Sunday, December 29, 2013

Two for One! (again)

OK ok ok ok... The Holidays threw me off a bit and a I missed a week AGAIN.  I am terribly sorry... but that just makes this week all the more exciting!

First Letter:

Well well well!!! I'm off to Argentina!!!!! Who knew? Well Hermana M knew haha but not me!!! So crazy! I have now learned my lesson to never believe rumors. A lesson that we should all learn... Everything I had heard about visa news was wrong! Hi my name is Hermana Albright, and I am gullible. First step right?  Anyway, I got this text from my mission president, "Please call when possible - thanks" and three missed calls from him (whoops! we forgot to turn the sound on again!) So I called him right back without actually reading the texts, so he tells me to read the texts and call him back! Well as you can see his text is very cryptic, so i call him back to decipher it, and he tells me I'm a leaving! AHHHH!!!! It's been craziness. A couple days later, he calls back and asks hermana r what she's doing to her companions to make them all leave her....because another hermana got her visa too! She's leaving January 1! Happy new year!
So I've had an amazing last week in Virginia!!! Lots of fun Christmas presents from friends and family thank you so much to each and every one of you!!! I loved it all :D And most of it is already in my tummy. YUM! :D 
In the midst of all these fun packages was lots of work! Preparing N for her baptism on Sunday, visiting members and less actives to spread Christmas cheer and encourage them to do the same, finding new investigators, learning lots of Spanish (yikes! haha), playing the chimes with the youth, and planning a caroling event for everyone and anyone that wants to come join with us! It's been lots of fun! The best thing ever happened Saturday night:
We went over to an investigators house, and finally met her husband and kid! YAY! So we were teaching her whole family, plus her cousin who had sat in on the last lesson this week because of a work injury (he shot a four inch nail into his nail. Not fun.)  So we were having a great lesson on receiving answers to prayers and right when we were really getting to the good part, her husband's brother came into the room. So we asked him if he wanted to join us, and he did! After a little introduction about us and the church and what we're doing here, another brother walked in! And he joined with us! So then come the questions. Question after question after question and I am sweating!!! But we were able to testify with the Spirit and the whole family wants to learn more and go to church! It was seriously amazing. 
And then we finished off the week with an amazing Sunday! I just love Sundays, don't you? What a great blessing we have to have the Lord bless us with His Spirit for all the day long as we dedicate our time to Him. 
I've had such a great time serving here in Virginia. I'm so grateful that I had the chance to learn and grow and serve and meet the people here! I have been truly blessed.  No way would I ever trade my experiences here for anything in the world. It is wonderful to be able to dedicate my time to my Savior. I have come so much closer to Him already in these past six months and am so excited to learn even more! I am so grateful for this opportunity to be an instrument in His hands and help His children feel His love and show their love for Him in return. I know that this church is true. I know that Christ lives and is the head of His church today. I know that there is a great power in prayer. I know that the scriptures are the words of God, written for us specifically to give us the strength and guidance we need. I know that the cleansing power of baptism, and the sacrament is real and that as we take of the bread and water each week, we are made clean. How blessed we are! For the sacrifice of Christ is real and because of Him, we can find true peace and joy. I hope you all take the time out of the busyness of this season to dedicate to the One who gave us the greatest gift of all. I love you all and miss you lots!
 Off to another adventure!

Hermana Albright

Then, Heidi got to fly to Argentina.  Her flight was REALLY long! But she made it safe and sound. She was able to call and talk to the family during her layover and we all loved chatting with her!! There were 12 sisters who arrived with Heidi to join the Argentina South mission.  

Second Letter

Hello friends and family!!! 
Well here I am in Argentina!!! Can you believe it? I sure can´t! I´m in a whole new world here, it´s so weird. SO much to put in, so little time haha. I´m in a threesome again! Woot Woot!!! Always the best :) My two companions are both from Peru! But luckily, they´ve both taken English in school so we can talk with each other just fine.there´s this full week with them though, and then we have transfers!!! So it´s just craziness everywhere. With the next transfer, we´ll have as many hermanas here as there were missionaries before the mission split. How crazy is that???
 It was a long trip to get here, we travelled for more than 36 hours! So needless to say, I was very happy to find a bed waiting for me. When we arrived, we went to the mission house for an hour for a quick dinner, then off to our new areas! We´ll get all the training and intro to the mission in a week for transfers. Oh I forgot to mention that my companions are both still in training. So I´m kind of training them on missionary work while they´re training me on Argentina it´s a party! 
It´s a whole new world here. And it´s summer time! School´s out, people are playing in the water all day long and it´s hot hot hot! It´s so weird that it´s still Christmastime, it doesn´t really seem that way to me, not much is decorated around here. But we were able to go caroling yesterday with the youth, so that was great! 
The Castellano (is that how you spell it? I don´t even know!) is difficult to understand. Everyone speaks so much faster here than they do in the states! And I´m difficult for them to understand because I use Mexican phrases and haven´t picked up their accent yet. Haha one day I´ll be able to sound like a true Argentine! Also, I don´t stand out as much as I thought I would, there´s a lot of white Argentinians so thats good. 
Well I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! We´ll be partying down here with fireworks outside and a bowl of helado. Smile at lots of people and make their day, eh? Hasta luego!
Hermana Albright

