Tuesday, September 29, 2015

After all, there's only one more week 'til Conference

Buen día a todo el mundo. Hoy es un día muy especial. Quizás se están preguntando por qué. Porque es p-day. La mejor.

Also. Conference is just around the riverbend. And I cannot WAIT. Oh man. Conference. It's like a vacation on the mission. You just get to sit in a room with other missionaries and soak up the words of the living prophets and apostles. Words inspired of God. Tell me that's not the best thing. Anyway. Hna. Beckstead and I are working hard to get as many people to the conference as physically possible. We printed off some invitations and are not hesitating to give them to every person we meet. And now I'm extending that invitation to all of you. WATCH CONFERENCE. You may not be able to join us en la capilla por la 3 y 16, but you can turn on your TV or your computer and receive the words of the prophet directly. Some of you can even go right to the conference center. Take advantage of this awesome opportunity to listen to the prophet's voice.

Okay. I'm done with my exhortation. Now, I wanted to talk a little bit about Rodolfo. Yup. That's right. Hogwarts: Argentina's very own Divination professor. Previously, in the Rodolfo Saga, he had told us that he had gone to church before. When we introduced ourselves as missionaries, he ran inside and came back out with a Book of Mormon that some other missionaries had left 7 years ago. "The only reason I never got baptized was because they told me I had to give up my divination practice." he explained. "I just can't give it up. It's my DESTINY." Alright, pal. Good luck.

This week, we were in the area and we thought we'd go see how he was doing. We weren't entirely sure why we felt like we should go visit him, but alas, that's how the spirit works. He let us right in and we sat down on two rickety wooden chairs outside his house. "I've decided" he began, "that I'm tired of this. I really don't get that much business. And I'm just bored. It's not doing anything for me." Wait. Last week you said it was your destiny and now, you're saying you're bored?? What happened? Hna. Beckstead and I exchanged a glance and shrugged. "So... will you get baptized?" we asked him. "I think that with time, when I fully give up my divination, yes." Sweet. We walked away from the lesson a little bit shocked. It's interesting how the Lord prepares people to receive the Gospel. Who knows what will happen with Rodolfo. But after one week, he decided his witchcraft wasn't worth doing anymore.

During my studies this week, I learned a lot about what I can do to better serve. The base of it all? Love. Classic. A little cliche. I know. But it's true. We can't do anything to help anyone else, if we don't love them first. Something I try to do with every person we talk to, is imagine them through Christ's eyes. Through Heaven's eyes you could say. If we can see people through the eyes of our loving Saviour, it's so much easier to sincerely serve them. Christ loves everyone, no matter their social situation or the trials they're facing. And we can and should do the same.

Love you all,
Hermana Hein


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Noble Art of Divination

Hi All:

A bit of a wooly subject, divination... nevertheless... we had a run in with Argentine Professor Trelawney this week that proved to be... interesting. Walking down Calle 7 one morning, looking for a name from the list of members here in Sáenz Peña, we noticed a sign that said something like, "Rodolfo, parapsicología" "What's that?" I ask. Hna. Beckstead shrugs her shoulders and claps. An old man wearing a stained wife beater comes out to the gate to greet us. "Are you Rodolfo?" we ask. "Yes." "What's parapsicología?"  "I'll show you." We just stand out on the front patio and he shows us a certificate that authorizes his practice of this parapsicología, which he tells us is basically... divination.

"For example," he says. "I can tell just by looking at you that... you haven't been here for very long..." "I've been here for almost a year." I reply. "Viste? That's not very long..." *long awkward silence* "I can also sense that you two... are not from around here." he divined. "How could I possibly know that just by looking at you? I don't know... I'm just... knowing..." We tried our best not to laugh. Apparently, you can't tell that we're not Argentine by just looking at us... or hearing our accents... you have to have... the gift.

This week, we also got to head once more to Resistencia for Consejo. President talked about the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Which just so happens to be one of my FAVORITE Bible stories. The way the Savior teaches is just so simple yet so profound. One learns important teaching principles from the example of the Master. President talked a lot about the living waters, which are the teachings of Christ. And how important it is for us to share them with others. Those who drink of the living waters of Christ shall never thirst again. What an incredible promise. And it's true. It's something I've witnessed a lot here in the mission. There are people here with literally NOTHING. Entire families are living here in a square of bricks smaller than my bedroom, with a dirt floor and two grimy mattresses. And yet, in these families, I've met people with some of the most faith. They find the strength to keep going even when there's NOTHING LEFT because of their faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It makes you realize just how real it is and how much we really need those living waters.

