Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for sending all the audio clips. It was so good to hear your voices and even better to hear your testimonies of the Savior. They strengthened my testimony. It´s so strange to me when we talk to people and tell them we´re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ and people tell us they´re not interested because Jesus hasn´t done anything for them. I want to cry! But every time that happens, I have the opportunity to remember everything He has done for me and how much I love Him. I guess it´s a blessing in disguise.
I still don´t know how Christmas will go. They celebrate it differently here, mostly on the 24th, so we´ll be spending the 25th like it was just any other day. I miss American Christmases with all the special traditions and snow, but I still get to focus on the Savior and tell people how wonderful of a gift He is.
The work is picking up. We had Zone Conference on Friday and I learned a lot of new things and got all pumped up for the work again. I defninitely have a testimony of meetings like that. We need to re-evaluate our goals, look at our progress, and get excited for what we do periodically, in whatever it is we´re trying to accomplish.
I´m beginning to understand more Spanish and I can speak a little better. I speak English way too often, since I know Hermana Reales can understand me, but it´s frustrating to try and express myself in Spanish when I don´t know how yet. That´s one of my goals for this week, to speak Spanish first, ask for help with words, and then if she still doesn´t understand, I´ll say it in English. Hermana Reales is a great blessing in my life. I´m trying to think of ways I can serve her better and be a better companion. I´m trying to do my part more and share more of the load.
We´re slowly starting to work better with the ward. We have to have 15 lessons with a member present every week now, which is a challenge, but we have such good ward missionaries. Almost all of them are still in the Youth program, but do what they can to help us out. We had one of them come with us at the last minute yesterday for about a half hour or so, and because he came, we were able to get our 15 lessons. These young men and women are so solid. There´s a reason they´re the ward missionaries. Sometimes it´s difficult to remember that I´m not on the leaders in the ward. I´m used to having a little more control than I do now. I am merely a tool for the ward to use to move the work forward, not the other way around. I´m learning so much about how the church organization is inspired, how our leaders have been called of God and how I need to be patient with them as God teaches them how He wants things to be done.
Our investigators are doing a little better. We met some really good people in the last few days and I hope they continue to be interested and keep their commitments. One of them, Juan, is a cartonero (he pulls a cart around the streets and sells stuff) He lives in the villa and we weren´t sure he even knew how to read. Turns out he does, which is good. We left him 3 Nephi 11 to read and he only read the introduction on the first visit. We read and explained a few verses on the next visit and told him to read the rest of it by our visit the next day. We came back and he had read all of chapter 11 and chapter 12, too. We were shocked. There´s a lot more to him than we thought. We´re excited to keep teaching him. It gets a little complicated, though, because as of yesterday, we can only teach him with an adult male member of the Church.
Another of our investigators lives in the same house. There are 2 or three families living in a little house with Juan and their 11 dogs. Our other investigator, Marcelo, is an alcoholic. He had a baptismal date, and was trying to stop drinking, but it fell through and he hadn´t been keeping commitments. The last time we met with him before yesterday he was shaking because he hadn´t had any alcohol that day, which was good, but he´s a little creepy when he´s sober. We stopped going to see him for a little while, but yesterday when we were teaching Juan he asked if he could talk to us. He told us he had read what we left for him and that he felt like he needed to repent. We were excited about that, but then he asked if I was married and allowed to get married and what my name was. Needless to say, I was a little uncomfortable. We talked to our Zone Leaders and our ward mission leader and we´re going to have a member with us every time we go see him. Since Juan lives in the same house, we have to have a member with us for him, too. We hope we can help these two as well as avoid any problems. If it doesn´t get any less creepy, we might have to turn both of them over to the elders in our ward.
Every week the mission sends out a newsletter with a message from the mission president, the assistant, and the numbers for the week. Last week President Carter told us that his father had died and shared with us what he learned from him. I thought about the talk from General Conference, the one about the importance of a name. I realized then that I´m not here to represent myself. I have two names on my nametag. The Savior´s and my family name. My name isn´t even on it. I want to uphold both names well and I´m so grateful for the legacy I have with the names I hold. I will do my very best to be a good servant of the Lord here in Argentina.
I learn so much every day. I wish I could share all of it with you, every experience, every thought, feeling, and word. I love you and hope you are all well.
Hermana Erin Litster