We were able to talk to Heidi the day after Christmas.  She sounded like she is loving her missionary experience so far! In her apartment she has a washing machine, a stove, oven, AND a microwave (she really wanted one of those) and a fridge and freezer.  Heidi said people think that she is shy because she isn't comfortable with the language enough to participate in conversations very often... they'll learn soon enough that's not true! Christmas is celebrated differently in Argentina. It sounded like it looks a lot like our New Years.. they have a party and then fireworks at midnight.  We loved talking to Heidi, she looked and sounded great! She is ready for her new adventure in Argentina!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Two for One!

With Christmas time around the corner, there seems to be deals EVERYWHERE.  So I figured we should have a 2 for 1 kind of a deal on Heidi's blog. That is why I didn't post her last letter, wanted you to have some suspense and then the thrill of the deal! OK not really.  I got stuck out of town at a work conference and my week got a little crazy.... but still enjoy your deal ;)

First Letter!
Well I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving week! I know I did! So many great things happened this week. :D I hope I can give them all justice.
MONDAY! Lesson with the mom of N. She talked about the changes she's seen so far in N and how much happier she is since she's been taking the lessons. It was so great! During the lesson, our car got towed :( Who knew you need a visitor's pass to park in a visitor's parking spot? (The person who towed them knew...) Lame! But we got some yummy tomales while we were waiting for a ride, so it was great!
TUESDAY! Since it was Hermana R's birthday this week, I was in charge of sneakliy letting our hermana training leaders in so they could decorate our apartment. Let me tell you it was hard work! It's very hard to be sneaky with companions. (LDS missionaries have to be with a companion 24/7, they do not go anywhere without their companion going with them)  But it all worked out in the end and she loved it :D Set N with a baptismal date! Woot woot! She's so ready for this and so excited. After our lesson, she asked if she could go to church every sunday and if she could go to all the young women activities. Umm  yes please!!! So that was great! Also, she talked about how much her mom has changed since she started taking the lessons. She said the other day while she was cooking she was blasting gospel music, and just singing and dancing around the kitchen. I so wish I had been there to see it! Haha. Oh how I love this adorable mom and daughter.
WEDNESDAY! It snowed!!!! So cool!!!! It didn't stick but it was still pretty awesome. Also, that night we had a member come out with us to a lesson. He ended up bringing his whole family. It was so great!!! And he was so awesome! He is a recent convert and so has never been on a mission, but you would never know he was ROCKING that lesson! We basically didn't have to be there.  I LOVE STRONG MEMBERS!!!!!
THURSDAY! As you all know, it was Thanksgiving :D We got TWO dinners! Woot woot! They were so great! Shout out to Hermana Edwards! One of our dinners was with a Guatemalan family. It was so great!  I was sitting next to the dad, and he was just regaling me with all his awesome tales of Guatemala. You are with some pretty amazing people honey. I hope they respond as well to the message as this family was describing it! Thanksgiving was just overall awesome. And it was Hermana R's birhtday!!!! we had lots of fun blowing up balloons, popping balloons, wrapping and unwrapping presents, singing different versions of happy birthday and candles! So great.
FRIDAY! Zone Meeting! We gave a training to the all the English people on how to contact spanish people. It was great! And yesterday we got our first referral from the zone. (Each mission is divided into zones and then within the zones they are divided into districts)
Woot woot!!!!!
SATURDAY! We had two service projects as a branch! (A branch is a group of members that is not large enough to be a ward.) One moving our Presidente to a new house, which is beautiful! and the second raking leaves for our second counselor. It was crazy how many leaves there were! Like three times as many as the pictures I sent! But it was lots of fun. We had a ton of members helping us out. All men of course haha we were the only women and they were just cracking jokes about us needing to go in the kitchen and make them food..  Our branch is full of hilarious people I love it so much! It's so fun every day.
SUNDAY! Hung out with the other Hermanas all day for another set of exchanges to help the sickies rest! And on Sunday we talked a lot about how the work really is being hastened here and this is the time for members and missionaries to join together! It was so amazing! Everyone in our branch has really caught on to the missionary spirit! Everyone is bringing friends and family to activities, to church, to the temple, and to lessons with the missionaries! Even our investigators are doing it! It is so incredible. The Lord has really prepared people to be ready for this gospel, and he has prepared the best way for them to do so through their friends! It's amazing.  As you're thinking of your gift to Christ this year, think about how you can be a great member missionary! I know that the Lord will help you in all your efforts to share the Gospel of Christ. It's easy, and it's sooooo worth it. Everyone around you is a beloved son or daughter of God. You could be the difference in them getting back to their Father. I hope that you realize how important your part in this great work is.
I love you all! And hope you have a great first week of December!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! I love Christmas time :D And I love Christ!
A Dios!
Hermana Albright

Second Letter!!

