Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And one more.... makes three!!

Today there are transfers. I am sure you know what I was expecting... and it didn`t happen. In fact there are a whole load of things that Heavenly Father still wants me to learn with Hna. Motta, my last transfer in the mission. She actually leaves this transfer too so it only made sense that we would be changed. But instead, another sister came and we are going to be in a threesome. Our new companion is named Hna. Magalei from Orem Utah, but she is polonisian (how do you spell that?) she is very pretty, big, and she is HAPPY and bubbly and easy going. It will definitely be a challange being in a threesome, but she has already been an angel for me in these last 2 hours. It is definiely not what I pictured my last transfer in the mission to be like, buuuuut, when do things ever work out how we expect? This scriture is my goal: ¨let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God , and for his arm to be revealed.¨ D&C 123:17. So I am hoping for the best, willing to keep working my best and I know things will work out.

Jairo and Monica went to church again yesterday. I love them so much. Though Monica and Jairo understand that to be baptized, they need to get married. Well, Monica told us once that she is not very happy with Jairo and is thinking about breaking up with him...because she wants to get baptized so bad!! Though we`re cheering on the marriage because Jairo is such a good person too, I just hope they can make a decision where they both are happy.

We are also teaching a young woman named Javiera. She is a friend of a member and the girlfriend of another member. She is so sweet and has a beautiful cheezy smile. Though she has had a rough/rebellious past and is trying to stop smoking. Though she is making great progress! We can see a change in her countenance and the other day she took out her lip ring and hasn`t put it in since! Bacàn, huh?

So along with getting a new companion, this morning we moved out of the Wengreens apartment and upstairs with the other sisters. 2 of them left to live with other sisters in another area, but still close to their own area (I feel bad about kicking them out... but blame the earthquake for eating our home). Though we live with Hna. Jackson and Hna. Black. Remembe Hna. Black? She was my ¨daughter¨ in the mission... so that`s really nice to be back with her. My desk to study is right next to the window and I am going to like sitting with the window open catching the fall breeze and listening to the hustle of busy Rancagua below. I like our new location :) It is still quite far from our area, but we take taxis there and sometimes the elders take us in their car since we share an area. So that`s nice.

I lately am finding out a lot about how much the lord will strengethen people in their trials. I am so grateful that I am not on this journey alone.

So do you have your food storage updated and your emergency backpacks ready?

I love you,

Hna. AL

Tuesday, March 16, 2010



Wow, I just want to say that I am very touched by all the prayers and concern from everyone for the people here in Chile. I don´t doubt that they are being held up by everyone's prayers. Especially those who have lost loved ones.

You asked about the temblorcito (little aftershock!). It wasn´t that bad. Though my companion and I were knocking doors at some apartments when it hit. It was actually kind of comical because just minutes before everyone that we talked to told us ´NO´ so we moved on. When it started to shake my companion and I ran out from under the buildings and wires and waited it out and so did everyone else (it wasn´t that long). The woman that told us seconds earlier that she didn´t have time ran out with her two daughters a bit scared, but ran out right along side of us. So, what did we do? We started talking to them! And then they listened to us (they didn´t really have a choice) but they invited us back to visit again. It´s true what a few people have said, how all of this could make the people a little more receptive. This week we have found a lot of people. Normally we find between 10 and 14. This week we found 24 people that listened to our message. And some of them are doing very well! A few of them even accepted the invitation to be baptized, so I am really excited to continue teaching them. I really hope we can see real progress. I feel like there is so much potential. So many people ready for the gospel and are even more prepared than ever now to receive the message so we are doing our best to get to them and help them know the great joy that comes from experiencing the atonement. I really do have that desire and I am praying a lot that we can find these people and that they can progress.

I have learned so much from Ernesto this week! He is doing so well. He wanted to show us the other day some of the temporal blessings that he has received since being a member of the church. Before he has always been a little poor, hasn´t really had a lot, very little food. But said, ¨I just want you to see something¨ and he opened up his kitchen drawers and fridge and showed us a whole load of food and food storage that he has bought. He said that this last week a check suddenly arrived in his mail from the government that he wasn´t expecting and he was able to buy a food storage. Before he said he barely had anything in his kitchen but thanks to paying his tithing and being obedient he recognized his blessings. It was awesome!

