Monday, January 26, 2015

So Many Ups and Downs!!!

January 26, 2015

Helllloooooooo familia!!!
Well this week has just been crazy but probably one of the best. I got home last night so exhausted. It started out with normal stuff. Gabriela got her second interview and passed!!! She´s the best. She even brought one of her best friends and her friend´s daughter who´s like best friends with Gabriela´s daughter to the interview. She´s already a missionary! It was awesome because it gave us a chance to teach them in the church. That got weird though because the companion of the elder who was doing the interview who was with us, just tried to take over but it still ended up being a great lesson and we´re excited to keep teaching them. 
We also had intercambios (exchanges) and I got to be with probably the coolest person I´ve ever met in real life. Her name is Hermana Ango and you´ll never guess where she is from. THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS. I didn´t even know you could live there. I always just thought it was inhabited by turtles and blue footed boobies. But not true! There´s like a little city there and everything. She was telling me all about it and I want to go there SO BAD now! She surfs and longboards and eats coconut ice cream all day. And her job is working with sea turtles!! She literally is like this island princess. I told her that after the mission I´m coming and visiting her. AND if you don´t already think she´s the coolest person ever, she´s also the first missionary from the Galapagos Islands! She´s definitely in the top 3 of the world´s coolest people. Good thing I´ve got a pretty sturdy self esteem or I think I would probably go live under rock with the sea turtles after spending the day with her.
So then Sunday comes around which is the day of Gabriela´s baptism! And she hadn´t smoked all week! Actually a little more than a week. A straight miracle. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. I know that she couldn´t have overcome this without all the heavenly help. And don´t worry she still hasn´t smoked and I don´t think she ever will again ((KNOCK ON WOOD)). So the baptism was planned for 5 o'clock on Sunday. And it´s great, it´s awesome, everything is fine. She comes to church. We announce the baptism. Everyone is super excited for her. The sun is shining. It´s just a great day. We even have lunch with menos activos that made us homemade lasagna with a white sauce for lunch. Just an all around great day for a baptism. Then right as we´re about to enjoy seconds (I think it says somewhere in the scriptures that carbs don´t count on baptism days) the phone rings. It´s Thiare, the daughter of Gabriela. She goes, 'Call my mom right now, she´s crazy!  NOOOOO! So we call her. Apparently she had just realized that the Cataldos, (the president of the branch and his family) weren´t going to be there for her baptism because they were out of town this weekend. So, Gabriela goes, 'if the Cataldos aren´t going to be there for my baptism I´m not getting baptized. Ok it´s 3 o'clock right now, 2 hours before the baptism. We couldn´t believe she was actually cancelling after EVERYTHING because the president wasn´t going to be there. We talked to her and she was just like no, he´s interviewed me so many times, he knows what I´ve gone through, I want him there for it. So we call the Cataldos to see when they´re coming home. They weren´t coming home until that night around 7 and so we´re like we´ll have it at 8. We call Gabriela and tell her. She says ok it can be at 8. Now we have to call all the members and everything. So, we call the ward mission leader and explain what´s going on. He says he can´t go at 8. AH! So he says he´ll just go over and talk to Gabriela. We´re stressing because we don't want him to freak out at her and have her get offended and then never get baptized. So we´re on pins and needles. AND all of this is happening during lunch. We felt so bad! The family who we were having lunch with... was like what the heck is going on.... So then, the ward mission leader calls us and tells us that he's with Gabriela  and she says it´s fine to do it at 5 like before. Oh my gosh. Then she wanted to talk to us and was like I didn´t realize it would be so complicated so I can do it at 5. I didn´t even bother asking her ´are you sure?