Jenessa with Antonia

Pancho, our dog??
I am so blessed. I have everything I could ever want and need and more. Seeing the people here, living in poverty is a real eye opener. It's very humbling. We need to do what we can with the means we've been given to help those who have less than us. It says in the Book of Mormon, in Ether, that we must have charity to inherit the kingdom of God. But charity isn't just giving to the poor. It's loving as Christ loves. And Christ loves everyone perfectly. Which is a hard thing to accomplish for us as imperfect beings. But, one way to get better at loving, is by serving. We automatically grow to love those we serve. Charity never Faileth. (or as they say here, in Relief Society every week, "la caridad nunca deja de ser." in a very monotone voice. It's hilarious.)

Love you all,
Hermana Hein


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Road Goes Ever On

Well... It was one of those weeks. You know? The ones where nothing happens? Yup. The most exiting thing that happened was the unexpected journey we took out into the middle of nowhere in search of a man named Alvarez. We had taught him once before in front of a pile of bricks house on calle 1; a long, dirt road that leads out to the end of the world. At the end of the lesson, we asked what his address was and he told us, "Sometimes here, sometimes there." Oh. Okay. We'll just come back here. We planned to return Wednesday morning, but when we arrived at the house, the woman told us Alvarez lived further down the street. But further down the street? Nothing. We did find one house tucked away in a tangle of thorn bushes next the train tracks... But we didn't find Alvarez.
Doing Yard Work with Antonia

The youth in the branch here get together every Tuesday and Thursday at the church to play volleyball. A LOT of youth come; the majority, non-members. As missionaries, it's our job, our calling to introduce as many people to the gospel as physically possible. And this was an advantageous opportunity. So, Hna. Beckstead and I, along with the two elders in the branch, plotted to do just that. We wanted to show a quick video during the activity, a 5 minute Mormon Message or something. But we just haven't been able to organize ourselves sufficiently to actually do it... until this Thursday. After running around for an hour and a half, trying to figure out which cords connect to the projector and how the sound system in the chapel works, we managed to get the video up on the big screen. Success! The chapel filled up with volleyball youth and we played the video. After it ended, there was an uncomfortable silence... "Now what?" we silently communicated with the elders across the room. They shrugged. Finally, Darian, an outspoken new convert and the gangleader of the volleyball crowd shouted, "A FUERA!" (outside)  and the herd of youth filed out. It was a bit of a hassle at first, but I think it went pretty well in the end. A bunch of non-member youth had casual contact with church material.

With Andres, we've been bringing a recent convert of the Elders, Gerardo, to lessons. Needless to say, we managed to make things even MORE awkward. Here we are, two random North American girls teaching two middle-aged, Argentine men about the Law of Chastity. *facepalm* But it's been good to have Gerardo there. Now Andres has a friend.

I read a talk this week from President Eyring called "Where is the Pavilion?" It talks about how we are the ones that distance ourselves from God and not the other way around. God will never leave us. He will always be there. Even if we don't want Him there. But a lot of times, we don't recognize His presence. Especially in times of trial, we need to look for Him; reach out, maybe even a little blindly and say, "I'm here. What do you want me to do?" He will answer. And when we humbly accept His will over our own, we remember. And we see. He is never far from us. But we may be a little far from Him. I know He loves us. I know He's there. We just have to open our eyes a little.

Sending lots of love and besitos from the south,
Hermana Hein


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Leap of Faith

Well, I'm still here in Sàenz Peña with Hermana Beckstead. We're really excited. We wanted to stay here. This place is magical. But one can't help but get a little anxious around transfer time. You just never know what your fate will be. But the Lord knows. And we just have to trust Him. I have a firm testimony of transfers. I know they're inspired. Anyway. This last week was a good one. Full of miracles. This week, we truly witnessed the hand of the Lord directing the work.

A number of weeks ago, we contacted and taught an old lady who, we weren't entirely sure was totally there. After giving her a Book of Mormon, she attempted to give us 100 pesos in return. But we obviously refused to take the money. While planning one night this last week, she came to mind. "Hey. Let's go visit Elena." I said. Hna. Beckstead was a little apprehensive. "Uh... Okay." So, the next evening, we went by, still not entirely sure why. As we attempted to teach Elena about the Restoration, she kept standing up. "We need to go talk to my daughter-in-law." She said. "Uh... Alright. Can we finish here?" We asked. Finally, after finishing our broken lesson, Elena stood up again. "Alright. Let's go visit my daughter-in-law." Hna. Beckstead and I looked at each other, bewildered. But, one gets used to such weird and awkward situations as a missionary, and we followed the strange old lady out of the house and down the street to her daughter-in-law's house.

