"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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Fruits of Chile

I don’t know how, but this week came and went before I could even take it in. Time really does fly, but we still had the opportunity to teach and learn more about the people here in San Miguel. One person in specific is one of our new investigators, Jaime. He is around 75 years old and he has a very big heart. He also has a lot of faith in Jesus Christ. We have been able to teach him on the restoration and he already has a big love for the message. He came to church with us on Sunday and he is excited to come back with us next Sunday! The members were so welcoming and made sure that he felt welcome, this was a huge help for us! It is so great to see that so many other people care and it really is the little things that help our investigators gain their own testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We had a lesson with him after Church and we asked him if he had prayed to know if The Book of Mormon was true. It is a funny story because he told us that he prayed, like he does every night, but he did not pray to know if it was true because he already knew that it was true. We asked him how he knew and he told us that he had faith in anything that brought us closer to Jesus Christ; that he loves us and our sincerity, and because we are sharing this Book with him, he knows that we wouldn´t lie. We then proceeded to explain to him that we know for ourselves that the Book of Mormon is true, and we are so glad that he Trusts us, but he needs to receive his own testimony and witness of the Book of Mormon, for a true and lasting conversion. It was exciting to work with Jaime because he has such an enthusiasm for the gospel that is inspiring because he still has so much to learn. We just started working with him last week, but I am excited to see how his faith and testimony grows, to see how his efforts to learn more will change him.

Remember Lalo? He is progressing but a lot slower than we know he can. He had a baptismal date for May 11th but he lost it this week because he still has not come to church with us. It is so sad because he has everything else going for him, he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and he wants to be baptized. He understands the importance of it because he has seen the blessings in his life since we have been teaching him. He knows the church is true, yet he lacks the desire to do the little things that in the scheme of things are BIG things. Hermana Fuentes and I are working hard with him because we love him so much and know that he is ready. We just need to figure out why he is struggling right now and figure out a way to help him. I'm learning to have faith in the Lords timing! It´s hard because I know that he can have so much more happiness in his life if he would just do the little things, but he also has to put his efforts in to receive those blessings. Lalo is un amor de persona, and I am so grateful to be able to be apart of his conversion process.

I am doing great and am so happy to be serving here in San Miguel. The people of Chile are amazing and so loving. I cannot get enough of their love. It makes the hard days sweet. I was blessed with a tender mercy this week when we traveled to Pedro de Valdivia, a sector about 20 minutes away from San Miguel. We went to go visit a sister in the Hospital, but after that we(or should I say I) experienced a sweet treat! As we were walking down the street, there was a SUPER tall building in the distance. We were with one of the sisters from my ward, Hermana Jazmin (she is like my Big sister here on the mission), who works in that area and she was telling us that we needed to go visit that building. I didn’t know why until we got there, because she wanted to surprise us. Supposedly the building is the tallest building in South America…and you know what it was???? A MALL…….I just about died of Pure Happiness when I found out. If you know me well, you would know that something as small as this (or in this case BIG) would make my entire week! We only went window shopping because well, missionaries don’t have money, but it was enough for me! It was 6 stories of heaven, including stores like H&M, Gap, Banana Republic, Bobby Brown, Michael Khors, ect. I promise that I am on a mission and the work makes me so happy, but this experience was a little refresher of all of the stress that accumulates as a missionary.

I hope that you guys had a great week! I´m gonna pray that this week doesn’t pass by as fast. Too fast for comfort. Im marking 3 months as Hermana North tomorrow! I told you that time disappears.

picture 1: The tallest mall that I've ever seen

picture 2: there is too much to love about Hermana Jazmin.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crunchy Leaves and Warm Bread

