Hey folks. I’m writing live from Presidente Diaz’s office. We had to come down to Viña again to practice, and our bus goes back tomorrow, so they very graciously let us write now. I basically live here now. President comes and knocks on our door in the morning to invite us to eat breakfast. He calls me over to help him with his computer when ads in English pop up. I saw him in shorts for the first time in my life. I guess you could say we’re tight. Last night I spent an hour making easter baskets out of napkins with Hna Diaz for the last dinner of the missionaries that are leaving this cambio. I am almost certain that I have gained at least a kilo just this weekend. She just keeps on buying us American food. The other night she made us chili (yes, I ate chili in Chile). She bought us throat spray so that we don’t get sick before the concert. She had formal dresses custom made for us. Officially pampered. When she saw the tan lines from my proselyting shoes she got a little concerned, but says she’s just going to put make up on my feet… to be continued.
For the few days I was in my sector, we found out that the entire world is living together! (in the sense of not being married… it made sense in Spanish). It was sad. We have all these families that we found, but they aren’t married and they are really sensitive about religions telling them to get married. My companion just called me to say that Eloy, one of the Hatianos accepted a baptism date for the 22 of April!
I want to testify that Christ lives, and if we want to have his influence in our lives, we have to make sure that our testimony lives too. We are capable of having the influence of the Spirit to guide us every day! We are fulfilling prophesies! I loved conference and I am excited to go over my notes and meditate more on what the Lord wants me to do with what I learned.
Well, everyone is asking about what is this whole singing gig. The mission is having an Easter devotional on the 8th and it’s going to be a musical fireside. They have singers form Santiago coming and all the missionaries in the South can go if they bring someone. When they came to the zone conference here, they discovered the amazing talents of a brand new hermana in La Serena and recruited her for the devotional. When they called her to inform her, we were in intercambios. They heard that I was with her and said that I could come to sing harmonies and they’d give me a song too. SO this weekend we went and spent 2 days practicing and making arrangements and organizing this whole thing. They are all amazingly talented musicians just listening to songs and copying them without any music, and I’m just along for the ride. But I’m happy to do it! I love testifying of Christ through song! We’re doing a gospel choir version of Amazing Grace and it should be amazing. We have to go down again this weekend and the next, with 17 hours in bus every time. Our companions hate us for ditching them, pero que hay que hacer.
[insert image near ocean]
Before you think we’re being rebelious, Hermana Diaz (President’s wife) took us to the beach after practicing for too many hours and told us to stick our feet in the sand to de-stress and bought us ice cream:) She loves us. While we were there we stayed in president’s house. They knocked of our door and invited us to eat cheese cake with them at 10:30 at night. Pretty weird eating cheese cake in my PJs with Presidente.
[insert image of stage]
The star of it all, Hermana Wonnacot. And yes, that is throat spray on the piano. We are that legit.
Here in Tierras Blancas we had some of the most amazing lessons of my mission teaching people that needed us! People who are searching answers and we could help them find them. But they have lots of obstacles to go to church! If you can pray for Clara and Pamela, it would be appreciated!
One night we were coming back from a baptism in the sector of the hermanas and we couldn’t find any loco motion to get home. I saw a micro and we just got on it without knowing where it went. We passed a super market that an elder told us the day before was close to our pension. We jumped off the buss and started running, not knowing where we were, just running. After like a mile we found a street from our sector and got to the house 2 minutes before 10. It was a miracle. I am so glad for the impressions of the Spirit and that we could follow them!
Love you! Happy Easter!
[sent March 26, 2018]
This was the week of ALL the intercambios.
Little by little we are making this ward love us whether they like it or not. And we are winning:)
Example A: homemade donuts. And they were beautiful too.
We have an investigator named Carlos. He’s the worst. Haha, he’s a beautiful person, he just is putting us through emational heck. One moment he’s going to get baptized next week, the next moment he doesn’t believe in God anymore. He’s a little old guy with knee problems who sells magazines in front of the hospital. He wants to do things right so bad, but he’s just kind of a mess and we don’t know what to do with him. More to come next week.
Our lovely Haitian friends. We had a huge lesson yesterday with all of them and they all want to get baptized, but they all have commitment issues. And they all have girlfriends that are basically their wives in Haiti that might be coming soon… it’s complicated. But they are great. They love reading and learning and coming to church and are learning Spanish really fast!
Surprise! Hna Wonnacot and I have to go to Viña this week to sing in some huge concert thing. Stay tuned!
Zone Con games. Classic.
Our comps hating us while we practice because they have to stay in the North while we go to Viña…
Super blurry pic of the whole crew.
Love you all! I’m so grateful for modern revelation and the clarity it gives our lives!
