Monday, December 30, 2013
This week I had the coolest experience with an Atheist, Diego, on the micro (the micro is starting to become one of my favorite places). Our conversation started about the gym but quickly turned into, “Do you believe in God?” He explained to me that he believed that there could be a ser superior [Superior being] but that he never thought about a Heavenly Father, because he never has a need. I asked him, if there was a God, if he would like to know and he said, “Yes, but how can I know that?” I taught him how to pray, but not just any kind of prayers, a prayer with FAITH (Alma 32 came in handy at this part). He thought that it was impossible for him to have faith because he said that he thinks rationally but it’s not impossible because he already had a HOPE that God or, like he calls, a Ser Superior existed. If we have hope, we have faith- if ye have faith, ye have hope for things which are not seen, which are true (Alma 32:21). He was surprised to hear that this whole time he has had FAITH. I shared my testimony of God's love for His children and how He answers our prayers. I told Diego that once he finds out for himself that he has a Father in Heaven that it will change his life one hundred percent, whether he had a need to know or not. He agreed to pray that night and told me, “I’ve never had a real need or desire to know if God exists but that is because I have never met anyone so sure that God exists. Just hearing your beliefs and seeing the happiness that you have from that makes me want to PRAY and know or myself.” The coolest past of this whole story is that he lives in our sector! I was so surprised to find this out because we got onto the bus in the centro of San Bernardo, which is about 20 minutes outside of our sector. So we made an appointment with him for two days later. When we got to his house he told us that he forgot to pray, but we fixed that with a heat shaped post-it that said “ORAR.” We had a testimony meeting of how we all came to our lovely conversions to the gospel- his heart was touched again as he expressed to us of his desire to know what we know. It didn’t take a lot for this atheist to have a change of heart and to ACT; all it took was a sincere testimony of what we already knew.
What a blessing we have in our lives to be able to bear testimony to those around us; especially at this time of year when everyone is celebrating Christ’s birth. The sprit of Christmas is everywhere, so maybe we should take advantage of that and express our sincere testimonies to those around us:
I know that Christ lives. He came to this earth, paid the prince for our sins, died for us, and was resurrected. I cannot express my gratitude or love for Him in words but, over and over again, in my life He has given me strength and support that I will forever be grateful for. I know that He loves us and as we use the atonement, through repentance, in our daily lives we can come to feel that love and come to know Him. Our Heavenly Father has a plan of happiness for each one of us and only through Jesus Christ can it be fulfilled.
Christmas has been different for me this year, as you guys can probably imagine. But different because the spirit of gift giving has been different. Instead of material gifts I have been able to give spiritual gifts to my loves here in Chile. I have felt so much peace instead of stress and hustle. And while I LOVE the traditions of Christmas from back home, I can’t help but think that this is the way that God intended us to celebrate the birth of His son Jesus Christ- to receive Christ in our hearts, just as we receive gifts from our loves. It’s my wish that we can gift our best elves and act to the Lord this year; in doing this, pure, sweet, sparkly JOY will be part of our Christmas season.
I LOVE MY SAVIOR; JESUS CHRIST.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, Theeverlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 6)
Les amo con todo mi corazón! Feliz Navidad.
Xoxox, Hermana North
Picture 1: Our ward is so good to us!
Picture 2: 150 balloons!
Picture 3: Decorating for our mission's Christmas party
Picture 4: Hermana Joana (our menos activa) doing my nails! Love her and her skills!
Picture 5: Love my crazy little hermana
Picture 6: President Cook invited Santa to our party!
Picture 7: Making Quesillo (the venzuelan version of Flan) with Jexis
Picture 8: We got to teach our Young Women on Sunday! So much fun...even though there were only three!
Picture 9: laying in the grass
Picture 10: The service activity that turned into a HUGE water fight...the Hermanas won of course ;)
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
God gave me a Rip-off miracle this week…but before I mention the details of that funny/ lame moment I have to tell you guys about our new friend, Orlando aka Don Suave. On Friday night, we were waiting at the bus stop and an old man, who has problems walking and can barely talk, came up to us and started telling us jokes. He was super social and even though I could barely understand him, he really made me smile. I told him some jokes back and after a little while, everyone that was waiting at the bus stop started a mob of joke telling. Anyways, so when the bus that Orlando was waiting for came he got onto the bus and before the door closed he turned and said, to Hermana Reyes and I, “Do me a favor…Forget about me.” Then he blew us a kiss, winked, and the bus left. Haha! You gotta love the old Chilean men.
