May 12, 2014

I’m living in Argentina!!!

Hey hey hey!!!!!

I’m writing this from a cyber cafe in a town called Santo Tomé. I’m in Argentina, and if I look across the river I can see Brazil. What?!? When did this happen? haha

So, May 5 we boarded a bus at 8:30 and rode to the SLC airport. From there we flew to the Dallas airport, and then to Buenos Aires. That was a 10 hour flight, and I wanted to die. I got about 4 hours of awkward, uncomfortable sleep, and we arrived in Buenos Aires around 8 local time (but it felt like 5 am to me). We were able to drive to the Buenos Aires temple, walk around, eat lunch (hey Jaron, I finally ate a “real”dulce de leche alfajore!), and shower. Then we went to the airport again and met up with a group of missionaries from the Argentine MTC. Another Hermana and I boarded a plane and landed in Posadas (only about an hour flight, thankfully). We were picked up by the Mission President, his wife, and his assistants. Then we went to the mission home, ate dinner, and got to sleep! I felt like I had taken two days and crammed them into one- probably because that’s what I did. I didn’t really sleep or eat real food from 8 am May 5 until 9pm May 6. But I’m here! And that’s all that matters!

Wow, and here is amazing!!

First off, there really are dogs and cats EVERYWHERE. They just run around free, begging for food and attention. It’s hard for my companion and I because we both love animals, but luckily we have enough self-control to just keep walking past them all :( It’s a little easier because the people who live below us own a cute little puppy named Lolee, so we do get to spend a little time in the morning when we leave and in the night when we get home with a dog.

It is so humid. As in, it feels like a sauna in the afternoon. And some of the trees here look like they came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. There’s a species that’s fairly short, but the leaves are HUGE. As in, bigger-than-my-head, more-than-a-foot-across huge.

Now that I’m here, I understand what it feels like to be a foreigner. It’s not very fun to not understand what anyone else is saying. To not be able to communicate is super frustrating at times, but luckily my companion is super patient and nice. She’s from Chile and doesn’t know much English, so on the bright side I’m learning the language SUPER quickly, since I really have absolutely nobody to speak English with.

The people here are so great! Everyone is super friendly and nice and welcoming. The other night we were out contacting and decided to give a pass-along card to a group of people who were just sitting on their porch, talking and drinking their máte (Jaron wasn’t kidding, everybody drinks máte ALL THE TIME). When we got over there and explained that we were missionaries and just wanted to leave them a little card and invitation to church on Sunday, a man named José asked me why I wasn’t saying anything. I explained in my broken Spanish that I had just arrived from the states and still couldn’t speak very well. Without hesitating, he said, “well, that’s because you need to practice.” Then he quickly put two chairs in front of my companion and I and told us to start talking. He and his two friends (Lordes and Victoria) were super great! They had so many questions and we got to teach them a little about the Church. And when we told them we had to go-we have a curfew- all three of them made sure we wrote down their addresses and told us to come back! It’s so great seeing people who truly want to know more about Christ and really want to have a stronger relationship with Him.

Alright, one last slightly humorous thing. To put it simply, I am a very white person. I’m super pale, I have blue eyes, and my hair is kind of a dirty blonde, light brown. People notice right off the bat that I’m not from around here. In every single visit this past week, everyone has made a comment about my eyes! haha I never thought about them much before, but when nearly everyone in the country has brown eyes, I guess blue kind of stands out. Also, people feel like they can get away with saying anything they want around me because they know I can’t understand that much. The other day Hna Tapia and I were walking down the street, and we passed an older gentleman. I smiled and said “hola” like I do for everyone, and he said something back. As soon as he passed and we had turned the corner, my companion started busting up laughing. Apparently he said “Que tal, muneca!”  Which basically means “what’s up doll.” I was a little taken aback, considering this man was quite advanced in years and didn’t seem like one to use slang haha.

I love you all and wish I had more time to write! But here’s my quick thought for the week! Isaiah 40:31- those who trust in the Lord and rely on Him will find that living the gospel is not work, it is WINGS. When we are humble and depend on the Lord we can truly reach our full potential. Considering I walk basically 7 hours a day (that’s not an exaggeration, we literally walk from one end of town to the other, and back as we do visits and contacts), I’m so grateful that living the Gospel helps me to “run and not be weary, to walk and not faint!” I know that Christ strengthens us! I know my Heavenly Father blesses me so much! I know that this is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I could not be doing anything of more importance right now than serving a mission and bringing the good news of Christ to the people of Santo Tomé!!!!

I love you all!
Hermana Simmons

yikes! Sorry no pictures this week! There’s no time!!!! I’ll try to upload them next week!

It really is amazing all the miracles and blessings we miss if we aren’t looking for them. Just being here in Argentina I realize just how super incredibly easy I had it and how crazily cushy and comfortable my life has been. I mean, I’ve always known that I’m blessed, but I think there is a huge difference between “knowing”  something and actually understanding. It’s like the difference between testimony and conversion. A person can have a testimony but not act on those promptings of the Spirit because they aren’t converted. I always knew that I was blessed, but now I have real actual experience to contrast with my life before. Now I understand exactly how much I’ve been blessed. Thank you so much (and you can tell Mom this too!) for all you do!!!!! All your working and saving and serving and help you have given me is seriously amazing to me!

Love Hna Simmons!

My MTC Branch.

No comments:

Post a Comment