Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 53


Here´s the main stuffz that happened this week:

Sur America Sur video broadcast w/ Elder Bednar!: This past Wednesday there was a broadcast to our mission from Argentina by Elder Bednar. The missions included were all of the ones in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay (he said like 8% of the missionaries in the world or something). Anyway, it was just like a three hour capacitation thing, and it was honestly the most inspiring conference I´ve been to on my whole mission. He edified, inspiried, and uplifted (aka what a leader should do). It was just a really good time. 

TBM (throwback Monday) to that crayzee Provo ice storm of like 2013, I think: Alright, so just to jog your memory, there was one day a few winters ago in Provo that it was lightly raining and then the rain legit froze as it hit the ground, making literally an ice rink in all of Provo (youtube it. there are videos of students sliding down hills and using ice skates to get around). So anyway, it was a pretty traumatic experience and shout out to the Dogma, cause if you remember I called you on my walk to campus and was like, "I don´t know what to do!! I can´t move forward, but I also can´t go back! What should I do?! I feel like the only solution is to crawl!" lolz. So we were up on this huge hill in our area like 40 minutes away from the center when it started to pour rain. We were V unprepared, and esentially had no choice but to try and make it back to the center. As we start to walk, however, we realize that the mud on this hill is NOT normal, and it has become slippery x100, and we almost literally couldn´t take a step without almost falling. So we proceeded to spend the next hour or so taking baby steps in the rain trying not to fall down this hill in the mud. So yeah, it was pretty funny just cause it really brought the same feelings from that frozen ice day. Except for this time I couldn´t call my mom *single tear*

Divisions: So we had divisions with the hermana leaders this week, and it was like the best day of my whole change haha. Probz cause it wasn´t spent 1/4th with indirect attacks at my worth and 3/4ths in awkward silence lolz. So it was a nice break from that. Normally divisions are like the most intense day of the change, but because of the situation I´m in, it was actually literally the chillest day I´ve had in weeks. And I went with Hermana Noorda from Connecticut, and she is really chatty and friendly. So it was a good time.

Ok, well happy leap year! Do something kool to celebrate, I guess. Also, a joven told me Justin Bieber is turning 22 tomorrow. So feliz cumple, Justin! <3 

Hope you have a good week! And also that Colin gets his mission call. OMGosh, could I be freaking out more? 

Love you!
Hermana Ross

This member is a sign painter. It was so sick

He could do a whole sign freehanded in like 15 minutes

the bunny, the bunny, yeah, i want the bunny

with my 1 year videos from the MTC

Screenshot from a year ago!! Comps from the MTC

Frog on our door lolz. How did it get up there is the real question

Divisionsss. I ate pancakes for the first time in over a year #yolo

Monday, February 22, 2016



So first off I just gotta say I´m rill distracted cause 1) Colin got into BYU Provo and I´m STOKED!!! and 2) There are other missionaries with us in this ciber who also trying to see if they got into BYU, and the whole place is pretty dang distracting RN. But I´m doing my best to concentrate on account of time is straight up running out. How is it that time passes so slowly sometimes but then also SO FAST every Monday?! #science

This week I´ve been reflecting a lot about the whole concept of "bread or stones." You know, the whole idea that God always gives us good gifts (see Luke 11:9-13: 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil (meaning imperfect, human), know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?) So anyway, I was really pondering this when I came upon a boss talk by Bishop Davies about said theme. He shares part of a story that I really liked: 

"Some time ago I participated with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a series of priesthood leadership meetings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. On Friday evening we held a devotional with LDS cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

After the opening hymn and prayer, Elder Holland determined that in place of formal talks or presentations, the time would be given to the cadets to ask questions. Elder Holland fielded the first few questions, and then a young man stood and sincerely asked the following question: “Elder Holland, does the Lord give us challenges that are intended to impede our progress?”
I thought to myself what a great question that was. Then, after a moment of thought, Elder Holland responded, “Well, that sounds like a Bishop Davies question!”

For a moment I froze. But in those few seconds before giving a response, and with a prayer in my heart, I thought about those attending. The bright and capable cadets are there for a minimum of four years. They cannot marry, they have limited outside access and contact, and they are learning how to defend their country. They love God, are committed to keeping their covenants, and want to progress.

My response came easily and without hesitation: “No, the Lord does not give us challenges that are intended to impede our eternal progress...

Essential to our personal faith and development is the unmistakable knowledge that our Father and our Savior want us to succeed. They want us to return to Their presence... We can have confidence that the Lord knows at all times what is in our best interest and that where there is faith, and in accordance with His will, miracles can occur."

