Monday, September 30, 2013

Dulce De Leche...the Meaning of Life!

Dear Familia,

Okay, I this upcoming week I hit a gigantic milestone! Take a guess...anyone....anyone... Yep, I officially finish my training! That means after this week, we have changes and my whole life could change.  In one week, I might be in a totally different part of Uruguay and/or with a new companion (it is a little strange that now this is my whole life...)!

Annnyway, now to the exciting chronicles of a sister missionary in Uruguay:

-I decided to make Dulce de Leche this week...Now, for those of you who have never been to Uruguay (Argentina, Brazil...), and have never had the opportunity to taste Dulce de Leche, let me be the first to tell you, that you have never lived! It is rich, sweet, just have to try it to understand :)! Hermana Camacho tells me daily I am addicted, just because I prefer Dulce to food...pssshhhh, not true (más or menos). Now back to my story. I had a member give me a recipe to make Dulce, so I figured, why not?! So, last P-day I got all the ingredients and mixed them together, put it on the gas burner, and began to stir...and stir....and stir...1 hour....30 minutes more (the member said it would take a while...)...30 minutes more...At this point, my patience was completely gone, and I was sure that the member just wanted me to stir milk for a couple of hours.  So I decided it was time for a new course of action. Time to bring in the reinforcements...Hermana Camacho! So I yell for my comp and about 30 seconds later, I look up and Hermana Camacho is standing in the door of the kitchen completely soaked from head to toe....Now at this point I had no idea why she was wet...But she just walks silently past me, and tries to light the other burner...only one small problem...she is completely soaked. So I was just laughing and wondering what circumstances led to her being wet, meanwhile she is trying to get me to light the other burner. So I just take the lighter and try and light the burner...not smart... The lighter was all wet and so I may or may not have acquired a rather painful burn (don´t worry I will try and send pictures)!  Anyway to make a long story short...turns out my companion was wrestling our refrigerator in the bathroom (how I was unaware of this, I am still not sure), but don´t worry I made sure to get some pretty sweet pics of this! I also enjoyed delicious homemade Dulce de Leche!

(Edit: I asked how she ended up with cooked dulce de leche, and she said one burner is just much stronger than the once she switched burners, it worked.)

-This past Thursday we had our interviews with President Smith! He has changed everything in the mission (or so my companion has told me...), but I know that he is inspired of the Lord and that his goals and personality are perfect for this mission! The number one goal of our mission is to double Sacrament Meeting attendance in the following 6 months! My companion and I have been working like crazy this week and we had the privilege to see some results. Our base attendance in Sacrament is 60...this week....drumroll please....90! We had four less actives come to church this week!!!!!!! I know that this is an answer to prayers! Hermana Camacho and I still don´t really have any investigators, but we are finding other ways to fortify the church in this area! I am so grateful to all of you for your prayers and fasting, I think that it has really helped me! I feel the the love of the Lord every day and I really feel genuinely happy to have the opportunity to share this gospel with the people of Uruguay!

That is about all for this week! Next week my email will be on Tuesday due to changes!

Love you all lots,
Hermana McMurray

Monday, September 23, 2013


Dear Familia,

Last week my letter was pretty this letter might be a little lame. This week we aimed for the 25 lessons and we fell short...we had 8 in total. I am not going to lie, this week was tough, but all things in life that are worth having require lots of work. The good news is that I already know how to work...In the words of our beloved Mother: ¨Why do you need a popcorn break?¨ (said after five hours of weeding the garden...). So we are going to work (without popcorn breaks) with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength this week to teach more lessons and spread the word of God! The good news about walking the streets of Montevideo day in and day out, is all of the funny, strange, scary things that happen to me.

Stories of the week:

-We were teaching a lesson to an investigator and things were going great! Hermana Camacho begins to talk about Joseph Smith and is about to describe the first vision, when a huge, I mean HUGE dog came out, and stood in the doorway of the kitchen. Of course it takes one look at us, leaps over the furniture, and lands right in front of Hermana Camacho. She proceeds to squeal at the top of her lungs, lunge out of her chair, and make a beeline for the door. The dog then sees me... it walked over, and so I just did the only thing I could think to do, I began to pet it! So my companion is standing at the door and I am petting this dog, while the investigator is just looking at me. So it turns out the dog was pretty much in love with me and sat quietly by my feet for the rest of the lesson. The best part... the dog´s name is
Psycho! Yep, I pretty much tamed a wild beast this week, no biggie!

-I witnessed a stroke and a head on collision. I guess when you walk in the streets a ton, you tend to see some scary things too! My companion and I walked past a woman who seemed to be in pain. So we start to ask her what is wrong and she says that she has all sorts of
heart problems..first red flag. Then she begins to complain that her left arm flag number two. So of course we are trying to call medics and there is a huge group of people all standing around and staring at her. Anyway... to make a long story short about twenty
minutes later, the medics got there and told everyone to leave. No idea what happened, but I witnessed a person having a stroke hopefully for the first and last time in my life!

