"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, February 25, 2014

Every Little Crazy Thing in our week‏

I think that out of all of the weeks that Tadeo and I have been together, this week made the superlative of CRAZZIEST WEEK ever. So much happened and I learned a lot, so maybe I’ll just make a list:
  • The lord answers, even the little tiny things- We went over with an inactive Hermana, who we are just starting to get to know, at the beginning of the week. When we got there she was super anxious and stressed because she had lost her keys and could not, for the sake of her, find them. We started looking all over and after about ten minutes I said, “Hermana, have you prayed for help to find them?” (Something that my mama always asked me when I lost something). She said, “No” and so I offered a prayer. Literally two minutes later while we were talking she was anxiously playing with her necklace, not really paying attention to what we were saying, and she felt something heavy inside her blouse….the keys! We were all super grateful because the hermana was finally able to be tranquilla [calm] so that we could actually get to know her and teach her. So next time you lose something, don’t forget to pray for help. Even if it seems like a little, tiny thing.
  • Rastafari is more that just a culture- We were contacting in San Leon and met two super cute girlies. One of which had dreadlocks (I’ve never seen a little with dreads before- SO RAD). We asked her if we could visit her parents and she went straight to her house to get her family. When her mom came to the door I realized that the dreads ran in the family. Both mom and dad, Rosie and Jorge, had gnarly dreadlocks (Looking at them made me feel like I wasn’t in Chile anymore). We explained to them that we were missionaries of the church and that we wanted to share a message with them that would bless their family. When we asked about their religious background, Rosie said, “I’m Rastafarian.” WHAT? Never in my life have I heard of someone being of that religion. It took me at complete surprise. They told us what they believed. It all sounded a bit crazy to me…but it was interesting to hear. Look it up!
  • Sonia is not actually a member- Well, we actually still don’t know for sure; the secretary is looking that one up. This week at Leo and Pablo’s baptism, (the elder’s investigators) Sonia mentioned to us that we perform our baptisms really similar to the way that the Adventist church does theirs- by immersion (of course there is a major difference, its similar). Then later, while we were walking home Sonia said, “You know, I don’t actually think that I’ve been baptized in the Mormon Church after all.” Tadeo and I busted into laughter, again. And so did Sonia, again. It was like a dejavu. Ha ha. So instead of starting rumours, I’ll just let you know about that one when we find out.
  • Cortizone cream does not help when Chilean bugs bite- I’m dying. My body, including my elbows, is covered in bug or mosquito bites…still trying to figure out what is doing the biting. Does anyone have and tips? I’ve tried salt, cold water, hot water, and itching- nothing is helping.
  • Divisions with members = MORE TIME- I’ve know about this trick for a while now because we did divisions every week in Departamental. But ever since I got to Quimey we haven’t put in the effort to actually do it, until yesterday. Hermana Tadeo has been a little bit discouraged this week because that voice that tells all new (or old) missionaries that “this is too hard” or “you’re not good enough” had been getting to her head (I could totally relate to her because I have been there time and time again on my mission). I knew that if she could go without me for a couple hours- running the sector, directing the lessons, etc., all by herself, that she would feel capaz (capable), so we did divisions. It not only helped Tadeo, but it helped me, the sector, and the hermanas that came out with us. We all saw mini miracles and within two hours we had four lessons with members present! For a missionary those words are music to the ears. So to all of you missionaries, if you want more lessons in the week that will strengthen your loves, go on divisions with the members! And if the members don’t want to then PRAY for them, the Lord will provide a way because it is something that He wants too. And to all of you members, go on divisions with your missionaries! It will not only bless you and your family but it will strengthen your wards and help those you teach feel loved. You guys are the KEY to this work- I know this is true, You know this is true and God knows this is true. That’s why he had conveyed this message to us time and time again through a loving prophet and apostles…SO JUST DO IT. And pray for the time in your schedule to do it because I promise you that id you do, the Lord will make it possible because it is something that he wants too.

“Make the decision to do what Jesus Christ has asked us to do.” –Elder Ballard (Put you Trust in the Lord Conference talk)
            Hedder and Carlos are good to go for their baptism this weekend. They are so excited; they put together the program the other night- all hand picked by them. It makes me so happy to be able to really feel that this is what they want to do, not because of pressure by us or their parents. I know that it will forever change their lives and as they both answered, “Yes” to the last question of the pre-interview question that basically asks, “Are you 100% positive that you are ready to do this and live the gospel forever” all I could picture in my mind was them a missionaries in the future- Tender mercy for me.
            You guys are so lovely! Thanks for all of the love; it makes every day that much better! Les quiero.
Xoxox, Hermana North
picture 1: A little gimpse at San Leon

 picture 2: the entire way to our NEW investigator's house. Absolutely delicious

picture 3: We hung my camera on a tree branch and took this picture. The things you have to do to document when there are just two people- so creative!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sickness, Miracles and more Miracles!

