Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Changes...For the Better?

Hola familia!

First things first, happy birthday JOEY!! te quiero mucho y ojala que haces algo divertido hoy para celebrar. (I love you and I hope you do something fun today to celebrate).

It’s interesting... I always heard, and always expected that I would be changed on the misión. I anticipated some changes, but one thing that I NEVER counted on has happened... hopefully you guys can forgive me and accept the new me when I come home. Before the misión, I hated cats. They were the spawn of the devil, just ask Kim. Now, I am all for cats. Cats are amazing. I love cats. Cats don’t jump on you and try to bite your ear. Cats don’t try to eat you alive.

Backstory:  Sunday afternoon... Hermana Braithwaite and I are knocking doors on a hot, dusty dirt road about 2.5 miles from Futrono in a little part of our sector called Cuncun. I rattled a fence and yelled a lot. All of the sudden we hear growls from the neighbor fence and out dart 5 médium sized dogs snarling and barking. They charge straight towards us, teeth bearing. Quickly, we pick up rocks (I’m a pro at this now) which usually scares off the dogs... not these dogs. They only advanced more. Hna Braithwaite then pushed me behind her and began screaming at the dogs. One of them got ready to pounce and as it did, she kicked it in the face. I wish I had my camera... and we started walking towards them yelling. The dogs finally ran off.

But, it is amazing, the Lord works in mysterious ways. We decided we weren’t going to finish down that street and headed up another road we would have never gone up had the dogs not attacked us. We were half way up the street when they came charging again. But we were far enough ahead to be able to pick up rocks and pelt them with the rocks. We kept walking and knocked on another house and guess what!! WE FOUND A FAMILY! Yes, we only taught them once, but still! They were all there, let us in, participated in the lesson, asked questions, and wanted a Book of Mormon to read! We are going back to teach them on Wednesday. The spirit was so strong in the lesson and we could tell that they felt the spirit as well. I’m so happy!!

 I’m spending money buying warm jackets and stuff to make invitations to come to church and other activities that we are trying to have, so people will remember to come and when and where.

haha i need a cookbook! Everyone makes fun of me because I don’t know how to cook. They say it’s a good thing I’m white because if not, I would never get married...

We get an Ensign, don’t worry about sending me a conference issue, but thanks! I think we get to see General Conference live but idk... I still haven’t seen the Women’s Conference. We were going to watch it Sunday, but didn’t have internet...

Can you also tell sister Farrell thank you for her letter! I love the little notes and if she wants more ideas for finding and helping people, look in preach my góspel. There’s lots!

Hope you all are safe and sound. I am! ¡les quiero mucho! ¡tenga una buena semana!



Friday, March 25, 2016

Another Week Come and Gone

Hola Familia,
Sometimes you feel like you have no friends and even the dogs hate you. But not the fleas. The fleas will always love you. Lol I woke up to shower yesterday and found a flea crawling on my stomach...
I got nipped by a dang dog. We were walking into the house of a less active and her dog came up and bit my ankle. It hurt, but no blood luckily.
If you get bit, you have to go to Valdivia to get tested (for Rabies). But this is only if the dog draws blood.
Dude,  need more warm clothes... I did not bring enough. The stinky thing is they get wet and we don't have a dryer. Just a hot stove like at the cabin...

There are stores... I just don't want to waste a p day shopping... haha lol but yeah, next week I think is when I'll have to do it. WINTER IS HERE!! BRING ON THE RAIN!
Jaja these weeks are starting to mesh together. People we taught 2 weeks ago, I thought we taught 2 days ago. Not much happened this week... I got Hermana Braithwaite sick, but we are both feeling a little better now. Just have the back end of a bad cough.

This week we went to visit a member in the country and IT WAS SO FUN! We had to walk for a while to get to her house and when we got there, she was cleaning wool from sheep. We helped her take out all the sticks and bugs and helped wash it. Totally can cross that off my bucket list. I’ll send pictures. Her house is so pretty and the view is amazing.

Friday night, our neighbors had a fiesta. A thin wall separates us. They woke us up at 4 am, all drunk and screaming, laughing, singing, banging on our walls. We asked them to please stop, but when we got back into our house, they just turned the music up louder and began saying nasty things about Mormons. The last 2 days have been really hard because we didn’t get any sleep. Thank goodness for p day!

