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, June 26, 2012

Miracles Will Happen!

Well, it's been an awesome slash very sad week here in the Spokane Valley.  I'll get the sad part over with first.

After setting a baptismal date for July 28 and getting so ready and so excited about the gospel, Hermana Ramirez left Washington!  I realize I haven't talked about her very much, so you don't know much about her, but along with Steve, she has been our most commited, prepared investigator and I seriously love her like my own grandmother.  I taught her on my very first day in the field and have been teaching her ever since, and it's incredible how close we have grown, despite our slight language barrier.  She was visiting her daughter's family for six months and was supposed to be here until September, but some family problems arose, and we got a call Sunday morning saying that Hermana Ramirez would be flying back to Columbia on Monday morning. 

So last night we went to see her, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Sister Ruiz and I just sat on either side of her on the couch and cried and cried.  But I have seen how she's grown and I've seen her faith, and there is no doubt in mind that she will be baptized in Columbia. And we got her address and are calling in the referral to the Columbian mission today, so she doesn't have much of a choice about seeing the missionaries again! :)  I will miss her alot, but thankfully, even though we had a really good relationship with her, her relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus is even stronger, so she's going to be just fine. 

In other news, I can't believe I haven't told you about Angelica!! Angelica is a sassy, strong-willed girl (I guess she's actually like 30 but she seems super young) who just moved in with her mom and her mom became a member of the church about five years ago.  The missionaries started working with Angelica in March, but she has had a lot of hard things to work through and has been moving very slowly. Ever since I've been in Washington we've taught her and it's been a very slow process, sometimes with two or three weeks of not being able to make any contact. 

But about three weeks ago we visited her after about a two week hiatus, and she was a changed girl.  She told us that she had been praying and reading the Book of Mormon which is HUGE for her, and she just had this calm, happy spirit about her.  She has plenty in her life to make her frenzied and unhappy, but turning to her Heavenly Father and His words in the scriptures has made a change in her and it's absolutely beautiful.  So a week ago at church, she came up to us and asked, "When can I get baptized?"  We were sooo excited and she is getting baptized this Saturday!  I will send you pictures and tell you more about Angelica in the next letter. 

This week I have really been learning alot about the power of the Book of Mormon. This book is seriously amazing guys. And I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me some recent experiences with the Book of Mormon because, to be perfectly honest, it has never been one of the strongest parts of my testimony.  I've just never been super fired up about the Book of Mormon. So I've had to go through some spiritually humbling experiences in the past two weeks to recognize my weaknesses in this area.  But just like it says in the Joseph Smith movie, "sometimes the Lord lets us fall so He can lift us higher."  That is exactly what has happened with me and the Book of Mormon, and now I am on this upward climb to nourish a real, burning testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and I have this crazy love for the book. Fam, read and pray about the Book of Mormon every day, even if you just read two verses.  Read and pray about it every day, and miracles will happen because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be in your life. That's what I promise our investigators and I'm promising you! It's the coolest thing ever!

Man, sorry for getting on my soap box for a minute there.  I love you all so much, and knowing of your support and your goodness gives me so much strength and happiness.  I love being a missionary! Have a wonderful week fam!


Hermana Leavitt

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Secret to Happiness? WORK!

