Monday, March 31, 2014

Daytrippin´ in Montevideo

Dear Familia,

This week I spent three days in Montevideo!!! I will give a little run down of what happened.

-11:15 am: The Zone Leaders call me and inform me that I need to be in the bus terminal at 12 noon. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to pack everything that I would need for three days, eat lunch, and deal with two crises. We managed to only arrive 5 minutes late!
-7:30 pm: We arrived in Montevideo at the bus terminal, thirty minutes from the Mission Home. After trying for about twenty minutes to figure out where and which bus to take, we decided to take a taxi.
-8:30pm: We arrived at the Mission find that no one else had arrived. Normally that would be okay, but since I was alone with two Elders, it was a little uncomfortable. I realized that I have never been without another Hermana for 24 hours, 7 days a week, for the last 10 months....I am going to go through serious withdrawal when I get back! Anyway, we ended up waiting in the lobby for almost two hours, for other Hermanas to arrive. I missed Hermana Ramírez!

-9:00 am until 9:00 pm (with breaks to eat): We had a council meeting with President Smith! It was with all of the Zone Leaders and the other Sister Leader Trainers from the whole misión and it was incredible. My favorite thing that we talked about was our desires.  President said that if we really desire to serve the Lord and be better every day, we will achieve it. If we really desire to be better missionaries or better people, we can achieve it. If we really want to have eternal life and live with God again, we can achieve it! In the end, everything begins and ends with what we want. I am really starting to understand this principle in the mission. So I have started trying to make sure that my will is always in line with God´s will for me! If I can come to understand and want the same things that God wants for me, I will be able to achieve eternal life. I am so grateful for all of the things that I am learning in the mission, things that are changing my life!

-9:00 am: We did divisions with some of the sisters in Montevideo (next to my old área). I saw my old Bishop and some of the members! I have missed Barrio 3!
-8:00 pm: We got back to good old Rivera! I missed Rivera and my Ward and Hermana Ramírez! I feel a little dead, but it was exciting to be witth President Smith for a day!

That is about all I have time to write this week.... but I will include one other little story, so you can all laugh!

Yesterday it rained, so we made torta fritas (fried dough). I guess that my conclusión doesn´t really sound logical, but everyone here makes torta fritas when it rains! So, since we are pretty much Uruguayans, we decided to try to make some for Maria and her autistic son Nicolas. We thought they turned out great, so we were excited to share them. So we proudly handed them a tupperware full of torta fritas! Nicolas had a huge grin on his face and immediately grabbed one and began to eat. After about three minutes, Nicolas vaulted from his chair and ran to the bathroom, where he began to vomit...I guess we really aren´t as good cooks as we thought... (later we found out he was a little sick!)

Well I love you all! Have a good week!
Hermana McMurray

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cambios Sin Cambios...

Dear Family,

Well we are passing another week and another set of transfers...and the votes are in. I am staying in Rivera!!! Hermana Ramirez is also staying. We are going to have 4 and a half months together (a lot more time than is usual). I am super excited and sure that we are going to have another great 6 weeks together!!!

I haven´t written to much about the Family Valentti lately, so I will have to give a short run down. Daniel went to work far away, in another city for the last three months, but now he has returned. He and his wife Luciana have started a new restaurant that is functioning in their house. I think I will be the first to give good reviews because we ate lunch with them last week, on their second day open!  Two weeks ago Daniel received the Aaronic Priesthood. This last Sunday I got to watch him pass the sacrament. I got a small inkling how a mother feels when she sees her first child pass the sacrament. Daniel had his white shirt and tie and looked about ready to throw up, he was so nervous :D! I was watching him and reflecting on the blessings of the Priesthood. I have seen so many miracles and felt so much love in my life, through the priesthood! I always watch Dad and the way that he handles all of his responsibility and I am impressed. I know that he could never juggle everything, if it weren´t for the priesthood that he has. Dad is always super super busy, but I have always felt that he is around when I need him (that might be thanks to all of the interviews that we had :D)!


-Gael Valentti (the 3 year old son of Luciana and Daniel) has been listening to his parents read the scriptures a lot. This week he started a conversation with his mother with the following words: ¨And it came to pass that Nephi and I ...¨ He then went on to tell a story all about the things that he and Nephi did.

