Thursday, February 25, 2016

Blessings and Trials

I LOVE my companion! She's the best comp ever! Literally. I am so blessed to have Hermana Braithwaite as my trainer. She wants to work and loves working hard and for the full hours.

I'm in Valdivia today. We need to buy rain boots...winter is coming. Haha, it literally rains sideways here...

This week has been amazing! We are going to have 2 baptisms and I am feeling more confident with the language. Paso a paso (step by step). I can feel your prayers!

This week, the Hermana leaders came for intercambios (exchanges) on Friday, and it was awesome!!

(Editor's note: there are Sister Missionaries who help lead and train the newer Sister Missionaries. They visit the Sisters in their different areas and teach with them and give them effective teaching tips and ideas.)

My trainer and I have been running out of ideas of what we could do to help and teach and the Hermanas helped a ton. The next day, mi comp y yo (my companion and I) were determined to put into action what we learned and decided to literally talk to everyone, not just a hola, but a conversation.

We talked to 76 people, taught 3 lessons, invited 3 people to be baptized and 2 SAID YES!!! They wouldn't commit to a date, but they promised to read, study and pray! We also have 11 new investigators.

With all the hard work and going out of our comfort zones, I testify that the Lord does work miracles in you. but in order to do so, you have to act and not be acted upon. There is a great talk by Elder Bednar entitled, "Ask in Faith." (General Conference, April 2008).

I have learned a lot this week about talking to people and leading a normal broke Spanish conversation into a Gospel teaching discussion without them saying, "I'm already evangelico, bye," I have also learned a lot about how much we need the members to function.

So.....your homework for this week: GO HUG THE MISSIONARIES (if you can) or give them a handshake. Thank them for all they do and ask when you can go out and teach with them. We need the members to come and teach with us! Without the members, our investigators and converts will have a hard time adjusting to church and Mormon life without a true friend.

Missionaries are full-time teachers, you and I are full-time finders. Invite everyone to talk to the missionaries, or invite them to activities. You will never know what will happen unless you ACT.

We were created to be agents unto ourselves. Merely praying for help and waiting is not enough. We need to pray, as Joseph Smith, with a determination to ACT.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Pictures next week! I love you all and thank you for your prayers. I can feel the help. Mom, Dad, Kyle, Jake, Russell, Joey and everyone else! I love  you so much and not a day goes by that I don't think of you! Be strong and ACT!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Lord is my Strength

Hola Familia!
Your questions, Papa—the language has been a real struggle for me this week. I want so badly to understand what people are saying so I can start actually talking to them, not just smiling and nodding and pretending to know what they say, then fearfully looking at my companion when it appears they have asked me a question.

Oh—can you look up some awesome hiking trails anywhere between Non Tuela and Llifen? Gracias!

It’s interesting here, what is normal, like the food, the weather, dogs on the streets and … fleas … I’ve had fleas off and on for the past two weeks. I got them after visiting an investigator. It was really sad, their kids and baby were covered in bites, but it is normal.

This week was another difficult week…the language is coming slowly…everyone is on vacation until Marzo (March), so we did a lot of door knocking and contacting. Haha we asked an older lady that was sweeping if we could help her and she said no. We then told her we were missionaries and asked if we could share with her a message about God, she said, “No, sorry, I’m deaf,” and slammed the door…

All of our progressing investigators dropped us and most of our appointments fell through as well, which was really discouraging.

The members are pretty new in the Gospel here and the culture is so different. We get members calling us for the most unique reasons, like one called us because her cat was acting weird and she wanted us to come help her with it.

With the members being somewhat new in the branch there is a need for guidance and help, and I want to help them so badly. I just can’t. I don’t know the language well enough and it’s not my job to be a counselor. There are so many vices that afflict our little branch. I want to help.

I know I need to be focusing on the positive and look for the miracles and there are a lot, but I just don’t feel like I am fulfilling my purpose if I am not teaching. We walked a lot this week too and my feet are starting to be a problem. Usually by 8 pm I have to sit for about 15 minutes to rest them and I feel so guilty for it.

Everyone is on vacation and don’t have time to listen to us…and there are so many drunks here it’s ridiculous. Yesterday we saw a guy passed out in the front of one of the saloons from drinking so much.

Yea…it’s just difficult because this month is vacation so no one really has time or wants to listen and have the missionaries over right now.

But enough of the bad, I want to share an awesome tear-jerker with you guys about faith:

There is an 86-year-old member in our branch. He is slowly, painfully dying of cancer. It is so sad to see him struggling, but he walks to church every Sunday and is there every week without fail. Sometimes he only stays long enough to take the sacrament and then stumbles home. We went to visit him yesterday. In the conversation, he told us how lonely he has been. His wife passed about nine years ago. His children come long enough to cook him breakfast, lunch and dinner and clean but then have to go to work or watch children. When asked why he comes to church every Sunday when it is evident he is in so much pain, he told us that he wants to live with his wife again forever. He’s tried all his life to keep the commandments so that he can. Keeping the Sabbath and going to church is included. He said that he has faith that struggling to go to church to partake of the sacrament and becoming clean from his sins will make all that possible. It is heartbreaking to see this broken old man, and know there is nothing I can do to relieve him of his pain.

But, the Lord is my Strength. I have received so much strength from the other side. I know God is aware and that it can only get better from here! Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.