So in conclusion, I know that the Lord only gives us experiences to help us. And everything from the Lord we will come to love.

This has been a hard week, but I know that God will consecrate these experiences for my good. With time, ya know?

Ok, best things about this week:
-We had a cool stake conference and it was good and I felt the spirit
-I got to see tons of my mission friendz at the conference and it was like a mini reunion and was a way good time. I saw my old comp Hermana Speakman for the first time in over six months. Claps!
-I am having my 1st anniversary with the mission this week!!! I seriously can´t believe it. Like, I totally can, but also I can´t.
-We had some good lessons and Juan is continuing to sincerely progress

Ight, have a great week!! If Colin gets his mission call this week I´m not kidding about wanting to see a video in any way possible. I´m seriously so excited. And also about the BYU thing. F`realz.

Love you long time,
Hermana Ross

Lolz, so I am including some drawings from the package I got from the fam. (side note: I feel like the sibs have created a joke about me being a ghost who haunts the family or something? It´s pretty funny but also I´m not dead #missionaryprobz

Kute ward baptism

From the stake conference this weekend

Colin's note to Holly included this caption

Lolz, so I am including some drawings from the package I got from the fam. (side note: I feel like the sibs have created a joke about me being a ghost who haunts the family or something?
It´s pretty funny but also I´m not dead


Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 51

Dear Family,

Well, I´d always heard about people that write down a "tender mercy" from the Lord every day to help them recognize their blessings and the hand of the Lord in their life. Welp, I´d never done that on account of I always found my blessings to be somewhat obvious to me, and also maybe I just lacked the humility to try it? ANYWAY, this was one of those weeks that just literally WASN´T going to work out if I didn´t do EVERYTHING I could to keep myself sane. So, I finally did the "tender mercy" thing. And it helped me out a lot, actually #testify. So imma tell you about my week by the blessings I received that kept me going.

Lunes: So my email time was actually really good last Monday and I got lots of good emails and felt connected to my family and friends. Another blessing is that I was seriously thinking I was not going to make it through our lessons that night, but we ended up being able to teach both Juan and Bernardina, our two progressing investigators. They were really receptive and really great and totes saved my night.

Martes: Ha, this day´s mercies were harder to find... But they were there. After a hecka long day in lit-rally unbearable heat, we stopped by a member´s house to ask for more water. And she insisted that we sit down for a few minutes and she turned on her little fan and gave us water and  a piece of this sweet-bread thing, and it was like the best moment of my whole life. And then, another miracle happened. Which was that my sick water bottle (courtesy of the Dogma) has been my best friend from the day I received it. But tragically as I was leaving Horqueta, I somehow lost the cap. It was still working well, but it started to get super, super dirty, and tons of bacteria/fungus stuff started to grow. And I was low key depressed, because I was realizing I couldn´t continue to drink water from it because it was gonna make me rill sick. But what was I gonna do without my best friend, my water bottle? So I was searching, pondering, and praying, and the thought came to my mind to see if the cap from a different make of a Paraguayan water bottle would work. And I was like, "naw, dawg. This water bottle is swanky and nothing here will work." But I decided to buy one anyway and see what happened. and the FIRST ONE I bought fit perfectly!! So my water bottle and also literally my life have been preserved <3

Miercoles: We had a pretty good service project in the morning. And then the Hermana fed us a cheese sandwich and it was actually pretty good. Then that night we had a Noche de Hogar with a less active family in the ward. And their house is hecka out in the campo, and it was dark, aka TONS of mosquitoes. And even though we are using bug spray and stuff, we still have been getting EATEN ALIVE. Like, no joke, the humidity breeds them like nuts. But anyway, despite the fact that I thought I would die, the tender mercy is that I did not, nor have I fallen prey to dengue (side note: like a million and a half missionaries here have been hospitalized for dengue in the past few weeks. Like, everyone and their companion is getting taken down by mosquitoes.) But, like I said, I have been spared.

Jueves: We were able to have a lesson with a recent convert named Arturo who is like 12 years old and hasn´t agreed to talk to the missionaries in months. He was presh and I have hope we´ll be able to work with him. Other cool story is that one of our plans ended up falling though, and my comp was like, "well, there´s a less active family that lives over there that we haven´t visited in a super long time." So we went over to their house so I could meet them, and the Hermana ended up telling us that it was her birthday, and that she had prayed to feel God´s hand in her life. And she viewed us coming by her house for the first time in weeks on her birthday as that sign from God. Super cool, verdad?

Viernes: We had English class and the Elders made banana bread and it was felicious. Also I called Elder Cranney (the senior couple in Horqueta) because it was his birthday. We talked for a few minutes and he is really great and I love the Cranneys.