-We recieved a call from President...which we didn´t answer because we were in an activity. You should see the terror that appears on the faces of missionaries when they receive a call from President during transfers...So of course we went into panic mode thinking one of us, was going to leave. Luckily, nobody is leaving! I still think I almost had a heart attack!

-We are gaining two missionaries in our area tomorrow and we still don´t have an apartment. It looks like we might end up homeless for the next week (or a hotel if we are lucky)! We are hoping that they will finish the contract for the apartment and buy furniture in the next couple of days. If not...

Well that is all the crazy things that are happening this week! I love you all and I hope that you all have a great week!

Hermana McMurray

Monday, March 17, 2014

More rain pictures

Rainstorm photos

The rainstorms here are crazy strong...

Apartment Hunting In Rivera!

Dear Familia,

Another week has come and gone and it is time once again for my weekly email! Happy Birthday to Ryan, Nathan, and Miles! This week was a great week, and lots of crazy things happened! Highlights include:

-My companion found 4 lice eggs in my is official....I have lice! I am trying to kill them, but we really don´t have time to do anything about our little friends!

-I had a embarrassing word mix-up, see if you can find it (if you don´t understand, you can go to google translate...or learn Spanish!).
Me: ¨Los Estados Unidos tiene milliones de dudas.¨
Hermana Ramirez: ¨Porque tiene tantos dudas¨
Me: ¨No sé, ellos no usan so dinero en maneras sabias¨
Hermana Ramirez: ¨Huh?¨
(Dudas..deudas...casi lo mismo)!

-We went apartment hunting for the new elders that are going to be in our area. You should have seen us wandering around completely clueless! Ohhh the walls look clean...the bathroom is decently sized....look a big window for more light...5000 that a lot?. In the end we called the people in charge and left it in their hands. I think my apartment hunting days are over for now...I can now mark realtor off the list of desired professions!

-We had the super desired beans from Brasil for our Family Home Evening treat this week. I convinced them to give Hermana Ramirez three platefuls...she passed a rough night :D!

-We weathered some crazy rainstorms!

Now to the religious part...after all I am serving a mission!  In our District meeting (or a meeting that we have with other missionaries every week) we talked a lot about needed to have experiences with the Savior. Our district leader, Elder Sifuentes
(from Peru, I know...I am surrounded by Peruvians) challenged us to try to have personal experiences with our Savior this week. What I came to feel was amazing! I realized my prayers were more fervent, my understanding of the Atonement grew, and I felt more love (for others and the the of Jesus Christ)! I have a firm testimony in the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that he suffered for me. I know that He lives and that He is ready to help me through all of the challenges that I will face! I love this gospel and every time that I read the Book of Mormon I am more sure that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the Earth! I challenge all of you to do the same. To try and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You will find that you are happier and that you will have the ability to overcome the challenges of your lives!

Love you all tons,
Hermana McMurray

Monday, March 10, 2014

9 months and Counting...

Dear Familia,

This week has been a great week! We taught lots of lessons and are working hard! The most notable thing that happened this week is that we have investigators who are progressing really well!!! Katia and her daughter Alejandra! They have been reading the Book of Mormon together and Alejandra came to church this week (Katia couldn´t because her youngest child was really sick)! All of our lessons have been interesting because she is Brazilian and literally only speaks Portuguese. We talk and she asks us to repeat. Then she talks and we ask her to repeat. Sometimes we really struggle to understand one another, but this has given rise to a miracle. When the Spirit is really strong in our lessons, we have found that all of us can
understand one another perfectly!

Highlights of the week:
-I passed my halfway mark in the mission... It was a little sad to think that I only have 9 months more, but we celebrated with some interesting photos that involved an old lady dress and a balloon!

-Hermana Ramirez used a vacuum for the first time in her life...she was fascinated :D! I have officially crossed off the idea of starting a vacuum company in Peru.

