Ok, Im gonna get the news out of the way so you dont worry!
I am fine. Tuesday morning we got a call from President saying that Hna Perez was going to be transferred to another area. I didnt think my prayers would be answered so fast! Thank goodness. So by noon we were in Viña, exchanging companions. Hna Perez went to Quilpué Centro with an ex-Sister Training Leader. And I got a new companion! Her name is Hermana Call, and YES she is gringa! And she is from COLORADO! Colorado Springs. She's 22 and has 13 months in the mission. :) She went to BYU Idaho but recently transferred to BYU and will go there when she gets back from the mish! She loves Harry Potter and She's the Man, and 17 Again, and all of my favorites. We have had an awesome week, and General Conference just topped it all off! :)
Last Monday was a horrible day, but after emailing you guys, I felt a lot better. And what made it even better was that Cinthia Gallegos and Milsy came to El Plan to go shopping with us! They bought me new shoes cuz they couldnt stand me wearing those old ones anymore. haha. And we also went out for ice cream. Milsy even skipped school to make my day better! Do I have the best convert and returned less active? Yes, I do. I am so grateful for them and for all the love they give me when I am so far from home. They were an answer to many prayers. :)
This week I have seen how much my Heavenly Father loves me. SO MUCH. Sometimes I am just ignorant, and sometimes I just take it for granted. But I really am grateful and I recognize all that He has given me. I am so blessed.
OH! And also, just so you guys dont worry, the tsunami was in the north of Chile. The sirens went off in all the coasts of Chile, and we heard them go off Tuesday night, but we are absolutely fine up here in Playa Ancha - a wave would never reach here. An earthquake could reach here though, so we are prepared for that. :)
So, as for the work this week - we found a TON of new investigators and its been lots of fun with Hna Call. We finally got a hold of Oriana from the Solis Castro family - we got to teach her the basics again - the Book of Mormon. We also found an antiguo investigator, Ricardo, who has read each of the BoM, Bible, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, Jesus the Christ, etc more than 6 times! He KNOWS its all true but he says that he is not worthy enough to get baptized. Numberless missionaries have tried to get him to see why he needs to get baptized - and we are the next to come! Its really sad how he thinks so low of himself... he really is such a great person.
We also got serenaded in the street by a dude who composes music and lyrics about aliens. Resisting laughter was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
Oh! And I threw up. Just because we got like 3 Onces given to us and then we had to book it up a steep hill, and there was a lot of other stressful things going on. But despite all of that, it was a good night, and I got a blessing from my zone leader. I am so very grateful for the Priesthood and for the love that God has for me (and for all of you!).
When we were in Valpo for the General Conference, we did some contacting inbetween sessions. I saw a colectivo from Recreo and stopped to talk and we contacted him and he told me that he remembered me from Recreo! (I used to wave to all the colectivos passing by.) And he said, "All of us colectivo drivers from Recreo really miss you! You need to come back to Recreo!" Wow - that was more than 6 months ago! I love Recreo.
And now for the best part - General Conference. I got to watch everything (including the Women's conference) in English, with all the other gringos. We had lots of fun and were blown away by the talks. They were absolutely amazing. I went into Conference weekend with a list of questions and doubts - and came out with every question and doubt answered. Pure miracles, let me tell you.
Some of my favorite talks were by Eyring, Holland (the Kracken), Andersen, Uchtdorf, Bednar, Perry, Monson, and Corbridge.
I like this quote from Holland: "YES IT IS WORTH IT." and "Defend your beliefs with courtesy and compassion, but DEFEND THEM! Take heart - Christlike love can change the world!" "WWJD will not always bring a popular response." And from Uchtdort: There is one thing we can do to take away bitterness in our life: Gratitude."
Really, all of the talks were absolutely amazing and inspired. I wish I had hours to converse everything that I learned. :)
I hope you guys all enjoyed Conference - Im excited to reread the talks when they come out in the Liahona. :)
Thank you for all your prayers and all your love - it means so much to me, and I know that God listens.
Well, as for the missionary work, we have some new investigators, which is good. Marcela, my recent convert, gave the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting yesterday! I was so proud. She was so nervous. :) She is a very strong woman!
