Monday, September 26, 2011


well I can def say that this week was a better week! I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable in the area and that I am truly able to find my way around and find where people live. It has taken a little bit of time haha but its not easy when we are both brand new in the area and dont know anything. This transfer is def a challenge and one of the most difficult but at the same time probably one of the most incredible because I am truly seeing the help of the Lord in so many ways. I am seeing myself learn and grow so much in this transfer and do things that I never thought I was ready to do at this time. I am not going to lie there is a ton of castellano (spanish) that I dont understand when people talk to me but I just learn to put on a face that I understand and I swear the Lord puts words into my mouth to teach that I didnt know I knew how to teach in spanish. I guess i am learning that I know a lot more that I truly thought I knew and I dont need to know/ understand everything in order to share the gospel with the people. As missionarys we are studying spanish in order to teach the gospel so there is a ton that I dont understand when people arent talking about church things but I am learning that it doesnt affect anything and that I can still be an effective missionary.
It has been such a blessing because there are several returned missionarys in this new area but is awesome because they truly understand us and what it is like to be missionary and we recieved several references from this lady in the branch who has been sharing the gospel with her friends. Oh man I cant even express to you how amazing references from members are. When the members are sharing the gospel like that with their friends it is the best for us as missionarys!! so from awesome references we were able to find some nice new investigators this week. The one thing that we are learning is that I think part of the reason for the whitewash here is that this area just needs a new start. Before the elders left they left us with several investigators but we are basically learning that most of them really arent progressing and we have to let them go and we just really neeed to work hard and find new investigators at this time. so we really dont have much at this time which is hard which means there is going to be a lot of door knocking for us!! oooh yay!! my favorite!! haha not!! thats why references are the best!
Well this past week we found this investigator that the elders were teaching and we were getting to know here and as she was telling me of her life she told us that she was 21 and her husband is like 29. well i didnt think anything too weird about that until she told us that they had been together for 10 years! yes 10 years! that means that they got together when she was umm 11 and he was 19. ahhhh freakin gross!!! I seriously almost died when she told me that. that is like ky with a 19 yr old.. ewww!!!! Argentina can be stinking wierd sometimes! and the other day we visited with a less active family in the branch and their daughter name is Floppy. yes floppy dont you think of a rabbit when you hear that name. hahaha i couldnt help but chuckle when i heard her name. The thing that i am super grateful for at this time is the even though the situation is difficult right now my comp and I are able to laugh about the slammed doors in our faces or the crazy moments. We say hi to all the women by doing the kisses on the cheeks so the other day we were talking to this family outside their house and trying to share with them so we decided to be nice and say bye by kissing them/shaking hands well i went and did the kiss thing with the lady and then went to the man to shake his hand well he tried to go in and kiss and i pulled back and said that we cant kiss the men. he then went off for 5 minutes yelling at me and telling me that i am not christlike because i kissed his wife but not him and that i really dont know God and i need to study more. That christ would treat everyone the same. ahhh! seriously?? haha those are the kind of experiences that we get as missionarys. awesome huh?
But things are good. I am happy and grateful for the experiences that I am having and for the opportunity to I have to devote this time to the Lord and truly serve him. I know this is the true church. that God lives and that I have this opportunity to share this with the people. I am learning that there are a lot of people that dont want to listen or talk to us but as long as I did my part and tried there is nothing more I can do. love you all lots! Thanks for everything! Have a wonderful week!!!