The Gonzalez family was a little confused as to why we were there with their grandma when we first showed up. But the 18 year old daughter, Meli, began asking us questions about the Book of Mormon, having heard of it before. Soon after, her mom came into the house with a brand new baby girl, Luz. It was almost disconcerting how well received we were; how many questions they had. They were asking all the RIGHT questions. "How do we know if our baptism's valid?" Well, you have to have the proper authority. "Who has the proper authority?" Well, let's just tell you a little bit about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Priesthood. "How do we know what's true?" We picked up the Book of Mormon. By reading and praying about this book. "Okay." They said. They all accepted our invitation to be baptized on October 3. And we're really praying that they make it there, taking up our challenge to read the Book of Mormon. From a tiny whisper from the Spirit to go visit some random old lady, we found a family prepared to receive the blessings of the Gospel.

That's only one example of the way the Lord is directing us here in His work. The list continues. The spirit is consistently prompting us to act. But we have to choose to do it. When we exercise our faith and act on those tiny promptings we receive, our faith grows. But it's always a leap of faith. Indy never would have found the Holy Grail had he not first taken that giant leap of faith. We have to do the same. Not just as missionaries. But as human beings. As children of God.

I know this is the Lord's work. I know He is leading us to the people that we are here to teach. I know He lives. I have received that witness personally by reading the Book of Mormon. I know it's true and I know it's another witness of Him. I'm grateful to be here on the mission and for the people I have come to know and love. It's an amazing opportunity. Thanks for all the love and support I receive from you all at home. You don't know how much your prayers do.

Sending prayers from the south,
Hermana Hein

Note from editor: No pictures this week, so I took the liberty of putting in this clip of Indiana Jones and his "leap of faith."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


So... I guess that's the name of a really famous Taylor Swift song that I don't know... When asked how old I was on my birthday, everyone started singing it to my confusion. Sorry. But anyway. Thursday, I completed 22 years of life. Weird. We celebrated by going to Resistencia, yet again, for multizone conference with President. That's always a great spiritual experience. And It was good to get to hang out with some old friends, like Hermana Nakken. Love her. It was a pretty good day.

Zone Conference
 The rest of the week was normal. We worked. As one always does in the mission. We've been teaching a less active lady named Antonia and it's been a really cool experience. Let me just elaborate...
One hot morning, we were walking down a dirt road at the very outskirts of our area, keeping our eyes peeled for the doors we should knock. We walked past one unassuming, crumbling brick house with a mess of cacti in front and saw a little old lady with flaming red hair raking dead leaves in the dirt. We had already walked past, but I just remember thinking, "We should go talk to her..." Without even a word to my companion, I turned around to head back to the house. To my great surprise, Hermana Beckstead had done the same. We discovered that this old lady was actually a member. And that she had been inactive for a long time. But for whatever reason, the Lord had sent us back to talk to her. After that lesson, she told us that she wouldn't be able to come to church that Sunday but the next Sunday she would come. Unfortunately, Hna. Beckstead and I forgot. Until, two Sundays later, there's Antonia, sitting in the chapel with her bright red hair and a smile like she'd never left. Most of the members didn't even know who she was. That's how long she'd been gone. But despite her many years of inactivity, Antonia is now ready to come back to church.

We helped her in her garden on Wednesday and I actually got to wear jeans for once. MIRACLES HAPPEN! No but really, she's super sweet and prepared to receive the blessings for living the Gospel. It's interesting how the Lord's hand is always with us, guiding both Hermana Beckstead and I back to this old, pile-of-bricks house to find one little sheep that had been lost for years.

This place is awesome. I still, after nearly 6 weeks here, can't figure out exactly what it is. But I think a lot of it has to do with the members. The branch here is struggling. Despite the huge church building and the 1,300 baptized members here in the city, there's only a good, 30 people that come consistently. But that small group of faithful saints is AWESOME. Talking last night to the one and only counselor to our branch president, Hermano Guazo, I realized what it is: understanding of the baptismal covenant. He understands our duty to God to serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. And he's pretty much given all of that to this branch. But he's still going. Because he knows that there's no one else here to do it. And it's our responsibility as members of the Lord's true church to accept His will and do what He asks. I'm really grateful for that example of faithful discipleship.

It's been a good transfer. I've learned a lot and it's hard to believe that it's almost over already. Summer is on the way. My old tanlines are already coming back. Can't wait to show off my shackle line from my ridiculous Danskos. Haha. #missionlife.

Keep the faith. Follow the example of the members of the branch here in Sáenz Peña and hold fast to the covenants you've made. And the Lord will bless us more than we can imagine. These things I know to be true. He lives.

Lots of Love,
Hermana Hein