This is gonna be a long one.
As you know, these past weeks have been insane! I’m going to do my best to remember it all and try to keep this letter interesting. It’s been several weeks since I’ve been able to send a letter, and as I’m writing this, I’m on my plane ride home.
So after church meetings were canceled and the virus continued to spread, the Argentine government acted quickly and put everyone on a mandatory, 2 week quarantine, unless there was an emergency or you were going to the pharmacy or grocery store. So, we spent 9 straight days in our pension without leaving, thanks to the extra food we had been directed to buy.
I’m so grateful that my companion during this time was Elder Lampros. Obviously, nine straight days inside is nothing easy with very little options of things to do. But, Elder Lampros always kept his spirit high and made the time happy and fun. I had an old hammock that one of my companions had left me when he was going home, and we tried to find a place to set it up. In our backyard, we had a little patio and we tried setting it up with one side on this brick wall, and the other on a tree. As we put weight on the hammock, the whole wall began to shake and move haha, we just about took it down. We then set it up in between a fence pole and the chimney of the pizza store next door. My companion sat down in the hammock, and all of the sudden, he was on the ground. The chimney had broken and just slipped right off of where it was hahaha.
The majority of the time in quarantine was spent in phone calls, with missionaries, members, and those who we were teaching. We were very blessed during the time, the members were constantly checking up on us and many times brought us lunch. We also spent much time studying and doing the best we could to not go insane haha.
When we got the news that we were going to be returning home, it was heartbreaking. President called us and we asked him how he was doing and he said “devastated”. We asked him why and he said “Are you guys sitting down?” and started reading the news that we were going to be returning home. We just looked at each other and could not believe it. We then spent the next few days preparing all we could; with our area book, our apartment and everything with the ward and those we were teaching.
On Saturday morning, we were just in another normal day of quarantine and we got a call from President. He let us know that we were going to be leaving Sunday night in buses to Buenos Aires, and told us to get everything ready and that he was going to come and pick us up as soon as possible. So we hurried and finished packing and got everything ready and we went to the mission home. One of the hardest parts of all of this was not really getting to say goodbye. We did our best to call and thank everyone and really express our appreciation for the and all that they had done for us. I have been SO blessed and met so many people that have taught me so much and have helped me become such a better person. I love them all and I really hope I can come back and properly say goodbye.
Once we arrived at the mission home, we got right to work and continued organizing everything for the crazy day on Sunday. We got everything well sorted and felt good about it, and President got a few emails where we had to change lots of things last minute. For example, we had everything set up with the people traveling to meet up at the churches, and we were then told that instead of Sunday night, we were going to meet Sunday at 2:00pm. Also, we had everything sorted with the Latino missionaries who were going to stay so that everyone had a companion, where we realized that only the U.S./Canandian missionaries were allowed to leave their apartments, so we had to do lots of last minute scrambling.
Before we went to the church to catch our bus, President and Hermana Allred said goodbye to us. When missionaries are going home, we always sung “Quienes nos brindan su amor” (or in English) and say goodbye. But on Sunday, President and Hermana Allred sang to us which was very surreal and sweet. After they finished singing, they just expressed our love and gratitude to us and shared their testimonies. It was a special, heartbreaking moment with lots of tears shed. During all of this, I have grown to love President and Hermana Allred even more than I already did. This is such a hard time for them, with 166 of their missionaries going home so quickly and having to bring in basically a completely new mission. But, they have maintained such a positive attitude and have taken such good care of us. Out of everything in the mission, one I’ll miss the most is President and Sister Allred.
We got to the church without much problem after many miracles for many missionaries. We then walked into the church, where we had to be seated 3 feet apart with over 50 missionaries. After more complications with the police and several hours of waiting, by 6:00pm, we were on the road to Buenos Aires.
When we arrived, we stayed the night in the Buenos Aires MTC right by the temple so we didn’t have to go to the airport too early. We stayed up getting things ready and talking to one another. I saw Elder Tyson Packer, Elder Jonah Frederick, and Elder Dallin Haycock, who all went to Jordan with me! That was way cool. Then, early in the morning, we got on another bus that took us to the airport. Then, we were put in a HUGE line with several missions from Argentina. In that line, I saw Elder Justen Smith, Elder Jeddy Bennett and Elder Ziggy Cheney! That was way fun to all be together again and share the amazing experiences we’ve had. After waiting for several hours in the line, we checked our bags and went through security and boarded our flight.
We have seen so many miracles to this point, and I’m so grateful for the power of prayer. There has been so many instances where we have seen blessings; lost passports being found, suitcases making it where they needed to be, missionaries making it through police stops without too much problem, etc. There have been to many blessings to count, and I want to thank all of you guys for your prayers. I know Heavenly Father loves us and really wants us to be happy.
My time in Argentina has come to an end. It has been the most incredible, revelatory experience of my life. I’ve learn so much, progressed more than I could have ever imagined and I truly have been so happy. I was so blessed with amazing companions who helped me grow spiritually, converts and members who will be dear friends forever and an opportunity to completely dedicate myself to the Lord and His work. I’m so happy and I’ve loved this time. I’ve learned so much, but one of the most important things I’ve learned is the joy in repentance. Using Jesus Christ’s Atonement in our lives is what brings us peace and happiness. As we strive to make, keep and renew covenants with our Father in Heaven, He blesses us through the remission of our sins, and the many other blessings that come with that. I’m so grateful for this time. I have loved my time serving the Lord in La Gran Mision Argentina Rosario. I’m going to miss it so bad.
For now, I’m still not sure if I will continue serving as a missionary. I’m right there on the limit of I could keep serving or I could be done. Whatever happens, I just want to do what the Lord wants me to do. Thank you ALL for all of your support, love, prayers, letters, etc. I have felt so loved and watched over during my missions. I was almost never hurt, sick, robbed, or in dangerous situations. I definitely had many looking out for me. Thank you. I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you when I get the chance! This experience in Rosario was so much more than I ever could have imagined, and I will be forever grateful.. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love my Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.