Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015

I had a fantastic birthday week!  Really it was so great.  We did divisions with Hermanas en Sunchalez and Rafaela.  Both are desert towns in Santa Fe.  It is so fun and rewarding to be able to work with other hermanas and get to know them and be their friends.  We traveled 4 hours there and 4 hours back.  It is also fun to be able to see a little bit of the landscape (I am kind of distracted as I write because there is some screamo music playing really loudly in this place).

But on my birthday, a married couple of missionaries invited us over for lunch (as we were in their area of Sunchalez).  They are from Switzerland and speak English, German, Spanish, and French!  I have no idea how they do it.  They are Elder and Hermana Hohermuth.  And so sweet!  They made me that swiss boiled cabbage that I am forgeting what it is called but it was great to eat something different.  She also made me a cute little blue cake and we ate outside on their patio and drank malta.  Then we RAN to catch our bus and we were almost running late every all week!    Then we went to visit a family in Rafaela during divisions, and it was the birthday of the dad of the family!  And they gave me a wallet (people here are so amazing they just want to give us everything) and I shared with them about pre-exhistence and how they were specifically chosen to be pioneers for their family and the branch.  It was a powerful and amazing night.

I wanted to write about this boy we have been teaching named Elias.  He is 22 and was brought to church by a returned missionary in our ward here.  He had approached this returned missionary (Fabricio) earlier in the week and said that he wanted to change his life.  He had been in the streets a lot... doing drugs and lots of other things.  But we had a lesson with him in the chapel with Fabricio.  OH MY I WISH THAT I COULD EXPRESS THIS LESSON.  The spirit was so strong as we talked about repentance and forgiveness.  He began to cry as he told us that he was willing to do ANYTHING to be able to feel better and change.  He said how he wanted to show to his family that he was worth something, and he knows that Jesus Christ is the only way to be able to overcome the things that he has done.  He is going to be baptized on May 9th and be clean of everything he has ever done and be able to bless the lives of so many as a faithful member of the church! 

I am so grateful for these amazing experiences that we are able to have every day. And to have had 20 years of an amazing family and friends, and the eternity to come!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 20, 2015

Do you know how I came back to an area that I already was in?  Technically it is a different area but the same ward... well I was able to see Elin!  She is 14-years-old.  I was here when she was baptized 7 months ago.  And it was so amazing.  We went to their house at 11:30 am and they were all sleeping, hahah.  But we kept on knocking.  And the mom and Elin and her brother German sleepily got out of bed and changed and washed their faces as we waited in the kitchen/bedroom.  And when she finished and saw me, she gave me a hug and had tears in her eyes.  And she wouldn`t let go of me, and hugged me so tightly.  It was so amazing to be with her again and to hear of her miraculous change of heart and her love for Christ.  Oh I love her so much!

We are "using the fruits of the spririt as the measuring stick of our success."  I heard that from somewhere once but I can`t remember where. But it is so amazing how the Lord sends us little signs that we are on the right path.  For example... we were running behind in our appointments and stopped to talk to people and ended up being more behind and stressed in the bus.  But as we sat there, a new member entered the bus and sat down behind us.  We had been stressed about getting to her house later that week and didn`t know how we were going to!  Her name is Milagros, and she is a mother of 8 and works all day and studies all night and sleeps three hours no mas.  And then she comes to church on Sunday and is happy and very tired.  And then she does everything over again in the following week!!  But we were able to talk to her and see that she is well and let her know that we are thinking about her.  It was a good moment.

We had other things that happened.  Sitting in lunch and comforting mothers who are worried about their rebelious children and don`t know what to do, and helping married couples rely more on the gospel to resolve their problems, and meeting amazing people from other religions, and having a zone conference with Presidente Zanni, and having 4 investigators drop us, helping people who`s husbands died within the past week, and washing our hair with mayonays to kill the possibity of having lice, etc.  It is so amazing how the spirit adapts to all circumstances and knows all things.  And if we listen, we can help these people.  And if we don`t listen... we can do nothing.

Love you all!! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April13, 2015

Hi family!
I had a great week this last week!  Not to say it was easy... but it was a good and fulfilling one.  On Monday we had "Consejo de Lideres" which is a council that we do every month with all of the zone leaders and asistents and mission president.  We sit in a circle and discuss topics and how we can improve... and the spirit is SO STRONG.  It is amazing how the topic of conversation can be moved when you follow the waves of the spirit.  It was a great experience and I am grateful I am able to be a part of it.
We had a great lesson this week with Sebastian.  He is 17 and was baptized about 6 months ago.  He is so great... the only member in his family and does not have much love from his parents. Lately he began listening to missionaries from a different church, and we were not sure why.  But we reminded him of all of the spiritual experiences he has had, and the manifestations that this is the true church.  How, when he first read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, was overcome with the spirit. And other things that have happened.  Then we read in Alma about the 2000 stripling warriors and how we need to be like them and defend the truth.  Ah the spirit was so strong as we all testified... including him! 

