Thursday, May 29, 2014

Una Semana de Milagros

May 26, 2014
¡Hola mi familia querida!
So this week as been ABSOLUTELY CRAZY! So Wednesday was the day of Antonio´s interview for his baptism. We went over to their house for lunch (Hna. Vasquez always makes the best lunches) and then we all were going to go over to the capilla. But I guess the night before Antonio was talking to his mom and his mom was still like don´t get married, Antonio it´s going to make me mad. And Antonio LOVES his mom and so when we arrived he was having doubts again. A few days earlier we´d had an awesome lesson with him that cleared up these doubts and yet here they were again. So we had no clue what was going to happen. We asked how he was feeling and he said he didn´t know but he knew baptism was important so he was like I just need to go through with it. This really didn´t give us much assurance so we were just like ok he can do the interview but if he´s not ready, he´s not ready, we´re not going to pressure or anything. I felt really bad because you could just see that he was so conflicted in his mind because of the stuff his mom was telling him. But he had the interview and it went well. Then the next day we called Hna. Vasques to check up with how he was doing and you´ll never guess what happened! His mom called him again last night and was like actually if you want to get married, get married, I want you to be happy, I won´t be mad. WHAT??????? I about fell out of my chair. I have no clue what changed her mind, but I have a good idea of WHO changed her mind. It just goes to show that what´s important to us is important to the Lord. When we push forward with the things we know or even just feel are right, even when it´s hard, even when the people we love tell us not to, the blessings really do come. I´m so glad that Antonio could see and experience this right before his baptism. I still am in a little disbelief. You just have to shake your head sometimes. The hand of the Lord may be silent, but it´s not invisible.
So Friday was the wedding. It was a simple thing in the civil registro. We went over before and I straightened Libertad´s hair and my comp did her makeup so she would feel special. You could tell that they were REALLY happy! 
Then Sunday after church he was baptized!!!!!!! We went over the night before so he could try on his baptism pants and when we were just talking to him, he got really emotional. He's so humble and sweet and you can just see he has this strong desire to follow Christ. All he could just say to us was ¨Gracias. Gracias¨ This day also happened to be my birthday and to be honest, those two words are the greatest birthday gift I have ever received (sorry mom, but the socks are a close second! ;) ) It was just one of those special moments when you realize how amazing and important the gospel is. That this work really is important. That people really do NEED this in their lives. The countenance of Antonio has changed since we first met him. There´s just more light in his face. Antonio is such a perfect example of someone who´s life was good and happy before he knew the gospel, he always had faith but now with it he sees that the whole time he really was missing something that he didn´t even realize he was missing. He sees now that there is so much more good that he can have. The gospel is so real. And it really does change lives for the better.
His baptism was beautiful. The gospel never ceases to amaze me. I mean we´ve been working for months for him to get here. We needed him to attend church, to get married, all the lessons. It was months of work for 2 seconds underwater. It almost doesn´t sound worth it right? Ha. Wrong. Every second, every stuttered congregated Spanish verb, every pleading prayer from the bathroom floor, is MORE than worth it. These people are more than people, they´re children of God who just need to be reminded of their divine worth and destiny. And when that remembrance comes, lives change and families are strengthened.
Speaking of families, the family that was at church last week that heard my talk.... We met with them again Wednesday night to get their answer. I don´t remember what I told you last week but the quick rundown is that we met with them Sunday night and they we interested in baptism but they wanted to be sure so they were going to pray as a family and let us know their answer Wednesday. THEY`RE GOING TO GET BAPTIZED NEXT SUNDAY!! They are golden. They really are some of God´s elect. So humble and so willing with strong testimonies. I love them so much. 
Also we found a menos activo familia who have a daughter Katalina who isn´t a member. But the family has been coming to church the past two weeks, (it was their first time in 11 years!) And we´ve also committed Katalina to baptism on the 1st. So if everything goes to plan, we should have 4 more baptisms next week. I really hope everything works out because these people are all so special and I love them so much!!
We also had a tour of our capilla yesterday. It was great. We had investigators come and all the people who spoke and explained things did a wonderful job! 
My birthday was really good too!!! Antonio, Libertad, and Hna. Vasquez called me in the morning and all sang and wished me happy birthday which I though was super sweet. We had a district meeting that day and my district surprised me with a cake and everyone sang. Then we went to Hna. Sonia, the lady who let us skype at her house, for lunch and she had a HUGE cake for me too! it was coconut and manjar and SUPER delicious! I can´t believe I´m 20. Thank you so much for the socks, mom! I felt just like Harry Potter opening up the gift on my bed, only Harry wishes he had socks as beautiful as those! I can´t wait to wear them!!! I also realized I´ve now celebrated my birthday on 3 different continents, how cool is that?! 
I hope you all have a wonderful memorial day! I love you! 
​Con todo el amor en mi corazón, 
Hermana Evans

