a lot in common.
Like...normally celebrating Christmas in the winter instead of the death of a Tucuman summer.
We found really fun ways to teach like this fun Christmas Booth:
We sang and played the violin to get people to come and learn more.
We also bought sidewalk chalk and drew the Plan of Salvation in the streets.  It caught a lot of people's attention and we had a lot of fun doing it.
You can learn more about our purpose on Earth in this video:
We made an awesome team and together we met people that in the end have become my eternal friends.
Selva's daughter (on the right) had been baptized with Hermana Ream before I arrived to the area.  We continued teaching Selva and she was then baptized. I loved her quite character and her delicious food!!
While we were knocking doors we also found Julio Salto and his family.  If you have ever heard me talk about Argentina, you have heard me talk about Julio.  Although he is really busy and hard to get a hold of now, he is still my very best friend.  I completely consider him family.  He is one of the most intelligent people I know.  It is a rarity that you can find someone that is a genius and humble at the same time, but Julio has the perfect equilibrium.  I will love him and his amazing children, Leo and Felipe, forever.
Hna Ream and my time together didn't seem long enough, but I think I learned what I needed to.
She is still the amazing-est in my eyes!

My last transfers were shared with Hermana Romina Aponte (Buenos Aires).
She is a super hard worker.  We worked double time and we saw the blessings for it. 
She is humble and an amazing teacher.  In fact, she is now teaching in the MTC (Mission Training Center) in Buenos Aires. 
We were able to teach Karen together.  She is a sweet little girl.  Although some of the concepts of the church were hard for her to understand, Hna Aponte was great at explaining everything in a simple way.

Also in our time together we received a reference to teach my Mama Ines!!

I actually can't find my disks of pictures from Jujuy or from Tuucman, these are pictures that were saved on my computer as well as pictures from when we went back to Argentina.  So this picture of my mama Ines is kind of small, but it is also one of my very favorites.

This is her daughter Belen.  Her son Jorge was also one of my very bestest friends.
Mama Ines listened to all we had to say and really wanted to be baptized, but she had to be married first.  It was a lot of work, but nothing is impossible. She was married and we even got to be there! It was a wonderful experience.  Her and Belen were then baptized.
Gladys & Marcelo also needed to be married before they could be baptized. Gladys had wanted to be baptized for years, but Marcelo was completely against it.  Marcelo's mom and little sister were already members of the church.  We began speaking to them at lunch. We talked about the power of repentance through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Marcelo knew it was exactly what he needed in his life at this time.  They were excited to get married and were baptized the next day.  They are the cutest little family!
We also taught the Gonzalez family. Lucia, Karen and Jonathan, were baptized the week after I got home.

Truly every day of my mission was a miracle.  I learned so much and I am a much better person because of the experiences I had there.
As my time as a missionary came to an end I could literally feel my heart breaking.  I didn't want to leave these people that I loved so much.  I loved the culture, the food, and the person that I had become.  I didn't want to leave any of it.
Either way, a sister's mission is for 18 months, and my time was up.  It was time for me to take the things that I had learned in my mission and apply them into my life as a "normal person."

Even though it was hard for me to leave...these moments totally made up for it!!!
 It's also hard to not get to see your family for a year and a half.
 It was nice to be welcomed home.
 And to meet my future sister in law.
I was happy.

I would have never imagined that I would be back in Argentina 4 months later, in fact, when I left I didn't think I was ever going to get to go back.
I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be married, let alone to Sergio.
I can't believe that only 2 years later I have a beautiful baby girl.
It's amazing to me how often we only see what we want to see and we don't take time to see what our loving Heavenly Father has in store for us.
I am so grateful for these last 2 years.  I still learn something every day.  I still think about my mission every day. I still pray for the people I met while in Argentina...every day.
I know there will be new missions in my life.
In fact, I am starting one now as a mommy.  I can only but imagine what I am going to learn now.

Read Part I Here
Read Part II Here

Read how my husband's life was changed from the Salta Mission Here

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
CORONEL AIRES, JUJUY.
(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 Christmas...it'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