Hola Familia!!
     How is everything?! Thank you so much for the emails, they really make me so happy.  I love hearing about all of the summer activities going on, especially since here in Washington, it feels more like October!  We have been in a solid week of rain and clouds, and I feel down right soggy by now.  Good thing I love rain.
     This week has been awesome. So it was my first week in a duo, and it has been alot harder but also alot better in many ways.  The first day without Sister Christoffersen, I was literally the biggest baby and just so sad.  Looking back, I realize that I was acting kind of like Anne of Green Gables who says she is "in the depths of despair."  I thought my life was over without my sweet, gentle, wonderful trainer (I've learned that new missionaries almost always get strangely attached to their trainers). But after a day of that, I learned a very valuable lesson. And that is, missionaries CANNOT be focused on themselves!
     That day when I was so focused on poor me without my trainer was one of my worst days of teaching and working.  So that night I had some serious repenting to do and then made a promise with Heavenly Father to devote the following day to him.  I was done thinking about myself.  It would seem Sister Ruiz made the same commitment because we have been, as missionaries like to put it, "on fire" ever since.  The past few days have been full of more walking, knocking, finding, talking, teaching than I knew was possible!  It is seriously the best feeling ever to come home just worn to the ground, knowing that you gave your all to serving Heavenly Father and His children that day.     
     And we have definitely been reaping the blessings of our labors!  We teach so many impromptu lessons, it is incredible.  Sister Ruiz and I have this goal to make every activity worth while, which means that if we go to find an old investigator and they're not home, then we need to find someone to teach.  For example, yesterday, we went to these apartments to find a lady who we had an appointment with, but she wasn't there.  So as we walked back to our car, I saw a truck with the doors open and two guys inside. I walked up to them, found out they spoke Spanish (which I always love because the Spanish-speaking people always seem to be so open and nice) and started asking them about themselves. We quickly got onto the topic of religion and were able to stand their for half an hour, talking about the Restored Gospel. It was especially exciting for me to find the Spanish kind of flowing! And now we get to come back to those apartments and teach Carlos and Eric!  
     The past few days have all been like that, just crammed with talking to everyone on the street and teaching.  It is so exciting to be a part of Heavenly Father's work as the happy news of His gospel is spread to more people every day.  Sister Ruiz is really good at making me take the lead, so I really feel like I'm learning how to be a real missionary instead of just a little third wheel.  And remember how I used to HATE talking to street contacts with a passion?  It has become so much less scary, and I can honestly say that I enjoy it. You get to meet SO many interesting people!
     I love you all so much!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Doesn't Get Better Than This!

Oh my goodness, today has been absolutely heavenly and I'm so excited to tell you about all the amazing things that have happened this week! Seriously, I think it was one of my favorite weeks on the mission so far. 

There are two new sisters, so we took them to downtown to the same park where I went.  Except this time was a completely different experience.  Remember how I stood in the gray pouring rain and just cried? And how we contacted the only four people that were in the entire park and they were super grumpy? Well today was SOOO gorgeous and warm with brilliant blue skies.  The park was PACKED with happy summarized people, and you know how I love crowds!  It just totally energized me, and we walked around the park talking to sooo many people. I was amazed at how much more receptive people were this time!  Mom, there's definitely something to your theory about the effect that weather has on people, because everyone would stop and talk with us, even if they were super wierded out by us at first. 

In other news, STEVE GOT BAPTIZED!! It was an absolutely incredible event, I can't even begin to describe the feelings of that day.  He came to church the next day, wearing his new ( and only) white shirt and tie that we gave him, received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and was just glowing.  After church, he went up to the Bishop and said, "Hey, I need to talk to you about getting this life blessing I've heard about!"  We figured out he was talking about his patriarchal blessing.  Man, Steve's so cool, he's completely proactive and has just jumped right in with all his heart.  

One of the most touching and incredible things about his baptism was that his entire family came, and none of them are members!  His sisters and their kids, his mom, and his dad and step mom.  The fact that his dad came was an absolute miracle because he's not very supportive of Steve or of religion, and Steve did NOT think he would come.  But he DID come, and I even caught him tearing up a little as Steve entered the waters of baptism.  It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and I know that Steve's family felt the Holy Ghost.(Plus how could anyone miss that smile that was on his face the whole time!)

This week, we decided to stop being wimps and do more tracting.  Sundays are an awesome day for it, so we headed out to a neighborhood to knock on some houses.  And we were so blessed for our efforts!  We have two new potential investigators, one of whom is the drummer in a band, has three kids, and says that "he really wants to be baptized because he knows that he has to in order to go to heaven, but he just can't figure out which church." The whole time we were talking with him, I was thinking, "Really? Is this really happening? Is it possible to be blessed this much?"  I can't wait to teach Mike more!