P.S. Rumor has it Miley Cyrus is PREGNANT??? Please tell me this isn´t true.. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

20/20 Spiritual Vision

May 19, 2014

Hola mi familia favorita!

So I opened up my email account and had like 40 emails! I seriously thought someone died or something but then I remembered I have a birthday coming up this week. Am I the only one who thinks 20 sounds disgustingly old?? Anyway, I want to say thank you MUCHAS to todo that me wrote!! I feel all your love and it´s so warm!! Also I received your package mom!! Thank you! The chocolate covered acai are a dream! It´s funny but when I ate them it took me right back to home and watching Honey Boo Boo and Say Yes to the Dress and Vampire Diaries! Good memories.

Also the fires in my beloved San Diego are crazy!!! Those photos you sent me are scary!!! Was anyone in the ward/we know affected??? My love and prayers are being sent for the people in San Diego. Fires are terrible. The memories of when I went to Valpo are still strong in my mind and it breaks my heart to think that that´s happening in my home now too. FUERZA!!! Remember there´s a plan and sometimes bad things happen so BETTER things can come of them. Look for the love in the ashes. It´s there.
On a more brighter note, this week has been the GREATEST WEEK of my mission so far!!!!! I think it might be an early birthday gift from God. The scripture Mat. 7:11 comes to mind that if you being bad know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more does our father which is in the heavens will give good gifts to those that ask? (that´s the english translation of the spanish version but you get the picture). So if that´s the case Heavenly Father is the best gift giver EVA!
Ok so first. You know my contacts and how I need that like plunger thing to take them out since they´re hard lenses? So this plunger thing is like SUPER important, like my sight depends on it right? So yeah. I lost it. I have no clue where it is. Luckily I realized I had lost it before I put my contacts in (gift 1 from the Lord). I put my contacts in the same place every night so it couldn´t have been far. I scowered (sp?) the spot. I prayed. I searched. I prayed some more. I also decided to start a fast because that´s how important this thing is and I wasn´t finding it. I couldn´t find it that night so I went to bed with full faith I would have a dream or something that would tell me where it is and I'd find it in the morning. So I had a dream alright but it was way weird and had nothing to do with my contacts. My compañera and I spent some good time in the morning searching for this darn plunger. I'm searching and then checking in my contact pouch like every 5 minutes with the hope that Heavenly Father would make my plunger tool thing magically appear there. It was empty everytime. Praying, searching. It´s gone. I´m praying, fasting, I don´t know what more I can do, and I'm not finding it. As much as I hate to say this I started to get a little worried, not just that I wasn´t finding it, but that I wasn´t getting an answer. I know that I was probably being a little impatient too but part of me kind of hoped that as a missionary I could get like a front of the line pass for prayer responses. Nothing. So now I´m worried, what if I don´t get an answer. I promise people everyday that if they pray they´ll get a response. Is that an empty promise? So I had a few different thoughts swarming in my mind that morning.. We got permission to go to an optometrist to see if they would have something. I mean I can´t be the only person here who wears hard contacts right? Ha. The first place told me that no type of tool exists. The second knew but we´d have to go to Viña. As we were calling the place for Viña we ran into Nelson who´s a kid in our stake. We´re always running into people from the church so it wasn´t anything weird. He asks what we´re doing and we tell him and he´s like oh I wear lenses too and I know another optometrist you can try. He takes us to this little place that´s kind of hidden and I ask the optometrist there if he has something for me. He totally knows what I´m talking about, but they don´t make them anymore. AWESOME! But then he tells me you don´t need one of those, let me show you how to take them out without it. I was still a little unsure of his method but that night with faith I put in my contacts and in the morning I used his method and guess what? IT WORKED!!!!!! hahaha IT WORKED!! I got my answer! (gift 2)I just about started bawling.It was such a strong recomfirmation to all that I am doing.(gift 3) The spanish, the long days, the prayers. This is real. Answers come. And maybe they don´t come how we want. Heavenly Father in all his wisdom knew that I didn´t need my plunger thing, I needed a solution. And that´s exactly what happened. And the way the answer came was so natural. Running into Nelson was nothing crazy or weird, the fact that he wears contacts isn´t uncommon, yet it all came together. The hand of God in our lives is like that. It´s not silent but if you don´t have your spiritual lenses in you might not ever see it. I still have to shake my head when I think about how it all happened. TOO COOL!
