Monday, March 31, 2014
This week Hermana Tadeo and I spent our time pumping all of our loves up for General Conference. Another one already! Can you believe it People?? Not like I am counting or anything, but in just 13 more days, everyone in the world will have the chance to hear messages from our Heavenly Father through the voice of his prophet, apostles and leaders. What an opportunity, if you have a question (gospel related or not), doubt, concern, unanswered prayer, etc., to receive personal revelation! This was the invitation that we gave to everyone here in Quimey: prepare for General Conference by writing down a question that they have and then attend conference (in 13 more days) to listen for their answer. I promise that it works and I even have proof:
Remember my love, Cecilia? Well, last conference, in October, was her first time ever. She went prepared with a long list of questions and concerns that she has been having. At the end of all of the sessions (two hours, twice a day, Saturday and Sunday), she was super surprised to see that all of the questions that she had written down had and answer to follow. I remember specifically, standing in the stake center with her as she excitedly showed me her personal miracle. I also remember being surprised (but not really) that all of her very specific questions, too, had answers. For example, “How can I deal with my depression?” If you remember, Elder Holland (of the quorum of the 12 apostles) gave a talk specifically to those people who were dealing with “the extraordinary illness of major depressive disorder.” He gave comfort to those with this illness and also listed how to respond to the challenges that come along with depression. It just went to show that Heavenly Father is so aware of each one of His children’s needs. He speaks through His prophets and apostles today, just like He did in Moses’ and Noah’s time. And if we too take initiative to prepare for conference, not just showing up and hearing lovely messages, we will receive answers and a stronger testimony that God has a prophet here on the Earth today.
As for the update on our new loves, this week we got to teach Javier for the first time. We got to his house one night this week and he was super busy putting up a tent in the patio of his house. We offered to help so that we could at least talk with him for a little bit. As we put up the tent we talked about prayer. He told us that he prays but that he only ever gives thanks. It surprises me of the amount of people that we meet here that don’t know that they can also ask for things in prayer. Javier didn’t really understand why it was that way because in his words he expressed to us, “What else do I need to ask for? God has given me everything.” We agreed but also gave him better perspective by comparing it to his relationship with his own children. What if his kids never asked him for help? What if they never asked him for anything? How would he feel? A little light bulb went off in his head, as we explained that Heavenly Father is pleased when we give thanks, but he also needs us to ask him for things so that we can develop a personal relationship with Him. It’s a way of showing that we Trust him enough to go to Him for help; just like a child goes to their father. We haven’t been able to meet his family yet but this week is the week, I hope!
We also met another love, Juana. She was a reference that the Hermanas of another ward passed off to us. When we first got to her house she told us simply and straight to the point that she didn’t like our church and she didn’t like Mormons. I was surprised to hear this from her just because she let us into her house so easily, but at the same time I was grateful for her honesty. As we talked, we were able to understand her doubts and little bits of ignorance. It makes me happy to be serving a mission because even if we only plant seeds, through our examples and our testimonies, people can come out of their ignorance and actually learn what we “Mormons” believe. WE ARE CHRISTIANS TOO! At the end of our lesson, she told us that she had been lejos de Dios [far from God]. That she had been praying to God asking His to help her draw closer to Him. She told us, “There is no coincidence that you guys came to my house today.” Another surprise to hear. But that is just a testimony that the spirit works through the hearts of the people as we teach. This week we are going to teach her and her hubby. Yay for teaching families!
I hope that all of you are just fine and dandy back at home. Keep on keeping me updated on your lives! I love hearing from you all.
Chao until next week!
Xoxox, Hermana North
p.s: Shout out to my Mamasita! Another birthday and another year! I love you so much. Eat and extra slice of pie for me. I’ll make sure to celebrate here with Hermana Tadeo. There is some riot that is going to be happening on the 28th (just for you!) so we are not aloud to go out that night = PARTY! Te amo :)
Picture 1: Cutting some wood with Sonia
Picture 2: So in love with this dog, Rudolf- the not so red nosed reindeer? haha
Picture 3: My linda little, Constancia
Picture 4: My favorite part about teaching the primary kids are their sweet answers to our questions...for example: "Who can you share the gospel with?" Some said their friends, others their classmates...but our little Simmon said, "With my enemies." Thats the Spirit! I love their love :)
Picture 5: President gave us new DVD players that so happened to conveniently come with protective case that transforms into a backpack...we put on the Restoration movie for all to see as we walk and walk and walk. (just kidding...we didnt acually do it...but it was a good idea)
Picture 6: Making a mess with Mailen
Picture 7: kitchen Aid mixers don't exist here on the mission...we used our own muscles to beat the egg whites.