It´s true about the blackout here. I think it hit a good part of Chile, not just Santiago because it sure hit here! It was about 9 o clock pm, but we took off in a taxi as soon as it hit so we got in safe and sound. It was kind of fun, we got home and then went up to the sisters that live above us and made French toast in the dark (but with flashlights).

Rory asked if they were going to re-locate missionaries. Sure enough, tomorrow there are a handful of missionaries that were going to go to the Concepcion mission, but they will be arriving here instead. I think one sister missionary is coming in today too.

Today we had a sisters conference and I learned a lot of wonderful things. Though when president addressed us, he asked me on the spot to translate for him (there are new gringa sisters in the mission so they needed a translation) and that scared me more than the earthquake I think, but I was able to translate everything just fine :) I was surprised at how easy it was ;)

I met Sister Kelly Rasmusson this week, she seems to be doing very well! You can tell them that, mom :)

I got an envelope from Rena Peacock with letters from the achievement days girls the other day and it was so cute! Tell her thanks. Also if you could tell Bishop that the 9th is just fine to speak.

Aaaand, yes I know the Elder Canaan. He was my district leader once. I think I heard from someone that his dad is kind of famous in the music scene and that wouldn´t surprise me because Elder Canaan is a music buff too.

This next week there will be transfers. I think also we will moving in with the sisters that live above us. That will be nice. The Wengreens are wonderful (sometimes she makes cookies, other times brownies) and I have really enjoyed conversations with Sister Wengreen, but I think they need their space.

Everything is well. We are able to donate a lot of things to people, but other than that we haven´t been involved in too many service projects. The places that really need it are far from our area. I really wanted to get down and dirty re-building houses and what not… but that will all come. There is other work to be done :)

I am doing well, thank you for loving me so much. I love my family like a fat kid loves chocolate.

Sorry if I forgot something…..but CHAAAO!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Get your food and water storage!!!

Okay, before i forget, I`m gonna answer your questions: Cali, no, I don`t know those people… sorry :( How do you know people from Machalí? Mom… I still don`t know Kelly Rassmussen. When I left she went to the area San Fernando, and I was in Guadalupe, but in the city of San Fernando. They are two areas in the same city. So she lives in the same house that I lived in. I know that she is with Hna. Pastrana from Colombia. And Hna. Pastrana is INCREDIBLE. So she is in very good hands there. Hna. Olson wrote me a letter once to tell me about how things are going down there and she commented that Hna. Rass is having a hard time because she was sick in the MTC and didn`t learn any Spanish so she feels really behind. But she said that Hna. Pastrana is helping her a whole lot. But I think that`s normal in the beginning of the mission. I am sure she will be just fine. We have a Sisters conference this next p-day, so I should be able to see her then.

I`m sorry if my last email scared you, I was just thowing in the details… oops? But everything is okay, please don`t worry. It`s been an interesting week! Presidente was very hesitant in letting us go out and work in our areas so until Thursday we could only visit members and the people that have dates to be baptized. That means that we had a lot of down-time… not been able to do a whole lot. As for the service we`ve been able to help a little, donate a few things, but we can only participate in organized service projects in the branch. There are a handful of families still living in the church, but the branch has really come together to help them, they are in good hands. Luckily Rancagua hasn`t been affected as much as another part in our mission, though our area has been the most affected of the Rancagua areas. The missionaries in the south are doing a lot more service as it was hit a lot harder. Though those in Concepcion obviously are not well. I am still amazed that not one missionary in all of Chile was hurt in the earthquake.

We`re still living with the Wengreens. They are taking care of us just fine. Though I sometimes feel bad because their apartment was already small for 2 people and now we`re 4 people and I feel like we`re kind of cramping their style. But they are being so patient with us being in their home. We have to travel a lot farther to get to our area (far enough that we can`t walk) So we`ve been able to hitch a ride from either them, or the assistants a few of these days and that`s been nice. They are working on looking for another home, but right now that isn`t their main concern, so we just need to be patient for a little bit more time.

As I said we had a lot of down time, so one of the days we went to work in the office! It was awesome. The assistants have been on the phone non-stop this whole week so I said (not seriously) that I`d help them out with the phone calls. So the Elder handed me his phone and said ¨go for it.¨ So I got to call all the zone leaders in the entire mission and get some info from them and write it all up in the computer. It was pretty funny because a handful of them thought it was a joke. But it wasn`t. The best part of it was when I got to call my old district leader and be the boss for a minute. Ha. JK… or am I… It`s been an interesting week. Sadly, it seems like the earthquake just made my companion more irritable and without desires for the work. That`s probably been the hardest part of the whole thing.

