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Blog Entry #27: Soaking wet and happy about it.


Hey Family and Friends!

Can’t write much so I will write fast.

I finally completed 6 months in my mission on the 10th!! Wow… a third of my mission over and I still feel like I reported to the MTC yesterday. And it came without even thinking. We were in the calle caminando a nuestra pensión and ella me dijo, “Feliz Cumplemes!! and I did not believe her. I had to look at my agenda to make sure. But sure enough its been six faithful months since that life changing day at the MTC.

Today Was one of the best P-days ever because we finally got permission to go to Iguacu falls. I am so exited that we got to see it. I took a mom-size amount of photos. It’s the second largest waterfall in the world, and it was rather a miracle that we got permission to go and see it. It was an all day activity, and for this this letter is rather short. It was awesome, we got soaking wet.

I will write more about it later but I am running out of time before we have to get back to work.

Love ya.
Hermana Tritsch

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Blog Entry #26: An Argentinian Christmas Miracle



Hmmm…. What to say and so little time to say it…

Hope I find all of you in good health as life continues here in Ituzaingó. We were recently informed that the way we were counting our lessons, and the way practically the whole mission has been counting their lessons is wrong… Needless to say, many missionaries will, if they are not already, be frustrated. Before, we could count any instance where we taught a principle as a lesson… now, we have to, si o si, pray to count them.

I understand why, but many are frustrated, because contacts in the street, or contacts tracting where we don´t really have the opportunity to pray don´t count. Our numbers are going to drop dramatically, and it makes my companion and me anxious.

We are also going to do divisions this week with the other hermanas in our district, and I am really nervous because I have never done them before. The thing is that Hermana Araya wants to be with Hermana Galbraith, who used to be her companion about a year ago, leaving me doing divisions with her mini.

For those outside the missionary sphere, a mini missionary is a local volunteer that works with a missionary when there are not sufficient missionaries to form a complete companionship. Otherwise, they would have to close an area for a while until they get a new missionary to fill the gap, this way they can fill each area with missionaries, and avoid having to do trios and closing an area.

Hermana Do Santos (the mini) is 17 years old, from Buenos Aires by way of Apostoles, Misiones, and I only got a little less than 6 months in the mission, and only 4 in Argentina… can you smell disaster waiting to happen?

Well, It’s only for a couple of days so It can´t be too bad… can it?

Our investigators are doing fine… we had to move algunas fechas, because they still were not married, but Griselda and Noemi both still want to get baptized which is always a good sign. We were getting kind of nervous because Débora stopped keeping her commitments for a little, but we think everything is alright now. We probably won´t reach our yearly goal, but at least we know we worked hard and are doing everything in the Lord´s time.

In other news, we put up the Christmas tree today, and it looks awesome… We found a fake tree bought by missionaries who knows how long ago, and decorated it with cutouts from the Liahona, random objects around the house, a star that really took too long to make, origami, and my tag. It’s kind of awesome though… Like, if I have to be away from home for Christmas, at least I have a tree. The lights we found looked too dangerous to use, so, our tree is lightless, but its cool in a geeky missionary way.

We also received good news that next P-Day will be a good one, because our zone leader received last minute permission that we could have a Zone activity at…..IGUAZU FALLS! I am so exited we had a mini fiesta when we found out. Iguazu Falls is the biggest waterfall in South American and possibly the world, but I am not really sure. President never lets anyone go that are not in the areas closest to the falls, but everyone wants to go… so it’s a Christmas Missionary Miracle! Hermana Schmutz is going to be so angry when she finds out and she got transferred just before.

I miss you all and I am going to take a mom-size amount of pictures.

Love you much,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #25: What country am I from again

Queridos Familia y Amigos,

I hope that you are all well in the states as I continue to work hard here in Ituzaingó. I miss you all dearly and I want to let you all know that I am thinking of you and missing all of my friends and family very much. Today was a real homesick week as I finally became infinitely aware how long it will be before I see my whole family together again… My brothers are in the “mish” too, y´know. (see their blogs to find out more. Elder Jared Tritsch and Elder Zack Tritsch)

But the thought of all of us doing the same thing at the same time gives my a little bit of comfort. I mean, I know they aren’t in trouble, smoking, drinking, or in jail… so I guess it could be worse.

Okay… back to Ituzaingó…

We had a VERY impromptu zone activity which was kind of a bust today. We wanted to go visit the Yacyreta, a dam that is co owned by Argentina and Paraguay with the Hermanas, but when we called the zone leaders to ask permission for the hermanas in Posadas to come here, he made us feel bad for not inviting the elders… soo… everyone is here. We did not get to go to the represa (dam) though. Because it is co-owned with Paraguay, technically we would go to Paraguay and needed our passports to go. We had certified photocopies of our passports, which we were misinformed would work to let us go to the represa. But when we got to the office, they told us that we needed our real passports to visit it. So… all of us gringos did not get a chance to visit the represa.

We actually catch a lot of flack for being American. It's not the first time that we got cut off for being from the United States (see the Ruinas of San Ignacio incident). We are getting rather sick of it, and many people won´t listen to us when we say that we are from the states. Hermana Kretchman and Hermana Borchart are starting to tell people that they are from Germany. Everyone thinks that they are because of their names. Everyone thinks I am Polish for the same reason… Although I don´t feel comfortable lying about it.

It's always been a little bit of a problem, but it has been worse in the past week or two… the tension, I mean… for all the Americans. Something must have happened. I don’t know what it was… I wish I did. Luckily I have a Chilena companion to vouch for me.

Back to the work…

So… having Brother Cabrera baptize his daughters is kinda a bust. He won´t even talk to us, let alone come back to church to prepare himself to do the baptism. But on the flipside, Hermana Cabrera, the mother, is listening to us more. Maybe we can activate her and it won’t be a complete and utter wipeout. If we can manage to reactivate her, we won´t have to ask permission of Presidente del Castillo to continue the baptism of Débora and Melina, their daughters.

We also had a charla franca (frank discussion) with Itati Acosta (una investigadora eterna [eternal investigator]) to find out what is preventing her from being baptized. She has been taught by the missionaries since forever… since before there was Hermanas in Ituzaingó, and has had more fechas bautismales (baptismal dates) than I can count. But we decided to work with her again because we were reading her teaching record, and the other missionaries that came before us said some fairly unfriendly things about her, saying that she was “trucha” and that we “shouldn´t waste our time” and Hermana Araya and I want to prove them wrong. The good news is that our risk paid off and we are going to work with her for baptism for the 26th of Diciembre [December].

Emilio and Griselda are still progressing rapidly… Normally we can only pass by los fines de semana [on the weekends] because she works in la Isla, a part of Ituzaingó we can’t go because we have to cross the water and the Isla is in Paraguayan waters. But Emilio nos permitó que podamos pasar y enseñarle [Emilio allows us to go and teach] during the week when she isn’t there. This is a good thing, because this means he is willing to listen to us independent of his pareja [partner]. If he accepts a baptismal date within the next week, we are going to move Griselda’s date to match up with his.

So… Theoretically we could have 5 baptisms in December… Achieving our goal of doubling the baptisms of the previous year. Its all coming down to the wire though… It might be that we have a massive baptism of everyone together on the 26th – the last Saturday to do baptisms in this year. I just hope I don´t get transferred before I can see the baptism.

Time´s up for this week.

Chao Chao, y les quiero muchisimo.
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #24: You want the good news or the bad news first?

Its time for Bad News/Good in the life of las Hermanas Misioneras de Ituzaingó!!!

Bad News:

We worked harder than ever to push through to the baptism of Débora Cabrera esta semana (this week)... and all seemed to be into the clear, until Presidente del Castillo suggested we reactivate her father to do the baptism. Great idea... Brillant... but who knows how long that's going to take and we know for sure it will take more than four days to reactivate a man who´s been inactive for 14 years. So, we can´t baptize her this Saturday like we planned.

Good News:

But if it can go through, we can reactivate the dad, baptize Débora and and her sister Melina, and get the family to the temple, its best for all that is involved. If we can pull it through, by the end of the year, hopefully, then that would be concrete evidence that there is a God, because we will have witnessed a miracle. Thankfully, Presidente del Castillo said that if we can´t manage to reactivate the dad to do the baptism, we can baptize Débora and Melina igual (together). Takes a little pressure off... but not much.

Bad News:

Church was utterly chaotic Sunday with lessons and talks ranging from the priesthood, to baptisms for the dead, and tithing, making first time comers Griselda and Emilio Dominguez confused and scared for the church. Every speaker mentioned them, placing them uncomfortably in the spotlight.

Good News:

After a 2 hour lesson with them to explain everything they are still interested, Griselda has a fecha (date) for baptism and accepted our challenge to pay tithing, and whether Emilio will admit it or not, he´s interested too.

Also, the fact that everyone took interest in them at church is a good thing... It means that they like them, and that when they get baptized, they will be a welcome part of the rama (branch).

Bad News:

Yoli, (don´t know if I have mentioned her in the past or not) who once was progressing, dejared us (spanglish term for asked us to stop coming by). Its really too bad because Hermana Schmutz and I had high hopes for her. I think when Hermana Schmutz left for Formosa, Yoli´s interest went with her... I hate it when that happens.