Oh and I almost forgot!  Transfers are tomorrow and I'm losing my dear Sister Christoffersen. I am so so sad about it, but at the same time it will be awesome to work with Sister Ruiz and learn how to work in a duo. 

I love being a missionary so much it's crazy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Love Being A Missionary!

It's a gorgeous day in Spokane, our car is washed and vacumed (next to reading your emails, that's my favorite thing about P-days), I get to write you about our crazy week, and I'm a missionary!  So life is good.  Sometimes I'll lie in bed at night, and I can't sleep because I just can't believe that I get to be a missionary.  I know it sounds super corny, but it's true. 

First of all, thanks so much for the emails.  They make me so happy and really boost me up.  So you've all been asking about visas, and here's the latest. Six of us ten "visa waiters" that came to Spokane on the same day got their Visas and are on their way to Argentina, and four of us (all three of us girls from the wonderful District 38 B :) and one other Elder) are here for another transfer! So basically, I will be here for my twelve weeks of training, and then it'll be off to Argentina for a whole new mission and a whole new experience. I'm not going to lie, when President told me, there  was a mixture of emotions that swept through me, and I didn't know if I should be let down or excited.  My first, selfish thought was of those six other missionaries who were packing their bags for Argentina, but I knew that those thoughts are destructive to a missionary's success, so I prayed to Heavenly Father for optimism.  And He hasn't let me down. As we walk around the beautiful, green hills here, I think about the extra month of glorious warmth that I get. And when I see Steve and Hermana Ramirez, I realize that now I get to see the baptisms of these two people who I love so much!  

Just to clarify, President mentioned that the reason I'll be here another six weeks is because it just gets so crazy when they try to send missionaries into a mission when it's not transfer time for that mission.  If we were to just leave right when we got our visas, we would get to Buenos Aires without companions and it would be a disaster.  I have no idea if the rest of my dear little MTC district went to Argentina.  If you see any of them on the blog let me know!

Anyways, enough of that.  We have seen Heavenly Father working with us so much this week, it's incredible.  I realized I never described who Hermana Ramirez is, which is crazy becuase we've been working with her since day one that I got here. (Actually, on my very first day in the field, Sister Christofferson and I visited her, I invited her to be baptized, and she accepted!)  She is this sweet sweet grandma from Columbia who is visiting her Americanized family for six months.  She doesn't speak a word of English, and the only people around her who speak Spanish are her daughter and son in law, so she gets pretty lonely.  As you can imagine, she loves having us to visit, and she LOVES going to the Spanish branch every Sunday.  She was scheduled to be baptized on June 16, but is so sweet and doesn't think she is ready.  So we are really working with her to develop her faith that she can be ready to be baptized, and she is praying about June 30. 

Man, I can't believe I just tried to cram six weeks of our incredible experience with Hermana Ramirez into one paragraph.  That's how I feel about everything that I write about.  I  just wish you all could MEET these people and see their progression in some sort of video.  See the light that literally comes into their faces and understanding that clicks when they learn about something like the glorious plan of salvation. The plan that a loving Heavenly Father has for Hermana Ramirez or for Steve as an individual.  That is one thing I have to come to appreciate so much more since being out here.  Jesus Christ loves INDIVIDUALS, He is truly a Shepherd of the ONE.  I am blown away at how the gospel changes lives even when those lives are so incredibly different and people's needs are so different. 

Anyways, I wish I could write pages more, but I'm out of time! Mom, you wanted to know about my schedule and contacting.  Haha I could write essays about the latter, seeing as it's my biggest fear and the greatest area where I need improvement every single day.  You have no idea how many daily planning sessions in the morning have started with my patient, wonderful companions sighing and and asking, "Okay Sister Leavitt what's the goal for today?"  And then me, "Alright guys, today's gonna be good. THREE people today, I'm going to contact THREE people!! I'm going to reach my goal!"  Haha it's ridiculous, and I'll write more about the actual experience of contacting next time.  But for now, I love you all dearly, and I love being a missionary!

Love, Sister Leavitt