Monday, August 29, 2011


my dearest family and friends! :)

Well this past week was a pretty normal week. Nothing too exciting
happened this week. We did have divisions which was interesting. There
is another set of sisters in our zone so we did divisions with them
and I stayed in my area and Hermana Arcos came with me. It was
actually kind of fun to have a different companion to learn from
because everyone is different with how they work. She is super good at
talking to everyone and anyone in the streets which we all know is
something I lack... it is super hard for me to walk up to some random
person and start talking to them. One thing that i learned from her is
that people are so much more receptive when we start talking to them
about anything random that isnt religious so that they feel
comfortable and then bring in the religion. haha it works so much
better than when we start out saying we are missionary because then
they just run or say oh Im catholic... haha so that was a fun 2 days
of being with a diff comp.
On sunday Jorge recieved the aaronic priesthood!! yay! Its so great to
see how happy him and his wife are now and it is so great to see the
members fellowship them in the ward. That is one of my biggest fears
is that someone gets baptized but the members arent welcoming and the
convert doesnt feel comfortable. but i am happy to see the members
super welcoming to Jorge and his wife. Our dearest friend Francisco
was suppose to get baptized this saturday but when we past by his
house on sunday for church he felt horrible and couldnt go to church.
:( which means he cant be baptized this saturday because he still
needs one more attendance in church. I swear satan does everything to
prevent these people who are so close so they cant be baptized. Every
single missionary I have talked to has said that every baptism they
have had there was always some difficulty before the baptism. We will
see what happens with Francisco. We had a super awesome lesson with
him this past week and he was telling us how he has been thinking
about a mission and how great it would be to share this greatness with
people! awww! he just has to be put in the waters first. haha
I got a nice haircut today. I figured that after 7 or so months of not
cutting it that it was probably time. I am not going to lie I was
super scared to have someone here cut it but my hair was super dry and
nasty to I did it. I am happy to say that it didnt turn out to bad.
Well I dont really have a ton of exciting news to share this week. It
was just another week in the life of a missionary walking, preaching,
and testifying the word of god! The other day I was thinking about how
crazy it is that I am surviving in a land of spanish. There is no
english here. I think my heavenly father is def helping me. I am so
greatful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary at this
time. It is def not easy but I am learning so many wonderful things
and growing in so many ways. I know this is the true church and I am
so greatful for the wonderful small miracles I am able to witness
daily. I know that heavenly father lives and is always there for us.
We have transfers next wednesday. What do you think am I staying here
or am I going to get send away? hmm.. we will see. The thing that is
super annoying is that we dont find out till tuesday night at 9. ahhh.
Well I hope you all have a wonderful week and I cant wait to hear from
you. love you all!

-Hermana Van Wag

ps its not letting me send pics. ahh these computers are so annoying.


First off I wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful mom!! I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I love you lots!! Also a nice Happy Aniversary to my wonderful sister and brother-in-law! A wonderful 3 years a marriage. 3 years right? wow how time flys! and A happy first week of school to everyone starting school! :) YOu are probably wondering why I didnt write yesterday well yesterday was another holiday in Argentina. What holiday you may ask? i have literally no idea. they always have random holidays. i think it might have been the day that some saint that they worship died or something. So since it was a holiday our pres wanted us to work yesterday since families should be home. So we have p-day today instead!
Well I had my first baptism this past saturday of Jorge Ramirez. I think I mentioned him last week in my email. Jorge was a reference of our zone leaders. He works near their apartment as security during the night. one day they started talking to him and gave him a pamphlet to read. Well it turns out that he would read the pamphlets during the night at work and that his girlfriend was baptized when she was 15 and she is 26 now but she hasnt gone to church for a long long time. Well we started teaching him and they got married this past friday and he was baptized on saturday. It is such an awesome experience to witness the change in a person as they learn of the truthfulness of the gospel. On saturday and we were getting things ready for the baptism we went to the church to start filling up the baptism font and for some reason the water wasnt working. We couldnt figure out how to do it. AHh!! so we ended up getting a hose from outside and putting it through the window and filling up the font with the hose. Yes you can imagine the water was freezing and the weather here is still coldish. We were just glad that it was a man being baptized and not a girl because if it were a girl she would probably kill us. well someone took out the hose super early so the font wasnt filled up all the way. so when it was time for Jorge to be baptized he had to be dunked 3 times because he didnt make it under all the way. My comp and I were scared that after he was going to be super annoyed. But after the baptism we talked to him and he had a huge smile on his face and said that he was super happy. He shared his testimony at the baptism and it was super simple but so sweet to hear the testimony of a recently baptized convert! It is so sweet because we recieve text messages from either him or his wife everyday just to say hi. and yesterday he went out with us for lessons and to introduce us to some of his friends and neighbors and he would share his testimony. How sweet huh? I think the converts are the best members to bring to lessons with us! I feel so happy to have finally witnessed my first baptism. I finally can see some success in the work we are doing! I think that sometimes that is the hardest part about missionary work is that we are working hard everyday talking to people and sharing the gospel and most of the time the things we are doing we never see the success of it. or nothing happens till way farther in the future. You have to weed through A LOT a people to find those people who are chosen at this time to accept the gospel. We are still working with Francisco who I talked about before. He was suppose to get baptized this saturday but due to some pills that he is taking to recover from his addiction/illness he always seems to feel dissy (sp?) and hasnt gone to church these past 2 sundays so he cant be baptized this saturday. We are hoping the next week. but we will see. We are praying for him that he can get better and truly have a desire to be baptized and not just because of his family who are already members.
Things are well. My spanish continues to improve more and more everyday... i think... haha. sometimes i get super down and frustrated with the spanish but then i just have to sit back and realize how much i have learned and how much i do understand when before my mission i didnt know anything! Hope you all have a wonderful week!! until next week... :) love you lots!