les quiero,
Hna. Van Wagenen

Monday, September 19, 2011


oh heyy!
First of all I just wanted to say thanks for all of the wonderful birthday wishes. They are very much appreciated. :) Well we had our first real week here in Obera, Misiones. It was def better than the first couple of days. We have gotten to know the area a little bit better and the members and we are still working on finding some investigators that the elders were teaching. It has def been an interesting transfers so far but we are moving. very slowly but moving. I never realized how hard it would be to whitewash an area but luckily we have the elders that share the branch and understand a lot more spanish than us and can kind of keep us informed about things. That has for sure been a nice blessing. Well I am just going to tell you a little bit about my new area since the last email was mainly about transfers and all of that craziness. The area I am in is called Obera, Misiones and it is basically this city that I am pretty sure is in the middle of nowhere and there are two sets of missionarys in this area. us and the elders (our district leader) The area that we cover is stinking huge! Like it overwhelms me how huge it us. I am realizing more and more everyday how much the world needs more missionaries because there could for sure be at least 1 or 2 more pairs in this area. Our area is a stinkin mountain. Literally everywhere we walk we are either walking up or downhill. I dont think a flat normal street exists here. Yep it pretty much kills me but Im thinking it might be good for me with all of the delicious food here. The interesting thing about this area that is very different about my other area is that we dont stick out as much!!! There are a LOT of white people here that have like blonde hair and blue eyes. Crazy huh? Today some lady started asking us if we knew where some clinic was but obviously we have no idea because we have only been here for like a week but she asked oh you guys arent from here? ahhh yes!!! someone thought we were from here!! sweet huh! I like that we fit in a little bit better her! There are so many people that I see here that I would totally think they were north american. Another crazy thing about this area is that the dirt here is red. I will have to take a pic to show you. but that is pretty crazy.
As far as missionary work in the area. It has def been interesting. The first couple of days was hard because we were struggling a lot with finding where people lived. Luckily now we have had some help from the members and we have found almost all of our investigators. Teaching has been kind of interesting because we are 2 both fairly new missionaries here so we both lack a lot and the people sometimes have a hard time understanding us but I guess we know more or less enough to get our point accross and tell them to come to church. haha We are basically just starting from scratch with everything so we dont really have anyone that is ready for baptism but there are some people that we are teaching that could be close. we will see. I have been very grateful for some of the members in the area. There are several members who have served missions and know what it is like so they have been a great help so that is def nice! The truth is that I dont have too much to write this week but I can def say that I know that the lord is helping me so much at this time. I am not going to lie when I got the call telling me about transfers I got so scared and felt so incapable of any of this and yes I still feel very incapable but I know without a doubt that the lord is helping me. I am realizing more and more everyday that I know more than I thought I knew. I am realizing that the Lord really does know me and knows the best way for me to grow and learn. and that is by being forced into situations where I cant run away but I just have to do it. Somehow I am surviving in the middle of Argentina where no one speaks spanish and I am teaching the gospel. With my other two companions I could just be silent during a whole lesson and not talk because they would talk the whole time but now I cant do that I have to really take charge and teach the lessons. Christ lives! He loves us and he knows each and everyone of us. This is what we are sharing with the people of Argentina everyday and I know without a doubt it is true. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be serving a mission right know and to devote 1.5 years of my life to the lord. I know that there is no other place I should be right now and I am so grateful for the difficulties and the trials that we go through everyday because I know that it is just helping me to grow and become a stronger person. I appreciate more than every all of your love and support because I know that I wouldnt survive without it. My challenge for you all is to be that member missionary. Share the gospel with everyone. Missionary work truly isnt just for us as missionarys. This past wednesday we had the opporunity to attend a mission conference where Elder Foster from the 70 came and spoke to us. and it was incredible and he talked more than anything about member missionarys and how much more success missionary work will be with the help of the missionarys with the members. love you all! have a wonderful week!!


p.s. This computer is actually letting me upload pics so I am taking advantage and putting lots! Enjoy!

pic 1: Last p-day at the bird zoo with the elders.

pic 2: my last day in my other area with Hna Mena and once of the members sons

pic 3: in my last area one day when is rained a ton!

pic 4: you said you wanted pics of my apt. haha this is the bathroom of my last apt. yep its pretty gross

pic 5: a stinkin DISCUTING slug that was in our apt the other day. ewww

pic 6: a bag that says California! ya!!

