HOLA MI FAMILIA!!!!
I dont have a lot of time to write and a lot of things to tell you so the grammer may be horrible. I am so sorry. First of all thank you thank you thank you for you emails. I cannot tell you how much it helps. I need to hear from you every week. It is really hard here. Ill get to that later. Ok so the flight was good. The flight out of atlanta was where it hit me that i was not coing back to the states for 16 months. I really had a rough time with that. i felt more and more alone the farther we got away from the states...but still i felt good. it was strange to wake up and look down at cuba and jamaica and other countries....so strange. we landed and it was different but not as strange as i thought with everything in spanish. i wasnt too overwhelmed at all. our travel group had 14 people so i never felt scared and the elders took good care of us. E.liljinquist and hansen were dead dead dead tired it was quite humorous. we were taken to another aiport right away and our things were all taken on a bus to bahia blanca. we were in the other airport for 9 hours and then finally met up with 3 hermanas and an elder from the argentina mtc and flew to bahia blanca. we arrived late that night and met the president and his family who are incredible had some dinner....empanadas...and then the hermanas slept at the presdients house and the elders at this house that was empty with no water or heat or furniture. we had showers and heat and food and yes we were spoiled. but because our things got delayed I wore the smae clothes for 4 days....FOUR it was disgusting. the next day we got together again had some meetings about rules.....do not ever send me a package unless you pray about it and feel ok about it because i have to pay half of what you have to pay to send it to recieve it and they look through almost everything and if there is a camera or ipod or anything else they charge you much much more. there are packages that arent bad like the ones that look like they are the size of a VHS tape....those go right through. I only have an hour on mondays to write just my immediate family...rules like that. entonces we were all in a chapel and they had a slide show up and would show one person and the area and then after anticipation they would bring up the newbie missionary and that was how we learned our new companions. I was the first to learn who my companion was who is hermana collette and we are in an area called pringles. about an hour and 10 minutes south of the mission office. so after that we got my companions stuff at her house and came back. When we came back we went out to work in bahia blanca because our bus broke down so we had to sleep at the presidents house again. so we went and contacted and found old investigators...none of it worked and we found a woman who just wanted to talk and show us picutres. after that we headed home and all the missionaries had left. slowly it all started to hit me I am in another country not in the mtc alone with my companion and i just lost it. there is another companionship here in pringles with us hermana araya from chille and hermana de silva from brazil. so that night we had dinner with the presidnet and he talked about how he met his wife and I still have no idea what he said and then he stopped talkin at 1130 so we went to bed and woke up...then it was my birthday. we had breakfast which was nasty cereal yogurt chocolate milk and cookies...weird yes. then we packed up and headed to pringles. i wanted to cry because everytime i felt compfortable or safe off we went to the next place to feel less comfortable and further away from things I knew. When we areived in pringles at our house it was about 2. it is a cute little place. all the doors are metal and we have a place for a table a kitchen that we cant all stand in...luckily they just got a firdge last transfer and you have to light the oven and stove. Our laundy is done by hand and hung outside......um i stink at doing laundry...then our bedroom didnt have a bed se we had to buy one. the pillow is as hard as a rock and i have been dying so my companion switched me and it is the wierdest pillow its so soft and thin i can feel it. i only use my sleeping bag no blankets. we had to clean our room because it had been abandoned for a year so a lot of bugs and dust and church materials from the 90s wierd? yes. so then we unpacked went shopping for all our stuff and some food and came home for the night. i have corn flakes in milk everymorning..sometimes yogurt when we dont have milk...for lunch we have rice with eggs...sometimes noodles with eggs...never a lot and then there is no such thing as dinner for missionaries because they go to bed before dinner...at 1130. so i only eat two meals a day..and i dont eat that much because i am so stressed and kind of grossed out by the food so i have had cookies rice and eggs for the duration of my stay in pringles. Our first day out was really interesting. we did a lot of contacting because we had not previous appointments and it was a rough start because my companion knows nothing about this place either. I dont know if she normally struggles with the rules or what but she has forgotten to tell me about everything since we have been here. all the rules and regulations and she doesnt let me teach much and she is really awkward with me...i dont know if i intimidate her but boy it sure feels like it. i have