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Monday, May 30, 2011

5.30.11

Hola!!!
yep winter is starting to come. It is starting to get kind of cold and windy and when we are walking in it all day and night it is cold! lately my companion and I have been coming back to the apartment every night and making hot chocolate because we are cold. but luckily i knew that it was going to be cold here so I feel like I am pretty prepared with my tights and sweaters! thanks to jen!!! so last week at district meeting I got the dear elders from grandma and dad and then the two letters from mom and kylie!! I was supper exciting! and what I think that only took two weeks. Not bad at all. I was worried mail would never come but that really isnt that bad. But something really weird and sad is the letter from mom was perfectly ripped in half and I only got one side of the letter. It is actually really funny. I took of pictures of it. I have no idea how that happened but it is perfectly ripped so I dont really know what the letter says but its funny because i have no idea what you are talking about and then all of a sudden you start talking about big beafy legs.. hmm im guessing you are talking about busty? hahaha supper funny. maybe i will get the other half of your letter in a few weeks. or probably not ever!

anyways I dont really have anything super exciting to talk about this week. The work is still plugging a long. We are having the most difficult time finding new people to teach that are actually interested. We will contact someone in the street and they will agree to have us come by their house and so we schedule a time and they are never there when we show up. and all of the investigators that we do have are scared to change their ways. The people here are very strong in their catholic ways and they have all of their saints and mary outside of their houses and they have been catholic all of their lives so they do want to change. We have one lady who her son is a member and serving in buenos aires and she reads the book of mormon and says she knows its true and knows that the joseph smith story is true but she is afraid to really pray to know if this church is true because she is afraid to change. SHE stinkin lives like she is a member but just cant change her catholic heritage. ughhh its so frustrating. Apparently we are in the most catholic area of the mission. so this area is one of the harder areas of the mission. ya its frustrating! but we just contine to keep working and hope that we can find people to teach. It is so much better to teach than to walk around all day knocking doors. but i guess that is what you have to do to find those people. I have started to develop a great appreciation for the members here. There is one family where the mom is 21 and the dad is 23 and they are honestly prob the most faithful family in the ward. He is the 1st councelor of the presidency and she is in the young womens and they are washing our clothes every week and feeding us. I just really appreciate people that are willing to help the missionarys. Its crazy that they are so young and they have 3 kids. and then the president of our branch and his family are great too. We will have a hard day and be really stressed and we will stop by their house and they are always there willing to talk and offer us snacks and drinks. They are like the family that we dont have. I really appreciate people like that because there are so many members here that are just not very active. Sometime I really miss the church in the united states because the people here are just not very strong. but we are working to try to help it get stronger. There are trying to make a stake here but i dont think there are enough poeple to make a stake. anyways my time is running out. but life is good. I am plugging along! haha love you all lots and thank you for your support! have a great week!
love,
kara

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5.23.11

FELIZ CUMPLEAƑOS AMY!!!!!! yay! Its your birthday! what are your big plans for your special day? let me guess... bry is taking you to cheesecake factory! ;)

