August 10, 2015

The Last Week

Not too much to say this week.

Hna Cannon and I have been working hard to prepare our area for this next transfer since I won't be here. We have been meeting a lot more with the ward leaders to figure out what we can do to help some of the less actives. We have also been working closely with the Rodriguez family as they have decided to work towards going to the temple before the end of the year!

I had my final interview with President LaPierre yesterday after church. He gave such good advice, and I am definitely feeling excited to start a whole new adventure (maybe a little terrified as well, but that's normal I hear). The plans for tonight include a dinner at the mission home, a testimony meeting, and lots of farewells. Tomorrow morning starts the long process of traveling home.

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father called me on a mission! It was definitely not something that I had ever planned to do, but I know it was the BEST thing for me. I know Heavenly Father loves us and knows us perfectly. His plan is to help us develop and progress and become better. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that through His atonement we can be cleansed and then filled with light. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon was written by inspired prophets for our day. I know that we can trust in the Holy Ghost to guide and warn us. I know that the temple is a holy place and that families can be together forever. I believe all these things and they fill me with joy. They fill me with a "hope of a better world," and with an excitement to learn and grow.

I love you!
Hermana Simmons

August 05, 2015

Lots of Adventures

Well... this past week has been CRAZY.

On Wednesday I went to Ituzaingo to do divisions with Hermanas Hartley and Pitts. They are two amazing sisters and both have less than 6 months in the mission (Hna Pitts is still in training). I couldn't believe how well they have a handle on the language and their area. Heavenly Father truly prepares us for our callings, and then He supports and strengthens us as we put forth our best efforts. Their area is a beautiful town next to the river. During the siesta I thought "This is what they mean by "sleepy beach towns."" The one thing that was weird is that all of Ituzaingo is covered in sand instead of the red earth.

We went to the mission home on Sunday night and left for Iguazu at 2am Monday morning. It was a 5 hour trip in a rented van. We arrived at Iguazu at 7 am and had to wait until 8 for the park to open. I don't actually know what else to say about Iguazu. Breathtaking? Stunning? There is a reason it is one of the Wonders of the World. I'll send some pictures later. I went with a group of 11 missionaries. We will all be flying home next week.

We arrived at the mission home about 7 on Monday night, I ate with President LaPierre and the other Hermana Leaders, and then woke up bright and early on Tuesday for Consejo. It was an amazing last consejo. I loved being able to see how much the mission has grown and improved in the past months.

Hermana Cannon and I have been brainstorming a lot on how to find new investigators. What we have really decided is that the best way to find new people to teach is through the members. If all the families could just pray for and help the missionaries work with even just one reference, we could advance God's work and be so much more effective. So the challenge to everyone reading this is try to find at least one person to share their testimony with!

I thought that this was a beautiful scripture! Mormon 9:27 "O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him"

Hermana Simmons

ps- Yes, I will be able to email next Monday, but I probably won't be saying much. So if you would like to write, feel free. If not, that's fine as well. Love you!

Look who I found at consejo! Hermana Garcia :)

Starting the path to Devil's Throat!

This beauty just landed on my hand and decided to ride around for about 10 minutes.

hello paradise

At the bottom of one of the falls. 
We never got into the water, but here and at Devil's throat the mist was so thick that we got soaking wet.

Hermana Retana and I on our way to the upper circuit

at Garganta del Diablo

July 27, 2015

Happy Monday!

It is a beautiful day here in Barrio Jardin. The sun has finally come out (for the first time in a week), and Hna Cannon and I are planning on going to the park later today to enjoy the sunshine.

Last week I got to try... squid tentacles! Yum. They actually weren't too bad, they didn't have much of a flavor. Luckily I haven't had to try anything too nasty here. So far the worst I've eaten is squid tentacles, reviro (literally, flour and oil burned on the stove together), and liver (yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck).

Last week we had interviews with President LaPierre! It ws so great talking to him and getting some new ideas to help our area. We have been trying to find new people to teach, but we really need the help of the ward. So all y'all have the homework of doing something this week to help the missionaries. Give them a reference! Accompany them to an appointment!

