Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mi Bolso de Maiz

Dear Familia,

I am sorry I am a day late, but I just completed my first change (6 weeks), so my P-Day is on Tuesday!!!! The good news is...I didn´t actually change. I am still with Hermana Camacho and in Pocitos for at least another six weeks!

This week was entertaining and freezing cold! I have finally started to get the hang of Spanish and so now I can actually joke...poor Hermana Camacho! Some of the fun stories of the week:

-I found myself cuddling with a piece of toast! Okay...that sounded a lot less weird in my head. Here is the story behind this, so you don´t all think that I have completely lost my mind while in Uruguay. Well the story of the toast and I began in our apartment. Our apartment is super, super, super,  cold (it turns out that a broken window with a blanket taped over it still lets in a ton of cold air, who knew...?). We have two baby heaters, but we can´t actually use them because electricity is super expensive. So one morning I made myself toast, to eat while studying. I was reading in 1 Nephi and I looked up to ponder on a verse and I noticed Hermana Camacho giving me the wierdest look. That is when I realized....I had subconsciously taken the toast and was holding it against my face. I quickly dropped the toast, but now Hermana Camacho watches me every time I make toast...whoops! Ohhhhh things are always exciting around here!

-Another funny story induced by the cold (strangely also about cuddling). At the start of the mission, Hermana Smith gave all of the missionaries one of those little heating bags that you put in the microwave. So I took mine, thinking ¨when will I ever need this?¨, smiled and thought no more about it...until two weeks ago! About two weeks ago I started feeling somewhat like a popsicle, so I dug out my heating bag and popped it in the microwave...about a thousand times. Now Hermana Camacho and I use our little 'bolsos de maiz' (bag of corn...what else do you call it in a language you don't know?) every time we are in our apartment! I have found a new best friend on the mission! 

-I got asked to perform an exorcism...

-This week has been hard, but also super great! We taught more investigators this week, but sadly all of them decided that they didn´t want to hear our message anymore! So this week we are starting over again from scratch, ¡Hoy es el día! This week we are planning on working super hard to find those people that the Lord has prepared to hear the message of the restored Gospel! I know that the Lord wants me to serve in Pocitos and that He has prepared people to hear the glorious news, that the true Church of God is on the Earth again! All is well in Montevideo!

Hermana McMurray

Monday, August 19, 2013

Photos 8/19/13

Manteca de Mani!!!

Dear Familia,

I am not even sure exactly what has happened this week! 
Let´s just start with the most important things. We have three new investigators this week and I have Manteca de Mani!

I, by secret means, have acquired Manteca de Mani. Now for all of those of you who do not speak any Spanish, this is a delightful treat also called Peanut Butter. Yep...it´s Jif...it´s crunchy...it´s Costco size (gigantic). I think that I might have died and gone to heaven!!! Every missionary in my zone has turned a slight green color over this amazing acquisition. I received this gift from a sister in our ward. She is a diplomat and so she often gets things through the diplomatic pouch. She told me she can get peanut butter in a week! I didn´t think I would miss peanut butter, but it turns out 18 months is a little too long for me :)!

Now for the investigators. We contacted and found a young man, named Sebastian, who seems very interested in the gospel. We taught him the first lesson in the street...at 8:00 pm...in the dark...in 2 degrees Celsius...during a mini-rainstorm. Yep, I am pretty sure that he has at least a little interest :)! We also found a mother and son, Maria and Bruno. So far we have only taught them one lesson, but they are very excited about what we taught. 

We have been working hard and praying even harder this week to find people to teach. This week we did not have a single progressing investigator, but we are working with four more people this week, so this upcoming week should be pretty great! Please pray for our investigators and that we can find more people to teach the gospel! I firmly believe that prayers work miracles!

We have a new insignia and motto for our mission! They are the star (from the flag) of Uruguay with the words `Hoy Es El Día`. It is the best motto ever! Now every morning my companion and I salta de la cama (pop out of bed) and the first words from both of our lips are ¨Hoy Es El Día¨. Now this sounds slightly nuts, but I absolutely love it! Hoy es el día to change, to become better missionaries, to work harder, to find more people, to teach more, to learn, to grow...This is a motto for a lifetime.

I would sugggest a baby experiment for all those who are feeling slightly adventurous. For one week: pop out of bed as fast as is humanly possible and say to yourself ´Hoy es el día`.. Say it to yourself all day long and really believe it. I guarentee you will feel very different for this week! 

Anyway....that is about it for this week!

