Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Por, Para and Pure

February 25, 2014
Hola mi familia encatadora!
This past week has been fabulosa! Can you believe tomorrow is our month mark?? I can't believe I only get to do this like 17 more times! Actually not going to lie, I'm kind of glad I won't be doing the CCM thing specifically for 17 more months.. The routine of the same classes everyday Mon-Sat is getting kind of old. I'm NEVER complaining about school again! Only two weeks left though! But my district is AWESOME so thank goodness for that! The other day we decided our district is legitly  ¨The Office¨. En serio, there's like no better way of explaining us. We got Michael (who ironically is our District Leader), Dwight, Jim/Ryan, Kevin, Andy, Oscar, Pam, Karen, Kelly, and Phyllis. Guess which one I am! Haha. We were dying at how accurately we all fit into the description! I swear the things the Elders get into are seriously as ridiculous as some of the things they do on the show. Ex: Shower Olympics. It's hard to have withdrawls from your favorite show when you feel like you´re living it! We quote it all the time in class and the Maestros are always like ¨What? Who´s Michael??¨ Bahaha it's too great. We've already planned an Office marathon when we´re all back in Utah.
The most exciting thing this week was last wednesday when I was eating breakfast. They have the loveliest peaches here so I was eating one but I cut it up so I was eating it with a fork (I know what you´re thinking--this IS the most exciting story ever, but wait! It gets better) When all of the sudden, I go to take a bite and miss my mouth and hit my front tooth with the fork--AND it chips off half the enamel on my front tooth! Then this was the day they were having huge leadership conferences so no one was even here for me to go tell! But don't worry, I have an appointment to go get a crown first thing March 3rd. The dentist is out of town. It's fine though! When it happened I thought I lost all of the bottom of my tooth--like Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber.  But it's only chipped. So I only look like half a homeless hillbilly. Some of the Elders are pushing for me to get a gold crown on it but I think I'll have to pass--even though I have a feeling I'll regret this once I get home and become a famous rapper. It's fine though, I'll worry about that in a year and a half.
The temple on friday was as lovely as ever! Spanish is coming along. We learned Por vs Para and I swear it's of the devil. It's so hard to get it and then it doesn't even follow it's own rules half the time.  Also all the elders are obsessed with Pure (pronounced Pu-day, the r makes a d sound in spanish because it´s not already complicated enough) which is mashed potatoes and I swear they work it into EVERY sentence. But I guess it makes sense since the Chileans seem to work it into every meal. The hardest thing about spanish is that we learn all this grammar and rules and then we go to speak and the teachers are always like if you follow the rules you´re going to be wrong. I´m at the point where I just want to get out to the field so I can hear it all the time and just learn how people speak because obviously the rules are not getting us very far.   I got to say the closing prayer in sacrament on sunday and I think only just a few of the Latinos ears bled at my terrible accent and eloquent use of grammar!

The funniest thing happened yesterday at the park. Hermana Watt and I were just walking around and we always say hi to all the Chileans on their way to work and this one lady passes us and goes ¨Guten Morgen¨  (aka Good morning in German) so I say Guten Morgen back and she stops and starts talking to us really excitedly. Only we´re not understanding ANYTHING which was kind of discouraging because usually I can at least pick out SOME words. And then i realize she's speaking German! She was asking if we were from Germany so I just responded in spanish because at this point all my languages are confused. So I said that we´re from the Estados Unidos and she's just like 'oh'. Ciao! and keeps walking. Haha it was so funny! At least I'm sure my German ancestors were very proud of that moment.
Also could you send me some ab workouts and stuff? I'm running out of ideas and the Chileans don´t look anywhere close to running out of pure so.. . BUT I´ve lost 2 pounds somehow so that´s nice!
I hope everything is going well back home! Have you guys got rain yet?? Everything here is good! I'm happy and healthy, even if I´m missing part of my tooth.. Only TWO WEEKS left and then I´m a real missionary!! I can't wait! I love this gospel SO much! I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again! I have some extra time so I'll try to send some pictures as well!

Con todo el amor en mi corozon,

Hermana Evans :)

Fish and chips, Chile style!

Yummiest Gelato ever!
District 3 in the Santiago MTC

Sister Watts and Me

Atlanta 15 group

Friday, February 21, 2014

Teach Them To Smile!

February 18, 2014

Hola mi familia bonita!

