Monday, July 14, 2014

The island of opportunities and pink cows...

Hola Familia! 

What a week, what a week!

Ok, this week was crazy- the best part was they shipped us off (literally we had to take a boat!) to this island that doesn’t have missionaries and we spent the day introducing the gospel by just knocking every single door and street contacting. It was amazing! This island is crazy, like the Amazon in parts and the beach and so, so beautiful. I´m so frustrated I didn't take more photos- but Google Isla Corral, Chile. 

First, it was so fun to boat over because it was Hna R's first time in a boat! What?  So obviously I had to pull all these jokes and do the tour thing, it was so cute! My favorite of the jokes was pointing and yelling to her ¨Tiburon!¨  Which is shark- oh, poor little thing almost lost it, ha-ha. 

But when we got to the isla, we divided up and I had a member for a companion for the day- she was adorable! Recently returned from a mission in Brazil and it was sooo good. So when we divided up the group I snuck into in the group with the Elder who was over everything and knew a little bit about the isla- because I knew the group he’d be in would be the hardest to get to or the farthest and I was correct! It was the craziest adventure- we were literally weedwacking to get to these little huts of houses waaaaay far up in the island. 

He gave us one name of one contact who (in his words) ¨lived in this part of the isla- good luck¨  So we just talked with everyone to find our Hna Rosa. Everyone was so receptive because they have never has missionaries and most had never heard of our church- We just had a backpack full of Book of Mormons, poster art of the church, folletos (pamphlets), pass along cards, everything and just shared it all! 

We knocked one door and found one lady who was a member! When we knocked on the door she was soooo excited and invited us in for a ¨sandwich¨ haha, which turned into a full feast of all the food they owned. It was so darling and she just kept thanking us and thanking us and was so excited to have a sister missionary in her house, a real representative of JesuCristo and thanking God and prayers of gratitude. It was very humbling and one of my favorite experiences here in the mission. We shared the scriptures and helped plan a reunion for the church to gather in her house for us to invite all of the investigators we met that day. When we went to leave we gave her an artwork of JesuCristo in the expiacion (atonement)- and she was so excited and so grateful. If only everyone had the faith and love this sister had!

We taught so many lessons this day however, my favorite was with the granddaughter of the Hna Rosa who we were searching for.  We were talking with her and there on the doorstep we showed her the Book of Mormon and explained how today we have the word of God, from the ancient prophet and people here in the America's- with all the good stuff. Then we read the 2nd last paragraph of the introduction and I just testified of the Book of Mormon, of my experience and the spirit was so strong. This girl has been prepared for this and we were all crying and we gave her the book- and she went to pay us, but when she found out it was a gift, so sweet.

Everyday I love being a missionary, but some days I feel like I truly am a missionary or have a ¨real missionary¨ expeirence.  And this day, especially this lesson was one of those. 

We were hiking back down for the night boat back when we were walking and I see this cow. And I stop to just stare because it has all these little things on the stomach and doesn’t have any utters and is a weird pinkish color. So, I am literally am just in awe of this cow and I’m like "Hermana! This cow!" And then it turns... and it was a PIG! The biggest pig I have ever seen in my life. Just this wild, huge, fat, crazy island pig. And get this.. I was literally so shocked I forgot to take a picture because we were laughing so hard. Oh, I am so mad. But just imagine it. 

Let me see what else happened this week. 

Oh one of the girls in our ward left for a mission this week so we headed over to her house for one last lesson with her friend who isn’t member, we ate completeos (best) and help her for the mission! Its so crazy to think that was me only months ago! (On Saturday I finished 5 months here is Chile!)

Oh, in the other sectors we have a mommasita who we eat lunch with every day but here we eat lunch with the members every day! It is sooo cool. I am getting to know and have such darling relationships with them so fast. And one day a week we eat with the stake president and his wife, the relief society president. I love this lunch! Always full of so much love, inspiration and laughs. This family. Gold. 

