Monday, October 26, 2015

Are you challenging me to a walk off?

Yesterday, the citizens of Argentina had their presidential elections. At long last, the reign of Christina is over. I don't actually have any idea what that means but a lot of people seem pretty excited about it. What that meant for us as missionaries: ALL DAY IN THE PENSION. I guess things can get pretty crazy on election day. So, right after Sacrament Meeting at 10:10 on the dot, (all the other meetings were cancelled) we headed home to wait out elections inside. After we made a delicious homemade lasagna for lunch, took a nap, and did studies, we were left with little to do and the boredom set in. We nearly went mad inside all day.

Anyway, this week provided some interesting miracles. As you all know, we've been teaching Andres for some time now, trying to get home to get married but he keeps telling us he needs a job first... Well, this week, we came to the conclusion that he needs to get married before anything else. We shared Mosiah 2:41 that says that we will receive temporal and spiritual blessings for acting on our faith. We also had a lot of help from President Conradi AKA District President here in Sáenz Peña who bore a sweet testimony on eternal marriage and faith that really touched Andres. He went THE NEXT DAY to verify days they could go get married. It's crazy how much his faith has grown since we started teaching him. Various other obstacles are emerging, but we know that he'll pull through. He hasn't been reading his scriptures everyday and he told us that he feels a difference. "When I was reading the Book of Mormon everyday, I felt this peace. I don't feel that anymore now that I'm not reading as much." Well... There you go. Get on that reading. We promised him that if he puts emphasis on daily scripture study and prayer, he will receive the revelation necessary to help him overcome his obstacles.

It was overall, a pretty good week. We had those good, spiritual lessons with Andres, and we taught Feliciana a number of times also. She's just too sweet. And her prayers are getting really good. The only reason she didn't come to church this week was because of the torrential rain storm that hit Saturday night... classic. It's the curse of Argentina. But Sunday was also election day and voting is obligatory here so... we're not sure what all the Argentines who usually sleep in on rainy mornings did... It was like clash of the Argentine vices here yesterday. Actually, the best part of the whole week was Saturday night, when we stumbled into a Relief Society activity at the church. They were showing off all the artsy things the sisters in the District had made when a sister from the other branch started yelling into the microphone for all the ladies to line up for the dance competition. Yes. All the relief society ladies of Sáenz Peña had a DANCE OFF. What was the first song they danced to? MORTAL KOMBAT... I'm not kidding. It made my entire life.

This week, while studying to teach Feliciana, I focused on the relationship we have with God. God is our loving Heavenly Father. But what does that mean exactly? It means that each and every one of us have a divine destiny given us by the creator of ALL things. It means that He loves us; really, truly loves each of us. He knows us personally. He knows the trials we face and knows how to help us. He loves us so much that He was willing to give up His ONLY begotten son so that all of us could return to live with Him. We could not possibly comprehend the type of love He has for us. But if we can understand two things, that He loves us and that He knows all things, we can have the confidence that everything He asks of us is for our benefit. We don't need to doubt, we don't need to fear, we just need to know that He loves us. I know He lives and that His love is real. I've felt it. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know this is His church and that only through Him will we find our way back to our loving Heavenly Father again.

Sending lots of love from the south,
Hermana Hein


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Carry On

Hello All:

Another transfer, gone. And here we both still are in Sáenz Peña. Yup. Hna. Beckstead and I both stayed. We knew we would. We're here for Andrés. I'm pretty excited about it. Even though we haven't seen a ton of direct results in this area, I love it. I love the people we've met here. And as I know I've said before, I love the members here. They're incredible.

Anyway, this week, Hna. Beckstead and I worked a lot on focusing more on the work. It was a good week. We met some cool people and had some good experiences. We met this old lady named Feliciana who doesn't know how to read. We've actually run into a lot of people who can't read here. It's hard for me. I don't know how to teach people without that. But we had a pretty cool experience teaching her how to pray this week. We explained prayer like a sandwich: You have to have the two pieces of bread or it's not a sandwich. It's just a bunch of random cold cuts. The top bread, is how we start: "Heavenly Father," In the middle, you can put what you want: ham and cheese? No. I'm thinking roast beef. Maybe tomorrow I'll do milanesa: just say what you feel. And you end with that last piece of bread: "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." I even drew the whole thing out for her in the pamphlet we were using. But she still wasn't getting it. Finally, Hna. Beckstead said, "Okay. If Heavenly Father were standing here RIGHT NOW, what would you say to him?" She began listing off the things she was grateful for and the questions she had. "PERFECT!" We told her. "Now add the two pieces of bread." She slapped her hand over her eyes and began to pray. It was the sweetest, most simple little prayer but it was so awesome to hear her do it. Sometimes, you just struggle getting people to pray. But she did it. And it was great!

Hijacked this photo from the Resistencia Mission facebook
page via Janet Tracey. Thanks!!!!

Sometimes, the trick to this whole mission thing is just to carry on. Sometimes, things don't always go as you had planned or you don't see the direct results of the work you're doing. But you just have to be firm as the mountains around us, (or those of you living in Utah... There's no mountains here.) and stalwart and brave. The work must continue. We cannot falter. The work here in Sáenz Peña continues. Sorry if that was overly cheesy.

Sending love from the south,
Hermana Hein

Monday, October 12, 2015

One year later...

Hello hello. Greetings from Argentina.

