Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 9 (Third in Paraguay)


Oh my gosh, so I did emailing differently this week and am writing this at the end of my email time instead of the beginning. Which, as it turns out, is a bad idea because my eyes are blurring over and I feel super wired from reading/responding to emails. So sry if this email is kind of weird, because I feel like I can`t even think straight.

This week was better than last, and mostly everything is good! I feel like missions are weird because you reflect on your mood and "how you`re doing" so much more than in the real world. If this was just a two month vacation or something I`d probably be having a really great time and wouldn`t be stressing about my mood or anything. But because it`s not I`m always thinking "Am I happy? How am I feeling? Am I adjusting well?" And then all my reflections always make me feel like I could be doing better, even thought really I`m doing fine. I can`t explain it very well, but like I`ve said before and I`ll say again, missions just do weird things to your emotions.

I was talking with Hermana Valenzuela this week one day during comp study and we were talking about the differences of how Satan affects missionaries vs us in our "normal lives" at home. At home there are so many more resources he can use (movies, music, boys, etc), and it`s just easier to get us to "do things" that are sins. But since we`re on the mish and we aren`t quite as susceptible to those things, he always goes after missionaries through their emotions and through their testimony. He always wants you to feel like you aren`t doing enough, like you won`t/can`t adjust to mission life, like you don`t have a strong enough testimony, etc. It`s so trippy, but so true. I`ve never felt so many attacks on my emotions before like this. It`s so weird. But I`m doing ok and I also really feel like I`m strengthened a lot and also I`m obviously super blessed in general, so I`m not really phased (for the most part). It helps to have already had a hecka strong testimony coming into this, that`s for sure. And also to have a really solid support system at home. And honestly all of my life experiences have prepared me for this. Like I said, #blessed.

Last p-day: Well last P-day Hna. Valenzuela wanted to meet up with her old comp Hna. Whittiker, so we went to this city like 30 minutes away and got Pizza Hut. It was so dang expensive and such a rip off, but also it was worth it because it was delicious. And the mall there was swank city and SO NICE!
Nicest Mall in Asuncion, or anywhere else for that matter
 I felt like I was in America and I didn`t want to leave. It was hands down the nicest place I`ve been in besides the temple. Because we had to travel and do a bunch of other stuff it was kind of a stressful day in general. Plus it was raining a lot. I`m still looking forward to the day that I can just take a nap on p-day. Preferably for 2 hours plus. That`s the dream.

Other details about Paraguay: So it`s impossible for me to tell you even 1/100th of the things I`ve seen since I`ve been here (p.s. the more I read the Book of Mormon the more I start to speak like I`m speaking in scripture verses or something. It`s pretty comical to me), so there are some things I`ll mention that I don`t think I`ve had the chance to before. We have tons of power outages and also water outages (?) where for any given amount of time we either won`t have power or won`t have water. It`s worse when it rains. So that`s been fun to deal with. That`s not really sarcasm though, because mostly it hasn`t been a real problem. Also, I forgot to mention that we wash all of our clothes by hand. It`s not really that bad except for that it takes 5ever and when the heck do I have a spare hour to do that?! Casi nunca. We just go to the back sink and use a spigot and a bucket with a bar of soap and then use this washboard thing and hang them up to dry. Pretty typical third world, so I`m sure you can imagine. Good stuff. In other South American fashion, I`ve now seen tarantulas, PLENTY of spiders (I think I`ve been bit by a few..), lots of beetles/cockroaches (sometimes in our apartment), and snakes. We actually saw a pretty cool snake the other day when we were walking and it was bright silver and I just stood there and watched it move for like 2 minutes because it was so cool looking. Also when I say that the roads are dirt, I actually mean brown sand, because for the most part it`s just sandy everywhere. And I`m always dirty and the bug spray I put on is super hecka oily and it just makes dirt stick to me even more. Pretty ratchet. The bug bite situation continues to be a minor problem in my life. I guess it happens to all North Americans when they first come though. Apparently my blood is still clean... So once it gets dirty enough I`ll stop getting bit (apparently it happens within the first few months). So that`s a fun thought to look forward to........ Lolz @ South American missions.