´ Nope. I just said, 'great'! But then she wanted us to come over and do her hair. So we have to finish lunch quickly because the family lives at the very bottom of the hill and Gabriela lives at the top. So then we have to book it up about 17 flights of Chilean stairs (not to be confused with normal stairs, Chilean stairs are singular in their type. Every step has it´s own personality. Some are tall, some short, some wide, some very thin, but all, are very steep.) And then from there we had about 15 minutes of hills to climb to get to her house. Then she tells us that she doesn´t have a white bra! AH! So we run up the rest of the hill to our house to bring her one. When we get back, the youngest, Jordan, is refusing to go back down to the church because Johan, the oldest, who´s already down at the church, has the belt he wants to use and his sister, Thiare is just yelling at him. So then we transition from World Class Chilean hill climbers to psychologists and talk Jordan through it. Then we have a thousand people calling us and it´s 5 o 'clock. So then we tell them that we have to go down to the church (which of course is not only at the bottom of the hill, but the other side of it as well) and we´ll meet them there. So we get down. Everything was fine. The elders show up with their investigator. Gabriela shows up. We take pictures. We have the talks. Thiare spoke about baptism and how happy she was that her mom was finally getting baptized. (she´s 14. She was crying, I was crying, Hermana Hansen, my companion, was crying. It was awesome) And finally. finally. finally. finally. after EVERYTHING: Gabriela got BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh my gosh. It was just the best. I would honestly go through all that stress and up and down hills running a thousand more times if it meant another one of our Heavenly Father´s children was going to return to Him. I know that the heavens were opened and the angels were singing. I can´t even imagine what Gabriela has gone through to get where she is today. I can´t imagine the battles that she´s fought inside her mind and heart to repent, to overcome smoking, and to become the strong example that she is to her family and that she is to me. It´s such a beautiful thing. The gospel really truly does change us. The atonement does help us everyday. IT¨S REAL.  With Christ, we can truly overcome whatever addiction, whatever trial. Heavenly Father wants ALL of His children to return to Him and yesterday one more did. I love it so much. I love being a missionary. All the stress and chaos and exhaustion is MORE THAN WORTH IT. There´s truly nothing, but nothing, better.
Then after the baptism we found a new investigator, taught him about the restoration and he accepted the invitation to prepare for baptism the 15th of Feb! He seemed really weird and kinda creepy at first but turns out he´s actually a really great guy that just wants to become closer to God. So awesome.
And then to top it all off we got a surprise 'once' that night. 'Once' is the equivalent of  tea time. But ours was hot chocolate, a fried egg, and Chilean bread. And after a day like yesterday I wasn´t even bothered when I got the sugar and salt mixed up.
Whew! Well that was my week. Although it was amazing I really hope the only ups and downs of this next one are the hills of Chorrillos.
Con todo el amor en mi corazón, 
Hermana Evans

