Sunday, June 28, 2009

Elder Oaks



So this week has been pretty amazing. We´re seeing a lot of miracles in the sector here in Graneros!!

But I´ll start with the conference on Tuesday. Elder Oaks came and talked to our mission and Santiago East Mission. It was so cool!! One thing good about being a sister missionary is that we get privileges that the elders don´t (neener neener!). Out of the 300 missionaries that went we being sisters got the front row seats and center at the conference. My compañera and I were seated on the second row… and it was in a stake center so that is REALLY up close and personal. Elder Oaks wanted to shake hands with everyone but since there was a handful of sick missionaries he didn´t want to contaminate everyone so he had this great idea to shake elbows. Yes, shake elbows. As my turn came to shake elbows elder Oaks looked me straight in the eyes and said ¨Hello Sister¨. And I think I said ¨hola¨ or something like that. It was pretty awes. As we had seats so close to the front we were able to watch him greet every one of the missionaries. With every single one he would look them straight in the eye and would pull a goofy grin as he said hello. It was very entertaining this part… but the COOLEST part of the whole ordeal was the advice and counsel and spiritual motivation he gave. Before the conference I had been thinking about questions that I would like to get answered. Questions that had to do with the missionary work but also questions that pertained to my personal spiritual wellbeing. I wrote down my questions, being very specific with some of them. I was absolutely amazed at the results. I felt like he had read some of my questions and was answering them directly for me. I felt so blessed to be in the presence of this apostle of the Lord and to be so edified. I could really feel my saviors love. I know that the true church of Christ. It was all the more testimony building to hear from a true apostle of the Lord.

Yessíca and Leonardo Pizarro continue the same…excited for their baptism. But the GREAT news is that their daughter of 9 years has decided to be baptized too. This Saturday their whole family will be baptized and I am so excited!! It´s been amazing to see the changes in them. AND the have a little baby named Lucia that is 1 year old. She is the most adorable funny little baby girl I have known in my life. I think I will name my daughter Lucia… hehe.

The other Hermanas in the house had a baptism this sunday. His name is Domingo Roman and he is 80 years of age. His wife (83) got baptized 30 years ago and has been faithful ever since. She´s been patiently waiting for her husband to follow her into waters for 30 years and yesterday I have never seen a happier couple. Hna. Roman shared her testimony at the baptism and it was one of the most touching things I´ve experienced. She expressed her love for the husband and her love for the lord and the joy in her heart and it brought me so much happiness.

I think that my senses are all messed up because of the cold weather because I´ve been singing Christmas songs this whole week. It feels like the Christmas season and I forget that you´re all enjoying the heat. This last week has been especially cold and it will only get colder yet. Friday I got to experience the true beauty of missionary work because it rained and it POURED and the streets flooded and we all got soaked (even with our rain coats and umbrellas) and had to change our clothes half way through the day. Haha. It was fun… Speaking of Friday it was my birthday. I didn´t want to make a big deal about it so I didn´t mention it to anyone. Sure enough it came and went unnoticed by anyone. It was funny… but the following day my companions figured out and threw me a ¨surprise party¨ after lunch with birthday hats and cake and everything… ALSO today I received the package! Thank you SO MUCH mom and dad. I feel bad that it costs so much to send me a few things everytime, but it will all come to great use and I LOVE the pictures. Also it seems like Jessie hosted a letter writing party and I got an envelope of letters from my pals. The letters made me laugh a lot.

I´m so proud of Erik and Danielle and Cali for all of their big accomplishments these days!!

Today we had a sisters conference in the mission home and it was so nice to see all of the sisters in the mission and eat a lot of good food.

I am really happy to be here in the mission. I think I will be really sad when my companion leaves this change because I really like serving with her. It seems like every change (or transfer) gets better and better.

I love you all so much.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ugly Dog Contest!

Contestant 1

Contestant 2

Contestant 3

Contestant 4

Contestant 5

Contestant 6

Contestant 7

Monday, June 15, 2009

Familia Pizarro


Thanks for the emails, you´re great, really. No, really!

