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Monday, December 29, 2014

I am Still Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Hola Everybody! 

This week was crazy. First things first: How Argentina celebrates Christmas is COMPLETELY different than the United States! Christmas Eve is called La Noche Buena. Everyone has an asado (roast) for this. But they start at like 10 PM. Then they hang out with friends and family and then at midnight everyone starts setting off fireworks...(we didn´t get a lot of sleep that night) and while all the kids are out watching fireworks that´s when Santa comes and then all the kids open their presents and everyone is awake until like 3 AM, it´s so weird. But everyone asks us if Christmas in the United States is how it is in the movies...yupp. And they always say Que Lindo (how cool) but then they keep celebrating Christmas like it´s New Years, it makes me sad because Christmas is so much more than a party...but we spent both days with the Loza family. They really are the best! 

Anyway. My new companion! We are exactly the same and completely different. We have been butting heads a lot but I think that is to be expected...haha. But really it´s all so good here. We are working so hard! And it´s so HOT! We had a ton of lessons this last week especially for how much we were inside because of Christmas and La Noche Buena. Oh and my FOOT SURGERY yupp you read that right. So long story short, my toe was hurting really bad the day after Christmas and I have a cut on it and I wanted a new Band-Aid so we went to a members house to get a Band Aid...well they took my shoe off and my toe was super infected...yummy I know. So they started talking about cutting things and I couldn´t understand any of it and my companion was just laughing, great. They took me to a clinic (so scary) and the lady is like yeah it´s infected and they need to cut part of my toenail off...but she´s only a nurse so she can´t use anesthetics...nope. I´m not letting anyone try to chop off part of my toe with out that.

So Saturday I went to the hospital and they chopped off part of my toenail! I couldn´t walk for two days so we´ve just been sitting in our house. I sent a picture of our clock that tells you the temperature was 8 PM and it was 88 degrees.  We were melting. Oh and the picture in the hospital...they were drinking Mate while they were working on my toe! WHAT NO! It was like a scary movie. But I’m all fine now. I’m walking, well trying. It still hurts but the work has got to go on!

This week was a bummer we had to drop some people just because they weren´t progressing. But we also found some pretty solid new investigators too! We haven´t been able to visit them a whole lot yet because they live pretty far, but we have appointments with them tonight!

I never really realized how awesome our ward is! Everyone is always so willing to help out. I love it. This year has been super successful for our ward and I know it is because of the help of all the members. It´s not just like there is one family that is helping with everything, everyone wants to help with everything. There is such a great bond between all the families. I love it. There are a few families in our ward that have to move in January and they are all trying their absolute best to stay in Barrio 2.

I love being a missionary. I never believed that it could be possible to love a place like this. Yes the siesta is frustrating but it doesn´t matter. There are always people to find and teach and share our message with. I never realized how hard it would be to be a missionary. Up at 6:30 every single day and walking miles and miles in weather that who knows how hot it really is…but we can do it everyday. Literally every night when I go to bed all I can think is how amazed I am that we´re still alive. The only way any of this is possible is because of Heavenly Father. He really does watch out for every single one of his missionaries. We are blessed everyday with the ability to work one day more. My testimony has grown so much more in these last 10 weeks than I ever thought was possible.

I love Argentina!!!! I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!! And that you will all have a Happy New Year!

Be safe!!!!

Hermana Barker


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Transfers, Transfers and More Transfers

Okay so everything I told you last week about what was supposed to happen this week didn´t happen.

So on Sunday Hermana Zubeldia left and I was in a trio with the Hermanas from Barrio 4. And I was supposed to be with them until Tuesday morning when I would switch and work with a sister in Toay and we would spend the week switching areas. Well Monday Hermana Williams got a call that she was going to be a trainer and her new companion (like new, new) was going to get here Tuesday and she needed to go pick her up in Bahia Blanca. We thought nothing of it. So I packed enough stuff for a week and Tuesday I was ready to go to Toay. Well then we realized Hermana Williams and I were both leaving, so who is going to be with Hermana Morgan? Yupp they changed everything. So I stayed to work with Hermana Morgan. But in her area, so I was in my same house but working in a different area. Then when Hermana Williams and her new comp returned we worked in my area...and then last night I got my new companion!!! Hermana Boyce. She is from....................Holliday UTAH! hahahaha. She finishes her mission in March.

 Farewell to my sweet companion, Hermana Zubeldia - she is off to Utah

This week was absolutely nuts. Working in a trio is almost impossible! You learn and practice everything in twos then you get another companion and it´s like a wall, but we worked around it as best as we could. 

