"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 29, 2014

Life On Mars

It was another great week, here in Poeta Neruda, in the day and life of being companions with Hermana Leavitt.  We are having so much fun together- working hard to play hard of course. I decided that if being companions with your best friend on the mission is so much fun, that the married life will be just that much better. There is a trunky thought for you, if there ever was one. Also I decided that being in Chile makes me feel like I am living on Mars! I feel like I am so out of the loop of all of the holidays that I once celebrated back at home (and a whole bunch of other things too). I didn’t realize that this last week was Easter weekend until Thursday. So…..Happy Belated Easter (and St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving and any other special day that you would like me to insert here). I guess that I haven’t actually missed that many holidays and I don’t feel bad about it, but it’s just crazy that this is my new life and that the old traditions keep on keepin’ on back at home. I do love getting pictures from you guys reminding me about the holidays though- There’s a party in the U.S.A.
Well. I figured that this week I would fill you guys in on some of the Loves that we are sharing the love with. Here we go:
Juan-  The golden investigator. He is about 40 years old. The hermanas found him contacting about 3 months ago. He has been progressing a lot and has a ton of ANIMO to accept everything that we teach him. He is such an inspiration to me. He has such a strong desire to draw closer to God that he is willing to do what He asks, no matter the price. The biggest thing that he has been struggling with is smoking. He wants to quit so bad, but it has been hard for him since all of his friends and family do it. The members have been a huge support with him in going over to keep him company and being his friend.  In our last lesson with him he told us how excited he was for his baptism. That the motivation for him in quitting smoking is to be transparent and worthy to be baptized that day. He truly wants this for himself and actually understands that living close to God will change his life in a good way. There are just too many good things to day about him. Im sure I’ll have more to tell later.
Sebastian- our stubborn and oh so loved inactive member, but more like investigator. The hermanas have been teaching him for a while too. I actually had met him during a division that I did with Hermana Leavitt before I moved to the sector. When I first met him, he didn’t believe in God. And now he questions, “Why does God let us suffer through our trials?, etc” so at least we are making progress there. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon with him, the importance to read it in order to find answers to our doubts. I told him of my own personal experience with reading it and finding my own answers. I told him that the reason I can be a missionary and answer the (very difficult) questions that he asks us is because I read the Book of Mormon every day.  He is a lot more excited to read now, because if there is someone with a lot of doubts and questions it’s him.
Omar, Katrina and Amalia- Our fairly tale, soon to be reactivated family. They just moved into the ward about a month ago.  They all have very strong testimonies of the gospel and come from strong-in-the-gospel families. Their only struggle with being active is putting God first and having faith in the blessings that come from doing so. They have goals to reactivate so that Amalia can be baptized and so that they can go to the temple to be sealed. We have so much love for them and are just giving the little extra push that they need to Endure to the End.
Today we got to go see a movie in the theater-something that I thought that I would never do on the mission. President gave us permission to see the movie “Son of God” as an Easter present. It was soo good! Have any of you guys seen it? Since I live on mars over here….it could be a super old movie for all I know. But what I do know is that I have a crush on Jesus now.  Haha! It’s good to laugh, just roll with this one.
Life is good. I love you guys tons.
Xoxox, Hermana North
Picture 1: Our lovely elders. Notice Elder Williams ( 2nd from the left) has followed me to Poeta

Picture 2: We are Chilean- check the ID

Picture 3: 6 floors of paradise

Picture 4: We Found Hermana Leavitt's wedding dress at H&M

Picture 5: Yummy bread makes being stood up okay

Picture 6: The quirks of riding the Metro. Sometimes you get serenaded

Picture 7: Crocketas de Tomate. You wish you could have eaten luch with us

Picture 8: Hermana Sandoval- our love who takes so great care of us. Cooking us lunch and coming out with us to our citas [Appointments]

Picture 9: It's Autumn

Picture 10: eating breakfast and just being ourselves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

