Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Roller Coasters and Miracles

I´ve been up and down and all over the place this week. So much has happened and every day I´m more and more amazed at how well God knows us and what we need. He is so intimately involved in our lives. It shouldn´t surprise me how much He has affected the events of my life to help me become better, but it does every day. I´m in awe at how perfectly His hand orchestrates everything for my well-being and happiness. He knew what He was doing when He sent me on a mission.

Agustín´s baptism was really special. His mom is so happy. It was like a light had been turned on in her, as if she´s been able to rekindle the hope she feels she has lost. Agustín shared his testimony after the actual ordinance and kept saying how it was the happiest day of his life and how he is so grateful he made the right decision and that he is so grateful to be able to start the journey to salvation with his family. His dad tried to appear as "unaffected" by it all as he could, but I´m sure he was able to feel something special. God is working on him and as his family keeps praying for miracles, they will end up in the temple one day to become a forever family.

Sorry for the short letter. There´s no way words can express what I´m feeling or what I´ve experienced this week. Maybe I´d be able to express it all better if I had more time. I´m sending photos from the temple with Evelyn, Alicia, and Ezequiel. They were able to come with us Saturday morning. We saw Hermana Campos, too. It was so good to see her again.

I love you all.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Scenes from the Carpa

(This is an entry from the mission president's wife on the mission blog, telling of the impact of the Hermanas at the temple open house, and some of what Erin is experiencing. The entry is not from a day that Erin was at the open house, but it gives us an idea of what she experiences when she is there)

In my Spanish Book of Mormon, Lehi lived in a “tienda”. Nevertheless, we call this place a carpa. Normally, the majority of the people that visit the temple are members of the church, or friends of members of the church. Today it seemed like there were hardly any members of the church visiting. We had “cultural” clubs and groups from other churches that came by for tours. They kept the hermanas really busy all day.

We have been asked not to keep the hermanas out of their area for an entire day. How that works is that they come in at lunchtime and stay until closing, usually around 10:00. Then they spend the night in the temple accommodations. The next day they work until lunchtime and then they go back out to their areas. So, they have the morning of the first day in their area and the afternoon of the second day in their area. Since they are normally busy all day everyday, it adds an extra dimension, trying to keep up with the families they are teaching in the meantime. I asked one of the hermanas how they were managing. She said that they are running like crazy.

The hermana below stood here and answered questions from this group for about an hour an a half. Afterwards, I was teasing her that she was holding her own special church service.

Later in the day, one of the hermanas came hurrying over to ask me if all eight of the people in a group could have their own Book of Mormons. Yes, yes, they can. I have to admit, that I thought perhaps it might be a peer pressure thing, because one decided that they wanted to read the Book of Mormon, they all decided to ask for one, whether they were interested or not. The group left, but about 5 minutes later, I saw one of them come rushing back into the carpa. I watched her, wondering if she had forgotten her purse, or something like that. Then she reached down and picked up her Book of Mormon that she had left on the nearby table. She absolutely wanted it!

Oft times, we see the hermanas back at the Temple when they are not scheduled to work, bringing the families that they are teaching.

Monday, August 20, 2012

From Buenos Aires August 20, 2012

We had some really great experiences in the temple this last week. We were able to talk with so many people and feel the Spirit so strongly every time. We aren´t there to proselyte, but the Spirit does its job and works in the hearts of the people. Hermana Rojas was able to help two people set a baptismal date. It was an amazing experience to take a step back and remember why we do missionary work. None of the people we talked to live in our area, but we were able to help them come unto Christ and learn more about His restored gospel. We don´t do what we do just to meet a goal or increase church attendence. We do what we do to help these people build their faith and strengthen the relationship they have with God through the covenants we make.

I really like teaching with Hermana Rojas. I really feel like we´re helping the people we teach experience a lasting conversion and really be prepared for baptism. Agustín is excited for his baptism on Sunday. His mom wasn´t feeling well yesterday, so he and his brother came to church all by themselves. We´ve been able to see and feel the change in their family since he´s been preparing to be baptized. His dad is a lot happier and talks with us a lot more than he used to. We´re praying that he can have a spiritual experience during his son´s baptism and have the desire to learn more about the gospel.

Evelyn is doing well. She told her mom she wants to get baptized and her mom said no. She wasn´t able to explain to her why she wants to or how she feels, but we invited her to pray and ask God to help her know what to say. We took her home after church and she was all ready to delete her inappropriate music after the lesson in Young Women´s. She´s going to be an example for so many people and influence them for good. She even helped Ezequiel know where to go for Sunday School. We´ve invited her to Agustín´s baptism and she´s going to the temple with our ward on Saturday.

Ezequiel really enjoyed church yesterday. They talked about the 2,000 stripling warriors and really enjoyed the story and example of faith they exemplified. They gave him a Duty to God manual, too, and he´s excited to start working on it and learning what he "has to do to be a good Mormon." Those were his own words. :) He´s helping his mom quit smoking, too. They´re the first family I´ve taught here that is poor enough to not have enough chairs to sit in. They´re poor as far as money goes, but rich in their faith and desires to follow Christ.