Good News:

On our way back from the royal rejection, we got seriously lost and stopped to ask for directions, and it turned into a fairly promising contact. Two ladies were kind enough to offer us ice water, (which Heramana Araya and I faked-drunk because we were fasting) and we talked about our key beliefs, and gave them a tarjeta de obsequio (gift card) about the Articulos de Fe (Articles of Faith), and they seemed genuinely interested. We are going to pass by later this week to see them and teach them. Hopefully we don´t have to get lost to find them again.

Bad News:

Thursday, it reached 50 degrees celsius here, which is like 122 degrees farenheit, factor in another 10 or 15 degrees for the humidity, and I think we have found my eventual cause of death.

Good News:

The schedule changes at the first of December and we study in the afternoon, so we don´t have to work the hottest hours of the day. I just gotta last until then.


Love you all and would love to hear if anyone actually reads my blog... Please drop me a line at sunrisenightingale@myldsmail.net.

Hasta la proxima semana, (Until next week)

Hermana Tritsch

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Blog Entry #23: WHERE´S CORDOBA?!?!?!?


10th of November marks my 5th Cumplemes… Meaning that I completed 5 months in the mission. *GULP* it feels like I got my mission call 5 days ago.

Nevertheless, Here in Ituzaingó, my madrasta teaches me new things every day, and she and I have been doing really well. She and I have been trying to work better with the members this transfer, and so far, our efforts turned up plentifully. This week, we found 15 new investigators, contacted 7 references, and had 6 lessons with members… Numbers that Hermana Schmutz and I only worked to achieve and never saw.

The rain has been pouring and pouring this week, and on Saturday, normally a big work day for us, we could not work because it was so dangerous… and it was like another P-day. (Seriously, people were trapped in their houses because a river ran were the street used to be.) We spent the extra time memorizing scriptures and learning the provinces of Argentina. Hermana Araya has this puzzle map of Argentina, and I almost got it down… except we lost Cordoba… Hermana Araya likes to remind me of it every once in awhile.

We have also become eminently familiar with the extended works of LDS composer Michael McClean. She has officially taken over my zune, and we constantly listen to church music... she doesn´t seem to mind that its all in English. Hermana Araya likes to sing along to our favorite eighties hits like, “We Can be Together, Forever Someday” and “I Got to Find out Who I Am” and is consistently singing them in calles (streets). Too bad noone knows what in the word she is singing about.

We have to do this mission long homework assignment throughout our mission called Atesorad la Palabra (Treasure the Word), which consists of Predicad mi Evangelio (Preach My Gospel) study and memorizing like 200 different scriptures. Hermana Araya is almost done… I want to complete mine so badly, but me cuesta memorizar en Castellano (I have trouble memorizing in Castilian). Hermana Araya is helping me though. The rainy day really helped my atesorad progress… and hers too.

The rain aside, the work still moves forward in Ituzaingó.

We are working a lot with the youth, because two of our progressing investigators are teenage girls: Débora Cabrera and Mariana Triay. Débora is working steadily toward her baptism date on the 28th and we are so exited for it. The Mujeres Jovenes have kind of taken over planning her baptism, and we are going to let them.

They have all named themselves their Hermanadoras, and its awesome that they have friends in the rama. Gospel Doctrine was nearly all teenage girls last week.

Funny story: We have been trying to get Mariana, a daughter of some of our recent converts to come to church forever… and we can´t seem to do it. Mariana and one of the young women in our rama Adriana are schoolmates. Adriana loves doing missionary work with us, and we have been trying to get her and Mariana to be friends forever.

Last week, for an unidentified reason, they got into a fight at school and Adriana punched Mariana… Then, the parents get called in, and now, Mariana is going to church and Adriana is her biggest friend at church. Who knows if the two events are related or not, but it’s a funny chain of events.

Today, P-Day, we went to Posadas to hang out with the other hermanas in our Zone, Hermana Galbraith, Hermana Do Santos, Hermana Zevallos, Hermana Bourroughs, Hermana Kretchman, and Hermana Borchart. We really did not do much, we made tacos and hung out at the apartment of the Rocce Saenz Peña Hermanas (Downtown Posadas) and ate tacos. It was a real treat, because people don´t believe in seasonings really here. Herbs sometimes, but seasonings, no. Hermana Bourroughs had some taco seasoning from the states, and it was awesome… Still wanted some Cholula Hot Sauce, but it was so awesome anyway. The apartment smelled like home.

Now we are hanging out in Posadas waiting for our collectivo (bus) to take us back to Ituzaingó and back to our mission area.

Hope everything is well and happy stateside, and know that I am thinking and praying for you.

Love,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #22: The Crazy Stepmother

Hola, Everyone!

I´ve officially graduated from training!! Well, of sorts. Hermana Schmutz, my trainer got transferred and will bake all summer in Formosa, and I am still here in Ituzaingó. Its weird being without her… But I guess I knew this day would come. Here, turning everything I learned about how to do missionary work on its head is Hermana Camila Alejandra Araya Casanova from La Serena, Chile.

They say that Hermana Araya is my Madastra, or stepmother, because she is the companion I have directly after my trainer, or my mission mother. I am her 12th companion, third stepdaughter (yes… that’s a lot of companions for a Hermana) and probably her last, as she goes back home to her friends and family in the Chilean coast. If we stay together this transfer and the next, then, as they say, I will kill her. (not really… it just means that after me, she won´t be a missionary anymore.)

She is sooo awesome though. She is the queen of getting references from people and getting prople to come with us to lessons. Two days ago, we had an almuerzo with Familia Rodriguez and she got 4 references and 4 lessons with member scheduled in a matter of 10 minutes! That’s more than Hermana Schmutz and I would get in a week! She is also very knowledgeable about the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and I feel lucky to have her as my companion and the chance to learn from her more.

She´s also loca.

Her favorite pastimes include, eating, making fun of people´s accents in Spanish, Singing the English hymns (but she can´t pronounce the words, and she knows it, so she just makes them up), and teaching me Chilena. She also likes to infuse English slang into her Spanish words. Its kind of funny because she sometimes uses them incorrectly. She also likes breaking out into random songs in the middle of conversations. Yes, my companion has a soundtrack…

She refuses to teach me Castellano, the type of Spanish they speak here, but everyone says that as I learn Chilena, the type of Spanish they speak in Chile, that my Castellano has improved by leaps and bounds.

I am also helping her with her English. I am still teaching English Classes, even though Hermana Schmutz is not here anymore, and my companion is one of the students. She is constantly asking me the English words for things, and when we read Manual Misional (Missionary Handbook) together, she reads in English and I read in Spanish.

I rarely speak English now, or at least, not nearly as much as I did with Hermana Schmutz. Nearly my whole day is in Castellano, and I even surprise myself in how much I have learned and can understand of the people when they speak.

A few days ago, we were having lunch in a restaurant, and overheard a conversation where it was mostly Spanish, but every so often, I would hear the same thing repeated in English, and knew that they were tourists. As we were leaving, I said, ``Enjoy your time here!´´ In English and his head jolted and he was so relieved that someone spoke English. He was from Canada, and I couldn´t believe it! I COULD NOT HAVE A CONVERSATION COMPLETELY IN ENGLISH!

My mind and my words drifted in and out of Spanish like it was nothing! I told them that I had learned Spanish here and had only been speaking for five months and the woman, who was from Ituzaingó and his wife said, ``Bob, I have been trying to get you to learn Spanish for 15 years and she speaks well after 5 months!!´´ Needless to say, I was feeling fairly confident in myself after that.

I am still anxious that I don´t know my area well enough, but I am working on it, and I haven´t found myself too terribly lost yet. I can feel that Hermana Araya and I will have much success together, and I will have a riot of a time learning much from Hermana Araya.

I miss you all so much, and Zack… its going to be okay… you are going to love the MTC. Just remember to check every so often that you are breathing normal until you get to the MTC. And just think! Every Wednesday and Sunday there is Ice Cream sundaes with ice cream from the BYU creamery. So when in doubt, drown your sorrows in the creamy goodness.

Also, When I was at the MTC, I was on the 4th floor of 18m. On the same floor of those who are ASL missionaries. So, when the cabin fever gets really bad about the 5th or 6th week in, remember that Jared and I were there… pacing the same halls… feeling the same way. And don’t forget to email me… I KNOW YOU CAN.

Love,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry 21: Noche de las Brujas

Hey all! Its me again!

Thanks for all your letters of support and love... I hadn´t got any emails, but last district meeting, I got a stack of letters through the post, I guess they all arrived at the same time. I am doing my best to write back, so please be patient with me.

Hace muchisimo calor ahora... like 100 degrees, with like 100 percent humidity. and we still have to work the hottest part of the day, during the siesta, until december. Thankfully we have our fans (Cornelius and Linus, named by Hna Schmutz) and our water cooler(Ivan). I have inherited a sun hat from Hna Glade, Hermana Schmutz´s old companion (now honorably stateside). Just trying my hardest to not die this summer. The good thing is that I have lost lots of weight, and by the time the summers over, I am sure that I will loose more.

