Friday, June 24, 2016

Equally Yoked

Hola Familia!

It's hard to write in English. I haven't spoken it or had a conversation with someone in a WHILE. The language is almost second nature now. I can understand a lot and can talk fluidly without thinking. 

I’ve learned a lot this week about patience and charity and a lot about "practice what you preach" aka humility :)

Not to get too trunky.... I want to talk a little bit about something I’ve heard all my life.


Duh right? I remember many FHE lessons and discussions that talked about this. It’s obvious right? Yet before the mission, I didn’t give it much thought... yeah, yeah, “marry a guy who has a strong testimony and get married in the temple.” Happily ever after.

Here right now, with this cambio, I testify of the importance of marrying somebody who has the same level of conversion as you do.

Como dice el título (as the title says), we need to be equally yoked. My comp and I are not equally yoked. It is so hard to focus on teaching and following the Spirit when He is not invited because of the actions of your partner. It is really hard to be obedient when your comp doesn’t want to be and you have to be with her 24/7. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to be obedient when you have an eternal comp that, for example, watches TV on Sunday, or doesn’t study his scriptures every day.

I’m not sure if this makes any sense, but I hope you guys will be able to learn for yourselves the importance of choosing someone who is as converted as you are. We must be equally yoked or someone is going to be miserable... 

Umm.... some things that have happened... Our house has mold in the bathroom and in another room.  *Thanks elders* We have to move houses, which means that while we are walking and knocking we have to keep our eyes open for houses for rent. Hopefully we can find something this week. We also have to talk to our landlord about the contract and make a new contract with the new landlord once we find the house. Our landlord is a member and the missionaries have been living here for 15 plus years. I’m worried that she is going to get offended... 

Hahaha so this Sunday, we were listening to a talk during Sacrament meeting and a woman of 50 years walked into the room and sat in the back. A few minutes later she stood and raised her hand and shouted, “I have a question!” Hahaha one of the priesthood leaders escorted her out to answer her question. Apparently she is a member of another barrio but goes around to all the wards and does this. She’s crazy. 

Other than that.... we had intercambios (exchanges with other missionaries) this week and was awesome! I hope I’m comps someday with my hermana leader because we got along soo well. It was a great break from everything and I felt so relaxed and happy for the first time in a while.

Keep reading your scriptures. Keep going out with the missionaries. Keep loving like Christ.

les quiero mucho!!!

Punta Arenas

I was near Valdivia 4 weeks ago... now I'm near Rey Felipe... crazy


all the pengüins were at the end of the dock...

surf's up!

looking out at Tierra del Fuego. Antartica is to my right

The Strait of Magellan

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Week 2 in Paradise

Next Monday we are going to see the penguins!
Sorry that last week I didn’t write much... I was really stressed out with everything and had a really rough 3 days with my comp :) 

Out the plane window

Some cool things about Punta Arenas:

The sky is still blue. The Strait of Magellan is right across the street from me! So cool! And there are a bunch of islands on the horizon. One of them is the Isla Tierra del Fuego. Torres del Pine, a world wonder is 4 hours south but it is really hard to go for p day, so.... in a year!! It snowed last week but melted out and now it’s just really rainy and cold. The sun rises at 9:30 am and sets at 4 pm. It is dark by 4:30. It’s really strange because the sun just sits on the horizon throughout the day and never gets high up in the sky. We can see the Southern Cross, a constellation that we can’t see in the states.

Punta Arenas
Plaza de Armas. If you touch the foot of Magellan, there's a high chance you'll come back to Punta but if you kiss it, its guaranteed :)

We live in an igloo, and three days ago, our bishop was ice fishing and got eaten by a whale. He’s the 5th to go in just this month. The killer whales are migrating so there are a lot of them that are on the hunt for food. Apparently every year about this time this happens...

