Friday, July 31, 2015

Week Ten!

Dear family and friends,
"To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle" -Walt Whitman.
       Last week, I traveled to PaysandĂș for a zone conference. This week, I went to Montevideo for training for all of the new missionaries for a day. This week, I will be going to PaysandĂș for divisions with other missionaries (when my companion goes with one hermana, and I go with that hermanas companion so we can all learn from each other). Every time I travel, I have to wake up at 3 to catch a bus. So much tired. 

       As for our investigators: they are struggling. Cirilia has been trying to quit smoking for over 6 months now and we have tried pretty much everything we can to help her. She lives with people that smoke so the temptation is always around her. Geraldin says she feels the spirit while she reads the Book of Mormon, but that is not a good enough answer for her that the church is true. It is a struggle. And as for Joaquin, our 8 year old, he decided he does not want to be baptized anymore. He is really scared so for now we are working with his mom and helping her progress, and she is helping him. I know the mothers influence is key. 

     I LOVE URUGUAY. The cutlure is different, the people are different, the food is different,  but I love it all so much. Our ward area is really large, so sometimes when we go to members houses to eat, we walk a lot. A lot. The picture attached is from the top of a hill (you cannot really tell) and as far as you can see is not even yet to our area. So I walked all of that plus some just to get back to my area. It was crazy. It is great though because I get so see so many beautiful and funny things as we walk. 

Love and miss you all!
Hermana Kaylee Marsh

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week Nine!

"As surely as the sun rises in the morning, faith produces hope-the expectation of good things to come-and brings us the power of the Lord to sustain us" -Marcus B. Nash

This week I: gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting (I wrote it all by myself too). Gave the prayer and my testimony in Spanish at a multi-zone conference (there were about 100 missionaries there). Was offered a cigarette. Explained what "then again, maybe not" means to someone who only knows English phrases from his video games. Ran up to the stand during church to get a 3 year old who was about to play the piano and explained to him why we could not do that during church (some things are the same all over the world). Ate chicken milganesas (I do not know how to spell that) at all but 1 meal served to us. It has been a busy week. 

My daily schedule is roughly this: 6:30- wake up and literally jump out of bed and exercise
7:00 shower, eat, prepare for the day, pray
7:50 personal study
8:50 set daily goals, finalize plans
9:30 pray and leave to teach
12:30 eat lunch
1:30 language study
2:20 companion study
3:20 daily planning
3:50 training on how to teach
5:00 leave to teach
9:30 return home, eat dinner if desired, write in journal, get ready for bed
10:30 pray and sleep
Next day: rinse, repeat.

It is nice and cold here. And by nice and cold I mean quite literally freezing 0 degrees celcius. Luckily I was prepared for this with my two jackets and fleece lined leggings. Sadly, I apparently forgot all of my gloves and scarves. The mission did give us a pair of gloves, a scarf, and wool socks, so I am taken care of haha. 

One fun fact about Uruguay is that everyone drives a moto. Not an exagerration. Most people cannot afford cars, so every single person has a moto. You see babies and dogs riding on them all the time. 

The work here is moving along. We have been trying to include the members in our ward in working with the less active members. Some are very willing, others not so much. It has been great to witness how much Christ can change lives, and I have only been here for a short time. 

There have been no prime picture taking opportunities so I included an awkward selfie just so you can all see that I am still alive

Hermana Kaylee Marsh

Week Eight!

Okay, now for this week. We live in a cute little apartment on the third floor. We have all the basics: sink, oven, stove, microwave, and mini-fridge. There are actually 3 rooms and only 2 people, so each of us have our own walk in closet. Our ward is amazing with the best 4 and a half foot Bishop. We actually have over 1000 members on record for our ward, but only an average Sacrament Meeting attendance of 60. Needless to say, we do a lot of work with less active members. The people here are some of the most generous and kind people I have ever met. Almost everyone knows who the missionaries are, and we got told "hola Elderes" a lot haha, but even funnier is when we get told "Hola Elderas." 

The members feed us lunch here almost every day. The food is so good. Typically we have some sort of meat with pasta, no sauce. I have also drunk more soda in my two weeks here than I did in the previous 5 years before coming here. We cannot drink the water, so everyone gives us soda. The other day we were eating with a member and I looked down and there was a chicken at my feet. Never in my life have I been so happy to be eating beef. 

"Happiness doesnt come as a result of luck or accident. It most certainly doesnt come from having all of our wishes come true. Happiness doesnt come from external circumstances. It comes from the inside-regardless of what is happening around us." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Attached is my address for all that have asked for it. I love letters!

Hermana Marsh

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Weeks six and seven!

Hola everyone! I am a real missionary now teaching real people the real Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is real-ly amazing. The last days in the CCM were long full of a lot of field training which was less than ideal but now I am out and so happy! 

On our way to Uruguay we boarded the plane, sat on the ground for two hours, flew to Uruguay, circled the airport for 2 hours, then returned and landed in a different airport in Buenos Aires. I really have no idea why because they were speaking rather quickly in Spanish. So we got pushed through customs and I was going to go with all of the missionaries travelling with me to talk to the airline to find out if they had another flight for us when the worst thing ever happened. Every other North American travelling with me was stopped at customs and taken to a back room by the police. I still had 4 other missionaries with me but they all only spoke Spanish. I was freaking out a little because I had no idea why I made it through with no problems and the rest of the Americans did not. When we got out of the airport, the first person I saw was someone who worked for the CCM. It was nothing less than a miracle. He was able to get all of the Americans out of the room and got us new tickets from the airline. For a good 30 minutes there I was on the verge of tears because I had no idea what was going on but all ended well and we got on a new flight 2 hours later. It was a long day and I got 4 stamps on my passport in one day, 3 from Argentina, so that was cool. 