Sabado: During language study I decided to bust out my workbook from the MTC and see if there was anything I wanted to practice in it. And I was looking through it and all the notes I had made and just had the thought, "wow, I remember when I literally couldn´t understand any of this. and now this is 2 #basic." Seriously, super miracle. We also had some good lessons, including one with Juan, who is going to be baptized on Feb 27th. We were a little apprehensive to teach him about the Word of Wisdom because beer is cheaper than water here... But, he received it super well and is seriously prepared. It was sick. We also got to interact with a bunch of jovenes that day and they wanted me to teach them how to say basic stuff in English. So I´m saying the basics while they repeat them, and one of the girls, no joke, sounded American. Her accent was the best I´ve ever heard. So I was like, "seriously, you gotta learn English. Cause your accent is boss." And I think we´re going to go back and teach her some more phrases next week.

Domingo: I  think it was one of the hottest days I´ve ever passed through ever. Like, the tender mercy from yesterday is that I didn´t die. And the other tender mercy is that we had a meeting with the ward, so we got to be inside for an hour or so. That probably also literally saved my life #heatstroke

Welp, those are the best things that happened this week! Claps! But in conclusion, I gota say that vitamin D is the biggest myth that ever existed. That ish is supposed to give you energy? PSYCHE! This week was seriously so hot, I cannot even describe it with words. It´s one of those things that has to be experienced. The closest thing I could compare it to though would be a steam room. Like, you know how saunas are super stifling and stuff? Well, like that, but with steam. Like when you drain boiling water, but that sensation all over. I am literally, literally always soaking wet. It´s legitimately ratchet #pray4Holly

Ok, love you so much!! F`reals.
Hearts and stars,
Hermana Ross

                                     tadpoles. holy mother, amirite?


                Genisis, my bffl

 "Messi and the monkey"

                                                      moar sun

this kid could climb trees like literally no other

my foxy tan line ;) 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Week 50

Dearest Family,

Well, this week came and went! It was kinda fast and kinda slow. You know, the whole "mission vortex" thing. I have a feeling the weeks are going to start to feel longer though... #pray4Holly

Anyway, this week was just a whole bunch of working supes hard. Like, if you could even see my agenda... We literally plan for like sixteen lessons a day #metasdefe. So I guess you can guess why it´s going fast and slow. But here´s a brief breakdown of like the few noteworthy things that happened this week.
Diego´s baptism!: So Diego is this presh 8 year old son of a partially active family in the barrio. It was a pretty cute experience and I actually got a 10 minute notice that I was going to give a talk instead of a 30 second notice. So that´s nice, amirite?

Zone conf: We had a mega zone conference this past Thursday that was also interviews with the mish prez. It went well, but was from 8am-2:30pm without a break, which is a pretty long time. And we had back to back practices at like six different stations, so I actually felt way drained after. But I learned some stuffz and my interview went well and everything.

Ok, well tbh those are like the biggest stand out things that happened this week. We are also working with an investigator named Juan, and he´s pretty tight. He´s come to church with us twice now, so he´s defs progressing. More to come.

In conclusion, I´ve been thinking a lot lately about what it really means to follow the spirit. And I think a lot of it is learning and being prompted with how to work with others. Like, I really think the key to all good relationship skills is following the spirit. So imma be working on using that (the spirit) even more these days, especially in my relationships with others. And if it doesn´t work, I´ll die trying... lolz. But rly.

Have a great week! 

Hermana Ross

p.s. I have literally LITERALLY never heard hymns sung more slowly than the ward here in Juan de Salazar. Like, no joke, 10 minutes each one. I cannot even.

Bautismo de Diego!


con Karen. A recent convert/less active #bummerrrrr

my comp sports this look every time it rains aka like every other day lolz

 my comp pulled this out in a lesson and I laughed for like five minutes

our zone activity today. we had a nerf gun war. again, #when your leaders are 18 year old boys

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 49


The keyboard just froze hard on the l and y. What can ya do? Anyway, I have so much to say!! To the breakdown *wub wub*

Changes: Soo Tuesday we go to our zone meeting where they tell us changes (but the mission changed things and now they don´t tell us where we´re going or who we´re going with. Sucksss.) Anyway though, TONS of Concì drama went down and lit-rally more than half the zone had changes. And get this... Horqueta got washed! Literally all four of us left. E Simao finished the mish, it was my time to go, Elder Mendoza left because they CLOSED THE ELDER´S AREA, and Hna Lundberg got moved closer to the office. And then a few other elders also got white washed, so it ended up being like a huge exodus to Asuncion!! Partay!! So we just went and finished saying goodbye to a few people and then packed our stuff up A$AP rocky and then headed to the terminal to catch the all-night bus to the city.

