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

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Do You Need A Ride???

June 1, 2015

Holllaaa familia!!!

Como estan??? I hope you`re all just great and wonderful! I`m just great and wonderful here! Gosh I love it soooo much. 
Well I don`t really know where to start since not too much happened this week. It was super chill....
I met one of the investigadores of the other hermana's here from before. She`d been super busy so I hadn`t gotten to meet her yet and oh my gosh she is SOOO amazing! Her name is Carolina and she has 3 kids. She reads the Book of Mormon A LOT and she calls us her gift from God. She has a testimony and doesn`t even realize it. And her little girl who has 4 years calls us the ¨Niñas de Jesus¨ haha that made me smile really big. BUT the big problem is that she can`t come to church because her husband who isn`t even her husband because they aren`t married hates religion and doesn`t let them go to church. It hurts me so much because she has so much love for everyone and is so humble, but she just can`t come to church to keep the peace in the house. BUT she is trying to find work, so she can leave him and still take care of her kids. Basically what she needs is a miracle!! Please keep her in your prayers. She is just golden!!!! 
We had the coolest miracle ever... So we left her house a little late and were running so we could get home on time, but to be honest it was looking pretty bleak of our chances so I`m running and just praying that a member passes by in their car or something so that we can get home on time. Then as I finish a prayer in my head, a car passes by with two ladies and they ask if we need a ride!!! Get in! And we`re like ok! Thanks! Ok so now as I write that I realize that it sounds kinda sketchy to just get into a random car but I promise that normally I would never do such a thing unless it was a car sent from God as an answer to a very frantic prayer as this one was. DO you know how many woman drive in Chile???? I`ll tell you. Not many. It was seriously such a huge blessing!!!! We arrived home with 2 minutes to spare!
A few days later we were walking down a dark dirt street and we have to walk up this hill of just loose sand. It`s night, it`s freezing cold and I was just like you know what would be great, if someone just stopped by and offered us a ride just to the top of the hill. Literally 2 seconds later an empty bus passes by and stops and the guy says, I`m going up to the top, can I drive you guys up?? And I was like YES!!! Literally immediately. It was way cool. 
It`s so awesome to be able to see how God really does answer prayers. I think that is the lesson that I`ve learned the most during my time here in the mission. That God really does listen and that most of the time the way He answers is through other people. And through maneras (miracles) really simple.
As I said, this week was really chill and nothing huge happened. We didn`t find any families or teach any lessons where the people had a super spiritual enlightenment but we were working hard and doing all we could and we received the help when we needed it and asked for it. When we do our part, God will always do His and will help us. I love that so much. 
Another thing that I realized this week is just how much I love speaking Spanish. It`s gotten to the point where I can just sit and listen and understand without even thinking about it and then I can respond and it just all feels natural. I can`t even tell you how awesome it is to be able to express thoughts so fluidly in the Spanish language. I love being able to pose questions and the people have to think and they little by little start to recognize the spirit and the plan of God. I also love to see how really we`re not too different. I sit in our lessons and I look around and usually its a Chilean, a Brazilian, and a gringa and we`re all talking about God and families and sharing personal experiences and it is just so cool to see how people can come from places so distinct yet are filled with the same questions and the gospel provides all the same answers that we all need. It is sooo so clear that when it all comes down to it we aren`t Chilean or American or Columbian or Peruvian or what ever, we are just children of God. I don`t have the words right now or time to think and find them to express how amazing it is to realize that. But it is just awesome. I just have soooo much to be grateful for here. I love it sooo much! 
Ok so funny story: We had visited a menos active (less active member) and she gave us a reference to pass by her neighbor that supposedly is super great. So we go right afterward to pass by the neighbor, (she told us to not say anything that she sent us because she hadn`t talked to him before), so we yell, "ALO" and this guy answers the door wearing shorts and a very nicely trimmed beard and a cute little kitten in his hands.  We introduce ourselves and he goes oh no we`re homosexuals here.... And it just caught us both really off guard hahaha and I was like what do we say???  So I said,  well we talk to everyone! hahah...  and he just goes yeah, so no thanks.  But he doesn`t even close the door and is just there staring at us! jajajaj I was like uhh what do you want us to say?? So then we just were like, ok have a great day before it got too awkward. hahah well it was probably funnier in the moment then how I`m telling you now but we got a good laugh out of how awkward it got haha. 
Anyway, I`ve run out of things interesting to say but know that I`m happy and healthy and I don`t have nearly as many flea bites here as I did in Chorrillos.
I hope you all have a great week!!!
Hermana Evans