Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!! ahhh i am jealous you get to see all the cute trick or treaters out tonight!!!! i wonder if we will suprise anyone tonight, maybe they will offer us candy........ maybe.......... haha. well halloween isnt very big here, they are just getting started. i think i told you last year but pretty much the only costumes they have figured out so far are a witch for girls and a devil or skeleton for boys....... a bit boring, but they will catch on one day. i havent seen anyone dressed up all day. last year hna thompson and i dressed up like eachother and wore eachothers clothes and nametags....... we had to do something to celebrate. but this year is another low key halloween.  its been a year and a half already, time is flying. everyone here talks about it, they all predict my future and make bets. they are all calling dibs on my clothes and belongings, it is making it real and a bit more scary. just trying not to think about it.

well hey, its been another week, another good week. i have never slept so good in my life, i sleep like a rock about five seconds after i put my head on the pillow. at the same time i have never been so tired, i feel like i could sleep for days straight, but at the same time its the most rewarding feeling. i have been having the worst stress dreams about getting everything left perfect here, i feel like i could go and go and go, and i know that there will always be more to do and that is why they put new missionaries in but i just want to get everything done. i guess i just have to do the best i can and then put my trust in God and those who come after to take care of things. we have an amazing family that we are teaching, their names are silvia and julio and have four kids laura, lauro (odd i know), julia, and evangelina. they have come to church the past couple of sundays and are doing great. julio was smoking and drinking a lot and without us saying anything quit cold turkey from one day to the next. you should have seen him yesterday, he is 63 but looks at least 75 from all the smoking, he came to church in a white button up shirt, with his hair parted and looked great. he is usually really rough looking so it was a drastic change. we had a lesson with them last night and he told us the story of how back, quite a while ago, he killed a police officer, he has had a rough past. you can just see it in him, he has such a great desire to be completely forgiven of what he did and is putting forth a full effort to show his desire to Heavenly Father. right now we are trying to figure out how to get him and silvia married. we have to get a certificate of divorce from his last wife and that is proving to be really complicated. things here are way behind so it takes a lot more time to figure out how to get things like that done. we went to some government office this afternoon and they gave us a bit of a run around, but we are going to work with what we have and see what we can do. it might not get done before i leave, but i pray it does.

we had an interesting lunch this week, i have no idea how the conversation came up but they started talking about lice. i am not sure you are really going to want to hear this conversation, i am just so used to it that it doesnt even phase me anymore, but this was nuts. this hermana was telling us how they all have lice and can never get rid of them but how they are especially bad with her 5 year old sone. she said one day she sat there and pulled out over 300 lice from his hair, i was itching all over just hearing it. my comp then said when they were little her parents would have her and her brothers and sisters stand in a line and pull lice out of eachothers hair. my head is itching just typing this, i made my comp check me that night. she said i am good. whew........... but still i am going to lice bath my head before leaving so no worries.

we found another new family to teach as well....... they are amazing!!! we found them with my old comp but have been teaching them several times a week with hna rojas and they have done a 180 in just two weeks. they are completing with everything that we leave with them to do. their names are veronica and miguel and have 6 kids between the two of them, only the youngest is theirs together. they are super sweet, its been amazing especially to see miguel open up, he didnt have any interest at first but now just gabs the entire time and is always really engaged. 