Piano: So I thought I`d include this briefly mostly for you, Mom, but I`ve been having to play piano here... Honestly I low key hate playing in front of a lot of people. I have to play at church and zone stuff and sometimes there is a pretty solid sized group there (like 50 plus). It`s just really not my favorite thing and it stresses me out. But I guess it`s chill because at least since I can`t speak Spanish the members know I`m not a total idiot because I can at least play the piano. Good job for practicing so much, Mom! I`m proud of you. Stoked for Mother`s Day when I can hear your progress. When you perform in class just think of me playing at church here and feel better. 

Capilla Abierta!  (Open House)
Capilla Abierta: So this Saturday we had this huge event that we`ve been preping for for like two weeks and we were contacting everybody and inviting them to it and just practicing a ton for it. I was pretty nervous because it involved giving tours to people all about the church and all the lessons, and I defs don`t have the vocabulary for that. Anyway, they ended up sending us like 15 missionaries from other areas to help us out, so I didn`t even have to give tours in the end! Which was good, but also I had practiced for it... And I went on exchanges with this other Hermana, and she was really nice but let`s just say I`m EXTREMELY grateful to have Hermana Valenzuela as my comp. Her style is just much more similar to mine. And it`s hard to be with someone who contacts so differently than you because you just want to be like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You`re making us seem SO awkward and ALSO therefore making the church seem wierd." But of course you can`t say that and different things work for different people, so you never know. Good thing the spirit converts people, not missionaries, amirite? Anyway, after that semi stressful few hours of exchanges the event was over and we all went back and talked with the other missionaries and it was a good time. I just love missionaries so much. They bring such a strong spirit with them, and it`s just great to be around. I can`t believe I`M a missionary! 2 chill. 

P-day today: So all the hermanas in the area were meeting up in Asuncion at the temple to have an activity today. TBH, I really didn`t want to go on account of remember the trip to Asuncion from hell? Also, like I said it`s my dream to take a nap and chill out and NOT take a two hour bus ride each way to eat lunch with other hermanas for an hour. BUT Hermana Valenzuela wanted to go and mostly I`m trying to get into sacrifice these days, so we went. Also I was down with it, because I guess why not, ya know?
The oh so appreciated Hermana Valenzuela
 So I ended up being really glad we went because guess who showed up?

Hermana Speakman:  Her CCM Companion and confidant

Hermana Speakman! Which is crazy because her area is like 8 hours away up by Brazil. But I guess her fingerprints failed AGAIN, so she had to come to the office to get them done. And we had probably the best/deepest conversation we`ve ever had with each other in which she opened up and told me about her struggles and everything. She has a Latina companion and it`s just hard since they can`t really communicate and the mish is just hard for her in general in a lot of ways since she really didn`t want to come but felt like she should. So it was really nice and it was good to talk with someone I know/I think she needed to talk, so it was probz defs inspired that we went. And the bus rides were much better and they weren`t even half as packed. 

Ok, well I love you all a lot!!! Also family shout out to ColinBae for being the best ever and freaking WINNING THE ELECTION! I wrote him an email last week and FORGOT TO SEND IT and I was low key devastated when I realized. Good news is he`s 2 chill and I sent it to him this week. 

Thanks for all the support. I rly need it. Praying for you! 

-Hermana H. Ross
Sweet Lucia who is making progress on all her family history work

Monday, April 20, 2015

Second week in Paraguay

 Random Ant Hill:  Paraguayan Photo Op
Ayyyy Family! So good news is I`m still alive! Lolz, but srsly.

This week was pretty rough. It ended up alright, but there were some really hard days in between. It started out with last P-day. It was a good day, but we were way behind on everything since our zone meeting/hang out took 5ever and then we had some emailing difficulties because the elders were using the same cyber as us and there are only 3 computers. Anyway, it was a good time, but I just felt sort of stressed out after and it wasn`t exactly the best place to be to start a new week.