[sent March 12, 2018]
This week was full of miracles ( sure you’ve never heard that one before)! We found 17 new investigators. That’s never happened in my mission. Yesterday 3 Hatianos just walked into church. We have a special Sunday School class in Creole, and they loved it. We had a lesson with them that night with a member to translate, and at the end they were all saying “I want to be a member of THIS church!” It was so sweet. One of them said “I got here 18 days ago, and this is my new home” I love them so much! Teaching through a translator is interesting because we say something like “God loves us, so He gives us prophets” and the translation lasts about 15 minutes haha. We can follow a little bit of what he’s telling them, but not much. We just have to trust that he’s not saying apostasy. He was a missionary in Haiti, so he knows what he’s doing, right? I’m trying really hard to learn their names because I don’t like calling them “the Haitianos”, but it’s hard.
Another family came to church and they were blown away by how much we focus on families and that we don’t banish children form the services. Super cool! They got there late, so a hermana helped them come in from the back and was helping their baby so that they could listen to the testimonies.
We tried to be cool Hermana Liders and we went on a field trip to the Japanese gardens in La Sarena. It was the most Chilean Japanese Garden I’d ever seen, but it was still nice to see green space in the midst of this concrete jungle.
This is me riding my dinosaur side saddle to victory.
We found a new part of our sector that is HUGE!
We had intercambios with Simdempart. I love Hermana Wittemann! Especially because she introduced me to the beauty that is the Hand Roll. I’m assuming they have been a thing for a while in the states, but it’s the new sliced bread in Chile.
There’s a Hatiano named Mirbel that got baptized a month ago who doesn’t speak English or Spanish, just a few words. When he speaks it’s his own dialect of all the languages. We were talking about faith and how it has to come from your heart in a lesson, and he realized he knew a phrase in English and started shouting “I LOVE you!” He got so excited that we understood him he just kept on repeating it over and over. Hahaha, so sweet.
I love you all! Everyone has ben really good at reminding me that I only have 2 months left
I can’t lie, I miss home. But love these odd little people.
My birthday was great! It was a perfect representation of the mission. We found a new instigator, Matius, that wants to get baptized, dropped an investigator that broke our hearts and maybe made us cry, found an inactive member that made us super frustrated because she wouldn’t listen, and tried to help a recent convert from falling apart.
I love this woman! Hna Palmer does so much for us and she made me the most beautifully buttery cake of my life.
My companion is so sneaky and told the members from almuerzo that it was my birthday. Classic Chilean cakes: Mil hojas with a ton of manjar.
We celebrated with Chilean sushi (rice, chicken, avocado, and cream cheese), strawberry juice, and leftover cake. Success.
It’s been a week of lots and lots of searching people. And we’ve found a lot! We’ll see where it goes!
This is S. She’s from Hati but grew up in the Dominican Republic so she speaks fluent Spanish. We are teaching her and she is amazing and wants to live the commandments, but her boyfriend is really controlling. It’s super sad. I really just wanted to take this picture because her baby is the most adorable human I have ever seen. And I love her:)
They’re back. Fleas. Sigh. I’m just used to feeling like a dog.
My companion is Hna Orton. She’s from Payson, Utah and has been in the mission 8 months.
This photo is a summary of how we spent this week. So. Many. Buses.
Pic from the bus
We had to go to Viña for the week for consejo and training meetings. Very tiring, but I love being able to see people and have the vision of Presidente Diaz for the mission.
My sector is Tierras Blancas. It’s very different from Ovalle. I miss Limarí a heck of a lot more than I thought I would. I had to leave really fast and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to hardly anyone. We are the sector furthest away from the coast, but in on part you can see it a little. It’s really flat and FULL of Haitianos. There are some members from Hati that served missions there. It’s not nearly as hot as Ovalle. I’ve only been in sector 2 days, so that’s about all I’ve got.
I love the word animo. When I got to the mission I hated it. Everyone was always telling me, “Hermana, ¿dónde está su animo?” I just thought of being animated or like a little cartoon character, always happy and fake. Then I saw it in the scriptures when Christ says
Sed de buen ánimo, pues, y no temáis, porque yo, el Señor, estoy con vosotros y os ampararé; y testificaréis de mí, sí, Jesucristo, que soy el Hijo del Dios viviente; que fui, que soy y que he de venir.
[Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.]
So, see, animo is good cheer. It also means medically when someone is in a life or death situation to resuscitate or give live to someone.
Lately, we have had a lot of people to teach who don’t believe in Christ or doubt His divinity. All of my time as a missionary I’ve taught Catholics and Evangelicos, a few agnostics, but never so many people who don’t have a basic idea of the necessity of Christ. And it’s really sad. It kind of had me down because I just didn’t know how to accurately formulate my thoughts to communicate something so vital and so sacred. I was studying a lot and praying a lot to have some kind of insight on how I could explain why I needed a Savior. I started reading in 2 Nephi 4 and I felt so profoundly all of the things that Nephi testifies of. I felt an overwhelming witness that I have been sustained and saved by the mercy of Christ so many times. I don’t need to give some dramatic experience as evidence of the power of repentance, because I can have daily experiences and I have a living testimony of Him. I love how the Spirit helps me to learn things I already know. I felt the Lord “animándome”, not because I was full of smiles and laughter, but because He gave me the blessing to “be of good cheer”. I am so grateful for the hope that comes from knowing that the most powerful being made a plan for me to be happy. A plan to give me life.
