Hermana Leavitt's Adress

Argentina Pouch:
Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
50 E. North Temple
PO Box 30150
Salt Lake city, UT 84130-0150

Hermana Elise Leavitt
Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
Ballesteros 1076
1706 Haedo
Buenos Aires
(Check buenosaireswest.blogspot.com for specifics on packages; it's a little tricky!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Daily Mini Miracles

Life here in Spokane is incredible.  I decided that this week I'm going to give more specific little stories of things that happen so that maybe you can get a tiny taste of what it's like to be a missionary here.  

So lets see . . . we'll start with the crazy Jamaican man.:)Last week, we were heading to some apartments to find a former Spanish investigator, and as we were in the parking lot, we came across this big guy and this tall skinny Jamaican man with long dreadlocks surrounded by kids as they drew permanent marker designs on their car. We stopped to talk with them and Jay, the Jamaican man, told us that "we didn't want to hear what he had to say about religion, especially Mormons." And then he got into this intense discussion (expect he was the only one talking) about incarnation and a bunch of REALLY crazy stuff.  Sis. Chris was getting frustrated and started arguing a tiny bit, which is something you just can't do as a missionary.  She was smart and knew she was getting mad, so she turned in the middle of a sentene to go talk to another lady close by, leaving me in the jaws of angry Jay. :) He turned on me, and I just stood there smiling as he said that we weren't there to help people, we were there to brainwash and preach something that we actually knew nothing about. But finally he calmed down, I said, "Jay, I honestly don't understand very much of what you said, but I do know that you are a child of God and He loves you alot." He looked up from drawing on his car and for the first time a trace of gentleness came onto his face and he said, "Okay, well now I want to hear what you have to say." We talked for a  few minutes, and he wanted to meet and "talk religion" but I knew it wouldn't be a good use of time since he really has no interest.  Anyways, by the time we left the parking lot, Jay and I were like best friends and he went on and on about feeling my "pure love" in the air around him. Haha, there are some crazy people in the world, and somehow as missionaries we manage to find ALL of them.  We are like magnets for crazy people. But it makes for awesome stories and many good laughs.

On a more serious note, Steve is doing wonderfully!  He stopped smoking on Saturday, and we've been trying to keep daily contact to help him through this super rough week.  He is still going stong, despite the cravings and the headaches and just says, "Jesus is helping me. He won't let me fail." Seriously, he's so amazing, he blows me away. On Monday morning we went on a walk with him as we read General Conference talks from the Ensign, and we were led to the cemetary where we just walked around quietly enjoying the peace and the beautiful flowers that were everywhere in honor of Memorial Day.  We came across an old woman trimming the grass away from two graves, and as we greeted her, she stood up, caught a look at our black name tags and said, almost in a whisper, "Oh . . . . I see who you are. I am one of your faith." Then she just started to cry, and after a moment of silence, Sis. Chris just went up and gave her a big hug.  It was wierd how we all understood each other and loved each other right away without having even said anything. 

I looked at the graves and noticed that one was a man who had died about 15 years ago and the other was a little boy with the same last name who had died at the age of 9.  This sweet old woman was in the cemetary on Memorial Day, trimming the grave sites of her husband and little boy, and the missionaries just happened to walk along. We talked with her for awhile and then invited her to read a Conference talk with us that we had been about to read.  She was more than happy to, and we all sat down in the grass  to read President Monson's talk from general conference, and what do you know. The talk was all about the Plan of Salvation.  It was one of the most sublime moments of my life as I got to sit there in beautiful Spokane with my dear companions, our faith-filled investigator Steve, and this dear woman reading the words of a prophet of God about the divine plan of happiness that a loving Heavenly Father has for each one of us.  Being a missionary is the best thing in the world! 

We get to receive that kind of divine guidance all the time,  where to walk, what to do, what to say.  Little miracles like this make me wonder how much more we could accomplish if we were always listening to the whipserings of the Holy Ghost. I believe that Heaven is so much closer than we sometimes realize, if we just take a pause to listen and look around us.  

Heavenly Father loves you and will answer your prayers!

Sister Leavitt

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Love Trailer Parks!

Hola Querida Familia!

So I was so excited about writing a nice long email today, but once again the hour that we are supposed to have is going to be cut short! But I'll type fast! Everything here in Spokane is wonderful!  Spring is gorgeous with all the green, and Washingtonites really take pride in their gardens and flowers, so I am loving it. The work has really been moving along as well!  I learn so much everyday it's unreal, I could write a volume in my journal every night, but there's definitely no time for that.  So . . . where to start. . .