Brandon, Milsy's brother, told us that he was interested in getting baptized! We were so happy, and so was he, so we started to talk a little bit about it. My companion got a little ahead of the game and he got scared off. :( So now he's back to square 1 and does't believe in God. Sigh.
Everytime we try to leave that house, little Vania grabs my bag and runs upstairs with it so I can't leave. hahaha. So cute.
We had a meeting with our new mission leader, Hno Gallegos, and he's awesome. We are an unstoppable team for sure. :)
Other than all that, there are some huge problems going on with my comp. And all I can say about it is that I called President and we had interviews with him yesterday. I dont know if she is going to be transferred to another area, or if she is going to go home. It will all be decided by President. SIGH. For that very reason, this week has been stressful, I haven't slept well, and I am sick to my stomach. But honestly, Ill be fine, because I trust President. He will make the best decision.
I didnt really want to leave the email on that note - lol so please don't worry about me!
Quote for the week: "The truth will set you free."
Well, you may be wondering why I put the title, "Special Dates." Haha just because there were a lot of important dates this week that passed or that were set. Like, for example, I passed my 15 month mark on Wednesday! Also, we put a SEALING date with our new converts, the Espinosa family! Their goal is March 16, 2015 to be sealed in the temple!!! How cool is that?! Im so happy. Also, we set a baptismal date with Sebastian! We will be working toward April 13th with him! He is super excited to go to General Conference - this guy is awesome.
We had an awesome zone conference with President Kahnlein this week! He came to Edwards and was just with our zone for a day. We learned a TON and had lunch with him and his wife, and it was exactly what we all needed. I love President! We also had a "practice" for emergencies, because there have been a lot of "temblores" lately, which is technically an earthquake but suuper tiny so they just call it a tremble. There are lots going on up in the north of Chile, and down here in Valpo we have felt maybe 3. But I love the temblores! Theyre super exciting! Not lookin forward to any earthquakes, but we are prepared just in case! :) haha
Funny things that happened this week: 6 year old Vania always holds on to me when we go to their house, and never lets me go. Cinthis (her mom) asked why she liked me so much and she said, "Oh, she just has that special touch." haha She wants me to come live with them forever.. but I dont think i could deal with being so far from my family for so long! haha. Also, we met with a less active named Lila that spent some years with the Evangelical church - her prayer to end the lesson was about 10 minutes long and every other word she said was "Papito mío" "Mi Dios TODOpoderoso!" and "Dios mío de la gloria". Haha we had trouble not bursting out in laughter (cuz thats super disrespectful!) But at least we can say it was entertaining... :)
We had English classes this week that one of the gringo elders teaches - it was tons of fun! Man, we have the best Elders.
We also have a new branch mission leader! I dont remember if I already mentioned this last week - but he is the branch president that just got released and is now our mission leader, and he really has some good plans for our missionary work. We are super excited to work with him! He is inspiring.
We also found a new less active family, and missionaries havent visited them for 10 YEARS. They must have gotten lost inbetween the area limits and no one has found them. But Im glad we finally did because they are an awesome family and really need our help! Yessss
Other than all that it was a little bit of a difficult week haha. There are always the high points and the low points, but we gotta stay positive, right? Focus on the happy times? Heck yes, thats what Im all about. :) "Everyday's a good day to have a good day!" :)
For the thought of the day, I like this quote, "The Lord wouldnt ask it of us if we couldn't do it." The mission is hard, LIFE is hard, but it's not impossible. God wouldn't give us trials we wouldnt be able to overcome. He knows our hearts, our capability, and most importantly, our potential. We only fail if our trails do not make us stronger in the end. And trust me - EVERYONE has trials - you're not alone. Its the only way we will become our best selves, what God wants us to be. :)
So, everyone, "Speak TRUTH even if your voice shakes." :)
SO if you're all wondering what the big news is - cambios did happen, and I am still in my area - which is now called Levarte - but I have a new companion! My old companion, Hermana Oliva, went to Aguasanta - right next to Recreo! It's really close by. And my new companion is Hermana Pérez! We were in the same zone for almost 5 months! She was in Aguasanta when I was in Recreo! So in the cambios meeting when they called our names together, we looked at each other like, YES! haha. Well, just a bit about her -´ she is from El Salvador, shes 20 (today is her birthday!), she has 10 months in the mission, and she likes to laugh. :) So we are gonna tear it up here in Levarte!
