Tuesday, April 24, 2012

¿Cómo están? I hope all is going well. Things here have been cooling down a lot. We are wearing tights and thermals here. So the infection is better and I will be so happy with winter when it gets here. No more mosquitos!! Things really are going great.
We now have 5 progressing investigators and 3 with baptismal dates! They are all doing great. We are working hard with all of them and preparing them for their baptisms and a clean slate. They each have their own difficulties and doubts and you really learn how to use the gift of discernment as a missionary. You cannot be an effective missionary without it.
I first want to apologize. I am trying really hard to answer questions and I am so sorry if I miss one. So its answer time. I remember when we received a talk from, I believe it was Elder Christofferson. He told us that we were companions with the Twelve Apostles. I was caught off guard by that. I left all my notes at the pension about that, but what I do remember was that we have a great responsibility. One thing I learned with interviews this week was that my calling is to baptize. The calling of every missionary is to build and fortify the church through baptism and confirmation. This is the only time in my life when I am set apart from the rest of the world to fulfill this specific calling, in this specific place, at this specific time. It is also a very short time. I have been on the mission for 7 months and have so much left to learn. A year is not sufficient. It sounds like a lot of time, but it isn´t. I love the less actives, and we will continue to work with them, but I cannot put all my efforts there. We will support and help them, but I need to fulfill my promise to the Lord to share His Gospel. The more you open your mouth and talk, the easier it will be. It´s scary sometimes, but the more you practice, the easier it is. I have also learned something veeeeeeeeeery important.  UPDATE THE AREA BOOK NEATLY AND WITH DETAILS!!! We are still learning how to do that, but it´s amazing the difference it makes. These are children of God and we need to take care of them in every way for the missionaries now and to come. It is a very important calling and it should not be taken lightly. We are accountable for the time here and everything we do.
We are still trying to receive the ¨Vision¨ for our area. We just received a new bishop and had ward council. The work here is going to explode. Our responsibility now is to find people. The ward will take care of the ward. We are comfortable with that now. We are focusing more of our efforts outside the ward and are praying every day to know, that in reality, ¨el campo blanco está ya!¨ There is not a word in english for ¨ya¨, but basically it means ¨right now; at this moment; at this second¨. That has been one of the hardest things to believe. You always believe that all the other areas are prepared and that all the other missionaries are better, but part of receiving the vision, is realizing your own potential as a child of God set apart at this time to find those people He has prepared in a way that no one else can. We are fulfilling promises here that we made in the premortal existense and we can´t let everyone, especially our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, down. I believe that I have just scratched the surface of what can and will happen here and in this world in regards to the Gospel spreading forth as a stone cut out without hands. I truly am starting to see that man is nothing and yet has a divine light that will grow greater than anything we can imagine in this life. We are Literal Children of a Loving All Powerful Heavenly Father. There is not greater knowledge than that.
The spanish is still coming every day. As you speak you learn new words and phrases. When to use certain words and verb tenses becomes familiar as you listen and practice. I have not been as effective in my language study and need to get better at that. You´re right: you can´t be too fluent. The Lord is also not just preparing us for these 18 months to 2 years. The skills we are developing here are going to be used throughout our entire lives and He has a purpose for everything. Take advantage of every moment and every experience and enjoy it. One other thing I have learned is that you have to plan and hope for the future, but if you aren´t happy today, the future isn´t going to make you happy either. I´m not saying that you will be happy every moment, but you choose how you react and if you are happy with the things you have now. Happiness doesn´t come from the outside; it comes from the inside. I believe that we underestimate the power of agency. President Gulbrandsen spoke to us a lot about agency during interviews this last week. There are two kinds of creatures in this world: those that act and those that are acted upon. One of Satan´s greatest lies is that you are a creature that is acted upon. That you are ¨just lazy, just unhappy, just.....anything¨. You are not just anything. The amazing miracle of this life and being human is that you are constantly changing every moment of every day. You choose how you will react to situations. You choose to be mad, sad, happy, loving, etc. Satan wins if he can convince you to get discouraged or angry. He also wins if he can convince you that you are a creature to be acted upon, because that idea brings with it, the idea that you aren´t responsible for your feelings (aka choices). President Gulbrandsen talked a lot about agency, and I can understand why. We have been studying Lesson 2: Plan of Salvation a lot this week for our investigators. The war in heaven was fought over agency. Satan fell because he wanted to take away agency. One of the greatest gifts of God to His children is agency. You have the capacity and the power to choose what you will do, how you will feel, and how you will react every moment of every day for eternity. It is a great power and responsibility. We used our agency wisely once; we are all here with bodies. The trial now, is to see if we will use our agency wisely again and choose our Heavenly Father. We are also given the responsibility as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to share the Gospel so that others may use their agency to the greatest effect that they can. This was a promise we made in the preexistence. We will be held responsible for all the times we were asked to open our mouths and did not. That brings me to a most amazing gift that changes eternity as much as agency. I have often not opened my mouth when called upon and for that I need to repent. We are all imperfect, we all fall short, but it is through the Atonement that we can be clean and try again. We can try again. We have been called as Saviors on Mount Zion. What a wonderful calling. How great is God´s love and trust in us that we have been given this calling. I testify with all the love and gratitude of my heart that Jesus lives! He suffered so that we wouldn´t have to suffer the pains of sin. He knows every hurt, every angry thought, every trial. He knows how to succor His people and will do so. All we have to do is turn to Him. Take His hand. The road to the tree of life is rough and we fall down, but He will never leave us alone. He never leaves, it´s us who walk away and He is always waiting. Waiting with arms stretched out and boundless love. You are never too far away for His love to reach you. Come home.