Just kidding.... :) we live in a casa and no, our bishop didn’t get eaten by a whale. The killer whales are farther south. 

comp y yo

... 2016 called... they don't want bangs so I'm growing them out

These elders are in our zone. I’m the only gringa, and there’s 4 other gringos

Our casa is pretty big. We have our main "living room" and our bedroom and another room for storage and a bathroom. However, our heater is only in the living room and it is like Grandma and Grandpa's heater so, every night we pull out our mattresses and sleep in the living room where it is warmer.

We have to shut off the heater at night though because it is gas and there have been 3 deaths in our area of people that slept with the heater on and the fire went out and they died of carbon monoxide poisoning. It stinks because we get home at 9:30, sometimes 10 p.m. and can turn on the heater until 11 when we go to bed. Usually the living room is still freezing. The sleeping bag was probably the best purchase ever! I have a new respect for the pioneers. Honestly. When we wake up, we can see our breath. 

The alarm clock is by my comp. One morning, it had gone off for about 1 minute and my comp wasn't moving at all. I had a moment of panic that maybe my comp had frozen to death. But no, she just didn't want to crawl out of her bag to turn it off. We listened to the alarm for another 5 minutes.... I don't know how the pioneers did it. Yes it is sooo cold at 9 pm in a skirt with 3 pairs of leggings on and 2 jackets, a scarf, beanie, gloves, and 2 socks and snow shoes. The pioneers had none of that. I am so grateful for the legacy of faith and hope that they left. They are my heroes. 

In the beginning, I was really miserable. But with every passing night, I am starting to understand the convictions that they had to leave everything. I am starting to see the vision that they saw. we had a powerful lesson a couple days ago.The Holy Ghost was so strong. I felt like shouting to the world, "I KNOW THAT THOMAS S. MONSON IS CALLED OF GOD" I felt the Holy Ghost testify to our investigator the truthfulness of my words. I'll happily spend the rest of my mission freezing cold if it means that I can help this one family come unto Christ and be dressed in white 4 times: baptism, family sealing, endowment, and marriage sealing. 

one of our investigators

she made us a Persian dinner. In her country they eat with their hands so....

I have learned sooo much this past week. It was rough and still is to go from a comp that never really talked to a comp that won't shut it, a comp that lived the "letter of the law" to a comp that lives more the "spirit of the law". I testify that God answers prayers. He is always with us, in every situation. He will give us the strength and patience that we need. I have learned a lot about charity this week too and how merciful is our Savior. I testify that He lives. I testify that He knows us by name and knows our struggles. I know that He loves me. 

btw... I think I am going to have a huge culture shock when I come home... Futrono was a small pueblo. Punta is a bigger city and I felt soo uncomfortable at first. 

Some things that I forgot existed and are still a little weird to me: stop lights, paved roads, a chapel, supermarkets that have everything you need. We don't have to go to the fruiteria to buy fruit and then the verduria to by veggies and then the carniceria to by meat. It's all in one place! So convenient. Washing machines. We have one in our house! No more washing clothes by hand!

small world... Hna Olson. We were on the same soccer team at BYU-I and did outdoor activities together. She ends her mission this cambio

I got a call last week from some hnas in my old zone. they told me that Hno. Telmo passed away last Saturday...

We have a ward of 50 members and a chapel. It's really nice. I play the piano.

Have a great week! les quiero!

Hermana Hess

I'm in love with chile grafiti


Friday, June 10, 2016

It's All a Lie

Hola Familia!

Well... 6 hours in a bus and 3 hours by plane, traveling with 6 other elders and I am here, at the bottom of the map! Haha not going to lie, it is not what I expected at all. I thought it would be little rustic pueblos and mountains and beautifulness with icebergs and penguins....  like in the movie 180° South, but instead, Punta Arenas is a huge city, trashy.

Patagonia is like 4 hours away and it’s against mission rules to go…BUT the Strait of Magellan is literally across the street from me! Sorry this is short...