-I also saw a car hit a man on a little moto. I don´t know how many of you have spent any time in Uruguay (or Argentina), but everyone is on these little motos. They are one of the main forms of transportation.  I would have to say one of my favorite sites in the world is when I
see two fat men squished onto one of these tiny little motos (a freakishly common site) ;)! Anyway it was super scary, but I don´t think that the man died.

Anyway...I probably shouldn´t end with all of these depressing stories, but I am about out of time, so....
The work continues! I love the mission!
Love you all Lots,
Hermana McMurray

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Santa Maria...

Dear Familia,

This week has honestly been a little crazy, but absolutely wonderful!  Let´s start with the weather here...LOCO! The beginning of last week it was perfect! Slightly warm, with nice crisp breezes. Then came the Santa Rosa! Now for all those of you who are asking ¨what is the Santa Rosa?,¨ the answer to your question is a storm. But this is not just one of those normal kind of storms...This is a storm that comes on Augest 30th EVERY single year! Everyone is completely terrified because it killed five people in Montevideo last year. Anyway, with all the talk about this storm, I have been highly reminded of my childhood in Virginia, where everyone is convinced that the Farmer´s Almanac is practically a 100% accurate weather forecast. For the last two weeks, every raindrop has been called the Santa Rosa! The good news: the Santa Rosa came...the bad news: the Santa Rosa still hasn´t left! It has been raining for three days and the streets probably have almost three feet of water. For anyone who desires to have the best puddle jumping experience of their life, come to Montevideo! Now let´s leave the weather and get to the funny stories:
-Contacting....for anyone who has never been, you are missing out!  Sometimes, I just wish someone would follow us around and film some of the responses we get at doors! My favorite two experiences from this week:
1. We knocked on a door and asked to share a message. The man inside responded ¨How long is the message?¨ We responded ¨We only need five minutes.¨ He responded ¨Sorry, you cannot come in because I am actually completely naked...¨ Ohhhhhh......
2. We buzzed on the door of a less active sister named Susana. Here is our conversation with her...
Us: ¨Is this Susana?¨
Susana: ¨Yes, what do you need?¨
Us: ¨It´s the missionaries¨
Susana: ¨This isn´t actually Susana. She moved a long time ago.¨
Us: ¨Oh really....Do you believe in God?¨
Susana: ¨Yes, but I am a part of a different religion.¨
Us: ¨How wonderful. What was your name again?¨
Susana: ¨I don´t want to tell you¨
(at this point she hung up on us)
Oh the lengths people will go to avoid the missionaries!

-This week, I think I lived part of the Wizard of Oz. We have had the strongest winds I have felt in my entire life. Last night Hermana Camacho and I were just walking along, and all of a sudden we both were almost sprinting... The winds were so strong that, we were literally being forced to run. Don´t worry we are okay...although Hermana Camacho is a little sad, because her hat blew off and out of sight in about 10 seconds!

Now for the Spiritual part:

Hermana Camacho and I are trying our hardest to complete the new goals of the mission. One of the main goals is to teach 25 lessons every week (5 to new investigators, 5 to other people, 15 to less active members). I know that the goals of the mission are inspired, and so our main goal this week is to try and teach the 25 lessons.  Honestly, our area is a little bit complicated, and I have faced more rejection in the last 2 months, than I thought I would in my entire life. I worry sometimes that I will never be able to teach the lessons in Spanish, especially because we really haven´t had a progressing investigator since I arrived. Sometimes I feel like I don´t know how
to do missionary work, because I haven´t seen a single result or haven´t seen a single person changed. Then I remember that these feelings of discouragement and fear are not from the Lord. ¨Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)¨ has become my new motto. No, I cannot see the end from the beginning and no, I cannot really see a change in this area, but I can see a change in me! I am learning to trust in the Lord and to listen to only His voice! I know that through prayers and crazy hard work, miracles can be worked in Flores 3!!! This week we are
aiming for the 25 lessons!!!!! This is a week for miracles!

Hermana McMurray

Monday, September 9, 2013

Viajitos in Uruguay!

Dear Familia,

This week I officially hit three months!!! THREE MONTHS!!! I cannot really believe it, I swear just yesterday I was in the airport on my way to Buenos Aires!

Some fun stories of the week:
- Hermana Camacho and I were walking down the street and we stopped and said hello to a little old lady sitting on a wall. She promptly gets up and gives us both kisses and than begins to talk with Hermana Camacho. This is their conversation (obviously translated):
Old Lady: ¨How are you doing? Are you completely recovered from the flu?
Hna Cam:¨Oh yes I feel much better. How are you doing?¨
Old Lady: ¨I am doing okay. I have been feeling a little sick, but now
I am doing better. How is your mother doing?¨
Hna Cam: ¨She is doing great!¨
I will stop the translation there, because after that, we talked to her for five more minutes...
The best part...Hermana Camacho has never seen this lady before in her life! I was standing listening to their conversation and I was sure that they knew each other before...and apparently so did the little old lady!!! Anyway it made for a super great contact!

