Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oh How Beautiful To My Eyes!!!!!

July 20, 2015

Hola familia!!!

Wow! Rain in San Diego in July? That's awesome! It's like you guys are in Chile or something... haha!!!
This week just flew right by but it was a great one! First we started the week off with a great miracle. All our appointments were on Tuesday night. So, my companion and I were walking around outside, it was freezing and no one was home. No menos activos, investigadores, or future investigadores! We just got to a point where we had an hour left before we had to be back in our apartment, and we had no clue where we should be. We just wanted to teach! So we were like well we could go contact this neighborhood of houses where we don't have anyone. (We tried contacting there before but hadn't had any luck and we didn't want to walk all the way over there to have no luck again and have it be a waste of time), so we decided to pray about it and see where God needed us to be.  So we prayed and then we just stood there and thought and I just then had the thought that I should look at my agenda  book and see what we had planned for that time of night. We had planned to pass by a future guy who lived in the other direction so we went looking for his street. We couldn't find it so then we looked again at the agenda and decided to go find another future investigor that we had planned for (which took us to another neighborhood) but they weren't home either so we decided to just contact the house next door with a light. A very nice lady answered and we were able to put an appointment with her for another day. So by this point we only had about 15 minutes before it was time to head home so we contacted another house with lights. As we were 'yelling' outside a car pulls up, which is always kinda awkward.... but the guy was really nice. Then his wife came out and we explained to them who we were and what we do and she says, ' oh you talk about God! I love talking about God! It makes me feel so good! Come in!!' So we go in, teach really quick about the Book of Mormon, clear up some untrue thoughts they had about the church, say a closing prayer and the couple became new investigadores! It was crazy! Like literally we had prayed to be able to find someone to teach and God gave us 2! BUT, He sent us on a little goose chase in the other area, which led us to another future lady, so we could arrive just in time to find the couple together! The timing could not have been more perfect! Such a great, great miracle!
Then another day of the same, no one being home, so we were just street contacting and I contacted this girl and she was like wait, I´m looking for a church to go to, can I go to your church?? She didn´t end up living in our sector but we gave her the direction of the church and told her she was always welcome. It was just awesome because after a lot of rejection it was just great to see that someone actually cared about God in their life. Also it was nice to be on the other side of the invitation for church and have someone asking US if she could go, instead of the other way around!
This week we also had our zone conference with our new mission president and his wife. They are so awesome! It was a lot different from Pres. Kahnlein but not bad different or good different, just different. He´s a convert to the church and was just over all the seminary and institute and he is an awesome teacher. He just gets so excited about it all. He talked about turning principles of the gospel into values in our life, and how to do it. He said first you have to know the principle or be familiar with it, then you have to apply it or live it, so then you can feel it and it becomes a part of who you are. I really liked that. 
Also... funny story. We were walking down the street and there was a dad who was trying to calm his little girl in their yard as we were passing. I happened to have my hair in a braid and he goes, 'look honey, the princess from frozen! I haven´t seen that movie but I´ve seen a picture of the princess with the blonde hair and EVERYONE here tells me I look like her! haha. Also on Sunday a little girl tapped me on the shoulder from behind and gave me a sticker with the frozen girl on it!  hahah!  So those are the highlights of the week....
