Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Alma 50:16

May 25, 2015

Hello family!!!!!

I opened up my email and it was loaded with a thousand emails!! I literally thought someone died or something.. and then I realized that something did. My childhood. I`m officially an adult! AH!! It`s awesome! I can legally say no to alcohol now! Haha, but seriously, thank you so much to everyone who sent me birthday wishes!! I feel super special :)
 My week here was awesome awesome awesome!!! Everyday is full of miracles. It kind of weirds me out sometimes haha not going to lie, but I just think it`s so amazing that Heavenly Father can focus in on every detail in every life as if He has all the time in the world for every single person. He really does have all the time in the world and is willing to do whatever he needs to, no matter how long it takes. I feel like life on Earth is like a very elaborately stitched blanket, with threads weaving in and out of each other in a manner that almost seems to not make sense when looked at up close but as you step back it makes the most beautiful pattern. 
So first, we find ourselves with this lady from Cuba. She comes to us and is crying and we`re like what happened?? And she says nothing, I`m fine, I just moved here from Cuba a few months ago and I just miss my family that`s all. Turns out she was studying with the Jehovah Witnesses in Cuba and thought that we were them. Dang it. But it`s fine, we cleared it up and she said that another day she would like to talk to us.  So, then we went to our appointment, but the lady wasn`t there! So we walk back up the street and we find ourselves again with the Cuban lady and she comes over and she says, actually I have time now, can we talk. So we talk and we end up teaching her the Restoration on the street! She was super interested and accepted a Book of Mormon and said she is going to pray!! Just like that. Our two citas that we had had fell through and thanks to that we found ourselves with her again, a little later, when she was ready to listen! Timing is everything. Looking back at it I can see how God was working to give this lady, who`s far from home and feeling alone,  a chance to learn about Jesus Christ and find comfort in Him and His gospel.
Also, we had a lesson with our investigador, Tito on Tuesday. He`d been having doubts about Jose Smith and if he was a prophet or not. So I had left with him my triple so he could read Jose Smith history. We got there and he had read a little and said that he had prayed but still wasn`t sure. We talked about baptism and all that but it always came back to him saying that he wasn`t sure and that he wanted more time because he needed more knowledge and had to do more research. So I was just thinking look, obviously he hasn`t received an answer that these things are true so he hasn`t felt the spirit testify that these things are true. Once you feel the spirit there is just no denying it. I was thinking in the promise at the end of the Book of Mormon, that if you pray with true intention you WILL receive an answer. Not maybe you`ll get one, but you will get one. I know that is a true promise. I trust in that promise. So I was like look, how about we kneel down, right here right now, and you say a prayer and you just ask God if Jose Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true? Yeah? And Tito was like ok. So we did it and he said a very simple but sweet prayer. He asked if the Book of Mormon is true and if Jose Smith restored the church. Super simple. Not one pretty word or anything. Boom. And as he closed his prayer, he was crying. He felt the spirit. That promise at the end of the Book of Mormon, that promise that has been tried and tried and fulfilled time and time again has once again felt strong. I can`t even begin to describe how strong the spirit was in the room. He knew that it all was true, even if he didn`t know everything or understand everything perfectly. He just knew in his heart. He stood up and reached out to shake my hand and said thank you. So we sit back at the table and after a little bit more of silence, I asked him, what God was telling him right then. And Tito goes, arrepiéntete y bautìzate.  (repent and get baptized). So I asked him how he was with Sunday and he said that Sunday would be great! hahahaha just like that!!!! Literally 10 minutes earlier he was saying that Sunday was too soon and now he was like yes please, Sunday! Literally as a missionary, I feel like I do absolutely nothing. Because I don`t. The spirit is so powerful. The Lord really does His own work. I`m just so grateful for the opportunity that I have to watch it all go down. I feel like I have front row seats to the greatest show in the world. 
So Tito passed his interview and was baptized yesterday! On my birthday!! Best birthday yet????? That would be a full hearted ¡¡SÍ!! 
I remember learning in my Anthropology class that in other Indian cultures on ones birthday they give gifts to everyone, instead of others giving gifts to them. I always thought that was really interesting and I was thinking this past week, what gift could I give to Heavenly Father for my birthday? Well, I wish I could say that I gave him a baptism, but even that wasn`t me. But I hope that through the baptism and every lesson that we teach and every contact that I do and every scripture that I share, He knows the great deep love that I have for Him and for Jesus Christ. I know that really there is nothing that I can even give them, only my will. And I hope that They know that They already have all of it. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the lessons I am learning and for the miracles that I am seeing. I know that God lives, I know that He loves us, and I know that He works endlessly, night and day so that every one of His children can have the opportunity to have not only happiness in this life but endless joy in the eternities. I hope I can keep progressing and everyday for the rest of my life become a little bit more and more like my Savior. 
The baptism was super super beautiful! Tito`s mom who is already a member was crying through out the whole thing! At the end, we asked Tito if he wanted to share his testimony and he said YES! Which was awesome because usually they say no because they`re still kinda shy but he stood up afterward and just expressed pure gratitude. It was so sweet. And then afterward, he told us that we now have to teach his wife and daughter! The fact that they came to the baptism is awesome because Tito has been living with his mom because of problems in the marriage, but he just wants to be with his family and I hope that the gospel will be able to help them! We`ll see, we have a family home evening with the whole family tonight  :)
Then afterwards for my birthday we ate Papa Johns pizza with a family with a chocolate cake! SOOO GOOD! I felt like I was at home. Then we went over to the Bishop's house in the night who said he wanted to talk to us about some stuff and they surprised me with PANCAKES!!!! Hahaha I`ve never blown out candles from a stack of pancakes, but it was awesome!!! There was even American maple syrup! Did I score or what????? So all in all it was a really great awesome day! Most people on their 21st birthday go out and party all night long, but I wouldn`t trade my experience here in Chile for the world. I know that my party will continue with these people in the celestial kingdom  :)   Alma 50:16.