October 24, 2011

well anyway here i am.... in sugar bread yet again. with my corto plazo, her name is luci rojas, hermana rojas. actually we are in montevideo right now at a big mall that is here, i havent been in anything of the sort for a year and a half and i just about cried when we stepped in, i feel so uncomfortable, super out of place. my hands immediately started clamming up and i got all bug eyed. my comp actually lived in philidelphia for four years and just said, well hey, its like being in the states again. i forgot this kind of thing existed, makes me nervous to go back. okay so more about my comp, she is from a department called durazno and is 30, she is actually just waiting for her visa to go out on the mission, so honestly, i couldnt have been blessed with a corto plazo. when everyone hears that someone is getting a corto plazo its just like, ooooooooooooo well good luck with that one, but seriously, i think this is the best way i could end my mission. she is super motivated to learn and work and that is exactly what i was hoping for in my last companion to finish strong. but ya, so i am living with a ´guayan in ´guay, never thought that would happen!! she is hillerious too so that makes it even better, we get along super well and she is teaching me all the uruguayan dichos such as ¨te mato a palo¨ which i used wrong this week and said ¨te mato a pato¨ meaning i will kill you with a duck instead of ill kill you with a stick. she got a good laugh out of that one. thats what all the parents tell their kids when they are being disobedient.... pretty sure i will not tell my kids i am going to kill them when they disbehave haha. she speaks some english which is great, we speak english in the house and spanish in the street, but then end up speaking spanish almost always. it is super cute when she speaks english, i love her accent. but ya, things are going really well, we are kicking butt here and fighting to the end for me, and the beginning for her. oh she is going to be serving her mission in las vegas, she was supposed to leave in september but they have had a ton of visa problems so we came here today to do paper work for her and it looks as though she will be leaving the 28th of november, she is stoked, i am happy for her, she is going to be an amazing missionary. i am teaching her some things in english as well............. i taught her the actions to the song about pizza hut, kfc, and mcdonalds with the actions, she thinks it is hillerious.

we had a super funny experience this week, there is something everyday and i have just learned to laugh about it, i will never get to have experiences like this again. my last comp really taught me to laugh about the things that are ridiculous instead of reacting badly, and this one really made me laugh. we were in la capuera, that campgroud type part of our area and were going around clapping houses after lunch when we came across this house with a girl sitting in front of the gate, we tried to talk to her and then quickly picked up that she was special and unable to respond. her mom quickly came out and started talking to us and told us that they were actually members but hadnt been in a while, they had just recently lost everything, and i mean everything, in a house fire. they have 5 kids and live in a tiny wooden shack, but she quickly and happily invited us in. we talked for a bit and then started sharing a little lesson that i had that went along with puzzle pieces for the kids. so during the lesson i noticed that the mom had wiped something up from infront of me but i didnt know what, my comp just had a disgusted look on her face, but i just kept talking not knowing what was going on, my comp was so disgusted she wasnt speaking. as i turned my attention back to the center of the room ( i was sitting with their daughter with autism on my left and two little boys on my right who were reading) i noticed that what the mom kept wiping up was vomit. poor thing, their daughter with autism, throws up sequentially when she is overwhelmed or wants more attention. so as the lesson kept going, she kept throwing up and the family was so used to it that they didnt even pay attention, just the mom that was throwing a rag over it everytime it happened. i gave the kids the puzzle together, and they set it right in the middle of the throw up and started arranging it, i just tried to keep it together. when they were done and we finished the lesson they picked up the soaked puzzle pieces and handed them to me............ i took them.............. and put them in the front pocket of my backpack as to not make a big deal of it. we prayed and left and i noticed that there was vomit that had splashed up all over my legs and on my shoes.......... momm thanks for that hand sanitizer after all..... it came in really handy. but hey, that is just one of those things i had to laugh about, being a nanny prepared me for that one haha.

we are doing really well though, we had a steak conference yesterday with a general authority of the church that came and spoke and were able to have several people that we are teaching there. it was a wonderful experience and an awesome conference. we are teaching a family that is working on getting married right now, they are really excited!!!!

well okay geez i took up all that time, but i hope you enjoy my crazy urugayan adventures, i will have plenty more to tell. well i love you billionz and zillions, i am getting excited to see you, okay i was already excited, but i am just more excited now. love you to the moon and back a million times. love always-jess