The actual process of changes: So we get in at like 5:30am and everything is chaos and they haven´t told any of us what´s happening or where we´re going or anything. So the office elders are all there and just separate us into group, shepherd us into vans, and then we´re off to who knows where. So I was just like, "Bye, Hna Lundberg..." It was 2 tragic. Luckily Elder Gomes (the Brazilian/the only other missionary who was in zona conci for six months with me) was in the same van as me, but other than that it was a way weird and lonely experience. So we just are driving around for like an hour stopping at various church buildings and some missionaries get in and then other missionaries get out, and I still have no idea what´s happening. Then finally after what was a really long time we pull up to this church building and the AP is like "Ok Hermana Ross, get out. This is your new area." #soabruptRN. So long story short, I´m now in Juan de Salazar!! It´s in Luque/pretty much Limpio (which means "clean" in Spanish, which is pretty ironic, cause everyone says this is the dirtiest zone." 

The new comppp!: My new comp´s name is Hermana Córdova and she´s from Peru #shocker. Guys, this is my third Peruvian comp. Why is everyone from Perù?! Anyway, she is pretty dang new on the mission and is pretty nice and super hardworking. Like, she´s had us going almost literally nonstop from the minute I got here. It´s been kinda rough on account of I didn´t sleep for like two nights in a row cause of traveling, but I´m sorta starting to adjust. Anyway, it´s too soon to say exactly how my comp is, so we´ll see how things progress!

The area!: So Juan de Salazar is actually the old area of my comp Hna Aguilar! And she said it was her favorite area, so I´d actually already heard a bit about it. It´s pretty good so far, and there area actually ACTIVE MEMBERS, if you´d believe it. True story is that I´m experiencing tons of culture shock coming from the campo to an actual barrio. Like, my new area is super jungle-y also, but we are only like 45 minutes away from the city. And church was way good as well. I asked my comp what the missionaries do for church, and she was like, "Uh, nothing?" And I was like, "Wait, i don´t have to play piano, conduct the music, teach gospel principles, teach relief society, and give a talk?" lolz. But yeah, the area is progressing pretty well and we have some promising investigators and such. And side note, Elder Gomes is in my ward!!! Stoke!!

The house: Oh gosh tho, this one is gonna be rough. Like, I´m "adjusted" to living in a third-world country, but not THAT MUCH. Holy crap, the house I am in is literally a 10 by 15 cement block. We just have a bunkbed (aside: I´m on the top and there is NO LADDER. Like, how am I supposed to get up and down? #upperbodystrength) and then a teeny outdoor kitchen and an outdoor bathroom thing. And our shower is broken, so I´m back to using a bucket. Lolz, haven´t missed that. So it´s actually kinda unfortunate on account of I thought it couldn´t get worse than my house in Horqueta, but it definitely has. BUT it doesn´t really matter on account of we are LITERALLY never at home (we have lunch every day now and my comp refuses to eat dinner), and we have a pretty decent air conditioning box. And there aren´t as many cockroaches here, so that´s nice. Oh, other aside, we still don´t have a mirror. Wtheck? I still have the tiny one I bought in Horqueta though.

Ok, well I definitely feel like I have more to say, but time is running short and also I´ll be able to catch you up with time. Mostly I think it´ll be a good change and we´ll get lots of work done. True story is that I actually prayed to get a younger comp so that she would be able to help me increase my faith and become more consecrated. And my comp told me that she prayed to get an older comp so that she would be able to learn how to become a better missionary and a better teacher (oh man, the pressure!) (other side note: everyone keeps asking me how much time I have on the mission and then they´re all like "wowww, te falta poco! ya vas a terminar tu mision aqui" (like wow, you don´t have very much time left! you´re going to finish your mission here.) and I´m like, "uhhh, i actually still have a lot of time left. why you gotta play me like that?" 

Love you so much!!
Happy groundhog day tomorrow! woooo!
Hermana Ross

 Goodbye, zona Conci-cration

               Goodbye, Chaito

                  Goodbye, Pastora and Sofia

                                             Goodbye, Estigarribias #typical

 Hello, new house (yes, this room is literally my whole house)

                      Hello, new kitchen

                                 Hello, laundromat 

 When you don´t feel well and so a Paraguayan member hands you a plant and literally says, "Take this. It will help you feel better."

My companion from Peru, Hermana Cordova
Asunción party!! Woooo for when you´re not in the jungle and get to actually see other missionaries!!