Picture 8: We legitimately celebrated Mom's birthday. Singing and making wishes and all of that jazz.
Picture 9: Happy birthday queque for my linda mumsy
Monday, March 24, 2014
Good news! I am feeling better and am moving forward now. Hermana and I are very happy to feel the blessings of being back, 100%, to this work. It was a miracle because on Monday evening around 5:30 (just an hour before we had our citas) I was like a new person. I had energy; I felt good; I was healed. Thank you so much for all of your magic prayers, they helped me so.
This week we focused a lot on finding new investigators. Our sector is booming with progressing inactive members but our pool of progressing investigators is basically non-existent. Belen is still doing well, looking diligently for her answer, but she went out of town until April and as for Jexis and Rodolfo, we had to say “bye” to them this week. We love them so much but they just aren’t willing to open up their hearts to the specific message that we have to share. They loved to talk about the scriptures and God but they weren’t willing to commit to anything, which equals no progress. It was hard for me to make that decision to tell them that we weren’t going to be able to come over and share with them anymore, but I knew that Heavenly Father would bless us for trusting him and letting them go. We are here to invite people to come unto Christ through the message of the Restored gospel. As the people exercise their faith, they come to understand better God’s plan and love for them; they change their desires for God’s and they are willing to do what the Spirit guides them to do. Unfortunately, when we don’t see this progress with our loves, we have to let them go in order to fulfill our purpose as missionaries so that we can find those people who are willing to change and accept the gospel. And like I said, the Lord always blesses us for trusting Him.
One of the days this week Hermana Tadeo and I went tracting for 3 hours. We were excited to find new people because it had been so long since we had been able to put that much time into the finding process. It started out super great but after walking and walking and walking, knocking, knocking and knocking and having no success for 2 ½ straight hours we started getting a little discouraged. Also we were tired and it was getting cold, so we decided to say a prayer to keep the Spirit with us. After that, I told hermana that we would try five more houses and if not that we would head over to our next cita. As we were walking I had a tender mercy as I looked up at the sky and saw the moon. It looked absolutely beautiful and it made me realize how much God loved us. A reminder of His reality and that even though I couldn’t see Him, that he was there with us. Isn’t that lovely People? That when things are going all wrong in our day or if we feel a little discouraged, that God sends us His love through the beauty that He has already created for us. It also helped me forget how cold and tired I was. I told Tadeo that even if we didn’t have exito [Success] with finding a new person, that God loved us and would bless us for our efforts later. After all, Nephi had to try three times before he actually obtained the gold plates.
We knocked on a couple more doors and still the same results. As we were walking to knock on door 5, I looked across the street and saw a man smoking outside of his house. This was our conversation (in translation of course):
Me: “Hola! Have you seen the moon?”
Javier: “Yeah, it looks very pretty.”
Me: “What are you doing?”
Me: “That’s really bad for your health you know.”
Javier: “Yeah, I know. But it’s my vice.”
Me: “Would you like to quit that vice?”
Javier: Yeah, but it’s hard.”
Me: “We can help you!”
Javier: “Really, how?”
And then we went over to talk to him and when we got to his gate he put out his cigarette- progress already. He told us that he was Christian but believed in God in his own way (something that we hear all of the time which is just an excuse for saying that they don’t have time in their lives to go to church etc). He also mentioned that about two years ago he met two missionaries but he never took the lessons. We gave him a condensed version of the message of the Restoration, starting with prophets and ending with the first vision. We told him that he could pray to know if what we shared with him was true and he agreed to do so. It was super RAD! He had a lot of doubts, but the good thing was that he had a lot of faith that God would answer his prayers. He told us that we could come back and teach him and his family- it just goes to show that God blesses us in His own perfect timing, even if it seems like the last minute for us.
We continued to have tender mercies like that throughout the week. We found new people to teach through references, through the families of our inactive loves and at the bus station but, all in unexpected moments. I am super excited to see what potential all of them have this week. I’ll keep you updated on our success, or the opposite. Ha ha.
Take care. I love you guys so!