-----

In our rama, the missionaries also double as activities committee. I really don´t see where that is in the job description, but ya esta. All last week, we were planning a primaria/obra misional activity for Halloween (or Noche de las Brujas (night of the witches)) We spent hours planning with Hermana Gomez to put together a night of fun and games and sweets, and for the first time in recollective mission history for either one of us, it was successful! we had investigators, community members, and church members to help. all said and done, we had about 30ish kids, and 15ish jovenes/adults.

Noemi even came with her son Augustin, and suprise! Her marido Cesar came too. Maybe him seeing the capilla will soften his heart a little.

Hermana Schmutz and I even dressed up as witches. (again the cyber is giving me problems with my pictures... grr... Its kind of touch-and-go with the machinas... I will probably send another CD pretty soon, mom.)

------

We get the transfer call tomorrow. We think that Hermana Schmutz will go because during our last interview with president, he thanked her for her service in Ituzaingó and asked me if I knew the area. We are way anxious. Hermana Schmutz is way triste all the time, and I have a big fear that when she leaves, everything is going to fall into catastrophe, and I am going to do something stupid and lose all of our investigators.

She says that most missionaries that stay in one place for as long as she has, get cabin fever and want to leave, but she is different. She wants another transfer in Ituzaingó. More likely is that she will go to Formosa and bake. But who knows, Presidente could throw everything for a loop and send ME to Formosa (I shudder at the thought...)

------

We put a Fecha Bautismal with Griselda. Well, half a fecha. She didn´t say no, only that she would pray about it, she wants to make sure its for her and not for us. But we have faith that everything will be okay. She accepted our desafio to obey the Word of Wisdom, and she and her marido, Emilio, are going to try to obey it together. Who knows, if the Holy Ghost will help us, we might be able to baptize her and Emilio at the same time. They still have much to learn and much to do (like get married) but it could very well lead to our next baptism. Fingers Crossed, check that, arms crossed (like prayer, get it? Get it?)

(Love that cheesy missionary humor that makes no sense)

Miss ya much. I love you all, and look forward to reading more news from the homefront.

-La Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #20: Do we get to wear real clothes when we go?

Hey Mom and Dad and Everyone!!

This week might be a little short because time is short right now... We went to meet up with our zone today to visit some waterfalls (not the Iguazu Falls tiny ones, but it was fun anyway... )and las Ruinas de San Ignacio today... My first time since coming here that I was allowed to look like a proper tourist... I did not even have to wear proselyting clothes

Well... We went to the falls, (they were awesome, wish I could add pictures, and I will send them sooner or later, but I forgot my card reader...sorry) but when we got to the ruinas they were going to charge us like 30 pesos just because we were Norteamericanos, and the other missionaries didn´t want to pay, so we just had fun doing a bit of shopping and bargaining... I didn´t buy much, but Hermana Schmutz was a genius at the whole bargaining thing and taught me how to do it. Kind of dissapointed though... really wanted to see the ruinas, maybe I will get another chance some other time.)

Now we are feverishly writing in the cyber in the Posadas Bus terminal racing our bus that will take us back to Ituzaingó. If we don´t we will miss some pretty crucial citas, so here we are.... hoping we won´t misspell anything too bad.

Yesterday was one for the record books. We had consigned ourselves to having pretty rotten numbers yesterday, because Hermana Galbraith and Valenzuela, other Hermanas in our district, asked us to come to posadas early and help them with their activity, so we reluctantly wrote like 5 lessons taught and no new investigators. We would leave very soon after church and would really have no time for proselyting.

We left in the morning in a hurry to find Noemi, a woman who we were teaching and had a fecha... but by the time we got to church, Hermana Lita, a member of the ward, brought two new investigators... and then randomly in the middle of Priesthood/Relief Society, this drunk twenty-something Named Raoul wanders into the capilla, probably straight from the boliche (dance club) and says that he always wanted to come into the chapel but never felt he could and now he had the guts... We, wanting to be inviting to everyone, lead him straight to priesthood, where, oddly enough, he was warmly welcomed.

In Gospel Principles, Noemi, Gaucho José, the two friends of Hermana Lita, Hermana Lita, Raoul, and Us are all crammed into the small gospel principles room for one of the biggest showings we ever had.

In sacrament meeting, Raoul hit on, then fell asleep on Noemi, causing all of us to bust up laughing...Talk about bad reverence examples. Fillipa, one of the friends of Hermana Lita, got really emotional during church, and left during sacrament meeting.

Needless, to say, by the end of church, we had got return citas with them all, and counted them as three new investigators on the first day that we planned to get none.

Talk about God watching out for you and giving you blessings when you least expect it and the form that you least expect.

Love ya all, wish I could write more, but the bus is coming.
-Hermana Tritsch

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Blog Entry #19: Whadya Mean I can´t call my Mom?

Hope everything is going very well in the states as I write from the hot confines of the Macau cyber in Ituzaingó, Corrientes.

This week was an adventure and a half, to say the least, as I mended from my nightmare of a cold. Because as soon as I was on the mend, my poor compi inherited the same sickness... except for worse... because she was so worse off that she could not walk, let alone work, and we spent most of the afternoon Tuesday in the pension as she slept... Between the two of us, we had produced a missionary´s weight in snot... But we are all okay now.

This made evident by us setting a companionship record on Saturday by teaching 21 lessons in one day. We went to bed tired as ever, and slept hard, knowing we did good work.

Thursday, Hermana Sena, the same woman that fed me cow face, decided to treat us with a nice healthy helping of cow stomach... Mondongo as its called. They did not tell me what it was at first, but I kind of guessed as I smelled it... It smelled and looked like the Zoo. The worst part was that she and her mother were happily feasting on baked chicken and rice as we were suffering through it. The thing is, Mondongo is really expensive, so when you are served it, its a big sacrifice for the family, so you just have to find a way to choke it down if you can. Hermana Schmutz and I were still fairly sick, so we got away without having to eat too much, though.

Sunday morning, was Dia de la Madre in Argentina, and saddened that we couldn´t call our mothers because it was not Mothers day in our own country, we started the day by hunting down one of our menos activos, Juana Baez. We get to her house, and she is already to go, which is a good sign, because we normally wake up people we drop by to take them to church. Then we are walking, and we are almost there, but we needed to pass by Noemi, one of our investigator´s house, to pick up her and her son, so we ask if we can meet her there, she agrees, and we run off to collect Noemi. We get to church with Noemi and Juana Baez does not show up... between the five minutes it takes to get to the chapel from where we left her, she must have got lost or something because she never showed up. I sure hope she is okay. We are going to visit her later this week.

The church services were the day of Hermanas Misioneras, because Presidente Mohor and half the rama went out of town for Dia de la Madre and in their place we were assigned... everything. We taught the relief society lesson, taught the activity in Primary (making handprints of the kids for the moms on mother´s day) and gave the talks in sacrament meeting. It was a headache and a half, running back and forth doing everything, and my first talk in Spanish was probably a disaster but I really don´t know enough spanish to know if it was a disaster or not. I had never been so nervous for a talk in my life.

Today, we went to the casa of Flia Gomez, and Hermana Gomez taught us how to make empanadas and the tapa (dough) from scratch. They were fantastic, and I can´t wait to share it when I get back from Argentina. The key? Pig fat. We also made them a chocolate cake as a gift for all they have done to help us in the obra misional from the recipe that Dad sent me. In fact, they are the fourth family we have made a chocolate cake. Everyone wants the recipe and I still have to translate it. Its a fantastic recipe and it bakes really well, but I really don´t want to see another piece of chocolate cake for awhile.

I am gaining my footing here. Its hard at times, and I don´t know what to do, but I feel more and more comfortable as the days continue. One thing I have learned is that you can prepare and sacrifice and pray for the Holy Ghost to be with you when you teach, but if the investigator does not want to feel it, or refuses to recognize it, it really does not matter. Thats our job as missionaries, to help people come to the desire to have the gospel change them, then the Holy Ghost and Christ can do the rest.

I urge everyone to let the Holy Ghost touch you and change you, its the first step to allowing Christ to save you.

All my love,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #18: The Gospel: The Best Medicine

Hey Everyone!!

Here I sit with my companion at my side, reporting on the weeks activities from the cyber in the middle of Ituzaingó. Its a pretty spring day, but the summer heat comes quickly, and I am in store for one of the hottest christmases I have ever had, I am sure. The heat, though brings the people out of the woodworks and onto the streets, and we have a goal this week to find investigadores nuevos, and we are firm in the faith and in our minds to achieve our goal.... si o si.

Last week, we got to see the baptism of José Balmacera, a gaucho from the campo... He was really golden because he was quick to recognize the spirit and the truthfullness of the message, he just had a little problem remembering what we had taught him, he is a 55 year old man who looks MUCH older than he is, and has many heart problems, But with much fasting and prayer, he sailed through his entrevista with ease, and enjoyed a simple servicio bautismal that was smooth and easy... no problems at all. We are sooo happy for him, and the spirit was strong, sweet and simple, both during the baptism and during his ordination yesterday... I am so glad I got to witness it, and that I could be part of it all.





I have been sick lately... The weather can´t decide what it wants to be, and so it changes regularly. I had a very nasty cold, and am running out of american over-the-counter sudafed, but luckily I am on the mend... I just work through it. No time to take it easy when there are people to teach and lives to change with the miracle of the restored gospel.