I love getting your emails! It´s like when you have your favorite t.v show so you´re always looking forward every week for the new episode and what´s going to happen next! Since I obviously can´t keep up with Vampire Diaries right now this is the next best thing and I love it!
So I was suppose to write you earlier today but we had a surprise visit slash (I can´t find the slash button) devotional from Elder Rasband, the President of the Quorum of the 70! And guess who was sitting in the front row not 5 feet from him?? THIS HERMANA! It was amazing! He and Elder Ballard and some other general authorities are here for some conferences and had a temple session today but when he found out that they had all these general authorities and no one was planning on talking to the missionaries he called an audible as he put it and came to address us! He's amazing! He had nothing planned so just did a Q&A kind of thing and was awesome! He taught us whenever we have a question whether one of our own or from an investigator, to think of a scripture first because though our opinion is important it doesn´t hold a candle to the words of the Lord. So for all our questions he would have us think of a scripture first. I was so impressed! He would pull scriptures off the top of his head and each and every one of them answered the questions so perfectly! It was so amazing at the end when he was testifying of this work and the role we get to play. I love being a missionary! He ended by telling us when Pres. Hinckley called him to the Presidency and the big question he asked him was ¨Does the testimony of Jesus Christ burn in your bosom (sp?) like it did when you were a young missionary?¨ I loved this question because it made me think of what I feel each and everyday out here. I want you to know that the fire is lit within me! My testimony is burning and will continue to burn for the rest of my life! At then end his wife made a comment which I loved. She simply told us to Teach Them How To Smile. Because when you trust in the Lord, you know how to smile. I LOVE THAT! AHH It was awesome!
So this week hasn't been super eventful. Life at the CCM is pretty much the same. Class from 10-10. I'll never complain about school again! There's this sweet couple that sells fruit and stale cookies at the corner down from our class room so my compañera and I always call her down and buy strawberries through the fence. Oh my gosh the fruit here is AMAZING!! The strawberries are divine and I´m pretty sure the plums came straight off the tree of life! I'm in heaven!! The food here is good too and beige. Seriously everything they serve is that color but I really like it so no complaints!

I love my compañera SO MUCH! She's seriously my best friend and we laugh all the time! We draw a lot of attention as the only blondes here but it´s nice to not be alone! Though it gets hard (the CCM, schedule, spanish, being blonde) it is such a relief to go through it with someone you just love! And my district is AWESOME as well!! We are seriously all best friends and as excited as I am to get to Viña, it´ll be so sad to say goodbye to everyone! We´re seriously like a family!
To answer your questions about my sickness, I just had a really bad cold so it wasn´t anything fatal but I wouldn´t suggest mixing it with eye infections.. BUT I´m all clear and healthy now! They said the eye infections must have been from like stress and dust in the air.. I don´t know. But it doesn't matter because I´m healthy and going strong! Also I was told there's a place here that I can buy a converter so I´ll check it out when we leave to go out in the wild world in a few minutes! Also a tip for packages if you do ever need to send one.. they say to put a bunch of crosses and like Virgin Mary stickers and stuff over and then the people here won´t touch it.. I don´t know if that really works but fun fact!
I love that you and dad went to the temple of Valentine´s Day! You guys are the cutest! This year Jesus was my valentine! I get to go back to the temple again on Friday so I´m WAY excited!
I´m kinda sad about my car but I knew this day would come! I'm not sure whether I want to wish you luck on selling it or not haha it was good to me minus the times it wouldn't start but I´m sure I´ll never have a car again whose seats are as comfortable!
Tell everyone hello from me and that I love them! Wish Stacey a happy birthday from me as well!! I love you all and I love getting your emails! They brighten my day!
Con todo el amor en mi corozon!
Hermana Evans

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Second Week In The Mission Training Center/ Am I at the MTC or Spanish Camp????