Sometimes I feel like it takes a year to have another p-day but sometimes they come pretty fast. I kind of feel like I was just writing home and I dont have a lot to write home about this week. Things are good.. I think I told you about the couple that we are working with to get divorced, married, and then baptized. Well nothing new is really going on.. that is still the plan.. the zone leaders told us that it could possibly only take 3 weeks to do the whole divorce which is great news for us because the sooner they can get baptized! They just seem so happy and excited. Its so great to see a family so happy and excited because of the gospel . Being on my mission and seeing so many disfunctional and messed up people really makes me so grateful everyday for the wonderful family I have and that we have the gospel in our lives. I have really realized what a blessing the gospel is and how it really keeps families together. Its funny also because now I am realizing how grateful I am that we would read scriptures and pray together as a family everynight. At the time I was always annoyed and never wanted to do it but it really does bless you. Last night as we were talking to this family that is about to get baptized we told them that they need to start doing that and that they will be blessed and it will really keep their family together and unified.
hmm.. what else is going on. oh well last week we had a big zone conference with like 3 zones I think and the mission president and his wife came. I was so scared and intimidated because everyone speaks spanish and the whole thing was in spanish but it wasnt too bad. I had to give one of the prayers in spanish and it was so intimidating but I know that doing things like that are only helping me to improve. I just already dont like being put on the spot in front of a ton of people and especially when it is in a whole new language that is foreign to me. I think this might have been our last thing with our mission president because July 1st we are getting our new president. Its going to be interesting to see how things change when we get a new president. Im sure things wont change too much though. Did I tell you how the whole theme of our mission is baptisms. well basically they tell us that we are here to baptize and we are not aloud to leave a house without inviting the person to be baptized. its kind of scary because the first time you meet someone and teach them about the church you are suppose to immediately invite them to be baptized and its not very common for a person to be like ya i want to change my life and be baptized in your church right away but i know that it is good. and it makes the investigator remember that we are not here to be there friend and help them with all of their problems but we are here to baptize them and bring them to christ.
Mom was asking about the weather... oh the weather here in argentina. ahh it is crazy! It has actually been pretty hot here everyday but these last few days it has been kind of overcast like it is going to rain and kind of windy which is kind of nice weather right? but no... the stinkin humidity is horrible and even though it is nice weather outside and i dont think it is going to be hot I am sweating all the time. it is so gross. I really dont like humidity!!! I am going to be really grateful for no humidity when I get home from my mission. I am literally scared to death for the summer here. I honestly probably might die. Especially since we are literally out walking around all day and NO ONE has air conditioning. ahhh yay the life of a missionary! :) I am kind of looking forward for when it starts to get cold here. My companion keeps saying that it gets really cold. ahh bring on the cold!! haha Anyways life is good. I am still becoming accostomed to the new life of a missionary. Everyday seems so long and I am always so exhausted after everyday but I think that a little of that has to do with the fact that I cant talk so all day I am sitting in appointments trying so hard to translate everything in my head and after a while I just have a headache at the end of the day. I think I am starting to understand a little bit more but I am always so scared to try and speak because it will probably be wrong. I am starting to teaching a little bit more during lessons and I still bare testimony a lot and say a lot of prayers with random people we meet in the streets. I am so looking forward to that day when I can totally converse and understand all of the people. I love that dad is talking a spanish class. That will be fun to talk to him when i get home. except the spanish here is a little different because the double ll´s make a j sound and so does the y. ya i am still getting used to it because i didnt learn it like that in the mtc. life is good! keep updating me with everything!! I am not kidding when I say that your letters and support is what keeps me going everyweek. being a missionary is not easy but because I have such great support at home I am able to keep going everyday! I love you all so much and am grateful for your examples for me!

