Monday, February 24, 2014

Torrential Downpour

Dear Family,

This week we had a baptism. Maria Elsa Silva was baptized on Saturday!  We only have been teaching her for a little over a month, but she was pre-prepared! Hermana Maria is Luciana´s Mom. She had received a Book of Mormon thirty years ago, but she never had any desire to read it.  She said when we talked to her one day, she felt prompted to find her book and read it. Unfortunately, after 30 years, she couldn´t remember where she put it... Fortunately, we had given her autistic son, Nicolas, a Book of Mormon the week before! She borrowed his book and began to read...and she loved it! After her baptism she said, ¨When I started to read the Book of Mormon, I knew the Church was true. I know the Book of Mormon is true.¨ After Maria finished her simple, beautiful testimony about the Book of Mormon, her daughter Luciana bore her testimony. She said that she has seen a night and day difference in her family, since they started to study the Book of Mormon together. She said that the Book of Mormon literally changed her family!

I was thinking a lot about what they said. I know that the key to true conversion lies in the Book of Mormon. For those who are struggling with their testimonies of the Church, read the Book of Mormon and I promise that it will answer every single one of your questions. For those who have never read the Book of Mormon, I encourage you to find one and read it. It will answer your questions and it will bring peace into your life. I know, because every day I read the Book of Mormon and I feel that it is true!

Now to some of the crazy things that happened this week:
-An hour before Maria´s baptism, it began to rain...and then pour...until it was a complete torrent! We looked at the street in front of the church about 20 minutes before it was supposed to start and it looked more like a river than a street. The water was at least a couple feet deep. At 7 pm, when the baptism was supposed to start...nobody was in the chapel (including Maria). So, you all know me very well...panic set in pretty fast. I am not known for being very calm and we worried that no one would be able to come. Finally at about 7:30, Maria arrived and about 30 other courageous people, in a giant group! It all ended up going very smoothly!

-We wanted to help one of the less active youth go to an activity. She told us she couldn´t because she had to finish her chores. So of course, we offered to help! Next thing we know we were behind her house staring at an enormous mountain of cardboard boxes. She told us
we had to flatten them and put them in bags. Just imagine, two missionaries, in skirts, jumping up and down on a huge mountain of boxes...The good news, she made it to the youth activity!!! Score!!!!

-As of this week, our beloved Temporal (the horse in all of the photos) will never have any children :(! Hermana Ramirez and I were sad that we won{t get to see Baby Temporals.

That is about it for this week! This upcoming week we are headed to Montevideo for a conference and to go to the temple!!! I am so excited and I should have some fun photos! I love you all lots! I am praying for you all!

Hermana McMurray

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still No Baby Hadley!

Dear Familia,

It is crazy to hear that everyone is getting engaged or married! I am convinced everyone waited to get married until they heard I was leaving for the mission! On the other hand, I am glad that people are finding their eternal companions. Congratulations, Shana and Lindsay!!!!

I forgot to talk about Cambios (or transfers) this last week....probably because they were uneventful. Hermana Ramirez and I are here for another 6 weeks together!!! I am so excited because I love Rivera and I never want to leave! So, I am safe for another 6 weeks! The only thing that wasn´t too fun, was that we were awake all night helping send off, collect, and find the other new hermanas. When we finally got to our apartment at 2 am, we realized we had 4 hermanas and 2 beds. So Hermana Ramirez and I slept on the floor and the other Hermanas slept in the beds. Hermana Ramirez was a little sore from sleeping on the the next day for her was a little rough...

At our first appointment, she decided to pet the investigators dog...a huge brown monster. The dog decided it wanted a chunk of her hand...Then we left for our next appointments. We have had a ton of rain lately and so we were trying to get down a muddy hill in front of a member´s house. We were trying to be careful (you know, with skirts and all), when Hermana Ramirez completely ate least the whole neighborhood (who were outside enjoying mate) got a good laugh! She wasn´t too happy, but I laughed pretty much all day!! Poor Hermana Ramirez...

This week lots of funny things happened, but I don´t have too much time to write about them, so I will just mention the funniest!

We were teaching an old less active member and her wild 4 year old grandson this week. We started the lesson by singing I am a child of God. While singing, the two started to fight. Angelo (the four year old) had a huge stick and his grandma had a tiny little stick. They were standing opposite of each other screaming and whacking stick against stick...meanwhile we just kept singing (...with parents, kind and dear...). The weirdest background music ever...
I wish sometimes that I had a video camera to record the experiences that I almost cannot believe actually happened!

This week we worked hard!!! Hermana Ramirez and I are working really well together! Our motto is Obedience, the first law of Heaven (thank you parents)!! We are finding, that the more that we are obedient, the more that the Lord is blessing us! I am learning so much and already I feel like a completely different person! The experiences that I have had here have changed my perceptions and my life! I love serving the Lord! It is the best work in the whole world!!

I love you all lots!
Vamos Arriba de Uruguay,
Hermana McMurray

ps. I want to see lots of photos of Baby Hadley, when he arrives!

Pictures 2/11

Hermana Berlin (from the CCM) and I in front of our favorite sign of Rivera!
Our District this change! CAPOS!!!!! My favorite part is that the Elders are the ones sitting!
All the people from my ditrict in the CCM! We all are in Rivera!
Elder Carvalho (from Brasil), Hermana Valverde (from Ecuador), and I.
We have had all of our missions together (in Flores and Rivera)!
Hermana Olson and I. Yes...I know I am a little burnt!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Caballos y Besos!!!