Temple trip: So we had to wake up at 4am the next morning (Tuesday) to take a bus to Asuncion so we could go to the temple. I was hecka tired, obviously, and I just felt sort of off balance as it was. Then we get on this bus which is PACKED. Like, literally PACKED. I can`t even describe it. So there`s obviously only standing room, but we get shuffled into the middle of this bus and I can`t even breathe and it`s SO HOT in there and the buses here, like I said, are jank city and the roads are super rough. Anyway, it was the bus ride from HELL. It took like two hours to get there, and I literally didn`t think I was gonna make it. I could probably do it again right now and be fine, but it was just a weird combination of my mood, the situation, the heat, etc., and I was just not having it. So we finally get there and it starts pouring rain and I feel WAY sick and it just wasn`t the best lead up to the temple. So we finally get in and everythings more or less good because I love the temple big time, but it`s all in Spanish (obvi) and I feel way sick and it just really wasn`t as great of an experience overall as I would have hoped. Big time bummer. But I still had a decently good experience inside, and it was cool to think about how set apart the temple is from the world. In the states it is too, obviously, but the contrast is SO MUCH GREATER here. Literally it`s the only clean building I`ve been in. I seriously didn`t want to leave. It was kind of depressing, but also really put the eternities into perspective, ya know? We needed to come to earth to be tried and tested, and I couldn`t just sit in the celestial room of the Paraguay temple forever.

All the gals in Holly's district at the Asuncion Temple

Holly and her companion Hermana Valenzuela

Testimony meeting: So after the temple we all met with our zone and some other missionaries to have a testimony meeting. I was feeling the pressure because pretty much everyone was going up and I`m the only brand new missionary in my zone, aka everyone else is fluent in Spanish. Also I still felt sick and I just wasn`t feeling it. I just really had already decided not to go up. So it`s nearing the end of the meeting and all the sudden I just kind of start thinking of a few basic sentences I could say (I can`t stop my mind from thinking of them), and then all the sudden I`m walking up to the stand like "what even is happening?" So I go up and bear my testimony and it`s super simple and I start crying as per usual, but I felt really good about the fact that I did it. So then directly after I bore my testimony, this boy that had been sitting in the back/wasn`t in my zone stands up and bears his testimony. And I can tell he also doesn`t really speak Spanish, and his testimony was even more basic than mine. Turns out there were a few boys in the back from the Nebuclay (spelled it phonetically, I have NO IDEA how to spell it) tribe, and they only speak this CRAZY native language that sounds like literally the craziest thing on this earth. So anyway, they are preparing to go on missions, but it`s really hard for them because they don`t speak any other language and the MTC isn`t able to accommodate their native language, so they have to learn in Spanish. Ok, so I feel like I`ve explained this all sort of poorly, BUT the point is that right after I bore my testimony (I said in it that I have only been here for a week and don`t know much Spanish), all the boys from that tribe stood up and bore their testimonies too! And their Spanish was even more basic than mine, and it was just the most awesome thing ever. And I talked with some of them after (well, talk is an overstatement because we can`t really communicate), and they are super shy and embarrassed about their Spanish, and I kind of feel like me going up there made them feel ok about them not knowing Spanish either. So it was just a cool experience and it emphasized to me once again that it`s not really about the language, it`s about the spirit. And the spirit works through humility. And literally NOTHING will bring humility like not being able to say or understand anything. So essentially what I`m saying is that there is a really strong spirit that goes with missionaries trying to learn another language. I know that is true.
The most humble native Indian Paraguayan missionaries, all learning Spanish
First half of the week: Anyway, so after Tuesday, my whole system was just off and I wasn`t feeling energetic or even super happy and I was feeling sort of depressed/discouraged for no particular reason. Honestly Thursday was probably the hardest day I`ve had since I`ve been here. I was just feeling SO lethargic and unmotivated, and I was just feeling so overwhelmed about having to be here and to do this every day for 16plus more months. It`s just a reallyyyyy long time. And I try to just take it one day at a time, but it`s really hard to do that. Especially with Hermana Valenzuela leaving so relatively soon and us planning out her future together and me just thinking about being in Paraguay trying to learn Spanish for months and months. Anyway, it was just a bad time and I was feeling really not happy.

