"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, June 25, 2013

Adios Amigo

Thank you for all of your prayers this week! I definitely needed them and felt the power of them in my week. It wasn’t another miracle full week like the two past weeks but it made me realize that I don’t need days filled with miracles to end the day with BIG smiles or seguir con buen animo. Hermana Birtcher also has a lot to do with making me laugh in those weak times.
This week started out with one of the most refreshing and really needed Capacitacion de Zona (Zone Conference). To be honest, I was feeling really exhausted and unexcited to work last week (even though we were seeing so many miracles in the past two weeks). The words that President King shared with us in the meeting could not have been more perfect for me in that moment. He talked about the Savior’s mission here on Earth and compared it to our mission. He counseled us to Remember the Savior in those times that we don’t feel like doing our duties as missionaries, and then shared a quote, by Elder Holland, that just hit home like nothing before:
“When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon, and cast out, YOU are STANDING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE PERFECT MISSIONARY that ever walked the Earth. You have reason to stand tall, knowing that Christ knows you perfectly. Be prepared to walk the path that He walked, to feel a little bit of what He felt and to shed one of the tears that he shed when he served on Earth.”
I absolutely LOVE this, LOVE LOVE LOVE it. And of course it came from Elder Holland (He’s the Man). It is so easy to forget whose work this really is and that every step that I take, Christ is taking that same step… in fact, He already did! When he served here on Earth, world peace did not exist, religious peace did not exist, and to think that He was the Prince of Peace! So if he was rejected and suffered as a missionary, shouldn’t I expect somewhat the same thing? This is everything that I needed to hear and more. Of course the trials that I face as a missionary, as Hermana North (and that you guys face at home in this CRAZY life), will have no comparison to His Earthly ministry, but like Elder Holland said, We should be prepared to at least feel a little bit of what He felt. Jesus Christ is there for us, all of his Loves, to help in times of weakness. We just need to have Faith and let Him help us, guide us, and give us ANIMO.
                Something that I have been having a SUPER hard time with this week and the week before was losing the opportunity of helping an amor of mine progress, Lalo. We had a talk with him the other week about what he was willing to do to continue progressing and learning and he decided that he wanted time to think. He told us that he didn’t want us to come teach him anymore or call him until he felt ready again. I understood and respected all of what he said at first, we all have our free agency. But as the week progressed and I couldn’t call Lalo or visit him when we passed his house, my heart broke. Over and over again. Lalo has such a huge part of my heart and it kills me to see this happening. Not so much that he doesn’t want to keep learning from us right now, but just that our friendship has been put on hold and that I am not going to be here in San Miguel forever to pick back up when he feels ready. I have been praying so hard for Lalo these past weeks. As well as for me, to have patience with him; this trial is teaching me to have faith in the Lords timing. I know that he will come around eventually, it’s just rough-
La paciencia es un don eterno.
                So that was the sad news. But as for the Hip-Hip-Hurray of my week, there were many sweet moments that I got to take part in. One of which was service with un amor, Nilda. We helped her clean her garden on her Birthday! So sweet. We sang songs, ate the sweetest oranges from her tree and took note of the inspiring words that she had to share with us. She is such an amazing person who has so much love for life and life’s trials. We also spent lots of time giving love and hugs to Cecillia. She is going through a lot right now, but she is stronger every day that she reads her Book of Mormon and develops a stronger relationship with her Father in Heaven. José is still a ball of excitement as he continues to learn the lessons. We were sad that he couldn’t come to church with us this week because got grounded, which was a funny punishment…just shows how much he loves  going to church. We talked to his mom on Sunday night and she said that she is going to start letting us teach her. Oh, and the BEST part, we found a new Family to teach- Andres, Elianna and Diego (20 años). The highlight of our week.
                I’ve got my game face back on People! No worries over here. I LOVE being here in Chile and am so grateful to have so much support and love back home. Keep up those prayers; I soaked them all up this week. I send all of my love back to you guys. Cuidanse. Chao until next week.
Xoxox, Hermana North

picture 1: Adios to our loved President King and Mama King. We get a new mission president in July!

picture 2: Hermana Rosdahl, one of my loves from the first weeks here in Chile

picture 3: The best oranges i've ever tasted
picture 4: Marita y Birtcher - Love them

picture 5: My sweet companion, leaving me little smiles of chocolate. She's seriously the BEST
picture 6: missionary 101: Dont take yourself too seriously.

picture 7: Nilda has such a cute garden

picture 8: The Birthday Girl

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jumping Out Of The Comfort Zone

This week was filled with more miracles. The Lord is truly blessing us here in San Miguel. After P-day ended last week we were walking probably 500 feet from our apartment and a lady, Cecillia, came up to us crying for help. She said that she felt really alone and that she was depressed. She asked us, "What can I do?" I could not believe what was happening in the couple of seconds that I was able to take all of this in. It was a miracle from the Lord put right into our hands, right into our path- LITERALLY. We talked to her about the Atonement of Christ and then offered to pray with her. She told us that she lived right around the corner, if we wanted to go to her house and pray there. Which was just another miracle from the first miracle, because normally we just pray with them in the street. So when we went to her house, we got to learn more about her and her situation. She works enormous hours because she works at a hospital- which is the reason for her depression, she literally works and sleeps and Works again. No wonder she is so depressed! A person needs time to play once in a while. After we prayed with her, she offered a prayer as well and then she asked when we had church. Sadly her only day off during the week is Saturday. However, we promised her that is she had a real desire to go to church, that she could pray to our Heavenly Father, asking Him to bless her with the ability to complete come to church with us.

