Another week has gone by and we are in February. I just got back from playing fútbol with the district and it was a blast like always. Fútbol with my district is more funny than anything else. We really only have two good players and so the rest of us are just running around and tripping over ourselves. No, to be fair everyone does really good, but some of the mistakes are hilarious. Like today, I was team captain and forgot who my team was and gave the ball to the wrong person. Hermana Reed and I both got hit with the ball in the face. I don´t think we´ve had one week where someone hasn´t been hurt by the ball in one form or another. Also, today, they kicked it over the fence, which is about 8 ft tall, and climbed up on the fence to get it back. They stood there debating for a good 10 minutes on how to get the ball back. I was reminded of the movie Sandlot. The owner was home and threw the ball back, but it was still funny none the less. We then had helado. That was a nice end of practice. I don´t know how they make the helado here, but it´s better than anything I´ve had in the states. I wish I could send some home. Maybe that Argentine restaurant over by Grandma Alvey´s has it. I´m going to try and send home some alfajors, though.
Transfers are in two weeks and we believe that Hermana Reed will be leaving. She has been here for 4 transfers/ 6 months, but we never know. Hermana Renteria is most likely staying in the area, because her companion is going home and we doubt that they would white wash the area. We never know, though. We´re excited to see what happens, but work hard everyday like we are going to be there forever.
I´m glad that you got the pictures. I believe that I told you that everything has bars. I do mean everything. I guess it´s a culture thing. I don´t know, but I won´t miss it when I get home. It is very green here. I´m interested to see what fall looks like and if everything changes colors. That is going to be very pretty as well. It´s been extremely humid this week because of all the rain. I have not been bit recently, but we shall see. Hardly any buildings here have air conditioning. The thing in our kitchen on the wall is a water heater. The small rectangle in the middle is the pilot light. Interesting, no? But yes, our area is still split. I believe that if you look up the Vicente López ward in the Buenos Aires Norte stake you will be able to see how big our area really is. Our half is probably 25 x 30 blocks, and the other area is about 1.5 times bigger than ours. I like it here though.
So it has been an interesting week. We got a looooot of rain this week. Wednesday we were hit the hardest. It was bright and sunny out so we did not bring any umbrellas. Luckily, Carlos gave us one of his, because the next minute, there were huge drops falling all around us. We are lucky because we have good streets and the water had some place to go. In the other areas, the water came up to their calves and our district leader had water up to his waist. We only had one umbrella with us so Hermana Reed had me carry the bags and the umbrella so our scriptures wouldn´t get wet. So I only got half drenched (the bottom half) and she looked like she had fallen into the swimming pool in her church clothes. It was a storm; with wind and thunder and everything. We had fun. Luckily we were able to visit two investigators that day, and I think we really showed them how much we cared because we were standing out in the rain to visit them.
Sadly we had a lesson with Carlos (the Jehovah´s Witness) three days ago and he told us that he has no intention of ever getting baptized. It was hard, but I know that we did everything we could and worked really hard with him. It was a wonderful lesson, though, and Hermana Reed and I taught in unity. The Spirit was very strong, but maybe we were only there to start preparing him to receive the Gospel. I still have hope, but we can´t visit him anymore.
Monica is doing great, though. She is progressing wonderfully and still loves church and the scriptures. She could not come to church yesterday, because her dad was out of town for work and someone needed to watch her brothers. She will be going to church this next sunday and will be baptized right after church. We are working really hard with the ward to help her out. We are also working with the parents, but we first have to be able to talk to them. Every time we are there, they are out working or sleeping. I know that we will be able to talk to them soon. In the mean time, we are trying to have daily contact with her to give her the best chance we can since this is the week before her baptism. Monica doesn´t have a dress or skirt, so one of the members is going to bring a skirt to give to her. I love our ward, they are so sweet to everyone. I wish that you could all meet them.
Today we had another interesting experience. We were in the middle of our language study and our door bell rang. Hermana Reed answered it and it was missionaries from another church that wanted to talk to us. We said we were missionaries too and would like to talk to them as well. I never caught the name of their church, but this was my first experience with other missionaries. We could not quite follow anything. They first said that the mother of Jesus was on the earth then started talking about how we weren´t keeping the commandments because we kept the Sabbath on sunday instead of saturday and that Jesus never changed the Sabbath during his ministry. We talked with them and tried to share our message as well since we had kindly listened to theirs, but they wanted to bible bash and said they wouldn´t listen to us since they don´t listen to anyone who doesn´t keep the commandments. She even called us catholics. Honestly it was an interesting experience and I think we handled it well. We didn´t bible bash and patiently talked with them. Can´t wait to see what else is in store for us.
The mission had a capilla abierta (open house/chapel) and President Gulbrandsen asked Hermana Reed and Hermana Bray to go; so for half the day, me and Hermana Renteria were alone together visiting our investigators. We visited Monica and taught her about following the prophet. Through this experience, I can definitely see that my castellano is alot better, but I need a lot more practice leading lessons, because I was pretty much lost. I really had to follow the Spirit, because my mind went completely blank and I just had to open my mouth and speak since she was my investigator. It was an interesting experience and now I know better where to focus my efforts.
I think the thing I most regret about the MTC was not taking good notes. I took great notes about what the special speakers were saying, but I didn´t really take any notes from my teachers, so now I have to learn how to teach pretty much for myself from the beginning. Any future missionaries reading this I have a couple words of advice. Take notes about everything: the special speakers, the language, how to teach, all of your impressions, etc. You will use those words a lot throughout your entire mission. Grow in unity with your district: they will help you so much and you will enjoy your experience more. Laugh often: if you don´t your mission will get very hard very fast, enjoy it. Talk with your companion openly: they are there to help you and they are not mind readers. They need your help as well and you won´t be effective if you don´t talk. Do the things you don´t want to: it´s through doing hard things that we grow and learn and become the best missionaries and people we can be.
Well, it´s time for me to go. I love you all soooo much and am so happy to hear from you every week. You are a light in my week and I am so happy for this pick me up every week. I´ll talk to you soon.