Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oh How Beautiful To My Eyes!!!!!

July 20, 2015

Hola familia!!!

Wow! Rain in San Diego in July? That's awesome! It's like you guys are in Chile or something... haha!!!
This week just flew right by but it was a great one! First we started the week off with a great miracle. All our appointments were on Tuesday night. So, my companion and I were walking around outside, it was freezing and no one was home. No menos activos, investigadores, or future investigadores! We just got to a point where we had an hour left before we had to be back in our apartment, and we had no clue where we should be. We just wanted to teach! So we were like well we could go contact this neighborhood of houses where we don't have anyone. (We tried contacting there before but hadn't had any luck and we didn't want to walk all the way over there to have no luck again and have it be a waste of time), so we decided to pray about it and see where God needed us to be.  So we prayed and then we just stood there and thought and I just then had the thought that I should look at my agenda  book and see what we had planned for that time of night. We had planned to pass by a future guy who lived in the other direction so we went looking for his street. We couldn't find it so then we looked again at the agenda and decided to go find another future investigor that we had planned for (which took us to another neighborhood) but they weren't home either so we decided to just contact the house next door with a light. A very nice lady answered and we were able to put an appointment with her for another day. So by this point we only had about 15 minutes before it was time to head home so we contacted another house with lights. As we were 'yelling' outside a car pulls up, which is always kinda awkward.... but the guy was really nice. Then his wife came out and we explained to them who we were and what we do and she says, ' oh you talk about God! I love talking about God! It makes me feel so good! Come in!!' So we go in, teach really quick about the Book of Mormon, clear up some untrue thoughts they had about the church, say a closing prayer and the couple became new investigadores! It was crazy! Like literally we had prayed to be able to find someone to teach and God gave us 2! BUT, He sent us on a little goose chase in the other area, which led us to another future lady, so we could arrive just in time to find the couple together! The timing could not have been more perfect! Such a great, great miracle!
Then another day of the same, no one being home, so we were just street contacting and I contacted this girl and she was like wait, I´m looking for a church to go to, can I go to your church?? She didn´t end up living in our sector but we gave her the direction of the church and told her she was always welcome. It was just awesome because after a lot of rejection it was just great to see that someone actually cared about God in their life. Also it was nice to be on the other side of the invitation for church and have someone asking US if she could go, instead of the other way around!
This week we also had our zone conference with our new mission president and his wife. They are so awesome! It was a lot different from Pres. Kahnlein but not bad different or good different, just different. He´s a convert to the church and was just over all the seminary and institute and he is an awesome teacher. He just gets so excited about it all. He talked about turning principles of the gospel into values in our life, and how to do it. He said first you have to know the principle or be familiar with it, then you have to apply it or live it, so then you can feel it and it becomes a part of who you are. I really liked that. 
Also... funny story. We were walking down the street and there was a dad who was trying to calm his little girl in their yard as we were passing. I happened to have my hair in a braid and he goes, 'look honey, the princess from frozen! I haven´t seen that movie but I´ve seen a picture of the princess with the blonde hair and EVERYONE here tells me I look like her! haha. Also on Sunday a little girl tapped me on the shoulder from behind and gave me a sticker with the frozen girl on it!  hahah!  So those are the highlights of the week....
Yes, the rumor is true, turns out this will be my last email home. How weird is that???? I mean unless President Monson receives the revelation that girls can have the option to extend for the full 2 years (He´s still got a week to receive that, so fingers crossed!) 
One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon has come to be Mosiah 18. I just love how the people after listening to the teaching of Alma clap their hands with joy due to their great joy and desire to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized and how thousands are baptized there in the waters of Mormon. (I wish people reacted the same here).... But the part I love is verse 30 where it says 'how beautiful the waters of Mormon are to those who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer'. It makes me think, what are my waters of Mormon like? Well mine is actually really large. In one part there´s lots of yellow and green countryside with small dirt passages and there happens to grow the most delicious tomatoes and lots of avocados. In the other part, it´s filled with steep hills and the houses are supported up by tall skinny posts. And, as you climb those hills, just as you think you are about to die of exhaustion, you turn around and there is a sparkling view of the sea. There also happens to be lots of fleas and lots of dogs, but... the bread is always delicious!!! And oh, how beautiful it all is to my eyes for HERE I´ve come to the knowledge of my Redeemer. Mission Viña del Mar is my waters of Mormon!
The mission has not only been the best decision of my life, but for my life. It still hasn´t hit me that it´s winding down. For all I know, I'm just going to stay a missionary in Chile for the rest of my life. (haha I bet you´d love that mom ;) ) I know there will come a time though, very soon, where I´m just going to cry. Really hard. But really, you know, I´m ok with it ending. I just have this sense of peace about it.  I feel I´m exactly where I should be at this point in my life. I get that life has to go on and that the purpose of this life is to progress to become more like God and you just can´t reach your full purpose in the mission. I´m so grateful for all I've learned and for the goals and perspective I now have. I´m excited to be able to put it all in practice for the rest of my life.
I can never begin to express what it means to me to be a missionary of Jesus Christ.  And while I love, love, love being a missionary, I´m even more grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ because that doesn´t have an 18 month time stamp. I´m so grateful for the promises and covenants that I´ve made with God and Jesus Christ in my baptism and in the temple for I know those are eternal and are what bind my heart to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I know that Christ's church was restored through Joseph Smith and is true. It´s true! It´s so true! I cannot emphasize it enough. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that the heavens are not closed, but there are blessings being poured out of them every day, every minute, to those that love God and do His will. I know and put 100 percent of my confidence in the promise at the end of the Book of Mormon. Any person, where ever they are can pray and ask God if that book is true and if they do it sincerely, they WILL receive an answer. To know that book is true is to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ HAS been restored and is here on the Earth today. I have seen so many people receive that answer. I myself have received my own answer. I have worn my badge with the name of Jesus Christ over my heart for sufficient time that even when they take it off of me, it will be engraved there in my heart forever. I love my Savior. He lives. 

