Monday, March 26, 2012

From Argentina March 26, 2012

This week was a bit tough, but ended great. I feel like we´re going to see some success here more and more every day. Hermana Schneider and I are getting a little more used to each other and I´m learning a lot from her. Something I love about her is that she knows how to actively love and serve people, to show them she cares. We had 3 or 4 experiences this week that made me feel like the world was falling apart for some of these people. These people were practically bearing their souls to us and all I could do was just sit there. Hermana Schneider was able to comfort them and help them feel the love God has for them. I want to be able to do what she does and develop this talent. She´s an example to me in a lot of things.

The work has picked up a lot. We have some really great investigators right now, two of them with baptismal dates. Aylen y Yuli (the "y" here is pronounced "sh") are sisters. Yuli is 14 and is really excited for her baptism. She reads in the Book of Mormon every day and enjoys coming to church. She even went to seminary this morning. Her sister Aylen is 12 and isn´t quite as sure about everything, but has the desire to know for herself. She reminds me a lot of Taryn. They´re always so excited when we come to teach them. We´re hoping to work more with their parents and have them come to General Conference as a family.

You asked what the "5 Ingredients" were. Here they are:
The Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission is the best mission in the world because:
1. We are Preach My Gospel missionaries
2. We are baptizing worthy converts
3. We are missionaries with all the Christlike attributes, which are: faith, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience
4. We are meticulously obedient missionaries and filled with the Spirit
5. We understand our objective to invite everyone to come unto Christ

I want to be able to say that I have every single ingredient by the end of my mission. It´s a lot to work for, but I feel like I´ll be the missionary God wants me to be if I put forth the effort. As a mission we have the goal of 3 X 150 ( an average of 150 contacts per companionship, 150 baptismal dates, and 150 baptisms per month). We haven´t reached it yet, but we´re getting close. We´re really working hard to work with the members more, be more bold, and teach with the Spirit. I´m really excited for General Conference because I know I´ll learn what I need to do to be a better, bolder, more successful missionary.

Caseros is a lot more city than suburb. It´s busy, but I like it. I haven´t found the post office yet, but I´m sure there is one. We take the bus here a lot more than we did in Libertad, but it´s still a ton of walking. My feet always hurt by the end of the day, but that´s normal when you walk an average of 300 blocks every day. My foot doesn´t hurt anymore from the injury in the MTC, which is a huge blessing.

I´m so excited for the Kansas City temple. I look forward to seeing the inside and participating in the ordinances there when I get back. I miss the temple so much and pray that I´ll have the opportunity to attend during my mission. We´ve been hearing that the Buenos Aires temple should re-open in September, but no one really knows. They´re having a lot of difficulty finishing it because of the laws about imports here. I have a greater appreciation for the temple than I´ve ever had and for the faith of the members here that have to travel 18 hours in bus to Uruguay to attend the temple. The members here save their money for months sometimes in order to travel to the temple. 3 hours to Winter Quarters feels like almost nothing now, though it´s still a sacrifice, and a sacrifice well worth the price.

I could probably type for forever and a day, but I´m out of time. I love you all and I´m so grateful for your prayers and support. God bless!


Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19 from Argentina

I recently read a quote by Alexander Papaderos that says, “I am not the source of light, but I can reflect that light into dark places.” It reminded me of what my purpose is and how I fulfill it, how success in the mission should be measured. The missionary purpose is to invite others (in this mission, everyone) to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel. Our success is not measured in the number of baptisms, though that is how these people will receive the restored Gospel, but is measured by our invitation to come unto Christ. We can have success every day as missionaries if we help cultivate faith in the Savior and invite others to come unto Him. I´m trying to keep this in mind every day. After every lesson I ask myself, "Were we able to build their faith and help them come closer to Christ?" If we teach with the Spirit we will be successful teachers because the Spirit is the real teacher. In this mission we have 5 ingredients that make up the "best mission in the world." One of them says, "We are meticulously obedient and filled with the Spirit." I know that we can be filled more with the Spirit as we strive to be meticulously obedient to every commandment and every rule.

That´s something I love about my new companion, Hermana Schneider. She has a desire to be exactly obedient. I have a feeling that we´ll be able to have a lot of success here because of the desire we share to "obey every word of command with exactness." Hermana Schneider is from American Fork, UT. She´s a good missionary and only has 3 months left. Spanish is still really difficult for her and I´m determined to help her with it. The first thing she told me is that we´re not allowed to speak in English, for her sake, but I´m sure it will bless me, too. Our area is Caseros I. I really like it here. The ward is really great, but a little old. We have a lot of pioneers here. The chapel in Caseros was the very first chapel to be built in all of South America and we ate lunch yesterday with the first bishop. It was so cool to listen to all of the stories they shared with us.

We have very few investigators as of right now. We´re working on doing a lot of street contacting and knocking on doors. We did 168 contacts this last week and found a handful of hopefuls. I don´t mind tracting, I find it fun now, but it´s really exhausting to be in the street all day and only sit down for lunch. I guess the plus side is that I´m sleeping a lot better now as a result of it all. It´s a different dynamic here than in Libertad. I miss my old area and the people there, but I´m excited for this new adventure. It´s helping me grow a lot as a missionary. The circumstances are just enough out of my comfort zone to push me and help me improve. I love that.