Things are going well here in Graneros. We are teaching a familia named Pizarro. Yéssica and Leonardo (and their daughter Kata, but she´s not usually there). I really like this family. They have a goal to be baptized on the 28th. Since they´ve known the gospel they have made a lot of changes in their life and are so happy and excited. It makes me happy to see them so excited for their change. Everytime I can see a change in the hearts of people I am so happy and amazed. It has become obvious that any change for the better that happens in a persons life is done through their faith in Christ and his power to heal. It all comes down to the atonement of Christ…when we can try to understand who Christ is and what he has done for us we want more than ever to do the right and love others. I feel so blessed to be here and to be learning. I feel like in my understanding of what Christ has done for us I haven´t even skimmed the surface. But I know that somehow he did what he did and made it possible for me to be clean and happy if we live his gospel. And that I can be happy forever. I know Christ lives today and loves us. I hope I can always be learning about him and striving to know him.

You mentioned Dad that I am close to my hump day in the mission. Am I glad, sad, mad? I haven´t actually thought about it much. Probably because it doesn´t seem like it´s so. I still feel like I am barely starting, just learning the ways, getting the hang of things etc… Get what I´m diggin chicky dude? But I´m happy to be here, I´m glad to have had the experiences that have passed and hope I can make the next part of my mission the best eva.

Sounds like you guys had a good time in Moab! When I went with my friends the last summer I liked Dead Horse Point too. I think it was my favorite part. I could look out forever on the beautiful creations of God. Like you said it is pretty incredible. We can´t even comprehend for a moment the power and love that God has for us. Men are that they might have joy. Amen to that!

As for the swine flu… I didn´t know that Chile has been hit the hardest. But the mission sends us emails like every week reminding us to do just what you told us. To be super duper clean, carry around hand sanitizer, wash up every moment we can and so forth… Don´t worry, we´re aware and being careful. You can rest your smelly little head tonight ;)

Good to hear Erik´s not going to take off to be a brave little soldier just yet. And good luck to Norm. My prayers will be with him.

I regret to say that I still haven´t gotten the package. I am sure it´s just fine though floating around somewhere in chile waiting to arrive in my hands. Like they say, belated birthdays are the best. I actually don´t think anyone said that, but… it´s okay.

Hna. Pinto, the other Argentinan that lives in our house tells me that my accent (besides sounding gringa) sounds like I´m from Brazil, or that I sound like someone that speaks portugese that trys to speak spanish… My companion concured her acusation. So that´s the word on the street these days. I really like the ward here in Graneros. I don´t know if I mentioned in my last email the the newly called Bishop is only 24 years old, but has a lot of enthusiasm for the mission work, so we get a lot of support.

Oh! And that conference that I told you about with Elder Oaks is going to be something a little different… He is actually going to be speaking with our mission and the Santiago East mission tomorrow in Santiago! I am so excited, it feels like Christmas! But this means that we have to get up at 5 tomrrow morning to make there with time to spare… ick. But Yay!

I love you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The smell of coffee... makes me want to eat toast!


Here I am in Graneros. I´ve been here a week and so far I LOVE it!! Graneros (like Machalí) is a really big sector, but the streets are more organized and it´s not as confusing (the directions). Right here in the city of Graneros and about 5 blocks away from our house is a Nestle factory. This means that the air almost always smells like coffee. They say that sometimes it smells like chocolate, but I have only smelled coffee. And for some reason it makes me want to eat toast. I don´t know why, I´ve never eaten toast with coffee, but it just seems like it´s what you would do. We live relatively close to a mountain range called ¨Cordillera Costal¨ and I´m already in love with the sunsets over the cordillera. It´s very beautiful. But we´re not in the mountains like Machalí so the winters aren´t as terrible….though the cold that we feel supposedly isn´t even the beginning. I found a nice cozy coat for pretty cheap the other day that will keep me toasty warm.

Yesterday we arrived at church a little early so I was playing around on the piano before people were really there. But the bishop must have thought that I played so he asked me if I would play the piano for the meeting because they don´t have anyone to play the piano in this ward. I told him that I actually don´t play, but just the top hand on a few of the hymns so he asked me if I would do at least that. I consigned thinking ¨how bad can it be?¨…. it was a DISASTER!!! I don´t think I´ve been so embarrassed in my life. At least the first hymn was disastrous, the other 2 weren´t as painful. But still kind of painful. But it must have been sufficient because Bishop assigned me as ward piano player. Shoot dog. This will be interesting…

