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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 2, 2013

This week was super fast.  I can´t believe how the time is flying.  I feel like every day, week, or transfer is shorter than the one before.  And now this week we have transfers again!  This transfer determines if I´ll be in Junín for Christmas or not.  Also, if I stay, that means 6 MONTHS (1/3 of the mission) in my little city.
So you all know, the mail system is not working here in Argentina, for all that I know.  We passed by the post office today and it was closed with the workers protesting outside.  Sooooo.... maybe hold off on all those Christmas letters I KNOW you´re all writing me.

This week the other sisters here in Junín had a baptism of one of the funniest little old men I know.  I ended up singing a solo and giving a talk for the baptism.  Oh, the joys of being in a little branch.
We have a super great investigator right now, Ana Maria.  She loves to pray and to read and go to  church.  It´s spectacular.  She´s even introducing us to her friends.  Super tierna.  Yesterday we were visiting her and her friend, and we asked her who she wanted to say the prayer.  She said she would do it.  Upon leaving, I said that we wanted to say another prayer.  I briefly looked at her and she said, "Siempre Ana Maria...." and then started to pray before we could actually invite anyone to give the prayer.  My companion and I had to stifle our laughter.
Things are well.  I hope everyone is staying warm while I´m dying of heatstroke.
Hermana Walton

P.S.  I found more street art from Acción Poetica.  My companion makes fun of me because I get really excited every time I find one.

They say:
1. "With closed eyes and awakened dreams."


November 25, 2013

A WEEK OF MIRACLES.  But seriously.  We had a great week.  We had three investigators come to church, which is the most we´ve seen since General Conference!  And one of those investigators was Rocio!  Woo hoo!  Next week she´s going to be confirmed with the Holy Ghost with her daughter, Karina.  It´s been quite the journey with the two of them, but I am so happy that they will be able to take that step and understand the importance of it.
This week is Thanksgiving, so I want to give a few thanks (Even though I´m not in my own country to celebrate it):
1.  I´m thankful for my family.  It doesn´t matter how cliche that appears, it´s true.  I love you and am so grateful for all the support  that I´ve received from you over these last 8 months.  I know that it hasn´t been an easy time for anyone, but your constant support and love is invaluable (that´s the right word, right?)
2.  I´m thankful for my mission... la mejor misión de todo el mundo (sé que eso es verdadero porque mi presidente de misión me dijo, y el no puede mentir .)  But seriously.  I love being a missionary, and like I mentioned earlier, I´ve seen so many miracles.
3.  I´m thankful for change.  Although change can be a challenge, it´s a blessing that God trusts us enough to put us in new circumstances to help us grow.  It doesn´t matter if it´s difficult.  Every change that we have is an opportunity to learn.
4.  I´m grateful for my branch, Junín.  This week we saw more involvement with the members in our efforts, and that´s incredible.  The members are absolutely indispensible in this work.  (A special thank you to Francisco, the greatest branch missionary ever, who also happened to give lemons and eggs from his garden/farm to two starving sister missionaries this week!)  Shout out  to all you who are working hard to help the missionaries in your area.
This has been a little bit random and frantic, but these last few weeks I´ve been thinking a lot about gratitude, and I believe that I´ve grown to be more grateful for everything I have.... even the challenges, I´m learning to be grateful for.  I hope everyone can have that same spirit of gratitude this week.  I love you all!

Hermana Walton

P.S.  Enjoy this picture of my Argentine companion, Hermana Medeyro, and I with a flag that a recent convert, Ruben, gave me.

November 18, 2013

So this week was crazy.  But despite every challenge we´ve had this week, I´ve seen miracles.

We went to Ramos Mejia this weekend to listen to Elder Holland.  It was absolutely incredible.  He reminded us why we are here and what we should be doing.  He said that the most important thign is who we are are that we work hard to live up to the potential that we have, that we will never reach, because it´s way greater than we could ever understand.  And if we do that, and become who the Lord wants us to be, we are going to see miracles.  We are going to love our missions, every minute of it, the good and the bad.  I´ve come to learn that that´s true, and am learning to love every experience, because everything we do is a chance to grow and become who God wants me to be, and even more so, help other people to feel His love in their lives and make the changes necessary to receive the blessings that are awaiting them.

Yesterday I got the chance to do divisions with one of the sisters in my branch, Sister Cortes.  We were short one sister missionary (temporarily we were in a trio, but we decided to divide and conquer, in order to visit more people), so Sister Cortes came out with us.  She never served a mission, but is super great and powerful.  We only had one lesson, but it was incredible to see what an impact the members can have when they help the missionaries. And she was such a good sport about riding a bicycle all over Junin with me.

This week was full of a thousand other stories, but that´s all I´ve got time to tell for now.  Maybe one day we´ll sit down together and I´ll read you all of the miracles I have written in my journal.

I love the mission.

Hermana Walton

November 11, 2013

Hermana Medeyro, Hermana Cleveland, and I in bicis!  (Yes, we always wear helmets, and yes, everyone comments on them.)