-We decided we wanted to make a cake this week. Sounds easy right?!
Here were the main steps we struggled on:
1. Mix in 1 package of pudding mix (We couldn´t find pudding mix we used flan mix)
2. Mix in Oil (My companion forgot)
3. Stir in Chocolate Chips (It is impossible to buy chocolate chips, don´t ask me why. I passed an aisle that was full of homemade sprinkles of every flavor...yet they don´t sell chocolate chips... So we improvised and cut up a chocolate bar).
4. Put the batter in an oven safe pan (We didn´t have any pans..Hermana Ramirez wanted to use a pot, but I crossed that off as a fire hazard. Finally we found one, but it had holes in the side. So we did what all hungry missionaries would do. We slapped some dough (we were making tortillas earlier) on the holes and cooked the cake in the pan any way!)
5. Cook the cake on 350 for 45 minutes (We forgot about it. Don´t worry we only made it half a block outside of our apartment before we remembered it was still cooking in the oven!)
In the end it, surprisingly turned out delicious!

-We have been infested with lice in my apartment!!! We teach lots of poor people and the customs here have turned out to make the spreading of lice even easier. Whenever you meet someone you give them a kiss on the cheek and then again when you leave. It is very hard to avoid getting lice and sicknesses when you have to kiss everyone you meet!  Don´t worry I have already started the fumigation process!

-I tried to make tacos, but unfortunately we didn´t have taco seasoning. So I improvised with curry...A LOT of curry. In the end we called them Uruguayan Tacos and chucked them in the trash. The moral of the story...when you make tacos, don´t pour in half a package of curry because you want them to have flavor.

Well, that is all for this week folks!
Hermana McMurray

Monday, March 3, 2014

Alicia-Franco Baptism

Alicia and Franco on their Baptism Day (yep, we are still in the bathroom)!!
Alicia´s little daughter Josefina also makes an appearance in the background!

Victoria's Baptism

Victoria and I!
All of us together!


Hermana Berlin, Hermana Goode, and I! We were all in the CCM together!
Hermana Berlin and I! We have photos together throughout our entire missions!

Montevideo Temple

Hermana Ramirez and I in front of the beautiful temple of Montevideo, Uruguay!

Hermanas at Zone Conference

All of the Hermanas in our Zone Conference.
Hermana Smith and I!!! She is so cute!!

Montevideo - The Place of My Birth!

I was so excited to hear about Easton! He looks so cute! I was hoping for a little redhead, but it looks like he is going to resemble Parker and Miles! I think all the little redheads in heaven are waiting to come into my family (Sorry Michelle :D)!!!

This week has been pretty different! We left for two days to go the the temple in Montevideo and to have a Zone Conference. President and Sister Smith had us study with them the scriptures about the Fall of Adam and the Creation and then we went into the temple. For me it was a very special experience! I had had a couple of questions, that I have been trying to find answers to for the last five or six months.  While I was in the temple, I received the answers that I have spent so much time looking for! I encourage everyone who can, to study before going into the temple. You will find that you will receive more answers and they will be more clear! I love the temple!!!

We also had three very special Baptisms this last Saturday! Alicia and her son Franco got baptized! They were so prepared and we are so excited for them to be a part of our ward. They both have very strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Franco is only 8, but he too has been reading (He is already in 1 Nephi 10 :D)! We also had a young woman named Victoria, who got baptized. She is an investigator from the last six months. She is only 13, but she has really surprised me, with her maturity. She told us that she has been reading the Book of Mormon every day. She said last week she started to read and she was so interested she couldn´t put it down! She is already finishing up 2 Nephi! I felt so blessed to be able to witness the changes that have taken place with these people. I love that the truth of the gospel is manifested to everyone (middle-aged, youth, and children alike).  Everyone can feel the truthfulness of the gospel through the reading of the Book of Mormon and sincere prayer!

Today, we were waiting patiently in a long line outside of the ATM (to get our money for the month), when I heard a loud screech. I turned and looked at Hermana Ramirez and saw her whole right arm was covered in bird poop (that happened to be a lovely shade of green). We didn´t realize we were standing underneath a giant collection of pigeons, but I got a pretty good laugh (as well as all of the other people in line)!

I was also thinking the other day that Hermana Ramirez and Nathan would be great friends! She has managed to forget her water bottle in 6 or 7 different houses. Se also has forgotten her umbrella (3 times), her jacket (3 or 4 times), and other various bags, boxes, etc. We have recovered almost everything...except her hymn book...we still haven´t found it. The good news is that we have lots of fun together! We have now been together 24/7 for the last 2 and a half months, so we know
each other pretty well!

Well I think that is about it for the week!
Love you all lots,
Hermana McMurray