We went with Marina this week, but we weren't sure what to teach her. We knew we wanted to share something from the Book of Mormon and had prepared a lesson plan. We got to the lesson, but we just really felt like what we had prepared was not what she needed to hear. We said the opening prayer, but then completely changed from what we had planned. We decided to read Etehr 12:27 with her. We finished reading the verse and she looked up with a huge grin on her face. She had been trying to remember that particular verse and couldn't find the reference. When we read it to her, she said that she felt a strong spiritual impression that God had used us to answer her prayers. I feel so honored and blessed that Heavenly Father uses us to help Him save and comfort His children.

I found this quotation and liked it! "The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you are having the most difficulty keeping today." President Harold B. Lee

All of God's commandments are essential to our salvation. Just like we shouldn't murder or committ adultery, neither should we tell little lies, hold grudges, backbite, etc... I know Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and His commandments are to help and strengthen us! Through Jesus Christ we can have the stamina and excitement to keep ALL the commandments.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Simmons

ps- Next week I will be at the Iguazu Waterfalls on Monday, and then we have Consejo on Tuesday. So I don't think that I will be writing until either Tuesday night or Wednesday.

it might be cold and rainy, but Argentina is as beautiful as ever!

out contacting

July 20, 2015

Rain, rain, rain, and miracles

So, we have had 3 weeks of nonstop clouds and rain. Since I have arrived here in Posadas we have had cold weather! Yesterday was the first time it had cleared up and been nice. We were so happy! We were hoping that the sunshine would last, but we woke up to a nice thunderstorm this morning. Oh well.

Yesterday we passed by a less active sister to walk with her to church. We clapped her house, but she couldn't come outside! They have two doors on their house- one normal door and one that has a lot of bars and padlock to keep the robbers out. She opened up her normal door and we saw that she was all dressed and ready to go to church. Unfortunately, her younger sister had gone out to a party the night before and had taken the other key! We felt as if we were talking to an inmate. She wanted to go to church so badly but couldn't! That was kind of a bummer. But we are going to have a Family Night with them today, so we are excited for that.

Last week, again, we had a lot of investigators fall through. And, due to the rain, we had troubles finding new people to teach. When Sunday rolled around, we were worried that nobody would be at church. But they came! An entire less active family was there, and a young man that we had invited to church two weeks ago came! His name is Claudio, and we had only spoken to him once (literally, we handed him a card and said he was welcome at our Sunday services). Woohoo! Miracles happen when we work and show our faith. God blessed us with a lovely Sunday.

Doctrine and Covenants 35:8
"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those whobelieve on my name."

Love you all! Have a lovely week!

Hermana Simmons

July 13, 2015


Yes, yes I did.

We were walking to an appointment with the Relief Society President to coordinate with her about the less active sisters that we visit. While waiting outside of her house, a dog started barking and snapping at us. This has happened to me my entire mission, and from experience I've learned that if I just ignore the dog and not threaten it in any way, it will leave me alone. Apparently that dog does not understand common sense. While putting my water bottle back in my backpack I felt a sharp stinging in my calf. I looked down and there was an ugly little dog (it wasn't even a big dog! it was a wimpy mutt, probably a maltese) hanging off of my leg! I shook it off and then we just walked away. I thought I was fine because the bite marks weren't very deep, but then we got home. When I took my tights off, I saw that he had broken skin and I had nasty blood dried on my leg. yuck.

Anyway, sorry that took up a whole paragraph. I just thought it was pretty fun that I have now had the stereotypical bad experience with dogs as a missionary.

This week we have seen rain every single day. Hermana Cannon and I have been walking and clapping at a lot of doors. It would be so easy to slack off in the stormy weather (especially since nobody wants to listen to us in the rain), but we want to be diligent and show Heavenly Father that we are doing our best! After a very long week with some excruciatingly long days, we got to Saturday. The weather unexpectedly cleared up and within a few hours we were able to get in multiple lessons! Then, on Sunday, our investigator showed up at church! Her name is Valeria and she is 18 years old. Right now she is living with her boyfriend because she fights a lot with her parents. But she understands the doctrine well and is very receptive and eager to learn more. Hna Cannon and I will be praying for her lots in these next few weeks!