I love you guys so much. I can´t express my love and appreciation for your support and sacrifice for me to be here and have this wonderful experience. Thank you! and.... see you soon, I guess? haha weird! 

Con todo el amor en mi corazón, 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Do You Guys Ever Get Sad???

Friday, July 10, 2015

Chile Campeon De America

July 6, 2015


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Convinced or Converted???

June 29, 2015
Hellloooo my family!!! 
This week was awesome. I really do like my new area. It´s super big so we walk a lot but it´s really tranquilo. It´s super quiet and chill. Except when Chile is playing in the Copa America (American Cup?) But I´m pretty sure the whole country is going crazy so it´s fine. Chile plays tonight so keep us in your prayers that we will find SOMEONE who´s not into futbol and will let us into their warm home. I have high faith that we WILL find someone of gold tonight. CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE VIVA CHILE! 
This week in a lunch we had with a member she said something really interesting that´s been dancing around in my head. As missionaries we are always teaching right now about the Dia de Reposo or Sabbath Day. So the scripture we shared after lunch with this Hermana was about keeping the Sabbath day holy. She´s been a member for like 30 years now and raised her children in the church and she is one of the most faithful members here in Sindempart. And she goes ¨You know what? What I´ve seen in my years in the church is just that most people are just convinced while only a few are really converted. That a lot of people like the church and the teachings and how it´s all about the family but then something happens, I don´t know, they get offended or it´s a cold Sunday morning or who knows what, and suddenly all that seemed so nice and pretty isn´t what is the most important in their life. It´s a side note". She said if we  really are converted we´re going to sacrifice and we´re going to do all we can to put Jesus Christ and the truth first. I really liked what she said. It made me think am I really converted or just convinced? Do I get up and go to church every Sunday because I´m a missionary and it´s just part of the schedule or because I really want to go to church and participate in the sacrament and keep the Sabbath day holy? Do I keep the convenient commandments and make exceptions for the others or do I truly obey out of the love I have for God and for my Savior? Do I like being obedient? Or is it an annoyance?  Am I like the people of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon and really don´t have the desire to do bad, but to do good continually? Or is there something that I shouldn´t do but still do? Am I only convinced or am I converted? What´s the difference? I think it all comes down to our testimony. Do we have a surety, a firm conviction that THIS is the church of Jesus Christ? That God speaks to us now in this time and day? Have we read and prayed about the Book of Mormon until we got an answer? Do we hold tight to the spiritual experiences we´ve had? Do our actions reflect our love for God? Being converted to the gospel does not mean having a perfect knowledge or living a perfect life. It does not mean standing up at church and bearing a general conference worthy testimony. It does not mean having perfect family home evenings and understanding all of the scriptures. It does not even mean filling the spirit really strong all the time. Being converted is simply doing the little things constantly. Reading our scriptures, saying our prayers and going to church. It means striving to be obedient and keeping our covenants. It means becoming really good at repenting really fast. It means living gratefully. If we just do the little things we can cross over the border from being a convicted member to being a converted member so that we too can stand alongside the people of King Benjamin with the disposition to do good continually.....
I am also really grateful for the opportunity that I have to play piano in our ward. It´s weird how few people here know how to play piano, but there is always a piano in every church. So now I´m the new pianist and one thing I love about playing the piano is I get to sit in front of everyone so I can see who comes to church and who doesn´t without like awkwardly craning my neck in every direction to see if an investigador or someone came in late. So yesterday I was looking out at everyone during the sacrament and was looking for all our investigadores and street contacts that told us that they were sí o sí going to come. I got over a long time ago the street contacts not coming but I still get a little bummed when the good investigadors say they are going to come and then don´t. So yesterday as I was scanning the congregation I wasn´t seeing anyone. And then I noticed Ali. Ali, is one of our investigadors. He is 10 years old and usually he comes with his friend Nicolas, one of our other investigadores but yesterday he came by himself. I don´t know why but it filled my heart with so much joy to see him there. He was sitting on his little chair (there´s not benches in the church) alone, with his worn tennis shoes dangling a little above the ground. His hair was nicely combed and he had a cute little button up denim shirt and his soft cover Book of Mormon rested on his lap with his Jesus card sticking out the top marking the chapter he was reading. I noticed that there was a little, but good bit, of white between the dark cover and the Jesus card, meaning that he had been reading it. I just thought that was SO COOL. Lately I´ve been kinda stressed because our investigadors are all kids here. We´ve even fasted to find adult investigadors. But seeing Ali there at church alone just warmed my heart and the part in the bible when Christ invites the children to come to Him came to my mind. Is he just convinced or is he becoming converted? Time will tell but until then I´m just really grateful for the humble example of those dangling feet and combed hair.
So something funny that happened this week...... we found this new Mexican food place in our sector!! It´s been a longggg time since I've eaten Mexican food. So I ordered a chicken burrito and my companion ordered a chicken quesadilla. We take it to go and get home and unwrap it and it was exactly the same thing, but folded differently! hahaha we got a good laugh out of that. Chileans... Gotta love them.
Well that´s about it for this week! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Con todo el amor en mi corazon,
Hermana Evans
Samantha's new Mission President and his wife
Samantha's Mission President and his wife
saying good bye. They served for 3 years.