I really love it here in Ituzaingó. Its like the place that worry forgot... this tiny little beach town, where people still drink out of glass bottles, and sit around talking for hours about everything and nothing at the same time. Where people would rather fix what they have than buy it new, and find pride in the simplest of homes – because they built it themselves. Everyone has motos, or walks everywhere... and only the very wealthy have cars. The people are very humble, and willing to listen...

The only trouble is that it is hard to change, and there are not many who want to change. When we contact on the street, nearly everybody lets us pass by, but when they find out that being mormon is hard, they give up, and only wish to be our friends.

But we do find people who are willing to go the extra mile, they are good, and worth waiting for.

Miss you all dearly, sorry this one is a little shorter.
-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #17: It´s a risk, but we think it will be worth it.

Here is another entry to the life and times of Las Hermanas Misioneras Tritsch and Schmutz:

Happiness reigns following the miracle of General Conference this past weekend… I love having my birthday right before conference… It makes me feel as if I am recieving God´s word for a birthday present… Truly impressed as always with Elder Holland´s firm and stalwart testimony of the living divinity of the Book of Mormon. I know its not really kosher to have a favorite apostle, but he ranks very high in my list. Probably just shy of the prophet himself. I love all of his talks, especially recently. I felt the spirit so strong, I forgot to take notes… Mental Note: Get this when a printed version is available.

I love conference, and even more now since I am a missionary. It seemed as if every word of every talk was directed toward missionary work... both in and outside of the home.

The members watched it in Castellano in the chapel while Hermana Schmutz and I cheerfully camped out in the primary room in front of a small TV playing in English... The funny thing was that many of the youth and primary children decided that they were too cool for spanish, and decided to hang out with us. Surely they could not understand the conference, but they could understand the spirit, and it was wonderful to know that they loved us enough to listen to conference with us.

With the end of conference, Hermana Schmutz and I decided to shift our focus onto the menos activos and familias en que todos no son miembros. (less active and part-member families) We will work on a very strong impression of Hermana Schmutz, and we know that we will be able to recieve our meta (goal) of 5 more baptisms by the end of the year by working with them because less active families and part member families usually know more people to teach. We were kind of hesitant at first, because it means that our reports will be lower than normal, because we are not working purely with investigators, but we think it will help bring people back from inactivity, unite families, fill the capilla, and help with rama unity.

We ask that you pray for us in our efforts, that they will recieve us, and we will be successful in our endeavors.

José Balmaceda, gets baptized this Saturday and we are sooo exited. With our last lesson with him, he prayed with us for the first time with him voicing the prayer. It was so awesome and the spirit was so strong. His prayer went something like this:

Padre Celestial (Heavenly Father)
Gracias por... (Thanks for...)
Te pido por... (I ask thee for...)
En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen. (In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.)

No content... really said nothing, but he said it with so much reverence and respect for God, that we could not deny that he had really prayed, and that Heavenly Father had truly listened. It was amazing.

He taught that it really does not matter what we say, as long as it is sincere and with pure intent. God will listen.... ALWAYS:


I miss all of you terribly, and I want you all to know that I am thinking of you.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

PS Cynthia and Anastasia, If you read this blog, I have letters for you but do not know where to send them since you went off and got married to your fiancees... please send me an email with your new addresses, so you can get my letter.

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Blog Entry #16: La Semana de las Tortas (The Week of the Cakes)

Hey all!

Here to report that Ituzaingó is not done with me yet! I finished my first transfer, and Hermana Schmutz and I are still companions… YAY! Still teachin´ lessons and takin´ names… We are working hard to serve the people here and are enjoying a measure of success.

The missionary work here progresses faster and faster every day and we are seeing many of our key investigators progressing very rapidly… Our closet-Mormon Mauricio secretly falls in love with the gospel of Jesus Christ more and more every day, and we can see the big changes that the gospel has brought him in his life, and we pray every day that he gets the courage to notice the changes too. His friends, Luz and Lucas, both members, (and lucas, mission bound) create a nice niche for him to be too.

Our Fecha Bautismal with José fell through... sad but true... because he got called to work in the campo again... We think he has got a big piece of land that he co-owns with some other men. However, we rescheduled his baptism for the 10th of October and are somewhat thankful for the extra time to assure he understands every principle. The good thing is that for his work last weekend, he solidified the fact that he was not going to be called last minute the weekend of the tenth. See? God does work in mysterious ways.

Happiness comes to those who are anxiously waiting for conference. I LOVE doing missionary work around conference times because it completes the pattern of revelation... God called prophets biblically, he called Joseph Smith to be a prophet in 1820 and today, now you can listen to a modern-day prophet that gives us counsel for our modern day problems and difficulties, and in the first fin de semana en Octubre usted puede ver el profeta hoy y escuchar sus palabras por su mismo. Its great.... and about 10ish investigators promised to come to the broadcast in our little capilla.

Its a totally happy thing...

Speaking of happy things Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes! :) :) :) :) :) Birthday celebrations started early this year when Hermana Mohor, the branch president´s wife threw me a mini-party on Sunday.

Then today, the 28th, I shared two cakes with Hermana Sena (its her birthday too) at her little fiestita. We made a chocolate tortita (little cake) for her and she made a torta grandiosa for my birthday. Imagine a cake where there is a chocolate layer, then peaches in the middle, a lemon layer, covered in dulce de leche (caramel-like substance) and then covered in sprinkles. Topped with a firecraker. It was a sight to see...

And then tomorrow, Hermana Fortunato and Hermana Fantini both want to make me a cake.... I feel like I am swimming in birthday cake.

Its so nice to know that I am loved here and that people have their eyes out for us and take care of us... And I had a false impression that my birthday tomorrow will be a lonely one. It might just be the biggest one I have ever had...

This week we are going to focus on giving baptismal desafios (challenges) and working in and around general conference. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, suprisingly, is really popular here... with members and nonmembers alike, so Hermana Dirie and Hermana Fortunato are trying to get their friends to come by advertising the choir. Hopefully it works.

Its so wonderful to be here on a mission... Its still so surreal that I am wearing the black tag and serving my Heavenly Father... Sometimes I feel like I got here yesterday, and sometimes its hard for me to remember what it was like to NOT be on a mission... and I have only been on a mission for a little less than 4 months... I can´t even imagine what its like for someone who is nearly done.

I love you all, and if you are reading this and have any idea who Kira Johnson is, I want everyone to tell her that Hermana Sarah Tritsch says ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! (We are birthday twins 5 years apart...)

Love you all. You are always in my prayers.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #15: You got questions? We like Questions...

¡Hola familia y amigos!

Anxiously I write today before I find out tomorrow if I stay or go for the next transfer… I cannot believe that I have made it this far! One transfer down, many to go, but it seems like only yesterday I stepped into the MTC and into a life that for a year and a half is not my own. Time goes by so fast and God has blessed me with an amazing companion that I hope will be an eternal friend forever.

I am indebted to her (for more than just the locro) and I know that I will be a better missionary because I knew her… I just hope God will bless me with more time to learn from her and keep us together for at least one more transfer… I guess I will find out tomorrow.

Cada día, I find more and more miracles, like the last person in the world you would think, comes to church, actively reads the Book of Mormon and the change that follows.

Miracle#1

We are teaching a 19 year old boy named Mauricio after English Classes. We try to keep English Classes as non-religious as possible to help the students feel comfortable in the capilla and not feel pressured in joining the church, but one day, Mauricio was lingering after class and talking to Hermano Godoy, our Branch Mission Leader, and we finally had the courage to give him a Book of Mormon.

He said that he had been doing a lot of research on his own but he had a lot of questions. So we taught him the first discussion then and there, and presented him with a Book of Mormon.

The next week, he came with a laundry list of questions about the Book of Mormon because he had read the introduction, the testimonies, and the first 15 chapters of 1st Nephi. We answered his questions, and then invited him to come to General Conference to hear the words of modern-day prophets, which he accepted.

The following Sunday was Stake Conference… in Posadas, an hour and a half away. And who were we pleased to see walking up to the comvee? MAURICIO! It was a miracle. La Familia Fortunato had invited him to stake conference and he accepted the invitation! Luz Fortunato, one of the two daughters, made herself his guide throughout the whole day and it was amazing to see what happens when members take an active role in the missionary work.

Miracle #2:

Nora and Oscar, our new converts were not going to come to stake conference, because their 15 year old daughter was not going to go to stake conference, and Nora did not want to leave her while she and Oscar went to Posadas.

So we prayed and worked with Marianna to convince her to go. All almost seemed lost when she went to a quince the night before and would not be back until 3 in the morning, but she said she would and we prayed that she would keep her word.

Then we showed up for the comvee to take us to Posadas, and there she was, tired, but smiling, and Nora could not have a bigger smile on her face if she tried.

Miracle #3

We continue to work with José, and we are still working toward a 26th Baptismal date. But it was almost not that way… Investigators are asked to come to church 3 times before they are baptized, and Stake Conference was going to be #3 for José. Then he got called to the campo to work, and would not be able to make it to Stake Conference.