had a feeling since we have been here like i need to be doing so much more and feeling very guitly because things arent getting done. I have to dig our of her information about how to contact and what to say in lessons and how much we hsould be doing every day. SUPER FRUSTRATING but as the days have gone on and I have prayed a lot I have been told by the Lord that I will be leading the companionship even though I am not senior companion. I dont want to I want someone who will do it for me at first and help me but i guess the lord had something different in mind for me. Now i guess I have to work even harder to make sure things get done rules are followed etc. Today is the day that I started that. The people here are so nice and very kind....apparently this is the only place in argentina where you walk down the street and people will say hola back and smile. I am very lucky to start here. We had a few lessons with some people already...what happened during those lessons I will never know but I am learning. we walk around on dirt and cobblestone streets all day I am filthy by the end of the day. I would kill for one of dads neck rubs haha there are 400 members here....10 come to church. We have been contacting a lot and getting to know people and will continue to do more. We had some previous investigators from the last missionaries but we are going to drop them its so funny because when they see us they duck in the window and run into the back rooms hahahah boy do i feel popular but they dont want to be taught and they wont get married before the get baptized so they cant obviously. My companion really struggles with speaking....she always pauses and awkwardly thinks for a second and then talks. she told me she is kind of antisocial. I wish I could help her and i try to in spanish but till i learn more I can only smile and bear my testimony. Oh trust me i try to say so many things ha ha I am always making a fool of myself but I love the people and they are usually patient with me and like when I try to talk. One investigator has a boyfriend that really likes to give me hard time. when i come over he tells everyone it was my birthday and that i turned 28...rude? yes ha ha There is a family that we teach the mom and the son and the lesson was incredible. they had been taught previously and they have a baptismal date but you have to go to church 3 times before you can get baptized. entonces we really needed them to go to church. so we talked about it and it was powerful. I asked them if my companion could translate a little so i could keep and and I really felt like hermano toone telling them bluntly and lovingly you must go to church!!! I had scriptures to share and oh my gosh the spirit was so strong we laughed and cried and after I giot on my knees and begged not literally they said they would come...for everyone here it is SUPER Early!! 9:30. But in the morning despite how incredible it was they didnt go. I also met a young man 16 named Juan I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND I DONT KNOW WHY he likes to talk to us more cause he thinks my spanish is funny and he likes to rap. we are teaching his family today wish me luck and they are already religious so it will be difficult. I have to remember that I had a first impression of an investigator...sergio in the mtc...and when i taught him everything was different and that experience gives me hope. He saw us in the street the other day and he just smiles all the time!! and has the light of christ beaming from him and I pray every day he accepts the gospel when I tell him about it. ps there are dogs everywhere....EVERYWHERE and not just small dogs huge dogs...golden retrievers huskies german shepards all healthy ish looking but all just roamin around and cats too its insane and everyone here has a dog but no leashes. we have a lady with a baptismal date right now but she was highly medicated when she agreed to it...i personally think it was a blessing because her daughter who referred her to us said good luck cause she was a toughie but we got right in the house and really got to know here because she was heavily drugged and hopefully because she has gotten to know us she wont be as hard. All the houses here are about the size of our tv room next to the kitchen. Some are very nice with tile and tvs and smell good and right next door there are houses that have dirt floors are falling apart filled with rocks and are just so sad. The economy is interesting here. They do have siestas which drives me up a wall because they close EVERYTHING at 1230 and dont open till 430. the streets are like ghost towns. its the craziest thing. We met the branch president and his family who are incredible the have two boys 10 and 13 and one daughter 1 and a half. The have been members for over ten years and they are just incredible. He told us how he had a job offer in the states that would have just skyrocketed there income....he is a farmer type person not incredbly well off and he turned it down because he didnt want to leave the church alone here in such bad shape. sunday morning we woke up got ready tried to rally up some investigators ...didnt work...and then went to the chapel. when i saw the chapel i started to cry. There is something about the house of the lord and the land its on that is so blessed and familiar....every where you go een in argentina it feels like home because it is. I