I apologize that I did not write much about my week. In reality I have learned a lot this week personally and for my investigators. I wrote what the Spirit inspired me to write. I love you all so much and my testimony burns so strong that I have to share it with you. There is so little time in this life and even less now with the Second Coming right at the door. The Lord is pleading with us to fortify our testimonies, because it is the foundation that we will stand on in the last days. You are a chosen generation. Everyone who is alive right now came at this time to prepare the way for the Lord. You showed exceedingly great faith in the preexistence and have a potential that you cannot even imagine. We have been constantly encouraged and reminded of our great calling to come to the earth at this time. Please do not take it lightly. You, each of you, are a great and marvelous work. I love you. Your Heavenly Father Loves you. I don't know who needs to hear this right now, but please know that you are so special in His eyes. Every single one of you. Don´t give up. Never give up. You´re so close. He´s waiting for you to welcome you home.
I love you.
Hermana Alvey

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another week has gone by. There were no storms during the day, but the ones at night here are pretty awesome too. Things are starting to cool down here. In the mornings it´s nice to have a sweater, but the middle of the day and evening are pretty hot. It´s odd weather here that can change in less than an hour. It sure keeps you on your toes though.
We started teaching Carlos again. We also have 3 other people that we are teaching. They are Darío, Danny, and Adrian. They are all awesome. I have also learned a lot from each of them and hopefully they have learned something from the Spirit as well. Darío likes high math and science. Danny is good at studying even if he doesn´t like it. Adrian is a very hard worker. It´s hard when you love the people and they turn away. We had to drop 2 more investigators this week. You share everything and know it´s true and they don´t care or refuse to listen. That happens sometimes and you still love them, but you realize that they have their agency and others need your help.
By the way. I am never living where there are mosquitos ever again. The doctor said that with my type of skin and allergic reaction, I am more likely to get infections. I have another one on my left leg. It doesn´t matter that I am very clean and use OFF. The new doctor here said that he will help me find a different repellent. Hopefully it works.
This last sunday we had 135 people at church. That is so amazing. It was sad, though, because we only had one investigator and no less active. We are still working hard with them and they are so wonderful. I wish they would see their own worth. That is the greatest challenge with most of the less active. They feel as if they have sinned too far or they aren´t important enough for God to care about. That is probably a world wide thing. I hope that I am sharing God´s love with them. I try. They are very good people.
So to answer some questions. We don´t get to cook a lot because we are out of the apartment so often. It´s pretty much sandwiches and pasta. (not together) The people here are amazing cooks. I don´t think I can pick which one is the best. The main meal here is lunches. We usually have a light breakfast, heavy lunch, and not really anything for dinner because we get home at 9pm and are tired.
Thank you for the skype account. I´m excited to talk to you May 13th. Don´t worry, I´m not letting it distract me. I have too many things to think about here. We are even cutting our P-day short because this was the only time we could visit one of our investigators.
I´m sorry that you are getting sick. I hope you all feel better. Take care of yourselves. I have to go, but know that I love you all very much. I hope to have more time next week. I´ll talk to you soon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

So what a week! Last monday and Tuesday we had a couple sisters go to and come from the south. They stayed in our pension until they could catch their plane or get their new companion. For everyone that is in Arizona, one of them was Hermana Shelley! She is so funny and cute. We ended up staying up late or waking up in the middle of the night. One came at 1 am. Another left at 3 am, so to say the least we were tired at the beginning of this week. We just split our area again, because as of Wednesday, we have two elders!! Wednesday we also had a gigantic thunder storm. The lightning show was gorgeous and the thunder was so loud it hurt our ears and shook the roof. The streets were flooded so much that it almost came up to our knees. I had a lot of fun, but then again I´ve always liked storms.
