Three young women between the ages of 19 and 21 sat in the foyer of the temple after a session, pensive and nervous. We introduced ourselves to the two sitting together and learned that they were sisters--and they were both leaving the next week for missions in Chile. They had never flown, had never been out of Mexico before, and knew nothing about this exotic, far-away place to which the Lord had called them. When we heard they were going to Chile, we were so excited. We told them we had lived there and how they would love the generous, kind, open-hearted people in that incredibly beautiful country. We talked of the strength of the church, the yummy empanadas and the world's most heavenly fruit: chirimoya. As we talked, you could see the worries of the mother, grandmother and older sister who were with them dissipate and the excitement of the two missionaries grow. The entire family left with big smiles on their faces.
We then turned to greet the other sister who was sitting across the foyer all alone. She had been coming to the temple every week for about six weeks and Linda had been with her every step of the way. She had overheard the conversation with the other women and blurted out, "I leave for a mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina in two weeks. I wish I was going with them!" And much to her surprise, we told her that we had also lived in Buenos Aires. She started to laugh and asked if we had lived everywhere. Then she said, "But, the Argentines! They are so haughty and so aggressive--it will be so hard!" We assured her that there were many, many wonderful, kind people in the Buenos Aires North Mission that she would learn to love deeply, and talked about some of our dear friends there. We told her of the yummy Argentine empanadas and the abundance of delicious meat--she was relieved to about that because the Norteños (northerners), do love their meat! We assured her that the Lord would bless her heart and her work as she shares with the Argentines the best Mexico has to offer. This sweet, gentle hermana will touch many hearts.
It was very sweet for us to have brought back to our hearts the blessings of having lived in Chile and Argentina. We are grateful for the people in those countries who touched our hearts, our kitchen, our language, and our perspectives--they made an everlasting imprint on our lives.