Noche de Hogar with Marta y Rosa. We played a game with matches and I lost:)
Fruit of the week! I don’t know what it’s called, but I love it because it’s like opening a surprise every time.
Elder Deleon made us burritos. Mexico authentic.
This is one of the saddest scenes of my mission. This lovely human is selling fresh churasca, and I can’t buy them because it’s street food. So hard. Obedience brings blessings, right?
And… they’re kicking me out of Limarí! I’m going tomorrow to Coquimbo, more north, close to the coast. The sector is called Tierras Blancas if you want to Google it. They say it always smells like fish there. Everyone thinks that I’m happy to finally go, but I really will miss this place. It has been the land of pending miracles.
Love you all!
Ahhhh. I just had to spend a bunch of time downloading videos in English for Wani. And it seems like the L key doesn’t work very well on this keyboard, perdon.
THis week we did a huge intercambio with the hermanas and the Senior misionaries, so I was in trio with the Hermanas for a day. We talked a lot about the humility and trust to be abe to have the SPirit and the essons were so powerful!
I litterally have no time. I’m the worst. I don’t even have photos. But I live and I love this work!
(Sent February 12th, 2018)
I am currently writing in a little business on a street corner close to the feria. The sell marijuana pipes, an extensive collection of yarn, food, soda, internet, and fotocopias. Match made in heaven, or no?
It was a really great week. One day we were visiting members to get information on a referal and we were on our ay to the house at 9:35 pm. When ever it’s past 9 I get really jumpy. For example, the other day a grandma tried to talk to me and I ran away. It’s a reflex! Thankfully Hna Sneddon is a bit more sane and can evalute situations a bit better than me, so she talks while I am over reacting. And that’s why we have companions. Any ways, we are on our way to the house and a guy drives by and yells for our atention. Then he parks and jumps out of him car to talk to us. I was almost at the other end of the street already. Mean while, I hear him say that he is passing through a hard time and doesn’t feel like his churc fills him. He found info online and wanted to know when he could come to church. We sent up an appointment for other day in the church and he wants to get baptized and understands really well! But, he actually lives in a different sector. But it’s all good because we’re on the same team, right?
Yesterday we taught a Hatiano named Wani who is Muslim. He speaks Enligh really well. It was really weird to not only teach someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ, but in English. We were with a family in Villa Seca and they could understand a little bit of the converstion, but not much. It was really beautiful experience listning to the devotion of this man. He explained that the life in Hati is so bad that if you don’t believe in God, you can’t survive. It made me think a lot about why I need a Savior to be able to change and become clean again. One of the members, Freddy, started speaking English and gave his testimony of Jesus Christ; who He is to him, why he loves Him. His English was almost perfect. It was such a powerful experience. The gift of tongues is real!
I love you! I hope you can look for opportunities this week to love your neighbors a little more:)
“Hermanas, do you want a few grapes for the road?” One huge bag later… I love this place.
A member dropped off completos at our house for lunch. Welcome to Chile.
That’s right, we sang in another funeral. Well not funeral, it’s more like they put the casket in a room and they have a family gathering around it. Super weird.
I feel like I learned a whole lot this week. We had Zone Conference and the training that we gave and the assistants was about the power of the Book of Mormon to help people commit. I was really incredible watch it come to work as we applied it. We were teaching Daniella again and asked her if she had been praying about a baptism date. She said no because she still didn’t feel like she had the habits that she needed to do it. May new favorite Chapter in the Book of Mormon is Alma 7. I love that baptism invitation! It’s so patient and so loving. We talked about how the Spirit would help her and read from the BoM and she accepted! After 2 months she accepted! But they have to go to the South of Chile, so it won’t be until March.
I’ve also had the experience of feeling a desire so deep to help people keep their commitments, simply because I know they need the blessings to conquer their temptations and have a more fulfilling life. When a family didn’t show up at church I felt so heavy all day. We visited them and I just broke down crying and told them that I knew and felt that God was sad that they didn’t keep their promise. They came to church this week:)
These are the houses in Villa Seca. They are made out of adobe. Basically mud mixed with grass. All of those cracks are from all of the terremotos they’ve gone through. They’re the only buildings that fall when there are earthquakes.
Classic Villa Seca pic. Seca means dry if that sheds any light on why it has that name.
My cute little companion. Her poor little scalp was so burnt that we had to receive permision to buy her a hat. She looks like the cutest little country girl you ever saw.
I love this place and this time and this work and this God. And you guys!