As for me, nothing new has gone down. I spent three days inside this week from bad health- like I was saying no surprise there, I’m always sick. Last week I had the flu (I forgot to mention that in my letter) and the medicine was helping up until it ran out. I had super bad headaches and it got so bad that I couldn’t read or write or listen to any kind of noise or laugh or even sleep, really. Hermana Tadeo was such a doll and she put blankets over every window that was in the house, she made me a cave! It was so cool and super helpful. I was like a vampire, for the fist time in my life I really hated the sun. I have never experienced so much pain in my life. The Elders from the office brought me miracle drugs, aka antibiotics, to help me feel better and I am so happy to say that they are working! I was able to get out of bed on Sunday and get back to work! Something that I truly thought wouldn’t happen (maybe I was being a little bit dramatic, but the pain was gnarly. It made me hopeless). So keep my head in your prayers, I really don’t want to go back to those sunless days.
As for our miracles this week, well, we saw many! I feel so blessed to be here in this ward. Yes, there have been countless ups and downs, but the Savior has been there constantly reminding me to be patient and this week made it all worth it.
Ever since we got to the sector, we have been working closely with an inactive family, the Familia Orillana, whose kids have never been baptized. We began teaching the kids with the mom to help them gain a testimony and help the mom regain her testimony. Hedder, the 13 year old daughter, has had a testimony of the gospel for a while and so we had been praying a lot for and working hard with Carlos, the 11 year old son, to gain his own testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. The mom has been progressing a lot this past change and yesterday was her first time teaching in her new calling as the primary Sunday school teacher (We heard lots of good things from the kids in her class; that made us happy!) We went over to teach them last night and talked about tithing. After we taught the lesson, they were all super excited to pay their tithing. Hedder even said, “Now I want to find a job just so that I can pay my tithing and receive those blessings.”(Referring to the scripture in Malachi 3: 10, in the Old Testament). It was super sweet. Then we asked Carlos how he has been feeling since he has been going to church, reading the Book of Mormon, etc. He explained to us that he felt good and that he wanted to get baptized but that he needed to wait to really feel his answer in knowing if the church was true or not. It was another one of those situations where the person had received their answer, but just wasn’t recognizing it. We asked him why he wanted to be baptized and he explained to us that it was because he felt good and then he told us, “And last night I had a dream that I was being baptized in the church. And I felt really happy.” BAM! That was his answer. Not everyone receives that kind of answer in a dream, but it was a cool story. I honestly thought that he was just making that up because it came out of left field, but in that moment, Carlos just smiled and said, “Oh, that’s my answer!” haha. It was all super crazy, but the sprit was felt so strong. We were all so excited and they decided to be baptized on March 1st. Experiences like these are reminders to me of why it is so important to have patience, faith and diligence in this work. We have been working with this family since November and have seen their progress all of these months and now the fruits are starting to show. My heart smiles for them and for my Heavenly Father who has given us the opportunity to be part of their lovely progression.
Also, we found out this week that an Hermana in our ward had a baby. The miracle part of this story is that she has been trying to have kids for 18 years and never was able to have them. On Friday night she had a lot of pains and went to the hospital, where she found out that she was going to go into labor! Can you imagine finding that out from the doctor? That night she gave birth to a healthy and perfect baby girl. I am still shocked at the news, but so excited for her and her husband. Those are the lovely blessings that God gives to his faithful sons and daughters. We can never lose hope in our trials because God works Miracles in his own, perfect timing. End of story.
I love you guys so much! Have a lovely week. I hope that you guys can recognize the Lords miracles in your days to make you SMILE.
Xoxo, Hermana North
p.s: Family!!! Thank you so much for the Valentines day shout out. I was dying over how cute those pictures are. You guys make me smile really BIG! I am so blessed
picture 1: Helping Hermana Sonia with her advertisement. Painting in a dress was not a good idea thought...oops! 

 picture 2: Valentines truffles for our loves here in Quimey! YUMM
 picture 3: My favorite food! Seriously I was so stoaked when we ate this for lunch this week. It's the little things in life people

Picture 4:  Hermana Jesse hear that I was sick and came to visit us for a while. A much needed visit after being cooped up for so long.

