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, January 21, 2013

His Work Moves Forward

Brisa gets baptized this Saturday.  We are working closely with the members to do FHE with families in the ward and she is SOO excited.  I will send pictures for sure!

I think I mentioned an awesome family of 8 that we found outside their house drinking in the sun and their matte the other week. They've gone on vacation until February, but we have such a good feeling about them and I pray for them all the time, that they will be able to receive the gospel and find the strength and faith to move forward in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Their name is the Rodriquez family.  I'll let you know what happens with them.  

And the same faithful trek moves onward with Rosi, Ruben, and another young girl named Candela who is so wonderful. Her mom is a less active member who hasn't been to church since she was 16, but she totally supports Candela taking the lessons and learning more, and Candela comes to church every Sunday (which is a huge deal for little Argentine girls who love to sleep even more than their parents) and she loves it! Heavenly Father is leading us to wonderful people every day, and every day I find myself improving with the language, with my work ethic, with my ability to teach clearly, and with my faith.  It is such an awesome experience being here with Hna. Bird because I really feel myself stretching and growing, and I feel Heavenly Father's help and support through it all.  

Gotta run, but I will send more pictures and updates next week!  Love you all so much!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lessons From Roberto

It has been an INCREDIBLE week here in San Justo, one of those weeks where you just keep thinking, "What did we do to receive so many blessings? Do we really deserve this?"  I really feel the reality of what it says in Jacob 5 where "Lord of the vineyard went to work with His laborers." I have felt Him working alongside us this week, guiding us to the the right street at the right time to find that awesome family, strengthening us when we are tempted to get discouraged, and showering us with his spirit. 

This transfer has already been a totally different experience for me in a lot of ways, the main one being that I'm no longer the baby girl!  I feel the responsibility of directing the area, making many of the decisions, and making sure that we're in the right place at the right moment and that we take good care of our investigators.  As we were walking along yesterday afternoon, I jokingly turned to Hna. Bird and said, "Okay senior comp, it's your turn to make the decision." and she said, "No way, I'm loving being the junior companion!"  But seriously, our companionship is so great because there literally is none of that, we are just the greatest TEAM working together to do Heavenly Father's work.

So here's some of the great things that have been going on this week:

Hna. Bird really is the greatest.  The first fews days were kind of quiet and "official" as they always are when you get with your new companion.  But we became great friends super quick and are always laughing about something.  She reminds me ALOT of Hayley (my dearest roomie) with her kind of "serious" outward appearance, who's actually one of the funniest people ever underneath the intimidating face.  It's so interesting to me how two companions can be so different (she and Hna. Castillo are SO different in so many ways) and yet both can be so amazing and  so loveable.  The goal is for us to stay 3 more transfers in San Justo together until Hna. Bird goes home (I don't think it's going to fly with President because I'm getting kind of old in this area). But seriously, we both have this wonderful, exciting feeling within that the two of us were meant to do incredible things here in San Justo together.  

And serioulsy, Heavnly Father has great things in store for us.  This weekend we have the baptism of little 8 year old Brisa, the daughter of Stella, a recent convert from August.  Stella is kind of like another 8 year old in a 35 year olds body, and she has really struggled to stay active, but we absolutely adore them and they are two of my dearest friends. Preparing Brisa for her baptism has been an incredible experience for Stella and it's really helped her get active in the church again.  And Brisa is just the cutest thing!  She always has to help her mom say the closing prayer at the end of our lessons, it's funny how kids just grasp onto gospel principles so much faster than the adults sometimes.  "Of course we should talk to Heavenly Father! It's not hard mom!"

We're also still really working with Rosi, Jesus' little sister.  She is just SO ready, and she knows the church is true. I think she just got scared off by the stake youth activity that she went to.  So pray for Ros and for us that we will be able to teach with the Spirit to touch her heart.  We're also working with Ruben, the guy that's in Berta's baptism pic.  He is THEE greatest, and the most loveable little Argentine ever, and he too knows that the church is true.  But Ruben has intense fear of this little thing we call commitment. And yes, Heavenly Father is a God of commitments and the Church of Jesus Christ is a church of commitment.  So we're taking baby steps with him kind of like they do on "What about Bob." Seriously, he kind of reminds me of Bob!