Second half of the week: So starting on Friday things got better. I couldn`t even tell you why I had that weird mood swing, but I was way happy to feel happy again. Missions just do weird stuff to your mind, let me tell ya. But this whole weekend was good and yesterday we were out all day and it was tiring and I was hot, but it was good. And I just feel happier again. So yeah, everything is good and I feel good. 

Spanish: So my Spanish is progressing seemingly not at all. But it`s all good and most of the time I`m fine with not being able to speak... It`s hard for me, but Hermana Valenzuela is really great and I feel emotionally connected to her in general, so it helps a lot for me to not feel too down the rest of the time. I literally have NO personality in lessons. I just sit there in silence and try to smile and act nice, but I can`t joke or say anything deep or intelligent, so I just come across as hecka quiet. We eat with this Brazilian family twice a week who are super funny (two of them have fechas for next month!) and the dad always says to me (in Spanish with a SUPER THICK Brazilian accent) "Hermana, stop talking so much. You`re hurting my ears!" And I just sit there and laugh because I literally haven`t said a word in like 20 minutes and it`s just so humbling. SO SO SO humbling. But I was able to talk to this elder in my district last night who has only been here for 5 months and he was way helpful in his advice. It was really nice to be able to talk to someone else who also has had to go through learning another language (His dad actually served in Costa Rica! But it was after you Mom, I think. His last name is Bingham). 

Weather: So the weather has been pretty fickle this week. It was pretty hot in the beginning, but then the second half of this week it`s POURED RAIN! Like hardcore. But the rain goes on and off, so it`s hard to know whether it`s going to be like that all day. Yesterday didn`t rain at all and was super hot, so we thought that it wouldn`t rain today. And Hermana Valenzuela and I always go running in the morning, so this morning we`re out running and we make it pretty far, and it starts POURING. Like, buckets of water from the sky. So we have no choice but to just run back (we can`t wait out the rain because it`s already like 6:50 and we`re supposed to be back by 7), so we just ran back in the rain and got literally soaked. It was honestly a really good time. I can`t remember ever being out in rain that hard. And it was fun because we were running and I felt like I was taking a shower at the same time haha.
Variations on a theme in Blue

So overall things are good right now, but this week was pretty hard and super long. I feel like I`ve been here 5ever. But I love Hermana Valenzuela and I like going to lessons and teaching people and being busy. As much as stateside missions are hooked up in every other way, South America really does have the opportunity to teach lessons like all day every day. I was thinking about missionaries in Glendora and it`s just a real bummer that they don`t have that much to do. Here we`re always having to choose who we won`t be able to visit because there are just so many options. It`s a really great aspect of missionary work here, and it`s a huge blessing. 

Love you long time! I pray for you on the daily/more because I pray 1,000 times a day. 

Con amor,

Hermana Ross

Monday, April 13, 2015


OMHeck, I`m in Paraguay!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?? Sometimes I can`t. And then I just look at all the dirt everywhere and I remember!!! It`s so crazy. I`m defs still in like a tiny bit of shock. But just a tiny bit. I have a bajillion things to say. No lie. 

She looks like she belongs there, right?!!
Settings: Paraguay is SO POOR! I knew this coming into it, obviously, but it`s totally different to see it in person. It`s crazy. People here have nothing. All the houses are like one room with dirt floors and no windows and no air. It`s nuts. Everything here is hecka dirty and unsanitary, and it`s been a real uncomfortable adjustment for me. We literally walked into our apartment for the first time and I was like, "what?...." Literally every time I use our bathroom I feel like I`m going to get hepatitus or something. And ours is "nicer" than like any of the other ones around here. Our apartment is an old tienda (aka like an empty tiny store), so it`s super small, literally has NO WINDOWS, and only has a sink and bathroom in the back that is wayyyy sketch. I don`t really know what words to use to describe the stuff here because sketchy and ghetto are the ones that come to my mind the most, but that doesn`t really describe it exactly. It`d be like super super super ghetto in the state (as in none of this stuff would pass coding laws), but here it`s just super normal, so it feels weird to call it ghetto. Anyway, if I were to sum up our apartment in a quote, it would be when Hermana Valenzuela told me "Make sure you keep the door to the bathroom shut, because that`s usually where we`ve seen the scorpions here." Lololololololol. But really, that happened. The picture I sent of our apartment makes it look dece, but trust me, the only reason I`m able to handle this is straight up because God is blessing me HARD CORE to be chill and not care.