Then yesterday my compañera and yo spoke in sacrament. My topic was hastening the work of the Lord. I feel really good about how it all went.(gift 4) I had people asking for copies of my notes so that´s always such a compliment. Anyway we had a family there that are investigators. They´re really good friends with the family of the bishop and have been assisting for a few weeks and are awesome!! But they haven´t really been interested in receiving the missionary lessons yet. Anyway during the story that I closed my talk with I felt the spirit really strongly at one point and got emotional. (That´s no surprise, I´m such a weeper). Afterward the dad of the family talked with the bishop and was like I felt something really strong during Hna. Evans' talk. I think I want to be baptized. What???????????? (gift 5). When the bishop told me this I just wanted to collapse. I just started crying. We met with them last night and taught them the plan of salvation. They´re going to pray as a family and let us know their answer on Wednesday. But again he told me that it was during my talk where he felt something really strong. And he thanked me for my testimony. I still am in disbelief at all this. I feel so humbled that the Lord would use me as an instrument like that. We´ve been praying to find a family for the past 3 months! Answers do come!!!! And the other way cool thing was that as I was giving my talk which was in spanish of course, it didn't really feel like spanish. It just felt natural. The words flowed and I was thinking about what I was saying not about translating every word. (gift 6 from the Lord). Anyway please keep the familia gallardo in your prayers these next few days! They truly are some of God´s elect.
I love being a missionary, I love seeing the gospel change people´s lives, and I love the vision the gospel of Jesus Christo gives all of us. This is a gospel of family, of answers, of LOVE. When it all comes down to it, fires and lost contact accessories, God loves us.
I love you all and hope you have a good week my sweet family!!

Con todo el amor en mi corazón,
Hermana Evans

Tanto Tiempo

May 12, 2014
Long time, no see familia! 
I just loved Skyping with you guys yesterday! You all looked fabulous! It was like the fastest hour of my life, but I guess we get to spend eternity together so it´s all good! Also I forgot to tell you yesterday but I sent you a Mother Day´s card! But I had to wait until today to mail it because there´s not a post office in my sector, so you´ll get it just in time for Father´s Day but I figured better late then never. Only now I really don´t have anything to say because I told you pretty much everything yesterday.
And don´t worry, my spanish recovery time was a lot shorter than we thought, I´m back speaking spanish like a native today. Well ok not exactly like a native but we´re getting there! 
Take a picture of the chandelier! I want to see how it looks! And thank you for the pictures! Seriously pictures are like gold so I love when you send them! Our kitties are tooo cute! 
I´m sorry this is so short but I really don´t know what more to say haha. The pan is still delicious, the people still think I´m a barbie, and the gospel is as true as ever!
I love being a missionary and the joy I feel each day as I can share golden nuggets of gospel truths with the people here! I love my Heavenly Father and am amazed at the trust He must have in me to send me all the way to Chile. It´s hard but worth it everyday! I know the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on this earth once again and through it we can enjoy ALL the blessings Heavenly Father has to offer us, the greatest of all which is eternal families!
I love you all and can´t wait to hear all about your week next Monday! 
Until then!
Con todo el amor en mi corazón,
Hermana Evans :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I've Got All Of Chile In My Stomach!