Wow, it´s already mid-November.  What happens with the time?
This week was sort of a crazy one.  It´s interesting how the more time I have in the mission, the the faster it seems to go by.  It feels like there is a new pressure to the work every day and we are running from place to place trying to do everything we need to do.  Wooo, the mission life.  (It also doesn´t help too much that we have an hour less time to work everyday because of our time for training every day.  But it´s worth it to help out mi hija!)
I´m sad to say that Rocio and Karina still were not able to come to church this Sunday for their confirmation and I´m afraid now that they´ve lost their opportunity.  I don´t know what´s going to happen with them, which breaks my heart because I really do love them a lot.  Their situation is a little bit complicated right now, but we´re still trying to visit them this week to see what happens.
Even though that was a bit difficult, we have something really great coming our way this week!  Like, SUPER GREAT. Our zone leaders told us today that the ENTIRE mission is going to travel to Ramos Mejia on Saturday, because ELDER HOLLAND is going to come and speak to us!  Wooooo!  We´re all super jazzed about that and I´m sure that will help us feel more motivated and deepen our understanding of how we can be better missionaries.
I think that´s about it for what I have to say this week, but I hope everyone is well.  I send my love.
Hermana Walton

November 4, 2013

Okay, so this week I´m a little bit really super sad, because Rocio and Karina still haven´t been confirmed after their baptism and I´m not sure if they are going to be.  They haven´t been answering our calls or coming to the door when we pass by to visit them and didn´t come to church yesterday.  I´m really sad to see that happen, but we´re trying hard to keep our heads held high and recognize that there are other people for us to help and there are people waiting to hear the glad message that we have to share, so hopefully this week will go better.
This week we had a special training meeting just for the sisters in the mission, which was super great. We spent all day Thursday in Ramos Mejia (yes, we made a total of four 5-hour bus rides in one week. ugh.) for the meeting, and it was all of the sisters and basically it was like one big party.  Okay, and also we learned lots of important things, but it was so fun to see all of my favorite sisters again (okay, other than the two that are ACTUALLY my sisters.... sorry, Rihanna and Macalla).  by the end of the day we left with a new feeling that, although we´re young in the mission and don´t have a lot of experience, we can do this. If we´re diligent and obedient, and patient, too, we´re going to be able to see miracles.  So that´s exactly what we plan on doing here.
Other than that, this week came and went super fast.  I hope everyone else is enjoying their week, and a special shout-out to my dear Hermana Cindy Lusk, who entered the MTC last week, as well as Elder Parker Stockford, who heads out this week!  (Suerte!)  And also, a great bienvenidos (welcome home) to Elder Andrew Luke, who came home this week!  Way to finish strong.  The work certainly continues on!
I send my love,
Hermana Lauren Jane Walton
P.S.  The pictures:
First, my lovely companions and I from Junin (with Hermana De Leon before she left)
Second, several of the sisters with whom I began the mission!... and then some.  Great people.

Octobere 29, 2013

We had transfers yesterday!  I´m still here in Junin!  I still love Junin, but I feel like I know my area super well now and am coming close to having knocked all of the doors.  But we´ll keep on working.  I have a new companion here, Hermana Medeyra, from Argentina.  YES, my first Argentinian companion!  She´s actually waiting for her visa for Venezuela, but the visa for there is super hard, so it might be a very long time that she´s here.  This is her second transfer in the mission, so I´ll be finishing up the 12-week training program with her.  It´s so strange because it doesn´t feel like all that long ago that I was receiving the 12-week program for myself. I feel like it will be a good refresher.
I can hardly believe that I´m now directing my area and training.  It feels like a lot of new responsibility, and I would be lying if I said I wasn´t at least a little bit nervous, but I know I can´t do it alone... I have to trust that the Lord is going to provide a way for me to do everything that is necessary.
Other than that, we had a baptism last weekend!  My last weekend with Hermana De Leon and Rocio and Karina finally got baptized!  It was a beautiful service, and two other investigators (Daniel and Candela) of the Elders got baptized.  It was very lovely.  But Rocio and Karina missed church on Sunday, so their confirmation will be this week.

Anyways, I´ve got to wrap this up, but I hope everyone is well!  I send my love.  Until next week,
Hermana Walton

October 21, 2013

Hello, family and friends!
First of all, I know you´re all dying to know about the baptism that we had this weekend.  Welllllll, we didn´t have one.  I´m sorry to say that it fell through, because Rocio´s 2 month old baby, Ian, is sick.  He was hospitalized Friday night and they still haven´t found out what the problem is.  We´re praying really hard that he´s going to get better this week, and that Rocio and Karina can have their baptism this weekend. 
This week should be transfers, but due to some scheduling things, it´s going to be next Monday, so Hermana De Leon and I have a week more together here in Junin!  It´s not very likely that we´ll pass another transfer together, but we´ll see what happens next week.
This Sunday was Mother´s Day here in Argentina.  Did you know that it´s different for different parts of the world?  Fun fact.  So Hermana De Leon and I made cards for all of the wonderful women with whom we visit and in our little branch, and gave them alfajores.... GRANDOTES.  They´re the second best type of alfajores, but we couldn´t find my personal favorite- Jorgelin- so we went with those.  But a shout out to my lovely mother... hope you unconciously enjoyed your Mother´s day!  Love you!
Other than that, this week the heat really started to hit.  We´ve been sweating like crazy on our bicycles.... so Hermana De Leon and I went shopping today for new clothes to better adapt to the heat. 
Anyways, I hope you´re all well!  Have a great week!

Hermana Walton

Monday, October 14, 2013

14 October 2013

Hellllllooooo, family and friends!

So I just found out today that this transfer is going to be 7 weeks long, instead of 6, but we´re going to see some crazy changes coming up soon!  Buenos Aires Oeste will be receiving 38 new missionaries this transfer, so it is VERY unlikely that Hermana De Leon and I will pass another transfer together.  It´s also likely that we could be training or taking over a new area.  And here I am, comfortable in my little branch in Junin, doing what we do here.  We´ll see what happens next!

This week was kind of a crazy one.  Hermana De Leon and I have been working real hard, and we feel like we´ve been running from one end of our area to the other, because our investigators right now are pretty scattered abroad.  But it´s good, because we´re working hard! 

The best news is that we should be having two baptisms this weekend, for Rocio and Karina, a mother and daughter that we´ve been teaching for a couple of months now.  They´re super great.  Rocio has 5 children, Karina is the second.  The oldest daughter doesn´t have too much interest for now and the other children are 4 years old, 2 years old, and 2 months old.   They basically feel like family for us now.