Xoxox, Hermana North
p.s: English is starting to get super difficult for me to speak. It hasn’t been part of my vocabulary for the past 6 months. I actually have to think hard to talk to people in English. Crazy huh?
picture 1: We made chocolate chip cookies with Tiare (our innactive love- Jesse's daughter)
picture 2: Super yummy apple dessert that you're so jealous you weren't here for
picture 3: Jexi's puppy, Lalo. He is getting so BIG!
picture 4: Hermana Jesse trusted me to paint her wall. I messed up a couple of times but her little loves his new wall
picture 5: Hermana Betti
picture 6: Zone service project
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
I’m not gonna lie, this week has been super discouraging for me. My health only seemed to get worse and more constant this week. As each day passed by we were able to make less and less visits with our loves, until it was impossible for me to even get out of bed. The (mission) nurse told me that I just have to wait it out and keep taking Tylonol for the fever, which was not very encouraging to hear at all- I hate the waiting game, especially when time is so precious. But I cannot deny the many blessings that I do have, that have made it easier for me to get through this TRIAL. I’ve been counting them:
- I’m a missionary! I thank the Lord for that blessing every day. Even thought I don’t have the comfort of my own home and family while I have been sick, I have the comfort of the Spirit, and am learning to rely so much on that. It has taught me so much patience and trust in the Lord. It also taught me this week that, “The best place to pass through trials is on the mission.” There is no doubt in my mind of that TRUTH.
- My companion- Hermana Tadeo. She has reminded me time and time again to be patient and that it’s all okay; that the Lord is protecting our sector while we cant be present; that she can really use the extra study time, etc. She has made me countless jugos naturals (fresh juice) to pump me up with vitamins, banana shakes (just like you mom!) and peanut butter toast (because she knows how much I love peanut butter). She is also super funny, and I heard once that laughing is the best form of medicine. I am just so grateful for her.
- The scriptures- Do I have to say more? It’s amazing to me that the scriptures always have the answer to our personal situations, even thought they were written when the dinosaurs were on earth (well, not really but a super long time ago). I’ve come across some gems that have helped me keep the faith: 1 Nephi 9: 5-6, D&C 58: 2-4, 68: 6, 78:17-22.
- My new GOLD SPARKLY ballet flats- don’t laugh at this one. I’m being serious! When we went shopping for food last wednesday we passed the shoe isle and low and behold, my eyes caught onto the perfect shoes! And they only had one pair left in my size- God knew that they would cheer me up. Plus, they were only 8 dollars! You gotta love Walmart prices.
- Our loves- our members; our elders; our investigators. We have received lots of visits from the members in the ward to come cheer us up, bring us once (we still get fed even when we don’t leave the house), and just to keep us company. The elders have made sure to help us out with our investigators, have brought us our lunch every day and tell us jokes that are actually funny. And our investigators, well, while we haven’t been able to visit them in person, we have made sure to keep communication with them on the phone. It’s good to hear of their love and concern for us. And hearing that they miss us, well, makes my heart smile.
- Hermana Joseline and her family- We had a Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] with them on one of the days that I could still make visits. I was super down that day because I didn’t seem to be getting better and felt like I couldn’t give my 100% to the work. Just spending time with the family made me happy but, Hermana Joseline shared a video with us that gave me so much comfort (without even knowing how I had been feeling). It was the perfect reminder for me in that moment! Here is the link so that you guys can watch it-http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=1289877050001
- My testimony- I’ve been reading through my journals, conference notes, and old blogs that I’ve written, this past week. Reading those memories have put a smile on my face and it’s reminded me that this experience is SO WORTH IT. I’ll never forget the wise words of Hermana King (my ex-mission mom), who told us, as she counselled us to keep a journal the very first day we got to Chile, “Knowledge carefully recorded will be knowledge in time of need.”
- All ya’ll back at home- your prayers, your letters, your love and your mere presence has given me strength, more than I can express. I love you guys so much! Thank you, really.
We’ll take it as a good sign that I could get out of the house today to come write you guys! I’ll be better soon. I hope that none of you guys are in the same sick boat as me. Have a lovely week and Happy March 10th to you all- it’s a beautiful day here in Chile. J
Un abrazo grande, Hermana North
disclaimer for mom: sorry, I literally only took one picture this week. But a picture is a picture!
Picture 1: Hermana Betti and Hermana Gledys and the crazy little littles. They brought us queque, eggs del campo and a lovely message from the scriptures. Seriously the Best! We are so blessed.