Praying for a Miracle.

We shared with her the story about the Strippling Wariors and about their miracle- How not one person in their army perished from the war because of their great faith (Alma 56 & 57). Cecillia is fully willing to have the faith and pray for this miracle. Hermana Birtcher and I are also praying hard with her. We know that the Lord will provide a way for her to complete his commandments. He always does to those who's faith is sufficient.
Along with Cecillia, we have been blessed to be able to find a lot of new familias and people to teach. It has been such a blessing, I absolutely love teaching the people here. The gospel lights me up and I can see that in the people we teach as they learn more and start to have more faith in Christ.

Hermana Birtcher and I have been finding new ways to teach the lessons to the people here too. After teaching the Restoration 50 times, it gets boring. Well…not the lesson, just the way that we teach. You know, taking turns: one person teaches about how God blessed Families and then the other person teaches about Prophets, and then the other person teaches about Christs Mortal Ministry, etc. By now I can recite to you every word in those lovely pamphlets that we use to teach (not really, but really). That has brought us closer together in our teachings as well as in our animo to teach as compañeras. She is such a great missionary, always trying to do the right thing and giving me ANIMO me when I get disanimated. I am so grateful for Hermana Birtcher. As you guys know, I didn't want to change companions at all. I stomped my feet the whole way through and my first day without Hermana Fuentes was so HARD on me, but the Lord always blesses me. Time and time again. And he has blessed me with someone amazing! Someone that I learn from every day. 
Some days are still hard for me, but the Lord reminds me every day of why I am here and why I love this work so much; why I can do this and endure to the end of these 18 months that I have to be “Hermana North”.

Love you tons! Quidanse
Xox, Hermana North

picture 1: Cooking empanadas in a wine barrel

picture 2: Please take note of Hermana Sonia's hott bod

picture 3: Excited to eat our empanadas

picture 4: I thought this looked artistic

picture 5: The little pasejo that Antionetta lives in. So CUTE!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week 18

Hermana Birtcher and I have had so many tender mercies from the Lord this week, I feel so grateful. With all of these new changes and my new responsibility, to lead our sector and direct the lessons, I have felt so much weakness, doubt and stress. However, I have been blessed time and time again with the most supportive companion- Hermana Birtcher. She has already taught me so much, through her example, her teachings and all of her pep-talks (at least 2 a day). She is teaching me to Trust in the Lord more. Honestly, I really did think that I had a lot of faith in the Lord and his plan for me, but Hermana Birtcher is teaching me hoe to TURST Him in ways that I never did before.
One thing that I was able to learn from day one with my new Hermana, was the importance of Prayer, but not just any prayer, a prayer asking for very specific things. As we pray for specific things, and yes, our prayers are a lot longer now, we not only receive specific answers to our prayers, not our relationship with our Heavenly Father grows stronger- my Trust in Him, becomes stronger. My love for prayers has grown even stronger within this past week with Hermana as miracles have popped out in front of us each day.
One of my favorite miracles from this week, (p.s: are you aloud to have favorites?) came from one of those very specific prayers. In the morning Hermana Birthcer and I made the goal to find a nuevo to teach, but not just any nuevo, a nuevo Family. We had prayed in every prayer that day that we could find a new family to teach. We found a lot of success in teaching lessons all day, we really saw the Lord’s help, but it was 9PM and we still hadn’t found a new family. As we were walking to an appointment with, the loved, Marita, we passed by a store that sold little nick nacks and I told Hermana that I wanted to buy some fuzzy socks for the night (laundry day was coming up soon = no clothes). When we walked in the store, we started talking to the lady and she told us that her son had been looking for us! She ran into the back and brought her son, Jose (9 years old), out and that is when our little miracle came about. We started talking with him and he told us that his cousin had been taking the missionary lessons with the elders and that he was so excited to start learning more. He already had his Book of Mormon and everything. He asked us if we liked the story about when Nephi killed Laban…of course a nine year old boy would LOVE that story and never forget it. After we shared a message with them, we told him that we were going to come back on Sunday morning to take him to church with us. Now this week, we are planning on going over to teach Jose and his Mom, Vicky. She is really open to learning with Jose, but the enthusiasm that Jose has for learning more just makes me SMILE, real big. I asked him why he was looking for us and he said, “Because I want to learn more about Jesus” and I said, “Who is Jesus to you, Jose?” and he said, “A friend”. Yeah J and he is nine years old. My first little of my mission is a Stud. I am so stoked. And all day today, his mom kept calling me, spelling out words in English so that I could translate them in Spanish. I love that she did that, and she calls me “North,” just North. Not Hermana North or Hemrana…okay maybe I am already getting super attached to this family, eating up every little thing they do and say. But really, the Lord blesses us with miracles when we have faith in Him.
Things were not super smooth with my FREAK out of all of these new changes, it has been hard and I am exhausted. (Missions are hard work). But it is all so worth it for me. Heavenly Father follows through with his promises, and all of my worries of not being able to understand the people or not being able to talk with them or not being able to do this have all been have been taken away. MIRACLES are real for those who Believe. The End.
I love you guys so much!
Xoxoxoxox, Hermana North
picture 1: My new wingwoman- Hemrna Birtcher

