June 23, 2014


Hey hey hey!
I’m still here in Santo Tomé! Hermana Tapia is now in Pilar,Paraguay!!! Crazy.
But good news! My new companion is Hermana Gunter, and she’s from Utah! I can speak English now! just kidding i wish. we still try to speak in as much Spanish as possible because neither of us are fluent speakers, so we need as much practice and help as we can get! But luckily she was in Paraguay for 11 months, and so she has basically everything down. It’s just that Santo Tomé is her first area in Argentina, so she is adjusting to the accents here.

Hna Gunter is definitely what Santo Tomé needs. She is probably one of the most enthusiastic and outgoing people I have ever met. But she is super friendly and never overbearing. People love her! She likes to be creative in the way we meet people. So far we have tried about a bajillion different door to door approaches. Sometimes we’ll go up and tell the people that we are trying to improve our singing and need someone to listen and give us feedback (which is true). Then we’ll sing them a hymn, and lots of people will feel the Spirit during the song and will be willing to listen to us. We once went up to a door and before I could say anything, Hna Gunter says "Do you know we’re in a battle right now? And we need more soldiers!" The lady kind of chuckled and replied that if we were referring to the battle against Satan she was willing to help. And then she let us in and we talked to her and her husband about the importance of families! We left them with the Proclamation to the World, and we’re going back this week to discuss it with them. It’s definitely been very exciting having her as a companion.

Fun story time! Apparently about 5 or 6 months ago, the Elders in this area left their apartment in a mess. And since we don’t have Elders here now, the Mission Office finally decided to just cut the contract to the Elder’s apartment and put all the Elder’s stuff in storage. Hna Gunter and I have been the lucky people getting to sort everything out- work as mediators between the angry landlord and the mission office, collaborate with ward members to move out all the furniture, sort through all of the old Area Books and moldy old pamphlets, etc... I’ve only been with Hna Gunter for 5 days, but I’m fairly certain we’ve already accomplished more this week than I have in my entire first transfer! Things have been so crazy.

To get even more fun, Presidente LaPierre and his wife came to visit Santo Tomé on Saturday night and Sunday! So we definitely had a little panic attack trying to get everything ready for him. But it all worked out, and the President and his wife really are super nice and it was great to have them visit.

This past week La Copa Mundial started! That has been interesting. Everyone here LOVES soccer. Nobody has time for God, or they can never get off work for church, but the second that Argentina starts playing soccer the ENTIRE COUNTRY shuts down. haha. That has been pretty interesting. So far there have only been two games where Argentina played, but both times we had to change our proselyting schedule because we can’t be outside right after a game since the partying and celebrating can be a little intense. Even though we just stay in the apartment during the game, we always know when something exciting is happening. Hna Gunter and I will be sitting studying when all of a sudden everyone in Santo Tome will start cheering and yelling at the same time. So even though we can’t watch the game it’s fairly simple to know who’s winning, or when we’ve scored!

This week we taught a woman named Gladys. We’ve talked with her a few times and she’s been interested. But Saturday night we taught her about the Plan of Salvation and how we can see our families again after death. The lesson went fairly well, but as it was coming to a close I really felt impressed to sing her a hymn before we left. So Hna Gunter and I sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" (in Spanish, of course). The Spirit was so strong. And after we finished singing we all just sat in silence for a few moments, and then Gladys began to cry and explain how she had lost her father and sister and now she is so happy to know that they can all be happy together again someday. It was amazing!

Sometimes we forget that the Hymns really are sacred and I personally think we should study the hymns every once in a while too. "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." D&C 25:12. It’s way sad to me that hardly anyone here in Santo Tome can play the piano (or even carry a tune for that matter). Music has such a way of touching people’s hearts and reminding us to praise God. Sometimes for my personal study I like to read a hymn and study the scripture references associated with it as well! I suggest the same for all y’all as well :)

I love you all! Pray that everything goes through for Mariella and Fernando’s wedding and baptism this Friday!

Hermana Simmons

P.S.  Personal study:  Normally i take a while to go over the lessons we are going to be teaching that day and study for our investigators. But then after that it just varies. Sometimes i like to just choose a chapter in the Book of Mormon and really study it. Other times I’ll take a topic and then read and study as much as i can about that idea. Sometimes I’ll read from Jesus the Christ or the other Missionary Library books. I always read a little from the BoM, but I like to do different things every once in a while so I don’t just get into a rote routine and not pay attention when I study.

Washing:  We have to wash all of our garments by hand since we haven’t found a member who has been able to wash them for us yet.

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