All caves need is a little string of Christmas lights, apparently.
 Even from the first day I arrived to now, I can see how far I`ve come in terms of tolerating discomfort. I honestly already have a fondness for our apartment. AND it has air conditioning, which is a huge blessing, because it`s SO HOT here. Sad note though, on account of the no windows in our apartment, it is always SO DARK inside. Our light is literally a single light bulb hanging from it`s wire from the roof. It`s like a straight cave in there. You can`t tell whether or not it`s daylight outside, which makes it hard to wake up... Anyway, I`m done complaining about my apartment though, because like I said, I`ve already adjusted to it. I just wanted you to get my first impression when I walked in there. I`m honestly fine with it now. Even though the bathroom still scares me... (think port a potty mixed with beach bathroom stall mixed with something super old and sketchy and dirty...)

In terms of other things, it`s obviously WAY hot and humid here. It`s been a little rough, but I was as mentally prepared as I could have been, I think. It`s been alright. And honestly there`s just no room to complain. I just have to take it in stride. I really just don`t complain at all here. Who am I going to whine to? My companion is way used to it by now, and obviously the members here LIVE this way all the time, so really I just have to decide to get over it. Which I have decided. I decided it like my second day here. I mean I still feel uncomfortable, but I just try not to think about it too much. Side note though, the bug bite situation has gotten a lot worse here... I put on TONS of bug spray and such, but I`m getting legit eaten. And not just by mosquitos... It`s pretty sketch. I have some bites on my legs that are pretty jank... But don`t worry, I`m pretty sure I`m not dying. I feel fine. Mostly it`s just way annoying. Sometimes when we eat at members houses (we always just eat outside because they don`t have tables inside and their house is just one room with their beds), and there are so many bugs crawling all around and on me that I stop trying to get them off of me because it`s just futile. #datparaguaylyfe

Also, Paraguay is super dirty. Not just houses, but in general. People just throw their trash outside and there is junk EVERYWHERE! Except for the fact that it`s really sad, I kind of find it artsy. It`s honestly like instillation art everywhere. Quite fascinating. People just have piles of broken TVs on their yards (how hipster, amirite?) and there are piles of glass (like the pictures I sent) and then just literally bags of trash. It`s pretty sad. They just don`t have government regulations here. It really is like the whole country is a modern art museum. Also, there are SO MANY WILD ANIMALS HERE!!! Dogs, horses, cows, chickens, MORE DOGS. Literally all over the place. I must have seen 1,000 dogs this week. Literally. It`s nuts. Most of them are chill, but some of them are a bit scary... Mostly it`s fine though. TBH, I don`t think that anyone who hasn`t served a mission in a third-world country can understand. There`s just no adequate way to describe it, and it`s literally something you have to experience yourself. I still think about other missions in other places a lot, and I just can`t even with how different they are. I imagine Baby Ray sitting pretty in her Nauvoo house and the visitiors center and then I look around me and just can`t even. It`s crazy. But all missions are hard for different reasons, so it`s all good. But seriously, it`s so good for me to be here. Some of these circumstances you just literally can`t truly adjust to, so the only thing you can do is try to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Which I`ve been blessed to have a pretty solid start on. I feel pretty good and pretty happy most of the time (be happy IN your circumstances, not BECAUSE of your circumstances, amirite?)

