16 months down… only 2 to go…

13 Aug

cough78dayscoughcoughcough

2 MORE MONTHS. Ahhhhhhhhh. Cool.
Well first off, Hna. Acosta and I are staying together in Varela for a third change. Apparently a looootttt of companionships stayed together for 3 changes. That hardly ever happened with Pres DaSilva, but Pres Armstrong did this… maybe that’ll be his “thing.” With Pres DaSilva it was like 2 changes with a companion and you’re gone. But, 3 changes is a long time. And to be honest, I’m not that excited for this… but it’ll be ok. We need to learn something else from each other and we need to baptize more people in Varela.

Speaking of baptisms… Marcos got baptized! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!! Everyone, but I mean EVERYONE in his house was SUPER sick, and so only his stepdad, who is also our investigator, went. It was a great baptismal service. Our new Branch President is a bossssssss and he helped us out a lot. We sang “When I Am Baptized” as a special number. Haha. I sang in english and Hna Acosta in spanish. It was actually pretty nice. But the funniest part is that after he got baptized, that night we went over to their house, and Marcos was getting ready to go to a dance party thing. Haha. And we were like “Remember the commandments!!” and he was like “I’ll be at church tomorrow, no worries!” … Yeah. We got a text from his mom at 9 :00 AM that said “Marcos JUST got home… and he just wants to sleep… what do I do!?” and so we told her to do everything possible to get him to church ’cause we couldn’t go because we have to teach Sunday School. And so Daniel, his stepdad, came with Rodrigo, my favorite kid ever, and Marcos wasn’t with them. And I was like “Where is he!?” and he was like “Ha! Oh, he’s in the car sleeping. We can wake him up for sacrament meeting” …Hhahaha. Ooooooh, Marcos. So funny.

His sister is also a new investigator this week. Shes 12, but she definitely looks 16. Crazy. And she walked into our lesson with Daniel on Saturday and she was like “So, now that Marcos is baptized… what happens?!” and she ended up telling us she wants to be baptized. The funniest part: yesterday she had her primera communion at the catholic church, because she has to do it because she goes to the catholic private school… and right after that she came to sacrament meeting. Hahahaha. I love that family so much.

But yeah. This week is going to be great. We found a whole bunch of motivation and spunk this week, and so we´re pretty excited to find more people to teach. It’ll be hard this change, but whatever. Its supposed to be hard. Well. rock on. Keep it classy aaaaaaaaaand pray that we find exciting things to do in Varela on P-days so we don’t have to go all the way to 33. Which is where we are going now. Gonna go hang out with the hermanas and then play soccer with the elders. Fun!!
Looooooooove youz! Chau.

-Hna Rrrrrrruiz

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the week i realized im one of the old missionaries

30 Jul

Hellooooo!!

This week we got to do an intercambio with the hermanas in Yerbal in Treinta y Tres. Which was weird… because those hermans aren’t in our district. I secretly wanted to go with Hna. Muir, because I love her and we were in the CCM together and I wanted to talk to her about everythiiiiing, haha, but it was ok, because those 2 companionships all live together in the same house. Missionary sleepover, basically.

But the area of Yerbal is TINYYYYY. Smaller than Varela, and Varela is microscopic. But it was really great. We asked the elders why we were doing an intercambio with them and what they told us made us feel really good. They said that we are very persistent hermanas, that we know how to extende compromisos and get our investigators to live those compromisos, and that these hermanas had that as their weak spot. So we were like “Awww! Ok!!!” Haha.

So I went to 33 and Hna. Acosta stayed here. I met with their investigators and got them all to commit to go to church. Haha. It was fun. Hna. Velasquez is a tiny little Peruvian. She has 6 months on the mission. I realized how old I am in the mission this week. Hna. Muir is a valiente next change, and that means I’m next. And I’m kind of scared, because being a missionary is like, all I know how to be right now, and it’ll be weird going home, or even knowing that it’s my last couple of months. I dunno… But I don’t wanna think about that. But I like being a missionary. I like being an instrument in the hands of God, it’s a nice feeling knowing I’m literally being led to people who need to hear what I have to say, which is the gospel of Christ.

Our new Branch President is AWESOME. We had a meeting where we told him all about our investigators, and he was so excited to help us out. I’m excited to work with him… except he lives in 33…. but we are going to eat lunch with him and his wife on Tuesdays after our meetings in 33! YAY! We obviously automatically love anyone who gives us food. Haha.