October 17- Pictures

October 17, 2011

 its getting close, really close, i can hardly believe it, i feel really weird, confused, almost like my mind is trying to mentally prepare me for the blow before it happens. well as of today i am officially what they call a ¨valiente¨ which means i am in the oldest group on the mission, and will be going home at the end of this change.... obviously. we received our change calls last night and my companion, hermana lundskog, will be going to la paloma, a beach town a bit more east and north of here.......... and i will be staying here in pan de azucar........ but here is the catch, i will be getting what they call a corto plazo ( i think thats how you spell it). anyway, what that means is that the girl that i am getting is not a missionary, she lives here in uruguay and is getting the chance to experience the missionary life for six weeks............ it usually happens when they are short a missonary for that change, so yup........ she is going to be my companion for the next six weeks. i dont know her, no one knows who she is until tomorrow at changes. i am a bit nervous, but i know that whatever has happened before this moment has prepared me for what will come. it will all be okay, i just keep that in my mind. i have only had one other companion that had a corto plazo and she said it was rough but she learned alot. so i will take it like that, yet another learning experince. at this point i look at it as i can do anything for 6 weeks, right??   

well so thats about it for the exciting news, its going to be a fun ride. i think we will get along just fine and that everything will pull along as it has. the only thing that is for certain is that i will be leaving after this change, and she is only here for a change so they will be doing what is called a white wash to the area after, meaning two completely new missionaries will come in, so we will work to leave the area as best as we can so that they have a smooth take over.

well this week has been really great, alot has happened and its amazing to see people come along and all the progress they make. on tuesday we had a family home evening with the couple, hector and laura, we are teaching, daniel and rosana, and andres and eugenia, another couple from the branch that has become really good friends with rosana and daniel. rosana gave the lesson, it was super creative. she had 7 little sheets of paper that each person was given and then they had to do what it said. anyway, moral of the story, each little thing that we had to do was in relation with a gospel principal and at the end she tied everything together. it was much to perfect for words, seriously i have never had something go so smoothly. so then at the end hector started to talk, and just came out and basically gave a testimony without even thinking of it. he told everyone how sure they were that they are in the right path and that they are so happy that they have found the gospel to bless their lives. i was screaming with happiness inside, its so amazing to see people really grasp what it is that you are trying to portray to people all day. its like you actually see a light bulb go on and they literally have more light to them.

we then on friday night had dinner with hector and laura, that is the first time in my whole mission that i have had dinner with people we are just teaching, it was really nice. did i tell you that hector plays professional soccer??? sweet huh??? he has been thinking about giving it up because that is what prevents them from getting to church on sundays, he knows that it is what makes their lives a bit more comfortable and less tight, but also knows that he will be blessed for doing it. so we will see what happens. during the dinner laura told us that hector has been undergoing much persecution at work for his beliefs, of course the things that people are saying are just misunderstandings, but hector is staying firm, despite what people are saying.

on saturday we were able to help with a service project at a little preschool that is down the road from the church. we painted the walls outside that surround the play area. it felt really great to be able to help with something in the community. not to mention it is really different to see how people change and how happy they become when they are helping other people, everyone really enjoyed themselves and were able to feel accomplished for what they did.

ohhhhhhh!!!! almost forgot about this!!! my comp and i were out last weekend knocking houses and have really been looking for ¨alfondo¨ houses, which are houses behind houses. many times there is a house behind a house behind a house if you catch my drift....... its crazy!!! we used to live in a house that was in front of a house that was in front of a house that was in front of a house!!! four houses piled infront of eachother. anyway, this man cezar lives in one of those houses. we found him and he was really amazing, he had for years been somewhat of a missionary for a church, and had some crazy experiences. anyway he is very religiously educated and has read and analyzed the bible twice all the way through, not counting study that he has done apart from that. so we shared a bit about our message and he was intrigued. this weekend when we went back to visit him he had read the pamplet that we left with him twice thoroughly and had marked all the questions he had. so we talked a bit with him and answered his questions and wrote down to study those that we didnt quite know or understand to go over next time. we talked alot about the life of Jesus Christ and his ministry and left him with the book of mormon, i am sure you know what that is, another testament of Jesus Christ, and left him with a chapter to read. ever since we left that with him he has been contacting us constantly to give him more chapters and verses to read. as he put it, he picked it up and now cannot stop. i guess i have never really been like that so i really admire that quality. it really is a miracle to find people like that who really grasp the message we are sharing, they are rare, but when you find them they are just that much more special.

