June 30, 2014

Week Twenty-Eight: por algo estamos aquí (we're here for some reason)

Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana De León

Dear familia,

Oh my word. It sounds like this week has been super nutty. Nutty weeks are good every once and a while, but thank goodness they don't happen all of the time. I am so glad that Girl's Camp went well! I was praying this week that everything would run smoothly!! :) I have to admit that I teared up a little bit to see Grandpa's birthday celebration. Grandpa is my hero ... and it makes me really sad that I probably won't be able to see him again in this life. But, something that is wonderful about being out on a mission is that I tell people every single day that I believe in eternal families ... and it is true. I know that our families can be together forever! Let Grandpa know that I love him somehow.

This week was filled with miracles. It was soooo long. So many things happened. I don't know where to begin!

On Tuesday we had interviews with Presidente. I was super nervous (not exactly sure why) but we were one of the first people to arrive. I LOVE Presidente and I LOVE his wife. Hermana Arrington is pretty much the most precious woman that I have ever met in my life. She doesn't know a lot of Spanish, but she sure knows how to love people. That love just radiates from her!! I love the part of interviews where we wait to go in to talk to Presidente because I have a couple choice minutes to talk to Hermana Arrington. We chatted for a little bit while Presidente was interviewing Hermana De León ... and then it was my turn.

How are you doing, Hermana Blau?

I decided to be completely honest with him. I told him about all of the trials that I have been having and how I felt like EVERYTHING was happening right at once ... I was a mess. I must have looked like a crazy person. He listened to me super patiently ... and then he gave me some good advice. I put my hands in my lap and listened attentively.

Basically, his advice went in this order:

1. Stop feeling guilty.
2. You don't always have to be the strong one.
3. Don't look for the reasons for your trials. Just live as best as you can.
4. Apply the Atonement and LET HEAVENLY FATHER HELP YOU.

I thought the advice was sound. These things are things that I know in my head, but when I was talking with Presidente, I really felt them in my heart. Later that day, I made an assessment of my carga (load). I wrote down everything that I was stressed out about. Then I looked for promises in the scriptures that had to do with lifting burdens. Basically, I found that my burdens aren't actually that heavy ... in fact, they are relatively light -- especially when I remember that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want to help me to lift them. This knowledge changed my week. I think that it will change my mission and my life! What a lesson to learn.

This week, we put into practice a lot of things to improve the work. We started calling members one day before citas to have them come out with us and it worked like MAGIC! We worked really, really closely with the members this week and it helped us immensly to improve our teaching and our numbers. Wahooooo! Also, every week, we make a list of things that we want to do to find more people. This week, we made the list ... did the things we put down ... and we found people! We had lessons with 8 new people, and a good majority of these people are REALLY PREPARED to hear the gospel. Oh my goodness, this was such a miracle. Heavenly Father blessed us with so much success this week! I cried last night ... but not because I was sad ... it was because I was SOOOO stinking happy. We reached every single one of our goals this week. I have never ever done that on my mission (sometimes it was because we set unattainable goals ... butchaknow). We are working hard here.

Another tender mercy: This week, we were walking home at night. It was a little bit FREEZING, so we were walking pretty quickly when suddenly, a car pulled up next to us. "Hermana Blau, we came to get you!" It was Obispo Torres and his wife! Ahhhhhhhh! We hopped into the car. They told us that they had been dropping off the Hermanas from 18 de Septiembre when the Hermana felt the impression that if they started to drive, they would find me. Bahhhh, I love this family sooo much. They call me their angel from Chillán ... it makes me SOOOO happy to run into them every once and a while. :)

We also had a mini-cambio this week with our Sister Training Leaders. They live in the same house as us, so it is not the most glamorous thing in the whole world ... but it is something different which is always exciting. All that I asked from Heavenly Father was ... "Hey, if I could leave the sector and not have so much pressure ... that would be awesome." (There is always a little bit of stress in showing the sector around to the leaders). My wish was ... not granted. I was going to stay in Frutillares with Hermana Lopez. Ahhh, well. I put on a smile and prayed that our plans would work out just a little bit.