February 11, 2014
Hola familia!!
This past week has been absolutely wonderful overall!! I just love being here at the CCM (Centro de Capacation (sp?) Misional aka MTC) so much! I seriously feel like I'm living in the temple even though the temple is seriously like 20 yards from the building I'm in right now. It's awesome!! I feel the happiest I¨ve ever been in my life!  My trials here, unlike most people´s, have been more physical than mental.  Getting here was exhausting and then this past week I got pretty sick AND conjunctavitis (sp?) in both eyes.. Because just learning spanish by itself isn´t hard enough.  BUT it only lasted like 4 days and I´m all better now so no worries!  The Elders in my district who I just LOVE were so sweet and one night asked if they could give me a blessing.  The blessing brought back in the peace and comfort that I really needed and after going to the doctor my eyes were cleared up really quickly!  I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing Elders and I know the power of Priesthood is real.  It´s such a blessing to all of us and I can´t wait to share the happiness it brings to our lives with the people in Viña! 
The temple here is SOOO amazing!  We saw the B film as they called it when I was a temple worker, so the one I saw when I went through for the first time. Only this time we were the ones with headphones so we could hear it in english.  I didn´t really wear mine though because I wanted to see how much I could understand on my own and luckily I understood a lot of it!  I don{t know if it was because I´ve just seen it a lot of times and already knew in my mind or if my spanish is getting better but it was still soo cool!! 
Spanish lessons have been going slow but well!  I feel so blessed to have been able to take as much spanish as I did before I got here!  I feel like the Lord was preparing me for this long before I even knew this would be a possibility for me.  It´s funny, in class I feel like I have a hold on the language enough to communicate and understand but then we go out onto temple grounds to practice talking with real people I can hardly understand what people are saying!  They talk SO FAST!!!  But are so kind and patient!  I can definitely speak it a lot better than understand but hopefullly as time goes on it will get better.  We continue to teach lessons to "investigators" which are really our teachers and they have been going so well!!  Hermana Watt (mi compañera) and I love teaching our teacher Hermana Cabrera (who is AMAZING by the way, she served in London, and is just so amazing!!  I hope one day to be someone like her) Whenever we teach her the spirit is so strong and when we committed her to baptism we were all in tears!  She gives us a lot of confidence with teaching, especially in spanish. Last night we were teaching her aka ¨Karen¨ who is an inactive member and it was our first visit so we just wanted to get to know her.  We had a little message planned which we had put a lot of time into planning and translating but as we were talking to her and she was explaining her situation we realized our lesson wasn´t what she needed to hear.  I looked at Hermana Watt and she knew too and what happened next was INCREDIBLE!!  Hermana Watt was able to relate a story of one of her friends back home who went through a similar situation but came out on top and do it all in spanish! Hermana Watt took a few years of spanish in school too but doesn{t remember anything so it´s been really hard for her to speak and understand.  Plus I think she gets embarrassed easily so she gets a little fearful and quiet in lessons when we go off script.  But she did it!!  It wasn´t perfect of course but the second she started speaking the spirit came into the room so quick and so strong and she was able to get her message across.  Then I was able to testify of forgiveness and how Christ is always waiting for us with his arms outstretched.  It was crazy! Words came out of my mouth that I didn{t even know I knew in spanish!  In that moment I truly learned that as important the Spanish language is so I can communicate with the Chilean people, the language of the spirit is MOST IMPORTANT!  Because they can understand spanish with their ears, but they will understand the spirit with their heart and that is how people learn and change.  I know these little lessons are just practice, but they are very real to us missionaries and it´s experiences like that that make me so excited to get out in the field!!  Spanish is hard but honestly it´s never been a concern to me here!  Ever since I´ve got set apart I just feel so at peace about it and know that it´s going to come with time and work.  And trust me, I´m working!! 
Sundays here at the CCM are SO AMAZING!!!  In one of our morning classes we get to watch devotionals of when general authorities spoke to the Provo MTC and this past week we watched Jeffrey R. Holland´s address from January 2011!  Oh.My.Gosh. We all know Holland is AMAZING but this one was soooo WONDERFUL!!  He spoke about Preach My Gospel and what a powerful, inspired tool it is for us missionaries.  And it is.  I love it so much!  But the most powerful part was at the end when he spoke about Peter and the apostles after Christ died and they went back fishing.  He used the story in one of his past conference talks about feeding sheep so it was kind of familiar to me already, but as a missionary it took on so much more meaning.  He spoke of when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him and Peter is like of course and Jesus goes on to ask him the question 2 more times (3 was probably a sensitive number to Peter at this time..) But as Elder Holland was saying ¨Do you love me? THEN FEED MY SHEEP¨ His deliverence of those words.. I swear it was not Elder Holland anymore, it was Christ using Elder Holland´s body speaking directly to me.  I lost it.  I never have felt the spirit so strong!  You know, that really is the question for all eternity.. ¨Do you love Him?¨ I cannot be, I cannot say, I cannot become the missionary I need to be, that Heavenly Father knows I can be, unless I love Him.  And I do!!  Please know that I love my Savior SO MUCH and with ALL MY HEART!!  I could not be here, doing the things I´m doing, speaking the foreign words I´m speaking if I did not love Him.  The most humbling part of the talk was when he said ¨We have a world in trouble but you´re God´s answer.  You are the Hope of Isreal and you´re 19 years old.¨  I feel so blessed to be here, to be a missionary.  I feel so blessed that God trusts me enough to give me this responsibility and I will always do my best to live up to this wonderful calling!
Hermana Watt and I also taught Relief Society this week!  She taught on repentence and I taught on baptism!  I couldn´t help but think of you mom and how awesome you´re talk was on baptism a few weeks ago!  I may have stole a few things you said, I hope you don{t mind :)  Everyone came up afterward and said really nice things about the lesson so I think it went well. 
Classes continue to go well.  We have class 12 hours a day, 6 days a week so it´s a lot but I love it!  For P-day today I tried my first authentic empanadas and they were awesome!!   And we found a gelato place which was even more awesome!!  It was just Hermana Watt and I walking the streets of Santiago and everyone was hard staring at us and all the old men would tell us how pretty our hair is, just like the sun haha!
Tell everyone at Tina´s hello for me!! They´re awesome and I´m not suprised the chickens love the lettuce, Tina´s is the best!!  And you´re awesome for trying to use the iphone! Sorry if you get any random texts from people for me.. haha but I know you can do it! If I can learn spanish you can learn apple language!

