First things first: Hermana Scadlock's passing caught us all by surprise. I just want to vocally give my support to her family and to President and Sister Franco. To them it was like losing a daughter too. They were with her right up till the very end, keeping her family updated as well as the rest of the mission updated. We appreciated this a lot. The mission is in a very unified moment. We pray that Hermana Scadlock's family and friends will have people close by, that they will feel God's love and that their sorrows will be swallowed up by their faith in Christ and the overwhelming amount of love and support that I'm sure the whole church sends. If it feels heavy, just know that at the very least these 200+ Resistencia missionaries are all carrying a piece of it. I didn't know Hermana Scadlock all that well. We sat across from her and her companion Hermana Hanks at the last multi-zone conference, and what I do know is that Hermana Scadlock was a lovely creature with jewel blue eyes. Very very sweet and gentle, and mildly hilarious.
Maybe this week hit me in the back of the head, because my brain finally arrived in Argentina. You know you've arrived when you're 100% in the moment, walking past a soccer game in the late summer glow, feet treading on the chapped crackly road, heading to the house of someone you can hardly wait to see. People are sprinkling buckets of water on the road to keep the dust down, the blood orange sunset glints off of the paint on crumbling walls and the gleaming sweaty soccer players' skin. We're weaving between kids on bikes and chipadores with baskets on their heads and motos that carry families of 4.
Gaining the confidence of people here, we are more and more able to do things for them and be there when they need us.
|Hermana Rodriguez on my right and Hermana Armoa on my left.|
These two women.....they are the backbone of the ward. Hermana Rodriguez is a teacher, an incredible chef, and she just radiates strength and confidence in everything she does. Hermana Armoa. Well....just imagine an angel descended from the skies and took the form of a sweet Paraguayan piece of heaven, and you have Hermana Armoa. Also note her sly, mischevous facial expression. She has that side too. These are my temporary adoptive moms. We will try to get a more serious picture before I leave (hopefully that won't happen just yet--crossing my finger for tranfers in a week).
|Valentina & Dora|
We've been spending a lot a lot of time with Valentina & Co. this week.Valentina is funky fresh. She gets spunkier every week. I wouldn't have guessed it when I first met her, but this woman is really, really unbearably funny. We'll be having a serious conversation and she'll just lean her head back and in a grave tone say something completely sarcastic. Then we all just laugh and laugh and then shake our heads and clear our throats and continue the conversation as if nothing happened. Then it happens all over again. Dora their daughter is doing so well, so very well--the change in her has been like night and day. Basilio as well--he has really warmed up and started to tell us about his life story, political experience, and relationship with God. This would only be remarkable if you knew how shy and distrustful he was. He has become as much of our family as anyone else here. Sister Beecher and I go by almost every day, and we 5 really feel like family when we're all together.
They love church and so we love helping them get there every week. It's a relief and a blessing to know that when we take them, they can always arrive at a place where they can get help, feel support, and find their peace. And that they will have that after Herm Beecher and I are gone. (hip-hip hooray for ward members who take their callings seriously and actually make church a place where they DO THINGS to make a difference in the world and show Christian charity to whoever steps in that door. Wooo-haaa!)
Well, next week hopefully I'll have time to tell you more about Mayra, a 26-year-old art teacher who exercises a strange charm over everyone she meets (could just be because she takes showers and still has all her teeth) (that was a joke, Mayra is very special and we love her, we've been going by her house for the past 4 weeks); Laura, a woman who never stops smiling; Leila, a woman who has a gnarly moto-inflicted leg burn; Marcelo, the bread shop guy; and Yohana, a woman who received us last night under the unlikliest of circumstances, and other investigators.
Much much love,