I am really happy to have my companion. She looks like Sammy Lira (Michelle Lira Chestnut´s little sister…CONGRATS ON YOUR BABY SHELLS!!!). We are working with some really good families and I feel very content and happy to be here. I feel like I fit well with Graneros and I am really excited for what´s to come! Yesterday was the baptism of Ester. My companion also had a baptism yesterday at the same time so we weren´t able to travel to Machalí to see the Baptism of Ester. I thought that would be okay, since that´s just what happens sometimes. But for some reason I felt so sad Saturday night that I would be missing it , I just laid in bed and cried. I couldn´t figure out why I was crying, since her baptism is happy and all. It was probably a mix of being an emotional girl and because Ester has come so far and I just wanted to see her happy face on that day. But it´s good. I sent a letter to her today. I also sent a Birthday card to Danielle girl and an envelope full of pictures. Hopefully it makes it. I still haven´t gotten the package, but they always seem to take longer than letters.

Looks like you had a hip hoppin´ time in Vegas. That picture of you and Cal is hilarious! It worked well to send the pictures like that, you should do it more often. If you want to…

Oh! Elder Oaks is coming to Rancagua on June 16 (Dani´s b-day!)!!! He will be talking exclusively to our stake and another and we get to go and listen. I am really excited for this.

More next week…

I love you dearly!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bye bye Machali... Hello Graneros!

Thanks for the pictures!! And just today I got Erik´s graduation announcement. He´s so grown up! It amazes me how fast time goes and all the growing people do in such little time. And speaking of growing up… I got the pictures of Danielle and my mouth DROPPED. I don´t remember her being so grown up and womanly. What´s happening to my family? It´s a good grown up, but holy cow! She looks so beautiful…did she get hair extensions? Sheesh. It´s Bud, and Babe…but they´re big kids now.

Okay, for the news… I´ll start with Machalí. We ALMOST had the baptism of Ester yesterday. She arrived at chruch but told us that she didn´t want to get baptized that day because she had just started her period and that it was very heavy and didn´t feel comfortable being in the water. I know, ugh. I´m pretty sure it wasn´t a cop out, but it was all kind of anti climatic. But I am used to it now ;) ha… Nah, it´s okay. She´ll be baptized this Sunday. I wont be there to see it  But that´s another part of life, right? Yes, I moved from Machalí this morning to a place called Graneros. It´s a little bit north of Rancagua. I really am going to miss Machalí, but more than the city, the view, the streets, the dogs... I´m going to miss the people. It was heart wrenching saying goodbye to some of the members. They´ve been my family away from my family for the first 6 months of my time here in Chile. I really hated saying good bye and only told a few people in the ward because I knew I would have turned into a basketcase if I told the others. I´ll just be sure to write them letters from here on out. We had a lesson with Daniel and Ester yesterday and at the end took a few pictures. I don´t know if I mentioned that Ester has a kid. His name is Jordan and is 5 years old. Jordan was really sad that I was leaving and wanted to tell me yesterday that he had fallen in love with me, but was too shy. Instead Ester told me and Jordan gave me a big hug. It was probably the cutest thing I´ve seen yet.

So, like I mentioned earlier I moved to Graneros. We will be living as 4 missionaries again. It was really nice living just me and Hna. Muñoz the change before, but I really like living as 4, it´s a lot of fun. My companion´s name is Hna. Descalzo. She is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I know, the Presidente Resek must like me because he´s put me with really good companions! I feel so blessed. Also, in the house is Hna. Bartholemew, she was in my district in the MTC and also Hna. Pinto, she´s also from Argentina. I´m really excited for this change. I feel really good so far (even though it´s only been a couple hours), I feel like I am going to be really happy here with Hna. Descalzo. AND she´s a little bit taller than my other companions. Still shorter than me, but at least I won´t feel so giantess.

Mom and Dad I know you are very concerned about my well being, physically and spiritually. Don´t worry, I´m healthy (though I think I gained a few this last change, we ate a lot…) and I´m doing what I can to edify my mind and spirit. I wont be liar pants and tell you that it´s been all fun and games, but I´ve not ever been unhappy. The poopy times (there were quite a few) have been good for my learning and all I can do right now is look forward and keep feeding my soul with good things by learning and loving and serving the Lord. Everyone is different, I´ve realized that the missionary that has the language down to a point before his training is over and the missionary that has seen 4 baptisms in one change are not better of a person than the missionary that has struggled a little more along the way. Heavenly Father loves us all the same and is happy with what we can do and what we´re striving to do.

I love you so much, I am so proud to be your daughter. You´re all really swell.

Keep saying your prayers.

Chao for now.

Hna. Jones (Honez)