But the really good news is that Jairo and Monica (the sweet black Colombian couple) went to church yesterday!! Throughout the entire sacrament meeting Jairo just cried and cried. He said he ¨had pain being there¨ Because he is very sentimental and felt overwhelmed and obviously felt the spirit in the testimony meeting. But he LOVED it at the end, participated in the classes and left happy with a handful of books and magazines that the members gave him. Monica didn`t say much about church, she just sat quietly and took it all in. It worried me a little bit because she has been the more receptive one in the lessons. But when I asked her how she had felt she said that she had felt a peace and tranquilidad. It was pretty awesome. We are going to have a FHE this week with another family that live close by. They understand that they need to get married, but they are still missing a few documents to be ¨legal¨ in Chile. So the process will probably be a long one, but they are great anyway and make me really happy :)

Bueno, thanks for everything I love you all so much. I am sending a happy birthday letter to pops today so I hope he gets it.

One thing I wanted to make clear last week but forgot is: GET YOUR FOOD STORAGE UP-DATED!!! It really came in handy, and I don`t know what the situation would have been like if the missionaries hadn`t recently updated the food storage. Don`t wait, just do it now. Spend they money, make the effort, but get your food storage. One thing too that would be nice is to always have a backpack maybe under the bed with food, water, and a change of clothes and underwear and a pair of shoes. And a FLASHLIGHT. Those are the things we needed. It seems like we did that once a long time ago, but now`s a good time to update everything.

Welp, I hope this week goes well

Oh yeah… Cali, thanks for your email!!! I love you too! are you working at the Journey then?


Hna. Jones

Monday, March 1, 2010

Earthquake in Chile

Okay, first of all thank you for all the prayers and concern, I love you all so much!

Second thing. .... the earthquake.... I don`t really know where to start or what to tell you because all the details in these last couple days would be enough to be here all day, buuuut I`ll just give you the run down starting with about 3:34 am Saturday morning.

I woke up with my companion saying ¨Sister, it`s shaking!¨ And sure enough it was, so I threw myself on the ground and Hermana Motta too (she sleeps on the bunk bed above me) We huddled down and all I had in my mind were those emails that mom and dad have sent me weeks and months ago about earthquake saftey so we ducked down by the bed ready for the worst. My companion started to freak out and started to take off so I got up to pull her back down on the ground but fell down doing it because it was shaking so much so there we sat huddled up against the bed and we prayed until the earthquake stopped. I am not going to lie, I was just waiting for the building to come toppeling down on top of us because we`re on the first floor, though it`s only a 4 story building. I kept thinking that it wasn`t real, it was so weird. So we got up, and of course there isn`t any electricity but we couldn`t find our cell phone or keys and that got me more panicy than anything but we found them and went out side.

There were people walking around in their underwear or bedsheets just dumb stricken for what had happened. The building looked okay, and it didn`t seem that bad. It looked like the people were okay too, just a little shaken up (literally!). We sat outside for a good while, not really sure what to do. And we were tired so finally we went back in and were going to go back to bed (I Know, that`s probably the dumbest idea ever but we obviously weren`t thinking. Just tired) But we only were inside for like 10 minutes when we hear at our door ¨!Hermanas!!¨ It was a member and his son that came looking for us. He told us we definitely should NOT be in the apartment but to come with them and sit with their family at a pavilion that was close by. I brought my blanket and pillow because I just wanted to sleep. So we went there and passed time with his family. It felt really nice to be taken care of. Though I felt just SICK because in the apartment in front of the office lives the elderly couple missionaries on the 5th floor, the 4 other sisters on the 9th floor and the assistants and the office elders on the 13th floor. I thought if it was bad for us, it was a nightmare for the others missionaries. And even more so I felt sick for Concepcion. I know a couple elders from my distrct in the MTC were there and all the other people that are there. It hit us I think about a 7, but as you all know it hit Concepcion at about 8.8.