Really, nothing worked out exactly as we planned. We were going to go up to a neighborhood suuuuuuuper far away in the hills to visit a few people, but those plans fell through. We were going to visit one of our new investigators ... fell through. We were going to visit a couple of people near our house ... fell through. But I loved the attitude of Hermana Lopez. "Por ALGO estamos aquí!" she said with every cita that fell. We began to knock doors. We entered in houses and found more and more and more people that were interested in learning about the gospel. Hermana Lopez is a master teacher! I learned so much about how to teach concisely and with authority. INCREDIBLE. Heavenly Father kept me in Frutillares and I am really grateful! He knows what we need.

Ahhhhh! CHILE AGAINST BRAZIL. What was that all about? I could not believe it when I heard that we were in overtime with Brazil. Holy guacamole. Of course, we were in the house watching church approved movies ... but there was such a buzz of excitement. Everything was perfectly silent in town. It was like nobody breathed while we waited to hear what happened. Ah, Chile lost ... but still, the world cup was awesome while it lasted! I don't even like soccer ... but it is so much fun to be in a country where everyone is nuts for something. I had a little trunky moment when I thought about where I would be watching Chile play four years from now ... oh my, it makes me sick to think about. One day at a time is good enough for me.

The dog is basically from heck.
It has tried to bite me soooo many times ... but
I have gotten really good at punching in my defense. :)
Hermana De León and I are working really, really well with the members. We are building and building our relationships with them and it is working! I think that everyone loves and trusts the Hermanas again, which is such a good feeling. Really, I think that the members always loved and supported us ... but now I really, really feel that support. We were driving home from a Noche de Hogar last night with the Presidente de Estaca ... and he wished us good night and said, "Go to your house, our little regalonas." (I think that that means something along the line of the baby of the family). It is a weird Chile thing, but I felt the love the Rama in that statement. I really do love EVERYONE now. It was hard in the beginning ... and I know I say this pretty much every letter, but the more I serve and the more I worry about these people and their lives ... the more I love them. It is beautiful.

With Hermana de León
Hey, a little Spanish update ... I love Spanish. I love talking to Hermana De León in Spanish all day every day. I finally feel like I can say whatever I want. There are some vocabulary gaps, but I really feel like I am starting to get a handle of things. Waaaaahoooo! It is sooo nice to have open communication with the people. It is something that I haven't realized that I have missed ... but it sure makes a difference when you can tell people what is going on. I cannot believe that I practically know another language now. What a stinking change!

Does it look like I'm getting fatter? It's for a good reason ... Chileans eat fried dough of pretty much any kind to help warm them up or something ... and they always feed us these things. The picture where I am holding the fried dough is with one of my favorite people, Magaly Bustos. These things are called Picarones (or something) ... pretty delicious.

Sea lions are really, really ugly in person. They are huge and terrifying. They can jump around really fast on their fin things ... I don't know. Cool but ugggggggly.

Every other week we have lunch with a family that is less active. The wife ... I don't know if she is going to come back any time soon, but they give us lunch ... so we visit them and we love them. They are really sweet, sweet people and they LOVE us (they want me to marry their son) ... but they always give us a LITERAL MOUNTAIN OF FOOD. If it isn't a huge thing of rice with a slab of meat, it is a huge, huge pile of mashed potatoes with meat. And salad. And bread. Oh my word, it is a challenge to finish every single time. This week, we ate at their house. I warned Hermana De León, "Prepare yourself for a big lunch today." She didn't believe me. To our surprise (well, actually, I wasn't surprised at all), Hermana Aldana pulled out a huge plate of papas. I just tried to shove it down as fast as I could. Luckily, this week, I didn't have to spend a few minutes breathing against the bathroom door to recover from the lunch ... I think my stomach is expanding ... but it was still difficult. When we were walking home, Hermana De León said, "Hermana Blau ... I am going to throw up." She didn't ... but that is the amount of food that people give us. It is an inhumane proportion. :)

So, the mission is still a little bit hard ... but not unbearable. I am learning more about the Atonement. I am reading the Book of Mormon again. I am studying Preach My Gospel. I am working to be better and better. It is such a wonderful growth that I am feeling right now. Heavenly Father is pushing me to the next level and now I am learning to enjoy it. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has changed my life. It IS CHANGING my life. Every day, I have the choice to choose my attitude. I know that for some reason, I am where I am with who I am with. Now, with that attitude, I just have to continue in faith that it will all work out in the end. 

I love you SOOOO MUCH! I thought about you guys while I was praying this morning and I really missed you. But I know that what I am doing right now is the most important thing that I will ever do in my life ... so I am happy to be here. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week!! :)


Hermana Blau

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