I had a roughish than normal week this week, but that being said  I am grateful for it because it gave me the chance to really reflect  on this whole mission thing and my decision to serve. Something that I learn over and over is that we are given trials to become stronger. When trials come, it is so easy to get discouraged, to doubt and to turn inward but we need to remember that all of those feelings are absolutely normal. We are not bad people for having those feelings, but we also should remember who we should ALWAYS turn to for help and light. Jesus Christ-the one person who knows us so perfectly because He has walked in our shoes. He has been there and done that. And then remember that when peace doesn’t come, to have patience because He will always comfort us and help us through hard times. Something that I was able to learn from my mission President that gave me perspective is the example of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. When his brothers tied him us with cords, he prayed to the Lord for strength to break the bands loose and according to his faith, he was able to break those bands. But the lesson to be learned from this story was not only that Nephi had faith sufficient enough to break those bands, but he must have had to work with all of his strength as well. He didn’t just pray, and like magic were the cords broken, but he had to work and work with his own strength. We can pray with all of our faith and heart for strength to get through our trials, but after we get off our knees, we then need to go and work and work; do our part so that the Lord can do His part. This is why I Love the gospel of Jesus Christ so much! So much perspective and lessons can be learned every day, even if we have to learn them over and over. I can be happy and Can Do Hard Things because I have my brother, Jesus Christ on my side at all times. As long as I do His will and stay close to Him, He will be there in the exact moment that I need comfort. He is there for everyone, with His hands extended, and is ready to help.
You know what I have realized this week? Happiness comes through the little things in life. Even if it’s just being able to smell homemade bread while walking down the street(think about that sweet smell walking down Main Street at Disneyland but then replace it with the smell of bread and that is what I experience everyday), or stepping on those dried fall leaves and hearing that “Crunch” Noise! Right? But really people, it’s the little things in life! Look for them, they are everywhere.
Our investigator Lalo is continuing to progress every day. We love him so much. He continues to surprise us every lesson, with how much he has learned, and the Spirit is felt so strongly when we teach him. We also have been working a lot with another investigator Jaime, and his brother Julio. They are loves that make me so happy to be here, serving them. I learn so much everyday from the people here in Chile.
Thank you for your prayers! They worked. It was an absolute miracle for me because I was really sick and the doctor was trying to find a diagnosis, but one day I woke up and like magic I was better. And knock on wood, I haven´t had any health issues since. God is good. All of your love and support help me every day, keep it up. I love you guys so much. Have a Super great week. Les manda abrazos y Besos! Chao until next week.
xoxo, Hermana North
Picture 1: My first zone in Chile! Cambios came this week! I´ll miss them all. 

Picture 2: Making Peanut Butter truffles with Camila. Can I have one just like her please? This is called service by the way ;)

Picture 3: Laughing is a normal thing with us 

Picture 4: Dancing in the middle of the street. One of the ways I live on the edge here

Picture 5: I found the candle isle. I would have bought all of them if I wasn't a poor missionary

Picture 6: Marita

 Picture 7: Remember what I told you about rainbow houses? I am obsessed with the colors here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Short and Sweet!

Can I just say how much I LOVE the people here in Chile! This week I have felt so blessed to be in such a loving culture. To say the least, I have really embraced their love with open arms. They are such great examples to me and especially of their faith in Jesus Christ. I can not even tell you how many people I have ran into this week, in the taxi, on the metro, in the street, during lessons, EVERYWHERE, where they themselves have brought up Christ. Expressing their love for him and how much He has blessed them. I may be a missionary, a representative of Christ  but they are also missionaries teaching me and making me want to be better; reminding me of how much the Lord has given me. I love it!
This week has been a little crazy for both me and my companion. We have both been battling sicknesses, but I guess that is just a reminder to us that we are still living in the real world…even though sometimes it doesn't feel like that! Ha ha. Keep us in your prayers, we’ll be better soon!

Picture 1: Must love Dogs. Don't worry...he´s clean

Picture 2: Junior, that miracle working Dog from that one time

Picture 3: Lalo

Picture 4: In front of the Temple

Picture 5: My most favorite Chilean dish that I have tried so far, Zapallo Relleno. So Yummy!

Picture 6: Its Fall here. The leaves are so pretty

Picture 7: Our night cap with Marita! My chilean auelita 

Picture 8: Helping Isadora pack for her trip to Peru

Picture 9: A little reminder of the amazing season I missed with Sean! Hope he found a keeper and is Happy!! Yes, I am one hundred percent serious.