I´m excited to see where this next year takes me and what it has to teach me. I´m so excited for General Conference. I´m excited for the people we´ll invite, for the opportunity they´ll have to listen to a prophet of God and His apostles. It´s going to be great and I´m sure when it ends I´ll be a better person and instrument in the Lord´s work. I pray that each of you will prepare your hearts and minds to receive revelation and learn what it is that God wants you to know personally through His chosen servants. Thank you for everything. I love you all and pray for you always. God bless.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cambios (Changes)

Ramón´s baptism was a great experience, but what was better was the testimony he shared with us later. His life has completely changed and he is happy again. He said that as he climbed the stairs to leave the baptismal font he felt completely different, like he had started a new life. He has the motivation the lacked before. He doesn´t feel alone anymore and has come to know and accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. We watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with him on Monday. It was the first time he had seen anything about Jesus and was so attentive during the entire movie. When we reviewed the lesson on the Restoration yesterday and asked him how he feels to know that he has a Heavenly Father who loves him, he told us about the loe he feels that he couldn´t imagine before. I wish you could see the look he gets on his face whenever we talk about the opportunity he will have now to live with God and Jesus Christ again. It´s been a beautiful experience to teach him and watch his life change in such a short time.

I´m getting transferred today. They called last night to let us know and I just cried and cried. I don´t want to leave Libertad. I have come to love the people here so much and I will miss the ward terribly. I´m trying to keep in mind that I´m leaving because God needs me somewhere else. I hope I will have the same growth, if not more, in my new areas and with my new companions. I feel like I´m slowly becoming the missionary that God needs me to be. Change is good. It forces us out of our comfort zone and stretches our ability.

I´ve learned a lot from my experience with Hermana Azcurra. I´ve definitely learned to rely on God more for the things I can´t develop all by myself. God really is the only One who can change people´s hearts and give us the gifts of the Spirit that we need to do His will in His way. I can´t tell you how hard I´ve prayed for patience, humility, and charity, to see each difficult experience through her eyes. I thought before that I was a pretty good person, but being good isn´t enough. We need to strive every day to develop Christlike attributes and become more like Him. We need to put on the divine nature. (I learned this from the talk ,"More then Conquerers through Him that Loved Us" from April 2011 Gen. Conf.) I´m learning more and more every day the reasons why I´m here in Argentina. Mainly it´s because God knows better than I do what I need. He´s really the One in charge of my life and I´m learning little by little to let Him have control. Things might turn out okay when we do them our way, but they turn out the best when we do them in His. Each of us wants success and real, fulfilling success comes when we do the Lord´s work in His way.

I love being a missionary. Every day has its difficulties, but they´re well worth what I get out of them at the end of the day. I hope we can all learn to trust God more and do His will, even when we don´t quite understand why or want to. When we do, we can achieve the divine potential He sees in us. I love my Father and I am so grateful for the gift of His Son. I know that it is through Him that we can do all things. I love you all and am so grateful for your support and prayers. I feel them more than you know. May God bless you all.

Until next week,

Hermana Erin Litster

Monday, March 5, 2012

From Buenos Aires March 5, 2012

We had a really good week. Things are improving and we´re working hard. Satan is working pretty hard, too, though. Sometimes it feels like we have to put forth constant effort, to the point of exhaustion, and sometimes more. I guess that´s the point of missionary work, to do more than you want to or think you can. José Antonio won´t be getting baptized this week, but we´re working for the 17th with him. His baptismal date fell through because he didn´t come to church yesterday. Ramón couldn´t come to church the last two weeks. He almost didn´t come yesterday, too, but in the end we persuaded him to come. He´s been more depressed and lonely than sick and just didn´t have the motivation to go, but in the end he felt a lot better. We showed him the baptismal font after Sacrament meeting and he´s a lot more excited for his baptism on Saturday. When we left him he had the biggest smile on his face, and he has the sweetest old-man smile I´ve ever seen. We´ve been able to see such a change in him. He´s a lot more focused now and it feels like he´s really listening and trying to learn and remember. Prayer is the most difficult for him and still can´t do it by himself, but he´s trying and can see the difference in how he feels when he puts forth the effort.

I think Wednesday was the best day so far of my entire mission. For the first time in almost 6 months I really felt like a missionary. We had training with los asistentes viajantes (the traveling asistants) almost every day last week and I learned so much. We learned a lot of doctrine as well as how to be better missionaries. I left the meeting Wednesday morning changed. I had been praying to know how to want to be here and to make the will of God my own. I don´t want to go through my entire mission with the point of view that I came to be obedient to the will of God and never love the work. It was a miracle for me. It made me think about a quote that talks about the things that need changing in a human soul can and must be only done by God. I noticed the change that happened in my without my doing anything other than pray. That day I had a fire for the work that was incredible. I was excited to contact people on the bus and tract in the neighborhoods. I had a smile on my face the entire day. Obviously this change won´t stay without effort on my part, and it´s definitely not easy, but I know it´s possible and I¨ve had a glimpse of what my mission can really be for me. I want to get this fire back and keep it burning for the next year. (Can you believe that I´m already hitting my 6 month mark and only have a year left? I can´t.)

I feel your prayers for me.

Love, Erin

Buenos Aires Temple Rededication Announced

Buenos Aires Temple Rededication Announced
The first presidency announced the re-dedication of the Buenos Aires Temple in three sessions on the 9 of September. Oh happy day! There will be a public open house from the 4 of August to the 25th of August with the exception of Sundays. Saturday, the 8th of August there will be a cultural event as part of the celebration.

December 2011 & January 2012

December 2011 & January 2012

Hermana Litster is in Argentina!

Hermana Litster is in Argentina!

MTC Photos September- November

MTC Photos September- November