So about that rip-off miracle…before we got to the bus stop, I had been praying to Heavenly Father for a way that I could ride the bus without having to rob them. Here in Chile, all of the metros and micros run off the “BIP” system. You buy a card with bus money on it and every time you ride, you swipe that card, it makes a “Beep” noise and you ride to your destination. BUT, because we had travelled so much this week, my card ran out and I had no way of recharging it with money. When the bus came I took a chance and swiped my card and guess what? That glorious “Beep” noise sounded! ABSOLUTE MIRACLE! Hermana and I were absolutely shocked because my card had no money on it and it went through. I was so excited about what had just happened that when I sat down, I turned around and started telling the man behind me what had just happened. I told him that it was a miracle and that God heard my prayers. Then he kind of just laughed at my enthusiasm and said, “Well, that’s because after 9PM the micro lets you borrow money if you don’t have any on your card. Then when you go to recharge it, it takes out what you borrowed.” AH! Hearing this made me feel like I was reliving that moment when my parents told me that Santa Clause wasn’t real all over again! HE ROBBED MY MIRACLE! And more or less, helped me out of my ignorance.
We found two new GOLDEN investigators this week, Georgina and Margarite. It was so refreshing to hear them both express their NEED for this message in their lives; to know if the Restoration really happened. They asked questions that surprised both Hermana and I, but we are so grateful to know that the Lord has so many people prepared to not only hear this gospel, but accept it! As for the Vera family, sadly we haven’t been able to see or teach them. Jexis and Rodolfo are still amazing; we just have to help them recognize all of the answers that God has been giving them to their prayers. And as for us, We have been praying every morning before going out that the Lord will help us cope with the heat- It is getting hotter and hotter every day, but I cant complain, because at least with the sun comes my tan ;)
xoxo, Hermana North
Happy Wedding to Kiley and Danny this weekend! I am so excited for them. My heart just keeps melting more and more, thinking about their new life together.
picture 1: Terere- my companion is teaching me to be Argentine
picture 2: Puppy Love.
picture 3: the chaos after our studies
picture 4: Tracting with our love Hermana Yessy
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
At the beginning of our week we had one of those days on the mission where every plan that we made, A,B and C, fell through. No one seemed to want to hear our message and on top of that, it was SO HOT outside- casi 100 degrees. I sang that song that goes like this, “the pioneer children sang and they walked and walked and walked and walked…..” to Hermana Reyes all day long, she didn’t think that I was very funny. I tried to be positive and cheery for my compañera, but I couldn’t help to think to myself as we were walking, “Why does God let us make plans that fail?” As missionaries, every day we meet people; we teach them; we schedule another day to come teach them more; we go home and pray for them; we study and plan for them; do practices to teach them; w e go back to teach them and, after all of that, when they aren’t home we are left disappointed. So of course, when every appointment that we made on this day fell through, I could help but think, “Why couldn’t God tell us that this person wasn’t going to be home before we got here so that we could use the time to visit someone else that was going to be home?” And maybe this sounds ridiculous to you guys, but I’m learning and I learned something so important this day.