I love you all SO much! But I´m never returning from my mission.  I love it so much!  I´ll forever feed His sheep.  I hope everything is going well for you all and you´re ín my prayers multiple times a day!!  I can´t wait to hear from you next week!!
Con todo el amor en mi corozon!
Hermana Evans
P.S. Again sorry if I sound like a crazy person because I don{t have time to read through it
Santiago MTC building
Santiago, MTC

Santiago, Chile Temple

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

First week in Chile MTC

February, 4, 2014

Hola mi familia!

So today, Tuesday, is our P-day officially!! And I{m going to apologize beforehand for my terrible spelling and random characters because like I said the key board is in spanish so things are not where they are suppose to be. Also this will probably be a novel because I have SO MUCH to catch you guys up on. But I{m sure you guys will survive ¨:) Ok so the airport story, I don{t remember everything I told you on the phone so sorry there is some repeats! Anyway I get to Atlanta and eventually there are like 14 other missionaryies there all going to Chile MTC or CCM as it is in spanish. Our flight was delayed a few hours then we finally get on and taxi for 2 and a half hours before we´re told we have to deplane because of the snow. It´s seriously was like two inches.. and had to sleep in the airport! Crazy! But I guess how many people get to say they had a sleepover with the Elders on their mission haha so that was fun! We didn{t really sleep though. We tried to pass time by going and riding the plane train but it was closed :( So the flight was rescheduled then delayed then delayed then delayed then delayed then cancelled. Meanwhile we met a bunch of kids our age going to Belize to do humanitarian aide for their church and so we talked with them for a while and Hermana Francen and I were able to give one of them a Book of Mormon and I just bore a short testimony of it{s truthfulness so I guess the airport stay wasn{t totally for nothing. Then we were rerouted through Lima to finally get to Santiago. So 29 hours later from when we were suppose to leave we boarded the plane to Lima which actually did take off. I think I forgot planes could do that anymore at that point.. So crazy! But honestly I couldn{t have been with a better group of Hermanas and Elders! I love them all so much and no one once said anything negative. Whenever something was delayed it was just like ok well we{ve alrady been here a day a few hours won{t hurt us anymore. So finally in Lima we have to get on a flight to Sanitago but they didni{t have enough room for all of us so we had to slip into two groups one with a 6 hours layover there and then my group had a 17! But not really because thankfully we were able to swithc to a earlier flight so we were only there like 6 hours or so and the other group like 3. The other plane{s wheel broke though so they were delayed too so we got to spend more time together. I mean of course the wheel would break right? Luckily we got on our flight which was only like 3 hours and finally made it to Santiago a few hours behind the others, but guess what didn{t make it.. our luggage! So we spent like 3 hours trying to talk to this guy in our broken spanish and his broken english if he could find our luggage. It was so frusturating at that point becuaes he was just working really slowly and inefficiently just how it seemed everyone who we had tried to get us to help us had been since like day 1. Notice the use of the word day because I left Tuesday morning and we didn{t get to Chile until Thursday night. All I got to say is Satan must really not want us here. I mean snow in Atlanta and shutting down the entire airport and roads?? A wheel breaking? Our luggage getting lost?? Taking 2 days to get to Chile?? It was a lot more dramatic then it really needed to be! But I am here! And my luggage arrived Friday night so thankfully I only had to go one more day without anything. That was such a relief!!Anyway I{m here now and just love it!! I{m pretty sure the Chile CCM is the greatest MTC on the earth!! The Santiago Temple is in the same square so we{re living on temple grounds! Seriously the only thing that seperates the temple from our front door is a fountain! How cool is that! And we get to go tomorrow so I{m super excited!! It´s super small, like probably as big as our stake center. I´ll try to send pictures if I can but it´s beautiful! Classes are going really well! Hermana Watt and I taught our first lesson yesterday and it went great! The spirit was really strong we were both in tears and we asked ¨Carolina¨¨ the investigator who{s really our teacher, if she would get baptized and she said possibly! Our second lesson didn{t go as well but it was still good, we just ran out of time. Spanish is really hard. It gets so frusturating sometimes because they expect us to teach in spanish and stuff but they haven{t even gone over verb congurating yet! I{m so glad I took so much spanish in school because I have so grasp of what is going on and able to do a lot of the talking for us. But I have so much work to do! Thankfully though I can fully pray and bear a simple testimony in spanish so at least I have that. Food is good. Basically it{s pasta, meat, and rice everyday and they serve the same stuff for lunch and dinner although sunday they threw us a curve ball and had mashed potaotes. It{s good but bland. Oh and the bread is FABULOUS! Hermana Watt and I have limited ourselves to every other day at dinner because that stuff is dangerous! It was funny, for dessert yesterday they had chocolate empanadas but I guess they accidently mixed up the powdered sugar to sprinkle on top with baking soda! I bit into one and was like Woah! Not what I was expecting.. Then they came around and were collecting them so we figured there was something not right. Don{t worry though they fixed it for dinner and they were DELICIOUS!!