Spanish: So the Spanish has been interesting. I don`t really understand very much, and I can speak even less than I understand, but mostly I have pretty decent perspective. It`s a bit overwhelming, obviously, but I try to not let it bother me. True embarassing story though, so it`s my second day here and Hermana Valenzuela and I have been out all day talking with people and teaching lessons, and it had been a pretty good time. Overwhelming, but good. So we had this lesson with a recent convert, and Hna. Valenzuela asked me if I wanted to say anything, and I just panicked and couldn`t think of a dang thing and I literally just couldn`t think at all. So I just told her no and she moved on with the lesson, and it was all fine and good. So afterwards we`re walking back home for dinner and I feel mostly fine, and she asks me something super basic about how I feel and legit I just burst into tears right there on the side of the road. For literally NO REASON! Hahahahaha it was the weirdest thing that`s ever happened to me in my life. I wasn`t even sad or stressed (per se) or anything. It was literally just being purely overwhelmed or something. It was really weird, but honestly pretty funny. But other than that I haven`t had any weird emotions or anything. I feel good and mostly tengo fe that Spanish will come with time. You can`t really rush it. Also, side note, but this Sunday was fast Sunday (AGAIN! Talk about opportunities to practice getting a testimony of fasting... be careful what you wish for...), and the Bishop stands up and says "Ok, we`re going to turn the time over to the ward... blah blah (in Spanish, obvi), but first we`d like to hear from the new Hermana, Hermana Ross" LOLOLOLOLOLOL. So I go up there and briefly introduce myself and start to bear my testimony (guys, I don`t really know Spanish), and of course I`m crying because I always do when I bear my testimony, and it was just a good/amusing time. I did relatively well though, and I felt good about it. A couple of people told me after that it was really sweet and my Spanish was really good. Which is a mentira, but whatevs, I`ll take the compliment. So yeah, again for opportunities to practice public speaking #reallybecarefulwhatyouwishfor

Hermana Valenzuela is absolutely ADORABLE!!

My trainer!: Hermana Valenzuela is great, and I like her a lot. She moved around a lot growing up, so she lived partially in California, St. George, and Mexico. Since she lived in Mexico for like 8 years, she knew fluent Spanish before the mish and has been a really good combination of a native speaker and a North American companion. The only bummer is she doesn`t really know how to help me learn the language, and mostly we just talk in English, but other than that she`s like perfect. Wayyyyy nice, super friendly, and teaches really good lessons. Which is prime, since I esentially can`t help her out at all. I was so apprehensive about getting a new comp, but literally the first thing she said to me when we met was "How are you feeling? We`re going to talk all about feelings when we`re together." I almost died of joy. And we really do talk about feelings a lot. She`ll periodically ask me how I`m feeling and check in on things and it`s so wonderful. She only has two transfers left, so I`ll probably kill her on the mish (as in be her last companion before she goes home). It`s a little weird because we talk about stuff at home a lot since she is thinking about it so often, but then obviously for me I still have like 16 months left... But it`s all good and she is a really awesome trainer. I`m a big fan, and I`m much happier here than in the CCM. Not that I was unhappy there, per se, but I`m just happier here. It`s MUCH harder (like WAY WAY WAY harder), but I like it better. 

Other stuff: I met all the people in my zone today, and guess who`s in it! THE Mariah Border! She is WAY NICE!!!! I really like her a lot. I hope we`re comps at some point, although it`s statistically unlikely. Anyway, she`s super nice.    