Our district leader challenged us this week to share with our family a spiritual experience this week, if we don´t have a habit of doing so.  I like to think that I try to do that, but to be more specific, here is one.  This week we had a lesson with a woman who had had lots of difficulties in her life and through the course of that, she turned away from her faith.  Now that she has worked to regain her faith, she feels as though the her past is unpardonable.  We explained to her that, while justice may demand that she be punished for her past, the mercy of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what should bring her comfort in this time, knowing that if she is truly repentant, all is forgiven.  I know that it really is through the Atonement that all of our pains and afflictions, every downfall in our life, is made better. 

In 2 Nephi 9:18, it speaks of those who carry heavy burdens, but endure them well.  It says that their joy will be full.  I know that´s true.  It doesn´t matter what we experience in this time- if we are faithful, our joy will be made full forever.

On that note, I hope you all have a lovely week!  I send my love!

Hermana Walton

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 October 2013

So this week was GREAT.  Why was it great?  Because it was GENERAL CONFERENCE!  And there´s no weekend better than that for a missionary.  Why?  Because we get to tell everyone about the opportunity that they have to listen to the voice of a prophet. Even if we gave out more than 150 invitations and we only had 5 investigators come to the conference, it was a beautiful weekend.

Before conference this week was a bit rough.  Hermana De Leon and I were working really hard, but ultimately it was a week of a good amount of closed doors and hung up phones. But that´s not what matters.  What matters is that despite all that, we saw some success, and that success is so much sweeter than the bitter of rejection. Our investigators that came really enjoyed the conference.

This week we went to Chivilcoy again for a zone meeting.  Our zone leaders gave us a lot of advice on how we can gauge our success as missionaries, which helped me a lot.  As missionaries, sometimes we are rejected and people don´t want to talk to us.  Sometimes the people with whom we visit decide that they don´t want to visit with us anymore.  Sometimes we invite people to church and when we pass by their house Sunday morning, they don´t answer the door. But that´s because they have their free agency, to decide for themselves.  If they don´t want our help, we can´t help them, and we can´t judge ourselves off of that.  All we have to do is assure that we´re giving it our best.

Along that same theme, there was a talk this weekend in General Conference by David M. McConkie, who reminded us that as teachers (or as missionaries) we are called to be representatives of Christ and act as He would act- nothing more, nothing less.  If that´s what we´re doing, we don´t have to doubt that we´re doing the right thing and giving it our all.

Anyways, other than all that, Spring is in full swing here now!  It´s a beautiful, sunny day, but give it another few days and I´m afraid I might be dying of heat stroke.  We´ll see how the summer goes.

I believe that´s all for this week!

Hermana Walton

30 September 2013 - general letter

How fast has gone by this month!  I can hardly believe that tomorrow begins October.

This week has been an interesting one, possibly one of the most roller-coaster weeks of the mission.  Hermana De Leon and I have been working like crazy women, trying to find new investigators and see some progress with them.  On Tuesday of this week, we had 8 lessons in one day.  That´s sort of a huge amount.  But on Sunday, when it came to sacrament meeting, we didn´t have a single investigator come.  We´re working hard to find out how we can motivate them to come to church... that seems to be the real challenge. I love Argentina, but the people here are notoriously lazy.

But who is ridiculously excited for general conference this weekend?  This sister!  It´s great, because there are 4 sessions, so more people can come, at different times!  And also, it´s just a great thing to invite investigators to.  Hermana De Leon and I are so excited to fill the church with people this week.

In this last week we had 14 new investigators, but there was one that was probably my favorite.  Her name is Yisella, and she loves to study history and cultures.  She has done all sorts of research of different cultures of the world and is really interested in learning more about her ancestors.  I´m pretty sure we were super good friends before this life.  I´m also pretty sure that she would absolutely love the Book of Mormon.  Unfortunately the lesson we had with her was pretty short, but we´re going to visit with her this week, and hopefully we´ll be able to help her learn more about the history of South America!

Anyways, I´m quickly running out of time, so that´s all for this week!  Hope everyone is well, and enjoy conference!

Hermana Walton

30 September 2013

The mission teaches you what you can and can´t eat from off the street.

They´re called misporos.

23 SEPTEMBER 2013 - General Letter

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite little sister, Macalla!  I can´t believe she´s already 17!  Where did the years go....

Speaking of time flying by, this week I will hit my 6-month mark of my time in the mission.  And according to my ministerial certificate, I should be released from my calling as a missionary on this date in exactly one year.  That´s really not too much time left in the mission!  1/3 gone.  I´ve got to make the best of my time here!

This week was kind of a crazy one.  Hermana De Leon and I had been working a lot in a very small part of our area last transfer, so this last week we decided to open a new part of our area and expand our efforts.  We spent several days just knocking doors and looking for new investigators to teach.  Those days can be pretty tiring, but we´ve seen some good potential in some of our investigators and are excited to continue working in that area. 

But one night we were out working and it had been quite the day.  We found a few new investigators and were headed to an appointment about 30 blocks away.... when we had a bike accident.  The breaks on Hermana De Leon´s bike were faulty and when I stopped at the curb, she ran into the back of my bike and went hurling foward, landing sprawled out on the pavement.  Luckily there was no more damage than a few bruises.  But the back of my bike was pretty damaged, so I ended up carrying the back of my bike for 25 blocks until we arrived at the bike shop of a member.  Needless to say, we missed our appointment for the night, and we both ended up feeling pretty sore by the end of it, but at least it´s an interesting story to tell.

Anyways, we´re still working hard in Junin.  Although we´ve had some problems with bringing our investigators to church- which is ultimately how they are going to progress- we´re working hard to improve that.  Because of the lack of church attendance, it doesn´t look like we´re going to baptize this month, but we´ve got big plans for the month of October.  The work continues on.  That´s something kind of interesting about the work-- we´re always planning ahead, for the next day, next week, next month, that sometimes it´s hard to remember what the date actually is.  But we have lots to do and only a short time to do it, so we press forward!