Baptism of Gabriela

Samantha and Gabriela

Hermana Hansen and Samantha with Bolillos


No Smoking Please!!!!!

January 19, 2015

Hola familia!
This week seems like a blur but at the same time it went by way too fast. I almost feel like it`s just a whole different time wave down here. 
So remember last week when I told you about our investigadora Gabriela. We did the whole fast with her to stop smoking and everything. Well we tried calling her on Monday to keep contact with her but it was late so she didn`t answer and then when we passed by her house on Tuesday she told us that she had smoked again the day before. It really broke my heart. It`s just because she has come SO FAR. but it's just this one cigarette every other day or every few days. I just really thought that she was going to overcome the temptations this time. She fasted and it was a hard fast so I just didn`t think that she would go back to it so soon, but her husband came home from working and he brought cigarettes into the house and that was that. I asked her why she did it and she just told me it was out of habit that she didn`t think until after she`d already taken a puff. So now the baptism is planned for this coming Sunday the 25th. We had her do her interview anyway thinking that would help her be more focused on quitting smoking. She told the elder that she`d smoked her last cigarette and he even gave her a blessing of strength so that she could do it. She left the interview with a big smile on her face and determination in her heart. She was doing so good too! And then we found out that she smoked again, (just one) on Saturday. It`s so hard because I just love Gabriela SO MUCH! She is so amazing and has all these wonderful desires and strong testimony, but she is just really trying my patience right now with this one cigarette. My companion even made her this cute scripture calendar with scriptures she has to read everyday and mark off. It`s just so frustrating sometimes! But honestly this experience with Gabriela is teaching me so much about Heavenly Father`s love for us. I understand how we can just always make the same mistakes and yet He still loves us because no matter how many times Gabriela falls I still love her and I just want to help her even more. When she talks about her family and the church I can feel the spirit and I can feel my heart being filled and stretched with the love Heavenly Father has for her. I can so clearly see her potential and that`s why it hurts so much every time she smokes, but I still believe in her. I know and understand better now that`s exactly what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ feel for us as we struggle through life with our weaknesses too. They know our potential and they know that we will be able to overcome them and they have a perfect love. It hurts them when we fall and fall again but they could never stop loving nor believing in us. I also have so much respect for them and their perfect patience because it`s hard to be so patient sometimes and yet they always are. Please keep Gabriela in your prayers. She needs all the prayers possible right now to be able to overcome her smoking.
This week we also had interviews with the Mission President in our house. We went on this crazy cleaning spree the days leading up to it. I won`t go into details on that. Lets just say there were stains that I thought would never come out that did.. yikes. But interviews with him are awesome. It`s so funny because I always get super crazy anxiety about it a few days before because  it`s President Kahnlein! He`s seriously the closest person to God I think.  I love the man to death but the thought of being alone in a room with him just scares me. I don`t even know why. I think it`s because those laser blue eyes just see straight into your soul. But like always it all went perfectly fine and he told me he`s happy with our work here. But at the same time I`m glad that it`s over with. 
This week we also had our replica which is where we orientate the other missionaries about what president and Hermana Kahnlein talked about at our consejo meeting at the beginning of the month. I was a little nervous just because usually when I have to speak in front of groups I start second guessing my Spanish and then I just complicate it, but that went super great as well. I could say everything I wanted to. It`s funny it literally just felt like teaching a missionary discussion so it was like the easiest thing ever. I`m realizing that I just psych myself out about the dumbest things and then everything goes fine so I`m working on not doing that anymore. 
We had a lesson with Gabriela and her kids that are already members yesterday that just broke my heart. But in a good way this time. The kids really want their mom to stop smoking. Oh that reminds me. On Saturday we totally saw a cigarette in Gabriela`s house (patience.. patience.) so my companion, Hermana Hansen snatched it and put it in her bag. We soaked it in milk and then were going to give it to her to smoke. There`s missionaries that swear by that trick because I guess it`s just the nastiest taste ever and then they never smoke again. But in the morning it just looked we literally just found it on the ground so it didn`t work. Slash we also didn`t feel good about being missionaries and being like here smoke this cigarette. But we did feel rebellious walking around with it. But yeah so we`re talking with the kids and they really want their dad to get baptized too so they can be sealed as a family. They were just telling us how cool it would be to have parents that remind you to pray and read your scriptures. Johan, the son who`s like 17, was like it would be so cool to have a dad that told you you have to read your scriptures before you can go out. He`s like if my dad told me that I think I would cry of happiness. It literally just tore my heart because I remember you guys calling me down for family home evenings or family pray and half the time I thought it was a big inconvenience. I probably did cry too, but not of happiness. And then we have these kids that just dream of it. It just broke my heart. I just don`t realize how good I've got it. I`m really hoping and praying and doing everything so that Gabriela will be baptized and that their dad will be receptive. Please keep them in your prayers!
Well that`s pretty much the main highlights of this week! I love you all so much! Have a great week!
con todo el amor en mi corazón,
Hermana Evans

View of Chorillos

View of Chorillos

Broken display stand for street contacting

Movie night

Cooking for movie night
President Kahnlein, Hermana Hansen, Hermana Evans
Hermana Hansen, Hermana Watt, Hermana Evans
All three started their missions together!

Rooster on a roof



Friday, January 16, 2015

Is This Real Life?????


Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Best New Years Ever!!!!!!!!

January 5, 2015

Hello familia!!

