"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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Out of the Comfort Zone- Where the Magic Happens‏

Where do I even beginning in explaining to you all about our week this week. Wow! So much has happened- miracle after miracles after more miracles. It did take me a couple of days to get over the fact that Hermana Leavitt was no longer my companion…but that was expected since she was my favorite companion. I felt bad for Hermana Earl because I felt like that crazy girlfriend that talks about all of her ex-boyfriends all of the time but she was very patient with me as I got over it. Ha ha. So we actually have found that we have a lot in common. Aside from the fact that we have served in all of the same sectors, minus Quimey, Poeta being both of our fourth sector (this morning we were laughing and reminiscing about our loves from San Miguel and Departamental…it made me Trunky for them). She is a Utah Utes fan. Supposedly I am too. We both love Wicked. She likes mate. I drink it every morning. And we both like to eat and take pictures of our food. We are getting along super well and like I mentioned before, we are seeing cual quier miracle.
Our week went like this: Our very first lesson together was on the Porch of a new investigator named Paulo. All of the questions that he had related to the Restoration so we shared it with him and he agreed to praying to know if it was true so that he can be baptized. The next day we taught Nancy (our amazing investigator). She has been reading the scriptures every day and has a new found love for the gospel and fasting- we taught her about the law of fasting last week and she actually did it! She said that she wants to do it again. She is going to be baptized on June 28th! When we invited her to be baptized, she said, “I won’t be baptized today or tomorrow…but very soon!” After we gave her the date, she said, “What do I have to do to prepare for my baptism.” The Hermana that was with us explained that when she was baptized that she would wear a white tunic and she said, “I have a white tunic, I can even donate it if you want.” She is super stoked on that now. We went with Joselin and Andres and gave them the Book of Mormon to start reading…later that night we passed by their completo local and she told us that she was already on Nephi chapter 2! That’s a lot of progress people! We ran into a girl named Javiera who thought that I was from Colombia. After talking with her for a while, she told us, “You guys seriously just fell out of the heavens. I have wanted to go to a church for a while now.” Turns out her and her family need a lot of help- something that this gospel can give. We found another new family through a random antiguo that I found in the Area Book. I didn’t have very much hope in it to be honest, but when we called “Allo” at the gate, the brother of the person let us in and we got to teach them the Restoration. Hopefully they will be able to continue to progress. At the end of our week we got to go make some visits with our love Monica. Sunday was her second day back to church in 2 years and she is already out in the streets with us visiting more people to bring to church. She is amazing!
The weather here is starting to change a lot! It’s freezing. And it rained and poured on Wednesday. But that was fun- I hope that you guys are enjoying the sun back home. It’s so weird that summer is starting over there while winter is starting here.
Xoxoxxo, Hermana North
Picture 1: The familia Caseres and Miguel y Omar. Just a group of absolutely normal people- Clearly.

 Picture 2: Monica Contreras- our miracle

Picture 3: Our first moments together

Picture 4: What's that? A hat? Thanks for the package mommy!

Picture 5: Bridges to cross the rio [river]

Picture 6: Divisions with Hermana Katirna (our less active member- two birds with one stone)

Picture 7: Juan bought me a ring. He is so great!

Picture 8: SNOW! its been so cold this week!

Picture 9: Hermana Pilar. One of the most inspiring and helpful members of our ward.

Picture 10: The sky just before it rained!