Picture 5: We are always eating...Hermana Sonia made us her famous churascos! Yum

Picture 6: Grapes are everywhere! And you can just pick them off the vines and eat them! They are free

Picture 7: My cave this week! It looks a lot brighter in the picture than it actually was

Monday, February 17, 2014

Red and Blue make Purple‏

I just wanted to give thanks to all of you for the love and support that you have given me these past months as I have been here in Chile. There is nothing that makes me happier than getting emails and letters from you guys in my week. My zones have always made fun of me for getting so much mail at our reunions. But it just goes to show all of the Love and Support that I have back at home. It motivates me to keep on keepin’ on during the good and bad. You guys are the best. Now let’s keep my reputation up and keep on sending me the love ;) haha.
We had a super spiritual lesson with Belen this week and I know that the spirit was there because there were truths that I shared with her that I didn’t really fully understand either until we talked. So one of Belen’s biggest doubts about joining the church is homosexuality- a pretty controversial topic for many people around the world. She has a lot of friends who believe in same sex relationships and she doesn’t find a problem with it because in her words, “Love is love and you can’t control who you fall in love with.” To be honest, I thought the same way for a while. Yeah, it’s different but we shouldn’t judge nor accuse. We should accept and support because we are all God’s children, Right? Well, the sprit taught me something different and it’s more than just the fact that a marriage should have both hubby and wifey.
                My explanation to Belen started out with that point up above. But in my head, I knew that it had to do with so much more that just that. As I tried to come to a reason of why I didn’t believe in same sex relationships the answer came to my mind- its against God’s laws (Leviticus 18:22). That should be enough reason for all of us to understand that we should not participate in homosexuality not think it is okay for others to do so. Why? Because we are commanded to Love God with all of our heart (Mark 12:30). If we love God then we will obey His commandments. Something that we can all find peace in knowing is that God never changes. For example, God’s love for us will never change even is we disobey Him. God’s plan for us will never change even if we don’t believe in Him. God’s laws will never change even if the world we live in is constantly changing. And so if God never changes, who are we to say that it is okay to change His laws? Who are we to say that God was just kidding or didn’t actually mean what he said when He made His laws for us. It’s crazy right? It doesn’t make sense, and that is the TRUTH.     
                I read a talk in the Liahonna (the church’s magazine) the other day, by Elder Scott, that said, “Truth is not determined by what men think, no matter how influential they may be. Truth was determined by an Almighty God before the creation of this Earth. Truth will exist unchanged forever.” God’s laws are for us and will not nor will never change based on changes in the world. We don’t need to know “WHY” God made this law, or any other law for that matter, but we can understand that if we follow God’s laws we will be happiest. The scriptures promise us time and time again that if we obey, we will be blessed. We also explained to Belen that God does not judge those who are gay. He loves all of His children the same. But if those people choose not to follow God’s laws and act on their feelings, then they are sinning. Just like anyone else breaking a law of the Lord. God doesn’t make exceptions for some of His children based on their personal circumstances. We don’t know why some people have desires to be with someone of the same sex, whether it be that they were born that way or their experiences led them to feel that way, but we do know that everyone will face struggles and trying challenges in this life. But that through God’s plan of happiness for us we have a Savior who can help us overcome our weaknesses when we fall. God knew that we would face trials here on Earth that would lead us to making errors. He doesn’t require perfection but he does require cleanliness and purity. And only though our Savior, Jesus Christ, can we accomplish that. We all must repent if we want to live with God again (3 Nephi 27:19) - another one of God’s laws that will never change. If we put God first in our lives then everything that seems unfair or doesn’t make sense will make sense. We won’t have to have a reason “WHY” behind the commandments for us to understand that we need to follow them in order to have true lasting joy. But like I said, this doesn’t only apply to homosexuality. It applies to every law and commandment that God has surely given us. It may not be easy, but it makes sense- Belen agreed.
                We also saw a lovely miracle this week with a loved inactive(ish) family of our ward- Joseline (recently active), her two kids and her ex-husband, Pablo. During the week we spent a lot of time with them helping them and giving them those motivational pep-talks that they need to get their booties back into (spiritual) shape.  I love this family so much! We always laugh a lot and talk about anything and everything together. Going over with them is like a breath of fresh air for me. And ever since I have known Joseline, she has always had a strong testimony of the gospel and optimistic view on life, aside from all of the trials she has faced in her life. This past year, she has gone through one of the craziest roller coaster rides of trials that I have ever seen/heard of but it just goes to show that 1.) The Atonement is real and works and 2.) When we face our trials with God then everything turns out okay. It makes me happy to see this family changing for the better. Especially Pablo! Through Joseline’s strong example, they are being a family again. And now Pablo is taking initiative like he should have before and is helping Joseline out a lot. They have been separated for the past 4 years and he has been inactive since basically the day he was baptised, more than 15 years ago, but on Sunday we got the tender mercy of seeing the entire family walk into church together. I was shocked to see that, and later Joseline told me that she was super surprised too. I am so proud of Joseline for the faith that she has kept through everything that she has passed though. We are now seeing the fruits of TRUSTING in the Lord no matter what. I know that one day her dreams of becoming an eternal family, married and sealed in the temple, will come true.
                Have a lovely week People.
Xoxox, Hermana Norte