José knew what that meant, that he could not be baptized without that third time, and it made him very sad. Then Elder Lehite, our district leader, knowing the whole story with José, called Presidente Del Castillo and told him the whole story. Presidente gave us permission to schedule that day regardless, and we get to tell him the good news today.

He still has a hard time remembering at times, so we are trying to be as simple as possible. Trying to teach simply yet quickly is hard, but we pray for him to understand and remember with every prayer we give, so he can be ready for that date.

When miracles like this happen, there really is only one thing to say, “YES I KNOW HEAVENLY FATHER LOVES ME!”

Happiness and Love to all who need it,
-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #14: Its not so dangerous if we go in the morning...

Hey everyone!!

I have come to the realization that nothing in Argentina should surprise me anymore... Hermana Schmutz and I have a saying when we see something that seems out of the ordinary for us... "yep... That's normal!!" Here is a Top Ten favorites list:

10. Four year old girl buying cigarettes for mom
9. Citizens required to vote or go to jail
8. Offering candy instead of change for money
7. Gaucho pants
6. Every old man without shirts, and some old women
5. Woman breastfeeding in public without blanket to cover her
4. Five people riding a moto (scooter or motorcycle) at the same time
3. Chinese market without soy sauce
2. Little Kids carrying machetes

and number one is:

1. meat market that use power tools to cut the meat, and don't have gloves, bags, surface sanitizer, or anything. Good thing we cook it really good...

But life is good in this cute little town of Ituzaingó we have lots of fixed appointments, and our goal to work more with members produces more fruit every day. We have two Family Home Evenings planned for this evening, and we work to find new investigators every day.

I got a really cool story too... One time we were contacting in the streets in the center of town and we talked to this woman who said her name was Itati, and that we were welcome to come visit her after 7:00 in a really shady area of town called G2 (He-dos). So we had been trying to visit her at the time she asked, but it always seemed to fall through, and the members always got scared when we said we were going to go there at night. So one day, about three days ago, we had an impression to go to G2 in the morning instead, and we stopped to chat with her regardless that the time was different.

So we knocked on the door, and a man answered the door and we asked for Itati. But the Itati that was there, was not the Itati we talked to on the street. She was actually a woman named Maria Itati, and had been homebound because of a surgery for the past few weeks. She invited us in regardless, and we taught her and her husband a really great lesson about the importance of families and prophets, and they seemed sooo interested. They said yes to our baptismal challenge once she had healed, and asked us to visit again the following week when he would be home again.

It was really a miracle because we got two new investigators from a woman who gave us incorrect information. Its just fantastic how God looks out for us when we listen to promptings of the holy Ghost.

We had a really great week with our goals, and even beat our district leaders this past week with number of lessons taught with member, and number of new investigators. Our next goal is to beat them in lessons taught in general... WISH US LUCK!

I am kind of nervous for our transfer The end of this transfer ends on the 24th of this month, and I can´t believe that I have been here that long already... I hope that our mission president decides to keep us together for at least a little while longer. I do not feel ready to have her leave me here or me go to another area just yet.

But I know that I am meant to be here for a reason, and that going on a mission is the best decision I ever made (aside from being baptized myself) for my future family.

Happiness and Health to all,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #13: Rodents of Unusual Size? I don´t think they exist.








Hey Everyone!!! Lots to say and not a lot of time to say it. So here goes…

My Castellano improves daily, although I am still having a little trouble understanding people when they talk… Argentinians talk really fast… Although the people in Ituzaingó are really laid back about everything, and they are really patient with me… or they tease me about my mad language skills. Hermana Schmutz says I speak remarkably well for just being here for three weeks, and she jokes that I am actually training her, not the other way around, although I always beg to differ. I can hear the “vos” (the Argentinian form of tú) when people talk now, so I know for sure that I am improving.

In the midst of all the craziness of Argentina, I got my first baptism this weekend and I am tan contenta…. SO HAPPY! The baptism of Nora and Oscar Triay was sooo sweet. The spirit was really strong and there was so many people there! Three of our investigators came to witness the baptism, and I know for a fact they felt the spirit… even though they had to redo the baptisms. They first baptized them with the wrong hand, making both of them have to get into the font again… Nora joked later that means that she is ¨super-clean.” (aww… Mi Vida!) They fit very nicely into our kooky little rama and I am so happy they got baptized. I have no doubt that they will flourish as new members of Christ´s Church.

On Sunday, they received their confirmation, on Hermana Schmutz´s birthday, and she thought it was so awesome that the only birthday she had on a mission, God gave her a baptism and a confirmation. Hermana Mohor, the Branch President´s wife made her one of the sweetest cakes I have ever tasted in my life. She loves us sooo much and likes to call herself our “máma misionera.”

On another note, we are the only missionaries in Ituzaingó, but everyone knows who we are… Hermana Schmutz can walk down the street and tell everyone whom she has contacted/taught and what there stories are… there must be thousands of copies of the Book of Mormon floating around Ituzaingó. The closest missionaries to us are in Posadas, Misiones, where the stake center is. But everyone is way friendly with us… and always offers us the maté cup, which is a sign of friendship… although, as missionaries we can´t drink it. But it is always a good sign when someone offers us some.

We can´t drink maté because they drink it in a communal cup with a communal straw, and when people drink mate, they intend to sit around and talk for hours, which is contrary to our purpose. But the members drink it. The General authorities came out and said it was not against the Word of Wisdom.

Speaking of food and drink, new adventures in the world of food this week… I ate locro, the meat of the cow that comes from the cheek… or… I TRIED to eat locro… Hermana Sena, a woman in our ward who grew up in the campo, made it for us for almuerzo, and it was so disgusting my throat refused to swallow. The sad thing was that Hermana Sena saw that Hermana Schmutz was succeeding at choking it down quickly and assumed that she liked it, and offered my disgusting half to her… POBRECITA! It gave her really bad somach pains, and I told her that I owe her a life debt.

Then the next day, with familia Rodriguez, I kid you not, I ate an R.O.U.S. Its called a carpincho… and while I was able to swallow the carpincho, It was still very weird tasting. If I have to conquer Mondongo (cow stomach, a common delicacy here) in the next little bit, I am not sure what my poor digestive system will do.

There are two distinct flavors of food here. Argentinian Campo food, and Argentinian European food. I LOVE the Argentinian European food, and I am still getting used to the Campo food. But either way they put massive amounts of salt and mayonesa (mayonnaise) on everything… and I do not think I will see Yellow Mustard for the next 15 months.

They cook everything with their hands, and there really isn´t anything like a recipe here. Por ejemplo, on rainy days the food of choice is fried bread called torta frita, and if you ask someone how to make it, and another person is around to hear it, they will get into a little tiff because everyone has a different way and it can be a source of contention, if you let it. The only thing people can agree on is that you are to use your hands to mix it.

But I really love it here, regardless. Our small little rama of forty is so crazy and kooky and they love and support us very much. In fact, because the church in this town is very young, they look to us for advice and help more than the Branch President at times. We have a beautiful little chapel, that was built when the dam (represa) was under construction and there were more members here, but now that the represa is built, everyone went back to Buenos Aires, so we have 40-60 active members in a capilla (chapel) built for 250.

But people here are proud of our rama and capilla, and their membership in the church. The truly converted proclaim their membership everywhere and are very helpful with missionary work. Yes, there are many inactive members, but there really isn´t anything in between. Either you are, and you REALLY are or you are not and you are REALLY not.

But God blesses us with little miracles everyday, and everyday I am at awe at everything I get to see and do here. It really is quite amazing.

I love you all and I pray for you every day, Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog #12: Hermana, What sounds do frogs make?



In Argentina… everything works backwards. Everything works differently and everything sounds differently… from the sidewalks not being on the side of the street but instead on the island in the middle, to the fact that centavos are in short supply and no one can give you exact change for anything.

Also, nature works differently… from owls that sound like wolves and frogs that sound like dying cats, I often find myself in a place that it seems logic forgot. But I am slowly getting accustomed to this strange place, a place where often times I feel that surely I am in some sort of dream… that surely I am going to wake up and be back at Utah State and away from this dusty place that was so far out of my frame of reference, not even 6 months ago.

This is an odd sort of the place where the north star doesn´t exist and I can never quite figure out which direction I am going.

But gladly I have a companion that knows what to do and where we are headed, and I feel grateful to work with someone who I feel as long as I stick with her that I will be okay.

I slowly understand more and more Castellano as the days progress, and I am sure that soon I will look back on these silly posts and laugh at the time where I could not say anything… at least that is what Hermana Schmutz says.
But regardless, one thing remains the same… and that is our message to the world… that Christ lives and we are children of God that can return to him as a perfect, glorified person.

Hermana Schmutz and I are getting to experience some of that. The 5th, this Saturday, marks the baptism of two of our investigators, Nora and Oscar Triay, and we can´t hardly contain our excitement. We know that they are going to benefit greatly from being baptized and our little Rama (branch) here in Ituzaingó will benefit greatly from having them as part of their congregation.

Monica Mendez continues to dig a niche for herself in her new calling as first counselor in the Young Women´s program… I never saw a ward jump on a new member so fast and give her such a weighty calling not a month after her baptism… but that is the way it works here… They figure if you are attending and worthy, then they can give you a calling… The Young Mens president is 19 years old and mission bound… and no one has any clue what they are going to do when he finally leaves on the mission.