Now to Uruguay: it is the best country in the world!!! I love it here so much. I am in Mercedes, which is beautiful.It is a pretty classic South American town and everyone is soo nice. Much nicer than the people in Buenos Aires. My companion is Hermana Cabrera and she is from Mexico City and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Her personality is much bigger than mine, but we have worked so well together so far. She knows a little English and obviously is fluent in Spanish, which is exactly what I wanted in my first companion. We mostly teach less-active members of the church, but also have quite a few investigators who I already love so much.

One of the investigators I am teaching is named Joaquin and he is 7, turning 8 next week. He is the cutest 7 year old I have ever met. We left his house at 9 a few days ago and he was sooo worried about us walking home alone it was adorable. Anyways I asked him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and HE SAID YES. Okay I wish I could describe it but I cannot. I almost cried I was so happy. And after we left my companion and I just hugged and screamed we were so joyous. It was the happiest moment of my life. He is from a part member/ less active family. Yesterday he and his mom (who up until yesterday was inactive) came to church and I almost cried I was so happy. I just know how much having the gospel is going to bless their lives. 

Things here in Uruguay are great. One classic moment is that we met a man with a met monkey. It feeds and dresses itself and is toilet trained. It also tickled my feet. I will try to attach a picture but I do not know how good the internet is. It was so cute. 

Yesterday in church I was asked to direct the the middle of church. With no notice. So I went up there to lead the music and it turns out the pianist nor the congregation really knew the hymn. The pianist stopped playing and every single person stopped singing. I had never sung the song before in Spanish, nor am I know for my amazing singing voice, but I stood up there and belted the song and directed trying to get everyone else to start again but it did not work. So I stopped too and the pianist tried again. The same thing happened. And then again. It was so awkward. The Bishop then stood up and changed the song. I was just laughing so hard. How many times in my life am I going to be standing in front of a group of people I do not know, leading a song I do not know in a language that I do not know, and have the pianist and congregation all go silent? It was great and definitely one for the books. After, my companion and I could not stop laughing. 

On Saturday we celebrated the 4th of July by making hamburgers with all of the Elders in my district. My companion is the only non-American. It was great and nice to have an hour to speak English haha. 

I love being a missionary. Everyone says the first week is the hardest and if that is true, these next 16 months are going to be the best months of my life by far. Everything here is so great and at night it takes me a few minutes just to stop smiling before I can go to sleep. The people and food and culture and just everything is better than I ever expected and better than I can explain. I hope all is well with all of you and you are all looking for miracles every day because they are there. 

Hermana Kaylee Marsh

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Week Five!

This week's email may be a bit shorter because I am running out of things to talk about. We do the same thing in the CCM every single day. The good news is that I will be leaving for Uruguay this Tuesday! Most likely I will leave around 2am, so right around when all my American friends and family are going to bed. Be grateful that you get to sleep that night, because I won't haha. I may get to email on Tuesday when I get there, but it may not be until the following Monday. So if you don't hear from me know that I am still alive. 

First of all, thanks for your prayers. For about 2 and a half weeks I hadn't had over 5 hours of sleep a single night, and this last week I was about to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep almost every night. Prayers are answered and your faith is amazing, all of you. It really was nothing short of a miracle for me. 

My favorite part about being a missionary is telling people that they can be with their families forever. We taught a man on Saturday who was pushing his son in a stroller so I asked about him and his family. His son was turning two the next day so I told him that I have a niece that's turning two next month. He asked if I missed her so I told him of course, more than anything, but right now I'm here in Argentina to help others have the opportunity to be with their families forever through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because I already have that opportunity. He seemed so interested after that and he gave us his address. Other missionaries will be teaching him from now on but it was so amazing to see how happy he was when he heard he could be with his son forever. It is just the best. 

There was also a crazy dog fight while we were out on Saturday. A woman threw her bike on them to stop it. Yep, her bike. 

I have managed to stay healthy so far, but everyone has been getting sick so it may hit me right before I leave here. I did have an ingrown toenail this week which I got cut out yesterday. It is healing well and the doctor said it shouldn't be a problem if I keep taking care of it. That is all on my health haha. 

I can now out-eat everyone here. One Elder in my district said "You are a fat girl in a skinny girl's body" So for anyone worried about me, stop haha. I'm sure I'll be fine. I may end up gaining a lot of weight while I'm gone though because already my portion sizes have increased exponentially. 

Update on my Spanish: I can now understand pretty much everything. I even translated the devotional into English a few weeks ago for those who couldn't understand. Oh, unless they're Peruvian. Then I cannot understand a word they say because they talk way too fast. No joke. I can also express myself much better in Spanish now. Overall I feel so blessed because I know I could not do this on my own. 

One day this week the lights and water were out for 3 hours. That was a fun adventure.

Well, that's all for this week. I love being a missionary and I love Argentina and I can't wait to get to Uruguay next Tuesday because I know I am going to love it there even more. Love you all! Thanks again for your prayers and encouraging words.

Hermana Kaylee Marsh