We have a great investigator named Daniel. He reads all we leave him, he prays, he goes to church, excepppppppt his pareja doesn’t want to marry him, which is sucky. We had a charla with him where he just bore his soul and told us how badly he wants to be baptized because he knows this is true. It was really sad. So, um, pray for him! We might have a baptism this weekend, Marcos, which is a recent convert’s 16 year-old-son. He’s pretty cool! So we just need to get him, taught and bam, to the water. Heh.

Well, I love you all.

Chelsea and Marito you two are shunned for not writing. NO BIG DEAL. Also, I’m giving you… the BLACK SPOT!!!!!! But I love yooooooou. Haha.
Chauzerz!

15 months down, 3 to go!

17 Jul

I ONLY HAVE 3 MONTHS LEFT.

No big deal.

Sorry, I have NO more time to write. Boo! But I’m going to the temple tomorrow with Nilo and Laura from San Jose–they’re getting sealed!!! I’M SO EXCITED TO GO!
Bruno got baptized. I love that child so much. He was part of a part-member family, and there was a LOTTTTTTTT of opposition to get him into that water. But we sucker punched satan, and all was well.
I’ll have more details next week. With pictures of us in Montevideo! And of the Uruguay Temple! Yaaaaaaay!!

Pictures.
1. Our HOUSE.
2. Bruno getting baptized!!

… jk about our house. We were in some random field and we were like, “PHOTO SHOOOOOT!!” Good times. Good, random, times.

the week i tried to be american again

10 Jul

I made cheeseburgers to celebrate the 4th of July. It was pretty awesome and American. I also made some fries. And I sang God Bless America to my companion. Haha. It was really funny. Good times, good times!

So I taught Primary this week. It was really adorable. Bruno came to church. He is part of a part member family, and he’s getting baptized this weekend. Pray that he gets baptized, because his grandpa doesn’t really want to, and that makes Bruno really sad. Poor kid.
We have another investigator, her name is Blanca, and she’s so amazing. We found her the first Sunday we were here, and this week we taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she told us that she was basically dead once in the hospital, and all she remembers is she was in a place that was all white and full of light. And we were like, “UM. GET BAPTIZED”. But she didn’t come to church this weekend. Sad. But I know she will get baptized. She’s very prepared. It’s just that its SUPER cold here in Varela, and a warm cozy bed is the temptation that Satan is using to get people to stay way from the waters of baptism. Hey, we have heaters here in the church. It’s not THAT bad. Haha.
Did I tell you guys what I named our plans to attack this White Wash we’re doing? Well, first we called it “Plan of Attack,” and I was like “Pfffft. This is LAME. It needs a better name…”  And so I remembered one time I was talking with the elders in San Jose, and we all started talking about the show Pimp My Ride, and they told me that in spanish its called “Enchulame Mi Maquina…..”  and I laughed for literally like 5 minutes, and then every time I thought about it since then. So then THAT came to my mind, so now we are desarollando Enchulame Mi White Wash!!!!!!!! We have a new street to contact everyday,  we are gonna have a lot of activities with the branch, we were gonna find all the recent converts, even the ones from the last 2 years because they’re all sadly inactive, and then we are going to visit a lot of priesthood that are inactive, because we need to get more priesthood up in this place. I’m actually really glad that I did the rescate in San Jose, because its going to help a lotttt here, because we have to reactivate a lot of people. It’ll be really great. I’m excited.
Butttttttttt, time is going by really slow. We barely started week 3, and my comp and I don’t understand how it’s ONLY week 3. I have a feeling these last 3 months are going to go by kinda slow. But it’s ok. More time to work.
Ok, well, you guys are the best. Love you all. Write me letters.
Loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
-Hna. Ruiz

July 2 the week of extreme home makeover: whitewash edition

6 Jul

Oh. My. Goodness. The house was HORRIBLE. I just tried to upload some pictures but it wouldn’t let me. Mein kampf. It’s probably best you don’t see the pictures. Your hearts would break.

