Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Christmas in Argentina with roommates. L-R Hermana Alvey, Hermana Sperry, Hermana Bray, and my companion Hermana Reed posing in our apartment.

First, here are some pictures of the open house. Our apartment on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning. The blond one is Hermana Sperry, and the one with short brown hair is Hermana Bray. We definitely have fun in our apartment.
One of the American families in the ward invited us over for dinner Christmas Eve. It was so much fun and the food was delicious. We had roast beef, salad, potatoes and gravey, and cake for dessert. The children of the family put on a Nativity play. It was so funny. They tried really hard, but the parents were not helping. The presents from the 3 kings was a history game so the dad that was narrating said ¨gold, frankinsense, and a game box. Nobody knows what myrrh is anyway¨ It was hilarious. That is an example of how most of the night went. We enjoyed every bit of it. One of the children had a zuu zuu pet (don´t know if you know what that is) and it entertained all the adults present including the four missionaries. We definitely had fun.
Today, we are doing a secret santa with our whole district. I have Elder......Guichenau I believe is how you spell it. He is from Chile and very nice. All of our elders are amazing. Hermana Reed and Hermana Bray were together last p-day and told us the funniest story. I guess they had made fudge and had put it in the fridge to set up. They came down the hallway and find Elder Leon (our district leader) and Elder Halls eating the fudge before it has set up. Their faces were like in the movies when a child is caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I wish I could have shown you their faces. Elder Halls dropped the spoon and ran into the corner as if he wasn´t involved. I wish I could have seen it.
We had a party for the entire mission thanks to President and Sister Gulbrandsen. We had a white elephant and I got a bon o bon. It´s very similar to Grandma Alvey´s peanut butter balls. I was sooo happy. We also received a poster with the picture of every missionary in the mission right now. We also got a temple recommend holder with a picture of the Buenos Aires Temple saying ¨Buenos Aires Norte Misión¨. It´s really pretty; and on the back is a scripture and ¨From President and Sister Gulbrandsen¨. It´s been a fun Christmas. Also, after our chat, Hermana Reed and I went and spoke with Daniel (the security guard). He has so many questions about the gospel and loves to learn. He was just introduced to Joseph Smith´s story and watched a clip from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I wish that General Conference was soon. I know that he would love it. I´m so excited for him. I feel bad for Carlos (Testigo Jehovah). His old church is hasselling him for leaving them and meeting with us. He called us last night to ask if we could meet where they couldn´t see us. He is so amazing to want to still meet with us even though he is already receiving hard times. I´m very excited for the investigators we have right now.
Well, I should probably go. I love you all so much. I´ll talk to you soon!!!
Hermana Jessica Alvey

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feliz Navidad!!

Well, it´s that time of year. I´m so excited for Christmas. First off,
I keep forgetting to tell you about this. The buses here are like the
buses from Harry Potter. The driving is crazy and half the streets are
cobblestone. Anyway, things here have been moving along. We have three
more baptismal dates. Two of them for January and 1 for December. It´s
exciting. We also have another for..... March I believe. He is going
home to Peru for 3 months and wants to wait until he gets back. He met
with the sister missionaries once two months ago, but they did not
give us the reference until recently. So, no one has seen him for two
months. When we met him, he told us that he had been reading the Book
of Mormon the entire time and loves it. He reminds us every time to
mark a section for him to read. I´m surprised that he has not read the
entire book by now. He works as a security guard from 8am to 8pm every
day, so attending church will most likely be hard. His name is Daniel.
Carlos is doing pretty good as well. He is the Jehovah´s Witness. He
came to church for a little bit this last sunday and is reading and
praying every day. I´m excited for him. He even told his other church
that he would not be coming back to them. We have some amazing
We have not moved into the new apartment yet. Someone got there before
us, but we still have a possibility if they fall through, so we are
still waiting to see. I´m excited. I don´t know why, but I love the
fact that the kitchen is pink. I think it is hilarious.
Spanish is always a trial, but I am trying to speak up more. It´s
really hard to go tracting. It´s still my least favorite thing to do
and we did it all during the capilla abierta. We are the first to have
an open house for our chapel in this mission. They saw great success
in Mexico and wanted to start the program here. After that hard time,
my companion and I thought up some goals to help me be more
comfortable with talking to other people. Right now, it´s my job to
say ¨hola¨ to everyone we walk by, give the baptismal invitation, and
ring the door bell. Those are easier baby steps. I do like listening
to them talk though. I don´t understand everything, but they are so
patient and kind. They are impressed that I have only been in
Argentina for 3 weeks, I guess that I´m doing better than I thought
with the language. I know that that is an immense blessing from the
I am not liking the insects here. I´m not sure what I am being bit by,
but all the bites swell up pretty big so my leaders think that I am
allergic to something. I have one on my leg right now that is about
the size of two quarters next to each other. All in all, about two
inches long and about an inch to an inch and a half wide. My index
finger is swollen too, but I can still use it. It just itches and
hurts at the same time. I just thought I would tell you how much I
love insects.