We also did a lot of service this week- and got to wear jeans for the first time in months! It was so cool. But we cleaned the house of this lady who should have her baby today! Love service, love new babies, love jeans. Love. 

This week alone we had 16 lessons with member! We have been working like crazy and went from the last 2 weeks without hardly any lesson at all to this. I am so, so, sooo grateful for this sector! 

But one day we are heading over to have lunch and we enter and usually it’s just us, Hna G (grandma) and P (16 yrs. old, and my best friend here. Stories to come. Oh I love this girl) but we enter and the table is full of people! And Hna G explains "oh sorry, we´ve got a full table today! ¨ (1 inactive and 4 non members) and were all.. "Ooooh no problem." It was amazing, such a casual lesson, that was just natural- One of my favorite lessons of the week. We were able to correct a lot of wrong ideas about Mormons and share the scriptures and just chat about the church and our lives as members for about an hour. So receptive and so good. 

I learned a really great lesson this week about being strong in my belief. It had been a bit of a rough day- we hadn’t entered a house, and no one would talk to us or share with us in the street. And it had been hours in the rain- but we talked to one man who seemed interested. He talked about how he lived with his wife and 2 daughters (16 and 21 yrs.!) (Wooohooo a family!) And how we can pass by this week. But right as we were about to leave he abruptly asked- ¨do you believe a same sex couple is a family?¨  And this took us back because here we never talk about same sex because it really isn’t common here. But we both just stood for a minute and I started with the whole (not wanting to offend him because he was so kind and we really, really have been praying for a family.) "We believe that our purpose here on the earth is to have families and learn how to return to live with God."  When he cut me off and asked "but is a same sex marriage a family?" And this is when I just said, (a little hesitantly) "No. That the law of God is for a family, a man and women, to have children and teach them his law." This is when he smiled and explained, "exactly, thank you, our purpose is to procreate and it’s impossible without a family." 

Which I was again taken aback because I expected to lose him once I explained our belief. This was such a wonderful experience for me because I remembered I need to be strong, I need to explain my beliefs and if they become offended it's ok. (be strong and all but be kind and courteous...)  So this is my new goal- to be strong in my belief. 

Also, we had intercambios (splits with other missionaries) with the Hermana’s. Crazy experience- so a couple days ago I contacted a girl on the street- who turns out to be a member preparing for a mission right now! So we gave her a word of advice and a little excitement and headed off- but in the intercambio she lives in the ward of the Hna and she left with us to visit investigators! Crazy coincidence. But even crazier is the day before the intercambio her family moved to a different part of Valdivia... which just happens to be in my sector! I am so excited to work with her and salir (leave) with her and teach and help her prep for her mission! I love how Heavenly Father is aware of all of His children. How He knew we needed help in our sector and how she needed help to prepare for the mission!

Then yesterday we had intercambios with members for the afternoon- I left with the stake pres. wife, Hna V, who is the pres. of the relief society It was so wonderful to spend hours just compartir (share) with her. I love this ward- they are so focused on the work!
Our little house here in Valdivia
Also, I think I found one of the reasons I am here- P. She is 14 year old, so dear and sweet, but a little bit on a hard spot in her life. She reminds me a lot of me at 14 years old. We have had 2 lessons with her and she is so beautiful. I am so excited to see her be happy in the wonderful, wonderful church!

We had a family home evening and we watched a video of the apostles baring testimony of Jesus Christ. I love the apostles and I love listening to them, and the spirit they have been bearing testimony. Then to finish the video and have the opportunity to then bear witness of him, to share my testimony after listening to these inspired men was so dear. I love being a representative of Him, of bearing testimony of Him in all I do. I love this experience and this opportunity to be a ¨Hermana¨

Elder Holland has this gem....

¨He missed the opportunity of a lifetime, because he didn't seize it in the lifetime of opportunity. ¨

This is the plan for today, then for this week, then the next week, then forever. To seize it. To live it right now. Because for me, this truly is the mission for me. And I LOVE it!

The church is true! 
Hermana Pelota (Ball)

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