mucho amor,
Kara

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5.16.11

Hola!
I am still here doing great!!! I was happy to get all of your emails and see all the pictures. Mom the pictures you took of Jenae and her family are way cute and I love the pictures of little bust and Sophie are adorable. Everytime I see pics of the bust I cant believe how stinkin huge he is. Like seriously he is a tank compared to when I saw him in hawaii. WoW!! its crazy to imagine what he is going to be like when I get home. OH my goodness I am still in shock at the people here and breastfeeding. Today we were at wal mart buying things we needed and I look over and see a lady crossing the street holding her kid breastfeeding. Seriously?? how does she do that. and then the other day we were teaching one of our investigators and she has 3 children and all of a sudden in the middle of our lession she takes it out and starts feeding her (i think 3 or 4) yr old son. I always feel so awkward but these people have no shame. I was waiting for her to start feeding her 6 yr old son too but she didnt. haha
Anyways this week was good. We have been kind of struggling lately because we havent had very much luck finding new people to teach. My companion and her last companion apperantly just had a baptism and I guess usually when there is a baptism after it you kind of have to start over with the work and finding people. So we are at that point right now. We are trying to find new people to teach but everyone is rejecting us. We talk to so many people throughout the day and a lot of times they will listen to us and set up a time for us to return and then they are never at the house when we return. It is so frustrating because we walk all the way to their house to have nothing. Our area we have is pretty big to so we are walking a lot! The other day we started talking to this lady and she was way friendly and let us teach her the whole first lesson and we said a prayer with her and everything. and she seemed to understand everything and then when we finished and tried to set up a time to return she said oh I am really not interested I just like to hear what other religions have to say. So basically we spent a whole hour teaching her for her to say that. ahhh how frustrating. but we just have to think positive and remember that we tried and somehow I am sure we planted a seed for her to prepare her for sometime in her life to accept our message. The people here are VERy very catholic! which is a good thing in the way that they all believe in god and jesus christ and have a lot of faith but it is bad because they are so stuck on their catholic religion that they cant change. Most of the people say that it is a family tradition and they cant change something that is a family tradition. As we walk around we see so many houses with glass boxes outside of them with all of their catholic saints in them and they light candles in them and worship them. ya it is pretty extreme! but I am trying to stay positive and remember that even though there are a lot of people like that there are people that are ready to here our message.
We have a family that we are teaching and they have 4 children and all of the children are members but the parents are not members. They have been attending church for 7 years now but they cannot get baptized because they are not married. The dad was married previously and never officially got divorced because his previous wife wouldnt sign papers so its a big ordeal. and this family stopped going to church for like 3 years and just recently for easter started coming to church again. and they are so happy. so last week we went to their house to visit with them and my companion started talking to them about baptism and getting married and apparently before they didnt want to do it and everytime the missionaries talked to them about it they always rejected but this past week when my companion brought it up they were totally open and last night we made goals with them to do the divorse, get married, and baptized and they committed to it all. We were so happy and as of now the plan is for them to get baptized on the 25 of June if all goes well with the divorce. so that was exciting!
I have been realizing more and more how much impact the members can help with the missionaries. We are constantly asking the members for referrals but not one gives us anything. It is so frustrating! I now realize when the missionaries came over to our house and asked us why they asked because when you have referrals it is so much better for finding new people to teach. It is hard to just go out on our own and try to find new people. Our branch here is so small and the church is just beginning here. Everyone is converts and they dont know very much and they dont help a lot with the church. The church is so much different here than the united states. I mean obviously it is the same but the people do anything and everything to fulfill their callings in the united states. Here it is not like that. It is kind of frustrating as missionaries because we need the help of the members but we dont really have it and they kind of expect us to do everything. but I am staying positive because things will be good. The language is still hard but I am trying everyday. I have been speaking more in lessons lately. I testify a lot and say a lot of prayers. Keep praying for me because I need it. but I can def say that I am learning a lot. I just need to be patient. One thing that they do here is instead of knocking on peoples doors we get to the door and we clap and the people come out. It is really weird but it is just what we do here. It is weird to get used to.. oh and Lauren stinkin everyone here has Toms! well not really toms a fake brand of toms but so many people here wear them. when i first saw it I got really excited!
Wow pretty sure I just wrote a novel. and it is probably going to bore you but ya things are good here. I am still trying to get used to the walking everywhere but the nice thing about it is I am always so excited for 1030 and everynight I fall asleep so stinkin fast because I am so tired. My companion told me yesterday that the whole sending 4 packages throughout your mission isnt really true. She said for christmas there were some elders that recieved 7 packages. so I just thought you would like to know that. but like I told you she said that her mom wraps each individual think in wrapping paper to keep it more secret and also to use UPS i think if you send packages. and I think I told you this in the last letter but you can send me real letters and my comp said that doing this is a lot easier than doing pouch and if you do this you can just send it to the mission home address and I think it will arrive in about 3 weeks. and also the padded envelope thing I think is one of the best things because they wont open it and it should arrive in 3 weeks too.. just thought you would like to know these things. Grandma was asking for my address. I dont have it with me so maybe you should give it to her.
ANyways i think that is all for now. Im sure I will have another novel of crazy adventures in Argentina next week. I hope all is well and I love to hear from you so keep writing! pictures are amazing too!!
love you all.

love,
Kara

Monday, May 16, 2011

address.

Hello everyone! I'm sorry that it has taken so long to get her address out, but she would love to hear from you all! There are a couple of ways that you can send her letters:

1. You can send it to the mission home, which is the nicest method because you can send actual envelopes with multiples pieces of paper and pictures. The postage stamp for a regular letter is 98 cents.

Misio'n Argentina Resistencia
Entre Rios 435
3500 Resistencia, Chaco
Argentina

2. The second method is to send letters through the pouch system. This requires a 8 1/2 x 11 paper folded three ways with no envelope. The letter will get sent to Utah, then they will send it to Argentina, so only one postage stamp is needed.

Argentina Resistencia Mission
Pouch
P.O. Box 30150
SLC Utah 84130-0150
United States

3. You can still do dearelder.com letters and they will get sent through the pouch system. They are free!

4. Also, if you want her to get the letter ASAP. Email me (Heather) at heathervanwagenen@hotmail.com and I will be sure to forward her your email.