My new comp is Hna Torres, a Colombian. She has just 6 weeks left in her missio. We are in a whitewash area which means that there were Elders the cambio (transfer) before and now it's us. We have no idea where to go, who are the members, less actives, and our area is one of the biggest areas in Punta... it's really tough, but I testify that God answers prayers.

There are 6 other hermanas here and 20 elders. They are all latino and all are super close because they have been together for 2 or more cambios.

Bad new, while at a member's house their cat attacked me and scratched me all over and my skin started to swell... guess I'm still allergic to cats.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ode to Futrono

Hola Familia,

We have cambios (transfers) this week and guess where I’m headed!! Down under! At the bottom of the world. Yep. I’m going to Punta Arenas aka PATAGONIA!! This Wednesday I’ll be on a plane to Punta Arenas. Right across from freaking Antarctica. Joey will finally get his pic of a penguin. Goodbye rain, hello snow... and I thought it was cold here....

I’m like melting in my seat right now. Too bad there are a ton of rules against climbing and hiking.... if you’re at the airport in one year to pick me up (crazy that I’ve already been on my mission almost 6 months now!!) and I never get off the plane, it’s because I never left Chile:)

This week, we got a call from Cristina, the daughter of Hermano Telmo (the ward member dying of cancer). Cristina said that we needed to come quick and sing to him because he was really bad. When we got there, he didn’t even realize it was us. He was in so much pain and barely breathing. All his kids where there with their families. The veil was really thin and I could envision the angels that were next to us, waiting to welcome him home.

While we were there, it was really emotional for me because I kept getting flashbacks of Russell’s death with everyone in the hospital and at John’s house. Although it was really hard, it strengthened my testimony that the grave has no power over us. Thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ, we are saved from the pains and sorrows that death and separation bring, if we live our lives according to His will.

I don’t know how Hno Telmo made it through the night, but he did and he is a little better, which is also really worrisome. I am going to miss singing to him every day and teaching his daughter. She was my first real investigator here on the mission and is almost ready for baptism. She has chosen a date but is waiting to tell us.... she like surprises.... :)

The prisons here are also very overcrowded and 3 weeks ago they let over thousand people free. 15 of them are here in Futrono.

On Saturday, we had a lesson with a woman that just got baptized 2 months ago in an evangelical church. It was our second lesson with her and we were talking about false prophets when she turned to us all serious and said, "Hermanas, you guys need to be careful. My pastor told me that there are 2 men from the prison, dressed up as women and are going around preaching a false doctrine of Christ. They are knocking on doors and trying to get into the houses of people. My pastor said not to open the door to any two men dressed up as women. You guys need to be careful when you are out walking at night!"  

hahahaha thankfully she had no idea that her pastor was talking about us. Hna Meléndez and I weren’t sure if we should laugh or be offended....

It’s been a great 4 1/2 months here in Futrono. I have learned so much about the type of member that I want to be and the type of member that I never want to be. I have grown to love the people and have gained a better knowledge of my Savior´s love for me and the patience that our Heavenly Father has for all of us.

My only wish for you guys at home is that you take your calling seriously. Magnify them. Help lift those around you. There are so many hard members here and it is for lack of taking callings seriously. Especially visiting and home teaching. They are such simple callings yet sooo vital to the doctrine of Christ. If everyone would do their home and visiting teaching with more intent, with more love, with more conviction, if everyone could really be friends with the families and people they are over, I’m certain that we would have a big ward here in Futrono.

I am so grateful for this chance and for this time that I had here in Futrono. It took all of me and all of my faith and trust in the Lord to learn how to be happy here. I am going to miss this challenge. We are so blessed to live in an area where people actually do their callings. I want so badly to return here after the mission and live here for a year, teaching and devoting all my time to help strengthen the members. 

Sorry this is so long... if you made it to the end, high five for you!

I love you all lots

les quiero!

Next email will be in paradise!