Well I`ve ran out of time! So until next week... 
I love you all so much!!!!!!!
Con todo el amor de mi corazón, 
Hermana Evans (21)

Achupallas Leader Conference.  Can you find Samantha????

Monday, May 18, 2015

More Faith Than Sleepyness People

May 18, 2015

Holaaaaaaa familia!

Oi, como voce esta? tenho saudade de voce. Aonde fica o banheiro? That`s about all I got for my Portuguese this week. Before you get TOO impressed, I just said, hello, how are you?  I miss you. Where is the bathroom? Haha buena no?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Achupallas. That`s a Name, Not a Sneeze..

May 11, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oh FLEAcidad!!!!!!!

May 4, 2015

I hope this letter finds you safe and well and with not too many bee stings. I`m definitely preparing myself for some awesome corn bread and honey this Fall! 
This week wasn`t all that eventful. Although I did get my haircut! Just the ends though so you can`t really tell but it was fun. We went to a lady in our branch who cuts hair here in the centro. She`s so awesome. Her name is Norfa. And when it was all finished and we tried to pay her she wouldn't accept our money. And we were like no, Hermana, let us pay and she was like Hermanas I went to the temple and I made a promise with God that I would always share my time and talents with others. You guys are here, far from your homes and you`re not paid and are making a big difference in the lives of others. I can`t take your money. I was like wow. It was really humbling to see someone so firm on their temple covenants. Norfa is so awesome. I walked out of that peluquera feeling great in my heart AND about my hair. 
 Funny story... So basically I have the most delicious blood in the world or something because the fleas just eat me to death. There is nothing I can do, I`ve tried a bunch of things and I always just itch from all the bites. Fun fact the other week I had 103 bites just around my torso! I literally looked like I had a rash or something. Fun stuff right? So anyway we`re in a lesson and I`m itching the 5 bites on my arm and the Hermana says ' do you have bites? And I tell her the fleas just eat me and she says ' well you need to put rubbing alcohol on them and so I said ok I`ll do that. Next thing I know, we`re talking about the priesthood and she comes out with this huge bottle of rubbing alcohol and says, ' let me see your arm. And I'm like what?? She says, ' give me your arm. So I give her my arm and she just pours all this rubbing alcohol over my arm and just starts rubbing it all over. It`s literally dripping all over her couch and everything. Then she says, ' ok now your other and I say, ' no I'm ok thank you and she says, ' give me your other arm so I give her my other arm and she does the same thing.  Then she says, ' I saw you itching your ankles too and just starts putting rubbing alcohol all over my ankles and then she was like do you have bites on your legs too and at that point I was like NO NO NO. I`m good there, thank you so much and she just looks at me and laughs and is like ok. So then I`m sitting there almost dripping with rubbing alcohol and my companion looks at me and is like wow that smells really strong and I'm thinking,  yeah, I know. So then I have to go through the rest of the night smelling very strongly of rubbing alcohol. But you know what, I didn`t itch after that so that was good. My gosh though, Chileans are crazy sometimes.... haha, but you gotta love it. 
One day this week, all of our citas (appointments) fell through and we were walking around contacting people and trying to find someone to teach. As we were walking we had this guy stop by us in the street in his pick up and he asks, ' do you guys have that one book you talk about and we say, The Book of Mormon??? and he`s like yeah! Can you give it to me, I want to read Enos. And we say, sure, are you a member and he says, ' no, but I have a friend who`s talked to me a lot about it, thank you! and then he just drove off before we could get his information to go visit him or something. But that was a cool little miracle, that he was searching for the Book of Mormon and he just happened to find us walking there.