I hope you guys had an awesome New Years! It`s crazy to think that it`s 2015!!
Ok, so I have missionary brain and don`t remember a lot of things right now, but tell me if 2015 is not the year they went to in the second back to the future movie?? I`m feeling kind of ripped off we don`t have those flying cars yet.. Or who knows, maybe they just haven`t made their way down to Chile yet. 
I had the best New Years that I think I will ever have in my entire life!!! I`ll get to that in a second though..... So on New Years Eve we had cambios (changes). Hermana Avery and I were praying that we would stay together but of course we got the call in the morning and Hermana Avery se va. (she leaves). We were so bummed. Especially because I didn`t want to spend New Years with someone that I just met. I know that doesn`t really matter because it`s the mission and there are so much more important things, but still... So we went to cambios and guess who my new companion is here in Chorrillos?! Hermana Hansen! She was in my Mtc group and we were together the whole time with the Atlanta Airport fiasco, and, I think you said that you know her mom through Facebook... Anyway we`re together now and it`s just awesome! So after we got back to Chorillos we just went straight back to work like normal, but on New Years we had permission to stay out until 11pm if a family had invited us over. Well no one in our branch had invited us over to celebrate with them so we were like whatever... but then when we were in a little store buying apple flavored water that we pretended was actually martinellis we ran into this kid that was a member and he invited us over to his house for New Years! It was 9:30pm at this point too but we were like yeah ok and went over and spent some time with him and his mom, who`s less active.... Killing two birds with one stone! The Lord really does work in amazing ways. But the best part is that for New Years, Viña has the 3rd largest fireworks show in the world. And our house has an ocean view, so we got to watch the firework show that they do all along the coast! So since we`re up on a hill we could see like 3 or 4 of the shows! IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!! I don`t know why we don`t have shows like that in the U.S., but it was literally the coolest thing I have ever seen! I really don't think that I will ever have a better Año Nuevo in my life. I`m like I gotta come back here every year for this. It was too cool! ....So we drank our apple water martinellis, enjoyed the show, and then went to bed like good little missionaries. But still. Like best night of my life!!!!
Also I had intercambios this week with a new hermana,. It was her second day in the mission field and she`s from Brazil which made it kind of hard. Whenever she didn`t know the word in Spanish she`s say it in Portuguese and I was just like uhhhhh what?? haha... but in language study I had her teach me how to pray in Portuguese so that was way cool! So now I can understand her prayers but I just felt so bad because there was no way I could help her with the other stuff but I did enjoy learning new Portuguese vocab.
Also, Hermana Hansen and I had an amazing lesson yesterday with this married couple javier and camilia. We`d planned to teach the plan of salvation and when we got there they had questions about just that! I love when that happens. It was honestly one of the best lessons of my mission I think. They totally understood it!! I seriously think that they are just chosen. AND they`re married! The only speed bump I think is the marijuana plant that is growing in their front door, but that`s nothing a little weed killer can`t fix! haha.. But it`s just been so long since I`ve taught someone who just gets it. And they read what we left them in the Book of Mormon! AH! So now they just have to come to church! But I`m excited to work more with them this week!!!
But yeah that`s pretty much how my week went! I love you all and I hope you guys have a great time in Park City! MUAH!
con todo el amor en mi corazón,
Hermana Evans
Zone activity. We did Minute to Win It.  We won!!!

Gringa is the preferred food for fleas!!!!!!!

Making homemade tortillas for Christmas Eve tacos!

We put 3 mattresses together to make
a huge bed for Christmas Eve. Also
note the stockings hung on a wire
hanger!  Ha ha!!!!!!

Christmas Eve dinner at the home of our ward mission leader!

Christmas turkey!!!!!!!

Torta helada.  It was soooo yummy!!! Don't worry, she
gave me the recipe!!!!!!!!!!!

You'd think the ward mission leader would know my
name by now.....don't worry, they totally messed up
my companions name too and she had been there for
6 more weeks than me!!!!!  ha ha!
Fireworks for New Years Eve!

All the food we thought we could eat on Christmas!
More Fireworks!!!!!
And more fireworks!!!!
Cuz New Years wouldn't be New Years without
Chilean "ho ho ho"
Chilean Martinellis!!!!!
Christmas cinnamon rolls!