pic 7: Birthday Cake!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Hey there!
Wow this day ended up being super crazy! I was suppose to come back to the computer place today at 5 but around 2 today the elders called us up to say that they were going to some bird zoo and asked if we wanted to go. So around 4 we left for the bird place and didnt get back till around 545 and then we had no time to write because we had scheduled to have a FHE with a family tonight so now we are here really quick at night writing because we have to be back in the apt! Well this week has been one of the craziest, most stressfull, shocking, probably hardest weeks of my mission. I am not really sure where to start but I think we will start with last tuesday morning... here we go....
So last tuesday morning we happily went to an investigators house in our nice regular clothes to help her build her house. As we were sitting in her house waiting for her our phone starts ringing and we look at the phone and it said that the assistants were calling. My comp and I both look at each other weird because its not very common for the assistants to call and then she went off in the other room to answer the phone. After a few minutes she comes back to the room to tell me that he called to tell us that they were super proud of our numbers for the week and that we had some of the best numbers in our zone and he also told her that she was going to be training this next transfer and that there is something great in store for me. So I automatically knew that I was leaving the area which I was very grateful for because normally we dont get calls till late tuesday night. So luckily I had all day tuesday to do what I needed to do and say bye to some people. So we got back to our apt at 9 on tuesday night where I started to pack up my stuff for my travels wed and then around 10 I got the real call from my district leader telling me where I was going and everything. He told me that I was heading off to Obera, Misiones with Hermana Green! I dont know if you guys remember but Hermana Green is the Hermana with the red hair that was in my district in the MTC that recieved her visa late. So that automatically meant that I was senior comp. I am not going to lie when I heard that I had a little break down. Never in a million years was I expecting to be senior companion this quick in my mission let alone with a gringo that doesnt speak very much spanish. She only got to argentina about 2 months ago so she doesnt understand/speak very much. So I was already in stress mode when I heard that because I dont feel capable of being senior comp and with my small spanish. ahhh! Well that wasnt the end of my news about transfers. My district leader then told me that Hermana Green and I would be heading off to a totally new area that is being white washed. I dont know if you know what white washed means. Well basically means that there were elders in this area but for some reason the president decided to take out the elders and put Hermanas here. So we were coming to an area that neither of us knew and we basically have to learn the area/ members/ investigators totally on our own. Yes this has been the most insane/ shocking week of my mission.
So early wednesday morning Hermana Green and I got on a bus together and headed on a 6 hour trip to Misiones. When we got her our district leader and his comp were here waiting and took us to our new apt where the elders that were previously in this area were waiting. We then spent a little bit of wednesday night and all day thursday with the elders that were previously in this area and they showed us around the area and introduced us to a few members and investigators and then they said bye and left us on our own in this new area. I cant even explain to you how stressful it is to whitewash an area especially when I dont know the language very well. I can def say that I think the lord has blessed me with a talent of figuring out directions because somehow we havent gotten too lost in finding peoples houses. but it is basically like they sent to fresh gringos in the middle of now where with very little information and said good luck. haha! yes like i said i am in a shock! I think the pres has some image that I know a lot more than I do. but I know for sure that this is going to be a very difficult/ faith trying transfer. I am really going to have to put my trust in the lord that even though my spanish is not very good that he will help me to teach these people and help these people know of the truth. I dont in anyway feel capable for this responsibility that has been put on me this soon in my mission but I am having trust that the lord knows that I can do it. I have been very grateful these past few days for my last companion Hermana Mena and all of the things that she taught me because she would get mad at me a lot for not talking during lessons and make me talk more and at the time I would get so frustrated but now I am so grateful because I know that she was just helping to prepare me for this next adventure in my mission. I am super sad because I missed the baptism of Francisco but I know there is a reason I am here at this time I am just not really sure yet what that reason is. haha
My new area is absolutely beautiful. Super different from my first area. There are millions of trees here and way nice houses compared to my first area and we are in kind of a bigger city. but I just might die here because literally the whole city is hills. Everywhere we walk we are either walking up or down hills. I am dying!!!!! I didnt know I was coming on my mission to go on a 9 hr hike everyday but I guess soo... ahhh. oh and we have already encountered more bugs than I have ever seen in my mission. We found two discusting cockroaches in our apt and out a now where this big discusting slug. ahhh!!! I dont know if it has something to do with elders living there?? haha I have a ton more things that I can write but seriously no time. I guess they will just have to wait for next week. until then the church is true! Jesus Christ lives! and the book of mormon is true! I dont know how I would survive without the BOM it helps me through so much on my mission! love you all!!!