A little later we were walking in front of the university that is in our sector and as we were walking by a guy stopped us and says, ' hey are you guys elders? And we were like, well almost. And he said, ' I have a friend that is on the mission and he writes me every Monday. He told me that I should read this book that you guys have, do you have one? And we were like, yeah we do! And we gave him a Book of Mormon! And he says, ' wow thank you so much, I`ve been looking for the missionaries where I live for 2 weeks and have never seen them, I`m so glad that I could find you guys! We asked him if he wanted us to give his direction to the missionaries there so they could visit him and answer his questions about the book and he  said that his family is really catholic so he would rather this be a secret, but thanks so much! And then he went away. That day, even though we didn`t teach any lessons, which is something really rare here, I still feel like we were able to be the answer to people`s prayers and were able to help people come closer to Christ by giving them the Book of Mormon. It was just another testament to me that people are really looking for answers and are really looking for what we have. Even if they aren`t ready to commit themselves to baptism, they at least want to know more, they want the security that there is more and God is leading them to where they will find the answers that matter, in His church and in the Book of Mormon. I love missionary work so much!
I contacted this one guy and he asked us where we were from and I told him that I was from California in the US and he asked what part and I told him close to San Diego and he tells us that he has a sister living there and so I asked him what part and he said Escondido! haha I was like really, what`s her name and he said it was Cindy. So if you happen to run into a Chilean Cindy in Escondido, I contacted her brother. He didn`t want anything, He believes in Taoism, but he does make really awesome banana bread which he was selling there on the side walk.
Yesterday, Gabriela FINALLY received a calling!!!! She`s Young Womens Secretary!!! I was so happy! It`s so perfect for her! It`s so cool to be able to look back at where she was when I met her, smoking, not sure about baptism and all that to how she is now.... baptized, coming to church and secretary of the young womens! It makes me want to cry of joy just thinking about all of her progress!!! She`s not perfect, but she`s getting there and she`s trying and she really has changed! Which is totally the point of the gospel, so we can change and become better. She`s definitely doing that and I am just so proud of her!!!
I also got a letter from one of my converts Ignacio from Limache. He told me that he was able to baptize someone and that he went to the temple and did the work for his grandpa and he felt the spirit so strong doing it!!! It was the coolest thing ever being able to read about his experiences! Really the gospel is just so amazing. I don`t know how to put it into words. You know, it`s like you go on a mission hoping that you can help someone feel a little bit of the love and joy that the gospel has brought into your life and you then get to hear that the people have been able to feel the same love and the same joy and the same spirit as you have, it`s just SO AMAZING. It makes every single flea bite more than worth it! I really wish I could communicate the joy it fills me with. I know the gospel is true because I feel it and I get to hear the testimony of others who I meet on the street one day and then now they feel it too. It is just SO AWESOME!!!!! I love the gospel, I love being a missionary, I love Chile, I`m so happy I could even say that I love fleas. Maybe I`m crazy. But I just love it all so much. 
I`m so excited to be able to talk to you guys on Sunday! Have a great week!!! 
Con todo de mi amor,
oh and... 
May the fourth be with you, 
Hermana Evans

Samantha with her companion Hermana Hansen and some Elders from her district

Samantha's district

Samantha with her companion Hermana Hansen and some other Hermanas