picture 2: Making Rice pudding with Isidora

picture 3: I am obsessed with the houses.
 (Breaking News: My new favorite color! Even though I still super love glitter)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Don't Worry, About A Thing

Let’s just get straight to the juice of this past weekend and this week. There is so much to tell! So as all of you know, Jaime was baptized on Saturday. It was such a blessing to be able to see how ready he was for his baptism. All week he called us and told us how at peace he felt and how grateful he was for Hermana Fuentes and me. When we met with him on Saturday, before the baptismal service, he just told us how at peace he was. I was so surprised to hear that just because I feel like with such a big moment and big step in someone’s life, one would feel a little nervous or anxious, but that just reminded me how the Spirit of the Lord works in each one of us. How he prepares us for blessings that we are going to receive. The Spirit blesses us with peace, comfort joy, love, etc. and the Spirit was definitely working in Jaime as he received the blessings of his baptism.
My last week with Hermana Fuentes was very rough for me. Well actually more like my last day with her. I told her that we weren’t allowed to talk about our last moments together until the moment that it really was going to be our last, just so I could rip her off like a bandage and move on. (That sounds so cold hearted, but really, I just didn’t want to be crying all week.) During the reunion de cambios I started crying from the minute that we walked in the door. All of the stress of my new responsibilities hit me and I finally realized that the fact that Hermana Fuentes leaving was really a true fact. I squeezed her hand so hard and stopped my feet saying “No quiero cambiar, No quiero, Hermana!” Yeah, I know real mature. But honestly, I cannot imagine a better companion than Hermana Fuentes. She has taught me so much and I am going to miss her so much. We became the best of friends over the past 3 months that we have been together.  I feel so bad for my new companion, she probably thinks that I am the biggest cry baby ever, but I just need time to freak out for a second and then embrace these changes with all of my heart.
My new companion is the lovely Hermana Burtcher. She is from Arizona- gringa just like me! And she has the same amount of time that I have here in Chile. Our very first goal together is having more FAITH…lots and lots of faith. I am learning so quickly that the place that I am going to be spending 100% of time, literally and in my heart when we are in the street, will be on my knees praying to my Heavenly Father for comfort, peace, and strength. Lots and lots of strength. I can do this. It is not going to be easy, especially because Hermana Birtcher and I are still learning the language, but, in the inspired words of Bob Marley,
“every little thing is gonna be alright”
because the Savior is on our side walking every step with us. I was so blessed to be reminded of this last night when we were teaching one of our investigators, Jocelyn. She is so special to me because over the past couple of weeks, we have been able to build a solid friendship together.  She confided in us last night about a hard time that her and her family is going through right now. While she was telling me about her hardship, all I could feel in that moment was the Love that our Heavenly Father has for her. The words “Atonement of Jesus Christ” flashed in BIG fancy letters in my head. Hard times are always going to come. But something so comforting to know in those hard times is that 1. We have a loving Heavenly Father and because of his infinite love for us, 2. We have a Savior who knows us perfectly because he suffered for every affliction and pain that we have ever felt and will ever feel in this life. Christ suffered for us because he loves us and he wants us to be Happy. The Atonement of Jesus Christ won’t take away hard experiences, but it will take away the burdens that those hard experiences bring.  Thanks to Jocelyn’s experience, I was able to learn this again and feel so much comfort in the things that I am experiencing. Hard times come and go, but our happiness during those trials is determined by our faith and willingness to do God’s will. I know that when we follow our Saviors example we will ALWAYS be okay. We will always be Happy.
This overwhelming change is going to bring me closer to the Lord and I am so grateful for it. Hermana Birtcher and I are going to be able to see so many miracles together as we focus all of our efforts in those who need the Saviors love in their life. Go Team!
Con Mucho Amor, Hermana North

picture 1: Catholic Church in front of our pension

picture 2: The Andes mountains from our balcony

picture 3: Singing in the Rain

picture 4: The rivers of San Miguel

picture 5: goodbye to my second zone...some oldies and some newbies

picture 6: The night before His baptism

picture 7: El tremendo Rocky

picture 8: Jaimes Baptism :)

picture 9: Celebrating our June Birthdays together.