Thursday, June 30, 2011


Hey family!
sorry i didnt write yesterday. Yesterday was a holiday here in Argentina something like the holiday celebrating their flag i think so since it was a holiday and people were going to be home with their families the president wanted us to work yesterday and today (tuesday) was our p-day. so yes I am alive! no need to worry. its sounds like you had a fun weekend in oregon for the wedding. I wasnt able to open the pics mom sent but i could kind of see them really small it looked really pretty! how fun! Congrats Tyler and Sarah! oh i recieved the 2nd package that you guys sent last week with all of the candy! yay I am so happy to know that these little packages are working so well. it seems like that is really the way to go because no one opens them and goes through them and i love the big fat catholic picture of jesus you put on them. All of the other missionaries were laughing at that. oh and I absolutely love that you sent me that calender. It is fun to have that, someone will have to make one for 2012 and send it to me! :) oh and I had the candy from the package you send and I shared some of the mike n ikes with a member in my branch and oh man you should have seen her face. she was so excited and was like ahh candy from the united states!!! this is so delicious!!! (but in spanish of course) haha oh and dad I recieved your card that you send me for easter it looks like you had sent it to the mtc and they forwarded it to me! but thanks! :) and random but I was looking at the liahona from this month and Sister Kris Smith is in it! there is a section talking about service that the church does and there is a little picture of here talking about the grape vineyard. kinda crazy!
   Well we had tranfers here, its kind of crazy that I have already been here for 1 transfer its kind of hard to explain but it was a mixture of being really long but short at the same time. My trainer is still here with me, everyone though for sure she was going to leave because she has been here for 6 months but nope she is still here which is probably good because there is still a lot I need to learn here about the area before I have a new comp come and I need to explain everything to her and who knows I could have a native comp next so everything will have to be in spanish. I am grateful to have a comp that can speak english but I think sometimes it is bad because we just end up speaking english all the time when I need to be practicing my spanish. We had a better week this week. I think I told you but we have been having a difficult time finding people who really want to listen to our message. We talk to so many people everyday and are rejected by many and some talk to us and agree to set up an appt but are never there when we return. ohh the life of a misionary huh? ahhh patience is def a quality that needs to be learned on a mission. so funny story last sunday at the end of the night my comp and I were walking back to our apt and we ran into this lady and started talking to her. She was super friendly and wanted to talk to us so we set up an apt so return the next night. Well monday night we returned and she was sitting outside of her house all ready and waiting for us. We were so excited! we finally found an investigator that likes us and wants to listen to us!! so we sat down and started talking to her and getting to know her she seemed so sweet so then my comp started talking to her about our purpose as missionaries and how our purpose is to teach people about the restored gospel and help them to be baptized in the true church with the authority and my comp was about to invite her to be baptized (because we are told that we have to invite people to be baptized in the first lesson) and right when she starts to invite her the lady says... oh I am a member of your church!! my comp and I just looked at each other and just about died. That was seriously one of my biggest fears that we would teach someone a whole lesson and find out at the end that they were a member. yep it happened to us!! I left her house busting up. hmm ya thats why she was so welcoming to us! she was baptized when she was like 12 and she is 28 now and i dont know if she was ever really active so we are going to try to work with her to help her go to church and teach her 58 yr old husband about the church.  (yes they really have the big of an age difference... :) haha so ya that was an interesting story for the week. ohh  and remember how when I talked to you on mothers day and told you how I had like 50 bug bites ya I have started to realize that I think it is going to be 1 and a half years of bugs bits I dont think i have gone a day with out getting them. It is miserable but i am sort of getting use to my legs just itching all the time. ahhhh
   Most exciting news from the week... our investigator Valeria finally accepted to be baptized!! ohh man that was not easy. She is a 14 yr old girl and her mom and sister are members but arent active. My comp started teaching her a week before I got here and when I got here we brought her to a baptism my first week and she loved it and kept talking about how next it was going to be her baptism well after that everytime we tried to talk about baptism she would say that maybe in a year or she couldnt be baptized now and one time we set up a lesson to talk to her about baptism and when we showed up at her house for the lesson she told us she couldnt talk to us and then later told the president of the branch that she lied to us because she didnt want to talk about baptism with us. we have been struggling so much to know what to do to help her. She is going to church every week by herself walking, she reads the book of mormon everyday and prays all the time. She is the most perfect investigator ever and we just didnt know what to do to help her after much fasting and prayer we finally brought it up last thursday and asked her what was holding her back and then asked her to pray about it and then see her again on saturday. Saturday when we met up with her at the church she was there and very happy she said she prays and she wants to be baptized next week. my comp and i just looked at each other and were so happy. prayer and fasting works!!! :) we are so excited July 2 is her baptism. pray that everything will work out and she will be baptized!!
   Things are going well i am still lacking mucho espanol but i am trying. I am realizing that misions are def not easy but I am learning to rely on the lord and I know that he will help me out. the weather her is the most bipolar thing in the world. one day it is freezing and i am wearing tights, my pea coat and gloves and the next day i am dying of heat. i am realizing though that i would much rather have it be cold here. the humidity is horrible!! all the candy that you send is stuck together because of the dumb humidity but i just continue to work and am happy. your support is really what keeps me going. I absolutely love hearing from everyone every week. after checking my email every week i am always to pumped and ready to keep working. i love you all so much. i hope the girls and mom are having a great time and camp and i hope work is going well for everyone else!! have a wonderful week!
mucho amor!
hermana vanwagenen