Monday, February 3, 2014

Earth Loving and it's not even Earth Day yet‏

We have working a lot with our love Belen this week. She was out of town for a while, but I am so glad that she is back so that we can teach her and watch her testimony grow. We hadn’t seen her for about 3 weeks, so I was super surprised to hear that she has read the Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it is true (get this) EVERY SINGLE DAY since we left her that commitment. She is so faithful, I love it. We have been trying to help her recognize the Spirit confirming to her of the truthfulness of this message. I have felt it, there is no doubt in my mind, so I don’t have doubts that she will receive an answer and know for herself but she is struggling big time recognizing the sprit. She wants to feel it so bad and she told us in tears that she has never been able to feel it. She is such a solid person and I know that when she does feel it that she will be a strong member of the church, and maybe that is why it is so hard for her right now. We were talking with the elders about her situation the other night (they are working with her recently baptized parents so they know her really well) and one of the elders said that Satan knows how strong she is and how big of a blessing it would be for her and so many others if she received her conversion and so he is working so that she can’t feel that spirit. He is working in the lessons that we teach (distractions and noises in the house that take away the sprit). He is working in making her feel discouraged, etc. Hermana Tadeo and I went to the temple last week and I have to tell you, the spirit that I felt just entering the doors of the temple was so peaceful and strong! I want her to get baptized just so that she can go inside and feel that peace…but it doesn’t really work that way, so we were thinking about taking her to the temple grounds to teach her and pray with her. I think that she will be able to feel Gods love for her so strongly there; I’ve also had an experience with that. She has been in all of our prayers over here in Quimey. Everyone loves her and wants her to receive the blessings of this gospel that comes through personal conversion- she’ll get there!
Yesterday in church I taught about the Creation in our Gospel Principles class. It was so much fun! And I learned so much from (what I thought was) a simple subject. I never really realized how important the Creation of the world was for each one of us. Well obviously, it’s important because without it we wouldn’t be here….but I don’t think that we really truly understand how BIG of a blessing this world is for us. First off, everything that was created in day one through seven is for our benefit and happiness. God made sure that we had everything that we needed to be healthy and happy here on Earth, but he also gave us all of those things to make it possible for us to return back to Him in heaven. Think about it. The Earth is our path back to God. And so is Christ, his son. He not only Atoned for our sins, but also CREATED the Earth. We have a way back to our heavenly home because of Christ; He is our everything. He created the Earth. He is the creator of our faith. He is the creator of our Salvation. He is a BIG DEAL. Yeah, I know that you guys already know this…but I just thought that I would add another reason to your list of reasons to love the Lord, our Savior. He created the Earth and so, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. YAY Earth! This mini lesson made me realize how blessed we are to have beautiful blue skies, rain to dance in and flowers to give on Valentine’s Day (Ooo! That’s coming up soon).  So give your thanks people! And love the Earth. It’s one of our tickets to Salvation. 
“Through the operation of laws obtaining in the higher kingdom man MAY BE REACHED AND LIFTED; himself he cannot save by his own undained effort. A Redeemer and Savior of mankind, is beyond all question essential to the realization of the plan of the Eternal Father(Moses 1:39- “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”) and that Redeemer and Savior is Jesus Christ.” -James Talmage
I hope that you guys enjoyed the Super Bowl this week. It’s good to know that that was the last one that I have to miss for the rest of my life. Have a great week! I hope you can notice those little creations that God has given us to make you smile.
Chao, Hermana North
p.s: Just a quick funny story. Yesterday in Relief Society, an Hermana taught us about Reverence. She started the class out by playing a song on her phone that talked about Reverence. We all felt the sprit and it was sweet how everyone was so quiet. Right as the song ended someone just so happened to call her- her ringtone was a cumbia song. The funniest part was her reaction as she grabbed her phone, ran towards the door and started yelling, “NO! No! No! I’m so sorry Hermanas, these were not my intentions. No! No! No!” hahahahaha! It was so funny. I wish you all could have been there to laugh with us. In reverence of course!

