Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Autumn in Patagonia

¨Vamos a hacer algo extraordinario¨ (Let's do something extraordinary) -Emma Smith (first relief society mtg)

Happy anniversary of the Relief Society and the 1st week of the Chilean ¨Autumn. ¨

We celebrated it with a sweet relief society activity and a crazy 4 days in Coyhaique and Aysen.

In the activity we talked about the first relief society meeting. There is a quote that talks about how they were a ¨small and diverse group of dedicated woman.¨  In the first meeting they had 20 woman- we have literally half that, but nonetheless a group of dedicated women with a whole lot of heart!

Also, intercambios (exchanges) were rocking. I was with Hermana Ventura- from the Dominican Republic and Hermana Laguna- from Peru! It was cool because in the beginning of December I had intercambios with them, then I have been helping each week from the phone and it was sooo cool to be with them one on one yet again! It sweeeeet how much they have grown and how confident they are. Love.

We are really good friends. First, we went to Aysen and rocked it rain style. I forgot my rain boots in the sister’s house in Coyahique but the girls in Aysen had an extra pair from me. Pink cheetah print. Ha-ha, I was the happiest 6 years old.

But, we really worked hard. After the 24 hours I felt really good with what we did. We specifically had one lesson that rocked. It was with a 23 year old kid who had been preparing for a misión then fell off a little. We had the lesson with the institute teacher and taught about how the book of Mormon is guidance for our lives, like the Liahona. Super powerful. Love. Also it was just fun with Hna V. Including lots of street lessons and I had to break into the house through a window in my pink cheetah boots and skirt..... (But ha-ha no stress it was her house! we locked the keys and cellphone inside. :) ) ha-ha oh boy...always an adventure with Hna Ball. Shoot.

Then we bused off. Well first, ran blocks and blocks like crazies in the pouring rain and watched the bus take off with out us. Then bused off :) to Coyhaique. This week was crazy. We literally ran everywhere. And had to eat in the bus or not eat. One of those crazy weeks.

But Hermana L is a rockstar. I know when I have intercambios with her we are going to work! And we worked hard. Had a bunch of crazy great lessons, almost killed a cat, ran to lesson to lesson, and had a bunch of little crazy things. 

Example 1- going to a lesson with contacts from the Street. Teaching them both, then setting the next appointment. Asking then whom they knew who we could visit-- then immediately visiting the person who they told us, finding him, teaching. So cool. It was one of those intercambios where we literally worked our buns off all day and entered the house with less than 2 minutes before it was curfew. So good.

I love working with the sisters. They have so much excitement and such strong spirits to just work. It’s exciting and every time I leave on a spiritual high. It was cool because president challenged us to be ¨real friends¨ to love and all, but to give it straight. Which is what I did, we got real and it rocked.

It’s hard traveling so much, being out of the sector. But so stinking worth it. We did the math; I have now slept on a cold floor for almost the equivalent of a month. And I absolutely loooove it.

Also in Coyhaique, I got mail for the first time since forever. Like 3 months or something. Christmas cards! Woohooo! I got 4 letters from gma ball, and 2 packages from gma ball (where she scored. happy dance scored. love) and 3 postcards, one from dad (love the photo. my companion was all. who is that? looks like I’ve changed a bit... :)), Kyle and Emily Jorgensen. Also 3 letters, a valentine’s card that was so cute from mom, one from the familia kujanpaa and one from Elder Bobby Alger.

Then the craziest 4-hour bus ride back. SMASHED. Ha-ha the knees are purple and blue. Not love. But love.

It sometimes is hard to get out of Puerto Cisnes into the "real world" because I forgot how fast and crazy and progressing and "successful" missionary work can be. My companion and me had one of "those" moments where we both felt it. I asked her how she felt, really felt, about finishing her misión and all. We both ended in tears as she explained a little and I explained a little, not frustration, but on how I have been here for months and we have almost nothing. But then I started naming off the miracles we do have in the branch. And that’s where we are. We really have seen a huge change here. It’s humbling to work so hard with investigators and have no progress. But it’s rewarding to see a real change in a branch. Just little gems--

We started with zero and now have a Ward activity every other week. We started them off, but now each week a different organization takes a turn.

We have gained confidence with every family and can see it. We have also entered a members house that before, no. And we are seeing a huge change.

We had our bible class, but now we have one of the members teaching!

We have our Ward misión leader who is taking charge in Ward council and really involved.

We have a less active that had now returned and she now is a teacher in the primary.

Hermana O is progressing so much and loves her calling.

And when I started naming of these little things all we could do was smile, give a quick hug and give a prayer.

I love this branch so much.

We have family V. Converts. They are the first members here in gold ole Puerto Cisnes. They brought the church here, worked with 3 misión presidente to get missionaries and then for 16 years he was the branch president and for a good time the church was in their home. She is whom I am giving English classes to so she can work in the temple. And she is our new bible teacher! (And their daughter M. who I give wood chopping lessons to and is starting to leave on visits with us!)

We have Hna A. Convert. She is so darling and sassy and cooks a killer pizza. She has 2 daughters in the church. Really the church is made up of her family.

Hna O and Hna C. Converts. Our old papitos and our misión leader. Rock stars. Literally give all they can for us.

Hna V and presidente A. Converts. Great family. So chill. We had Christmas with them. They really guide the branch here.

Hna N. Convert. Sassiest. My new best friend. Makes me laugh so hard. I sent home a photo of our fhe (family home evening) yesterday. So good. She has set me up with her 8-year-old son so we can be family for real.

Then we have family S. converts. I went with them to bosque encantado. (Enchanted Forest)  They are great. He takes the church serious and I love it. Studies more than anyone I know here and she are really down to earth.

Then we have my little gems.

Hermana T. Convert. She is yes or yes, darling. We read, cook, sing, study and do it all. She is the president of the relief society and a true convert of the heart.

Hna O. Convert. Who is rocking it. She is my grandma great here. Cooks the best bread and gives the cutest smile before her prayers.

Hermana B- convert.  Our mamita. She is my grandma. So kind hearted. Cooks the yummiest beans. And gives the biggest hugs.

Hermano U. Lives alone. His daughter studies far away but when she is here we are working with her. She is so cute and 16 and a member! He is the Ward secretary and a hard worker.

Then lastly Hermana E. She is who has returned. Works a lot and has a very strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. Also always has the warmest fire in her house.

And now you know Puerto cisnes.

I can´t wait for you to get to know them for real.

Well family. I love you. Bye. xoxo

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