Also at the CCM here they have a laundry service so we don{t have to do our own laundry which is aweosme! This sweet old lady, Blanca, does it for us and she speaks the fastest spanish I{ve ever heard in my life so I just keep telling her gracias. And for P-day which is today they let us leave the CCM and walk around Santiago! It{s so beautiful here! I love it! Hermana Watt and I bought some pan chocolate which is like a croissant with chocolate and jugo Mango which is mango juice although I{m sure you figured that out. SOO SOO GOOD!! Also for our physical activity in the morning since there{s not a gym here we get to go down to one of the parks for an hour! It{s really cool they have exercise equipment outside set up so it reminds me of like a child{s playground but for health conscious adults. I love it! Everyone here is super friendly and loves our blonde hair haha. It was so funny the other day Hermana Watt and I were just standing outside our class room building during one of our breaks. The building is inside this gate but right next to the sidewalk of one of the busy streets so people are always walking by. Anyway this couple was walking by and they pulled out their phone and starting taking pictures of us! So I just smiled and posed haha I hope it ends up on instagram! #BlondesCanSpeakSpanish.

Church on sunday was awesome! How many times to you get to be in a fast and testimony meeting full of only missionaries? So awesome! I thought fasting for the full 24 hours would be hard but I fasted to not be hungry and really it was a lot easier then fasting has ever seemed before. The testimonies were awesome even though I could really only understand when the gringos were speak spanish because the chilean accent is kinda hard to distinguish the different words. I love singing the hymns in spanish! I don{t know why we even bother singing them in english when they sound so beautiful in spanish!!
The hardest thing is remembering my name is no longer Samantha. I can´t tell you how many times I´m like oh I´m Sama-- I mean Hermana Evans haha. But the name Samantha is dead to me for the next 18 months and I couldn´t be more happy to be Hermana Evans. I{m so happy to be a missionary and love the work I get to do!
I{m so happy here and doing good. Spanish is frusturating but I know it{ll be a blessing eventually and it´s only the first week. I love my district so much!! They crack me up and we´re all best friends! My companion is awesome! I seriously don´t know how I got to be so lucky! All is well even if the food is boring. I love you all and can´t wait to hear from you next week!!!

Con todo el amor en mi corazon,

Hermana Evans

PS I didn{t read through this after so I{m sorry if I sould like a crazy person..

Stop over in Peru

Hermana Watt and me in front of the Santiago temple