So ive made it past my first week here in Arguaray! Its been a crazy one thats for sure! Funny story- so there is a family here (the mom and son were baptized but now are inactive) anyways they are the Comba Family but I call them Familia Loca because they are CRAZY! I love them and they are alot of fun! We were visiting them and they took us to the kitchen and pulled out this plate full of something really nasty looking! and the smell was horrible! then one of the boys told me to look inside this tin and when he took the lid off there was a full chicken head! And a wave of stench filled the room. I wanted to throw up! So then the mom kept saying "come come!" (eat eat) and handed me some bread to put the meat on. My companion pointed out that there was chicken hair on the meat! We were both dying! Luckily there were dogs in the kitchen (of course because they are everywhere) so we kept throwing the meat when they werent looking and I would jsut eat the bread. But then the daughter gave me some and watched me until I ate it! (hot husband points for me!) I was so sick that night and the whole next day! After our lesson with them the boys wanted to arm wrestle me and I won thanks to my 4 brothers back at home for teaching me to be tough right?! So anyways when I talk about la familia loca that is them!
I definately feel the help of my savior every day. I know that I could not do this without him. Before my mission I always struggled with anxiety and stress but here its gone! Im not afraid of anything. such a blessing! I know that I have been set apart from the world because I feel different as a missionary! I feel the help of the savior stronger than ever here! The other day I was talking to my companion and she asked if I liked the mission. I said yes but its so hard. She said Im doing better than most missionaries she said most cry every day for the first 4 months. She said she wanted to go home for the first 4 months and she knew spanish! But she said I am doing really well with the language because I have a desire to learn and I try to talk as much as possible. She said most gringos dont talk at all. So that boosted my confidence even though I feel like Im the only missionary who has ever gone through this! haha my companion has alot of patience with me and I´m grateful. She doesn´t speak much so it makes learning the language hard...and when she does she speaks really fast. but she is obediant and I´m grateful for that.
So we spend alot of time at the branch presidents house and one day we were there eating lunch and their grandson Fabio was there. He doesnt want anything to do with the church but I asked him if we could just teach him because I needed practice. He let us! And at the end of the lesson I was bearing my testimony and I looked up and he had tears in his eyes (probably because he felt bad for me and my bad spanish) but it made me cry and I told him I am here because I want everyone to have what I have and thats the gospel. It was a good experience for me because I felt like I finally had an investigator of my own! he has agreed to let us teach him again.
So miracle of the week! we had a baptism! The first one here in arguaray in over 6 months! His name is Angel and he is 9 years old. He is the grandson of one of our investigators so Im hoping his example will get his grandpa to committ to baptism because he has been meeting with the missionaries for 14 years! the baptism was great. there isn´t a font here of course so he was baptised in a plastic tarp pool! haha that morning my companion and I straightened our hair (first time in 2 weeks!) and tried to look nice for the baptism. Anyways it wasnt 5 minutes after we started walking that its started to rain! We had to hide under a semi truck until it stopped! haha So basically Im never getting ready again because its not worth it!
So I feel like nephi among a hundred lamen and lemuels here! The members here have alot of issues! None of them want to do anything and they wont give us referalls or help us with the work! Church attendance is horrible! Only 17 members were at church yesterday! In relief society it was just me and my companion and the teacher! It makes our work a million times harder because we dont have the support of the branch. The branch president and his wife are frustrated and there is alot of contention. My companion is really discouraged because this is a really tough area. They took missionaries out of this area for a long time and my companion thinks they will do it again because its not progressing. So we need miracles here! Everyone worships Virgens even some of the members! Just like in the book of mormon- false idols! Its so frustrating.
but I know I need to have faith that we can see miracles here. We do have some good investigators. Sixto and olga are an older couple that feel like my grandma and grandpa here! They have been meeting with the missionaries for 14 years as well...just waiting for Sixto to get his divorce papers. He read jesus the christ in 10 days! Golden! anyways the other day he texted us to come over and make banana bread. So on our way there we walked past this man and he said the quote of the week "Que linda la flaca! Por ti me vuelvo mormon!" (oh how pretty the skinny! For you I will return mormon!) haha freaking snakes! The only thing I can do is laugh. I am about to paint my skin brown so they leave me alone!
Anyways we had a great night with olga and sixto! We drank mate and made pan de banana and we brought the D&C movies so we watched part of that and I was crying through the whole thing! It was so good to feel the spirit because sometimes its hard to feel it here in the world!
Yesterday after church we had lunch at the 1st counselors house with his family. One of their sons is learning english so they all were asking me to teach them english and I LOVED IT! Their younger son Isael wanted to know what my favorite scripture was so I showed him in his book of mormon and next to it he wrote ¨my favorite missionary Hermana Stewart¨ ah stuff like that makes all the hard times worth it! or when that cute little girl Nicole says HERMANA everytime she sees me! I think I am being taught more than I am teaching here. Ive already learned its possible to be happy without having much. And I love how loving the people are here! they all greet with a kiss on the cheek! doesn´t matter if youve never met them before! The people in north america need to be more like that!
I do see miracles everyday! I am starting to be able to understand alot more. Its still hard to speak but people are patient with me. Its a miracle that I can even understand after only having 11 days here! I cant wait to get to the point where I can speak because I know thats when real miracles will happen! I bear my testimony that this church is true. ITs true in utah and its true in Argentina and the rest of the world. It doesnt matter how much you have or how little you have god blesses us in our own way. It doesnt matter if you are baptized in a plastic tarp or a fancy font...the way back to our Heavenly Father is the same. I tell everyone here that I cant understand everything but I can understand the spirit because its the same no matter where you go and for that I am soo grateful! The spirit doesnt have a language and all can feel it the same!
More than anything I am grateful for the gospel and especially that I get to experience it with my whole family and we enjoy the blessings of the gospel together. People ask me here if my whole family is members and sometimes I feel bad saying yes because here alot of people are the only members in their family and its heartbreaking. I want to live with my family forever and so we have to be faithful together until the end! I love you all so much and Im grateful for your examples!
Con mucho amor,