The trio

I am super rushed for time today because we had a conference with our Mission President today for Christmas!!!! I hardly remember anything that happened this week because it was all so crazy but today was awesome, so I will just talk about today. Okay so it started at 8 am. We practiced all our hymns and then at 9:30 we left for the hospital and old folks home where we sang for them. It was so fun and they all loved it. The old people cried and the hospital was so strange because it was so loud when we got there but as soon as we started singing, everyone was dead silent. We sang Jingle Bells for them! Then we went back to the chapel and we had lunch, it was SOOO good!  

My yummy lunch

Then we had a talent show. It was super good and super funny. Then after we had a really cool really short lesson about how to be better missionaries. Really the best way to be a better person in general is to love more. Love everyone. I am trying really hard here to love everyone. Sometimes it really is so hard because not everything goes how we want it to, but as we try to become more like Christ we have to love more, because that is exactly what He did. He did everything with love. One thing that He said that I loved was... ¨la mision es como un filtro. las personas que pueden pasar, son las personas que pueden decir, Dios, por ti.¨ ¨If we can change our perspective and realize that we aren´t loving them because we have to, we are loving them because really that´s what God and Christ want us to do, no matter how impossible it may seem, it´s possible!”

That is my challenge for every single person reading my blog this week. Try to love more. Not just your family and your friends, but everyone!!!!

Thank you all so much for everything, for your love support and prayers. 

Hermana Barker


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Transfer or Not?

This week was awesome! Just like the rest! But to start off transfers, they didn´t happen...but they did. So we got a call on Friday saying that we are going to have long transfers so that all the missionaries can have the Christmas Conference. So transfers aren´t until the 23rd but since my companion was going home to Utah anyway they had to do something with me. So today, I am in a trio with the other Hermanas that I currently live with Hermana Morgan and Williams. Tomorrow I will switch areas for 3 days and go work in Toay with another Hermana (from Peru) whose companion left too. And then Friday we will be back in my area Santa Rosa for the weekend then we will have transfers on Tuesday so yeah...kind of really crazy right now. 

Anyway, this week; Monday after e-mailing was super frustrating because we had two appointments that both fell through and one of them was for a Family Home Evening, so we had a bag of stuff with us to carry for the rest the night...we contacted a little bit but nothing really happened but we went home and made French Toast for dinner(:

They were just taking it easy on me with food here the first few weeks. This week I ate lamb, collard greens...and wait...SARDINES. Oh my goodness, they were awful. The lamb wasn´t that bad But like four hours later Hermana Zubeldia started feeling super sick and then next I was super sick too, pretty sure we got food poisoning, but oh well, hahaha we still got to go out and work! Tuesday...We had lunch with la familia Cruz. We got to their house and it smelled really weird, but weird smells aren´t unusual in Argentina so, I ignored it. Then I saw the food it was mushy rice with lots of Mayo...LOTS of mayo and some unidentifiable substance, all mixed together and put in a hollowed out tomato. So after feeling like I was eating cat food for like 20 minutes AND I was done because I didn´t want to know what it was until I was done, I asked Hermana Zubeldia what is was, she told me it was Sardines. We both felt pretty sick the rest of the day. I’m pretty sure I brushed my teeth 5 times that night…blehhhh!!! I´m still glad we have members to feed us though!

Today was interesting we taught two recent convert of them her house was so was rough, and the other...he comes outside in his boxers, we´re thinking oh he´ll go put pants on. Because lots of people answer the door indecently then go change...nope. He didn´t change. We taught him a lesson in his boxers...and he´s like 75 years old, it was Oscar, the guy who was baptized last weekend, haha. 

We have an investigator Rosa, who we are working so hard with right now. She has had every lesson 4 times because 2 of her kids are converts and 2 or her grandchildren are converts. She knows it´s all true and she loves the change she has seen in all of them, but every time we go to see her there is a new problem in her life. We taught her a ton this week, we went once with our District Leader, Elder Dement and he taught an AMAZING lesson and she loved it, she is just scared to get baptized, but I know it´ll happen. She´s the sweetest thing in the world though. I love when we are teaching and something comes up that I studied in personal study and I can really see how important personal study is. That happened with her. I read a conference talk and it was PERFECT for what she was going through. I LOVE reading conference talks! 

We have another investigator a lot like Rosa. Sofia has the same problem, they both want to help everyone else before they try to get help for themselves and they are both drowning in the trials of the world as they try. It breaks my heart to see people so close...but so unwilling to take the next step of faith. 