Here we are... another week has again passed. And believe it or not, it's been a year since the beginning. It's a little difficult to believe... But one year ago, I was in the MTC, trying to learn Spanish and being a real annoyance to our poor teachers. Sometimes it seems like I haven't learned anything. Like I haven't grown at all. But that's not even true. It's taken a year... but I think I've finally gotten the hang of using the past subjunctive tense in Spanish! :D:D:D In reality, the most valued thing I've learned in this past year is that the Lord really does live. And He loves us so much more than we could ever understand. And I'm grateful for that knowledge. I know He's there for me. I couldn't do it without Him.

Tuesday, we had interviews with President Franco which was great. We've been struggling a bit in our area; we get a little frustrated sometimes from the lack of results we see. But President assured us that we just have to be patient sometimes. And that our work isn't going unnoticed or without results. We later in the week, had a cool experience that confirmed his statement that we were in fact helping people, even if we don't notice.

We had received a referral from a member in a small town about 40 minutes outside of Sáenz Peña called Quitilipi. She asked us to go visit her aunt, Dominguez. When she came out of the house, she told us immediately that she wasn't interested. "The missionaries have come to my house before, but I'm Catholic and that's not going to change." "Did the missionaries share with you the Book of Mormon?" Hna. Beckstead inquired. "No. But if it's not the Bible, I'm not interested." she responded. I was praying the whole time that I would know what to say and have the courage to say it. I whipped a Book of Mormon out of my bag before she could get out her retort. "This book testifies of Christ." I said. "I know He lives and that because of Him, we will all be resurrected one day." The spirit whooshed in at the mention of the Saviour and tears came to her eyes as she said quietly, "I hope that's true." "I KNOW it's true." Hna. Beckstead said firmly. "Death is NOT the end." And she shared Mormon 9:13 which talks about the redemption and resurrection of Christ.
Dominguez still had tears in her eyes as we testified of the Book of Mormon and its power to heal. When before, she had never accepted the Book of Mormon, we were able to give her one thanks to the spirit softening her heart. It seriously was one of the fastest and most dramatic changes of heart I've EVER seen. 100% by the spirit. We set another time to come back to see her and left, marvelling at the spirit we had felt. It was a really cool experience.

We couldn't do anything without the spirit. It was yet another testimony to me of the truthfulness of the Gospel, and that the Lord is in charge of this work.

I love this work and I love the Lord. Keep the faith.

Con amor,
Hermana Hein  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Grace & Love

Conference... Whew... talk about a spiritual feast. I just love conference. And on the mission, it's even better. All of us gringo missionaries just sat in one room and feasted... spiritually and literally... Hermana Beckstead and I made french toast for everyone. It was pretty sweet. It's amazing to me the way the spirit communicates to the speakers what needs to be said; what needs to be heard. And how every one of us can receive some type of inspiration from the words spoken. Also, let's just mention those three new apostles... I totally called Renlund. They're going to be great.

I particularly enjoyed Elder Christofferson's talk about the institution of the church and why it's necessary that we have a church. It answered perfectly a doubt that Andres had expressed earlier in the week. It was a shame he missed it... Andres did make it to the Saturday evening session and told us afterward that he LOVED it. We knew he would.

Earlier in the week, we were amping up the conference, going off about how excited we were, Andres asked us why we were so excited; why we were "fan girling"
over old church leaders. Well... now he understands. That's the word of GOD right there man... THAT'S why we were so excited. Ugh. So good. Can't wait for next conference.

Earlier this week, we planned to go up to one part of our area we'd never visited before: Barrio Arce. It's up in the very corner of the area and feels a little sketchy sometimes so we generally avoid it. But, in the morning, it's okay. So, we headed up, hoping to find someone to teach... as always. But, after a good hour and a half of nothing, we became a little discouraged. We were about to turn back. But, looking down the wind-blown dirt road we were on, we noticed a little passage we hadn't seen before. "Well, might as well go see who's down there..." I mumbled... And then we found Monica.

Monica told us that she'd investigated multiple religions but that none of them ever felt right. She told us that she'd noticed the frequent appearance of false prophets preaching the doctrines of man and was tired of the lack of God and Christ in their teachings. She wanted the truth. She wanted Christ. So, we explained to her the Restoration. As we recounted the First Vision of Joseph Smith, she paused, staring at the photo we showed silently. "Wow..." She said, beaming. We testified of the reality of living prophets and apostles and that the priesthood of Christ had in fact been restored to the earth. But the only way we were going to know, was by asking Him who knows all. She loved it. We gave her a Book of Mormon and Moroni 10 to read. (Classic) And of course, invited her to conference to listen to the prophet's voice and see for herself. Nobody could have watched that conference and NOT felt the spirit. But, unfortunately, she couldn't make it to the conference because her baby was sick. But we have plans to go back and see her soon. I know she's going to feel it.

One of the themes of conference that really touched me was that of the grace of the Atonement. At times we feel that we're not good enough. There's just no way we can be perfect. So we give up. But the Atonement isn't just for perfect people. It is for everyone. Christ doesn't expect us to be perfect. He expects us to try. And if we try our best and ask for His help, He's going to help us go the rest of the way. He's going to be at our side, holding up the cross we've been trying to lift ourselves. He's already done it once. And He's willing to do it again. Trust in the Lord. Trust in His love for each one of you. He lives. And the Atonement has the power to lift us out of our darkest places. We don't have to be perfect. We just have to try.

Lots of love,
Hermana Hein

PS - Mum here... because Jenessa is still having troubles with her photo card, I thought I would drop in a picture of her getting dropped off at the MTC, a year ago on October 8th. I don't sound trunky....