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


wow today has been kind of a crazy day and i am here at the comp place and i have hardly anytime to email so sorry but this week you arent going to get very much!! This morning my comp and I had to go to Resistencia which is about 40 minutes away from our area because I guess once you have about a year out you have to go sign some papers to be approved to be in the country longer so she had to go sign papers for that so we woke up at 530 this morning to head there and somehow we didnt get back till about 430 and we have to be out working by 6 so i am rushing to email today. but I was so excited today because when we got to resistencia this morning my comp from the mtc hermana hammans comp had to sign papers so i got to spend the day with my mtc comp chatting with her and catching up. It was so great to see her and be around someone that really understands what i am going through right now. i think she is struggling with the language just as much as me so that made me feel a little better. but guess what else!! i finally got the package you sent!!! i was so excited!! the one with the mini BOM and the watch. yay!! thanks so much! Im glad to know that doing the envelope thing worked and it wasnt opened at all. Everyone was laughing so hard at the picture that you put on the front of the package the catholic pic of Jesus! haha but yay that was fun to get that and i also got another dear elder from dad. i guess mail really isnt to bad here so yes send mail. its even better recieving mail in the field. I dont know if this is what you did with the package you send but my comp said to use ups and do it express. so i dont know if thats what you did but i guess that is the best way to do it. and dad was asking me about sending shoes. I am not really sure what the best thing to do with sending shoes is. I am thinking it might be best to send the shoes in two different packages because when you send an actually box the people will open it up and go through it and who knows if they will steal something or not. so ya... i think the envelope thing is such a great thing. anyways... as far as missionary work...

Estamos en la lucha ( we are in the struggle) We are struggling a bit at this time because we are working hard and talking to people but we are really having a hard time finding people that are really interested and want to listen to us. It is frustrating because when we talk to someone one time they really dont understand the importance of our message but they reject us. We have let a lot of investigators go because they just arent doing their commitments or attending church and we just cant keep visiting people when they have no desire to change. and the elders just keep asking us about baptisms and how come people dont have baptism dates. its just frustrating because i just feel like we are not having a lot of success right now but i just have to remember that even if the people arent getting baptized or listening we are planting seeds that hopefully will effect these people in the future. I just have to stay positive and I am sure there are people here that are ready people are just very stuck on their catholic ways here and they dont want to change the traditions of their families. People here are literally obsessed with Mary!! There is a huge huge statue in our area of Mary aka Maria and people go and pretty much worship it. It is absolutely rediculous and i just dont understand it one bit. Man these people are crazy. haha but i sure there are people here that are prepared to listen and accept our message we just need to find them!! pray for us that we can find those people!! we need references from members but getting references from members is like pulling teeth. ya it doesnt happen!! haha I could talk about the food we eat here. We are very lucky because pretty much everyday but sunday and monday we have lunch with the members (lunch is the big meal here) and now that i have been here for a transfer i think i pretty much have down what they eat here. LOts and LOts of rice, pasta, potatoes and MEAT!! pretty much every single meal is either rice or pasta and they always put some random potatoes with either of those and then they put either chicken or beef with some sauce. that is pretty much every single meal but just made a little different with a different sauce. they always eat a lot of empanadas with is a tortilla thing with meat inside folded up and fried. and pretty much everything they make is covered in oil. I hate watching them cook things because i always want to die when i see all of the oil they add so i need to just not look. haha and there are a ton of delicious sweets here. ya i am pretty sure weight is going to be added. ughh!!!! haha dad was asking about laundry.. we are very lucky because we have a lady in the branch who we have lunch with every week and she just bought a washer so she is so wonderful and will wash our clothes for us. when i first got here we were washing in a sink but now we are blessed to be able to leave our clothes with a member!! ahh its great!! hmmm que mas?? life is good. it is def not easy but i am staying positive and working hard. things will work out. i just have to remember that my heavenly father is there and i need to rely on him. i love you all very much and am greatful for you. have a wonderful week!!!
mucho amor
hermana VANWAG