We continue to struggle to find new investigators because we set up appointments with people we find on the street, and no one seems to be bothered with keeping their appointments. But we pray and work hard and know that God is on our side.

Hope everything is faring relatively well in the states… remember to email me. I miss you all dearly.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

PS – My Preparation day is now on Mondays, so if you want to email me, do it before Mondays so I can receive it quickly.

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Blog Entry #11b: "I think I recognize these footprints..."

I have gotten a request for more information about Ituzaingó, so here is an entire blog dedicated to it.

Ituzaingó is a character in and of itself. There is a very clear separation of classes here... There are very nice, solid brick houses with fancy european cars in the front... and also abject poverty -- people living in wooden shacks you think would fall over if you huffed and a-puffed hard enough. But everyone (at least as much as I know with the castellano I know) seems very friendly and I feel very safe here. When we teach in the street, people listen to us... at least for a few minutes, and we are able to get in at least a small lesson in before they politely decline.

Everyone is very chill here... they work and go to school in the mornings and then take siesta -- a culture-mandated nap from about 1 in the afternoon to about 4 or 5, and the town practically shuts down. Argentinians here most spend summer nights on the patio drinking cold maté and enjoying the warm summer air.

The city is not so big, and President Del Castillo has an aversion to bicycles, and so we walk... everywhere! and we get to stop and talk with the craziest kinds of people I have ever met.

Most people here say they are catholic, but many really don´t attend church or have a knowledge of the gospel, leaving many open-minded to the idea, but many don´t wish to change because of their heritage in the Catholic church.

I am growing to love the culture and the people we are teaching, and I know that the people here crave the gospel... even though they do not know it yet.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #11a: ¡Verano, Lo Viene!



Hey Everyone!!!

Here I am writing from a cyber in Ituzaingó, tired but happy.

I am pleased to report that the air temperature continues to make a steady climb upward, pushing everyone from inside their homes to their patios -- making contacting infinitely easier since they can´t pretend they are not there if they are outside. We have a goal this week to get 60 "other lessons" this week and 20 "bautism challenges" this week and we are well on our way to completing both of our goals. These numbers are the "numbers of excellence" for our area, and we are working hard to achieve them.

With the summer, Ituzaingó becomes a prime tourist spot for Argentinians because of the pretty beaches here, and for us, that means TONS of people to teach. Everyone flocks here during the summer like Americans flock to Florida or LA. Hermana Schmutz and I are anxious for everyone to get here.



We have a baptismal date with Nora y Oscar!! my first ones in the mission field. Hermana Schmutz and I are so exited because a miracle happened to let them be baptized. Nora has been smoking most of her adult life, and through much fasting and prayer on the part of us and many of the members of our little rama (branch), quit last week, and has not had or bought a cigarrette since! because of her dedication to the word of wisdom, she and her husband Oscar will be baptized on the 5th of Septiembre.

Hermana Didie, a member of the church and teacher at the local school, has even noticed big changes in their daughter Mariana, even though she, herself is not taking our lessons. I know that the gospel will cause many good things in that family, and I hope I can stay longer to witness the changes.

We are so happy for the family, and we know that they will be a good addition to the ward, and will work hard to eventually become a forever family by becoming sealed in the temple.

We are trying extra hard to find new investigators -- which is hard because the missionaries have taught most of the city, and the ones they haven´t taught are only transient. But we work hard, and I know God will bless our efforts with new investigators.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

PS I don't know why I cant email anyone besides family... Its just one of those mission rules, I don't want to say that I broke. So I receive emails from everyone, and slow mail back... Its only about 6 or 7 pesos to mail back to the states, so its not too bad by way of postage.

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Blog Entry #10: Toto, I think we aren´t at the MTC anymore...

Hey all! Here goes nothing for my first blog entry from the dusty streets of Argentina!

I am here in Argentina and everything is exiting and different, but I love it so much!!!! My Spanish improves exponentially, and have done much work in the language. My trainer, Hermana Celia Schmutz is fantastic and says my spanish is wonderful! I am so happy because she smiles all the time, and it leaves no room for feeling sad or sorry for myself.

Our area is this tiny little town called Ituzaingó (eh-too-zayn-goh) on the Rio Uruguay in the North Eastern part of Corrientes province. If you can´t see it on your maps, its very close to Posadas -- about an hour and a half drive away.

Its very quiet and the people here are very relaxed and chill with everything. Its not a very affluent area, but the streets are relatively clean and the crime is next to nothing. Most people live in little shacks, that don´t look like much from the outside, but they keep the inside nice and well-kept.

Noone has carpets -- or shower curtains -- but everyone is very humble and relatively easy to teach.

My mission president, President Del Castillo gave us all a really big desafio (challenge) for the month of August. If we, as a mission will double the amount of baptisms we have had in the same month last year, he would take us all to Iguacú Falls as a treat. Its hard, because the goal for the month of August is 96 baptisms for the whole mission. That breaks down to two baptisms per companionship.

Our area already has one for this month, and we are hoping to gain one more by the end of August.

We are currently teaching a woman named Noemi, who is very interested in the gospel and wants to get baptized, but she needs to marry her marito (or boyfriend who lives with her), and it causes anxiety in her family, because he does not understand her desire to be baptized. So we continue to work with her, and encourage her to keep working toward her goal to baptism. Hopefully we can help her get things resolved and have a baptism date by the end of September.

We are giving another couple a desafio (challenge) for baptism today. We are hoping that Nora and Oscar, an older couple, will set a baptism date by the end of the Month!!!

We are also keeping tabs on a very recent convert named Monica. Monica was baptized less than a week before I got here, and seems to be striving in her new environment as a member. They even called her to be a counselor in the Young Womens presidency already!!!

Its so exiting to witness the blessings that new converts get from becoming members of Christ´s church! And I am glad I could be part of it.

On another note, we went to Posadas yesterday for Zone Conference, and was able to hear from Elder Claudio Zivic of the seventy! Even though I could barely understand him, the spirit was strong, and Hermana Schmutz was kind enough to interpret for me the gist of what was going on. I saw two elders there from my MTC district, and was able to meet many of the other elders and sisters in the surrounding area. I am so grateful for the chance to go, even though it was hard for me to understand much of it.

But now we are back in Ituzaingó and ready for action (after a well-deserved P-Day)

I love you very much and thank you so much for your letters.

-Hermana Tritsch

PS The food here is actually really good! It tastes like a mix between Brazilian Food and Italian Food. I love the food, but then again, I havent had to eat anything weird ... yet.

PSS I can receive your emails, but I have been informed that I can only write emails to my Mom and Dad, so I will write slow mail back, but I WILL WRITE!

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Soy Aqui

I am finally in Resistencia, and I have met my mission president and my new companion, Hermana Celia Schmutz, She is from Utah, and is very nice and continues to help me with my Spanish.

We have been assigned to labor in Ituzaingo. An area on the North end of Corrientes province. We have a four hour bus ride to get there, so I am emailing you from an internet cafe close to the mission home.

I do not have much time, but will email more on my preparation day, Wednesdays, when I get to my area.

I am glad I am here, now that I have met my companion I do not feel so scared anymore.

I love you all,

Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #9: 238 Bowls, 54 missionaries, 3 companions, and one final plane ticket.

Hey All!!!

I guess I will not wait as long as I had been lead to believe.... Flight plans for Thursday, August 13, 2009 to Buenos Aires arrived, and these ones seem rather definite.

Everyone is getting anxious to go, and its really distracting to everyone. In order to calm my nerves, I have been reading the Book of Mormon straight through, in order to find my favorites, highlight them, and give away the Book of Mormon on the plane.

In order to blow off steam, as well as boycott our weekly Teriaki Styx meal (which always seems to make us sick) Our zone, a couple of nights ago, decided to drain 4 large containers of cereal in one meal. It was arguably the most entertaining thing I had seen in 9 weeks. 54 Elders, and 4 sisters consumed 238 bowls of Marshmallow Mateys, Life, Frosted Flakes, and Tootie Fruities. It was..... ugh. But it suprised me how dedicated our elders were to the cause. I myself, was only able to consume two bowls, because I was hesitant with the milk because of my recovering from a nasty cold. So I kept tally. One Elder, Elder Vincent, consumed 9 BOWLS of the sugary cereals.

On another note, Hermana Allen left for Buenos Aires yesterday, so Hermana Sorenson became a third companion for me for these last few days. When her roommates leave, she may have to move into our room for a night... Which seems rather odd... but noone can be left alone in a room.

I don't feel ready to go, but I feel that I have gleaned as much as I can from the MTC, so I guess its time for me to get out of here and get to work.

WISH ME LUCK!!!

P.S. Just because I am going out of the country, does not mean that you have to start writing me... email me at sunrisenightingale@myldsmail.com or send letters to the pouch. Send one page letters folded into thirds and taped shut without an envelope to the address listed in the sidebar. Just write the address directly onto the paper. This way, you only have to pay in-US postage, and I will still get your letters.

I love you all, and want you to know how much I love you and am praying for you.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #8: Curses! Foiled again!