Thanks!! Send her some LOVE!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

5.09.11

hola. it was so good to talk to the family last night. It was way awesome to be able to talk to you all two times in a week. I have to remember that is not normal. I wont get to talk to you all again till december but it was so great to hear your voices. I was sad when I started hearing the beep meaning the time was up and it cut out but its all good. at least we were able to talk. Well like I told you I am in a whole new world. man is it different here. i am def not in the united states anymore that is for sure. but like we talked about last night it is good that I went to kiribati and jerusalem to get me ready for argentina. At times it feels a lot like kiribati but obviously a lot bigger. Peoples houses are all made out of cement and the floor is cement too. The houses are very small. Some dont even have a living room and if they do no one has couches its mainly just chairs. We walk A LOT. this is kind of hard for me to get used too. I am tired. our area is pretty big and its just me and my companion in the area so we walk a lot every single day. but the weather has actually been pretty nice, it has been kind of hot a few days but its not too bad.
For the people that read this that I didnt talk to last night I some some things that I already told my family. I am in a state called Corrientes and we are in the city Corrientes Capital. I think... my companions name is Hermana Schmidt and she is from Houston, Texas. ummm can I just tell you how excited I was on wednesday night when our trainers came and I found out she was from the united states. not that I have a problem with someone from here but since my spanish isnt very great I wanted someone that knew english that could understand me and help me learn. It is a blessing for me. Anyway she is awesome she has been out for 12 months so she knows spanish but its pretty funny because she is about my height with super blonde hair and blue eyes and so when the two of us are out on the streets walking it is ridiculous because we stick out so much. Most people here are pretty short with dark hair and dark eyes. so yes we stick out. im pretty sure everyone knows who we are. Some things about argentina... everyone greets each other by kissing each other on both cheeks.. this is kind of different to get used to because half the time i am touching cheeks with some random lady that i have never seen in my life, so this is going to be interesting to get used to. there are a million mosquitos. here... ahhhhh my first day in my area we were out walking and finding people to talk to and when we got back to our apt that night my legs were a mess... still are a mess... i have at least 50 bites on my legs. it is rediculous and my ankles and legs got swollen because of that i think so they are like blown up like balloons. i just laugh everynight because i look rediculous.. As far as the mission work here.. most of the time people are pretty open to listening to us, pretty much everyone is catholic so they believe in god and jesus christ and they will go to church but most of the people just dont want to change their lives so i think baptisms in this area are pretty challenging. but we are trying.. its difficult because I dont really know spanish.. i mean i know some spanish but I cant just go off and speak spanish so when we are talking to people i dont really speak. and I cant understand the people at all when they are speaking.. they talk soo fast and they have their accent that is super hard to understand so I am struggling because I want so hard to get to know these people and share the gospel with them but I just cant speak. I always feel super awkward because I just awkwardly stand there in silence. but its nice because when my companion speaks spanish i understand her because she is more clear. so i practice with her and hopefully over time i will be able to understand the people and be able to talk more. but the people are really understanding and they are all very nice.. from what i think... hahaha the members are all really sweet and are excited to meet me. which was awesome. and its awesome because we have lunch appointments everyday with members so we dont have to go home and cook. ohh and here their big meal is lunch and they dont really have dinner. so we always have big lunches but dont really eat anything at night. its kind of hard to eat a big meal and then go out and walk the rest of the day because it makes me tired but its good. and boy do they eat here. my first meal we had rice with chicken and they gave me a huge plate and then my companion said that they show their love through food so its good to take seconds man i was full after the first plate but took seconds anyways and I just couldnt finish a whole huge extra plate so i didnt and the family was like.. ohh she isnt accostomed to the food yet huh.. hahaha im pretty sure i am going to get fat.. no bueno oh and there are dogs EVERYWHERE... it is so gross but yes dogs are everywhere..
ohhh.. i found out from my companion today that you all can send actual letters... i thought that you could only do letters from pouch mail but aparently you can send regular letters in envelope and put pictures and stuff. because i like pics. and im guessing you just send it to the mission home. so that was good news because letters are so much better than pouch.
anyways i cant think of anything else right now. but everything is good here. it is a whole new world and is a little bit different to get used to but its going to be great. pray for me with my spanish I need it.. and know that i am doing good and i am still going strong. i love and miss you all. and hope you are doing great. write me.. cause i want to know whats going on.. letters are still so great to recieve and from what my comp said i think they always get here. anyways love you all lots and have a great day. we are off to go teach people for the rest of the night.
love, kara

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

04.29.11

Hola!!