oh and grandma said that my new mission pres was in the church news. wow thats great! he comes in like 2 weeks. thats going to be pretty crazy to have that change. we will see what happens!!

Monday, June 6, 2011


well another week has gone and once again I dont feel like I have much to say. life as a missionary is pretty repetitive you wake up at 630 excercise and get ready then study from 8-11 then basically from 11-9 at night you are teaching lessons and finding people to teach. and we are lucky because pretty much everyday we have lunch with a member so we dont have to go back to our apartment and cook. There arent many days where the day is much different than that. but the other day we were out walking around trying to find people to talk to when we got a call from our zone leaders saying that one of the sisters in our zone her companion was just a temporary companion and was leaving so we had to go be with her until they found another companion for her. We were a little suprised and shocked but that night we went and stayed with her at her apartment and then the next morning she was going to get a new comp. well she lives on the 6th floor of her apt complex and so they have a elevator to use so that morning we got in the elevator to leave to go pick up her companion and it starts going down when all of a sudden it stopped on the 4th floor and totally broke down. I was like ahhh NOO I am in a broken down elevator in Argentina that was seriously tiny and there were 4 of us in there. my comp, the other sister, me and some cleaner lady named maria. we had no idea what to do and it was 8 in the morning so most likely people would be sleeping but we just started pressing the alarm until someone came. we ended up being in the elevator for about 20 minutes and yes you best believe we started talking to maria about the church. haha we ended up getting her address and the address of her family who actually lives in our area. so sometime we are going to try and visit them. maybe there was a reason that this happened and her family needs the gospel at this time... but ya that was def an interesting experience this past week.
This past week we started talking to this man who was raking leaves outside of his house and he let us sit down and teach him so we taught him the first lesson and put a baptism date with him and he excepted and told us he would go to church on sunday. we were pretty stoked and then when we went by the house on sunday morning to pick him up for church his uncle came out and said that he didnt live there but he lived in a totally different area!! we were so frustrated. its so annoying how many people lie to you saying that they promise they will go to church and then when we go by to pick them up they wont go. and the zone leaders keep calling and pressuring us to put baptism dates with people but we are trying and they arent accepting. sometimes missionary work is really frustrating but i think patience is a big quality that is so be learned throughout the mission. we have to be patient with the people because it might not be their time right now. and i have also learned that i need to be patient with the language because i want so bad to speak but i need to be patient with it and just keep studying and it will come over time. at our district meeting last tuesday we were doing a practice in trying to ask inspired questions and getting to know the person and my comp and i were teaching our district leader and he kept looking at me to speak but i always get scared to speak and so he kept telling me that i need to start speaking more to the people and it will really help me a lot. so this past week he gave me a goal to speak to 10 men in the streets a day! ummm can you imagine my reaction! ahh i just about died. 10 men?! my companion wont even talk to men in the streets because most of the time the men are just creeps and make cat calls at us. so ya i am scared to talk to people but i need to get over my fear. ahhhh anyways things are good. i have never been so tired in my life. everynight i crash and when 630 comes every morning it is miserable. haha but it is starting to get really cold here especially because we are outside all of the time. i think i am going to buy a heater for our apt because it is always so cold in our apt. i am just glad that i was warned that it was going to be cold because i feel pretty prepared for it. i have worn my rain boots a couple of time because it will rain over night and then the streets will be just huge pile of mud so it is best to wear the rain boots but they are super comfortable so i dont like wearing them a lot. anyways. i better go. i love you lots and i love hearing from you all. have a wonderful week! and how exciting the girls end school this week! wow that went by fast.