So we were there for about an hour when the Elders came looking for us. These elders are the assistants to the president, but don`t live in our area because they live in the center in front of the mission office. But they have a car, so they came looking for us and we took off to another chapel and stayed there with a handful of other missionaries and members. It was nice to be with the other sisters in the mission. So there we sat in the dark of the chapel talking and waiting and talking and waiting... every once in a while we would feel a little tremble of the afterquakes. So it got light and from there they took us to the apartment in front of the office. The 5th floor there had a been a little damaged, glasses broken, on the 9th floor there had been a good deal of damage, and on the 13th floor it was a MESS. The book shelves were dumped, the washing machine was tipped over and everything else was pretty bad. Though no one got hurt. The elders said ¨it was pretty rockin on the 13th floor.¨ But the word from Presidente was that we all had to just hunker down in the aparment. Everyone came in the apartment of the Wengreens (the older couple) And there we were pretty much all day. He didn`t want any one going out. The assistants were with us the whole time, so we too heard their cell phones ringing and they were calling every 2 minutes to report that they were okay.

At this point I didn`t know how bad it was and for a long time they couldn`t get ahold of some missionaries and that was scary. The thing is here in Chile all the houses are build kind of crappy. and there are a LOT of older mud brick houses. Those are the ones that had the worst damage. There were a couple elders who lived in houses like that and their house is completely broken in half. They are staying with members and being taken care of, but that`s the worst of them. I am so grateful that everyone is okay. We finally went back to our house to grab a few things because President didn`t want us staying in our apartment just yet so we grabbed the essencial over nighters and took off again. I have to tell you, we are the MOST lucky/blessed hermanas in the mission I think because we were able to have contact with the office and the elders. We went to the office and finally they had internet and so that`s when I wrote you.

We also checked out the news on the internet and I felt just sicker and sicker. I don`t know the news today but as of yesterday they haven`t hardly had any communication in or out of concepcion. It looks like it got flattened. And the Tsunami that hit it is worse. You all see the news so you know how it is. The biggest concern for the office elders at this moment was trying to contact the families of a few missionaries that live in concepcion. It broke my heart because the elders from there kept calling in looking for word from their families. So we need to pray a lot for of course EVERYONE but for them in especial.

SO the next day we went to church not knowing what kind of meeting they were going to have, but we got there to find that there are about 10 families that are camped out on the lawn at the church. The thing is the apartments where we live are the worst built and everyone was ordered to evacuate them. Turns out that the foundation is totally screwed up and now it`s not safe to live. They are going to demolish the apartments. It was quite the sight to see our apartment in day light. Our apartment is built with brick but all along the brick there are huge cracks and I can even see the light of outside through one of them. Our window broke and our stuff got dumped, but that was all that happened. But I feel bad because for us, that is not a huge deal, we`ll just hang out with the Wengreens until they get something figured out. That wasn't our home, they are not our families, but for the people that live in that neighborhood it was everything. All along side the apartments are people camped out in their tents. What are they going to do? I have no idea. I feel so bad for them, for the members, for the people. The neighborhood from what I can tell has about 40 or 50 apartments buildings, so that`s a LOT of people suddenly without homes. Though I am so grateful that everyone is okay.

It really wasn`t that bad in Rancagua. It started in Concepcion, and I feel like the real damage just jumped Rancagua and hit Santiago bad. I know the big question is what in the world are we doing to help. I would like to know the same thing! Though the wards and branchs are in contact with the missionaries if they need help with their members, but it looks like our branch has everything under control but there are a lot of other people that don`t. So we`re just waiting for the word from President. He hasn`t wanted us to go out and work yet for various reasons, but we`re just seeing what we can do. Though having such close contact with the assistants we`ve been able to help a little in the office and we`ve bummed around with them a little bit dropping off food for missionaries that didn`t have their food storage. It`s crazy, about a month ago the pres and his wife ordered us to get a water and food supply. Right now our building doesn`t have water, but the office does so we`re just going to the bathroom and filling our water there. I think it`s like the only building here that doesn't have water, so the conditions aren`t bad. Life is going on as normal. Though we`ve driven around town a bit and we`ve seen quite a lot of those brick buildings where parts of the walls have crumbled down. I have pictures of everything, but on one of the elders camera ( I didn`t have mine with me). So I`ll get pictures out later. And a WHOLE lot of other details, but that`s the gist of it. We went and packed everything up and we`re staying in the apartment of the Wengreens right now so we`re okay. But I hope we can get some good service out there right now. But for now I hope that everyone prays like crazy for the people in Concepcion. My time is waaay up. But I love you all so much and don`t worry, just pray a lot for the other people.