-Hermana Van Wag

-picture from the baptism!! for some reason my stupid camera that i bought here takes super blurry pictures. i dont know how to change it! how frustrating!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It was fun to read about your week up in Bass Lake. It sounds like you guys had a fun time with lots of lake/boat time! I cant believe that your summer is already over. It seems like I was just reading emails from you saying that the girls just got out of school. Where did the time go? I cant believe that Ky is going to be starting middle school. umm i swear she is still a baby how is that possible. It is so weird for me to imagine her in 7th grade. but I am so excited for her!
Its always hard for me to think back on the week on what happened because I swear I am loosing my memory or something and everyday is smashed together and a lot of times I cant even remember what happened yesterday. haha ok its not that bad but ya a lot of times I cant remember. Well this past week we had zone conference. The president and his wife came and there was about 3 zones together and it was really great. One of the hermanas and an elder from my district from my district in the mtc were there so it was fun to see them and see how they are doing with everything. Its funny how my district in the mtc we became like a family so it was fun to see them. The presidents wife had made homemade chocolate chip cookies for all of us and you should have seen everyones faces because those do not exist here so you could imagine the faces of all of the gringos. mmm a little piece of home! Everyone just loves the new president. He is so awesome and super loving and thoughful. I think it is a big change from the other president.
Things are going well with the missionary work. We are still working with Francisco and are hoping to see him get baptized in 2 weeks. I think he is struggling a lot with his addictions and with his health because of it. but it is good that he has family that are members that can help him. We also have another guy named Jorge who is suppose to get baptized this saturday. He absoultely loves the church and we are trying to figure everything out so that he can get married this friday and then baptized this saturday. His wife is already a member she got baptized like 15 years ago but hasnt gone to church for a long time so she has been coming back to church with him and they love it. How great!
I feel like i have nothing really to write this week! but that is the little update! Things are going well. I think sometimes my comp wants to kill me because I dont talk very much in lessons so this has been a little struggle so I am trying to learn to just put my trust in the lord that even though I really dont know very much spanish that he will help me out. I just testify A LOT! I always feel like such an idiot when I talk because I am sure I am saying everything wrong so I am trying to learn to not care and to just talk. but I def feel like i have already progressed a lot since I got my new comp. Things are good and I continue to learn more and more everyday. Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!!

mucho amor,
Hermana Van Wagenen

Photo: this is my comp and I with our branch pres and his wife!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pictures. Finally!

Our first pictures of Kara in Argentina! Needless to say...we were excited to see them! Here they are...

photo 1: That is me and my trainer Hermana Schmidt and our investigator Hermana Sanchez. This is the family where all of the children are members but they are waiting to get divorced so they can get married and baptized.

photo 2: Hermana Mena and I in the computer place emailing home! :)


