Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hola familia!

How are you all? I´m sorry I wasn´t able to call you on Thursday Daddy! There wasn´t a lot of time during the layovers and it was costing money. It was good to hear all of your voices on Wednesday night though.

This week has been full of travel. The 10 hour flight here was...LONG. We got a dinner and breakfast on the plane which was kind of fun. I had a hard time sitting for so long and I didn´t get a whole lot of sleep. I´m here though now and I don´t have to do that again for another 14 months!

BTW in Texas we met up with some other missionaries traveling to Argentina. I was able to talk to Elder Cline and Elder Kelley from my district in the MTC. It was great to see them. When we got to Argentina we had to go through customs and visa checks and everything. It was pretty overwhelming to do all this in a language I can barely speak. I passed though haha. Apparently we are all here on tourist visas, so they are still working on getting us real ones. We were then met by the AP´s and President and Sister Carter. Guess who else I got to see!? Heremana Redford! She came in on a different flight! I was so excited to see her.

We took a little drive to the temple where we took pictures (I should get to go to the temple around Christmas time). Then we went to a park where Elder Marvin J. Ballard dedicated South America for missionary work almost 100 years ago (I think it was about that long). President Carter talked about the dedication and how we are continuing to fulfill that revelation. He talked about how this area is growing like an oak tree in which it starts out small but will be strong. It was pretty cool. We then went back to President Carter´s house where we ate a delicious lunch of salad, mashed potatoes and some sort of steak with gravy. They also had a delicious cake with layers (kind of like pie crust) and dulce de leche and chocolate. Me encanta! We then had some training and interviews there at their home.

President Carter is very different from President Castro. He is much the point. President Castro was very meek and quiet and President Carter is kind of more normal and/or down to earth. They are very different but I love them both. My interview with President Carter was pretty normal, nothing too exciting.

We then went to the mission offices, had a little more training and ate sandwiches. Afterward some of the elders took Hermana Redford and me to an apartment near the office. It is an empty apartment they have on hand so it was just the two of us. It was great to catch up with her. The next morning we had a little more training and by 11:00 we were out with our temporary companions for the weekend. I went with Hermana Stevens and Hermana Gomez in San Justos. I spend Saturday and Sunday with them and then we had transfers today.

The Hermanas I worked with in San Justos.  We bought a pizza
for lunch and they made a cute welcome sign.
Hermana Gomez spoke basically no English but luckily Hermana Stevens is from Utah and was able to translate a little. On Sunday all of the members were really nice. They had me bear my testimony is Spanish which went pretty well I think. They all think I know Spanish but I can speak better than I understand at this point.

The work is quite different here. Everything is different. The milk comes in bags. There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE: The water really is toxic. I´m not allowed to drink out of the tap, and have to have my filtered water bottle for everything or put bleach in it. Apparently I might also come back with basically no hair because the water is also hard on our hair haha. We don´t really eat dinner here (maybe I really will lose some Solvang weight lol) so the members feed us lunch. There is no carpet in any of the homes or buildings. The people have siestas every afternoon and all the stores close for a few hours. Those are just a few of the changes.

The living conditions are also really sad. The apartments I´ve been in aren´t too bad but it makes the one in Solvang look like a palace. It´s kind of cool how I have had the opportunity to work with really wealthy people in Solvang and now I am seeing the poorest of the poor. Some of the places we go are so sad. There are new born babies living in basically shacks. There is so much trash everywhere and it is all just cement walls and floors. It´s crazy! Some of my favorite lessons from the week were in these places, however.

This week has been full of travel and experiencing different companionships and areas. In the Ventura Mission I was able to work with a companionship of sisters for a few days in their area before flying here to Argentina. I was then able to work with Hermana Gonzales and Hermana Stevens in San Justos here in the BAW mission. It was good to experience different kinds of missionaries and areas and learn from all of them.

I have learned a lot here in the past few days. I am still getting used to the focus on the key indicators here in this mission. It took me a while, personally, to not focus so much on the numbers and focus more on my investigators. When my companion and I really focused on the numbers one week and were working like crazy to achieve them all I didn´t feel as successful personally. I didn´t feel like we made as much of a difference in the lives of our investigators. On the other hand, in the past few weeks in Solvang our numbers didn´t look very good but our investigators were really progressing. We had several that were extremely close to accepting baptismal dates and had come so far.

The missions are very different, however, and I know that the council President Carter gives is what is right for this mission. I want to fully adopt this mission and the culture here and accept what President Carter teaches, while taking what I learned in Solvang and finding a way to use that to help me be more successful here. As an educator I appreciate using results to drive how we do things and so I appreciated seeing today how focusing on the indicators has proven to bring more people unto Christ, because that is the ultimate goal. If I can be assured that I am helping people to come unto Christ I know I can gain a testimony of the way things are done in this mission.

Today's transfer meeting was also very different. I liked it a lot though. It is super exciting! In Ventura we got a call the day before about transfers, where we are going, who our companion is etc. Here you get a call the night before letting you know if you need to back your bags but you have no idea where you are going until you go to the meeting. They have a slide show where they go through all the areas. When your face pops up that is when you find out where you are going. Even the Zone Leaders and HTL (Hermana Training Leaders) don´t know about their calls until that moment. It´s crazy. I have a great companion. She is from Mendoza Argentina. She´s 28 and is trying to learn English so she can sometimes revert to English if I really don´t understand but hopefully she will speak mostly Spanish to me. She seems great and everyone tells me what a great missionary she is. She is also an Hermana Training Leader. (If that tells you anything about what kind of missionary she is). I know that having a native companion will help me to learn Spanish quickly. I can speak better than I understand and I really hope to work on listening intently to everything I hear in order to learn quickly. I think we will get along great and I want to learn all I can from her.

We are in an area called Lujan. It is about an hour and a half from the mission home by bus. It is in a more suburb area which I like. Our zone seems great as well. I am really excited to be in this area. I think I may be riding a bike here too. We´ll see.

I still don´t really know about mail because I don´t have all the info with me right now. I know you can find it all on the blog though. You must use USPS or dearelder etc. I believe I only get it when I go into the office. I do get a little more time on the internet usually though, except for today.

I love you all lots and lots and lots! Sorry this letter is a little crazy. Thank you so much for being so amazing! You´re the best!

Love Hermana Millet

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