Love You All Lots,
Hermana McMurray

p.s. I got all of your letters! I love receiving mail! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Flying Solo (for 10 minutes)!

Dear Family,

This week has been one of excitement and intrigue. Have you ever wondered what a missionary really does? We are awake for 16 hours straight. 16 hours of complete productivity...well almost complete! 

So what do missionaries do??? This week has been a week of learning, so I will call it ¨the learning week¨ (anyone catch my book reference?). 

Here´s the low down on my week:

-I knocked on a couple of doors (I stopped counting after 1000)

-We tried to find about 20 less active members in our area (in a game of hide and seek they would win for sure!)

-We met with several, lonely, elderly, members (I love viajitos!!!)

-We had Church, P-Day, Zone Conference, District Meeting, Correlation meeting, a CVC, and Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening).

-We taught mutiple lessons to 2 investigators (we taught Jose about prayer for the 3rd time...)

-My companion lost me....(I should probably talk about this one...) Hermana Camacho and I left our area (with permission, Dad) to get a CD of the Book of Mormon for one of our investigators that cannot really read. While on the omnibus I got shoved to the front, while Hermana Camacho got shoved to the back! So after about 10 minutes, Hermana Camacho yelled over all of the commotion: ¨this is our stop¨. So I headed for one door and she headed for the other. And she got off and I...well I didn´t (although it was not for a lack of trying)! I had a very large woman in front of me who was trying to sit down in one of the seats and move about 20 bags. So I could not reach the button in time! So, while I was on the bus for another 5 minutes, I tried not to think about anything (like the fact that I was in a foreign country, with little knowledge of the area, no map, no telephone, no telephone numbers, interesting Spanish....). After 5 minutes I got off and walked back the direction that I thought the bus had come from...About 3 minutes later I saw my companion, who was headed towards me at a dead sprint. I think that she might have been a tad worried :)! All in all it was quite an exciting experience, one I think I will try and avoid repeating in the future!

-I consumed Coke for the first time in my life! Oh caffeine...little siblings, it was delicious, hahahahaha!

-For my fun food of the week I had ´cafe´! Nope, it is not coffee...or so I am told. It looks like and smells like coffee, but I have been told by multiple members that it is NOT coffee. I am still not sure....(either way it is pretty gross).
So in summary, Missionaries do A LOT!

That is about all for this week!

Love you all lots,
Hermana McMurray

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Salta de la Cama

Dear Familia,

This week has been pretty exciting!!! Funny stories of the week (I have to have a bunch since my last letter was somewhat boring...):

When we first arrived at the mission home, our mission president, President Smith came up with a challenge called "Salta de la Cama". It encompasses the idea that we should leap out of bed in the mornings, so we do not lose a minute of our missions. The competition is between my companion and I. So every morning since I got to Montevideo, I have attempted to leap out of bed (the key word being attempted). Now all you have to do is imagine two people almost completely unconscious attempting to throw all of their blankets off and get to the floor in almost complete darkness....Now Hermana Camacho and I haven't been able to tell who gets to the floor first (it could be because it is dark or perhaps because we are still asleep...) So we came up with what we thought was a brilliant idea, the first person to the light wins! So two mornings ago we both leapt out of bed and booked it for the light...and smacked straight into each other! Ohhh.... No need to worry, I still got to the light first!

This week by different people I have been called a redhead and a blond. People here have darker hair and so they are convinced that I am a blond. It is a little strange...

I also got called gordito (which is basically the equivalent of "little fatty"). It is a very different culture here and people often comment on weight. The good thing was that it was about a photo of me and not me now. Apparently I lost a lot of weight since I came...for the record I think I am exactly the same, it just wasn't a super flattering photo. Oh well I should probably get used to that. When I get home I probably will be a good 200 pounds heavier!

The fun food of the week.....FISH! You all know how much I love fish...I got served a fish...a whole fish...with bones... Let's just say my distaste for fish has only grown! In case you were all wondering, I ate the whole thing....yuck!

Now for the great news of the week: We had an investigator come to church yesterday!!! His name is Jose, he is about 70 and we have already taught him a couple of lessons. We got to teach him the law of chastity this past week, because he has a 33 year old "compañera". He is really nice and the lessons are going really well! 

My Spanish gets better every week. I understand a lot, but speaking is still pretty hard! I have been trying to teach more in lessons and it has been going pretty well! 
Padres, I am so jealous of you and your 50th state! When I get back you should take me to Alaska!

Love You All Lots,

Hermana McMurray