Monday, April 8, 2013

As Simple As Pie

I have officially experienced my first General Conference as a missionary!! It was such a weird feeling because it feels like only a month ago I was sitting in the last Conference when they announced that sister missionaries can now serve at age 19! That announcement has and will be a blessing to me for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time in my life. I have already learned so much and have seen so many miracles, in this work as we are obedient and work hard every day. There were so many great talks in the conference, as always, but one thing that I loved that our beloved Prophet said was ''Life is Simple, if we obey.'' It's really that simple though. In every aspect of life, in every story that we read in the scriptures and in everything we can see this truth come to life. I love how direct but inspiring those words are. I have been able to see this work especially as I serve the Lord and as I do it with an obedient heart. I am more able to help those here in San Miguel as well as see the Lord pour out His blessings and miracles to us. In every situation in life, as we obey and stay close to the Lord, having faith that is way is the BEST and trusting that He knows best, we will be happy and our lives will bring us happiness and perspective. I know this is true. We know how we need to live because Christ gave us a perfect example, now all we have to do is follow him. Yes we won’t be perfect every day, but that is why we have the Atonement. As we obey and exercise the Atonement in our lives, we will be Happy. Always.
I have to say, this week was probably one of my favorites by far. Being able to see the progress of Lalo's faith has brought me so much happiness. Like I said in last week’s entry, he is so prepared to hear this gospel. He has so many questions for us and always follows through with the commitments. He also has been reading the Book of Mormon. Last week when we were teaching him, he asked us why we still hadn't given him a Book of Mormon. (Our bad, we were unprepared in that lesson because we didn’t have plans to teach him that day) The next day we brought a Book of Mormon to his house and left him a chapter in 2 Nephi to read, about the Doctrine of Christ. (Which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism and Enduring to the End). When we came the next day to teach him, we committed him for baptism, and without hesitance, he said “Yes!” I was a little bit surprised, but then again, seeing how prepared and how much faith he has, I knew that this was right. He told us that ever since he has been reading the Book of Mormon that he has had so much peace in his life. He no longer wakes up in the middle of the night from nightmares and he shared his testimony with us of how he knows that all of that peace is the Lord guiding him and teaching him Truth. Hermana Fuentes and I always leave lessons with Lalo, feeling the spirit so strongly! We are planning to have his baptism service in May. I will keep you guys posted on him. He is so sweet, I wish you could all meet him! Really, he takes care of us so well. He tells us that we are his nietas (granddaughters). Yesterday for the last session of conference, he came with us too! I asked him at the end if he like it or if he thought it was long, and he said, ''Yeah, it was long, but I really liked it,'' with a big smile on his face. He looked so handsome too, he wore a buttoned down shirt with a tie and a sports coat. When we saw him we said, "Wow! Que guapo!" ha ha. He soaked it all in. Tomorrow we get to meet with him and have a family home evening with him because he wants to make some food for us. I am so excited; I literally cannot think of him or say his name without a smile on my face. 
I hope that you guys have a very Happy week! Keep me posted on life. Chao until next week!
xox, Hermana North

Picture 1:We named this dog Romeo, we was so cute! Just came up to me in the street and gave me his paws....must love dogs! I'm obsessed.

Picture 2: Fruit! These places are everywhere...kinda like the LDS chapels in Utah.

Picture 3: Me and my other Mexican Mama

Picture 4:Eating Conejos (Bunnys). Our Friday ritual.

Picture 5: Lalo!

Picture 6: Conference Sunday- Lalo in his Sunday Best.

Picture 7: My favorite little shop. Lucky us, its right next to our appartment

Picture 8: Isadora. Happy Birthday- un amor de persona

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Let Them Eat Eggs!