The ward is awesome. They are all so kind, and most of them know
english to an extent and are helping me with my vocabulary. A lot of
them are from the states. I met an older sister missionary here who
says that she is a sister to a Sister Seistrand from Las Vegas. It was
nice talking to someone about Las Vegas.
I want to write people, but I am not exactly sure how to go about
doing it. It costs 9 pesos (about 2 dollars) to mail a single letter
to the states. That is a lot of money every week for all the people I
want to write. What suggestions do  you have?
We set up with a member for me to skype at 4pm our time which is 11am
your time. We did not really set up to do calls, so I really hope the
skype works. We will see what happens though.
It´s so good to hear from you every week. I hope things go better for
you. I know that the Lord will bless you. Keep the faith. I know that
you are all amazing. I love you so much. Please don´t forget that.
I´ll talk to you soon.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hola Everyone!!
It´s so good to hear from you. So first off, before I forget, we can get DearElders here. I don´t know how, but I know it´s possible. On average we get all of our DearElders, packages and letters about every 6wks. It´s whenever we are at President Gulbransen´s house. We see him every transfer and sometimes in between.
So anyway, things here have been moving along. I´m being eaten alive by mosquitos. The bites swell up a little bit and yesterday I got bit on the eyelid. (don´t ask me how, because I have no idea) Now my eyelid is puffy and it looks pretty odd. Yes, I do use bug repellent. We´ll see what happens. I´m still having fun though. It´s a lot of hard work and yes I still have a hard time going up and talking to people, but I can feel the Lord in everything and I have a wonderful trainer. Hermana Reed is 23 and from Colorado. She has been out for 7 months and loves the work as well.
The elder in charge of helping us with the apartment gave us a good reference the first day and we love it. I will have to send pictures next monday. The kitchen has pink tile. I know that doesn´t sound appealing, but it was tastefully done. Also, the bathroom was just redone, so it very clean and neat. There is actually enough room in the kitchen for us to eat.  We drop off our laundry to an outside sourse and wash our garments by hand in the laundry sink. I did not know this until today, but because of expenses, we only send out our clothes every other week. Other then that, we wash them by hand. It´s interesting. We move into our new apartment in about two more weeks.
The weather has been nice. There is almost always some wind; which is nice during the summer. It rained last p-day on the way back to the apartment, and when it rains, it pours. We got drenched. It lasted for about 20 minutes, but we got more rain in 20 minutes here, than an entire average year in  Vegas. In reality it really rains like that every time, so we never have time or are close enough to our apartment to get our rain gear. The rain is kind of spastic so it could be sunny and clear one hour and raining the next hour.
We get as much time as we give ourselves to write emails. On average, it´s about an hour. Helps me a lot, now that a lot is going on.
The food is pretty good. I have not really seen any staples. Argentina is definitely not your average Latin culture. Europe has played a huge part in its culture. I think I have seen rice once in a meal and beans once as well. Pasta is a usual staple as well as cheese. They love cheese. Unfortunately, for me,  since a lot of cheese makes me naucious. Oh, chicken, potates, and beef is huge too. They have this kind of potato salad with peas, potatoes, and carrots. It´s pretty good. Some things that they don´t have here: mapeline, ketchup, and pickles. There is more, but I can´t think of them right now. The chocolate here doesn´t really have any taste. It has the texture, but I don´t taste anything. So, that is one thing that I miss. Instead of syrup, we use jelly and just eat that. It´s not bad. It´s actually growing on me.
None of the people from my MTC district are in the same zone as me. I´m kind of sad about that, but I know that we will all probably learn better this way. I don´t know how many blocks are in my area. Since we split it, it´s smaller, but still very large. Like I said, the original area is about the size of north las vegas. I wish you could see the people´s faces here when I tell them that I am from Vegas. It´s pretty funny, but a good conversation starter.
It is hard asking people to be baptized in the first discussion. I still don´t understand it fully and am still uncomfortable with it, but Preach My Gospel, my mission president, and MTC teachers told me that asking in the first lesson is something we need to do. The fact that it is a commandment is good for me but I still agree that it doesn´t make all that much sense. One way that it  was explained to me was that, we need to let them know our purpose right off the bat. I know that sounds bad, but the thing that the church can offer is the saving ordinance of baptism and everyone needs that, therefore, membership and baptism is our goal. President Packer (I believe) said that we can have both quantity and quality. It´s hard work, but we are trying to find the people that the Lord has prepared. I know that I am not doing a good job of explaining it now, but hopefully I can do better in the future.
