This last week has literally been insane! I left Montevideo and headed for the other side of Uruguay....Rivera! The funny thing is that I am still in the city... I guess the Lord really wants me to learn to love the city (unfortunately you guys raised me in the country...). Everything is going great! It is spring here, but our average temperature is getting close to 100, along with extreme humidity! I actually have been enjoying the heat, since it has been more than a year since I had summer!
My companion Hermana Mazzini is awesome! She is from Peru! I think I must be a really good influence on her, because every day she now puts on sunscreen... she says that I make her feel like she is black (I think it is supposed to be a compliment :D)! She is a very loving companion and together we have been working like crazy! My area (Barrio Central 1) is sooooo receptive! This last week we had 7 people with baptismal dates and 7 progressing investigators! It has been crazy, since before I didn´t teach almost any lessons at all! Now I am teaching everything including the law of chastity and word of wisdom at least once every day! What has really been amazing to me is the love that I already feel for the people in Rivera! We have one investigator who is called Carmen! She is 19 and she is amazing! She knows that the church is true, but she cannot join because her ¨spouse¨ (because no one is married here) doesn´t want to get married, so she cannot be baptized! She has been progressing like crazy and she truly has desires to change. We pray every day that her partner will be receptive to our message!
Funny stories of the week: -We were a little lost in our area and we were wandering down the road, when we passed a little old man. He looked at us and as he passed us he said: ¨Hola, Elderes¨ It turns out that about half of the people in our area, don´t know that we are Hermanas, so they all call us Elders... That is a first for me! -We have an infestation of ants in our apartment....it really isn't that funny! Actually the funny part is that I screamed because I stepped in a pile of them and our neighbors came rushing over. They asked us who was injured and or dying...whoops! I think they all think I am just some crazy gringa! -Everyone..(more than 50% of the people we talk to) speak portuñol (Portuguese)! I cannot even believe it! I thought it was a joke, but I found out it isn´t. The other day we were giving a charla (lesson) and I asked Adimir (an investigator) a question. He started talking a ton, and he got all teary, and he finished and then he looked at me...and I looked at him....and he looked at me... I hadn´t understood a single word he had said! I am pretty sure he was speaking almost completely portuguese! -We went into Brazil!!!! It is soo crazy! When you cross the street it actually completely changes! Everything is in portuguese, everyone talks in portuguese, the cars are only Brazilian, they don´t have the same food....I thought since all you have to do is cross the street it would be basically the same, but it isn´t. I tried to talk to a handful of people, but none of them understood Spanish! Crazy, right???
That is about it for the week! I love you all! Hermana McMurray
The old lady is Martita (...the one who said ¨Que Rico¨). She is an amor!
Olga, who is a converso reciente and a menos activa! She is one of the sweetest people! She called the day before cambios to try and figure out where we were going....We had to tell her she was going to have to wait, just like the rest of us! She responded: ¨I hate cambios...they make me so nervous¨
Eva Crovetto (the one with the hymnbook!) is my best friend in the whole world!
This week has literally been insane! I feel like Hermana Coral and I have laughed through this whole week! The list of funny stories this week is SUPER long...so I will just tell a few of them:
- We actually got fed lunches by some of the members this week! I was so excited...until I saw the food! One day we were fed cooked (to death) spinach topped with instant potatoes. Every time the sister left to find more pictures of her family, Hermana Coral begged me to eat hers and tried to push it onto my plate :)! The second day (and by far worse) we were fed some sort of rolled up concoction. It was sweet, cake-like bread, with a ton of tuna, mushrooms, green olives, and at least half a bottle of mayonnaise on the top. They then rolled it all together and topped it with lettuce! That delicious course was followed by more fish (my unfortunately still had scales). I just smiled , placed it in my mouth, and tried not to think about it too much! The good news is that the members love us and now they really want to feed us...the bad news is the food is a little interesting... -I received a call from my District Leader on Sunday. Nothing out of the norm...Until the world went a little crazy. Hermana Coral was standing next to me and all of a sudden she let out a blood-curdling scream! I whip around and managed to trip over a suitcase in the middle of the floor. That made the phone go flying out of my hand! So I was just laying on the ground completely stunned, my companion was dying laughing, and I could hear my district leader yelling from the phone! He thought one of us got murdered...turns out my companion saw a spider... -Yesterday I went to the house of a member (whom Hermana Coral is convinced is over 100). She asked to see the pictures of my family! So of course, I whipped out my photo album (thank you Mom)! Let me quote her exactly: ¨Este es su Papa? ¡Que rico!¨ ¨Y este es su Hermano (Ryan)....¨Ooooohhhh que rico!!!!!¨ The only reply I could think of was...¨yep their wife and fiance think so too!¨ -Yesterday we also got lost..completely! We managed to cross into 2 missions, 5 Zones, and 15 or more areas! We took the wrong omnibus...then we didn´t want to get off because we didn´t know where we were and we thought it would loop... Nope! It finished and we were forced to get off! So then we proceeded to wander and after about fifteen minutes some things started to look familiar. I realized we were in Ciudad Vieja...the next City over! Our poor District leader was livid! He thought we just wanted to see it!
Anyway that is about all for this week...EXCEPT CAMBIOS! I am leaving Montevideo and headed for Rivera! See the attached map...It is on the other side of the country and I have all of the border of Brazil! Everyone speaks Portuñol and it is 110 degrees or more! I am also leaving Hermana Coral...I am a little sad, because the work was so fun with her, but I am sure my next comp will be great too! Her name is Hermana Mazzini and she is form Peru! She speaks no English (great for my Spanish) and she has 12 weeks more in the mission that I do! I am super sad to leave Montevideo and all of the members, but I know I will learn to love Rivera too! Next week my email will be from the other side of the country!