Hello hello everyone! And a holly jolly christmas to you all!
Basically, I love being a missionary during Christmas time! All the stores are playing songs about Christ, and even the people that usually think they're too cool for school enjoy taking a moment to thinking about their Savior. If only every month was december!!!
SO I am officially six months out now!!!! GAH! How did that happen?? Time just fliiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeessssss by! I didn't do anything to celebrate, my six month mark just came and went without me even noticing!!! Until a couple of days later, when I noticed the date and was like, wait what? What just happened here? No way this is real! But it is. Elders are out so much longer! I can't believe I'm already a third of the way done! So crazy!
So this week was a blast and a half! So one day, it got up to like the 50s/60s in temp, and it was so warm the ice cream truck came out to play! We found a lot of people one day buying ice cream from the ice cream truck! My favorite way of finding people :D  On Friday we got to have an amazing youth christmas activity! We sang songs, made cookies, had the BEST hot chocolate ever, and of course talked about Christ! I loved it! Being with the youth is the best! They're all so amazing. Yesterday it snowed! Church was cancelled and school was cancelled today! What the what? But it's not even snowy outside anymore. Just like that lame snow day we had that one year in vegas. But apparently, we aren't allowed to drive our mission cars in the snow. So we weren't able to go to the christmas devotional :( so sad! i'm gonna try to watch some of it during pday though. But probably not this one. One day. haha. How was it? I hope you all enjoyed it! If you didnt get to, do so now!!!! I'm sure it was amazing.
Have you figured out your gift to Chrsit this year? If not, take some time tonight to think about what you can do to show your appreciation for the Savior and what He has done for you. God gave us the greatest gift of all, His Son. What will you do to accept that gift in your lives?
Sorry this is a short one! I don't know what happened.

Hermana Albright

If you have not heard yet... Heidi is going to Argentina!! She will be leaving on Wednesday!!! Who knows when her next letter will be, depends on P-days in her new mission.  We will keep you posted on her exciting new adventure!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"I love being a missionary! What more can I say?"

Hello hello! How are you all doing today?

We were very sad to find out that Hermana W was leaving us last week :( I love her so much!!! And miss her already. What we did not know, is that we were getting a new companion! Her name is Hermana A, and she is my first native companion! Well kind of. Her parent's are from Mexico, but she was born and raised in Texas.  So she knows English but she is hispanic.
I love serving state-side! The Hispanics like to celebrate Thanksgiving here. It's probably the one time I'll ever eat turkey on my mission! Our ward put together a Thanksgiving dinner last night. It was so fun! They asked me that day to play the piano the entire time. Gah! Luckily, they're all very nice and don't mind mistakes every once and a while in the music :) We sang "Because I have been Given Much", and then the missionaries sang "I Stand All Amazed". We watched a talk from President Monson, and then the feasting began! Hermana Ar, another Hermana in the ward, was very kind and helped me on the piano. We would take turns playing two songs at a time, while the other one ate some delicious thanksgiving dinner
And of course, there were some miracles
Since the Thanksgiving dinner was a couple hours after church, in order to be miles-savvy we stayed up in Stafford and decided to visit some less actives. So we go to a less-active's house, and her husband opens the door! Her husband is a nonmember and we've never met him before because he just hides away in the basement whenever we come over. He was super friendly and stayed and talked with us for a couple minutes, even though his wife was not home so he could have easily shut the door on us. As we talked to him, his wife came home with the rest of the family! They let us in, and all sat down to talk to us! The rest of the family is usually like the husband, too, hiding away. So this was huge! We sang "How Great Thou Art" and without hymnbooks, they all joined in! Even the husband! The Spirit was so strong. We shared a scripture, and the Spirit just took over and some of the family members bore their testimony. At the end, we invited them to come to the Thanksgiving dinner. And they came!!!! They had a great time, and the husband talked to pretty much everyone there. It was amazing! At the end, the wife came over to us and promised to come to church next week.
I love being a missionary. What more can I say?
So directly translated from Spanish to English, Thanksgiving becomes "the action of thanks." I just love that concept! As you all join together this week and make your fun plans to celebrate this wonderful holiday, I hope you all take some time to turn thanks-giving into an action. What can you do to show your thanks? to your family? to your friends? to the Lord?
I hope you all have a wonderful time and eat lots of turkey!
A Dios!

Hermana Albright

Heidi and her district on P-day (preparation day)

Heidi found an old friend

Christmas decorations are going up!

Old companion trio

Heidi and her companion that left

new companion trio