Other news: Marcela and Natalia (Espinosa) got confirmed yesterday! It went super well, they are so involved in the church - going to activities and meetings and stuff like that. :) ITs funny cuz Marcela is pregnant (did I mention that?) and is due June 4th- the day AFTER I leave. haha. But hey, maybe he'll be early.
We also got a new branch mission leader - the ex-branch president - Presidente Gallegos! He's really cool, so we are going to have a lot of success with him. :)
Milsy, my convert and bff in Chile, is totally awesome and brought a friend to church! And she was so excited to introduce me to her. :) Shes so cool.
We also had intercambios (exchanges) this week, and I stayed in my sector with Hna Zimmerman again, and it was awesome cuz we did service - HUGE piles of wood that we carried down a million flights of stairs. For 2 hours. By the end, we were dying and super sore, but all the neighbors were smiling and offering us water and thanking us - we were planting some good seeds to baptize the whole street! haha. But yeah, it was a lot of fun.
This week we have a zone conference with President, and itll be great.
Our investigators that we are focusing on this week are Brandon Silva, Eldrans and Sebastian, and the Solis Castro family. :)
Well, its getting colder here in Chile (noooooo!) and we are pullin out the coats and gloves. Didnt think fall would come so quickly, but here it is. :(
Haha but I had a great week and learned a ton, and hope you guys did the same.
Yesterday we learned a lot about the Sacrament, and it really is a special time, the most special of all the meetings in the church. If theres any way you can improve the time you spend during the Sacrament, do it! I will too.
We worked the whole week preparing the Espinosa family! And they got baptized!!!!! Marcela and Natalia! They are so adorable and I love them so much! They feel so happy and light and full of love and understanding and they are just such an example to their family!
The baptism was beautiful - we were running around like chickens with their head cut off - but the font water was the perfect temperature and everything worked out! I was the only one to realize that the Elder who baptized Natalia raised his left arm instead of his right - so I had to tell someone to tell the witnesses and then we told the Elder to do it over again right, and it was perfect! It all worked out, we sang a special number, and MAN it was incredible. We went to their house after the baptism for a birthday party (it was Natalias 12th birthday!) and hearing their testimonies....was incredible.
We had lots of awesome things happen this week, and im so sorry that i dont have time to write! But I PROMISE to write more next week!
I just completed 1 year in Chile on the 26th of February. :) Yayyy!
This week they changed the limits of our branch for the missionaries. We lost all of Porvenir Bajo (the dangerous part) and they gave it to the Elders, and then gave us a chunk of Cerro Alegre, and also of Gran Bretaña. Woohoo! New land to cover.
We had an awesome week this week! The sad part was that Solis Castro was on vacation and havent gotten back yet. BUT we found new investigators and new less actives, and its been a great week. WE found this old couple that are sooo adorable and actually read what we gave them in the street of the Book of Mormon! We just thought the whole time, If we could only help them get to the temple! Ah that would be so cute. So thats our goal with them.
We found a new inactive, who wants her sons to have the gospel now, so we are teaching her sons! We had an encounter with some Jehovahs Witnesses, but it went over well.
Church yesterday was AWESOME! Wanna know why? Cuz President Kahnlein was there, and we got a new branch president, AND our new family came to church!
This family is a blessing and a miracle for us - the Espinoza family. They went to church down in Edwards and the Elders met once with them and set a baptismal date for the mom and daughter, who are nonmembers. The dad is a less active who just decided to bring his family to church after like 12 years of being inactive! So then, since the limits of our proselyting areas just got changed, the family became OURS to teach!!! They are getting baptized this Sunday, right before trasnfers! CAn you believe it?! It is an answer to our prayers and all our hard work. I knowww so much that God loves us and wants to bless us and knows our hearts so deeply. This is what we have been waiting for, and praying for, and working for. I know that this family was waiting for us, and that it was meant to be this way! Everything happens for a reason, and God knows all the reasons. I am so grateful for this miracle family!