I hope everyone is well and I send my love!

Hermana Walton

23 September 2013

Like how to fix your bicycle,

and how to shine your shoes,

and how to cook Guatemalan food.

15 September 2013

How to make two sister missionaries ridiculously happy:

1.  Dig up a part of your garden that contains their favorite flowers and give it to them as a gift.
2.  Accept an invitation to listen to them the next week.

Okay, honestly, lots of people do the second part, but it´s not every day that little old men in Argentina give you a Forget-me-not plant.   Needless to say, I walked all the way home with a huge grin on my face and my hands full of flowers.  The best.

News for the transfers:  Hermana De Leon and I are together again here in Junin!  Wooooo!  I love this area.

This week  the weather here has been a bit bipolar, which has made the work interesting.  We had a day where we thought we were going to die of heat stroke, and then two days later we brought out all of our winter  clothes again.  What´s up, Argentina?  How about you decide what time of year it is?  We´ve been trying to decide which is better... the freezing rain, or the blistering sun and wind.  But it doesn´t matter, in both situations, we don´t like to  ride bikes, so we were on foot for most of this week.

Being on foot means that we only covered a small part of our area.  I´m pretty sure that we´ve knocked almost every door exists in that area.... so it´s time to branch out a bit.  That´s our goal for this week, to work in different areas.  But I still love that area, because all the  neighborhood kids know us and we´ve actually taught a few of their families that way.  Now whenever we pass by they ask us if they can ride our bicycles... we only let them once!

Anyways, hope you all are well.  The work continues here in Junin.  Love you all!

Until next week,
Hermana Walton

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Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

This has been a great week!

First of all, we had a day of rain, which was really beautiful... I´ve missed those grey Oregon skies.  The only problem is that now it´s humid and it´s actually pretty warm today.  I´m not quite ready for that.

This week our district leader had his birthday, so we had a little celebration for him, which was a blast.  One of the sisters in our district is from Mexico, so she made burritos... first time I´ve had anything like that in a long time.  Argentines don´t like spicy food.

And the best news of all... we found an incredible new family that we´re teaching... 10 of them!  Okay, so it´s a family and their cousins, but it´s so great to see them all!  And get this- the parents are MARRIED! Woooo!  That´s an anomoly and a half here in Argentina.  But they´re super receptive of our message and always have a ton of great questions.  And all of them are super excited to read the Book of Mormon and actually follow through with their commitments.  It´s a miracle.

This week is transfers, but we still don´t know what´s going to happen.  We´re going to get a call today to know if we need to buy tickets to travel to Ramos Mejia, but we won´t find out until tomorrow night which one of us goes.  I hope I stay here because I absolutely love Junín.  Everyone here is super friendly and just great.

Dog?  Or is it?

Anyways, that´s basically it for this week. But I send my love!

Hermana Walton
Local Animals

September 2, 2013

Feliz Septiembre!  I can hardly believe how fast the time is flying... we only have one more week in this transfer, and I´m hoping that I´ll keep here in Junín.  I really love it here.
This week was a bit crazy... we lost quite a bit of time to work because we had to travel to Ramos Mejia on Sunday, and then on Monday we travelled to Chivilcoy for a Zone Conference, and then finally returned to our own area in the evening on Tuesday.  By the time we finally got back to our area we were exhausted from too much time sleeping on floors and in colectivos, but happy to get back to work.  
So I´ve been getting a lot of emails over the last few weeks with requests to know more about what I´m doing here in Argentina. If anyone has specific questions that they would like answered, pregunteme!  I am happy to respond to any questions. 
This week Hermana De Leon and I officially became Argentinas.  As I mentioned last week, Hermana De Leon finally took care of her Argentine ID, but even more important than that, we MADE EMPANADAS for the first time this week!  Woo!  Other than that, we mainly just ate a lot of gnocchis, because it´s the end of the month and that´s all we could afford to make. Nevertheless, they are delicious!
As far as the work goes, this week Hermana De Leon and I decided to start visiting less-active members of the church... we have probably about 15 active members in the church, but we have probably a few hundred inactive members... so we have plenty of visits to make.  We found a great little family of 5 through our efforts with that, who we are now teaching.  The mother has a problem with smoking and for that didn´t feel comfortable in the iglesia, but she welcomed us into her house and was very happy to talk to us.  The youngest children are not baptized, but we set a date with them to be baptized at the end of this month.
Speaking of the end of this month, it´s almost Spring!  Wooo!  It´s been absolutely gorgeous here in Junín, and everyone has been out on their motorcycles lately.  One of these days I´m going to get a photo of the streets absolutely full of bikes to send home.  It really is something to see.  But anyways, Spring!  Here ¨dia de primavera¨ is actually a pretty big deal.  Everyone has plans to go to the Laguna or lo que sea to spend the day with their family.  Who would have thought.
Anyways, until next week!

Hermana Walton

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013

I had my first baptism this week!  His name is Aldo and he is 75-years-old.  He is the best. He will talk your ear right off, but I love him to death.  He has been visiting with missionaries before our little branch in Junin even existed, and he finally decided to get baptized.  It was a very lovely day.

Today we are in Ramos Mejia in the mission offices again because my companion had to take care of her DNI (ID) for here in Argentina.  But funny story... we took the wrong bus... and ended up in the Capital.  Luckily that´s only about 40 minutes away from where we needed to be, so our lovely office senior couple came and picked us up.  But I have some pretty bad luck with traveling. Before too long president is going to move me back to somewhere close to the offices and keep me there for the rest of the mission!

Speaking of traveling, Hermana De Leon and I had more flat tires this week.  Surprise, surprise.  But we´re hoping to get our bikes all fixed up this week and hopefully we won´t have any more problems this transfer.