NOTE: THIS BLOG POST WAS RECEIVED BEFORE #9. SARAH NOW HAS HER TRAVEL PLANS TO ARGENTINA, LEAVING AUGUST 13TH.

Bienvenidos a mi Blog para la ocho semana!

Nearing the end of the eighth week at the MTC, I finally recieved travel plans to Argentina... A flight on the tenth to Salt Lake to LA, LA to Lima, Peru, and Lima to Buenos Aires! and then on to Resistencia or bust, RIGHT?

CHISTE! (Just Kidding!)

Not to be outdone, the travel office informed us a day later that we would indeed be delayed. As they say in spanish, CHISTE! I will be delayed out of the MTC until we can meet with the Consulate from Argentina, however, whomever I ask has different ideas about when that would be.... Some say the 12th, some say the 31st.

So I am stuck here in the MTC for anywhere from a week to a month, but the thing is, when our visas finally do come through, we could leave at the drop of a hat, so everyone is rather on edge. All of the missionaries going to Argentina are delayed, and there are about fifty of us that are delayed, (at least that I know of...)

Meanwhile...

I have developed a rather nasty virus (NO ITS NOT SWINE FLU) that feels like the worst kind of head cold ever. I have to take over-the-counter sudafed and Aleeve as an anti-inflammatory. The good thing is that the doctor does not think I am contagious, so I can still go to class and study. The bad thing is that he prohibited me from dairy products until sunday. So I am lactose intolerant until Sunday.

I just hope that I can shake this thing before I meet with the consulate, so it doesn't get in the way of my visa once he finaly does come to meet us. But I feel better every day, and even can breathe out my nose now!

In other news, things are getting repetitive now, because the teachers have taught us all they have planned to teach us, and everyday is a review now. Which I desparately need, but there really isn't anything new now.

Our TRC appointments came to an end on Monday, and we have no more scheduled. Which is a mixed blessing because I liked the practice, but Hermana Greene and I did not really feel it helped us at all.

I am doing my personal study almost soley out of my Spanish PMG and Scriptures now, and am also reading the Spanish Conference Liahona, and Find that I can understand just about anything that's written down. However, speaking and listening is a different story.

Hermana Ramos and Hemano Tateoka (our teachers) suprised us this week by informing us that now, we would be doing Spanish outbound calls in the RC (referral center). Talk about nerve wracking! I was way nervous my first time, but Hermana Ramos was on the phone with me and prompted me with what to say when I did not know, but my real trouble comes from understanding what they were trying to tell me. My listening skills in spanish are sub-par at best, so most of my study this week with be working on understanding people as they speak.

But things are otherwise going smoothly. Three of my roomates left for the field yesterday and Monday, so we get new roommates tomorrow, I am kind of nervous for them, I hope they like me and that I will like them...

But I know that God loves me and has a plan for me. I know that sometimes life is fustrating, but I will survive, because I am going to Argentina for a reason... Even if I don't know the reason at all.

Love you all.
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog #7: Where's Waldo

Hola from the CCM!

Hope all is well in the home front, as I continue my adventures serving the Lord. This week flew by faster than the 747 that will take me to Argentina. All the days seem to meld into one, and I have a hard time, sometimes, telling the days apart.

This week, however, we got to contact a much younger (meaning newer) district the second lesson in Espanol and they returned the favor with lesson 1 in espanol. I know we are not supposed to compare, but I was exited to realize the immense progress I have made in my Spanish compared to a visual and aural reminder of where I was just over a month ago.

Its truly a miracle how fast people learn languages here, and I am glad that the Holy Ghost is my constant "Study Buddy" at the MTC, else, I would be nowere near the place where I am in studying the language. We have learned all of the basic verb conjugations, and now, we are just practicing the application of the language, which, on some days, are better than others.

I know, that the days where I am the least selfish, and the most centered on Christ, both my teaching and my Spanish come quicker and easier.


Update on Samuel: We had another quick phone call with him and officially passed off the main teaching responsibility to the missionaries in his area. He went to visit his mother in the Dominican Republic, but by the time he returns, we will hopefully be proselyting in Argentina, and will be unavailable.

But our hopes are high, because his faith is good, and he has kept all of our commitments, even some more difficult ones, and works heavily on overcoming his problems and learning to depend on God and Jesus Christ.

The last commitment we gave him before he left, was to take his mother with him to church when he visits the Dominican Republic. I hope he does so, so his mother can realise how happy he has become, and can learn more about the gospel that her son has begun to embrace.

I wish him the best of luck and continue to pray mightily for him and his family.


In other news, John H. Groberg visited us with a wonderful fireside about the importance of temples and temple work. He also talked about how much earnest temple attendance can teach us about how to be good missionaries.

He urged us all, in our next temple visit, to ponder about what kind of power are we endowed with when we leave the temple, and how to more efficiently access that power.

One of the things that I have been most quick to learn is that we can't just baptize just anyone, because we need to make sure that they understand and are ready for the bran new life ahead of them. We need to be searching for the Elect, the ready and the willing. Not just anyone, we are not trying to just boost our numbers, but really, honestly, change people's lives and save them through the message of Salvation that only comes through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Its like a giant game of "Where's Waldo" -- missionary-style. We are looking for specific people with specific traits that show their willingness to follow christ through the waters of baptism, through the temple and on to eternal salvation.

I know that as I tune my heart and mind into the spirit the best I can, I know that I will be able to find those who are ready, "already to harvest," even if it takes months and months.

Happiness to all,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #6 It's not about the size of the sin, it's about the power of the forgiveness.

Hello!

This week at the Provo MTC passed by like a whirlwind. The days are long, but the weeks are short, and I am looking at just three short weeks until I am in Argentina (keep your fingers crossed that my visa comes in). If the time in the field are anything like this, I will be back in the states before I know it.

I got my first taste of a real investigator when I recieved an inbound call during our time at the Referal Center from a man named Samuel. He had many questions about God and forgiveness, and had been going to many churches to find the answers. I felt prompted to skip the normal first discussion and hop directly to Jesus Christ and the Atonement, which really helped him realize that there was hope for him.

We also talked alot about who God was and what he wanted from us. After going about 40 minutes over our alloted time in the Referal Center, I felt terrible that we were disasterously late for class, and I set up an appointment to call back and tell him more, but also let him talk to Elder Monroe, our Zone Leader, who had just reported for his own RC duties.

Elder Monroe talked to him for a further hour, and taught him the bulk of the first discussion, and committed him to baptism, if he found out that what he was hearing was true, and Samuel accepted. (Talk about Golden, huh?)

On Saturday, we called back for our return appointment, and talked about modern-day prophets and prayer, and we urged him to go to Church. We asked him to read a talk by Thomas S. Monson so he could find out for himself if he was really a prophet.

On Monday, we called him back again, to see how church went, and HE LOVED IT!!! He met the missionaries serving in his area, and set up an appointment to talk to them today (Tuesday) and is very much looking forward to it.

One of Samuel's main concerns was not the fact that he could not pray to God, but that he was wary of praying for his forgiveness (which he thought, by praying for it, it made him selfish). So we urged him to pray more honestly with God and to read the book of Mormon.

Then, after a long pause, HE said that he had an idea, that he wanted us and him to pick a chapter from the Book of Mormon, read it, and we would talk about it when we called back on Wednesday. How awesome is that? We told him that that idea came from the Holy Ghost telling him that he should read the Book of Mormon, and then he got all the more exited.

I am so happy for his progress, and how much he has come to know His Heavenly Father's love for him and the true forgiving power of the atonement. I pray that he will continue to learn and grow and will eventually truly understand what "Coming unto Christ" means.

It leaves Hermana Greene and I on such a high that It makes me want to be a better missionary and a better person. Its so exiting to see this man learn about the gospel and find such joy in the scriptures -- a joy that sometimes we forget.

Hopefully, on Wednesday, we can start teaching Him all about the Plan of Salvation.

Regrettably, we have to slowly move away as he begins to trust in the missionaries in his area, so they can help him on his journey into Baptism and beyond.

Please pray for his continued interest and success. He, the missionaries in his area, Sister Greene, and I would very much appreciate it.

All my love,
Hermana Tritsch

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Blog Entry #5: "Sorry I'm Butchering your Native Tounge..."

Hey everyone!

Now is time for a weekly blog from yours truly.

In this week's episode, MY FIRST LESSON ENTIRELY TAUGHT IN SPANISH!!! WOOOooOOOOoo!

In the MTC there is a program were volunteers come in and act as mock investigators, and then us missionaries set up appointments to practice our language and teach them.

Up until last week, only part of the appointment had to be in Spanish -- the "Get to Know you" part or the "Lets order Food" part. But they threw us a curveball for this weeks appointment, when we were informed that we would teach the first lesson entirely in Spanish as well... We taught a woman who, according to the teaching record had been coming to church with her husband's brother, but only because she desired unity in her family. She had taken the discussions years before, but only now, wished for the missionaries to return.

We first had to practice ordering food, and it was terrible for me, because I could not remember the words for anything food-related. I think I have been studying gospel terms so much that normal everyday people conversation kind of got left by the wayside. We were also supposed to share a scripture and spiritual thought, then arrange to come back to teach the first lesson -- supposedly.