Yes, the rumor is true, turns out this will be my last email home. How weird is that???? I mean unless President Monson receives the revelation that girls can have the option to extend for the full 2 years (He´s still got a week to receive that, so fingers crossed!) 
One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon has come to be Mosiah 18. I just love how the people after listening to the teaching of Alma clap their hands with joy due to their great joy and desire to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized and how thousands are baptized there in the waters of Mormon. (I wish people reacted the same here).... But the part I love is verse 30 where it says 'how beautiful the waters of Mormon are to those who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer'. It makes me think, what are my waters of Mormon like? Well mine is actually really large. In one part there´s lots of yellow and green countryside with small dirt passages and there happens to grow the most delicious tomatoes and lots of avocados. In the other part, it´s filled with steep hills and the houses are supported up by tall skinny posts. And, as you climb those hills, just as you think you are about to die of exhaustion, you turn around and there is a sparkling view of the sea. There also happens to be lots of fleas and lots of dogs, but... the bread is always delicious!!! And oh, how beautiful it all is to my eyes for HERE I´ve come to the knowledge of my Redeemer. Mission Viña del Mar is my waters of Mormon!
The mission has not only been the best decision of my life, but for my life. It still hasn´t hit me that it´s winding down. For all I know, I'm just going to stay a missionary in Chile for the rest of my life. (haha I bet you´d love that mom ;) ) I know there will come a time though, very soon, where I´m just going to cry. Really hard. But really, you know, I´m ok with it ending. I just have this sense of peace about it.  I feel I´m exactly where I should be at this point in my life. I get that life has to go on and that the purpose of this life is to progress to become more like God and you just can´t reach your full purpose in the mission. I´m so grateful for all I've learned and for the goals and perspective I now have. I´m excited to be able to put it all in practice for the rest of my life.
I can never begin to express what it means to me to be a missionary of Jesus Christ.  And while I love, love, love being a missionary, I´m even more grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ because that doesn´t have an 18 month time stamp. I´m so grateful for the promises and covenants that I´ve made with God and Jesus Christ in my baptism and in the temple for I know those are eternal and are what bind my heart to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I know that Christ's church was restored through Joseph Smith and is true. It´s true! It´s so true! I cannot emphasize it enough. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that the heavens are not closed, but there are blessings being poured out of them every day, every minute, to those that love God and do His will. I know and put 100 percent of my confidence in the promise at the end of the Book of Mormon. Any person, where ever they are can pray and ask God if that book is true and if they do it sincerely, they WILL receive an answer. To know that book is true is to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ HAS been restored and is here on the Earth today. I have seen so many people receive that answer. I myself have received my own answer. I have worn my badge with the name of Jesus Christ over my heart for sufficient time that even when they take it off of me, it will be engraved there in my heart forever. I love my Savior. He lives. 