So I included a couple of pictures this week.. the first is of the baptism.  The second is of one of a recent convert´s dog.  I don´t know his name, but we call him ¨nuestro amigo fiel¨because he follows us everywhere.  If we pass by their house, he follows us for hours, running from one end of the city to the other, alongside our bicycles.  It´s a little bit ridiculous, but sort of funny.

Other than that, Hermana De Leon and I are working hard.  We´re losing a few days of work this week because of all of our travels (we are leaving here today to go to Chivilcoy for a zone conference and then returning to our area Tuesday in the afternoon), but we´ll make up for it.

Love you all and hope you´re well!

Hermana Walton

Aldo's Baptism!  It's my first!

August 19, 2013

So this week I received the best gift of my entire mission... a dead bird in my helmet.  Thank you, random neighborhood kids of Argentina.  That was very thoughtful. 

Luckily for me, that wasn´t the theme of the entire week.  Other than that (and three flat tires between Hermana De Leon and I), it was a pretty good one!  We had our first baptism in our ward this transfer!  He was an investigator of the elders, but he´s super friendly to all the missionaries!  His name is Ruben.  I was so excited because it was the first baptism I´ve seen for the entire mission... I always seem to leave just in time to miss the baptisms.

Also, hopefully Hermana De Leon and I will be having our own baptism this week, for one of our investigators, Aldo.  He´s 75 years old and a funny little old man that rides his bike everywhere.  That´s something funny about Argentina... it doesn´t matter how old you are.  Everyone rides bicycles and motorcycles.

This week we had weekly planning as a district, with our zone leaders there to help us out.  It was actually super great.  Our zone leaders are all-stars and gave Hermana De Leon and I advice that we should try to find something fun to do everyday as a companionship.... I guess we´ve been working too hard all the time.  So we´re trying to have more fun everyday and focus on enjoying our time, not just working ourselves to the bone.  Hopefully there will be some good pictures to come with that.

Other than that, I finally remembered my camera and took some pictures of my area!  Yes... dirt roads and shacks.  I love the mission.  But I also got some shots of the city.  Enjoy.

I hope everyone is well.  I send my love to you all.

Hermana Walton

My area at its best.... yeah, it varies a lot.

August 12, 2013

Hellloooooo, friends and family!

´´I am so tired... all the time.  But I´m so happy.  I don´t understand it.´´
-The best line from The District videos, and also the sentiment that every missionary experiences for the majority of their time of service.

Yes, I am tired, but it´s because we´re working hard.  I really love Junín.  It´s very different from Caseros, but we´re working.  Wow, I just realized I don´t have time to write a real general email this week, so I´m sorry.  

But things are going well!  I´ll write more next week, I promise!  

Love you all!

Hermana Walton

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 5, 2013 - 1st Transfer in Argentina - Junin

Helllllooooo, family and friends!

Transfers were last week and I am now serving in.... (drumroll please!)  Junín!  Woo!  For those of you who don´t know where that is, don´t worry, you´re not alone.  I still don´t know where that is.  Five hours by bus away from the mission offices?  But I´m here and that´s what matters!

A bit about Junín... everyone thinks it´s campo (country) and they´re partly right.  We do have a bit of city-like areas, but only about half our area is city.  The other half is dirt roads, wild dogs, and shacks.  I´ll try to send pictures sometime, but I am very limited as to when I can carry my camera.

We don´t have a ward here.  We have a branch.  We have roughly 15-20 members that are active here, which is definitely a change of pace from Caseros, which I found out last week was the first ever ward in all of Argentina!  Very well-established, very different from here.  But that´s okay, that only means that my new companion, Hermana De Leon, and I have plenty to do!

A bit about Hermana De Leon... she is from Guatemala and arrived here in Argentina about 3 weeks ago.  She only has one week more in the mission than I do, so it´s interesting for the two of us to work together.  Even though she´s young in the mission, she is very hard working and very powerful.  She´s the senior companion of the two of us and is dedicated to transforming our area.  I´m really grateful for her desire to work hard and really make a difference.  She has some very different habits and methods of doing things than myself, but we are learning a lot from one another.

This week was (obviously) my first week here and it just so happened to be the same time that President Carter was coming to visit to do interviews with the missionaries and to show the Work of Salvation broadcast that happened last month.  President asked us to work especially hard to bring investigators to this reunion... we ended up having more investigators in the meeting than members!  What a sight that was.

I think I´m going to wrap this up for now, but first... pictures!  One is of me and Hermana De Leon in our apartment (which is super nice!... except that it smells like mold, but ya know, you win some, you lose some...) and the other is of me and one of my favorite people in Caseros, Marta!  We visited her maybe once or twice a week while I was there and she was the sweetest.

Anyways, I love you all and hope everyone is well!

Hermana Lauren Jane Walton


Some pictures...
The first is the baptism of Ana and Leah, a mother and daughter that my companions and I taught when I was in Louisiana.  I was so sad to miss out on that, but I am so excited for them!
The second is me and all of my companions in Louisiana the day before I left.  Love those girls!  (Hermanas Blauer, Rohm, and Walker)

Pictures - She must have forgotten the pictures :(

My district and I went out to pizza last P-day.... at a Pizza Libre restaurant.  basically they bring pizza around to you and ask you if you want a slice and which one.  It was kind of fun and very delicious... but we ate a TON of pizza this week.

July 29, 2013

So something sort of weird happened this week.  On two separate occasions, people asked me if I am from Brazil.  In case you're wondering what Brazillians look like, it's not me.  Maybe I'm starting to pick up my companion's accent. Either that, or she's been teaching me Portugese in leiu of Spanish and I just didn't know.  Uh-oh.