I love working with recent converts.  They have spirits and testimonies so strong and eager to learn!  They give up everything to be able to join the church.  I am learning what it really means to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."  Because I see that they give up families and jobs and reputations and food and homes to be able to come to church.  
Love you so muchª Hermana Eleanor Briggs

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 6, 2015

I had a great semana santa here!  I was able to travel to Santa Fe (Mayoraz) and do divisions there, and that was really fun.  I am learning A LOT.

Conference was great... we went out before each session to pick up less active members and bring them, as we are lacking in the investigator zone at the mombent, but looking and searching to find more.  
One of the less-active members that came is named Inez.  She is so sweet.  She is about 35 years old, and just a month ago went COMPLETELY BLIND.  Can you imagine waking up one day and not being able to see light?  She lives with her father, Esteban.  A couple years ago, her brother killed himself, and they moved homes to try to find a little bit of peace from their often- haunting thoughts of the event.  They currently live in a home that is shared with many other people.  Or, what I mean to say is, there is no front door, just a woven blanket that covered the doorway that leads to a dirt and stone hallway where many others live.  And they have a little one-room place for the two of them.  He passes the day without work, taking care of her, and trying to teach himself to read and play the guitar.  I cannot tell you how sad it was to leave from that home the first time I went... and seeing them suffering so much but not really knowing it.
We went over to her house before the conference and tried to help get her ready to go.  Esteban wouldn´t go with us (yet)... but we did Inez´s hair in braid and were going to paint her nails but realized that we didn´t have nailpolish and it was a Sunday.  We called a taxi and went to the conference (which started at 1:00pm here).
When we got there, the sweet relief society president came and helped her.  None of the members had known what kind of a condition she is in.  This relief society president has many family problems on her own... one being that they currently are trying to find a house and her husband lost his job and someone broke into their house and robbed them of almost everything they own!  That was real and true consecration from her.
But it was so fun to sit with new members and investigators and explain to them all of their questions as we watched the conference together.  And to see Inez out of her house and feeling beautiful.  It truly was a sweet and unforgettable experience.
I loved the talk that said we can be Latter-day sinners, quiters, hypocrits, or saints.  And that we just need to KEEP TRYING.  I have been rather frustrated with myself lately and my own weaknesses... my poor companion has heard me complain a lot about this.  But I just know that I am given these things so that I can rely on the Savior and learn to be more like Him and trust in Him.  Not so I feel horrible about myself.  He didn´t give His life so that we feel bad... He gave His life so that we feel hope and peace and happiness.

Love you all and I hope you had a good Easter.  And happy birthday, mom!  I love you so much.  More and more each day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 30, 2015

Querida Familia Mia,

I am so sorry that last week I wasn`t able to fully send you all an email... my time went by so fast I have no idea what even happened hahah.  But we had a crazy and good week.  I didn`t write about how I was changed areas... but yes!  I got her last Monday.  As always, it was hard to leave, but I am so excited to get writing all of the people that touched my heart in Alberdi.

Okay, so a little bit about the new area.  I technically came back to Parana, but it is a different part.  We currently have two areas right now, named Gazzano and 5 Esquinas B.  Our area is GIGANTIC but it is so fun and great.  There are so many people to meet.  We are in the city, but not downtown.  More on the outskirts.  We live in a little apartment above a little grandma named Delfina. She is so sweet, and every time we leave she says, "Are you going out to walk a little bit?" (van a caminar un poco?) We have a shower that you plug in for 10 minutes in order to get hot water hahah.  

But we are currently teaching a girl named Merlina.  She is 10-years-old and so sweet-- her and her dad stopped us on the street and wanted us to go over and teach them.  So we went over, and found out that Merlina is living in horrible circumstances.  Her mom passed away when she was a baby, and the people that should be taking care of her and doing the opposite.  She is so sweet and earnest to learn.  We may not be able to continue teaching her, but we are going to do all we can to help.  Last night as I prayed, I felt the thought come into my mind that we could make a special Book of Mormon for her.  We took pictures of Christ and glued them in.  Then we marked in pretty colors some of our favorite scriptures and wrote alongside them. And then we wrote our testimonies and a little note to her.  We want to give her the desire to read and keep herself firm in the church and give her a light in her world of darkness.  Honestly... she lives in complete darkness.  
I know that if she does not get baptized now and with us, that in some other point in her life she will go back to that special book that made her feel loved.  
Love you all!