Picture 11: It's official. Im obsessed with the sky

Flying Time, Time to Fly, Time is Flying‏

Time surely does fly when you are having fun! How did a whole entire change already fly by? I feel like Hermana Leavitt and I just became companions and now she is only hours away from her flight back to California.  We had the best time together and I am so grateful that I even just got one change with her. We saw so many miracles in the short time that we had together. Unfortunately I only ever wrote in my journal like 10 times while we were together…because we talked way too much. We tried making the goal to write together on my bed at the end of the night but usually after about the first 2 minutes we would be reminded about something that happened in the day and then go off on a tangent until bedtime. So the most unforgettable time of my mission was left unwritten…but I guess that’s good then that it was unforgettable because supposedly that means that I won’t forget about it. Ha ha. It was great. Yesterday at church, everyone was asking me how I felt about having changes and asking me about my new companion. I told them that I was sad because I was going to really miss my love Hermana Leavitt  (she’s my best friend) and Hermana Orellana told me that if I didn’t like my new companion that I could fake sick and go to her house and she would take care of me. Ha ha! It made me laugh but it also made me feel more relaxed about the changes because it was just a reminder to me that I don’t have to worry or feel alone. With how much we have been able to work with the ward and the Hermanas I have been able to feel so at home in this ward- they are my family. What a blessing to have that because we all know by now how much I really don’t like change, even if it helps us progress. And even though I feel a piece of me is gone, I have a new adventure to take on now with my new companion- Hermana Earl. She is from Morgan, Utah. I don’t know too much about her yet, but she is very sweet and is a hard worker. That’s good enough for me for now.
                So because it was Hermana Leavitt’s very last week, we had the opportunity to go to the temple and spend time with President and Sister Cook- my other favorites. We also had a lot of last minute things to do so it was a loaded week. Although, not as crazy as I would have imagined. The Lord blessed us with a great week and lessons. At the beginning of the week we were able to visit with Monica. She told us again of how grateful that she was that we have been visiting her and giving her an extra boost to go back to church. She has been able to note a difference in her days as she reads the scriptures daily and prays. On Sunday she came to church for the first time in 2 years! It was so exciting to see her there. All of the Hermanas of the ward went up to her to hug her and I heard her tell them, “The lost sheep has found its way back into the fold.” She melted my heart. We also had a super great lesson with Juan about the sacrament. He had been getting to church late these past couple of weeks so we decided to motivate him to get there on time by talking about why it is so important for us to partake of it each week. We read the sacrament prayer with him and he committed to getting to church on time to be able to receive the blessings of the sacrament. Because his baptism was such a special day for him, he was also really grateful to have it as a reminder of the promise that he made with God. We also explained to him that once he received the priesthood, that he would be able to bless the bread and water on Sundays. When Sunday came around, He showed up in his suit and tie, on time and with a huge smile on his face. He told me that he had been practicing the sacrament prayer so that he could be prepared to bless the sacrament the next week! Again, my heart melted.  Then towards the end of our week, we met with a new investigator that we found knocking on doors a couple weeks ago. It’s a cute little family. Joseline and Andres and their little, Branjelli (4 years old). When we got there Joseline told us that she had been waiting excitedly all week for us to come and teach them. She said that they had been praying every day and that we need to start coming over more than once a week. (I’m down!) She even offered to give us lunch on Thursday. I love it when we meet people who are so prepared to receive the gospel. Who recognize how important it is- I’ll be sure to fill you guys in on these loves as they continue to progress.
                Hermana and I learned and taught a theme this week- Obedience. It was just what everyone seemed to need to hear. I learned something really interesting about this; that the reason that we have commandments to follow in life is because God wants us to be happy. Obvious right? So if we know this, then why do we make justifications in being disobedient to His will? God will never justify our disobedience, because he knows of how happy we will be if we obey. And He will never rob us of even just a small part of that happiness.  It’s that simple. We as humans are constantly making mistakes in the decisions that we chose to make. This happens because we cannot truly see the potential of who we can become and what we can have in life- Eternal Life.  The Spirit taught me a lot about this topic. Even though I am a missionary, there are always things that I can be better in, obviously. It motivated me to do better this week and to keep Gods perspective in my decisions.
I hope that you guys are finding those little things in life to make you smile.
Life is good. My last 12 weeks as a missionary start now. Oh Boy! When did that happen?
Xoxox, Hermana North
Pictures from Juan's Baptism Week:
picture 1:  Pancake breakfast with our Elders

Picture 2: All of us

Picture 3: A completo place named after me...or at least Danny's nickname for me

Picture 4: Look at all of the support he had to be ready for this day

Picture 5: He's perfect. Nothin beats that smile

Picture 6: The most perfect fairy tale family. I wanna be just like them when I grow up!

Picture 7: I love this picture! There are beautiful parts in the city, sometimes.

Picture 8: I may have an obsession with the sky. It's the result of walking arounds in the streets all day, every day.

Picture 9: The day before His baptism. We caught him shinning his shoes for the big day! 
Pictures from this week:
Picture 10: 50cm of yumminess. You better believe that I ate it all. The trick was just not to talk or take pauses- Hermana Leavitt and I struggled with that. haha

Picture 11: Pink and Purple skies

Picture 12: Our possy

Picture 13: The ward surprise party for Hermana Leavitt's last Saturday

Picture 14: Familia Casares

Picture 15: Our faithful companion- Evelyn aka Hermana South 

Picture 16: Lucas Orellana- the cutest little chilean boy that looks chineese

Picture 17: My last moment with my favorite companion

Picture 18: CALIFORNIA street. I wish it actually was California. The best is when people ask us where we are from and we could just say, "We are from California"- So united...but really, in everything.