And I am so excited for this upcoming week. Lets just pray that everything goes smoothly! Yes? YES!
Thank you soooo much for all your love and support. I love you guys and will see you later!
Happy ... end of February! Cant believe it's almost March... This is madness. Speaking of madness, how's basketball lookin for this year? Anyone know who's gonna win? :)
Well I had a great week. Me and my comp just had so much fun. Last Monday we went on a tour of Valparaíso with Mariana (a member) and two less active young women! We got to see the sights, and lots of tourists, and art, and old buildings and prisons...and the ocean! It was gorgeous. We also went down an "ascensor". Super old and super fun!
We have also been teaching the Solis Castro family a lot, and they are progressing! They need a little more time than we thought to receive their own testimonies... but slow progress is still progress. And I love that family to pieces!
We had intercambios (exchanges?) this week, and I went to my old area, Placilla, again! I was with Hermana Siler, who is the sweetest person ever, who's from Logan, Utah. We got to be up in the Laguna area, which is almost exactly like the USA except that they speak Spanish. The neighborhood was gorgeous and full of green grass and golden retrievers. :) My paradise. We then got lost in a ditch and emerged into a construction site with thorns all over our clothes - but it was an adventure that we laughed about and will never forget. :) I learned so much and I am so glad for that opportunity to be with Hermana Siler for a day! I have so many goals for the rest of my mission and theyre gonna happen.
We had our last Mission Correlation meeting with Hermano Encina - LOVE THAT GUY! And with our Elders (Pichinte and Ault). We shared stories and food like usual and talked about our investigators. I will really miss that guy! He is now technically in the Quebrada Verde branch, so we will have to get a new mission leader in our Levarte branch.
Yesterday, we saw the big boom of the double branch! Church was packed with people happy and smiling - so obedient to the call to join branches. There were also less actives that came! I was very impressed. I love my branch!
We are working on finding new investigators a lot, because the ones we have currently are continuing to progress or fizzling out. Like Veronica and Lydia. They let us in when we want, but...they dont do anything else, and are not receptive at all. :( Maybe in the future.
Can I just say how much I love my convert? Milsy? She is the coolest convert anyone could ever have. She goes to everything and is so happy and just....amazing. I love her so much! We are BFFs. :)
Well, its been a good week. And another good week is ahead - that's what we pray for. :) I hope you all have a good week too!
Quote for the week:
"I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach until ALL know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ." That goes along really well with Romans 1:16. :)
We had a District Conference this weekend, and our district, of Playa Ancha, which is not big enough to be a stake, is being condensed to help the growth of our branches! SO - big news. They are taking out a section of our boundaries and putting them with Quebrada Verde! BUT they are adding ALL of Gran Bretaña to Miramar, and renaming it Levarte. So we will have 3 sets of missionaries in our branch! And we went from 5 branches into 3. Because there are 4000 members in Playa Ancha, but only 300 are active. Sad, right? Time to help the vineyard grow, right? So many promises were made to our district, and we know miracles will happen! So excited for this change!
What else.... oh! I lost my camera!!! Well, I didnt lose it. It was stolen from me. As I was getting on the bus, someone unzipped my bag and stole my camera. I was super mad at first, mostly cuz I felt stupid for not noticing when he stole it. But ... there was nothing I could do, apparently it happens to everyone - especially American girls. So. Maybe Ill buy a cheap one for my last 4ish months. :( Idk. Why do people have to steal? :(
Anyway - big successes with the Solis Castro family! They are progressing like crazy! We watched the Joseph Smith movie and they have a strong testimony. Jocelyn received what we think is an answer, and she told us everything. We are so excited for them! We know they will be baptized! They are too amazing not to!
And.... Cecilia is progressing too!
Too bad I dont have any more time to write... Im sorry! When I get home Ill be telling my stories for weeks - you're all welcome to my house for storytime. :)
BUT Happy VAlentine's Day! Hope you all had a good one, and that you all have a good week!