Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Magic

It seems only yesterday that we were starting 2015. And yet, here we are at the end of it. It's crazy how fast the time goes. Which means we have to be ever aware of how we use the time we have. I thought this year in Argentina was going to go by a lot slower than it did... I was wrong. I feel good about 2015. I've been doing the best thing that I possibly could be doing. And now, as we head into 2016, I have to think about what I'm going to do different; what I'm going to do better. 2016 is going to be really different. But I know it can also be really good.

As for Christmas, it was a blast. Christmas in the mission is seriously the best. The festivities started last Friday with our branch Christmas party. We expected it to be a lot bigger than it was. Haha. We planned decorations and food and a Nativity with the primary, and we handed out a TON of invitations to basically everyone we met in the street. In the end, about 30 people showed up. But it was still a lot of fun. The Nativity with the primary is always the best part of ANY Christmas party. Everything tends to go wrong which makes it all the better. We had planned to sing the Christmas hymns with the primary kids and the Elders, but the kids were too nervous about the premiere of their acting career and the Elders were cooking chicken and my companion was playing the piano, so I ended up singing the whole Nativity solo. Bueno. Then, we have Joseph, played by Santi Godoy, the son of our branch president. He got a little stage fright and abandoned Mary after they arrived in Bethlehem... sketchy... The baby Jesus was born and thrown not-so-tenderly into a carseat and the new star that was supposed to appear in the sky, threw a fit, so her aunt had to lead the three giant wisemen to the manger scene. The whole thing was hilarious. And I think the members enjoyed it. I sure did. See attached photo.

Ward Christmas Party

Christmas Eve, we went caroling as a zone in the big plaza in the middle of downtown Corrientes. It was cool to bring the spirit to a place where most people are concerned only about their shopping. Most people walked past, pretending to not see or hear us, but just the fact that they slowed their pace a little bit showed that they felt something. It was really awesome.

Out and About for Christmas
Christmas day, we had an activity with two zones here in Corrientes. That party included 14 Elders.... and us. Hna. Ostler and I are the only two hermanas in ALL of Corrientes. Woot! So the party was interesting. We ate asado and sang Christmas carols around the piano. Haha. Classic. Then we left to go skype! WOOHOO!! The best. Sometimes, all you need is to hear Mom's laugh and Dad's voice. Families are the best. It was the best Christmas gift.

Overall, it was a great Christmas. And I was grateful that I got to spend it here in the mission. It's helped remind me of why we celebrate and how real it all is. I know Christ was born on the Earth and that it was His mission to save us all from our sins and sadnesses. I know He lives now. I know that this is His true church and that He is aware of each and everyone of us. I hope you all have a great week and a happy new year!

Lots of love,
Hermana Hein

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Once Upon a December

It's been another week in Corrientes. The search continues for the people that will accept the Gospel message. It's a struggle. But the work goes on.

We've been teaching a kid here named Ever. His mom is a less active member of the branch who told us that all she wants is for her son to grow up in a place that teaches him good standards and she knows that it's here, in the church. Great! But the goal is to reactivate his mom at the same time so that he has the support in his home and together, they can work towards the temple goal. Ever is 13. Which is what the branch wants. A new young men's president was recently called and he's amped to get to work. There's only one problem: the number of young men in the branch is exactly 0. So we're trying to find the best way to help Ever feel like he's needed and wanted in the branch even though there's no one else there his age. The mission brings about all kinds of struggles. But we know the Lord is helping us out.

The members here in Corrientes are great. We had the most efficient branch counsel of my whole mission yesterday and working with the members here is really fun. They're really excited to work with us and we're stoked to work with them. We've been helping the primary president plan the nativity for the Christmas party. It's going to be gold.

Speaking of Christmas, I've been thinking a lot about it recently. (wonder why?) And I've just come to decide that Christmas on the mission is the actual best. Too often, we get caught up with the commercial aspect of Christmas that we forget why we really celebrate it. Yes. I miss being with my family. But being in a different country where the Santa Claus aspect of Christmas has pretty much been erased and where December is one of the hottest months, has actually really helped me remember why. It's Christ. Obvious. Yeah. But really think about it. Why is Christ important? Why do we celebrate His birth? Because He came to perform the Atonement. And that's the greatest gift we could ever receive. I love Christmas and I love Christ. Remember Him this season.

Lots of love,
Hermana Hein

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Time in the City

Hola from the southern hemisphere.

Belgrado Bridge
Things here are great. The week flew by as Hna. Ostler and I tried to get to know our area a little bit better. We spent our time trying to find members, old investigators, lo que sea. And most of the time, we just ended up getting lost. But we've been making a little progress. We met a couple of the other Hermana's investigators and we're going to see what we can do there. We did manage to meet most of the active members here. They are AWESOME. We had lunch with the branch president's family yesterday after church... they made us TACOS. It was the best lunch I've had on the mission. I couldn't believe it.

But speaking of missionary work, Presidente Godoy told us when we first met with him Friday night that the members really want to help us do missionary work. They just don't know how. So we're going to work a lot with the members and get some good work going here in Corrientes.

In terms of the work, the church has started a new initiative for Christmas: A Savior is Born. It's a quick 2 minute video that talks about why we celebrate Christmas. I love it. And we've been using it in our contacts and our teaching. It's been great. An awesome way to get people talking about Christ. Because really, He's the center of all of it. He's the reason. And a lot of people don't recognize that. So, we're doing this little initiative to help them remember.

Sweet Pirate statue
We're really enjoying the work here. It's different. But it's a lot of fun. Everyday's a new adventure. But the mission would be lame if it wasn't like that. I know the Lord is working with us. I know there's people here to teach. We just have to find them. Keep praying for us. You don't know what your prayers do.

Lots of love,
Hermana Hein

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Carrying the Banner

Hermana Ostler
Well, another transfer, gone. Hermana Beckstead and I were both transferred out of Sáenz Peña and our area was closed... temporarily. We were sad to have to say good bye to that little town. I was really sad. But now, a new chapter is beginning in a new place: Corrientes. Hna. Ostler and I are whitewashing in. And it's... LOCO. Our area is right in the middle of the city. It's a whole new world across the Rio Paraná. But we're going to kill it. The Lord wants us here for something.

Our last week in Sáenz Peña was a good one. We had a lot of fun on Thanksgiving, even though no one in this country even knows what Thanksgiving is. We ate with the familia Guazo. It was super fun. They made some chicken and potatoes and Hna. Beckstead and I brought an apple pie and peach cobbler to contribute to the festivities. We also made hand turkeys for everyone and we all shared what we were thankful for. It was really great. There's always a special spirit when you talk about the blessings you have and the things your're thankful for.

Our "Thanksgiving" with the Guazo Family
As it's now December, our Book of Mormon challenge is over. We finished yesterday reading Moroni's invitation to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. President gave us this challenge to help us as a mission increase our faith. And I would definitely say that my faith has been increased. Reading the Book of Mormon that fast definitely has its benefits. You come to understand more the timeline of the Book of Mormon and the who's and where's of all the events that take place. You also come to notice the themes that run throughout the whole history. There's something I love in the Book of Mormon which is the missionary stories... surprise, surprise... But seriously. It helps me have more faith and more strength to keep doing the work everyday. If they can do it, why not me? I may have just been thrown into a new place without any clue of how to do anything, but what I do know, is that what we carry is the truth. The Book of Mormon has the power to change people. It's changed me. And I know it can do the same for the people of Corrientes. We've just gotta find them.
Walking Home in the rain

I love you all. I hope the first week of December is fantastic.
Love from,
Hermana Hein