Picture 1: once with our lindo familia

Picture 2: GIANT corn

Picture 3: Pastel de choclo- a yummy summer Chilean tradition

Picture 4: Pretty skies

Picture 5: Shout out to the Alicia Park young women and Young men. Thank you guys so much for your lindo gifts! It made my day and now I have a garland of your BIG, beautiful, stylish selves that hangs over my bed. You guys are so awesome. Thanks for all of the Love and Motivation.

Picture 6: a plumb and pear mix. Tastes like Heaven

Picture 7: Our wards completo festival
["Completo" 's are a chilean hot dog] 

Picture 8:  Cheetah print nails by our love Belen

Christ's life is the Perfect Pep-Talk‏

Hermana Tadeo and I got some interesting shout outs from the Evangelical possy this weekend. We were tracking some houses in our sector to find some new loves to teach and every single one happened to be Evangelical (supposedly we have competition here ;)). The funny part of this story is that at the end of our night, after being rejected hopelessly time and time again by the Evangelicals, we ran into yet another Evangelical…or so we thought. We ran into a lady named Sonia who was watering her lawn. We had actually past by her in the street earlier that day so we decided that we would take our second chance and talk with her. She told us all about her life: widowed twice, divorced once, she has 2 grown up kids and she is Adventist (aka Evangelical) but that at the moment was lejos de Dios [Far from God]. We told her that we were here to help people strengthen their relationship with God and so she let us in, and just like that we started teaching her about the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. As we were teaching her, the spirit in the room was felt so strong; stronger than I have felt in a really long time. Sonia even stopped us in the middle of the lesson and told us, “God really must love me because he sent you guys to my house; he is here with us right now.” That made me smile really big! She recognized what she was feeling, what we all were feeling. It was amazing to me the questions that she was asking throughout the whole lesson and how well she understood everything, as if she had heard it all before.  I kept thinking that she was one of those golden investigators from the “District” videos- I was so excited for her! Then at the end of the lesson, after she committed to praying to know if what we shared with her was true, we invited her to be baptized. After a long pause she looked at us and said, “No. I will not be baptized chiquias. Why? Because I have already been baptized twice in the Adventist church and once in the Mormon church.” Hermana Tadeo and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Sonia joined in too…but then continued to tell us, “but really I won’t be baptized again.” We calmed her down and assured her that she actually couldn’t be baptized again because she already did it with someone who held the authority to do so…but that what she needed to do was come to church with us. She agreed and come Sunday, she actually came! We were so excited to have her with us. She loved all of the classes and members and supposedly this Thursday night she is going to participate in the ward’s Zumba class.
This week I reflected a lot about Christ’s life here on Earth. I’ve found that His life is the Perfect Pep-talk for me.  His life was an absolute miracle and every time I read about it in the scriptures, or think about it for that matter, I can feel His love for me so strongly. It gives me the strength that I need to endure during my trials but it also gives me more motivation to love and serve those around me. I read a quote the other day by Elder Ballard that says, “You can never look at yourself in the same way if you know that you are a Child of God and that He knows you, loves you and cares about you. And you can never look at others disappointedly if you know that they are your eternal brothers and sisters who like you, are here on Earth trying to learn and grown through mortal experiences both good and bad.”  We are all Children of God- literally. Because God loves us and wants us to live with Him again, He sent His son Jesus Christ to give us an example, show us the way back to our eternal home and then to help us back by suffering the price for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. Christ had to suffer every pain and affliction, every trial and temptation that we face in our individual lives. Once we come to truly understand this, Christ’s life will become our Perfect Pep-Talk because as we come to learn more about Him, we will come to know of his love for us. And that love heals all. When I have felt disappointed with my Chilean loves or even overly stressed (ahemmm, last week), I need to remember that we are all trying, nobody is perfect, and that it is only through Christ, that every little thing is gonna be alright. That patience is an eternal gift and that all these things shall be for my good. So this week was a better week for me as I have taken the time to read and remember the person that I supposed to represent each day that I serve.
I hope that you guys can feel that Love that Christ has for you. Look for it because it exists, no matter who you are. And I am not just saying that because I am a missionary.
Chao loves!
Xoxox, Hermana North
Picture 1: Pizza lovers

Picture 2: Our elders are lucky to have us because we like to share

Picture 3: 20 years old! Happy birthday hermanita

Picture 4: Birthday wishing with hermana Isabelle

Picture 5: We went to the temple today! Best ever.

Picture 6: We were teaching a new family this week and they had chicken literally running around the house. Crazy campo quirks

Picture 7: Just right outside of our house. The sky was blue for once, after so much grey skies from the fires

Picture 8: Camila and Connie. Just look how cute they are!