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!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Reasons to Smile!

Hola from Buenos Aires my dearest family!

It's a cloudy, blustery day in San Justo so I'm happy and content. Apparently Argentina is just like Utah.  You never know what the It has been an amazing and extremely challenging week all at the same time, and I am amazed every day at how much my little spirit is growing and how much I still have to go!  I feel that my last letters have kind of been a craze of "touristy" info because to be honest I really am in love with this place.  But this week I wanted to tell you more about the spiritual journey that it's been so far to be a new missionary in Buenos Aires.  

First off, it's definitely been the greatest growing experience I ever could have imagined.  From the first day I stepped foot out of the taxi with my luggage in San Justo to get down to work, I began to learn that life would be different.  I'm sure it's nothing compared to what Ali is experiencing in Africa, but I was just knocked off my feet by how physically different everything was, not to mention completely new mission rules, a different culture and teaching style, and of course a little thing called a languae barrier.  I think I reviewed in my mind about 30 times every day the story about President Hinckley when his dad wrote and told him to "forget yourself and go to work."  There were times in that first week when I was selfishly thinking, "But hey!  My comfort and well-being are important too. What about this that I have to deal with? And this? And this?" And then funny enough it was in the hours and on the days that I really lost myself in thinking about, "What scripture are we going to share with Amalia?" or "How can we help the Duran family see the need for baptism?" that I became happy and carefree.  Go figure, the prophet was right! :) I'm definitely still working on it. Every day I work on reminding myself that this isn't about me!  And every day I see how Heavenly Father helps me to have the strenght and will power to turn outward and focus on what's really important. That is, OTHERS and their eternal happiness. 

I can't believe I didn't talk about the absolutely incredible weekend with the rededication of the temple and the visit from three of our apostales.  It couldn´t have been more timely, and the Friday night meeting where the apostales came to speak with our mission and the two other Buenos Aires Missions literally changed my life.  I remember sitting two rows away from President Eyring and hardly being able to take my eyes off him as his bright, brilliant eyes scanned the crowd of missionaries  during the other talks.  Elder Ballard gave an amazing talk about the wonderful legacy of missionary work here in Buenos Aires where his father Melvin J. Ballard dedicated South America for missionary work and the gospel began to grow as the seed of an oak tree, slow and steady and ever-strong.  Elder Christofferson gave an amazing talk IN SPANISH and then President Eyring stood and said, "The things I am going to say tonight, if you listen to the Spirit and open your heart, are going to change your life." And in all sincerity, that talked changed my life.  Fam, I can't describe to you the feelings that swelled in my heart as he shared his message which centered on this: We as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can wake up and live everyday of our lives with a smile on our face because we KNOW.  "We know about the plan of a loving Heavenly Father and we know what glorious things He has in store for us."  I left that fireside with a smile on my face, and it's been hard to wipe it off. Okay that might be an exaggeration, because we're human and allow ourselves to get discouraged.  But everything about the way I contact on the street, the way I teach, the way I study with my companion has changed as I remind myself, "This is a gospel of happiness! I can smile!"

Then the cultural event and the temple rededication itself were beyond description.  And yes, marching onto that futbol field singing "Called to Serve" in Spanish at the top of our lungs was one of the greatest moments.  

This week, we have been seeing so many miracles with our investigators.  Dear abuelita Amalia is still progressing towards baptism and every Sunday marches herself over to the chapel with her little wheel chair because she refuses to let anyone drop by to help her.  The other day, she was struggling with feelings about her family and friends judging her for "becoming Mormon," but then the subject turned to the Book of Mormon.  She was reminded of her tetimony in that little blue book, and all other worries flew away because she knew what she believed.  She is incredible and I learn so much from her.  

Well fam, gotta run.  But know that I love you so much and I'm so grateful for you!  I love being a missionary!

Love, Hermana Leavitt

This wonderful man (the husband of our investigator Gladys) from Bolivia refuses to listen to our lessons, but adores us and insisted that we bring home a giant bag of lemons from his tree. 
I took this just for you mom!  So about 30 minutes after I finished telling you guys all about the charming little shops in Argentina, we left the internet cafe last Monday and my companion said, "Want to go to Walmart today?" And me, "Wait WHAT?? We have a Walmart?" Needless to say, I was a very happy little missionary that day. :) Even so, it was nothing like Walmart in the U.S. I tried to buy cleaning supplies to clean our apartment and got beyond frustrated because I couldn't understand if I was buying glass cleaner or shower cleaner.  The whole Spanish thing is definitely giving me a run for my money.

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