So remember about m super itchy bug bites that I told you guys about last week? Well, within Monday night and Tuesday, all of my “bites” had turned into gnarly blisters and for about the 100th time on my mission I felt super sick with fevers and body aches. Turns out that they weren’t bug bites after all; I have CHICKEN POXS! Luckily for me, it didn’t hit me super hard. I only have seven blisters and most of them are on my legs. The others on my hand and one on my elbow (like I mentioned last week). Also, even though it’s super contagious the Chileans aren’t afraid of it. I called an Hermana to cancel the cita that we had with her family (because she has 3 littles who have never had it) and she said, “Muy Bien! Come over! It’s better that they catch it when they are young, rather than when they are grown up.” And that has been mostly everyone else’s response too, so we have been able to go to some citas during the week, menos mal. The incubation period is about 15 to 30 days but I am betting more on that 15 days part- I should be feeling better by the end of this week. Fingers crossed!
As for Hedder and Carlos’ baptism, it was a beautiful service. Their aunt, uncle and cousins came, and a lot of the members and the youth were there too. Hermana Fransisco (Hermana Jesse’s hubby) played a flute solo of an arrangement of church/ primary hymns that he put together and Hermana Sonia shared a poem that she wrote especially for Hedder and Carlos. The water in the faunt was warm and they both were baptized just once. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to the confirmation, I was banned from going to church with chicken poxs, but we heard all of the details after. They even got up and bore their testimonies during testimony meeting- que lindo.
Yesterday marked one year since my “more like a little brother,” Tyler Robinson went up to heaven. It is crazy to think that so much time has already passed by. I feel like my mission has been a shelter for me in dealing with the reality that Ty is not here with us anymore. If anything, it’s given me a lot of strength as a missionary. When he passed away I decided to dedicate my mission to him, that when I couldn’t anymore that I would persevere for him because it’s something that he was excitedly preparing for. It was also the topic of our very last conversations together. Tyler has been my angel and example. Tyler has a strong testimony of the gospel. He had a clear eternal perspective on life and trials. He loved. He endured. He was STRONG and PATIENT. And his smile and good attitude during his battle for health has taught me so much, as I too have had to battle (in a smaller way) for my health. He has been my rock here in Chile. My friend when I feel lonely, reminding me that every little thing is gonna be alright.
Ty has also made it possible for me to sympathize with my loves, here in Chile, that have lost loved ones too. He was the first person in my life whose passing really affected me. But in that I have been able to learn so so much! One thing is that death is just the beginning step to the real life that God has prepared for us- this life on Earth is not the end for us. God loves us so much that He made a beautiful plan for us to come to Earth to learn and grow, love, have and be part of a family and then to continue all of that in the eternities. Just before Ty’s death I learned about our Heavenly Father’s love for us from a scripture in the New Testament (that later gave me so much comfort and is now one of my favorite scriptures) in Corinthians 2: 9. It taught me and put into perspective for me of how great of blessings Heavenly Father has for me and all of His children. How real of a Father He is for me and that in that reality that we really have no idea of the beautiful blessings that we can receive if we but just love God. How simple is that, really?
I have found myself, many times, reflecting on the life that he is having right now; what he must be doing; who he must be meeting; how he must be feeling, etc. I once heard that one week for us is just a blink of an eye in heaven. That just put into perspective of how short of a time he actually has been away form us and how soon of a time we will all be together again. I miss Ty so much, but I feel equally blessed to have him as a part of my mission- everyday as I put my nametag on, I am reminded of him. He gives me an extra energy and smile because I know that he is really here with me, helping me in this work- I have felt him many times.
Yesterday I was not really sad as I thought about his passing because I know that is doing amazing things on the other side. He continues to live, thanks to the plan the God made for us and thanks to Jesus Christ who is central to that plan. Because Jesus Christ overcame the bonds of death through His resurrection, we all have the hope of a glorious resurrection and will live again.
Ty continues to inspire and motive me everyday even though he is in heaven and for that, I have a reason to SMILE whenever I think about him.
Take care this week! Love you guys!
Picture 1: Just a little reminder
Picture 2: Funny Little Loves
Picture 3: Tracting in my sparkly vans- It's more magical that way
Picture 4: I spy a COW!
Picture 5: a surprise by the lindo elderes :)
[It says "We hope you feel better!"]
Picture 6: The Familia Orillana- they are going to the temple one day
Picture 7: 100% Rico. I really do love the milk here. Have I mentioned that yet?