This week we had changes! I always love going to changes. It’s so much fun to see everyone. It’s like a mini mission reunion. I got to say bye to Hna. Kirkham and Lundskog. I saw Hna. Bravo! I haven’t seen her since we left Castillos, and I even saw Elder DeSalvo, from San Jose. I miss San Jose!! Nilo and Laura from San Jose are getting sealed in a couple of weeks, and I think we´re going to get to go. I keep praying it still works out that way. That would be amazing.
So we whitewashed into Varela. There were elders here for about 4-5 years. Everyone is pretty excited that there are now hermanas. The branch needs to be united, and so we are totally going to be all lovey dovey and rainbows and butterflies and union, so hopefully that will all work out.
When we got to the house, first off, the door wouldn’t open. There were like 7 elders huddled around the door trying to get it open, and then like 5 minutes later it opened by a miracle. So then the elders all took in our luggage for us, because we had a lot (my comp doesn’t have a big luggage, so she had like 8 little bags. It was difficult to haul around for changes …) and we live on the 2nd floor…. and they all came down and were like “Hermanas, we are SOOO sorry about what they left…. sorry.” We were SO scared to go and see. So we went up and……. gross. It was gross. The floors and walls were sticky. The stove was BLACK with burned food. The sink was overflowing with dishes and the countertop was covered in food and dishes. And our room was just full of garbage. It was really gross. I laughed the whole time. My comp was pissed. Heheh. So we went to go buy some cleaning supplies and came back, I put my rain gear on, including rainboots, and cleaned the bathroom. I have never used so much bleach in my life. I smelled like bleach ’til Wednesday afternoon. Haha. But the house is better now. I can live in it without spraying disinfectant everywhere all the time. Its aiiight.
Varela is cute. Its small, its kind of like Castillos. But the branch is much smaller. There is a huuuuuuge lack of priesthood. We are gonna go visit some less active priesthood holders and try to get them to come back. And of course, we are totally gonna baptize some future priesthood holders! Wooo!
Maximiliano, my awesome convert from Castillos, sent me a letter that totally made me cry. I never cry, and he totally made tears come outta my face!!! He is turning in his mission papers this week!!! And he just wrote me a thank you letter for finding him and teaching him in Castillos. Awww, he’s so great. It was great, because this morning I had read Alma 26-28 where Ammon and Alma talk about why they’re so full of joy all the time, and it’s because of the missionary work they’re doing. And then I read Maxi’s letter, and it was totally an Ammon and Alma moment. Alma 29:9-10. My life. Basically. Haha. I really hope that he gets his call before I leave so that I can go to the temple with him!! That would probably be in October, because he hits a year as a member at the end of September. Wow. That would be a great way to end the mission. But no trunky thoughts yet. Still got a lot of work to do here in Varela. I’m excited. Whitewashing is fun. We’ve gotten lost a lot, but it’s good, because we found a new investigator yesterday while lost. Yay!! Her name is Blanca, and she’s amazing. After we taught lesson 1, she started crying and told us she loved us, even though she just met us. Tender moment!!´
Ok. Well. I’m gonna go now. I’m gonna make some cookies. We have a fun FHE planned with 2 recent converts. Yay cookies! Yay FHE! Yay the church!
I love you all!
Chau-zerz!

June 25 the week my mission dreams came true

6 Jul

So one day, when I was oro and we went to Treinta y Tres for a zone conference, the randomestestest desire to one day whitewash there came to me. And I’ve always wanted to. And so we had change calls last night. Elder Erickson called, and he was like “Hermana Acosta……. se va….. a Treinta y Tres! Varela!” And I was super jealous. And I was like, “Who is she going with!”

” …… Hermana Ruiz….” Yup. Me and Hermana Acosta are going to whitewash Varela together!! WOOOOOOO!!!! I’m super excited. And I definitely don’t have much time to write, because we still have to pack and go say bye to a lot of people. Not looking forward to that. But it’s the mission. Pray that we don’t get TOO lost in Varela!! Love you all!!

June 18 14 months down 4 to go!!!!!!

23 Jun

Only 4?! Whaaaaaaaaaaat?