we went to the hippies today and made mud art with them, i made a bunch of christmas ornaments.... we will see how they turn out, i am not very creative haha. oh and while we ate lunch there was a uruguayan man singing and playing guitar, he was singing elvis presley with a guayan accent of course haha.

pictures are of the service activity, well us at the service activity with some of the women of the ward, my comp and i, and ioham, the son of daniel and rosana

October 10, 2011

so anyway here i am, yet another week, this is my last week of this change and then........ on to my last change, can you believe it!!! my comp is most definitely leaving the area after this change since it is her fourth here, a whole six months in one area. and that puts me....... i am not sure, we will have to see, hopefully with a latina to kick my butt with spanish. i have now had 5 changes straight with gringas and i need some spanish boot camp.

we had interviews with our mission president this week on friday, oh by the way it has been raining for four days now!!! uruguay and its rain........ comes out of no where. so my interview was great, i was able to get some advice from president on some issues we are having in our branch. i also got to talk to him on a more personal note which was really nice, he is a very wise person, i have grown closer and closer to him and his wife throughout the mission. its a bummer that right when i feel like this its almost time to leave, its just like being in an area, just when you feel like you have it down and feel comfortable, you get shipped off to a new area and a new adventure. after interviews we went to stop off at the house and drop some things out. of course it had been super windy and rainy and when we got home our bedroom was flooded. good thing the floors are cement, it took a while to get it all cleaned up by soaking up towels and ringing them into buckets but all is well now. i guess with the wind and rain it all just came in under the door. a hermano from the ward came over and put a plastic table infront of the door to deflect the rain..... thats one way to fix things haha.

well i wanted to give you a little update on cute rosana and daniel, who are doing fabulous. we had a really special experience with them this week and with their son ioham. rosana is super preggo and is ready to pop, well actually she is due the day i get home, i am hoping the baby comes a little early so i can meet him before i go. but anyway, we had a lesson with them, and their son ioham for the past couple of weeks has caught on to the whole idea of prayer and ALWAYS insists on saying the prayer, and i mean insists until you let him, but they just whisper the words into his ear and then he repats them. but this time, for the first time he wanted to do it on his own. he is just barely 3. so he started, thanked Heavenly Father for having the missionaries at his house, asked God to bless the food, and to bless his family, very simple, but so cute. when we opened our eyes daniel and rosana were both with eyes full of big tears that were ready to fall, they just sat there and didnt say anything. it was a really special moment for them, well for all of us but especially for them. its amazing that a 3 year old can understand something so vitally important such as prayer. no wonder God repeatedly says in the scriptures to come unto him as little children. I know some of the greatest lessons i have learned have been from being with the Murdock girls and Carlson kids, kids just have a different spirit, they are so humble and submissive.

i told you i was going to tell you a bit about a man named wilson we are teaching. he was at the house of hector and laura one day, that is the couple that has the son that looks just like jared when he was little. at the end of that lesson hector had asked for God to help wilson with the difficult time he was going through. that caught our attention a bit and we got his number at the end of the lesson. we talked to him and set up an appt to go and see him but in the meantime he sent us a message asking for our prayers, he didnt know how to get out of the rutt he was in. our first lesson with him he let us in on alot. he is a very depressed man, he feels very lonely and doesnt see purpose in his life. he has contemplated suicide on many levels and just feet useless. we shared with him how it is that he could find purpose in life and what it is that God has planned for him and lesson after lesson, he has a little bit more light. its not like it is going to come over night but as he applys himself and seeks God he will surely find what he is looking for.