At the end of the night Hermana Reyes and I had to go visit a family that the elders passed off to us because they both left the sector when we had cambios. The only problem is that they didn’t give us a house number, only the street name. The street that the family lives on is about 6 miles in length. To find that house was going to be an adventure in and of its self. Before going to find the house Hermana and I said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to lead us to the house. After taking the bus, guessing a good place to get off, asking neighbors if they knew of the family, WE FOUND THE HOUSE- all in about 30 minutes. That was an absolute miracle. But when we started talking to the mom, she told us that it was too late (only 9PM) and that we needed to come back another day. In that moment, in my head of course, I thought “WHY, GOD?” We received and answer to our prayers, but forgot to ask that when we found the house, that we could teach them as well. So, on we went to the bus stop. At the bus stop we started to talk to a man named Luis; he told us about his life and we found that, after all of the struggles that he has passed through in his life, he was the most optimistic person. It made me happy to see the faith and trust that a non-member had for God. Talking to him made me think immediately about the Plan of Salvation and since the bus was taking a long time to get to us, I pulled out the folleto [pamphlet] to start teaching him, thinking to myself this was the miracle that we were looking for, but before I could get too excited he told us that he wasn’t interested, he didn’t have time, and that we couldn’t have his reference- in a nice way of course. So by this point you could probably imagine how cheery and positive I was feeling. ;) We got onto the bus and our day was over. We hadn’t taught one lesson nor helped anyone. I felt useless and exhausted. However, I still had faith that there was a reason for everything that had happened in our day. I said a prayer to my Heavenly Father asking him to help me see the bigger picture of what happened in our day. I just knew that that those feelings weren’t what He had planned for me to feel. When I opened my eyes (and it happened just like that) I started talking to some jovenes that were sitting in front of us- the words came out of my mouth before even realizing what I was doing. One of the jovenes said, “They are Mormon missionaries.” And I responded “Yeah, we are!” to my surprise he said, “I’m Mormon too.” He told us that he had been inactive for about a year, him and his entire family, and that he just moved into our sector. He said that he had wanted to come to church; but that he didn’t know where it was (hearing this was Taylor Swift to my ears). We took down his address and phone number and told him that we would pass by the next week. The Lord answered my prayer, and taught me a HUGE lesson- That even though we had a day full of failed plans, on our part, that Heavenly Fathers plans worked. He has a plan for each one of His children and it will be completed in His own way. So I shouldn’t be so disappointed if my plans fail because as long as I am doing my part (being obedient and diligent) then every day will be a success; no matter how many lessons we teach or how many people receive us.
Quick update: We didn't get to see the Vera family this week, but Jexis and Rodolfo are continuing to progress! They are so awesome, my heart melts every time we visit with them.Yesterday was Jexis' birthday (40 years old...there is no way that she is that old) and we celebrated at church and then at the end of the night together.
xoxox, Hermana North
pic 1: Did I mention that we have a grave yard in our sector
pic 2: Chirstmas lights are here!
pic 3: the centro's Christmas Tree
pic 4: the grape vineyards in front of our Villa
pic 5: We found a cute little bridge in the middle of a forest with its own little river
(supposedly it a canal)
pic 6: its the tradition here that you have to bite your birthday cake before every one can eat- trick or treat?
pic 7: Birthday once
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
HAPPY DECEMBER ALL!!! Everyone knows that attached to the hip with December comes mouth watering treats (Aunt Shell’s peanut putter balls), yummy cinnamon spice scents, tall trimmed trees, glorious music, sparkly ornaments, and JOY TO THE WORLD. Okay, I am a little over excited…but can you blame me?? It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And who knew it would ever come so fast!
So this week we had many prayers answered and we answers to many prayers aka: sweet tender miracles all around. One of my favourites that we experienced this week started when a member gave us 2 BIG crates of cherries (yummm!) She told us that one was for us and the other was to share. At the bus station to head back home, Hermana and I said a little prayer that we could know who to deliver the cherries to. We started brainstorming ideas of who needed our visit, more than just the cherries…and a reference of an inactive family, that the elders gave us, came to mind. We decided to pass by them and when we called “Alo” outside of their house they were so excited to see us! They told us that they really need our visit that they had been passing through a lot of hard experiences with their family, etc. It was a HUGE blessing to hear that from them. We shared a message with them of the Love that our Heavenly Father has for us. We have a lot of work to do with this family, they have a lot of doubts and concerns, but I know that the Lord has a plan for them. He knows how to help them and will give us inspiration of the things that we need to share to help them, perfectly. When we gave them the cherries, one of the daughters face lit up! Supposedly cherries are her favourite fruit-Another tender mercy. They were so grateful and so were we. The Lord is so aware…even of our cherry cravings.
I read a quote from Elder Ballard that just put into words a message that I wanted to share with you guys today:
There is Peace in knowing that the Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis. His purposes will be fulfilled, and someday we will understand. For now, however, we must be careful not to overreact to our concerns…what we must do is KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God and NEVER LOSE HOPE.
God is in ever detail in our lives. He has a PERFECT plan for us, because he loves us, and he wants our every success. We never have to fear or doubt because God is with us (D&C 6: 36).
I love you guys! Remember to say your prayers, always, to Heavenly Father- He answer them.