Cool.
This week was insane. First, my companion got super sick and so we couldn’t really do much and that was boring, and then this weekend I got sick. It was NOT fun.
We had an amazing activity this week! It was a Noche de Tartas. All the families in the ward were paired up with another family and had to make a tart. It was DELICIOUS. So many tartas! We were going to make one with one of our investigators, but we ended up not having time. It was sad. But it was a good activity. We had some investigators, but we were expecting a whole lot more. Maybe next time.
Today we went to Punta Del Este. I dunno how I made it there alive. I’m still superrrr sick. But I guess the Lord wanted me to experience the majesty of the hand coming out of the sand. I forgot my camera cord, so next week I’ll email some pictures. It’ll be awesome.
We aren’t having baptisms this week. Ortencia and Mateo had a little freak out in church yesterday, and so Ortencia said she couldn’t do it anymore. It was really sad. But we are still gonna pass by. I wish Satan would stop being a jerk and let people gain their eternal salvation. I have learned what “opposition in all things” means here in the mission, and it’s not very pleasant. But all will be well. I know they’ll get baptized, they just need a bit more preparation.

This is the last week in the change, and I definitely didn’t know that. I thought that we were barely in week 3 or something. But nope. Definitely week 6. Then I only have 3 changes left. Weird. Ok, well, I have to go now. I love you all!!

the week(s) old man winter ultimate punched Uruguay in the face

12 Jun
IT’S SO COLD!!!!! The sucky part about being in Maldonado in the winter. Booooo. And sorry I didn’t write last week. Um. Bullet points to make up for all thats happened!
– My comp and I took an adventure to the most non-sketchy hospital ever. I NEVER want to end up in a Guayan public hospital. I’ll go to a private one, buuuuut if I have to go to a public one, I’ll just die. But no big deal. My comp had extreme stomach pain. I had NO idea what to do. I kept calling Hna. DaSilva asking her what I needed to do, and she helped keep me calm. We ended up going to the hospital just to make sure it wasn’t appendicitis. It wasn’t. She’s fine now. I blame all the mayonnaise and oil.
– We had Zone Conference. It was Pres DaSilva’s last one, and it was an AMAAAAZING conference. Wow. He quoted Elder Christofferson talking about missionary work in a conference they recently had for mission presidents, and he said that when missonaries understand the doctrine of Christ, we will realize the importance of this work, and the importance of opening our mouths. We can’t just share information, we need to offer salvation. DANG. I literally sat there slack jawed. It was a powerful moment. I don’t wanna share information, I want to preach, teach and save. The whole conference he spoke to us about how we need to be like mini saviors that lead people to the Savior. We are literally the only means these people have access to the power of the atonement. Wow. The church is true 🙂
– We have 2 miracle investigators. Last week, we had an amaaaazing district meeting where we all shared our testimony of how we came to know the Book of Mormon was true. In the middle of it, a lady knocked on the door, and the zone leaders went to go see. That night we get a call and they’re like “Hermana, they’re GOLDEN! They’re in your area! BAPTIZE THEM!” Ortencia is a nice older lady who is raising her grandson, Mateo. She felt like she needed to go inside the chapel that day and ask how to be a part of that church. She started off not wanting it for herself, but then she told us she felt super calm, and she wanted to know more. Her husband passed away a couple of years ago, and he was a member. She said that she never ever had the desire to learn more when he was a member, and she doesn’t know why it’s all come now. But her and Mateo are going to get baptized the 23rd. Please please please pray for them!! They need everyone’s prayers. They are ready, but I know that the opposition is going to come strong because they are so great, so they need the support. I’m so excited for them. PRAY FOR THEM!!!!! We have an activity this weekend where families are pairing up to make tartas, and we are going to make one with Ortencia and Mateo. Except none of them know how…. just gonna wing it…. or buy one… haha.
Ok, well I can’t remember what else happened in these last weeks. But they’ve been great. Changes are coming up on the 26th. Omg, and I hit 14 months this Thursday. CRAZYYYY. I’m so old. I have a very trunky and hilarious picture that I have for next week when I actually have 14 months. It involves me and the airport. Oh, we went to Montevideo last Monday for my comp to sign her visa, and our bus STOPPED AT THE AIRPORT. It was literally the TRUNKIEST thing ever. It was hilarious. Ok gotta go. Love you all!!