tell investigators church is where my family can be together take of the sacrament which makes all things better and just be in the presence of the lord and i testify that the strength of my family is because of the church. so i walked in the door....it is one bigger room and two or three rooms off to the side for classes and the bishops office. I walk in and there is the bishop two older men the other hermanas with one inestigator and one woman...that was it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!i felt like i had been punched in the stomach i could not believe it. we had to wait a half an hour for two other girls to come one more woman (the speaker) and the presidents family. He asked us hermanas to introduce ourselves...difficult because i dont know how to say anything about my self in spanish...and bear our testimonies. after that we had the sacrament....i balled the whole time half because i was sad there was NO ONE THERE and half because it felt so good to be taking the sacrament one of the most important things in my life. i just wish it was as important to everyone else here as well. After the meeting he randomly called on me to say the prayer and then we waited 30 minutes for my companion and hermana araya to teach the 4 youth there about prayer and then it was over...that was all there could be. We went home and I just cried and cried. SInce I have been here I have held in tears all day long. thoughts run through my head all the time What am I doing here what was i thinking why does the lord think i can handle this i cant talk with anyone. i think a lot about how much i miss home and our family i miss hugs and i miss streets. i miss stop signs and speed limits...i miss english...i miss hcurch with lots of people i wish people in the states realized how incredible thier wards and branches are because to me my ward feels like the promised land it is so hard. i miss the mtc and the constant spirit. i miss my teachers in the mtc always telling me i could do it and helping me and tellin me what to do. i miss my district and helping them. i miss my bed and i miss my companions. i miss regular food i dont eat much here. every night....right now as I am writing...i just cry cause I know i am supposed to be here. i know i am doing the right thing but I feel so unguided. I dont feel any direction from my companion...I cant hear from my family. But the other two hermanas always help me. I cant believe I am going to be here for a year and a half and sometimes I feel like I dont know if i can do it but I know i can. The lord has me here for a reason. I am not alone here ever I have the lord its just harder to remember here. I really need to hear from you mom and dad and family and friends. I know it takes 4 weeks to send letters back and forth and I have zero time to write back but I need help and support now more than ever. I know i will be better in time. Dear elders are perfect but I desperately need support. Today has been a really good day because I have had a real break for pday washing clothes and cleanin and studying. i have talked a lot with hermana araya and da silva incredibly i talk to them and understand them more than anything even though all we can do is speak in spanish. I know i am here for a reason. I know the lord is with me every second. I know that this is the work of the LORD i know that the church is true and i know that these are his children that need him more than anything right now and I am his tool to do so. I know that Joseph smith was and is a prophet. i know we have a prophet today. I know that my savior lives. I know that the plan of salvation is real and true and that I can be with my incredible family for eternity as well as with my spiritual brothers and sisters here on this earth. I know that we were all saved in the preexistance for this day and time and we can do hard things....we can be powerful. I wish I could go up to every person who has gotten me ready for my mission my teacher my parents my brothers my ward my friends and tell you all them all thank you. I just dont know if that would be enough. Mom thank you for the music I would die here without it. Music really lifts me up and helps me feel the spirit. The sheet you wrote on for me....i hug and and cry into it every single night. I have never been more grateful for you writing on my stuff ever. Here in pringles I have felt incredibly wonderful and strong and completely the opposite but that is the mission. I dont have both feet on the ground quite yet but I will soon. Pray for me to enjoy my mission please....I need all the help I can get. I love you all and pray for you each of you every single day!!! I am sorry if i left anything out. ask questions if I forgot hahahaha. hurrah for israel!! God bless you till we meet again. ps ryan thank you for your letter i hope this letter answered your questions...i love you so much as well and I miss you every day...knowing that me being on my mission will help you and adam gives me strength every day. (the best way to write me if you want to send a letter is pouch mail which is hermana heidi baker...argentina bahia blanca mission...pob 30150 SLC, UTAH 84130-0150 and then there is the mission adress which is ok too for bigger letters or super small packages...hermana baker...argentina bahia blanca mission...chacabuco 1755....8000 bahia blanca ....buenos aires...argentina. I love you all so much.