This week we contacted a ton and tried to visit so many people and nothing was working out. We probably knocked on like 200 + doors this week and only have 2 new investigators. In all of Santa Rosa this area we need 140 baptisms this month to break 1000 for the year!

This Sunday was awesome though! Between the Elders and us we had 15 investigators in Church! (just our ward). They all loved it. The biggest problem here is people NEED to get married. Remember Moira, the lady we have been visiting since I got here; she and her boyfriend have set a date to get married!!! She told us that she is so excited to get baptized, and married, in that order! I really hope they do get married! 

I love you all Happy Holidays! 

Hermana Barker


 Baptism day

  Mode of transportation

How to get rid of your companion

 A girls gotta eat - right

 One last wave

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My First Baptism

My daily schedule: wake up at 6:30, work out until 7:00, get ready. Then personal study starts at 8:00, companion study at 9:00. And then for my first twelve weeks there´s a training program that we work with so we do that at 10:00. Then we leave at 11:00. We have lunch with someone at 12:30 then we work until we have to be home at 8:00. Then I have an hour to study Spanish. At 9:00 we plan for the next day for a half an hour. Then we have from 10:00 to 10:30 to get ready for bed! It´s CRAZY!

We walk everywhere. We counted, it´s 14 blocks to our area from our house. Sometimes we use the bus…but it´s not super reliable, there´s no real set schedule and during the Siesta it only comes like once every hour.

I haven´t gotten any mail yet.

Monday we had an awesome Family Home Evening with the Familia Falcon and a recent convert of the Elders, Jorge. It was awesome we watched the Restoration and everyone loved it. Jorge bore his testimony and I think that everyone was blown away he is definitely one of those people that was prepared to be baptized long before he met missionaries.
We had another Family Home Evening with the Familia Guzman, again AWESOME! They invited their neighbors (like 10 of them) that are non-members and we shared our Christmas message with them. I will talk more about that later because it’s the coolest thing to happen in missionary work!

I went to the clinic on Friday for some medical tests and the clinic is all the way in the Center, which is like 10 blocks the opposite way of our area so we used the bus to get there and we used the bus to try to get back to our area, what an adventure. We didn´t really understand the instructions that we got so we just decided to get back on the bus where we got off because it has to go in a circle right? Nope, wrong. It took us all the way through the Center then all the way the opposite direction, then we reached the end of the line and had to get off and wait for the next bus in 5 minutes, and we had to pay again, we were on the bus for over an hour but we did a lot of contacting which was way cool, but it was hilarious. We definitely saw some Elders from our zone, but in a completely different area and we were laughing so hard on the bus and everyone just thought we were crazy, we tried to hide so they wouldn´t see us…haha.

This week we had an AWESOME service project we got to help one of our investigators build a house! Never thought I would be able to say that. I attached a picture and there´s not a whole lot more to say about that.

SATURDAY WAS MY FIRST BAPTISM!!!!! Oh my gosh, it was amazing! Oscar is like a 73 year old man. He was taught by missionaries 28 years ago and went to church for over a year and was never baptized and stopped going, Hermana Zubeldia and her previous companion found him but didn’t teach him everything. It was so cool to see the change in him! He was an awesome investigator and now he´s going to be an even more awesome member! So we had to fill up the baptismal font and we didn´t really know how. We definitely filled it will scorching hot water and didn´t realize it until like an hour before the baptism, so we almost cooked the poor old man alive. But we fixed it and it was beautiful. The Branch President when he went to church 28 years ago came and surprised him, he definitely cried and he was crying when he got in the font, oh it was just so cool! I wish I had more time to tell you more about Oscar.

So transfers are this Sunday. So next Monday I could be in a totally new area! How cool!? And Scary!? Oh and I will definitely have a new companion!!! AHHH!!!!

Okay so this week we have been working a lot with an AMAZING tool the church has given missionaries this Christmas. It is a 2ish minute video called ¨He is the Gift¨ I love it. I wish I could watch it like 100 times everyday, but for everyone who is reading my blog, member, nonmember, active, or not, please watch it. Christmas is the time to remember that we have a Savior. Not just Mormons and Catholics, but everyone. Christ is the Savior and Redeemer for the world!

Along with the short video there is a talk that I read this week that I really liked that I would love if everyone read it. It is called ¨Come Join with Us¨. I get the opportunity to have a front row seat to watch how the spirit touches and changes lives. I know it can because I see it happen everyday.

I´m so happy to be a missionary and to be sharing the gospel with these people I don´t even know and I want to share it with all those I do know too. I know this is the church of Jesus Christ and there is a place for everyone here!


Hermana Barker

 My first baptism - Oscar