Picture 19: I didnt actually ride it but it was fun to walk around with Hermana Orellana's bike

Picture 20:  Temple date

Picture 21: Hermana Maria Soto (Now you guys finally have faces to put with my stories)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

We scored this week in the department of receiving compliments from random strangers- I felt beautiful. So there is something that you have to know about the Chilean hombres here…they are sin verguenzas or have no shame, in telling a girl that they are pretty. Not really in a confident/ rico suave/ classy way, but mostly by yelling out or by giving a blatant stare kind of a way. At the beginning of my mission I didn’t really deal so well with that but now I am learning to accept the compliment and even laugh at some of the things that they say. I wrote down some of the things we heard this week just because this week’s compliments were extra entertaining (plus, being with a blonde companion calls a lot of attention to us, seeing that 99% of the people here are brunette):
“Congratulations, you guys are gorgeous” (Where is my trophy?)
“You three are fashion” (5 minutes later when he passed by again) “See, I told you you were fashion” (Good to know that I haven’t lost my fashion sense after being a sister missionary for the past 15 months).
“Hi. You guys are really pretty. You went over the top (se pasaron). You guys are the best.”
A stranger singing out to us, “I fell in love once again...” (I wonder how many times he’s fallen in love this week).
“Hi! My name is George….and my name is Oscar…” (As we walked through a crowd of drunken soccer fanatics- Should I count that as ‘dos nuevos’?).
“Look at those eyes, they are beautiful!” (a stranger from the micro singing to my companion).
Haha, you gotta love our latin “friends.” They are just too kind sometimes.
This week we had our first rain of the year! Which also meant less appointments. Usually when it’s cold and rainy no one wants to receive us. Out of all of the weeks that Hermana Leavitt and I have been together, this week for sure was one of the hardest weeks; teaching wise (Although it didn’t truly affect our animo- that’s what best friends are for). I remember there was a specific day where every plan A, B, and C appointment fell through at every hour. And all of our members were unavailable to come out with us. It was cold and rainy outside and we were running out of ideas of people to teach. We decided to say a prayer for a little extra help from the man up above and we went on our way.  Right after our prayer, everything turned out in our favor. We called a young women from our ward and her mom, Maria, (who is our super awesome investigator) picked up the phone. We ended up just asking her to come out with us and she automatically said “Yes” (1 point). We told her that we were going to go meet a new inactive Hermana named, Monica and she ended up knowing where she lived already (2 points). When we got to Monica’s house, she came out with a not so excited look on her face, We introduced ourselves to her and then when she saw Maria, she got super excited and let us in (3 points). We ended up having a super spiritual lesson with Monica and her son Jonathan. They told us that they had stopped reading their scriptures and basically everything else for over a year. They committed to reading their scriptures and coming back to church when she has work off. (4 points). Then at the end of our lesson when Monica offered a prayer she said words that melted my heart, “Thank you for sending my hermanas over tonight. I realize now that I really do need them, even though before I didn’t think so” (5 points). Then she asked us to come back two days later, which hardly ever happens, they usually make the return appointment for a week later  (6 points). I could not have been more grateful for the willingness of Maria to come out with us too. If it had not been for her then we never would have gotten into Monica’s house. She was the answer to our prayers….and she isn’t even a member! It ended up being an absolutely amazing night. But wait! Things just keep getting better. When we got home to plan, Hermano Orellana (the 2nd counselor in the bishop rick) called us and told us that he was outside of our house to deliver something that his wife had made us- Sopaipillas pasadas aka my absolute favorite! (10 points).  The Lord answered our prayer and then some that night. I felt and continue to feel so blessed.
In a reunion that we had with President this week, Hermana Cook shared a lovely poem, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, that I thought went super well with the theme of this week; with the rain and all:
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; 
It rains,and the wind is never weary; 
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, 
But at every gust the dead leaves fall, 
And the day is dark and dreary. 

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; 
It rains,and the wind is never weary; 
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past, 
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, 
And the days are dark and dreary. 

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; 
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; 
Thy fate is the common fate of all, 
Into each life some rain must fall, 
Some days must be dark and dreary.
I especially loved the ending. It made me think this thought: Rain must fall so that we can enjoy the green grass and fresh air that it leaves behind. If the sun shinned all day long, then we wouldn’t enjoy “LIFE” that raindrops bring- think about it. So we should never be discouraged on dark and dreary days because, as one of my best friends always reminded me, after the darkest night always shines a beautiful and bright dawn.
Peace and Love people J xoxoxoxo, Hermana North

Picture 1: Missed this Hermanita

Picture 2: Cafe Rio! Hermana Cook spoiled us

Picture 3: Nice attempt. My craving finally has been fixed

Picture 4:  Checkers on a Rock! The hidden gems of Poeta Neruda. It's my favorite game, even though I've never played it on a rock.

Picture 5: Blueberry muffin from the famous CastaƱos- oh so yummy!

Picture 6: Soccer Monday...everyone is a baller except for me. I've always just been better at watching