I haven´t been in very many poor areas (they usually put the elders in the poorer areas because they´re more dangerous), but it´s definitely a lot poorer here than what I´ve seen in the United States. We´ve always had it really good and I´m so grateful for the temporal blessings we´ve been given and the comfortable life we have.

Thanks for everything, your prayers, words, love, support....everything. I love you all.

Love, Erin

Monday, August 13, 2012

From Buenos Aires August 13, 2012

We had a good week as far as numbers go. We were able to find some really great people and teach some great lessons. We have more investigators that are truly progressing than I´ve had in a long time. We have a baptism planned for Agustín on the 26th. He´s nine years old, but I don´t know if I have ever met anyone so young with the understanding of the Gospel and desires to follow Christ that he has. His mom and older brother are members, but have been inactive for 2-3 years. I guess this is what they needed to get them going to church again. I love teaching them. We have a 16-year-old girl, Evelyn, that we´re teaching, too. She really wants to follow Christ and live in the way He would have her live. She´s come to church twice now and we´ve been inviting her to pray and ask God if she should be baptized. We´re hoping to set a date with her this week. We´re also teaching a lady named Alicia and her son Ezequiel. They have so much faith, which is good, since they have almost nothing else, literally. She has a problem with smoking and is working to quit so they can be baptized. Being with these people really helps me realize how blessed I am in every aspect of my life.

We moved apartments this week, too. Our old one was full of mold and the walls and ceiling were falling apart. Hermana Rojas said it looked like it came from a horror movie when she arrived here. The new one is a lot nicer, but smaller. I don´t think Hermana Rojas and I will be companions for more than one transfer. It was a really hard week for us and I think every one of my faults showed itself in all its shining glory. I didn´t know I had so manyJ. The mission really does refine us and I have a lot of thing to change and learn in the next few months. I think the mission really is an accelerated course in the school of life. If it was hard to accept the Lord´s will and leave for my mission, I don´t know how much more difficult it will be to give myself completely over to Him and let Him change me. I don´t know how to do it either, but He´ll help me. I´m trying to have more faith in Him and in myself to do what it takes to change and believe that I can.

The temple here is beautiful. It makes me more and more excited to see the temple in Kansas City and be able to worship there often. We haven´t been able to take any of our own investigators to visit it yet, but we`ve been able to receive quite a few referrals from the people who have and are willing to receive the missionaries in their homes. I`m excited to see the effects this open house will have in our mission, as more than half of the referrals received are coming to our mission.

Well, we´re out of time. I love you so much and I´m so grateful for your prayers and support. I´m really needing them.


Monday, August 6, 2012

From Buenos Aires August 6, 2012

It was strange to skip a week writing home. We were at the temple getting training to help with the Open House last Monday and don’t have another chance to write on a normal week, and this one was far from normal.

Our week was good. We worked hard, despite the fact that Hermana Rojas has been sick all week. I´ve been making her sleep all morning so that we can leave and work in the afternoon, and made her rest almost the entire day yesterday after church. She didn´t like the idea and wanted to be out working, but she wants to be healthy enough to work in the temple this week. We´ll only be working there 5 days, which I feel is a blessing. We´ll be able to focus on the work in our area, but still have the opportunity to help in the temple and have spriritual experiences there. It´s going to be so great to see how big an effect the temple open house will have on the number of people who accept the missionaries in their home and come to accept the Gospel. I´m so excited to be able to worship in the temple again. When I received my call and found out that the temple was closed, I never thought I´d have the opportunity to go to the temple during my mission. What a blessing!

Things are really improving here in our area, though we still have a lot of work to do before we perform at the level we´re capable of. We were able to find two really great new investigators this week and had two others come to church yesterday. One of them is the son of a sister in the ward that has been inactive for a few years. He wants to get baptized and it seems like that was the motivation that his mom needed to get their family back in church. Everyone was so happy to see them come yesterday. We have very few investigators, but they´re all so great. I´d really rather have quality more than quantity any day. We´re still looking, though. We´re determined to find all of the people that God is preparing to hear the Gospel.

I really feel like I´m learning so much about what I need to do be the missionary and tool in the Lord´s hands that He called me to be. Hermana Rojas is really helping me with that. She has a strong personality, and we butt heads every once in a while, but I feel like it´s helping me. They are humbling experiences for me. Mostly because she´s right and I need to learn that I don´t know everything there is to know about how missionary work is done. I´m learning patience and leaving bad habits behind and creating better ones.

I really love being on a mission. Of course there are those times when I wonder why God sent me out here or feel like I can´t do what´s expected of me as a missionary, but then I remember that He´s guiding each and every one of my steps and if I trust Him and seek Him, there´s no way I can fail. God never fails. Remember that. If we choose to be on His side and follow the Spirit, we will never fail.

I love you all and have you in my prayers always. Thank you for everything.


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