I am attaching some pictures because it didn´t work last week. The first two are of our area. I want you all to be able to see how big it really is. Remember that the blocks are about the size of Vegas blocks (if not a little bigger). We can walk from one end of our area to the other but I would probably take half the day or so. Our area is called Vicente Lopez but it really has about 6 mini cities inside it. They are Acassuso, Florida, Martinez, Olivos, La Lucila, and one other that I can´t remember. I guess they are more like towns than cities, but it´s still big either way. There are not any large scale companies here. Everything is personally owned. There is not a walmart or anything in my area, but it still is a large city. We have two mission presidents living in our area along with the area doctor. One of the Argentine President´s houses is in our area too. We don´t do tracting very often. The greatest way to find people and help them stay active is helping the members invite their friends to hear the Gospel.
It was absolutely amazing this last Sunday! There were three complete less active families that came to church. They had´t been to church in about 5 years. We had been working so hard with them and I cried when I saw them. The Lord is so happy when we go to church. It doesn´t matter if we are active or inactive or new. We are making a wonderful choice when we go to church and the Lord is always happy with us when we do. We are working so hard with the less active and they have several friends and family members that are not members and as we help them remember the love they have felt, they want to share that with others. References are everything to missionaries as well as members who are willing to accompany them. I never realized what my role was as a member. I feel like I can be a more effective member when I get home. Now I just need to go a little further and be a great missionary. ^_^ The Lord has blessed me so much with all the work here. The ward is moving forward and the work will grow so much here.
I am out of time, because we still have to go get food for the week. I love you all and will talk to you soon. Please remember that no matter how dark the Friday is, Sunday will come. That is the promise of Easter.
Hermana Alvey

Sister Alvey & Sister Shelley finally meet!  Their relatives live close to each other, but these two went to Argentina to meet!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hey everyone!! New transfer, new experiences, new work. So me and Hermana Milmont are together for another transfer. Hermana Renteria is going to an area called Nuñez, and Hermana Salva is going to Tigre. Vicente Lopez is now one area again with only two missionaries. I will have six months in Vicente Lopez by the end of the transfer. It is an amazing ward and I am very happy to be here. The work is going to explode this transfer. I just know it.
I absolutely loved General Conference. I especially loved Elder Hadleck (sp?). I have heard a similar talk many times from my own mission president many times. The vision truly is important. If you don´t know where your goal is, you won´t know how to work for it. I am still working on obtaining the vision. I have not fasted over it yet, but I know that I need to and will do so this sunday. Elder Holland´s talk of course, was straight to the point and awesome as usual. I wish I had time to talk about all of them, but I´m cut short again due to transfers. We had two sisters sleep in our apartment with us. One went to the south at 3:30 am and we took the other to the office to pick up her new companion.
Thank you soooooooo much for the packages. Hermana Milmont said that the brand ¨George¨ nylons saved her in the south. I appreciate everything in the packages. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
It sounds like life there is busy and moving along. I hope you are enjoying spring break and have a wonderful easter. Remember the true reason for easter. I love Elder Worthlin´s talk in General Conference of 2006 ¨Sunday Will Come¨. No matter how bleak the Friday or how lonely the Saturday, Sunday will come. That is the promise of the Atonement.
We have an amazing ward. They are catching on to the vision of the missionary work. It really is all about the members. Talking with their friends, helping their families, and doing their best to share their joy and their lives. I wish I could remember who said it, but they said ¨Preach the Gospel and if needed use words.¨ I love that. We often think that everything is up to the full time missionaries. It is true that they have a special calling to go out into all the world to teach. We are set apart to teach the Gospel and have His Spirit to guide us. Nothing can happen without the members though. Retention, finding, and supporting will not happen without the members. It is impossible. I know this now. It´s not easy, but the prophets have said:¨Every member a missionary.¨ What the sister in the philippines said is true. It´s truer than you know.
I love you all so much. I am sorry that I am not able to tell you everything that has happened this week. I will try really hard to tell you everything next week. Now is the time to work.
¨Firm as the mountains around us¨
¨I´ll never no never no never forsake¨
I´ll talk to you soon.
Hermana Alvey
P.S. Good luck with the garden. I pray for all of you individually by name. I love you