I bet you have been wondering why you didnt get an email from me yesterday huh? haha no need to worry I am still here and well alive! Last sunday the mtc decided to change the schedules of everyone at the mtc which means that they changed my p-day and it is now friday! Which has been kind of nice because I have been working on starting to pack and get things ready to go. I am so wishing I had Jen with me to help me because I am starting to stress out with fitting everything in my bags and I dont know if I remember exactly how we packed everything. I am getting a box filled with all of my letters and random things that I dont think I want to bring and I am going to try and send that out tomorrow just so you know.
   Well as for some exciting things for the week, the one that has been on my mind the most this week is the fact that I leave in about 3 days!! insane? yes i think so!! Our flight leaves at 11 on monday and then we get in Buenos Aires at like 8 in the morning on tuesday and then we are assuming that we will take a bus to resistencia?! no se but that is going to be a long bus ride if it is true but I am just glad that my whole district besides two will be with me too which means there will be 3 sisters and 3 elders. Hopefully one of us out of the six will be able to understand someone when we get down there. haha As for calling though.. I am told that we will be able to call in the airport on monday so I send you exactly my travel plans so I dont really think I will have time in Salt lake to call so I am thinking in georgia but I really have no idea exactly what time it will be but just leave monday open and stay by your phones. umm who should I call??!?! the house or mom? or...? let me know...
some other events of the week. Well since all of our schedules are all changed around we lost both of our teachers too which I am not going to lie was really depressing. I feel like in these 8 weeks that I have been here I have really gained a love for them and it has really been hard this week to adjust to 2 new random teachers. I just always compare them to my awesome old ones. Last saturday was our last class with my teacher Hermano Brown and I dont know if I have ever really talked about him before but I am pretty sure he is the best teacher at the MTC, no offense to other teachers but he is incredible! He has the most amazing testimony and love for the gospel and he shows us each and everyday. He told us that if he didnt love missionaries and the gospel so much he would def not be working here cause he said it has horrible pay and horrible hours but you can tell that he really cares. Well on saturday our last class with him we all thought he was going to just teach us a bunch of spanish but no the whole 4 i repeat FOUR hours of class we talked about christ. We read in Jesus the Christ we watched videos of christ and just talked about christ and he just bore his sweet strong testimony of Jesus Christ because that really is our purpose as missionaries to bring people unto christ and the other things like spanish will come in time. I cant even explain to you how strong the spirit was in the 4 hours and just how happy I felt after. Bro Brown's famous quote is "Jesucristo vive" so every alive flower and wildlife is just evidence that Jesucristo vive!
    Also so remember how I told you that every week they give us a topic and we have to prepare a talk and then we find out who will be speaking 1 minute before we have to speak well guess who the lucky person that got to speak on our last sunday we would have to speak in the mtc yep that was me!! haha I was terrified and it was some other events of the week. Well since all of our schedules are all changed around we lost both of our teachers too which I am not going to lie was really depressing. I feel like in these 8 weeks that I have been here I have really gained a love for them and it has really been hard this week to adjust to 2 new random teachers. I just always compare them to my awesome old ones. Last saturday was our last class with my teacher Hermano Brown and I dont know if I have ever really talked about him before but I am pretty sure he is the best teacher at the MTC, no offense to other teachers but he is incredible! He has the most amazing testimony and love for the gospel and he shows us each and everyday. He told us that if he didnt love missionaries and the gospel so much he would def not be working here cause he said it has horrible pay and horrible hours but you can tell that he really cares. Well on saturday our last class with him we all thought he was going to just teach us a bunch of spanish but no the whole 4 i repeat FOUR hours of class we talked about christ. We read in Jesus the Christ we watched videos of christ and just talked about christ and he just bore his sweet strong testimony of Jesus Christ because that really is our purpose as missionaries to bring people unto christ and the other things like spanish will come in time. I cant even explain to you how strong the spirit was in the 4 hours and just how happy I felt after. Bro Brown's famous quote is "Jesucristo vive" so every alive flower and wildlife is just evidence that Jesucristo vive!
    Also so remember how I told you that every week they give us a topic and we have to prepare a talk and then we find out who will be speaking 1 minute before we have to speak well guess who the lucky person that got to speak on our last sunday we would have to speak in the mtc yep that was me!! haha I was terrified and it was all in spanish but it was fine and Im pretty sure half the people there had no idea what I was saying so I didnt feel too horrible and then along with that I led the music and sang in the musical number with my district. can you say one man show?? haha I felt like I ran the whole sacrament meeting but I guess thats what you get when you are in a branch. I feel like its going to be worse when I get to argentina so this is just prep for that.
     Mom mentioned that she bet someone from the 12 would come on easter and we all kind of thought that too but no... but we did get someone pretty amazing on tuesday for devotional. ELder Oaks was here!!!! It was so great and I was just so excited because I feel so lucky that I have gotten to have 2 apostles speak when I am here in the mtc. I think its because its after conference so now they have some time. haha but it is so great!!!
    Well I have to leave to go to the temple right now and I still have email time left so I might write more later but im just going to send this now. I love you lots and hope everyone is going great! I am excited to talk to you all on monday, you better have some good stories and exciting things to tell me!!! :) k love you lots!! have a great day!
love,
kara