May 19, 2014

Week Twenty-Two: Ánimo Girl

We had a Noche de Hogar with a menos activo lady that taught us how to make this dessert thing ... it is basically fluffy egg whites floating in this delicious custard. Yuuuuuuummmmmm.
Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Peterson

Dear familia,

Heeeeeeey from Frutillares!! Actually, Hermana Peterson and I took a trip to Concepción ... so it would be more accurate to say HEEEEEEEY FROM CONCE! :) I am glad that things are heating up in Waynesville, Missouri (literally and spiritually)! I saw the date yesterday ... it was so weird to think that school is almost over there. And that people are growing up and getting older. Man ... it's like a time warp here. I have no concept of how things are in the real world ... but that's okay. I am actually pretty content to be working constantly (rain or shine!) here in Chile.

This week was a little bit hard ... but not at the same time. I don't know how, but there is this spring of constant ánimo that I have that protects me from feeling heartbreak and sadness with rejection. We started out the week after talking to you guys and I was soooo excited and ready to roll. Like I told you guys over Skype, Frutillares has been struggling a little bit with people accepting our teachings. They hardly even let us in their doors. But at the beginning of the week, we made a goal to get ten news and to exercise faith that it would happen.

We worked hard this week. We contacted. We taught more. We worked with the members. And as I write to you, this week was actually pretty great ... it's just a little frustrating in the grind of day to day life. The thing is ... this area is dying (at least, that is what Hermana Peterson says). Since Hermana Harris has been here, there have been baptisms, but there hasn't been a lot of investigators progressing. Because I was just thrown into the midst of things, I don't know exactly what happened, but everyone is just tired ... except for me. I have been able to see so many miracles and so much potential here in Frutillares ... so much that I am willing to work myself to the ground to see success here and to revitalize the people here. I think that this ánimo is something that I have been blessed with on the mission so far, and I am going to use it to the best of my ability.

Can I just tell you how grateful I am that you (Mom and Dad) are such wonderful members of the church? Holy guacamole. You wouldn't believe HOW MANY ex-missionaries, ex-branch presidents, and ex-stake presidents are in the branch boundaries of Frutillares that are inactive. We go to visit them and they say, "I can't have a calling ... I can't do this and this and this ... Es que (it's that) I have to rest. I've done my time." That is the most frustrating thing for me right now. For them, they justify their inactivity with their super activity in the past ... and it is so hard to see this. They want their kids to go on missions and to be strong members of the church, but they don't even want to wake up on Sunday to get their kids there. Ayayayaya. It is hard. But we're working with them.

We are working a lot with the list of members. Supposedly, there are 400 members that live within our ward boundaries, and we have a goal to try and visit every single one of them before the end of the cambio. This has already been helping us to find new investigators and to identify people that are willing to come back to the church. One of these families is the Familia Aguayo. They joined the church a little over a year ago ... but moved right after they were baptized. They became inactive only because they were intimidated to be in a new situation ... but their testimonies are rock-solid! Right now, we are working to integrate them into the Branch and to get them to the temple! This is so exciting!!

We had an awesome conference this week. It is so fun to go to these conferences now because I am starting to meet and be friends with all of the missionaries. My newness in the mission is starting to wear off and I LOVE IT! I can speak Spanish without excusing my terrible grammar (PS. if there is any way to send me another Spanish textbook, I would love that! I finished off my last one). I can go up to missionaries and talk to them about pretty much anything. I have precious experiences from the mission that I can already share. It is wonderful.
Hermana Dunne [bff companion from the MTC],
[companion for half a week in Chillán]
and I! :) We're cuteeeee ... or something.
Sorry that this letter is so random. It is hard to collect my thoughts because soooo much happened this week ... but at the same time, it was just another week of missionary struggles and triumphs. My faith in Heavenly Father is growing so much right now. This faith is helping me to sail through the trials of being in a less-receptive branchy area. This faith is helping me to become a better and better missionary. I am working hard, not only to develop this faith, but to act on it! And the more that I throw myself out on a limb and wait for Heavenly Father to catch me, the more that I recognize and learn that he will catch me every time. It doesn't matter that the people seem to hate Mormons here ... or that the members don't really understand missionary work and don't have that much trust in us ... or that some days it is hard. Because I know that through Heavenly Father, I really can do ALL THINGS! Now I just have to get everyone else to see that this is true for them as well. 

I am still soooo grateful to be here! I know that there is so much work that is ahead of me, but I am excited to keep on trekking. Sometimes, that is all that we can do. I am working as hard as I know how to and I know that Heavenly Father will help us to see success!

I love you guys sooooo much! :) Keep on praying for Hermana Peterson and I and for the people in Frutillares ... and I'll keep praying for you!

Con cariño!!
Hermana Blau

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