Well another week has past and it sounds like you are all enjoying life in the good ole bass lake right now! how fun! tell the whole family I said hi! Heather told me that you bought a big fat giant mable. 4 seater? wow que loco! how is that working out?
well I am sitting here trying to think of crazy/exciting stories to inform you all about but honestly nothing is really coming to mind. This past week was just another normal week in the life of a missionary. Thinking back on this past week it seems like it was like a month long from all that went on but it was a good week. This past sunday not yesterday but the sunday before one of the members of our presidency brought his son to church that I had literally never heard of him before and we started teaching him. His name is Francisco and he is 18 years old and just like mostly every other teenager here he got into drinking and drugs at a young age well right now we dont know exactly what happened to make him stop but for about a month now he has been clean from the drugs and alcohol and he has this sweet desire to recover and better himself. For me this is a shock because it is not very often that you see a 18 year old kid have this desire to stop doing these things and go to church. Well ever since last sunday we have been visiting him just about everyday because I am pretty sure right now he is super lonely because from stopping I am pretty sure he has no friends now. He is so sweet and everytime we have lessons he always asks when we will be coming back. It is so sweet to me to see the smile on his dads face every time we come over. This past wednesday we witnessed what I would call a small miracle. because of all of the drugs he was doing I think his body is a little messed up and it was an addiction and since we have been trying to visit him almost everyday we decided that wednesdays we were going to watch a movie in the church so we got everything ready to watch the hour long Joseph Smith movie and about 20 minutes into the movie he got super shaky and couldnt watch the movie like it was really bad. we paused the movie and decided that we would say a prayer to ask our heavenly father to bless him so he could watch the movie. After the prayer we started to watch the movie again and he was able to watch the last 40 minutes of the movie without a problem. For us this was a sweet little miracle because he for sure wasnt going to be able to watch it.Last night we decided to stop by his house to see how he was doing and see how he liked church. Well we talked to him and his dad for a few minutes outside his house and as we were leaving he said, ¨hermanas pray for me, because I am always praying for you¨ we both left that house with huge smiles on our faces knowing that we are small tools in helping this kid get on the right path and becoming close to his heavenly father. It has only been a week since we have been teaching him but it feels like a month. We are already seeing a huge progression in him. We are just sitting here imagining him in a few years with a white shirt and tie on a mission! and oh boy I can just see him being a powerful missionary! Its moments like that when I have a huge smile on my face and I am grateful to be hear serving a mission. There are a lot of hard moments. but when you see people like sweet Franciso really change it makes everything worth it. We are hoping to see Francisco go in the waters the 27 of August but possibly the 20! :) pray that everything will work out. I worry every day for this kid because any second something could happen and he could turn back to the drugs.
Things are good here! I am still struggling with the language and at times I feel super lonely like I have no one that understands me because of the language barrior. I want more than ever to have great relationships with the members and the investigators but there is this language barrior where I cant speak to them. I am trying and really trying to overcome my fear of speaking to people because you cant have that fear on a mission. but everytime I start to feel lonely I start to think of my savior Jesus Christ and his atonement. everytime I feel the spirit it is seriously like a blanket comforting me. What an incredible thing! This gospel is incredible and I am so grateful that I have the gospel in my life and that I have the opportunity to share it with others. It breaks my heart everytime someone rejects us because they have no idea what they are missing out on. I love you all. Thanks for everything! I hope you have a wonderful week! until next week!

mucho amor,
Hermana Van Wagenen

Monday, August 1, 2011


Hey there!
Well transfers were last week and I have a new companion! and guess what yep shes latin! haha When I found out that I was getting a latin I was seriously scared to death that I wasnt going to be able to communicate but honestly I havent been happier! She is super awesome. Her name is Hermana Mena and she is from Chile and has been on her mission for about 14 months and she understands a lot of english and is wanting to learn more. So we have made a deal to try and speak english in the apartment and spanish outside. She said that she was very impressed with how much spanish I know for only having 2 transers and having a gringo comp. especially since we ALWAYs spoke english. So i was happy to hear that and I am learning so much! It was def a super good change and I couldnt be more happy to have a latin because I know I am going to learn a ton from her because I am more forced to speak spanish. It has been kind of hard because I have had to explain to her all of our investigators and our area in spanish. Who knows if she understood anything but yes I am super happy about the change and to be with Hermana Mena. She is super cute and sometimes we will be in lesson and she will whisper to me things in her cute little english like... uhh he is weird.. haha we are both learning the language from each other. oh and heather said someone asked her what area I was in but she didnt know. now that i think of it its very possible that I never told you what area I am in. I am in Corrientes Capital for you to know heather. :)
Things are really looking up here. We have 3 men who we have reciently started teaching who have accepted baptism dates and I can def see hope with them. The best is when you have a lesson and at the end of the lesson the investigator ask.. so when are you guys going to come back and visit? ummm YES!!! that means they like our visits and they will do their commitments! Besides transfers there isnt a lot that happened this past week. I have def started talking more and been more involved in teaching in lesson. My spanish is still very broken and there is still a lot that I dont understand but I am excited for this change and for all of the things that I am going to learn from my companion.
I made a cd to send pictures to you guys but I just learned that none of the cd things in the computers here work! ughhh one day i will send you guys pictures of Argentina! Life is good I am happy and I am learning so much and my testimony is growing so much every single day. I have never before had such a desire to read all of the ensigns and the scriptures all the time. I absolutely love when we have personal study when we can read the scriptures and study. I have grown to love the book of Mormon and I am constantly finding things from the book of mormon that help me each day. Isnt is incredible how we can relate the book of mormon to our lifes right now? I know that this is where I am suppose to be right now and yes there are def a lot of hard times but I am growing in ways that I never would have without serving a mission. Thanks for all of your prayers and support! I couldnt do this without you guys! This church is true and Jesus Christ lives!! I love this gospel!

love you all,
Hermana Van Wagenen