Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

This week was fantastic... or espectacular as they say here.

I have been praying to be able to find people who are pure in hard and seeking to know the truth, and Heavenly Father just directly answered my prayers.

We were in a lesson with the family that I think I wrote about last week, called the Romero family.  And the sister of the father came and sat down across from me as we began to chat before doing the opening prayer.  I remembered that the first day we met them, I had invited her to be baptized, and she had said no, while the others had responded yes. I asked her what her name was, and she told me it was Elsa.

So Elsa stared at me with really big brown eyes... she is from the North of Argentina, and has beautiful long black hair and dark skin.  It is obvious that she has lived a long and rough life by the way she moves and speaks.  

We began the lesson of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she said, "Can I share something?"  She had been very quiet up until this point... and we smiled and encouraged her to share with us whatever her doubt was.

"I had an experience the other day.  I was cleaning the bedroom, and I found this book (pointing to the Book of Mormon).  I felt the deepest desire to pick it up and read it.  I touched it, and felt so strongly that I needed to open it... though I didn`t because I realized that I wouldn`t be able to understand anything."

We were so shocked we just sat there quietly... and began to explain about the Holy Ghost and how it touches us and tells us that something is good.

We continued with the lesson and began to speak about repentance... and everyone sat quietly.  And just listened.  And nodded their heads as we asked if they wanted to leave these things behind.  And Elsa stared at us so sincerely, and began to have tears in her eyes.  Never before had a I witnessed so strongly the power of the tongue of angels.  The change it can bring about in a person.

At the end of the lesson, Elsa tugged on my elbow and whispered, "Can I ask you something?"  Then she leaned over the table and softly asked me, "If you feel sad or don`t know what to do, can you kneel down and pray to receive help from God?"  Her eyes filled with tears, and mine too, as I testified to her that we can do that.

I am so grateful for answered prayers and that Heavenly Father helps us even though we are so imperfect.

Hermana Eleanor Briggs

Mi compañera y la Carolina Zanni
this is Sol and Franchesca!!  They are so dang cute... Sol has downs syndrome and her parents are faithful investigators... waiting to get married and then baptized
This is what a lot of my area looks like

all of the hermanas in the mission!  We had an activity together in the mission home... it was so awesome.  There are only 38 of us... muy pocas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 20, 2015

I had an amazing week this week.

We had a lesson with Tatiana, who is a single mother raising two little girls. She lives right along the train tracks and works all day to help provide for their little home made of metal sheets.  And it was so sad as she told us that she chose not to believe in things that she can`t see, because she has been so hurt by people in the past. The sun was going down and setting behind the identical white government homes where we were working (you can imagine long lines of identical white houses with blue railing.. it makes me feel kind of like I am in a movie).  But it made a sort of pink haze as the sun set, and we set out down the dirt road and I couldn`t get Tatiana`s face out of my mind.  And I was wondering if she was so far from the spirit that she couldn`t feel it, or if she really did feel it and chose not to listen. As I thought, a little voice pulled me out of my thoughts.  "Are you from the church?"  it said.  And we looked over our shoulders, and found a little four-year-old girl standing outside alone by her chicken-wire fence.  "Si," I said.  And we began to slowly walk towards her, and I asked her if her mom was home.  The little girl looked frightened and ran inside... and out came the mother with her three daughters.  Her name is Lorena.
We began to talk to Lorena shared about the Plan of Salvation.  She asked us if we wanted to go into their home and talk!!  What!  We had to set up an appointment for another day, because it was just getting dark in this dangerous area and we had another appointment.

Fast forward two days later. What began as a lesson outside with Lorena as we sat around a giant pot of soup that was boiling over a huge fire, soon became a giant lesson inside of their little home with 9 people around us.  Her sister-in-law and brother and other sister and dad and grandpa and all of their children... and all of them were listening so intently!  There was silence.  And the brother, Manuel, said, "In every prayer I have ever done, I have always asked what church is true and where do we go when we die. And I feel like now I am learning the answers."  It was such a miracle!  This transfer has been one of the hardest, but the miracles have been some of the greatest.  I am so grateful for the stretching and growth that God is giving to us.  And for the spirit that is constantly guiding us. Sometimes I feel it leave as I grow impatient or upset... and I quickly try to change.  It is not easy and I am so so so far from where I need to be... but there is growth!!

