how can you properly rate a year. how you properly calcualte how much you've learned, changed, grown, developed, and learned from mistakes. i certaintly don't have the answer.
i won't fail to recognize that 2014 was entirely life-changing for me. this was a monumental year for me...to the point i remember such specific date and hours that events occurred. oh how grateful I am that God has allowed me to live so i continue to learn and grow.
oh how this year i strive to be better. and to start, i should probably stop feeling guilty for mistakes made in 2014 ;) i sure loved this year, and for the people it allowed me to associate with.
what was this year like:
--August 2013 - February 2014--
I opened an area for Hermanas in Neuquén, the largest city in the Patagonia (which really isn't saying much!), I trained seven companions there and absolutely loved it.
Each companion only helped me to be better. It was were I really started growing to love my mission.
All because I got to teach and serve Ana Belen and Laura, both baptized, but who are just such quality individuals who fervently loved the gospel.
New Years Day in Neuquén 2014 with Hermana Cooper (i was her TA!), Hermana Goodale, and that dear Hermana Smith (i wish we were blood sisters).
my Argentinian family -- the Avila's (Ana in the background). He was our ward mission leader, and they fed us lunch, every Saturday for 6 months, and continue to do so weekly.
-- Feburary 2014 - June 2014--
I was transferred not too far away from Neuquen to Plottier. I served with Hermana Guerra (Brasil) and Hermana Garcia (Mexico).
This was my most spiritually growing area -- where i really learned personal experiences about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Another experience was serving with a brand new missionary on an exchange, and when usually I should be teaching her, she taught me, I was never the same missionary after that. That day led us to find Gina. I still remember it was April 26th. at 9am. We clapped outside, she hesitantly let us in...but that was the beginning to such a deep friendship.
Oh I wish how she could have the gospel fully in her life today.
this is sweet Gina and her kids. taken hours before leaving for Esquel, my last area.
Above: waiting at the bus stop with the Zone Leaders to help different areas in the Zone
Below: I loved every Open House, because it reminded me of serving in the Idaho Falls Visitor Center. Oh and doing it with my previous compa, Hermana Brown!
We helped build a house for the Sanchez Family one Saturday per month.
Christmas came in May! My first package and my last!
Elder Vinas, of the seventy came to do a Mission tour on April 30th (1/2 of the mission met together). It was spectacular and he only spoke about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I felt honored as President Lovell asked me to organize a Zone choir, and do a special violin musical number.
Then there was that one time that Hermana Brown and I and 30 other 'gringos' got to go to Chile for our visas. Turns out, there was complications and Argentina almost didn't let me back in.
-- June - July 2014 --
I spent my last transfer with my best friend in the mission, Hermana Hafen. It was a dream transfer. We never stopped walking or working. We would never make it home on time unless we ran.
I taught more lessons and met more people than ever. And I had never been happier.
you can tilt your head to look at this picture. But it perfectly describes Esquel, Chubut, Argentina.
Super cold. Encompassing snowy mountains around the city, tall fir trees, log cabins, dirt roads, and too many dogs.
I couldn't feel my toes one night even with all the layers... the gloves actually helped alittle. ;)
Hermana Hafen and I did everything we could to make american food. Pancakes (with oatmeal grinded up to make flour), oreos with ice and milk and water for milkshakes, soup with just soybeans and water. at least it was all fun.
last p-day of playing soccer. i don't really miss that.
the last leadership council
because our 13 hour bus ride for Esquel didn't leave until midnight, i got to go around Neuquen one more time (after six months of being away!) And i got to see this WONDERFUL woman, Laura, who I mentioned above. What a sweet tender reunion and mercy this was. The hermanas that were serving in Neuquen knew how much we meant to each other, so they planned it without telling either one of us. I love tender mercies like that.
hiking the mountains is what you do in Esquel .
Exchanges in Lago Puelo and El Bolson, Rio Negro. We are probably the only missionaries that get to travel to another province to do an exchange! ;) What a magical place. So tiny. So homey. So cold and so cute. It reminded me alittle of Portland. There were a lot of hippies.
oh the dearest miracle family of my mission experience. i should really write about that one day. for now. this is Hugo, Natalia, Tiago, and Mati Delgado. i'd go back to argentina just to
be there for their sealing.
saying goodbye in the Mission Office -- as previous ward members from Neuquen came to visit
The Buenos Aires Argentina temple is absolutely perfect.
And then... my dad released me as a missionary.
he's participated in the biggest events of my life -- confirming the Holy Ghost when I was eight; setting me apart as a full-time missionary, and then releasing me exactly 18 months later from the greatest learning experience of love and responsibility I had...a missionary.
needless to say, i was alittle emotional. can you blame me?
its hard to pen out exactly the feelings and emotions of all I experienced in 2014, but in three words...
I am grateful. Grateful for life, experiences, challenges, happy times, set backs, and
everything in between.