What really happened was an awful massacre in the form of a terrible mix of English and Spanglish -- at least on my part. But I have been learning spanish for five weeks -- surely it couldn't have been that bad -- in the circumstances. But we were so nervous, that we even forgot to "bless" the food that we "ordered"... es muy terrible!

We returned ten minutes later (after one last-ditch plea for help from the Lord), and taught a great lesson about how the gospel brings unity to the family, both eternal and temporal. We talked about God being our Heavenly Father desires unity among His children within the protecting power of the gospel.

I think Hermana Greene and I did fairly well for our first shot for all the marbles. But we do have to give credit where credit is due -- we had been praying every spare second for guidance and knowledge, and the Holy Ghost really had been our "Third Companion" in the lesson, and through that, we were able to teach, even if we could not remember some of the words.

On Sunday, during Relief Society, former-President Margaret Nadauld of the Young Womens came and gave a Relief Society lesson that was just amazing about the power that we have as Sister Missionaries. She called us "Her Girls" because she was the President when most of us were Mia Maids, and it was so great to hear from her again.

I got to meet her afterward too, and SISTER NADAULD......HUGGED ME! I wish I could have gotten a picture, but they wouldn't let me. but it was really a wonderful Sunday.

Tonight is another Devotional, and people are as tight-lipped as ever as to who is speaking, but I get to sing with the choir, and I know whomever it is will be amazing. Stay tuned for another episode to find out who...

All my love,
Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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Blog Entry #4: Why Does Everyone Declare Independence in July?

Hola Amigos y Familia!

Esta Hermana Sarah Tritsch. Yo quiero escribir un poco sobre de mi semana ayer en la MTC.

This week marked the first major holiday on my mission -- Fourth of July. But the Independence Day festivities started long before the fireworks on Saturday. The 1st of July marked Canada day, and Elder (Spencer) Wannop, an elder in my district made sure that we did not forget it by singing loudly at both breakfast and lunch "O, Canada" both in English and French. It was interesting to watch because of the expressions on his face, and the fact that he was soon joined in on one boisterous chorus by at least three other Canadian missionaries. All sporting red and white ties for the occasion, it was a sight to see as these other missionaries celebrated their homelands even though it was far away.

Not to be outdone, the whole of the MTC looked forward with eager anticipation for last Saturday, the 4th of July. The rumor was that the senior missionaries had put together a play for us and that we would be able to stay up a little later to watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. The rumor was proved true when class was canceled early for the occasion.

The play was all about the people of the restoration that helped prepare the world for the restoration and ended with them visiting Wilford Woodruff in the St. George temple, asking for their work to be done. They were all dressed up in costume, and it was quite a sight and a wonderful way to celebrate the fourth in an increasingly international MTC.

During the fireworks, most of the missionaries started singing patriotic songs as well as songs of the restoration as loud as possible during the fireworks. We were all together by the flag circle, enjoying the fourth at the MTC. It was a welcome break from the studying and an effective boost of comraderie amongst the missionaries.

Even the foreign missionaries could not help but join in the festivities.

Our district looks forward with anticipation for the 9th of July, which marks El Dia de Independencia de Argentina (Argentina's Indpendence Day) My culture book says that in Argentina, they celebrate with fireworks (Juegos Artificiales) just as we do, but somehow, I don't thing we will be able to shoot of fireworks to celebrate the occasion here in Utah.

I am exited to be here at the MTC where I feel part of something bigger than myself -- something more important than all of us, and that can unite us all together under a banner of righteousness. I know that the gospel is for everyone, and it is the only thing in the world that has the power to unite cultures, if we let it.

Thank you for all your letters of support and love.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch



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Blog Entry #3: Welcome to the Work of Angels

Everyone who can and will ever read this,

My mind and heart are both full as I write today with the events that happened over the past week.

With a million things running through my mind its hard to know where to begin. Last week, the new mission presidents reported to the MTC for a week of seminars and training, and thus, the whole main building and many other parts of the MTC campus were inaccessible to us normal missionaries. This made it easier on security because all of the twelve apostles and every member of the first presidency came to the seminar for the mission presidents.

Because of the Swine flu scare, everything was locked down and there were very few real sightings of any authorities, but the thought of Apostles and prophets here made everyone exited, even if we never saw them... Unfortunately, I was one of them, but I know I felt their spirit, even though I never saw them or talked to them personally.

Then the Devotional happened. The devotional, which had been moved to Friday to accomodate the Mission Presidents was something I will never forget for as long as I live. I am sitting in the Choir waiting for the devotional to start, as oblivious as everyone else as to the identity of the speaker. Then L. Tom Perry walks in! But it gets better, he is soon followed by Elders Cook, Bednar, Oaks, Anderson, and Christofferson, acting like giddy teenagers around our favorite celebrity, me and the others in my district mused at the marvel that they were all there in one place and then which of them would be honored to hear as our speaker.

Then, right before it started, the speaker walked in -- Jeffery R. Holland! (In case you are keeping tally, that rounds it out to seven apostles in one place!) I love hearing him so much, that it was such a treat to hear from him. He talked about the power of the Holy Ghost and something he coined as the "Divine Companionship."

One of my favorite things he said was, "The Holy Ghost must be with you because it is the way your lesson ceased to be your lesson and becomes His". (meaning Heavenly Fathers) He commented that if we work our hardest to make sure the Holy Ghost is our "Third Companion" on our mission, he will be the key that connects our investigators and ourselves to the Godhead.

And then he ended in the best way possible. He takes a long pause, and he says, slowly and deliberately, "WELCOME TO THE WORK OF ANGELS.... YOU ARE THE ANGELS." and I loved it because it reminded me of my missionary plaque scripture Alma 13:24 (Don't have time to write it, look it up in your nearest Book of Mormon) and made me feel as if I was part of something much bigger and nobler than myself, and it made me realize that I made the absolutely correct descision in coming here, and I truly am in the right place at the right time.

And even though I never shook a prophet or an apostle's hand, even though one never looked me in the eye, at that singular instant I realized that these men know what we need. They know our situation and what we need to hear. I know that these apostles and prophets really do act as the mouthpiece of our Heavenly Father, and I know as we listen to their teachings, God will pour out blessings so big that, "there will not be room enough to recieve them."

I am honored that God would trust me with the "Work of Angels", as Elder Holland said, and I know that he loves me very much and has a divine destiny for all of us.

I urge all that read this to find out what their own divine destiny is and join in the work of angels and share with the world the testimony they hold near and dear to their hearts.

Lets be missionaries together forever,

Hermana Sarah Jennifer Tritsch

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Blog Entry #2: Learning, teaching, planning, singing, chatting, tithing, and all other sorts of -ings.

Hola Amigos y Familia!

Reporting direct from the Provo MTC, this is Hermana Sarah Tritsch with an all-new blog-cast for all of you!!!

I am happy to report that the Swine Flu Battle may be coming to an end with the preventative flu pills we have to take, as well as the contagious germaphobia that sweeps the MTC. Elder Wannop recently got out of quarrantine and said there were only 7 unfortunate missionaries there down from an all time high of 135.

There is a no-touchee rule here at the MTC and it is getting very old, very fast. I want to hug my Relief Society Presidency and my companion and the other Sisters in my district, and shake the hands of my Elders, but it is strictly prohibited because of swine flu. But the word on the street is that we almost got it beat... Maybe I can hug my companion before I leave this place (fingers crossed).

We got trained on the mormon.org website chat system and started chatting online with real investigators. After having brief chats about the gospel and the website and getting cussed out by an angsty teenager, we chatted with this man named Joshua who seemed genuinely interested in learning about the gospel. We answered his questions about agency and about God's Plan and made an appointment to teach him again over chat the next day. Unfortunately, when the time came for our appointment, he did not log in. but Sister Greene (my companion) and I still pray for him.

On a lighter note, I joined MTC Choir at the request of my father and the support of Kira and love it soooo much!!! I love getting to know more people at the MTC and being able to sing for the devotionals.

This week is going to be kind of hectic because this week is New Mission President training Week, and they have whole buildings roped off and unaccessible to missionaries. There is a rumor going around that all of the first presidency and every apostle will make an appearance at their training seminars. Unfortunately, they are not going to visit with the missionaries, only the presidents. Maybe one of them will stick around for the tuesday-night devotional which, this week, has been moved to Friday to accomodate the Mission Presidents. We will just have to see.

My Spanish is progressing, albeit slowly... Its really great learning languages with the spirit and the "Gift of Tounges" because I am sure that if I was learning spanish just to learn Spanish, I would not be nearly this successful at this time.

The whole MTC is slowly turning digital. Part of the instruction is on a computer program called TALL which helps with spanish, and we have cards that are like an ID card that we scan for everything. Haircuts, Meals, Computer Use, Emails, everything. Everything then turns into statistics that the MTC uses to evaluate and to do things more efficiently. Its really cool, actually.

I am really happy here and I am exited to be in the Lord's service. One of my teachers said it this way: "You have been alive for about 20 years, and now you are giving two back to the Lord -- 10% of your days -- Its like tithing!"

I love you all and look forward to hearing from you. Remember: Write me, and I will try my best to write you back.

-Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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