Okay, so something really weird that I just realized this week... I'm about 1/4 done with my mission!  Whaaaat?!  I can't believe that.  This week was the final week of my first transfer here in Argentina.  Transfers are this Wednesday, so we'll see if I stick around in Caseros for a bit longer, or get moved.
We had an incredible week. We really saw miracles.  We had a lot of bumps in the road and a lot of change of plans last minute, but we had more success this week than ever before.
One thing I've learned this week is the importance of goals and working diligently to achieve them.  I've struggled with that before, but this week Hermana Costa and I were really dedicated to achieving them.  We had a goal to teach 15 lessons this week, and it came down to the wire.  We needed to be in our apartment by 8:30 on Sunday night, and we had 14 lessons at 8:00.  We really wanted to achieve our goal, but had no idea how to do it.  We decided to head in down a street to visit a woman we met Saturday night... while we were heading there, Hermana Costa all of a sudden paused, looked to her left, and exclaimed "Juan!" We were in front of a house that we had passed a thousand times to visit a man we met there, but he was never home.  WELL, he was home that night!  We taught him and met our goal!
I am out of time, but I love you all and hope you're well!
Until next week,
Hermana Walton

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Video link

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Pictures Lauren & companion Hermana Costas, with Hermana Llerena

July 22, 2013

I'm freezing. I can't feel my toes.  It's weird to think that everyone in the states right now are enjoying a lovely summer, but my time will come.  For now, I get to drink hot cocoa and wear a billion layers.
Lucky for nearly all of my district in the MTC, they arrived this week in Argentina!  I can't wait to see them all again!

This week was great.  Seriously, Hermana Costa and I are on cloud 9.  The last few weeks were sort of hard for us because we had a lot of rejection and not a lot of success, but we changed our approach this week.  We focused more on working with the members and building our relationship with them, and miraculously, our time is used much more efficiently!  We had nine new people that we taught last week, including a lovely little family of four.  We are so excited to teach them again this week and we have a lot more set appointments this week.  That's GREAT news, because that means we will spend more time in warm houses and not in the freezing streets! Woo!
Okay, I don't have much more time this week, but I love you all!  Write me!  DearElder me!
Hermana Walton

Video From Lauren

Hi everyone!  

Just wanted to let you know that Lauren had an opportunity to make a video while visiting with a member family.  It was posted to my facebook account and I shared it to Lauren's.

If you want to see it, just check out her FB page.  Lauren Jane Walton

I will update her letter shortly.

Lisa Walton

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 15, 2013


First of all, mom, I got your Dear Elder!  Woo!  That means, SEND ME DEAR ELDERS.  EVERYONE.  That's the first letter I've received since I arrived here, and now that we know that I can for sure receive them, I expect a flood. 

Anyways.... this week was super short.  I don't really know why it went by so quickly, but it feels like we just had P-day yesterday and here we are again.  

Hermana Costa and I didn't have as much success this week as we maybe wanted, but that's okay.  We are working hard and are going to work even harder this week.  We're trying to find new people to teach, but it's funny how people don't really like to let strangers into their houses.  We've learned this week, again, how absolutely essential it is that we have the help and support of the members in our ward to assist in the work.  I hope everyone is doing all they can to help the missionaries out, because it really does make a difference.

In other news, I think I have officially become accustomed to Argentina.  Okay, maybe not.  But I have eaten milanesa (basically chicken-fried chicken or steak), empanadas, and alfajores for pretty much every meal all week.  I really actually enjoy Argentine food, which is good because that's all they eat here.  

This pictures this week are of a pile of alfajores that we have received from members.  They really love alfajores here, which is a type of cookie that usually has dulce de leche in the center.  The other picture is of milanesa.

Hope you're all well! 


Iglesia S.U.D.
Hermana Lauren Jane Walton (Make sure its my full name)
Misión Argentina Buenos Aires Oeste
C.C. 92
1702 Ciudadela
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Just an FYI from her Mom ~ You can send her mail via ~ it is free and you can see when it will be going out to her.  

July 8, 2013

First of all, shout out to the lovely Emma Simpson for receiving her mission call to the Washington Vancouver mission!  I want to cry, I am so excited that one of my favorite people gets to finally experience the glories of the great Northwest for herself!  Love you, Sister Simpson!  You can do anything good!  Better than anyone!  ;)

This week, to be perfectly honest, was a bit of a rough one.  Hermana Costa and I didnt see the success we were hoping for and we had several cancelled appointments and plenty of slammed doors.  But despite that, we had some really great experiences as well.
The first was that we got to participate in a Capilla Abierta (open house of the church) in a neighboring area. Basically we held tours of the church and taught mini lessons about our beliefs.  It was really incredible to be able to just teach and share our beliefs with others.  It was very simple, but wonderful.  We got to meet a lot of really great people as well.
The second was today.  We had a specialized training for the new missionaries and their trainers today.  Although it took a bit part of our P day, it was well worth it.  I was able to finally have a personal interview with President Carter and talk to him a bit and get to know him.  He is great.  On top of that, he talked to us as a group and addressed many of the concerns that many of us newer missionaries were having, as well as how we can be more effective in the work.  Hermana Costa and I walked away feeling much more excited and ready to work hard this week.  We were able to recognize several of our weaknesses and are dedicated to becoming better.
I realized that I never sent my new address, so here it is!  Of course I would love to hear from everyone!

Iglesia S.U.D.
Hermana Lauren Jane Walton (Make sure its my full name)
Misión Argentina Buenos Aires Oeste
C.C. 92
1702 Ciudadela
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Love you all!

July 1, 2013

There is a lot of street art here.  This is some that my companion and I pass by regularly.

July 1, 2013

Sorry this is a week late!  It would not send last week, so my sincerest apologies... but you will have a new letter this week, too!