I love you guys so much. I can´t express my love and appreciation for your support and sacrifice for me to be here and have this wonderful experience. Thank you! and.... see you soon, I guess? haha weird! 

Con todo el amor en mi corazón, 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Do You Guys Ever Get Sad???

Friday, July 10, 2015

Chile Campeon De America

July 6, 2015


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Convinced or Converted???

June 29, 2015
Hellloooo my family!!! 
This week was awesome. I really do like my new area. It´s super big so we walk a lot but it´s really tranquilo. It´s super quiet and chill. Except when Chile is playing in the Copa America (American Cup?) But I´m pretty sure the whole country is going crazy so it´s fine. Chile plays tonight so keep us in your prayers that we will find SOMEONE who´s not into futbol and will let us into their warm home. I have high faith that we WILL find someone of gold tonight. CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE VIVA CHILE! 
This week in a lunch we had with a member she said something really interesting that´s been dancing around in my head. As missionaries we are always teaching right now about the Dia de Reposo or Sabbath Day. So the scripture we shared after lunch with this Hermana was about keeping the Sabbath day holy. She´s been a member for like 30 years now and raised her children in the church and she is one of the most faithful members here in Sindempart. And she goes ¨You know what? What I´ve seen in my years in the church is just that most people are just convinced while only a few are really converted. That a lot of people like the church and the teachings and how it´s all about the family but then something happens, I don´t know, they get offended or it´s a cold Sunday morning or who knows what, and suddenly all that seemed so nice and pretty isn´t what is the most important in their life. It´s a side note". She said if we  really are converted we´re going to sacrifice and we´re going to do all we can to put Jesus Christ and the truth first. I really liked what she said. It made me think am I really converted or just convinced? Do I get up and go to church every Sunday because I´m a missionary and it´s just part of the schedule or because I really want to go to church and participate in the sacrament and keep the Sabbath day holy? Do I keep the convenient commandments and make exceptions for the others or do I truly obey out of the love I have for God and for my Savior? Do I like being obedient? Or is it an annoyance?  Am I like the people of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon and really don´t have the desire to do bad, but to do good continually? Or is there something that I shouldn´t do but still do? Am I only convinced or am I converted? What´s the difference? I think it all comes down to our testimony. Do we have a surety, a firm conviction that THIS is the church of Jesus Christ? That God speaks to us now in this time and day? Have we read and prayed about the Book of Mormon until we got an answer? Do we hold tight to the spiritual experiences we´ve had? Do our actions reflect our love for God? Being converted to the gospel does not mean having a perfect knowledge or living a perfect life. It does not mean standing up at church and bearing a general conference worthy testimony. It does not mean having perfect family home evenings and understanding all of the scriptures. It does not even mean filling the spirit really strong all the time. Being converted is simply doing the little things constantly. Reading our scriptures, saying our prayers and going to church. It means striving to be obedient and keeping our covenants. It means becoming really good at repenting really fast. It means living gratefully. If we just do the little things we can cross over the border from being a convicted member to being a converted member so that we too can stand alongside the people of King Benjamin with the disposition to do good continually.....
I am also really grateful for the opportunity that I have to play piano in our ward. It´s weird how few people here know how to play piano, but there is always a piano in every church. So now I´m the new pianist and one thing I love about playing the piano is I get to sit in front of everyone so I can see who comes to church and who doesn´t without like awkwardly craning my neck in every direction to see if an investigador or someone came in late. So yesterday I was looking out at everyone during the sacrament and was looking for all our investigadores and street contacts that told us that they were sí o sí going to come. I got over a long time ago the street contacts not coming but I still get a little bummed when the good investigadors say they are going to come and then don´t. So yesterday as I was scanning the congregation I wasn´t seeing anyone. And then I noticed Ali. Ali, is one of our investigadors. He is 10 years old and usually he comes with his friend Nicolas, one of our other investigadores but yesterday he came by himself. I don´t know why but it filled my heart with so much joy to see him there. He was sitting on his little chair (there´s not benches in the church) alone, with his worn tennis shoes dangling a little above the ground. His hair was nicely combed and he had a cute little button up denim shirt and his soft cover Book of Mormon rested on his lap with his Jesus card sticking out the top marking the chapter he was reading. I noticed that there was a little, but good bit, of white between the dark cover and the Jesus card, meaning that he had been reading it. I just thought that was SO COOL. Lately I´ve been kinda stressed because our investigadors are all kids here. We´ve even fasted to find adult investigadors. But seeing Ali there at church alone just warmed my heart and the part in the bible when Christ invites the children to come to Him came to my mind. Is he just convinced or is he becoming converted? Time will tell but until then I´m just really grateful for the humble example of those dangling feet and combed hair.
So something funny that happened this week...... we found this new Mexican food place in our sector!! It´s been a longggg time since I've eaten Mexican food. So I ordered a chicken burrito and my companion ordered a chicken quesadilla. We take it to go and get home and unwrap it and it was exactly the same thing, but folded differently! hahaha we got a good laugh out of that. Chileans... Gotta love them.
Well that´s about it for this week! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Con todo el amor en mi corazon,
Hermana Evans
Samantha's new Mission President and his wife
Samantha's Mission President and his wife
saying good bye. They served for 3 years.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Up Up And Away To The North!

June 22, 2015

Hello family!!!