-This week has been a week of finding! We have been trying to find all of the less active members in our area. We have had quite a bit of success and have been able to contact about half (which is a miracle)!  Yesterday night we met with a less active member near our house. I asked Hna Camacho why we had never made contact with him before (since he is only a three minute walk from our house), she replied that she had never heard of him before. So we go and we see what seems to be an office, so undeterred we push one of the six doorbells and ask for this man.
That is when things started to seem a little strange....We get buzzed in and we get about halfway through this place full of couches, when we see the member. He is waiting for someone to unlock a gate.  So we are just standing there and staring at him and he finally gets through the gate and we all go and sit on the couches...(at this point Hermana Camacho and I are just kind of looking at each other and wondering what we should do). So we begin to talk to the member and he is answering our questions, meanwhile other people keep wandering by.  The thing is, they weren´t normal people...they all were acting kind of strange and two or three of them were just staring at me. So we continue to talk to the member for a little longer, until my companion cannot stand it for a moment longer and asks: ¨Why are all of these people out here?¨ Turns out we were in a mental facility! Yep I have now been in a mental facility in a foreign country...I am so glad I can finally mark that off of my bucket list! It turned out to be a great visit and we are going back later this week to try and help the member stop smoking! It was definitely a slightly different experience!

The work is going great! This week we worked tons! We have been trying to find more people to teach! Right now we don´t have a single progressing investigator, but I have faith that that will change. This past week we found a new investigator named Albaro! He is really promising and we have another appointment with him this week! Pray that he is receptive to our message!

Fun Food of the Week: Columbian Arepas! They are basically halfway between a tortilla and a pancake! I got to try super authentic ones, since my comp happens to be a Columbiana!!! I loved them!!! I would suggest to everyone that you find your nearest Columbian friend and have them make you some delicious arepas!

I love serving a mission! I am planning on serving for the next 80 years...(I think that my mission president will let me extend for that long)!

Hermana McMurray

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


If you look closely at the photo of the fat man eating a hamburger someone wrote ´Vegan´on the wall...

This is all Ciudad Vieja...
It is where all of the government buildings are!

The Struggles of Language Study!

Dear Familia,

This past week I got to go to the temple in Carrasco (all the Hermanas in Montevideo got to go)! It was such a wonderful opportunity! I sat in the temple and pondered exactly why I was serving a mission. While sitting there, I realized that the whole reason I am teaching others the gospel is to give them access to the Atonement, to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to be able to receive the blessings that come through the temple. It is in the temple that we are sealed as eternal families and I want all of the people in the world (my brothers and sisters) to receive this blessing! That is why I am serving a mission!!!

After the temple we hung out in the mission home for a couple of hours and I got to meet the newest set of Elder and Hermanas. I was talking to one of the girls, and out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the new Hermanas trying to talk to my companion. I think she managed to use about 3 correct words (in a five minute period), while boring my comp to death. I just laughed to myself....Ooohhhhh what a difference 6 weeks with a native speaker makes! 

Hermana Camacho and I have an hour of language study every day. You should just hear us...By the end I am mumbling to myself in spanglish about how much I hate Spanish and how it doesn´t actually make any sense. Meanwhile Hermana Camacho is knocking her head on the desk repeating ¨¿Por qué necesito íngles? Íngles no es importante!¨ I think we are both basketcases afterwards :)!

My Spanish has been improving every day. Here is a story I think you will all enjoy. I have a lady in my ward named Hermana Bowman. She has only been here for about 2 months and really doesn´t speak much Spanish, so I always talk to her in English. This week we were proselyting for about two hours in an area near our stake center, and afterwards we had a meeting in the stake center. When we walked in I saw her and so naturally I began to talk to her. Meanwhile she is just staring at me... So after about 20 seconds of her giving me the wierdest look...I start to feel super weird, so I just kinda stop talking. She looks at me and says ¨You know you were talking in Spanish right?¨ The good news is that I am heading down the road of fluency :)!

Fun food of the week: Ants! Yep, you didn´t read the email wrong....ANTS! Nope some nice little old lady didn´t feed them to us, it was actually my companion. Hermana Camacho left the lid off of the sugar and so when we got back to our apartment the thing of sugar had about thirty ants in it. So my comp did what any normal person would do...she picked out the ants (mas or menos) and promptly used the sugar. She then offered me the dish she had made (arroz con leche) with the ant infested sugar. I didn´t want to offend her, so I ate it. If you don´t hear from me next week, it is probably because I have died of some strange disease. 

We have been practicing teaching more this week. Every morning we practice in hopes that we will find people to teach. I have never actually gotten to teach a second lesson (the plan of salvation) to a real person! I have faith that this week, I will get that opportunity (the Lord blesses us when we trust in Him!). 

Caio from Uruguay,

Hermana McMurray