October 24, 2011

Hola from ARGENTINA!

¡Familia y Amigos!

¡HOLA FROM ARGENTINA! Yes, I did arrive safely. Family, I´m sorry you never got an email from my mission president. I´m not sure what happened there...he took a picture of our travel group and all of us with our new companions, so I´m not sure what happened. But, I am doing great! I love Argentina!

The Elders and Hermanas that arrived with me to Bahía Blanca (with our Mission President and his wife)

It turns out that our flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires was pretty much a miracle flight. A volcano erupted in Chile a few days previous, so all flights to Buenos Aires had been canceled. Our flight was the first one that was allowed to go. I guess the Lord really needs us in Argentina right now! :) The traveling itself was crazy. (Family, I was sad our phone call ended unexpectedly! What a rip! I was sad too that we didn´t get to have a real good-bye or a chance to bear my testimony in Español...but I just got word that for Christmas I am allowed to SKYPE! How awesome will that be? I´m already looking forward to it. :)

Okay, so the flight to Buenos Aires was ridiculously long. I didn´t really sleep much because I was so excited that I was finally going to Argentina! And those planes are never comfortable anyway... But, I lucked out and got to have a window seat.  My favorite was when we flew over Jamaica :) It popped out of nowhere and was just covered in lights. It was really cool to see from above. Anyway... so we landed safely in Buenos Aires, and we all got through customs without any problems. All of our luggage arrived too, so we were pretty excited. There was a man waiting for us as we were leaving the airport to help us with our next travels. We loaded up all our luggage into a van with windows covered up with cardboard (Awesome?) and then rode a bus to another airport where we would catch a plane to Bahía Blanca. We arrived at that airport and the travel guy helped us all get tickets. The only problem was that we barely missed our flight so we had another four hour layover. Uh! When we arrived at the airport in Bahía Blanca, our mission president, his wife, his daughter and the two zone leaders were waiting for us. They took us to the mission home, fed us dinner, and then gave us a place to stay for the night. (The hermanas stayed at Mission President´s house, and the elders stayed at a house down the street.) The only problem was that we didn´t have any of our stuff! It was all in that van on the way to Bahía Blanca! Ha. So we had to wear the same pair of clothes for 3 days! No bueno. The sweet mission president´s wife spoiled us though and got us a new pair of garments and let us shower and get all cleaned up. Finally!

The next day (Wednesday) we got our new companions and area assignments. My companion´s name is Hermana Freeman. She is from Arizona, is the second of 6 kids, and has been in Argentina for a year now. We get along great and I am excited to serve with her. She is a hard worker and I have already learned a lot from her.

Hermanas Vawdrey y Freeman

My area is called Pigüé (pronounced peeg-way). It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! There are a lot of trees and parks, and the people are wonderful. Our apartment is on the top floor of the highest building in the city haha (Dad, It´s on Casey Ave if you want to try to find it on Google maps or whatever)

Inside our apartment

Our kitchen

When I first got to Argentina, everything felt very "baby" (as Kate Norma Beckstrand would say). You see LOTS of little cars and lots of old trucks. I love it! Nothing is any bigger than it needs to be. Most houses are only one story, and everything is very simple. Most of the streets here in Pigüé are cobblestone. :)

I´m definitely not in Kansas anymore. Or Utah, or the United States for that matter! But I love Argentina!! I absolutely love the people...just not how fast they speak. haha I think they speak 1,000 miles per hour. Actually, probably 5,000 miles per hour :) I don´t understand much, but each day I make improvement. Pigüé has about 15,000 people. Our mission president refers to Pigüé as 15,000 potential baptisms. :) Our weekly mission standard is one baptism a week! I am really excited about that. It will take a lot of hard work, but the people are very ready for the gospel. We are the first hermanas to serve here in 20 years! I´m honored for the opportunity to serve here. The area is small. There is a small branch in Pigüé, but the members are strong, and we have many potential investigators. It will take a while to get going since we are going in "blind" (both of us are new to this area). My favorite though is our view from the balcony in our apartment. Since we are on the tenth floor we can pretty much see all of Pigüé! :) Every time I look out there I think of all the people that need the gospel. I can´t wait to give it to them!

View from apartment
View from apartment

View from apartment
View from apartment

Well my time is short. I´m so sorry. We have an hour on the computers every Monday from 5-6. Email is probably the best form of communication, but it´s only for immediate family...then it takes up my email time too. :s But other than that the pouch mail and dearelder.com is a great way to send mail. (Only dearelder has a 2 week delay. I guess that´s the price I pay for being in another country!) Packages are expensive to pick up I guess, but if they are 4lbs or less you avoid the extra fee.

I hope all is well! The church is true! It´s true in Argentina, in the United States, and everywhere else!

Mucho amor,

Hermana Vawdrey

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