I was so glad to see from the photos you sent that you guys had a great Father´s day! That breakfast looked just amazing! I almost forgot about waffles... and that´s just something that should never be forgotten. 
Lots of great stuff happened this week. Starting with.. CAMBIOS (transfers)! President called me the morning of cambios and I was released as a hermana lider (sister leader) for my last cambio. I knew it was coming because he´d told me at the last leadership meeting but I was still really sad. Only I got all awkward on the phone and when he told me that I was being released I responded, Que bueno! (ok good) ahhh I felt dumb. Lots of thoughts going through my head and I just wanted to be willing to accept whatever call or position so that was the first thing that came out of my mouth. Sometimes I can´t think really fast in Spanish haha.
But really I am so so so grateful for the time I had as a hermana lider. Obviously as a leader you´re not better than everyone else. You actually see all the weaknesses in yourself more than ever but I just loved being in a position to help and serve other missionaries. I got to meet so many more people than I would have and I got to form some really great friendships and I learned SO much. I learned how to break out of my comfort zone as there are so many situations where you feel awkward but you just got to be the best example so you make it happen. I´ve seen so many miracles. Days where there were literally no appointments and I´m on an intercambio (spend a day with another companion in another area) and we just find so many great people. I´ve got to see hermanas that are new and shy and how they change and develop so quickly and become powerful missionaries. 
The thing that I´m most grateful for is how I changed thanks to that calling. As a leader I found myself becoming more naturally concerned about what I was doing, saying, spending my time, thinking is this how Jesus Christ would do or say it?   When I was in a situation that I didn´t know how to handle, what would Christ do? What would He say? What counsel would He give? Does my example reflect His? Do my actions show the love I have for Him? Living with such questions in the front of my mind I have been able to strengthen my own testimony of Him and His character and I feel like I´ve been able to grow and progress not only as a missionary but as a person. I have a clearer vision of how I want to live forever. I want to be the first person to volunteer to take food to a house or to help someone clean. I always just want to be willing to do what the Savior would do. I´ve found so much happiness in the service. Also I´m grateful that I got to experience what it´s like to be released from a calling. I know that´s not going to be the last time in my life and while it´s hard, I´m grateful for the experience. 
So with cambios I packed up my bags and went to my last cambios meeting. So weird! It was also the last meeting of President and Hermana Kahnlein as they will leave the mission at the end of this month. We sang Called to Serve as the opening song. Called to Serve is better in Spanish because it has 4 verses not just 2 like in English. I realized halfway through the first verse that this was the last time I was going to get to sing Called to Serve in a large group of missionaries as a missionary. I just stopped singing and I just listened to the middle 2 verses. There is nothing like the sound of a room vibrating of the voices of a hundred missionaries, set apart to preach the true and pure gospel of Jesus Christ, with the power and authority to invite people to be baptized, singing Called to Serve at the top of their lungs with as much conviction as their testimony. If I didn´t already know the church was true, I did in that moment. Then I sang the last verse with as much love and force and energy as I could. I love being a missionary!
President Kahnlein talked about the last chapter of the Book of Mormon when Moroni was saying goodbye. The last invitation of the book is to come unto Christ. I am so grateful for President Kahnlein and how until the last moment He is always inviting us to come unto Christ and telling us if we just have the faith anything, literally anything is possible in missionary work. That the grace of Christ is sufficient to make up for any weakness or imperfection so we cannot have fear. We have the power and authority and we need to use it  every day, every moment possible. 
Then there were the cambios. So now I´m in a place called Coquimbo, in the NORTH! The best part of it all was Hermana Hansen had cambios too and she got changed to go up north too so we got to ride on the bus together! It was like a 5 or 6 hour ride up north. Looks like the president is sending us up to the boonies to die. But it was a fun ride. We were on it with other friends--one elder that is going home with us and another elder that arrived in the mission with us and also there was a Hermana who just got to the mission. She was really cute, she was asking us about miracles we´ve seen or what we´ve learned the most and what has changed the most and it was just so cool to hear and share stories. Even in the same mission everyone has had such distinct experiences and to hear them just strengthened my testimony and made me want to work even harder. I can honestly say that I´ve had SUCH A GOOD MISSION. SO GOOD. The mission is like a string of a lot of little things. Contacts, smiles, fallen appointments, stopping to offer service, scripture reading, silent prayers, worn out shoes, fasts, conjugated verbs, going to the wrong door, that weave together to form miracles. The spirit has never said to me so clearly in my ear go to that door, walk down that street, share this scripture, but I´ve seen that by just striving to do what is right and by being obedient, the things you naturally do as a consequence are guided by the spirit so everything always just works out. It was so cool to be able to reflect on that kind of stuff with other missionaries in the bus. This is really the Lord´s work. 
So like I said I'm now up north and it´s really pretty. I know that Heavenly Father loves me because I´m still next to the beach. I can see a little of it from our house and the church building that we go to for district meetings has one of the prettiest views. My companion is Hermana Carlson from Michigan. I was REALLY hoping to end with a Latina but God had different plans. I absolutely love my companion though. She´s 21 too and has  only been on her mission for 3 months but she studied Spanish before so she speaks amazing Spanish. I wish I could have spoken as well as she does when I had 3 months. I´m really grateful to be with her here.  I know that we´re going to see a lot of miracles. 
Our investigador Nicolas accepted to get baptized on July 4th on Saturday! He´s 10 and his sister got baptized with the Hermanas here a month ago. He´s so cute, he´s just so excited to learn about God and he´s really smart. He makes me laugh with some of his comments haha. But it´s awesome. Also, almost everyone we contacted this past week was strangely receptive so I have high hopes for this coming week! Yay for the North!
 I hope you all have a great week!!!
Con todo el amor en mi corazón, 
Hermana Evans

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

No, It`s Just I Cut My Hair Everyday People

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cabello or Caballo!!!