Love you all so much.  This the Romero Family... and they are progressing well.  From the saddness of losing someone, came pure happiness of finding many.

Hermana Eleanor Briggs

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 6, 2015 (sorry out of order)

I actually don`t know what to say today... it was such a week.  One of those weeks where seemily everything goes wrong!  Though I know that not EVERYTHING fell apart... because we still had a a lot of great moments as well.

I just tried to write about everything we did... but it didn`t come out right.  So I deleted it and am going to try again.  But basically we had to stay inside a day because of my achillis Tendon (I have no idea how to spell that in English).  But we went out to lunch at Patriarch`s house.  And as we talked to his wife and him... the spirit touched us so strongly and told us that we needed to leave and go to visit a sick member in the hospital.  But this member was in a hospital outside of our zone... so we called Presidente Zanni and asked for permission.  His answer was "Que harìa Jesucristo?"  He said "What would Jesus Christ do?"  
"Go," I answered.
"Then why are you calling me?" he laughed.  

So we arrived and had a very special and sad experience there... it was a good thing we went.  

But then later in the week we were sick... and then we had LICE ROUND 2.  We got lice from some of the hermanas that we recently did divisions with... but it is okay because I am now a professional lice-picker!!  My poor companion... she had it worst this time.

On Sunday we began teaching a woman named Tatiana.  She is 33 and has two beautiful little girls... and they are so skinny because sometimes they don`t have enough to eat.  She is a single mom and working and living in a home right next to the train tracks.  She told us, "I was born Jewish.  But my mom began taking us to the Evangelical church even though we are Jewish.  And then I went to a Catholic church.  And now I just don`t know.  But I decided that when Jesus Christ tells me which church is His... that will be my religion."
"Perfect!" we told her, giving her the Book of Mormon.  

Even though it was a really hard week for us, I am so grateful for every moment that I have to be a missonary.  I love it... even on the hard days.  When we are lost, we get to see Argentina and how amazing it is.  And when it is hot or cold, we get to experience a little bit of what everyone else around the world has.  I don`t really know what is is like to pass through hunger... because that never happens here!  But I love the people and getting to know them and learn from them.  And I am grateful that it is something  I can do my whole life... not just here.  And serve the Lord.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 13, 2015

Last night my companion was really sick, and we got back from doing divisions with the Hermanas from Beltran.  We went out to work, and then came back feeling more tired than usual.  Planning took a while, and when it was just about time to go to bed, we put our pens down and stopped calling people and I went to change into my jammies. I was really happy because we had 4 set appointments that I was sure were not going to fall through the next day. At 10:30, right as we were triumphantly about to get into bed, my companion called me from the other room.  A hint of urgency in her voice.  And I went out and looked at what she held in her hand-- an afro pick.  "Is it moving?" she asked me.  And I looked and saw the slightest movement of a little brownish-black body with a bunch of legs.  LICE.  ROUND 3.  I felt frustration set in, but as I looked at the worried face of Hermana Knapp, I fought to change my character. "I think I am going to throw up," she said.

Long story short, we ended up doing the lice treatment and going to bed at 12:30 with grocery bags on our heads.  But before sliding into my covers, I went out into the kitchen and prayed.  And I pleaded to be able to accomplish all the things that we needed to do the next day, knowing that we would have to walk with all of our things again to the little lady who we pay to wash our clothes.  Surely she would think we are crazy for washing our giant wool blankets so many times!  And I told Him how frustrated I was because I just wanted to be able to work, and how we hadn`t been able to recently.  And then I felt it hit me... it has nothing to do with what I want.  This is not my work, it`s His.  This is not my work, it`s His.  I felt it echo inside of me, and I knew it was not from my own tired mind.  And as I knelt on our really dirty floor with a million papers around me and a plastic bag on my head, I felt a calm set in. That we make plans and set goals and do all we can to achieve them, but He shows us His will along the way.  And as we learn to accept it and be humble and know that HE is the creator of all things, even the little bugs on my head (as said by my companion), then we will find true happiness in the journey.  I may want to go to the four lessons the next day, and look for new people... but that wasn`t His plan.

I am grateful for all of the lice that gave me this new perspective!  And I pray that I never get them again.  But, always according to His will.

"God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take.
The clouds ye so much dread,
Are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head."

He does work in a mysterious ways... even through lice.

Division with Hermana Bushman

oh how I love these people!