October 3, 2011

i am glad to hear that everything is going well there and sounds like the weather is cooling down and going to skip fall and go right to snowing, yikes!!!! wow that is crazy how fast things are changing, it is gloomy outside today. my comp and i were going to go to the part of our area called la capuera and make mud art with a hippie family that we contacted the other day. they are the most amazing family, you would appreciate their views a ton. they actually live in a mud house and for a living make mud art that they bake and make into pottery type things. everything they have in their house is made of hardened mud, even their oven. they have two little children and live completely with nature, there is a part of me that just wants to escape the world many times and live like they do. there really isnt any feeling quite like being in the middle of nature without the hussle and commotion of the world around. i am a bit jealous everytime we go to visit them. the dad, leo and i got talking about you mom and all the health problems you have. he is really into natural medicine and said the most pure environment you can live in is a mud house like theirs.... dont know what your view on that would be but hey haha. they said that the house actually contracts and expands depending on the climate, like it breathes on its own. he told me to bring you here to live in the second mudd hut they are building, i told them uruguay was too humid for you, they said they will come to the states with me and build you your own mud hut... haha, como le parece??? so i will be coming home with my hippie family friends, do we have room for 4 more and a mud hut in the backyard, haha.

well things are going really good, its like you said dad, time is flying, i am trying not to think about it though, it gives me too many confusing emotions. so for now i will put that on the back burner until i really have to deal with it. did i ever tell you that my companion looks exactly like rachel isham, she is like the 24 year old version of what i imagine rach to look like now instead of when we were little girls. crazy. oh and jared i told the family we are teaching what you said about the pic of their son, they laughed, i think you are adopted from guay too, sorry charlie. you should scan and send me a pic of you when you were little so i can show it to them. speaking of their family, hector and laura are their names. they are an incredible family that we have been teaching. he plays soccer professionally and she stays at home with luciano, their 3 year old son. they have been the most amazing people to work with, just a little while ago hector told us that they desire to have in their lives what we are sharing with them, and doesnt care what anyone else says, that they can laugh and mock them but that he knows in his heart how the message is changing them. he is ready to even give up things like his crazy soccer schedule to put his prioritys straight in his life. things were not going well between him and laura but since we started visiting them and leaving them with things to do to strengthen their relationship with eachother, God, and Christ, they have noticed a dramatic change. the past few weeks their son luciano has been really sick and hospitalized and then band to leave the house, with an iv in his arm and everything. we were able to go over with a couple from our branch and luciano recieved what is called a blessing of health. the next day i asked laura how he was doing and she was overwhelmed, luciano had made great strides after being extremely sick for over a week. they are a couple with great faith and that is why the blessing was able to help their son. reminded me of something i was reading while i studied this week that talked about the blessings that are promised to us and that we can receive, depending on our faith and that we do not cast out their chances with fear and unbelief.

yesterday and saturday we had general conference so i was able to see the good old slc on tv.... looks like they were kind of gloomy days there huh?? i love utah, never realized it until being here but it is SO beautiful, i really do love it. but anyway it was a great spiritual upliftment and there were many words said that i needed to hear, that were answers to my prayers. i definitely know that God´s greatest tool to answering my prayers is almost always through other people. well the greatest blessing and part of the whole thing is that to watch it in english, we had to come to maldonado, my old area so i was able to see tons of people from my old ward here. i thought people wouldnt remember me, but i was definitely wrong, i received so much love and hugs i could barely believe it. i thought i was just a new missionary that really had nothing to give, just a broken spanish accent and a silent smile much of the time, but God puts us where he needs us. it was so great to talk to all the members and actually understand this time haha, and see how their lives are. the greatest blessing i received yesterday was in a little yellow box. i saw richard and paola calamaris, they are a family that is quite possibly one of the closest to my heart in all of uruguay, i was able to teach and baptize them and their children in maldonado with hermana thompson. i saw them and ran to say hi and give paola a hug and then richard told me, damian (thier son) had something he had told richard to give to me. so he pulled out a little yellow box, i was a bit confused, i knew it was a jewelry box. then i opened it and there were two gage earrings that he had worn since we taught him. i would always tell him how he needed to take them out, it almost turned into a joke, it was impossible. he took them out for a bit after he was baptized and then put them back. he gave them to me to tell me that he is taking them out for good.... to prepare to go on a mission in a little over a year. my heart had one of its happiest moments in my time here. i got to see damian later that night and could barely keep it under control i was so happy for him. oh and also paola and richard are having another baby!!! and if it is a girl, they are going to name her jessica nichole, mine and my companions names, how cool is that??