There aint' nothin wronggg‏

So after looking back at this past week with Hermana Leavitt, we saw our biggest strength in the lessons with members- this ward is so RAD! And as for our weakness of the week, we would both agree in saying that it was SLEEP! I have never been more tired in my life, well maybe I have, but this week made the top 5 most tired moments in my life- not like I have a list or anything…I’m just making a mental note. But can we please just talk about our strength real quick? People!!! I am absolutely taken back by this ward. I have only been here for a week, yet I feel like I already know AND LOVE everyone! Why? Because this ward is so involved AND interested AND excited about all the work that we are doing. The times that we didn’t have a member in our lessons this week felt weird- and I am realizing that that is how it should be. The reason we had so much success this week was because the members and the missionaries (sorry, I’m talking about me in third person) worked together.  You guys really do make the difference; in the lives of the investigators; in the lives of the inactive members; in the lives of the missionaries. And I can say that because I am seeing it change lives here in this ward. Give your love to missionary work, will you? ‘There ain’t nothing wronggg’ people J
Let me tell you a little bit about our sector. First off, we are super close with our Bishop; and when I say close, I mean it literally just as I do figuratively. He is our next door neighbor. It is super Rad living next door to him (especially when they cook us yummy late night meals). He also is super involved in the work that we are doing, which motivates the ward members to do so also. He is one of the best bishops that I have had in a while, here in Chile. On Saturday morning we had a ward temple trip. We all woke up before the sun rose to make a 6:30 AM session while the youth went to a seminary lesson at the MTC. It was so much fun! And super edifying. As for our loves, we have many. But that’s okay because we also have the forces necessary to be able to teach each one and focus on their individual needs, all thanks to the MEMBERS. Ahheemm…notice the key word People! So the work here is progressing and we are finding lots of new loves to teach as well. Our sector is BEAUTIFUL too. We have a lovely view of the Andes Mountains (I’ll attach some pictures for you to see). And I really have nothing to complain about here. My companion is absolutely amazing! I love teaching with her. We decided this week that 1.) God loves us and 2.) So does President Cook. Just because we really had lost the hope that we would get to be companions. She is leaving at the end of this change and last change she had just gotten a new companion, but the Lord (and President) love us and gave us the chance to learn from one another in making us companions. What a blessing! A much needed one.
This week I learned a lot about the importance of Knowledge; specifically in regards to the scriptures. Two questions came to mind in learning about this- First, Why should we study the scriptures? and Two, What does God expect from us as we study the scriptures? Here is what I learned:
The Lord has given us the scriptures so that we may increase in our spiritual and temporal growth (Notice that I didn’t just say spiritual: the scriptures have the answers to all of the life questions we have…just read them and you’ll see!) He desires that we might win or gain our salvation, but He also understands that we must desire that for ourselves too. Therefore, He has given us the tools that we need in order to learn and increase our desire to learn. As we ‘Feast on the words of Christ’ our understanding of the REALITITES OF ETERNITY are gained, our spirit’s grow and mature, and our personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is strengthened. The scriptures can become our daily nourishment and need, just as breakfast, lunch and dinner is a daily need. As we learn to cherish the lessons taught in the scriptures, we will be able to be ‘Anxiously Engaged in a good cause’ because they will edify us in a way that our minds will always be virtuous- and in thinking of doing good. But in order for us to have this enrichment in our lives, we must chose to pick up the scriptures and read…or like it says in the scriptures ‘Be agents unto ourselves’. No one will spoon feed us when we are hungry- we are all adults and capable. As we grow in knowledge, we grow close to our personal salvation and can help others walk closer to the path of their personal salvation as well.  So that is the key- we read the scriptures because that is the way we will gain our Salvation. Do you want to live with God again? Well, now you know what you need to do to get there.
Life is great here in Chile. I am learning a lot every day. I hope that you all can be thinking and doing the same. Les amo!
Xoxox, Hermana North
Picture 1: I spy the Elders

Picture 2: The Cajon de Maipo lake

Picture 3: OH SO obsessed with this view!

Picture 4: A cat casually sleeping on the chair in the restaurant- that would never fly in the U.S

Picture 5: I felt like we were eating in a tree house...oh yeah, we were!