So, for any of you who have not been counting the days since I left....(probably because you are counting the days until I come home :D), I recently hit a big milestone! I now have 5 months on the mission! I really cannot believe it, because I feel like time is racing by...I swear yesterday I said goodbye to all of you and headed off to the unknown world of Uruguay! The good news is I am now starting to feel a little bit like a Uruguayan! Today two girls from Mexico made fun of me for my Uruguayen accent! I have never felt so excited to be made fun of! Everyone will probably laugh at my Spanish accent when I get home (due to my very pronounced shhhh sounds), but at least I will know Spanish!
This week has been a little rough with investigators... We lost all of our investigators except one (one thought it was too much work and the other told us in perfect English to stop coming because he is being watched and it is dangerous...), so we are now back to the drawing
board! The good news is...I love it all! Now we just have more opportunities to find and to really try and share the gospel with everyone! I love finding a new person and getting to teach about when Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ! It is one of the most important events in human history and hardly anyone knows it even happened! I love getting to share my testimony and getting to truly be an instrument in the hand´s of the Lord! I love the mission! ¡La Obra va bien!
Funny Stories from this week:
-One of the best parts of being a missionary...is the heckling by the locals! I think it is especially bad since we are missionaries, foreigners, and girls wearing skirts (who walk the streets for about 10 hours every day)! At least 10 times a day we get comments from all sorts of different men! Here are a few of my favorites from this week:
¨Yo tengo que ir a esa iglesia¨ (imagine it with a super creepy accent). ¨Que lindo que sos¨, ¨Que divina que sos¨ and my personal favorite ¨I like it¨ (sadly enough...not a translation)! It is super entertaining, listening to people trying to practice their English! (Have fun translating, non-Spanish speakers...)
- We had our second Halloween party this week! Yep...second one! Last week it rained a ton during our fiesta. That is really really bad, since I have learned that all Uruguayans seem to be allergic to rain (all of the church leaders pray it doesn´t rain on Sundays...otherwise
attendance is down by a third)! So we had the same Halloween party again! It was way more fun the second time. One of the Elders even made homemade rootbeer! The bad news: his sugar might have contained ants. The good news: nobody noticed :D!!! Mmmmm!
That is about all for this week!
¡Hoy es el día!,
p.s. Next week is cambios, so I will not be able to write until Tuesday! I also could be leaving or getting a new companion or possibly both! You can all guess where I am going or if I am staying!
Pumpkins are expensive so they really don´t sell them here! Our bishop decided to get ahead of the game and carve an orange!
Me and my little bats! Bet you guys can´t tell which one I painted...
Me after attempting to bob for apples...with all of my non-waterproof makeup! Whoops...
This week has been another great in the mission field! I love being a missionary (misionera...way better because it shows that I am a girl!)! This week I had my best experience with teaching in all of my mission! Hermana Coral and I contacted an old investigator named Alex this week. The first thing he said to us was ¨I don´t really have a lot of interest because I don´t believe in the law of tithing!¨ This is what we said: ¨Oh really, well we would really like to teach you a quick lesson.¨ I think he was so startled by the fact that we didn´t try and make him believe in tithing right away, that he said yes. So we sat outside with him (because he is a single man) and began to teach. It was a wonderful lesson! We started with a hymn and prayer, which I think embarrassed him a little (since we were in the street), but I think it also touched him. He allowed us to teach all about the Restoration and at the end he didn´t ask anything about tithing. He also agreed to pray to know that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. The best part for me was that I got to teach the First Vision.
I started talking and he really connected with me. I felt the Spirit sooooooooo strong and got all emotional during the part where God talks about Jesus Christ! It was crazy because he was completely, 100% focused on what I was saying. I could see that he was feeling the
Spirit throughout the whole vision! I know that this gospel is true and that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ! I love that I get to testify every day of the things that I know!
Now for all of the Funny Stories:
-We went to a Relief Society Activity in the Relief Society President´s house (and we brought a less active sister:)). So Hermana Coral and I got to sit and watch all of them do crafts (yay!). After about 20 minutes Hermana Coral decided to try and play with the 2 year old daughter of our Relief Society President. Next time I looked over, Hermana Coral was trying to brush the hair of one of the little girl´s doll...with a pencil.... (I am still not really sure why). The whole time we were in that apartment (2 hours), we talked to the sisters and Hermana Coral brushed that doll´s hair! I was actually super impressed...she managed to make the rat´s nest into a perfectly straight beautiful head of hair! So as we left we looked back and we saw the little girl with her doll. She had taken the hair between her two hands and was rubbing it into knots! I seriously thought Hermana Coral was going to launch herself across the room at her :)!
-My brothers should enjoy this story...Hermana Coral and I were walking down the street on Sunday on our way to church! It was a beautiful spring day, and so I was just singing to myself and not really paying attention to anything! All of sudden in front of us I saw a sudden movement, and I freaked out! I screamed, stopped, and grabbed onto Hermana Coral. I am not really sure why...but I guess I thought someone was throwing something at us! The good news is that we were not hit in any way. The bad news is...I might have utterly embarrassed myself. The moral of the story...if a young man stops in front of you and tries to give you a flower...don´t scream in the middle of a crowded city street!
That is about all for this week! Love you all!
La obra va bien,