We "met" Hermana Border before Holly even left as we found her super impressive blog and we both were smitten!!
     And there are a lot of North Americans in my zone, which is a blessing on account of the fact that I don`t speak Spanish. They`re all chill. Pretty much all we did today for P-day was hang out as a zone and play sports and stuff. It was a good time, but I`m pretty hot and tired. Tomorrow we get to go to the temple though!!! Stoke!!!! Apparently we only get to go once a year though, so I guess this is it.... I`m excited. I forgot to tell you where I am!! haha I`m in a city cailled Anahi that`s about an hour outside of Asuncion. It`s really close to the south mission, and I`m pretty stoked about it. Literally every Hermana I came here from the MTC with went EIGHT HOURS up into the Chaco. That sucks so bad... I`m stoked to be here closer to the city. We`re definitely not in the city here, but we`re only like a two hour bus ride from it. Other note about buses here - they`re CRAYZEEE!!!!!! So sketch so sketch so sketch. They don`t have bus stops, so you can just get on or off wherever, but they literally never stop!! They just kind of slow down and you jump on or off. But these roads are not like ones in the states!!! They are dirt roads with rocks and bumps and it super sucks to be on buses because it is so uncomfortable. But anyway, I swear I`m going to eat it on a bus one of these days because I`m always about to fall when we jump off or on. Jank city. 

So mostly things are good and I`m adjusting and feeling pretty happy. Hermana Valenzuela makes a lot of difference. I have so much more I could say, but I`ll have to save it for later because I don`t have enough time. I love you all though and hope your freaking SO DANG PROUD of me for being here hahaha. It`s crazy to think about it, even for me. I can`t believe all of this is already becoming normalish to me!!! Weird! #pray4Holly

Con amor,

Hermana Ross 

Does she know her skirt color coordinates with the dirt?  And the shoes too!  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

CCM Memories

                                          Holly's District
                                         The adorable Hermana Larsen, a favorite!
                                          Holly and one of the trio, Hermana Speakman
                                          Holly with her CCM companions, Hnas Speakman and Nuckles
                                          Elder Viana from Brazil.
                                          More Brazilian missionaries
A favorite hermana from Brazil
                                            A great way to overcome her bug phobia, it would appear...

Last P-Day in the CCM!


I made it to my LAST P-DAY in the CCM!!!! Crayzee. Legit sometimes never thought this day would come. But here it is. As per usual I have like legit no time, but imma type like a fiend.  First off, I´m SO amazed by the outpouring of love and support I´ve received! Every time I log into my email I have legit ONE MILLION emails! It's the greatest ever. It´s really no problem because I can just print them off, but I just feel bad because I can´t respond, and obviously it´s SO in my nature to want to respond to EVERYONE! But it´s all good and I wouldn´t change a thing (other than wanting more email time!)

So TBH not a whole ton happened this week, per se, but I´ll try to hit the highlights.

Proselyting: So this past Saturday was our last time going out because this weekend is General Conference (STOKE!). We went to a new area this week, and it was BOMB! Way more populated than the last residential area, and it was just a cool new angle of the city we got to see. Buenos Aires is legit. I wish we got to sight see a little, TBH. Anyway, we didn´t have a whole ton of success (we talked to people and all, but nothing crazy awesome), but for some reason it was just such a good time. I felt really close with my companions and tons of funny stuff just kept happening back to back, and I definitely haven´t laughed that hard since I´ve been here. It was a really good time. 

Sunday: So this Sunday I was asked to speak, AGAIN! #lyfeskillz. Honestly, I felt like I would be asked as I was preparing my talk, so it wasn´t really a surprise, per se. The topic was Endure to the End, so I talked about how even thought that´s a HUGE commandment, God wants us to succeed and doesn´t give us commandments that we can´t accomplish with His help. And then I just outlined some of the ways God helps us in our lives as we try to Endure to the End. I pretty much just talked and didn´t write much down, so that´s chill. Like I said, life skills. I've had the increased desire to work on public speaking. It´s always been a desire of mine, but it´s grown even stronger since I´ve been here. So obviously giving another talk was a good start, ayyyyyy. 

Bugs: So, as you may or may not have seen from the picture I included, I´ve been legit EATEN ALIVE by bugs. No lie, my arms are COVERED in crazy, huge, bug bites. I had only gotten a few for my first four weeks here, but this past week I got DESTROYED. The jury is still out on what type of bug. The current hypothesis is ants on account of it happens while I´m sleeping and they are more linear than mosquito or spider bites. Anyway, I don't want to scare you too much so I didn´t send a bunch of pictures of it, but it suffiiceth to say that Zombie Holly has reached a whole other level. People always joke that I´m going to turn into some kind of super hero now (i.e. Spiderman type of thing), but I actually feel like the way these bug bites are looking that I´d more likely turn into the evil villain or something. Anyway, mostly it´s fine and honestly it´s not really that big of a deal. Stories, amirite?