Picture 6: Early morning shananagans

Picture 7: Santiago temple

Picture 8: GIANT carrots from the south- I wanna go there someday

Picture 9: President Cook and the mission president from the East mission, throwing rocks into the lake. Boys will ALWAYS be boys

Picture 10: We found sunshine and snow!
 Picture 11: Hermana Cook and my two other loves

Dance in the Rain

Wow! Where do I even begin with the details of this week. So much has happened! But let’s go in order so that it’s not so confusing, starting with General Conference this week! I have only one thing to say: Our general authorities are such spiritual bosses. Okay, that’s not actually the only thing that I wanted to say, but how true is that? I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for the opportunity to have the guiding words of such inspired leaders. I felt just the peace that I needed, as did all of our loves that came.
                There were many favorite talks on my part, but one of my most favorite (from my most favorite apostle) was President Uchtdorf’s on Sunday morning. He talked about how we can turn our bitter life experiences into sweet and even joyous opportunities. This talk hit home for me because as you people have known, I have been passing through a rough patch in my health. It can be really discouraging, and especially as a missionary. At times in our lives we don’t understand why we have to pass through the trials that we are faced with, and it might even seem unfair while we are passing through them, but the nice thing to remember in those rough times is that we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows exactly why. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows that it’s hard for us. He even knows that we don’t understand His reasoning.  But He also knows that those experiences can and will work for our good if we face them in the right way. It’s so necessary that we pass through trials in our lives. BUT, Elder Uchtdorf taught us that our trials can be sweet; they don’t have to be bitter. So how can we make our trials sweet? By being grateful! How true this is. I know it because that is exactly what I did as I faced (and will continue to face) my terribly long trial of health.  He taught us that so many times, giving thanks seems to be the trend after we have faced our experience…but why not during? The Lord requires our gratitude in the rough times of our life just as He does in the good times. And if we can learn to be grateful in the hard times, I promise you that it won’t seem so hard. The Lord is so generous! If we recognize His blessings in our lives, our trials will become sweet for us. And while maybe we won’t wish for trials, but when they come we will embrace them with faith and have a better perspec tive during them. He explained this with a beautiful metaphor, as he said, “How much time do we miss waiting for the rainbow, while we could be giving thanks for the rain.” I’m not sure how accurate that quote is because it was just what I wrote down in my notes, but you guys get the point. Life is beautiful People! And after we dance in the rain, we can enjoy the beautiful rainbow that always seems to be in the sky afterwards.
So I just hope that you guys had the opportunity to watch conference! If not, I’ll invite you to watch it, you haven’t missed it yet! Here is the link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2014/04?cid=HPSU040614654&lang=eng Personally I liked the Sunday morning session the best! But they were all SUPER J
Also, I have a bit of exciting news! We had CAMBIOS! And I am in a new sector called Poeta Neruda, which is in the city. I’m gonna miss all of the country quirks of Quimey (especially the cows), but I am excited for this new adventure! And to make things even more exciting, my new companion is Hermana Leavitt (the other one), aka my best friend in the mission. We have wanted to be compaƱeras for the longest time! And luckily for us, we are going to be able to serve together for her last change in the mission! Talk about perfect timing. We get along so well, probably because she is from California too! I just love her so! I could not be more pumped to be here with her, it feels like a dream! And according to everyone it is the best ward in the mission…Hey! That’s what they told me about Quimey too- but they were right. I’ll let you know how it goes here ;)
I love you guys! I really hope that you guys are doing well. Siempre estan en mis oraciones. Let me know if there is anything that you guys need. I am here for you guys just as much as I am here for my Chilean loves. Chao until next week!
Besos y CariƱo, Hermana North

Picture 1: Beautiful Autum skies

Picture 2: Blue Bell icecream...I forgot what real icecream tasted like! I ate it all in 2 days. No worries though because I bought a second pint the next day. So in love

Picture 3: The Godoy family (our reactivated loves)

Picture 4: My twin Catta :)

Picture 5: Hermana Victoria 

Picture 6: I hate packing! Too many thingssss

Picture 7: The Dominguez Cotraz family- never a dull moment with them

Picture 8: Hermana Denisse

Picture 9: Happy smiling faces after conference