Super cool experience.  On Saturday, we went to the huge main park in San Justo where people are just swarming everywhere, listening to the bands, shopping in the little craft fairs because we wanted to invite alot of people to church.  Hna. Bird went down one side of the sidewalk, handing out cards, and I went down the other, but I had this little problem in that I kept getting stopped by little grandpas who would sit me down and want to tell me their whole life story.  And you know me, I could sit in a park listening to Argentine grandpas all day, so I was definitely behind on doing my part of the "contacts."  Side note about contacts: we invite 100s of people to church every week and I've never know any one to actully come. But Sunday morning, we were sitting in gospel principles with our little class full of investigators, and the Bishop knocked on the window. We went out, and he said "Theirs a man here looking for you guys." We went out to the lobby and there was sweet little Roberto, one of the grandpas I had been talking with the day before!  He was covered in sweat from walking 45 blocks in the blazing 10:30 sun, but it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. He came to all the classes and Sacrament, and when I asked him how he had liked it at the end, his eyes filled with tears and he just said, "Gracias, gracias.  Te agradezco." Obviously little Roberto was really needing the light and peace that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings, and he found it in the bright little San Justo chapel. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Fresh, New Start

New Years was absolutely wonderful, Hna. Castillo and I went to spend the night with the Hermanas in Ramos Mejia, and a Peruvian hermano in their ward had prepared the HUGEST meal I've ever seen for us to eat in our apartment.  We had a great time together, and then it was kind of magical to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of low thunder starting up and then growing to a roar as the fireworks went off in every direction, echoing among the sky scraper type buildings in Ramos Mejia.  These people were doing fireworks in tiny narrow streets between thirty story buildings! Super crazy, but super cool to watch. New Years day was absolutely dead in San Justo, but we went to lunch with the bishop and all of his extended family to have some DELICIOUS asado, empanadas, and the Argentine works.

Then the dreaded Tuesday night came, we got the call that said Hna. Castillo would be leaving, bravely handled it for about three and a half minutes, and then burst into tears.  But Wednesday we got up ready to take on the new adventures.  Our investigator friend Angel, drove us in his taxi to the offices, we had the amazing transfer meeting which is always bursting with energy and nervousness, and I got my new companion, Hna. Bird!  She has a lot more time than me on the mission, but we basically are sisters (in appearance as you noted Mom) and in alot of other things.  She is super fun and nice, I'm really excited for this transfer.  She's from Thousand Oaks, CA. It's a little bit wierd being with a North American companion, and I refuse to speak English with her when we're walking along because I'm so scared of losing my Castillano!

Hna. Castillo was called to be one of the traveling sisters, and then it just so happend that their first assigned area was San Justo!  Super wierd to be there with her AND our new companions, and kind of frustrating when we were planning for the following day, and she had to act like she knew absolutely nothing about San Justo, so I was left to plan for two days and for different companionships all on my own as the three of them watched me struggle a little. But enough of complaining, it was one of the best experiences ever as I learned from one of the greatest missionaries I've ever known, Hna. Waite. I'm beyond excited to apply some of the things that she has taught me, and I'm filled with this energy and desire to bring Heavenly Father's children to Him.  Hna. Bird has been in companionships where she got really accustomed to not having very much success, and it will be a great learning experience helping her realize that there is success and there are precious souls ready to receive the gospel in EVERY area.  

We found a TON of wonderful people to teach this past week.  The other day we were walking along and saw the most adorable little family all spiffied up waiting for the colectivo to come to go out for a day at the park.  We stopped and talked to them, and as I testified to them that our message would bless their family, the little mom kind of teared up.  We set up an appointment and went to visit them yesterday.  And WOW, are they prepared.  The dad, Jonny loves God but has stopped going to church after trying with many different Evangelical churches because he couldn't seem to find a church that was his idea of what the church of Jesus Christ should be.  Both of them are really excited about their new little family, (they have one little one year old named Juaquin), and are planning to get married really soon.  The mom, Jorgelina, is so sweet and kind, and they just listened to our message with shining eyes.  As you can imagine, we came away from the lesson walking on air, and I know that Heavenly Father prepared them and led us to them at just that moment. We never would have found them knocking on doors because they live on the third floor of an apartment complex.  Heavenly Father truly is guiding this incredible work.  

Jesus is doing amazing and is getting ready to start his mission papers! Woohoo!! And Mom, you also asked about what we do in church.  Funny enough, we went to help in the primary for the first time yesterday, and it was the funniest times.  We were in charge of Sharing Time, and when I got up to talk about "I am a Child of God" I asked 7 year old Facundo, "So Facu, do you think us who are here right now are the only ones who are children of God? Are your friends children of God?" And he shrugged his shoulders and said in his adorable Argentine accent, "I'm pretty sure they are. But I don't know, I'll have to ask them." We all chuckled, but I was touched by the image of Facu asking his friends if they are children of God and then sharing with them the beautiful truth that YES, they are most definitely children of God.  THAT is why I'm here, to help people know that and feel of His love.  And I love it so much!

I love you all, and hope you have an amazing week as you start this fresh new year full of amazing blessings and opportunities that Heavenly Father has in store for us!