Random thought- The other day I remembered back when we would lose something at home- a pair of shoes or maybe a book. We would look around and wouldn't find it anywhere. But then Mom would (without fail) suggest that we say a prayer to find the lost item. Within five minutes someone would always be able to recover what was lost. Now, instead of praying for lost shoes, Hna Cannon and I pray for lost people. Heavenly Father has so many children that are searching for the Gospel, and we just want to be able to find and help them! Thanks Mom for teaching me how nothing and no one is ever lost to God.

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." 2 Nephi 22:2

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Simmons

hey look a dog bit me.

found this little guy in our shower. 
hna cannon refused to touch it so I had the honor of carrying him outside.

July 06, 2015

More News

I don't really know how to send love or comfort in a letter, but I just want to say I love my family and I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father's plan. Today I found out that Hayden and Hudson died in a helicopter crash together. Definitely shocking and upsetting news (both of which mean I was crying in an Argentine internet cafe). I guess all I can say is that I know that God loves us, I know that Jesus Christ saves us from death, and I know that we can be together forever as a family as we depend upon the Gospel.  

This past week with Hermana Cannon has definitely been amazing! She and I both had the same trainer, went to BYU before the mission, love al the bakeries here, and want to invite as many people to come unto Christ as possible in these next six weeks! She is super upbeat and outgoing. She only has 3 months here in the mission field, but she already speaks Spanish really well! We have also had a lot of fun working out together in the mornings! She did gymnastics at BYU, so I`m going to see if I can learn any fun tricks from her :)

Here in Barrio Jardin there is mud EVERYWHERE. I`ve worn my mud boots every single day. Sunday? I wore the boots to church and then changed into my nicer shoes.

Here is a lot more neighborhood-y setting. We are still in a city, but we have less businesses and more houses, which is nice. 

2 Nephi 5:27 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." In this chapter, Nephi and his family have to abandon everything and move far away because Nephi`s own brothers are trying to kill him. But in spite of all this, Nephi and his family and friends are able to find joy. They find joy in working hard, in building a temple, in keeping the commandments, etc... I know that the only way to find true joy in this life is through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I honestly think that is what has changed the most about me in these past months. Serving God and just truly living the gospel to the best of my ability makes me HAPPY. It doesn't matter the things that I go through, God helps me push on and see the bigger picture. Trials and disappointments and sadness will all end if we put our faith in Christ and repent. He does forgive; He does heal; He does provide peace. I know that only through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ am I able to feel this goodness that I feel. This is happiness.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
Hermana Simmons

P.S. I can't believe the news about Hayden and Hudson. But I do know that God is watching over them and has a perfect plan for them.

Saying hello to Hna Cannon and Barrio Jardin!

Saying goodbye to Hna Moreno and Barrio 2!

June 29, 2015

I'm going to Posadas!

Transfers came today! And after spending almost my entire mission in Paraguay, I'm going back to Argentina! And not just anywhere in Argentina- I`m going to Posadas! It's called Barrio Jardin, and I'll be with Hermana Cannon. I don't know her at all, I think she just barely finished her training. I'm super excited that I get to finish in Argentina!

These past few weeks I have been focusing on just trying to love every single aspect of being on the mission. The awkward stuff, the gross stuff, the scary stuff, etc... Life is definitely a lot more exciting and rewarding when I can laugh bad experiences off!

Maria Isabel came to church on Sunday again! She has a lot of questions that we are answering using the Book of Mormon. It really contains the fullness of the gospel and answers the questions of the soul. 

Also, as a mission we have been putting an emphasis on using the Book of Mormon more. President LaPierre and the assistants put together a list of 25 scriptures from the Book of Mormon that the entire mission has to memorize. At first I thought "easy, scripture masteries." But nope, they are not the scripture masteries we learned in seminary. They are 25 ADDITIONAL scriptures to memorize. But we have been actually using them a lot! I love seeing how our leaders can be inspired to counsel us so well.

The other sisters in our ward had a baptism on Friday! His name is Silverio and he is 69 years old! He is such an example of humility! He is willing to change his life and follow Christ. Even though he has had 69 years of bad habits built up, he is leaving everything behind because he truly wants to follow his Savior. I love it. The gospel can truly change people and it can enhance our lives.

Romans 1:16 " For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;"

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Simmons