Hola, todo!
This was my first complete week here in Argentina and it has, of course, been interesting. 
My mission president has very high standards of performance for the missionaries here.  We have lots of requirements for numbers of lessons and contacts and everything here, which is definitely very different from how my mission president in Louisiana operated.  That has been a bit of an adjustment for me, but I am learning quickly. 
There a lot of old people here.  I dont know if its an average amount or not, but Hermana Costa and I seem to visit and talk to a lot of them.  Several times a day we end up having conversations with little old men on street corners that have a very wide, very interesting range of personalities.  Most of them like to talk a LOT.  Its interesting because I can either understand a ton of what they say because they speak slowly, or I cant understand a word of it because they have really thick accents.  Either way, it makes for a very interesting experience.  Almost invariably they tell us their entire life story.
We have been talking to basically everyone this week because we really arent teaching too many people who are progressing and learning and willing to listen.  We have a lot of work to do with those that are and desire to learn more.  Before someone can be baptized, they have to be willing to abide by the commandments, including those regarding the law of chastity.  Thats quite a problem here... almost everyone that we teach is juntada... living with someone unmarried.  My companion and I decided we are just going to have one giant fiesta for all of the people we are working with and get them all married at once.  That will work... right? 
I hope that everyone got to listen to the broadcast from the first presidency last week.  It was excellent, all about missionary work and how the missionaries need the members.  It is very true.  The work goes much smoother when missionaries have the support of a strong ward and members who are willing and able to help them in their efforts.  I hope you are all anxiously engaged to help the missionaries in your respective areas.  I can guarantee that they need it. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

I am in Argentina!  Its very much a foreign country and I am learning a lot very quickly, but the first few days were definitely a bit overwhelming.  Even though I got off to a rough start, missing my flight and arriving a day late, I have an absolutely wonderful companion.  Her name is Hermana Costa and she is from Brazil.  She speaks Spanish and Portugese. Hardly any English.  Yes, that means we speak Spanish allllllll the time.  Yes, it is hard.  Yes, I am learning a lot very quickly.
A few reflections on my first week in Argentina...
- no heaters.
- your shower can last approximately 3 minutes before the water goes ice cold.
- You kiss cheeks all the time.  I have kissed a lot of women.
- there are wild dogs EVERYWHERE (do NOT pet them).
- I cant read food labels, so I never know what on earth I am eating.
- I also dont really know how to use the money.
- The collectivos (buses) dont really like to come to a complete stop.
- Thank you, mom, for teaching me to look both ways before I cross the street.
- The castellano accent basically sounds lie ja ja ja ja ja ja ja.... and if its thick enough, I cannot understand a single word.
- The real shocker- I can actually handle eating the beef.
As you can tell, I am already having quite an interesting experience.  It might take a while to be completely accustombrado to everything here, but I am coming to love it.

I found out my first day here that it is very likely that I will be training another sister (I will have a brand new companion that I have show the ropes of missionary work to) at the next transfer, because of the huge influx of sister missionaries.  Almost everyone is training.  The second youre done with training, you train someone else.  I am only slightly terrified, but I have 5 more weeks to figure out how to get around here and speak a sufficient amount of Spanish that my companion and I can communicate with others.  We will see how that goes, but for now I am very happy to have an excellent companion to help me along the way.
We are also lucky to have an absolutely wonderful ward.  I do not know too many people yet, but they are wonderful, very hospitable and welcoming.

I love you all and hope you are well!  You are in my thoughts and prayers always.
-Hermana Walton

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 10 2013

This has been quite the week.  First of all, I got to go to Girls Camp!  That's right, another year.  Okay, well technically I only went up for an evening, but get this:  we went for their testimony meeting, and my companions and I got to sing for them!   It gets better... we sang "I Am His Daughter" and I accompanied on guitar.  Uh-huh, three years runnin'.  It was so cool to be able to carry on that experience into my mission and share that with the young women here.  They're so sweet and it was great to see their reactions as they were touched by that song.

That was really cool, but that wasn't even the highlight of my week.  We have a baptism date set for two of our investigators!  They're actually the other sisters' investigators, but I've taught them a couple of times, too, and they're the sweetest.  I was in the lesson that we gave them the baptismal date, because we were on exchanges.  It's a mother and daughter from Belize and they are just incredible. 

I also had a very interesting experience this week helping a hoarder move out of his house.  I've never seen a house so full of stuff.  There was just stuff everywhere.  Hermana Rohm and I were literally sifting through garbage: old plastic bags, food containers, paper towels, and more.  It was not exactly pleasant, but it was incredible to see the transformation of his house within just a few hours. There's still a lot to do and we'll probably be back there this week as well to help out.

Sorry for how frantic this probably is... my time is tight today, and I've only shared a portion of my adventures this week!  But I hope everyone is well and I send my love to you all.

Until next time,

Hermana Walton

P.S.  According to the Buenos Aires West mission blog, they're supposed to be getting tons of new missionaries in in the coming week or two!  Apparently the issues that the Church was having with visas got resolved and the process is picking up.  I could be out sooner than I thought, but I guess we'll see next week!  I don't know if I'm prepared to leave yet, but whatever happens is for the best, I'm sure.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