May 28 the week I turned into an OLD MAID

30 May
Hehehe. Just kidding. I’m FINALLY 23. Whenever people asked how old I was, I would always want to say more, because saying I was 22 felt weird, because I feel more mature than 22. But hey… now I’m 23! Cool beans!
What did I do to celebrate my 23d year of life? I went to McDonalds. It was awesome. There are only McDonalds here in Montevideo and one in Maldonado, and so to celebrate we went (see attached picture of me feasting). It was pretty awesome. I also found some Chipotle peppers, and I was overjoyed that I would have spicy food. Best. Birthday. Ever. Other than that we just walked around everywhere trying to find people to teach. That’s what we’re on the hunt for. We have a lot of eternal investigators, but we need people who are ready to make these covenants. Pray that we find miracles!
I don’t really remember what else happened. This week seemed like an ETERNITY, because we wanted to celebrate.  But it’s passed now. This is already week 3 of the change–that’s crazy. It’s weird how sometimes a week can go by sooooo slow, yet fast at the same time. Time as a missionary is a weird thing. I only have 4 1/2 months left. THAT’S INSANE. But… yeah. Ok, well, I’m gonna go and help a member make her birthday feast. She’s our neighbor and she’s amazing and so we are spending the day with her and her kids. She made me that cake that I attached a picture of.
Sorry I don’t have much more to talk about, this week wasn’t very eventful except for McDonalds, which is always a win in Uruguay. Ok, love you! Thanks for the birthday saludos!

the week i was thrown in “da hood”

21 May

So, my area is GHETTO. But, like, GHEEEETTTTOOOOOOOOO. I won’t tell you how ghetto, but its enough that I seriously want you guys to pray for me and my companion to be safe. Yeah. ´nuff said. There’s a street here called Justicia,… and it’s the biggest drug street ever. It’s so ironic. Don’t worry, we avoid that street as if it has the black plague. Because it probably does.

But the members here are awesome. The ward has some unity, and we are trying to help with that. We have a lot of eternal investigators, aka, eternagators. But they’re loyal, and come to church, and each one for their own reasons haven’t actually been baptized. But I have hope! They’re such great people!
We went to changes on Tuesday! Monday was crazy. After I emailed we went to the zoo with Elder DeSalvo and Nuñez. It was so much fun! I saw a lion! Rawrz! She LUNGED at me, but luckily, there was a wimpy chain link fence in between us. One more lunge, and I’m sure I would have been mauled, buuuuuuuut all is well! I had a carpincho (a capybara) bark, or whatever that sound was… at me, after I snapped a picture. It scared me. Basically, the animals all hated me, so that was scary. Not the most Snow White moment, but it was a lot of fun spending some time with the elders on our last day in San Jose. We all got along really well.
Then, later that night, we went to say goodbye to some members. Saying bye to Laura and Nilo was super hard. Their house was like our Guayan home. I cried. I never cryyyyy! But saying bye to Laura after all her amazing advice and help and laughs was very hard. They’re getting sealed in July, and the comp I have now, Hna. Acosta, is like literally their adopted child, and so Laura and Nilo are going to ask the mission president if we can go to their sealing. That is, if we are together. It would be perfection if we are together when they get sealed.
I read my convert, Maxi´s letter. He is TOTALLY going on a mission. He said hes going to try and leave in November. Which means if he gets his call in the next 5 months, I can go to the temple when he goes through. Which would be AMAZING. Because he told us one of his dreams once, and it was the temple. Exactly. To the t. He is going to be so happy when he goes. I NEED to be there.
I’m really excited to be here in Maldonado. Especially with Hermana Acosta. Her and I get along really well. Ok. I love you all so much. Happy birthday to me on Saturday. 23. I’m so old. So so very old. Haha.
PICTURESSSS!!!
1. You know my love for choripan? Well, there was a ward activity, and we had to leave before everyone ate, so they threw choripan in a bag and gave it to us. I was so happy.
2. Mate amigo. I love Uruguay. There are hot water vending machines for their thermos for their mate. They’re not addicted AT ALL.
3. Me and Agustin! This is one of Laura’s kids. He is so cool. This was at that asado we had on Sunday.
4. TRAIIIIIIIIIIIN! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
5. Hna. Rodriguez, yours truly, Elder DeSalvo, Facundo, Laura, Nilo, Rodrigo, Agustin and Elder Nuñez. This was Monday night before we said goodbye! How emo.
6. So, our neighbors are members, and we share a wall. We needed a pan last night, and so we hollered over the wall, and then we snapped a picture. This is Hna. Acosta and me! Yaaaay!