I can’t tell you how much I love my mission. Seriously. Out of all the places in the world, I love Futrono. It is such a challenge. Every day I have the opportunity to choose to be happy and look at the bright side. Every day I have the opportunity to come to know my Savior a little better and His sacrifice for me. Every day I have the opportunity to fall to my knees and beg for the strength and grace of God. I have learned so much about love, patience, and hope. I have a new vision of the person I want to be and I have more confidence in my Savior than I have ever had before. I have felt the spirit so strongly many times. I wish you could be here experiencing it with me. I LOVE MY MISSION

Have a wonderful week! I love you all so much and miss you like crazy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

This Week

Hola hola familia,

This week has been meh. But I guess it happens to everyone... some background info first: They construct houses here how I thought houses were constructed when I was younger. You stick a piece of wood in the ground, and then 3 more, and make a box shape and then throw some tin on top and you’re set to go! Its actually pretty cool, like camping without commitment. You’re safe, kind of, from the rain, but you still get your spiders, fleas, animals and freezing cold air... and slugs :)

We get a lot of visitors

Soooo Sunday I was out for the count with vomit and diarrhea. Fun. Then Monday morning I woke up and still felt sick so we had a chill p day. Then that night I wanted to work since we wasted a day inside on Sunday. So we went out and that was a mistake... Tuesday morning I woke up and my bottom lip was swollen but just in the middle. As the day progressed, so did the swelling and pain. Then that night, it began to blister. On Wed. I woke up and my lip was white, pussy and swollen. So we went to the hospital. Which, don’t freak, it’s not really a hospital (the closest is 2 hours away in Valdivia). But it is the only doctor clinic in Futrono.

So we go there and by a miracle we were able to be seen right away instead of waiting for 5 hours which usually happens. Haha this “hospital” was like those 1920 army hospitals in the movies. I was in one “room” and on the other side of the curtain someone was getting their hand stitched and on the other side of that curtain someone else was in pain. Anyways... the doctor comes in to see me. He smelled like he just finished smoking. And, without gloves or washing his hands, he begins to touch my lip and sticks his hand in my mouth, to check out the sore. Turns out a spider or something bit my lip while I was sleeping and it got infected... so he put me on antibiotics. That all would have been great except it has been super hot here and we walk everywhere and people aren’t very sanitary, so I came down with a really bad cold, headache thing... and that’s how I feel right now :) . I could not talk for a day because it hurt so bad, it’s better now.

Pero (but)... an awesome experience this week:

Hermana Braithwaite and I performed a special musical number for our rama (branch) yesterday. I played guitar and sang and Hermana B sang. It was awesome! The spirit was really strong. 

Speaking of music, I play each Sunday on a little keyboard for our branch services… Thanks Grandma Hess, I’m cashing in on all those lessons. We had stake conference and I was asked to play there too! Cha-ching. No opportunities yet to teach kids the keyboard… but looking.

We are working with a menos active (less active member) and she is progressing sooo much! It is amazing to see the power of the Atonement work in her life. When we found her, she was about ready to end her life. Now, FOR THE FIRST TIME, she went out with us, OUTSIDE, to go visit an investigator. She has changed so much! Yes, she still has far to go, but to see how far she has come, where she would sleep all day and hardly eat, now she is coming to church, talking to other people and COMING TO VISIT PEOPLE WITH US!!! We were sooo shocked when she agreed to come! Hermana B and I were smiling ear to ear as we left her house.

The power of the Atonement is real. I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and everything He has done for me. I know that this is His church. I know that although at times life can be really rough, I am so grateful for these experiences to prove my faith and to act and choose how I will handle situations. Faith without action is merely a belief. And one way we can show our faith is by our attitude. I am learning a lot about faith this month, and of the love of our Father in Heaven.

Hope y’all have a wonderful week! Remember, the Lord loves you. Keep doing what’s right. Blessings will come, I promise. The church is true. Read your scriptures. They truly are the key to winning at life.

Tenga un buen dìa! (Have a nice day!)  Les quiero mucho!! (I love you very much!!)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What a Week!

This week has been pretty great! We had a goal to have at least one lesson a day with a member present and we ALMOST achieved it,... faltamos (we missed) one day... BUT an awesome experience with that.....


Saturday: we weren’t sure who we could ask in the rama (branch) that wasn’t working that could come out with us to a lesson. As we were praying, we asked the Lord to help us and just as we said those words, our phone rang. We ended the prayer and called back. It was Hermana Laura, a 76-year-old convert. She said that she hasn’t been feeling super spiritually enlightened this week and wanted to go out with us! Talk about a milagro (miracle)!


We went to the lesson we had with a young mother named Paulina. Paulina doesn’t believe in God, but in December when Hermana Braithwaite and her other comp found her, she was depressed and without hope and willing to listen. Paulina then had to leave for work in the city for three months (very normal here since there isn’t a lot of work in the small town of Futrono).


Paulina just got back and so we decided to reteach the first lesson, about the restoration of the gospel. After talking with her a little and catching up, it was evident that Hermana Laura was here for a reason! Everything that Paulina was struggling with, was the exact same thing that Hermana Laura had struggled with before she got baptized. Paulina’s life was Hermana Laura’s life, and Hermana Laura was able to bear a powerful testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon in changing bad habits and addictions. 