Dearest Family,

This week has been one of the funniest and strangest weeks of my mission! First we are working hard to help our investigators progress!  I haven´t talked too much about them so I will do a little run down.  We have two baptisms (Maria and Yohni) planned for the 22nd of this month! Maria is the mother of Luciana! She has seen what she calls a ¨miraculous¨ change in Luciana and Daniel, and for that reason she wanted to learn about the Church! She has grown so much and is reading the Book of Mormon. She is also consistently attending church! Yohni (pronounced Shonny; welcome to Uruguay) is an investigator that has been investigating for more than a year! He has finally decided to be baptized and is super excited! We also have two baptisms scheduled for the 1st of March (Alicia and Franco). Alicia is amazing and one of my favorite people! She is a single mother of 5 (including Franco who is 8 and wants to be baptized too!) She has had all of the lessons and she knows that the Church is true! The other day Franco was pretty sad about something and in desperation she opened the Book of Mormon to try and find an answer. She said that the first verse she read was exactly what Franco needed! She has a strong testimony that the Book of Mormon is true! Also Luciana and Daniel are doing great. They have grown so much and love to share their testimonies with all of their friends (their best friend has a baptismal date)! Every time that we knock on the door to visit Luciana, she is reading the Book of Mormon!  They are receiving callings and helping our Ward!!! Sorry for the huge to the fun stories!

-We have now officially managed to get rid of the rats in our apartment...but now we have a new furry friend! A cat has now taken up residence in our apartment. We walked into our apartment yesterday and there was a cat sleeping on my companion´s bed. She was not happy! We finally managed to coax it out with a chicken bone. Then again this morning, we found the cat sleeping on our desks...We now have to close all of our windows when we leave...otherwise we have a cat! I just laugh now at all of the animals we have in our apartment (frogs, cockroaches, spiders, centipedes, rats, and cats)! I am definitely starting to collect stories to tell my children!

-We were teaching Adimir (the man who takes care of a horse in the park of our area). We were sitting and teaching Adimir and his horse was standing at his shoulder. We were teaching the Law of Chastity and we told him: ¨You can´t have sexual relations before marriage¨ He
immediately pointed at his horse and said ¨You too¨. New experiences every week... teaching the Law of Chastity to a horse, check!

-In Uruguay everyone gives kisses on the cheek, it is a custom. As Sister Missionaries we can only kiss women and children. This week Hermana Ramirez didn´t realize that a child was coming up to give her a kiss and she turned her head. The little kid accidentally gave her a
kiss on the tip of her nose! She was a little shocked and I couldn´t stop laughing!

That´s all I have time to write today! I love you all and I hope that you don´t have any snow and have to go to school every day :D!

Hermana McMurray

Monday, February 3, 2014

Streets of Rivera

Us walking in the streets of our area...Don´t worry it was P-Day :D!

An Investigator and I! She really didn´t want her picture taken!

We have a beautiful view of all of Rivera!

Rivera stairs

Welcome to the stairs that are all over our area!

Pictures of Rivera

My first Rainbow in Rivera!!! It is so pretty here! (Yes, this is the
moment that you can all be a little jealous)!

¨Say Hello to My Little Friend¨

Dear Familia,

This week has been wonderful!!!! It rained buckets and so we finally had some cooler temperatures. The predictions for the weather in February are interesting. They are saying that of the 28 days, there will be 20 days of rain! I personally am feeling excited about this...(at least I won´t resemble a tomato anymore)!

This week we had a very special experience with one of the members. We are working with a less active who is trying to stop smoking. We are helping him to complete a program that is provided by the church. One of the steps is that he needs to give us all of his cigarettes,
lighters, and tobacco....the problem was that he staunchly refused the first day. We left him and told him to pray and read the Book of Mormon. The next day when we went to visit him, he ran up to see us.  He told us he had a gift for us....he handed us a bag full of his tobacco, lighter, and cigarette wrappers. He told us that he didn´t want them and he never wanted to smoke again! He is now reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day!!! I love seeing how the gospel really can completely change people. They lose the desire to sin and gain a desire to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord!

Funny stories this week:

-I forgot to mention this week that we have a small problem...a small furry problem. Many people think, ¨my apartment in the mission was horrible, but I am pretty positive that Hermana Ramirez and I win!  This week we discovered that we have an infestation of rats! We find pellets from our little friends all over our apartment! I am afraid that my greatest fear is going to be realized...rats consuming my feet (see Other Side of Heaven)! We have cleaned and cleaned, but they are still running around. The mission is one grand adventure, difficult at
times, but always fun!!!

-We were having a lesson with Yohni (who is going to be baptized the 22nd of this month) and his three children and two grandchildren. We asked one of his grandchildren (Wilian) if he could say the prayer. He promptly responded in the affirmative. He put his face in his hands
and....nothing! We all waited about 15 seconds and finally Yohni said: ¨I think he is embarrassed and doesn´t want to pray¨... at that exact moment Wilian´s head popped up and he said loudly, ¨Amen¨! I guess next time we need to specify that we want him to pray out loud :D!

-In our area we are plagued with 10 to 14 year old boys in the streets. The heckle us and yell all sorts of profanities at us. This week one of them nailed me in the back of the neck with a rock. I was slightly infuriated...Later the next day we had a lesson about how we always need to turn the other cheek...or our necks!

That is all for this week! Love you all lots and don't forget to write me!
Hermana McMurray