We had 4 investigators come to church yesterday. I was so happy. They all enjoyed it and thursday, we have an open house in the chapel. It´s a tour to show people (member, nonmember, investigator, etc) our beliefs. Right after, we have the christmas dinner. That is going to be very fun. I don´t really know what is going on with that.
Well, we are playing fútbol again with the elders today. Last week was pretty fun. They were surprised at how good I was. I was surprised how good I was. Although, to be fair, half the ¨good¨ passes were me tripping over my own feet. I was a good goalie though. Yes, I have lost weight. Yes, I am eating enough, but the walking and the healthy diet do wonders. At least, that is how it is in my area. One of my room mates lost 40lbs while she was here. (don´t worry, it was healthy weight loss. She is no longer overweight) Any way, I should probably go.
I love you all very much and I am working hard. Hopefully I will learn how to be effective as well. Good luck. I know things are hard right now, but the Lord is with you and has his angels helping you every step of the way. ¨In the end everything will be ok, and if it´s not ok it´s not the end.¨ Have a wonderful Christmas season! Tell everyone hi for me.
I´ll talk to you soon!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My first companion, Hermana Reed

Well, to start off: It was a very long flight. I hardly slept because I was uncomfortable, but I did sleep. I just woke up ever hour. It was fun for the most part though. Flying at night doesn´t let you see many things, but the plane had a live map that you could follow. When we got there, it was a big difference. We were sweating like pigs. The humidity plus the new heat was hard, but we all made it ok. President and Hermana Gulbransen are awesome. They met us there with hugs and told us that we would have lunch and a nap. We were their guinea pigs, because they had never given the missionaries naps before. It was wonderful. I also told you that I did not know what the humidity would do to my hair and I did not have access to a mirror. On top of the fact that I was half asleep the entire time too. Oh well, I think you are right about the leaving picture, though. I hope so anyway.
Well, my companion´s name is Hermana Reed. She is from Colorado and is 23. She is an absolutely amazing trainer. She helps me apply things to my investigators at all times and gently encourages me to speak more. She tells me that she is happy I am here and with her. When you´re in a strange area, these things are nice to hear. I´m excited and she says that I am doing really good. The members of our ward are so nice. I don´t understand a lot, but they are so patient and our ward is filled with americans and people wanting to learn english, so it´s easier for me to communicate. We even had a Relief Society lunch on thursday. They are so kind. My area is called Vicinte Lopez I. There are two areas now as of wednesday, because it is sooooo huge. I am not exagerating when I say that is is probably the size of north las vegas. We have four hermanas total for the entire area. Muchas oportunidades, sí? LOL anyway, since we just split the area this week, we are looking for a new place to live so that we are actually in our area. I am not going to give the address because they asked us not to give too much personal information out, but the chapel is Hipolito and Yrigochen 1340 con Maipu. Our first day with our companions was training at the president´s house, buying groceries, and learning about the area. Our main focus in this mission is to contact the menos activos and recent converts. I guess this area also did not have a good relationship with the members for a while so we are working on that too. Our first day out in the field, we had two people come up to us and talk to us. One of them, Carlos, is a Jehovah´s witness and has been for 35 years. He feels as if those sunday meetings are very impersonal and doesn´t feel very much love. He knows that if a church does not have love it is not of God, because God is love. We are very excited for him. Saturday, we went looking for a reference from the CCM here. By the way, the CCM (MTC) here does activities every week and sends out missionaries in training to do street contacting and door to door knocking, then they give the missionaries in the areas the references. We went to go find one of these references at his work. He is a security guard and there work is at every other corner in the city in a small little booth. It´s pretty cool. This contact was sick so someone was substituting for him. We talked with the gentleman and even made a baptismal date on his first contact. I was so excited, I still am, but he lives outside of our area. I´m sad that I won´t get to work with him. Oh, well.
All in all, it´s been an interesting first week.
I´m not going to lie, the news that you gave me about everyone was hard, but I´m glad that you told me. I don´t want to wait for a year and a half to find these things out.
I am going to send two emails, one with the pictures and one without just incase it does not go through. We are actually about to go and play fútbol with the elders of our district. It will be interesting.
I love you all so much and please send my best wishes to the family. I will be praying for them. Also, you did not tell me about Thanksgiving. Talk to you soon. Oh, and we can do skype for mother´s day and christmas. It doesnt always work though.
Love you lots!!