April 23, 2013

Hola, madre.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:  Lynette Lewis says hi.  She's been bugging me for weeks to tell you hello when I email you next and I kept forgetting.  So there you go.  She loves you.
Anyways, I got your letters this week.  As always, I appreciate all of the updates on how everything is going at home.  Seriously, my district thinks I'm really popular because I get so many Dear Elders from you. haha.  I love it.  I'm glad you got to visit with Rihanna for a bit and I look forward to getting those letters.
Most of this letter will be dedicated to talking about things you could share in your talk this Sunday about the mission thus far... you can kind of pick and choose and this is also a general email, I guess?  I'll let you sort that out. ;)  Love you, mom!
So the mission so far is wonderful!  It's definitely stretching me as a person, but I'm learning so much everyday and go to bed (almost) every night feeling satisfied that my time is being well spent.  This week, especially, has been a roller coaster.  I feel like I say that every week, but it's true.  And I guess there really is opposition in all things, huh? (2 Nephi 2:11)
Two of the biggest highlights this week for me:
There were two major highlights from this week: the first was that Elder Richard G. Scott came to the MTC to speak. Absolutely incredible. He spoke about prayer and revelation, and it reminded me a lot of my favorite talk by him, "To Acquire Spiritual Guidance". But this was even better, because I felt like I learned not only how to receive revelation for my own answers, but how to help my investigators with it as well. Not only that, but I was also in the choir singing for him, so I got to share my love for the gospel with him through the song, "Nearer, My God, to Thee". Needless to say, it was a great night at the MTC.
The other big news this week is.... we committed our first "investigator", Ryleigh, to baptism!
For those of you who may not be aware of how we are trained in the MTC with our teaching skills, our instructors roleplay with us acting as either investigators they taught on their mission, or real people in their lives right now.  Even though you're not teaching the actual person, it feels very real and the Spirit is certainly present as well.  Regardless of what it is, the Spirit will always testify of the truth.
So anyways, it was amazing! The spirit in that room was so strong as I said, "Seguirá el ejemplo de Jesucristo al ser bautizada?" (Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized?) We could see a change in our investigator's face as she realized that it was exactly what she needed in her life to come closer to her Heavenly Father. I can't wait for the opportunity to do that in the field.
Now about my experience out here in general:  the mission stretches you in ways you never could have imagined, but it really helps you grow.  I know the sanctity of the calling that I have and I can feel the Spirit so strong in this work.  Through my studies, I feel closer to the Spirit and feel that I'm learning more and more every day.
A scripture that has come to have a special meaning for me out here is Alma 29:1, where Alma the younger is speaking of how he wishes he could call all people unto repentence.  I used to think that verse had almost a harsh, judgmental connotation, but I've found that it is completely out of love.  Repentence is such an indescribable gift from our Saviour.  Through repentance, we are able to come closer to our Heavenly Father.  As a missionary, it is my wonderful opportunity to teach the people of Argentina of how they can use the power of the Atonement to enrich their lives.
For the record, I have no further update yet on how my visa is coming, but it is VERY likely that I will receive a reassignment somewhere state-side for a while before I go to Argentina.  Está bien, porque yo sé que eso llamado será inspirado, tambíen.  Placentero me es trabajar!  (It's alright, because I know that that call will be inspired as well.  The work pleases me!)
Now if there was one thing I would want to ensure that you say to the congregation is directed to the youth, especially the lovely young women of Springfield 5th Ward.  Tell them how great this work is.  I know that this is the best thing I could be doing with my life right now.  I know the divine, eternal impact I am able to have on the lives of others through my efforts and I know that this mission will change my life as well.  I encourage the young women that if they have even the slightest desire to serve, they do so.  Read Doctrine and Covenants 4.  Feel the power in those words and the great duty of missionary work.  My time in the MTC has been excellent preparation for the challenges set before me and I know that the mission won't be easy, but Heavenly Father shapes the back to fit the burden.  My dear sisters, if you have any desire, pray to know if that's what Heavenly Father wants of you.  You have no need to fear anything on the mission, because Heavenly Father will bless and sustain you and your family in your efforts.
I'll conclude with my testimony.  I know that this is Christ's church on the earth today.  I know that through the power of the Holy Ghost, if we pray with real intent, we can know the truth of this Gospel.  There's nothing more worthwhile in this life than to come closer to our Heavenly Father.  I know that Christ atoned for our sins, and it is only through Him that we can return to our Heavenly Father.  I know the power of the priesthood is real.  I know the Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet of God on the earth today.  I know that, although we may not understand everything that happens in our lives, or why we are asked to do certain things, if we are willing to submit to God's will, He will bless us.  We will have the strength to withstand all our trials and will feel His love.
I love you all and hope this finds you all well.  Have a lovely week, and mom, buenas suerte con su discurso esta semana. (good luck with your talk this week.)
Con sinceridad,
Hermana Walton

May 2, 2013

Hola familia,
How's everyone doing?  Is dad doing any better?  I really appreciate all the dear elders to keep me up to date.  I'm sad that I might not be able to receive those come another few days, but I'm grateful for any updates! 
I got your package this week.  Thank you so much, that was very sweet of you!  I'm currently working on some letters home to all of you individually.  I really enjoyed getting to hear from you all in the package and via my phone call.
I should be receiving my new mission call today, with any luck!  My visa hasn't come, so I'll be reassigned.  My companion received her reassignment yesterday... she's going to Portland, Oregon!  I told her I was envious and that she's extremely lucky.  Two elders in my district got called to Boise, Idaho... I'm hoping that means that all of the reassignments for Idaho are already done and that I've dodged that bullet... I mean blessing.  I love Idaho.
This week has been kind of a weird one.  Other than the news from home, which made a few days a little bit rough, our schedule got completely switched around.  Our Preparation day was changed to Thursdays instead of Tuesdays, which is why I'm emailing today instead of two days ago.  Sorry for the scare!  It's made things interesting.  We also have had a lot of changes with our teachers.  My favorite teacher, Hermana Coleman, got a promotion, so for our last week in the MTC, we have a brand new teacher and new investigator.   The typical 6-week MTC missionary has 2-3 investigators they teach.  Our teachers have been gone so much or our schedule has been so weird that we've had probably 6-8 different investigators.  It's been crazy.  But I guess it's good practice regardless.
Despite the crazy schedule, my companion and I committed one of our investigators to baptism this week!  Our second one!  It was pretty exciting.  But that might be the last chance we had to teach him, soo.... that's kind of a bummer.  But it's all good.
At this point, I'm just ready to get out into the field, so I'll let you all know as soon as I get my reassignment!  My spanish is not perfect, but it's improving every day. I think it will be a whole new challenge when I'm actually speaking to native speakers. 
I love you all and hope you're doing well!  I send you my love and you're in my prayers!  I know my work is blessing the lives of other people and I can't wait to get out to the field.
With love,
Hermana Walton