"Go forward in life with A TWINKLE in your eyes and A SMILE on your face, but WITH GREAT PURPOSE in heart." -Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rainbow Houses, Fruit Galore and Little Pieces of Heaven

I'm in Chile! And today marks day 6. Wow. I don't even know where to begin. We'll first off, I seriously LOVE IT here and I can tell that I'm just going to continue to love it even more. I am in area called San Miguel and I feel so blessed to be in this area because it is one of the safest places here in Santiago. Heaven knows that I needed that. And everyone that I have met is so nice and super laid back, they are so loving to us missionaries, EVERYONE. There are lots of older couple and families that live here. It is actually a lot like Mission Viejo! Except for all of the colorful houses, tons of dogs everywhere (I am obsessed with them, my companion makes fun of me for it), and of course all one million of the fruit stands. Yummm. I heard great things about the fruit here before I got here and I am happy to say that the rumors are true people! Their fruit is real! I bought the smallest strawberries ever (like the ones you grow in your garden) the other day but they tasted soo sweet! 
I am also so blessed to have one of the sweetest companions, Hermana Fuentes. I call her my mama because she is training me; and I'm her pequeñita (her little). She has beautiful long brown hair, the most loving personality and is from Encenitas, Mexico!! Being companions with her has been such a blessing for me because it has forced me to speak Spanish 24/7! And I have learned so much about really Loving the people here. I thought that I knew how to do that, but she takes it to a whole nother level. Everyone she meets, it's as if they were best friends already. Through the way she teaches you can just tell how much she just really cares for these people and I am continually learning from her every day! 
Since being here I have met a ton of people, as you could probably guess.One of my absolute favorites is this little old lady, Marita, who is known as the Abuelita of San Miguel. I always want to go visit her because she makes me laugh and so happy. It just feels like home when I'm around her. She owns a fruit and vegetable shop with lottery machines inside. Whenever we go to visit her, she always takes such great care of us. She buys us juice and feeds us always (here people show their love with food! So it is important to always eat everything. Even if you are so full that you feel sick. I have experienced this first hand every single day!) She is a convert of 12 years but is less active in the church, so we have been working with her to help her have the desires to go to church every week and to strengthen her faith. (A lot of the work in this area is working with less active members). 
Another experience that I have had with a less active member was with a lady named Isadora. We went to her house a couple times during the week but she was never home, but one day when we were walking down the street, one of her neighbors recognized us and told us that Isadora was home if we wanted to go visit her. We didn't have plans to go but we decided to go last  minute, because Hermana and I both still had never met her before. We rang her door bell and the minute she opened the doors her entire countenance changed and she said Oh its the missionaries! Come in, come in. As we met with her, she told us about her family who live in Peru and about the hard times she has been having with her health. She really doesn't have very much. It was such a humbling experience for me to go and get to know her. She lives in a tiny two room place(I cant even call it a house). It has a kitchen and a bedroom. Probably the same size as a standard master bed room, if that! She has been having troubles with her health and she said that she is really low on oro (money). What was so amazing to me was her willingness to give and also her faith. She offered us food (Chile 101: when you enter someone's house, make room in your tummy. They will always feed you. ALWAYS) even though she didnt really have  very much for herself. As we taught her about the Atonement  how we are never alone in our afflictions, she bore a great testimony of her faith.    And I felt like she was our miracle for the day. My compañera (companion) and I left with big smile on our faces. Even though she is going through so much right now, she has so much trust in the Lord and our job is to help her feel his love so that she will have desires to come to church on Sundays and to continue to follow him. 
I have leaned so much this week! About having faith, about loving the people more and about how aware the Lord is of all of His children. I feel like I have said this a lot, but I know that Heavenly Father loves us, I know that He lives. As we do His will and have faith in Him, he will help us through all of our challenges. It has not been completely easy being here. A lot has changed and I have definitely experienced hardship.  With homesickness (Yes, it has finally hit me Mom and Dad!) and with struggling with the language- what I can understand regarding the language is gringa, unfortunately for me, they speak Spanish here. And really really fast Spanish to say the least. Many times this week I have felt alone, even with my sweet companion, but all of those feelings went away once I thought about the people here and why I am here. As I serve others I am overwhelmed with happiness and I feel the Lords love! Crazy how when we help others we receive greater blessings. I am so happy here. I am so motivated to do great things here with a great purpose- to help the sweet people in San Miguel to recognize their eternal potential and help them draw closer to Heavenly Father. I know that this gospel brings so much happiness! It has brought so much in my life and as long as I continue to live the principles, I will be happy always. And the same goes for all of you back home!  
Life is good in Chile! I love you guys so much!
xoxox, Hermana North
picture 1: Hermano Day! My fav MTC teacher

picture 2: My very favorite District! Good luck on your missions!

picture 3: My Travel compañeras! 

picture 4: Arrival in chile! Such perfect weather

picture 5: All of the new Hermanas and Trainers in Santiago, Oeste

picture 6: My new life!

picture 7: Hermana Fuentes

picture 8: Marita! Always feeding me.

 picture 9: Our view from our Awesome home
 (loaded with a gym, balcony, laundry room, and security guard- my favorite part)

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