well so my week was wonderful as i look back on it, i feel that the adversary is trying to pull me down a bit and make me weak in this last little while that i have, i cannot let him though, i know there are still great things to be done. next week i want to tell you about an amazing man named wilson that we are teaching, and i will, but i am out of time for now. i love you ever so much and am so happy to call you my family. here is a scripture that i love and wanted to share with you, in my search for being a more patient person, the scriptures have brought a ton of light to the subject ¨ye are not able to abide in the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore continue in patience until ye are perfected¨

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

September 5, 2011

well lets see, its been a good week, we have some really amazing people that we are teaching. rosana and daniel are doing really well and everyone in the branch just treats them so well, it makes me really happy to see everyone take them in and take care of them so well, its like they have been going for years. this week on wednesday we had a mission ward activity.... really i think thats how you say it in english, i dont know what it translates to because i have never used the term at home..... i am losing so many english words in translation and my english vocabulary seems to get smaller and smaller by the day. anyway it was really great, my comp and i gave a lesson on the impact one person can have on everyone else, especially when sharing the gospel. we did a mini activity with dominos and had everyone come up and place a domino and share an idea as to how to share the gospel. it was amazing to see what some people in this tiny branch are already doing to reach out to others, they had so many great ideas. well then the activity after was karaoke. my comp and i decided to do a special number............ we thought it was hillerious, and it was hillerious. ah i cant really explain it, i will show you a video i took of it when i get home but we painted faces on our chins and flipped upside down so our chins looked like the faces with reversed mouths. then lip sung to a song called party in the usa........... they didnt quite think it was as funny as we did but oh well. okay i am really bad at expaining, i will just have to show you what it is, my comp is sitting next to me telling me that we will just have to do it for you some time. there were actually quite a few people there actually, well about 20 or 25 which is really good for here.

anyway cool story. this woman we were teaching, yudit, the one i told you was came to church and then moved to another department of the country with her daughter because she found out her husbund was having an affair, that one, okay so she had given us the reference of her aunt. she didnt know her aunts name, i know funny right, but everyone calles eachother by nicknames and many times never know their real names, like negrita is what they called her, thats a really common one, some people called me their negrita in melo and all i though was what the heck, i am as pale as it gets, why are they calling me their little black one, come to found out its a compliment to have that nickname, not sure why but oh well. anyway so negra or negrita, yudits aunt........... so yudit had given  us one address and we went back again and again and again four times i believe and there was no one there ever so we had stopping trying to go again until a woman in the branch gave us the address of a woman named elba that lived close to that addresss. she had sat next to her on the bus the other day and they started talking and she shared a bit of the gospel with her and then asked if we could come visit her and the woman, elba, agreed. she had lost her husbund about a month ago just like yudits aunt and lived close to the address and we thought that was a bit weird so the next day we decided to try to go to ¨negrita¨ again and this new woman elba. so we went to elbas address and walked in and elba immediately started talking about how we were yudit, her nieces, friends. turns out this was the same woman, yudits aunt that we couldnt find, and elba, whom a woman from our branch talked to on the bus. she was a wonderful woman and really open to our message and looking for peace and assurance in her life, especially with the recent death of her husbund. crazy how God works sometimes, he knew we didnt have the right address for her so he put someone else in her path who could connect us with her.

things with the branch here are looking up, it was filled with people yesterday which made us super happy to see. many are getting more motivated to help us and we are trying to move toward helping the members do the finding, and us do the teaching..... not easy, but step by step we are going to get there. it is going to take a long time but i just hope to leave this area much better than i found it so that the next missionaries have a smooth take over and members that are motivated to help them do missionary work.

well my sweet family, i love you ever so much..... have i told you that lately??? hahaha but really i do, i am so greatful for you and all that you have done, and continue to do for me. thank you. i love you to the moon and back, be safe and healthy. much love always- your jess