Xoxox, Hermana North
Picture 1: ice cream and Christmas trees
Picture 2: my first time painting a wall! So fun.
Picture 3: My hija is so cool with her new tan line/ legit
Picture 4: We got to teach this little before her baptism. Such a blessing!
Picture 5: The first signs of Christmas
Picture 6: Golden Cherries
Picture 7: Making chocolate goodness - alfajores
Picture 8: door decorations for our ward mission leaders birthday!
Picture 9: we were so sneaky! No one saw us.
Picture 10: Mission complete and SUCESS
(Translation: Thank-you very much sisters and elders for such beautiful decorations. I got really excited/emotional)
Monday, December 2, 2013
One of the scriptures that I found myself sharing a lot this week was in Mosiah 2:41, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it”. I have a lot of favorite parts in this scripture, but the part that I love the most is where it talks about “never-ending happiness.” Here we are all given a PROMISE from King Benjamin that if we keep Gods commandments, that we will be Happy; in every aspect of our lives, even temporal as spiritual. And that our happiness will be never-ending-as in forever. Something that sparked a little light in my head, after thinking about that word “never-ending,” was that the happiness that we receive from being obedient not only will/does affect us, the righteous individual, but it affects our generations! Hence the use of the word never-ending. The happiness that we obtain does not just come to us and end…but it last forever and never ends. I have a first hand experience with this from my own life, just incase it still doesn’t make sense ;): Once upon a time, a long time ago, my abuelito, Angel Chico, was drunk in the streets of Mexico. He ran into the missionaries and invited them over to his house…long story short, he began to listen to them and changed his bad habits into good habits. He followed the example of Jesus Christ and was baptized by someone who had the authority of God- the priesthood. Then he lived righteously; shared his testimony with his family and through his example his children followed Christ’s example and were baptized. Lucky for me one of his children was my mom. Because my mom continued to follow Jesus Christ in his life, I was able to be baptized too; now serve a mission and share a message with people, that brings that FOREVER kind of a happiness. So for the obedience to Gods commandments that one faithful person practices in their life, comes never ending happiness, forever, to the lives of all those they and their generations touch. That’s a lot of happiness! And all from a simple act of obedience to our Heavenly Father’s commandments. So what small commandments are you keeping today to bring that never ending happiness into your life? Into the life of your generations? In the lives that your generations will touch? Etc- think about it. Like we learn in the musical Wicked, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished,” but there are also things that you and I can do better to live more righteously. I invite you guys (just roll with this one, I’m a missionary now) to reflect on your own life experience- where has our happiness come from? And how can you make sure that your happiness remains never ending
This week we met the most awesome investigators, from Venezuela, Jexis and Rodolfo. I am super obsessed with their accents (similar to a Colombian accent) and they are the cutest and SO IN LOVE because they just got married in October. They are so receptive to the message because the have been feeling the Spirit that it brings. It surprised both Hermana Reyes and me to hear Rodolfo’s experience with the Book of Mormon. He told us that he is already in Jacob (it’s been one week) and that he feels so at peace when he reads the book. He even uses the cross references at the bottom, that his wife helps him find in the Bible- they are a perfect team.
As for the Vera family, they are progressing still. It has been hard to find them all together because of work schedules, but on Sunday Brayan came to church with us- he had an amazing experience! He told us that he is going to borrow an Hermano’s tie on Tuesday to go to a fireside with the young men. He also told us that some time in the week he is going to go out with them to visit less actives! What? He kept on asking Hermana and I questions about our missions, like, “What was your first day as a missionary like?” etc. I loved it! I asked him why he wanted to serve a mission so bad and he said, “Because I like it, and plus, I like to walk.” Ha ha. I guess that reason will do for now.
Take care this week and thanks for sending me all of your love! It means so much to me.
picture 1: Home made torta! hermana is a pro at making beautiful cakes
picture 2: My birthday girl! Birthday French toast
picture 3: I love coming home after a division to lovely surprised and love notes
picture 4: walking the streets of Prvedencia
picture 5: Horses pulling their food
Picture 6: I'll have one of everything please
picture 7: Reppin el Libro de Mormon with my main man Willy
picture 8: if there wasnt a rule that we could have pets...I would be that crazy dog lady with a million dogs at my house.
picture 9: thats a real peacock!! Our investigators have a farm...so cool!