Well first, Steve is doing amazing.  He continues to amaze me with his faith and uninhibited desire to learn.  He ask so many incredible, pertinent questions during lessons, sometimes I just think to myself, "Is this guy real?! Did we really get this lucky?"  But he is definitely real.  He is making awesome progress and June 6 is looking like the baptism day!  I hope with all my heart that I don't get my Visa before then, but it's very likely I will.  Lessons with Steve are so fun as we watch him get used to the whole "Mormon Culture."  He'll say things like, "I was in the brotherhood yesterday, and we were talking about . . ." (meaning Priesthood.) But all the members absolutely adore him, for good reason, and he is totally being drawn in, which is incredible.

We have been so blessed this week to find new investigators to teach, and most of it is thanks to this little patch of heaven called "The Sunshine Trailer Park." Okay, maybe it's not quite like heaven, and it's not really called Sunshine Trailer Park, but that's what I like to call it because I love the people here so much and it's just such a happy place!  Plus, we have had a lot of recent success there!  We are teaching a young man named Oscar, who really has a desire to find the truth, and we're just working with him to help him understand that he has to read the Book of Mormon to know for himself!  That is our answer to often: you have to read and pray!  Anyways, we're becoming pretty well known in this little trailer park and every time we visit, we find someone knew to teach, so I love it!

I've gotta run, but I love you all so much, and I love being a missionary!  Thank you for your prayers and support!


Hermana Leavitt

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

1st Day "fear-busting"! 
Up at 2 am, arrive Spokane 11 am, sharing the gospel in the park 11:15 am!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beautiful Spokane!

5/15/2012 CHANGE--Spokane Address:
Hermana Leavitt
15418 East 24th Avenue
Spokane Valley, WA, 99037-9391

Well, here I am in Spokane Washington!  It is so crazy that I've only been here a week, and already it feels like this is my home.  So once again, I'm going to try to remember that you don't know anything about my life, and try to get out all the basics. 

Spokane Washington:  One of the prettiest places I've ever seen.  Seriously, it is so fresh and green right now, and my favorite part?  THE HILLS.  I never really realized that I don't know what a hilly place looks like.  Mountains yes, but hills are a totally different thing, and I'm obsessed with them.  Sometimes when we're driving around, I feel like I'm in Anne of Green Gables or something (there are so many quaint, beautiful farms around).  Next, this place may be in the U.S. but with the experiences I've had this week, it might as well be a different country. Okay, so here are the basics:

Mission President:  President Palmer and his wife are some of the coolest people I've ever met.  He's from New Zealand and she's from London (originally) and they are just the gentlest, nicest people.  President Palmer reminds me of a shorter, little bit more serious version of Dad the way he talks to people and makes them feel like they're the most important person in the world at that moment.  And everyone I know, missionaries, investigators, and members alike, is obsessed with him. 

My Companions: That's right, I have two!  Sister Christofferson and Sister Ruiz, and they are everything I could have hoped for.  In my hand-written letter I wrote about my terrifying "Fear Busting" experience where they take you out just minutes after landing off the plane to go street contacting, and I mentioned Sister Christofferson.  She was my little companion for that day, and I loved her right away. So gentle, kind, and so focused on the right things.Sister Ruiz is a fearless fireball and she's really been an awesome example of just getting out and talking to people.  (That's my greatest fear and challenge, I'll talk about that later.)

My Area: Okay, so this is crazy.  We are officially in the Spokane Valley (which is super lucky because we live right by President and Sister Palmer and we get really spoiled. Most missionaries live hours away, all the way out to Idaho and Montana.)  But the crazy thing is that we are assigned to two areas, Spanish and English. So this means that we teach English people and Spanish people, go to English AND Spanish wards on Sunday, and our tracting area is HUGE.  Hence, we have a car. We live in the basement of this nice old member lady; it's a really nice place. Which reminds me,the members here are INCREDIBLE.  So willing to help and go out teaching with you.  And they are the best fellowshippers.  

Investigators:  And THIS is where it gets good.  So my first week in the mission field, and we had a baptism!  His name is Agustin (pronounced AUGUSTINE) and I can't even begin to put into words how incredible this man is.  He is small and Hispanic but speaks perfect English, and he is one of the kindest, sweetest people I've ever met.  Right now we are working with a man named Steve. He's about 33, and I'll try to paint a picture for you.  Bald with a beard. lots of tattoos everywhere, and a perpetual smile on his face.  He is the most humble, teachable guy, I absolutely love teaching him.  He listens so intently and asks such thoughtful questions. He's almost like a little boy.  He came to church with us on Sunday and said the FUNNIEST things in Sunday school, I'll have to write them to you in a letter. I'm really excited to see his progress continue (he's getting baptized on June 9).  

It's time to go!  P Days are insane in the mission.  To close, I'll just say that I've never worked so hard in my whole life and never been so incredibly exhausted.  I DO NOT understand why we're so tired, but it's literally the hardest, most satisfying work I've ever done.  This church is TRUE. It is the church of Jesus Christ and He and our Heavenly Father love us SO MUCH!  And I love you all so much!