June 8, 2015

Hola familia!!!!!
Como estan??? Espero que esta carta les encuentre super bien!!!  Esta semana estuvo super bien para nosotros aqui! 
We started teaching some people of GOLD this week that we`d found last week. One, her name is Hashly (like ashley) and she is just golden! We taught her lesson one and she was like wow it is just so easy what you guys tell me! All I have to do is read the book and pray and ask God?? Wow. Ok, I'll do it! hahaha  It always makes me smile how people are always so surprised at how easy it is. I also think that`s one reason why so many people don`t do it afterward, because of the 'easiness of the way' as the Book of Mormon puts it. But I just love it so much that it is so easy. Makes our job a breeze. The problem with Hashly is that she lives with her boyfriend. They`ve lived together for 13 years and they have an 11 year old daughter. When you ask what she wants most she tells us to be with her family for forever! haha so we taught her the plan of salvation next. And she loved it. It was a completely different perspective for her but it made sense. Embarrassing....moment. We`re teaching about resurrection so I share the scripture in Alma that teaches 'not even a hair of your head will be lost'. So in español there are two words for hair, cabello and pelo. I always say pelo because that`s what the Chileans say more and cabello is just too close for comfort to the word caballo which means horse and I ALWAYS get them confused. So I`m reading the scripture and guess what I say?? Yupp.. not one horse from your head will be lost. Ooops. But she was really nice, she didn`t even say anything about it.- I actually didn`t even notice that I`d said that until afterward when we were walking home my companion told me hahah oh well...... But so we teach Hashly the plan of salvation and how we can live with our families in the celestial kingdom and she just starts talking about marriage herself, without us having to bring up the subject! She told us she`s scared of marriage ( I don`t get why, they are basically married) BUT she said that if she keeps learning and feels like this is true that then she could get married! Ha! It was great because we wanted to talk about the marriage thing but she brought it up on her own. It`s so cool to see how the spirit works to guide thoughts! We`re going to keep teaching her and I hope that she will be able to recognize her answer!
Also we met this guy named Hernan. He told us he was going to come to church but then he overslept... Anyway yesterday we taught him lesson 1 and he accepted a date to be baptized!! For the 28th! 
Also yesterday I had about the biggest stress moment ever. So Tito who got baptized on my birthday found new work! Awesome right, blessings of the baptism! No! Because it meant he had to work the next Sunday and didn`t come to be confirmed, so yesterday sì o sì he had to come to be confirmed! We talked to him everyday and he would say, yes, yes don't worry I`ll be there Sunday. We call Sunday morning to confirm and he says that he has to work! and that he's actually at work right then!!!!  I was like ¡QUE! No. You have to come to church! You have to receive the spirit! I was like this isn`t a game. What are you doing?? SO we talked a little and then he was like no it`s fine I`ll be there. And he came! He just left his work (he`s a security guard) And he came to sacrament meeting. I was really impressed at the faith that he showed to make that sacrifice. And after sacrament he went back to work and as far as I know right now, it`s all fine. I don`t know how many people would just leave work to come to church, but he did!  We`re working with another member of the ward to help him find new work so they don`t keep making him work on Sunday. Please keep him in your prayers. But now he`s confirmed and we`re all good!!! 
One more miracle of the week. Saturday we were walking out in the street ALL DAY. Like the dogs. Our appointments fell through. Typical. And there`s soccer games all day so no one wants missionaries in their house. I was just praying that we could find new people to teach and give out Books of Mormon but everyone was rejecting us. It was night and we were tired and we were right next to our apartment so the thought of just turning in a little early was tempting with how our day had gone. But NOPE! I have a theory that it`s in the last 10 minutes of the day that the miracles happen. So we kept working and were just passing by a future investigadores and we knocked on one apartment door and they were there and invited us in!! It was a complete miracle because it was  9:20 in the night! They were a little family (living together but not married. But details, details!!) But my prayer of all day was answered in the last 10 minutes!! It was awesome!!!
Well I`m out of time but I hope you guys have a great week!!! I love you all!! 
Con todo el amor en mi corazon
Hermana Evans
These are photos taken at a leadership meeting.....

Samantha and her companion