con amor,

p.s. any one have any good advice for being a senior comp? ahhh I dont even know.
p.s.s thanks for your prayers they are def appreciated/felt/ and needed at this time. love you lots!!

Picture: that pic is of Hermana Mena, Francisco and I before I left the area!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


My dearest family and friends!
This past week marked my 6 months in the mission. Its kind of crazy to think that I have already been out on my mission for 6 months but at the same time it seems super slow. I dont really know how to explain it. We had a pretty interesting week this past week. The heat is starting to come and I already know that I might die here in Argentina. Man I dont know how to explain how horrible it is and especially when you are a missionary and you cant just chill in your house all day. We had a nice week this past week of lots of rejections. The thing is is this is pretty normal for me because its pretty much always like this but for my comp it is kind of a shock because she said that her other areas were not like this. I think that this area is one of the harder areas of the mission. As I think about that I think I am grateful to have started in this area because I dont know any better because a lot of missionaries that come here from other areas struggle a lot. I consider it a blessing that I started my mission here.
Our dearest friend Francisco was able to go to church this past sunday. On saturday night we talked to some members of the branch presidency and asked them if they could give Francisco a blessing of health that he can get better and so that he would be able to go to church on sunday because these past couple of sundays he hasnt been able to because he feels sick in the morning. Well I think heavenly father helped him because he came to church and we are scheduling his baptism for this saturday! pray that everything will work out!!!
We started teaching this family about two weeks ago that have 6 children ages 2-11 and they came to church with us yesterday. The thing that happens a lot in the mission is that a lot of people say that they will come to church and that we can pass by in the morning to find them but they arent home or something. Well we passed by this families house yesterday morning to bring them to church and we knocked on their door about 3 times with no answer. We stood their super sad and started to walk away when all of a sudden one of the daughters came out the door in her dress and one by one the children walked out the door in their nicest clothes. Aww it was the sweetest thing ever. and the mom had been working all saturday to fix her skirt so that she could have a skirt to wear to church. The mom said that the kids are suppose to be baptized on the 25 in the catholic church. but little does she know that on the 24 they will be baptized in the mormon church. haha but ya those were the two great things of the week! we are continuing to work hard to find those people who are ready but man are the people super closed here. They are very very catholic and have no desire to change those traditions. any suggestions??? a lot of the people here have a lot of fear too because of things going on in the world so they dont let us into their houses a lot. my zone leader told me i need to be more insistent. uhh i have never been a very insistent person. this should be interesting...
things are good. we have tranfers on wednesday and we find out tuesday night what happens. so we will see what happens. i literally have no idea. its possible that i leave or stay. but i will be a little bit sad to leave because i wont get to see the baptism of Francisco but we will see... I know the lord will do what he feels is right. It it incredible how much my testimony has grown in these past 6 months and I can only imagine how much more in will grown in the next year. I know without a doubt that this is the true church. That God lives and that he is there for us blessing us. I was studying about faith yesterday and how we cannot see miracles if we dont have faith. I feel like my faith gets tested so much in my mission but I know that in the end it is always strenthened by the trials. Love you all lots! thanks for the support!!

-Hermana Van Wag

p.s. does anyone have ideas of games to play for FHE? we want to have an FHE but I seriously cannot think of games?? any ideas are great!!!