Happy Easter! I hope that you guys are all filled up on chocolate and egg sandwiches ..I know I am! It is so funny to me how many meals I have had this week with eggs. Literally every meal: eggs on top of my steak, eggs in my soup, eggs in my bread and chocolate shaped eggs! And all because of the celebration of Christs resurrection. What a funny combination right?  Who came up with the concept of a bunny hiding eggs and bringing candy anyway? Bunnies don't hatch eggs, everyone knows that...but Hermana Fuentes and I came up with a conclusion, (because as missionaries we need to be prepared to answer questions that people may have) Christ's favorite food were eggs and chocolate! And his favorite animal was a bunny! (Or was it a lamb?) If anyone has any better explanation, we are all ears ;)
In all seriousness though, having the opportunity to teach specifically about the Pasqua (Easter) this week, or the Passover and Christ's Resurrection has been such a blessing for me! I officially have a new favorite Holiday People! (But I have yet to celebrate Christmas on my mission, we'll see if this changes). Really though, for starters, everyone here celebrates the Pasqua- so it is a really easy conversation starter and an easy way to connect with people. Also because it has aloud me to really study Christs life here on Earth more in depth. I have been able to strengthen my testimony on the Atonement- the sacrifice that Christ made for all of us, as well as what we all have to look forward to, the resurrection. To be honest I never really understood how important the Resurrection was. However, with the knowledge that we have that Christ was resurrected- his body and spirit were reunited after death, we can remember Him in that perfect and glorified form. We don't have to remember him suffering on the cross, because honestly that picture in my mind hurts. We can remember His sacrifice that he made for us and look forward to the life that we will all have in the eternities, thanks to Him. I know that Jesus lived a perfect life so that we can all return back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. I know that He loves us and that through His infinite atonement we can have happiness in all aspects of our life. He suffered every pain and feeling that we have and will  feel in life. For that reason can He help us when we ask, because He has been in our shoes, He knows us and can perfectly relate to us. I know that as we study the life of Christ we will be able to come to know Him as He knows us. Something that one of the members in my ward said that I absolutely Loved was that ''The Atonement is not for us to understand, it is for us to live. As we live it, we will come to know it'' I like how it sounds even more in Spanish though (it just makes more sense...sorry if you dont speak Spanish) ''La expiacion no hay que entenderla, hay que vivir la. Cuando la vivimos, podemos conocerla.'' I love this because it is absolutely true! Faith is an action, so in order for us to really know the sacrifice that Christ made for us, we need to exercise our faith and use it in our everyday life. We can gain so much strength from it. As we pray each day asking for forgiveness or help, we will be able to see the reality of it and come to know that Christ lived and lives today. I know this is true because I have seen the effects of it in my life. It continues to change me everyday and because of the Atonement, I am Happy. I have perspective, even during the hard times.
This week was filled with so many exciting moments! For one, we met a new investigator! Hermana Fuentes and I were going around trying to contact some of the old investigators in our area, but none of them seemed to be home. After a while of no success, we started walking down a street and Hermana told me to pick a house (she calls it Greenie Power ha ha!) and that is when we met Lalo, Eduardo but all of his friends call him Lalo. It was a breath of fresh air because the minute he opened the door, he had a smile on his face and was so welcoming! He let us in once he heard that we wanted to share a special message of Christ with him. We found out that he  was married for 49 years to his wonderful wife. She passed away from cancer four years ago. (A battle of 2 years) We could see the love that he had for her just by the way he talked about her. He called her his Tesoro (treasure). Hermano Lalo is very sweet and while we were teaching him we could feel the Spirit so strong! We taught him on the Plan of Salvation on Saturday and when we finished he asked when we were going to come back! It's amazing to me how ready he is to learn and how prepared he is to hear the gospel. I already love him so much, el es un amor! (How Hermana Fuentes and I describe Amazing people). We have another lesson with him tomorrow! I'll keep you updated on his progress! 
Life is great here in Chile! The weather has offically dropped into winter weather. I'm already getting my winter clothes back out! CRAZY. Also I hit my 2 month mark this week! Time really does fly. My sweet companion reminded me with a note that she gave to me while we were walking to an appointment! She is just the best. 

Take care! Love you guys. xoxoxox

Picture 1: Eggs at Nachita's (our investigator) house

Picture 2: Pargque O'Higgins chapel - I was semi obsessed with this city!

Picture 3: Egg Drop soup! YUMM

Picture 4: The backyard of the Santiago Temple

Picture 5: This place reminded me of my second home... Disneyland

Picture 6: My other lovely mexican mama

 Picture 7: Doesn't that glitter just bring out my name on my name tag
[Side Note by Brother: This picture is the DEFINITION of Sister North.]