Last week of CCM!: Ok, so like I said, this is my last week here. If you can believe it, I won´t have another P-day until next NEXT Monday. Sucks, huh? That´s like 12 days without P-day. It´s gonna be hecka rough. But I get to email for like 5 minutes on Monday before I fly out on Tuesday morning to Paraguay, so you can still email me and I think? I might be able to print some things out. I´m not sure but do it just in case. I´m not really sure how I feel to be leaving here, TBH. In a lot of ways I´m ready and I´m over it, but at the same time I´ve really grown to appreciate how relatively comfortable it is here, and I KNOW things will get WAY harder once I leave. I sort of feel ready for the next step of progression though. I imagined knowing more Spanish at this point, though. I kind of feel like I don´t know that much more than I did after like the second week. Like I said before though, I´ve been pretty blessed to not feel too worried about it at this point. That will obviously probably take a HARD turn once I´m actually in Paraguay though. Hermana Nuckles made the quote of the week this week, which is "Yo doy arriba por eternidad!" which legit makes NO sense in Spanish hahahahahaha. But in English the direct translation is "I give up for eternity." I don´t know why, but I thought this was the funniest thing on the planet. Probably because it shows how little Spanish we really know. I just think it´s the best kind of irony to say that sentence (which I say relatively often in grammar class), because it´s Spanish technically, but doesn´t make ANY SENSE! Good times, good times.

Reflections on time: Time trips me out EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY. I legit can´t fathom it and I can´t understand it. I´ve always found it so dang interesting. Missions are like the longest thing ever. But then obviously they really aren´t at all, ya know? My mood changes from hour to hour about whether or not I feel overwhelmed. I try to live in the moment, but it´s hecka difficult. Sometimes I feel like I´ll make it and it´ll be great, and sometimes I think that prayer is LEGIT the ONLY thing that can get me through the end of the week, let alone month. Mostly I´m not super worried about it, but sometimes it´s just the weirdest thing to me how much my thoughts can change in regards to how I feel about time. But I´ve received the HUGEST blessing ever, which is that come nighttime (i.e. 9pm, when planning starts), I´m ALWAYS happy. I´ve never had a night that I´ve gone to bed sad, that I can think of. Maybe one or two. But in general, no matter how I´ve felt throughout the day, I go to bed happy. And it´s the greatest thing on this planet earth. I´m so grateful. I´ve really felt Heavenly Father sustaining me through this experience. The first few weeks were ROUGH, and there have been hard things since then, but my mood has leveled out EVEN MORE (the first few weeks it was always between a 4.5 and a 7, and now it´s always between like a 6 and an 8.5. It´s been on point. I´m super blessed. Here in the MTC and in general. Also, can I just say that I´m SO GRATEFUL I´m not learning another language besides Spanish? Lol at the days I thought I could go to Asia or Eastern Europe. NOPE NOPE NOPE. Heavenly Father knew I could NOT handle it. More power to those missionaries. Legit, I pray for them every day. I can´t even fathom. Nope nope nope nope nope #tooblessedtobestressed

Ok, well sorry this email is a bit scattered/doesn´t have that much content. Like I said, honestly not that much happened this week. CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND THOUGH! I´ve never been more stoked in mi VIDA! And we´re getting to watch it here in the CCM by 2 days! Talk about blessed! Because we get to watch it IN ENGLISH! Which means I´ll understand it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOKE STOKE STOKE!!! God is in the details of our lives!

So again, don´t forget that my next emailing will be in 5ever. Love you all SO much!!!!!!! Honestly, I´m like the most blessed person in the world. 

Con amor,

Hermana Ross

p.s. "We must constantly remind ourselves that He is God and we are not." -Jeffrey R. Holland. 2 true. 2 true.