May 5, 2014
¡Hola mi familia amorosa!
I´m glad to hear you all are doing great!! So this morning we got up early (let´s be honest every morning we get up early) (let´s be even more honest, we got up at the same time this morning as all the other mornings) and went down to the civil registro with Antonio and Libertad and sacamos (I´m not super sure how to say that in english) a date for their matrimonio!! So it´s official May 23rd!!! So the baptism of Antonio is the 24th! And he assisted at the church yesterday and even got emotional during Priesthood! He´s so awesome. I´m so excited for them! 
Yes, the co- living thing is a super common problem here. People don´t believe in marriage. This one family we´re teaching right now is super awesome but they´re not married. They have 4 kids and have been living together for 25 years so they might as well be but they don´t want to because they don´t want the commitment. I don´t get it. I mean 25 years!!! And commitment is what they´re worried about! I just have to shake my head sometimes.
So this week we had intercambios so I went to San Pedro which is another little town close by. The sector is HUGE and is one of the only ones with bikes in our mission so I felt like a legit legit missionary riding the bikes around. It was super fun! but a little scary at the same time as the break system on them is almost zero and I haven´t always had the best experiences with bikes in the past. My knee still wears the sad story of that one day in Provo.... We went to another town in the sector, San Isidro which is like a few miles from San Pedro and the ride was the most beautiful thing ever! It was this little windy highway through campo or the countryside and it was an almost rainy day so there was the most beautiful clouds and the air just felt cozy... haha... I don´t really know how else to describe it. Anyway the campo reminded me of a mixture between fallbrook, colorado, and germany which I know sounds kind of funny but it´s the most accurate way I can get the picture in your heads. I wanted to pull my camera out and snap some pictures but I didn´t want to push my luck on the bike. Maybe the next intercambio. Also the hermanas in San Pedro always pray in english at night before and after planning so Hna. Barros was like you can pray in english if you want so I was like ok yeah! It was the first time I was going to pray in english since the MTC so I was like sweet, but then I couldn´t remember how to do it haha it was the weirdest thing. The english words were so slow in coming and it felt super awkward. I think she may have prayed better in english than I, haha. So now I can´t speak spanish, I can´t speak english, I´m just a mess haha!
Then the next day we had lunch over at Antonio and Libertad´s and the mom of Libertad made us the most grand lunch I´ve ever had in my life! Empanadas for the first course and empanadas here are not dainty little finger food. They´re a meal in and of itself and then she brings out ensalada chilena, ensalada con palta, PAN (homemade at that!), pevere (which is pico de gallo), and then our plates which are huge overflowing with chicken, and arroz, and papas! And then HELADO for dessert! Just about everything chilean we ate! It was the best lunch of my life! And then just a little later we went to another house and the lady made us completos! HUGE COMPLETOS! So my compañera and I just looked at eat other and wished the other good luck. Then when my compañera barely finished she brought her a SECOND! I tried to explain that thank you so much but a second would not be necessary for me that I couldn´t physically fit it, but she was like oh no, I just won´t fill it up so much for you, which was a straight lie. When we left I wanted to cry from pain but was too scared that if I did I would cry palta (avocado) instead of tears.
Do you guys know how big exactly the earthquake here was this past week? We were at lunch when it hit but it only just shook things up, nothing happened. I don´t think I´d say it was the biggest in my life. We haven´t heard the size though. I love the earthquakes!
And yes, we get to skype sunday!! Plan for 7 o´clock my time which I think is 4 in the afternoon your time but I´m not sure so you´ll have to check! I´ll call you on the skype first so just make sure you´re on!! But I´m super excited too!!!
Until then I guess!
Con todo el amor en mi corazón (y todo los completos en mi estomago),
Hermana Evans