Love you all!
My Amazing Trainer--Hermana Braithwaite!
chopping wood for a widow in the branch
We live in a yurt-like hut in the back of the pink house

so beautiful here!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fast and Ye Shall Receive


To answer your questions Dad:

Our Momita is a member of the branch, the water is safe to drink but tastes weird—I’m getting used to it though, there is a lady in the branch that does laundry for us, but we have to wash our whites by hand.

…we don’t have a car, but we take the bus to neighboring towns in our sector (I’ve gotten sick all the times on the bus because we are usually in the back, but I’m getting better! By the end of my mission, I should be cured of carsickness. It is all so fun, because the bus seats about 30 but there are usually 45 to 50 people jammed in, sitting or standing super close. It’s fun…especially when it is 90 degrees…and smells great J)

We DO have hot water but it is off and on…I met with President Obeso once on my first day for about 5 minutes, but  I have an interview with him tomorrow in Paillace. There’s about 30 active members in the branch and about 150 less active…of the 30 there are 5 Priesthood holders, which makes it really challenging. Especially because most of them are recent converts and are still trying to learn the way to do things.

Oh! And there is a guy who is from Brazil in our branch and only speaks Portuguese. It sounds like a mix between Spanish and German and is really difficult to understand him. Our house is about the size of our kitchen and our shower is half the size of Dad’s portable camping shower (which is super small). It’s tiny.

We have three new investigators and have seen a lot of miracles with people changing. But a lot of them have decided later that they don’t want to change right now and it is really sad. It is also hard to find a lot of people because it is summer right now and Futrono is a tourist town. Just about everyone we talk to says that they don’t have time to listen because they are on vacation or going to the playa…

This week was probably the hardest yet since I’ve left home. We had three awesome days where we found people and did service and helped a lot. And then we had three really hard days of 90 degree weather, lots of walking, lots of rejection, and most of our investigators didn’t have time to complete their compromisos (commitments like reading scriptures and praying to know if they are true), or time to talk…it was really hard but this scripture helped me out: Hebrews 12:9 and 14.

Funny moments: a little girl never saw blue eyes before and when she saw mine, she jumped up and grabbed my face and just stared into my eyes for a good three minutes!

Anyways…time’s up…so much to tell LIt is hard because I only get one hour to email and have a lot of people to email, including the mission president (BUT DON’T STOP SENDING EMAILS!) Sorry, I didn’t have time for pictures! Next week, I promise!

Send me more pictures and videos of all you guys, but make them like vines (6 secondish).

Oh, and Mom, when you and Dad sent me the picture of you guys at the Redlands Temple…YOU WERE WEARING MY JACKET!!!!

Love you all so much!

Monday, February 1, 2016


Well, I am here in Chile!! And WOW!!! I love my area, Futrono. It is beautiful. A mix between Idaho, New Zealand and Utah. Lots of rolling hills, groves of trees and farms. There are also a lot of dogs and cats that roam around the streets. I learned REAL fast that if a dog starts baking at you or charges you, just pick up a rock. It scares them off.

My companion is Hermana Braithwaite from Oregon and she is AMAZING!!!! She is dedicated to the work and loves it. We already have seen so many miracles here. We are in a branch of 30 strong. And yeah, it is weird, well, just a different culture and it will take some getting used to…

They look to us for a lot. We have so many responsibilities that shouldn’t be ours and it is a bit frustrating at times because we should be teaching people, but instead we have to do other things…haha, but it is great. Everyone calls me Hermanita (little sister). 

In our sector, we have Futrono, Llifen and Non Tuela. We travel a lot. Futrono is a small town, like half the size of Rexburg, and the other two towns are even smaller. (editor's note: I couldn't even find Non Tuela on the map, it's so small...) Each are about 30 minutes away from each other by bus. We walk everywhere and my feet were really swollen the first two nights but are better now.

The food is good…although they literally cook everything and eat everything with oil! My arteries are going to be in trouble by the end of my mission…but it’s worth it!

Jeez, no time!

We are teaching some twins how to read right now. They are nine and in school but the teachers aren’t great and the twins don’t know how to read.

Something funny, we were in a lesson and I invited the investigator to be baptized and her daughter (who is a member of our church but doesn’t come very much) started, not yelling, but raised her voice at me and started talking super duper fast. What I got out was that I can’t ask her mom to be baptized because her mom doesn’t know if the church is true. Haha, pretty intimidating, because it lasted for like five minutes! But in the end her mom said yes she’d be baptized, once she gets an answer!

Dang I wish I had more time to tell you all the miracles that are happening. (We visited a woman and invited her back to church. She wanted nothing to do with it. She hadn’t been to church in four years. Two days later we testified to her about the power of prayer and she said she would come back to church!)

They talk SO fast here!! And don’t complete their words…it’s a fun guessing game trying to understand what everyone is saying. I am definitely learning patience! I can understand when they talk fast if they say words I know, which I am happy about. I can usually follow a conversation semi-well and my talking has improved a lot. The Gift of Tongues is real!

Oh! And mom, my trainer, it was her companion that got bit by the dog! Moonboots!

Anyway…she is the best. I have learned so much from her already and we both love to work. I am so blessed!

We live in a small casa (house). It is one room, just like a yurt! Seriously, future house right here! We have a “mamita” who cooks lunch for us. Breakfast and dinner is on us.

I love it here! Everyone should go on a mission! I’ve never felt so nervous, worthless and happy! Haha, it sounds weird but oh, I am so grateful for the person I am becoming.

Love you all!! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Work hard, help others, serve God! He is real! Les Quiero (I love you all)!