Then, yesterday, at 4 am, I got my very own WELCOME TO CHILE fiesta, “Montezuma’s revenge” themed. Ya... our bathroom got destroyed. My poor companion... I am feeling a lot better today. My body still aches and I feel a little dizzy, but I can walk and I can work :)


Tomorrow we have cambios (transfers—every six weeks or so, some missionaries are transferred to a new area and a new companion)!! Crazy that my first transfer is going to happen. Although I know I’m staying here and we are 96% sure Hermana Braithwaite will stay too.


Have a great week, and you should study Ether 12 if you have time. it is powerful!


Kyle, Jake Joey, y’all need to write to me!


Love you!

We baptize in this lake, but in a different spot

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tantos Milagros (So Many Miracles)

Hola hola Familia!

Mom, to answer your questions: with the rama (branch), we are just doing our part, fasting, praying and working, and just waiting for them to want to become a ward…gotta love the gift of agency…our investigators with fecha (a date to be baptized) haven’t been completing their compromisos (commitments), so…we are studying Preach My Gospel (the missionary teaching book) Chapt. 11 for companion study this week (“How Do I Help People Make and Keep Commitments.”)

Fleas fleas fleas…the problem is walking because it is dirt trails and bush whacking, so…sufferer con gozo! (suffer with joy). The weather has been freezing and raining then hot and humid the next day…fall weather, but for winter yes, I will need heavy duty leggings. They don’t sell great clothes here, so please send me leggings J

The food is oil and grease…yum! They fry everything and put oil for salad dressings and other dressings…please send some veggies!

There were two days this week that were amazing!! Milagro (miracle) after milagro!

MIERCOLES (Wednesday)

We had a lesson with a woman. She works all day, every day, so we teach her in her clothes store. Milagro (miracle)—no one came in the 45 minutes we were teaching her. The Spirit was really strong. The week before, I felt prompted to tell her about Russell and how I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. Then on Miercoles (Wednesday), she told us that seven years ago her brother was shot and she turned to me and painfully asked how I found relief and acceptance with Russell. I could see the pain and grief in her eyes and wanted so badly to tell her everything that helped. It started out rocky, but I just spoke from my heart, because I wanted so badly to help her. I testified of the power that comes from the Book of Mormon, and attending Church, I testified of the Atonement and Christ’s love for us. The Spirit was so strong. After we left, I felt great, but felt that she might not have understood me, because I hadn’t focused at all on my Spanish. I was sure I sounded so bad. Then Hermana Braithwaite turned to me and told me that that was amazing and I spoke almost perfect Spanish when I was talking to Angela. Talk about the gift of tongues!

JUEVES (Thursday)

Today was a day of lateness—which is not good! We were late to every cita (appointment) because of a late bus from Paillaco (we had district meeting), and then we had to get on another bus in Futrono to go to Llifen which is part of our sector about 30 minutes away and that bus was late too. BUT the Lord works in mysterious ways. Because we were late to cita one, the girl’s mom was there and we showed a video that softened the mother’s heart and she talked to us. She shared with us her experience with prayer (in the last cita, the mom made it really clear that she hated us). Because of that, we were late to cita 2. We helped her take paint off her house for an hour and then taught her. Because we were late we were there when her boyfriend came home and we got to meet and teach him as well—nuevo (new) investigator! Then, we were walking to the bus stop to go home, and we stopped to talk to a woman and her daughters. When we told her we are also known as the Mormons, her eyes got big and she said that she had been looking for us for 20 years! She started taking the lessons as a teen but the people she was living with wouldn’t let her continue. Then she lost track of the missionaries and has been looking for them ever since! If we had been on time, we would have never seen her. Hahaha, now the fun part! By that time it was 7:45 pm. The last bus left for Futrono at 7…the members that do have cars (who could pick us up) were at work in the city, which meant we were about 20 miles away from our home. Time to make like the pioneers and walk! We got about 3 miles in when a bus, A BUS, came around the bend!! We were able to get on and ride the 18 or so miles to home. The Lord is mindful of all of us.

Other cool things:

We had a broadcast for all missionaries in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay. Elder Bednar spoke for three hours. It was amazing.

We have finally become a stake!! AND you know why? Because they only build temples where there are stakes! There have been a few apostles visiting sur de Chile (Southern Chile) to look for land. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A TEMPLE EN SUR DE CHILE IN THE COMING YEARS!!!!
Anyways...I love you all. Keep doing what's right. The church is true, read your scriptures.

the little yurt where we live

Chile hot tubs. they burn coals in the shaft and that heats up the water