Monday, December 30, 2013

The New Nephew

Hi... Danielle again,

For those of you who don't know, Jordanne's sister, Shannon, has a new baby boy.  He was born on October 31 (yes, he's our little spook!)  Jordanne has been referring to him as "Charlie" but his name is actually Jet Robert Shields.  He weighed 7 lbs 12 oz, was 20 1/2 inches long, and he's absolutely adorable!!

Who Needs Fosforos? (December 30, 2013)

Quick recap of this week:

Monday was P-day, obviously.  Not too much to say about it.

Tuesday, Christmas Eve, we were invited to have Christmas dinner with the Alarcón family in our ward.  So we went with the other two hermanas and had a good old time.  I taught the little girls the dance for Cotton Eye Joe and they totally loved it.  Here they eat late at night and then wait until midnight and open all the gifts then.  We had to be in the house at 11:00, so no Viejito Pascuelo (Santa Clause) sightings for us.  But it was still fun.

Wednesday we opened up our gifts in the morning (the girls in my house are thrilled about all the American chocolate I got) and then in the afternoon we went into Conce for the mission Christmas activity they were having.  There was so much good food and most of it was American - chips and guacamole (okay, so that is not really "American" but they don't eat it here) and pasta and frog-eye salads and ranch and ceaser salad dressings, and chocolate chip cookies! - and I got to see Hermana Call and Hermana Snyder and a lot of my other mission friends who are in the "in" zones right now.  I loved it.  And then after that, of course, we Skyped our families, which is always fun.  My family is crazy.  But I love them.  I got to meet my nephew Charlie.  He was asleep, but he seems pretty cool.  I think we'll get along if he likes sleeping too.

Thursday morning I found myself with a few minutes of extra time and so I took down the little Christmas tree that we had.  The other hermanas kept asking me if that was some kind of an American tradition - to take down the tree immediately after Christmas.  I told them no, that normally we leave it up until after the New Year but I knew if I didn't do it right then I would be too lazy to do it later.  Then that afternoon my companion was sick with the flu so I put her to bed despite her complaints and she felt better that night.

Friday was the first "regular" day we had last week, so the week felt pretty short.  But we did as much as we could Friday and Saturday and Sunday to move the work along.  Saturday we went to visit some of our investigators and the husband, José was getting ready to go play in some kind of a performance with his church "band."  He plays the violin, so when he heard that I could play he went and got it out and insisted that I play.  Well, I really can't remember all that much and that violin was SO out of tune and I couldn't really tune it because the pegs were like super-glued and I was pretty sure the strings would break if I tried too hard.  So I had to just place my fingers in different places on all the strings in order to get the music to sound right.  It was strange, but it kind of worked.  Hermano José has basically no training and his technique is quite different, but he played a nice little ditty.  And then he asked if I would teach him a couple of lessons.  I am quite skeptical about that, since I can't exactly speak music-Spanish.  Also because I don't think a violin lesson would count for one of our key indicators....  But it was fun to get to play again for a minute.  I guess there are a lot of violins in Tomé.

Once again I failed to get a picture of the beautiful views of the ocean that we have every time we climb up one of the enormous hills here in Tomé.  I remembered finally to bring my camera yesterday but then I didn't remember to use it.  Boo.  Someday, I promise, you can know what it is like here.  Hermana Gamboa and I went running on the beach on Saturday for our exercise.  It was awesome.  I had never done that before.  We had a great time!

So when I got to Tomé I was super excited because there is a real stove and an oven here.  That is not the case in every mission apartment, so I was pleased.  But everything is gas and you have to light the stove with a match.  Anyway, one night when we got home we were really hungry but we had basically no food in the house since nobody had shopped during cambios.  Well, we did have some corn flour and so I asked my Colombian companion to make some arepas, which are like little corn pancake things.  Super delicious!  Well, she said, "no tenemos fosforos," (fosforos are matches) and I didn't fully understand her or wasn't listening very well and I thought she was referring to the corn flour.  But I had some of that, so I told her not to worry, that I had some, so I went and got it out and she made some arepas.  Then when it came time to cook them, she asked me for matches and I was like, "I don't have any."  And she was like, "I told you we didn't have any and you said you had some - that's why I made these!"  Then I felt really silly and really sad because now we had arepas that we couldn't eat because we couldn't cook them.  So we fretted about it for a minute and I started looking everywhere for matches when Hermana Gamboa comes in and says, "Do you want fire?"  We were both like, "YES!" and I assumed that maybe SHE had matches, but then she points to the hot water heater thing and says, "Supposedly when someone takes a shower this lights a flame."  WHAT A GENIUS!  So we turned on the hot water and rolled up a piece of paper and stuck it up inside the calefont (that's the hot water heater) and lit it on fire and then we were able to light the stove and eat our arepas!  It was awesome.  And we lit the stove that way for over a week (since we forgot to buy matches last P-day) until I found the matches that Hermana Vieda had said she thought Hermana Rane had taken with her.  They were in Hermana Martinez's closet with her jewelry and whiteboard markers.  So now we have matches.  But if we ever run out, no worries, right?

Anyway, that's the report for this week.  Also, mission time warp side note - this week as the year 2013 closes, it will be a complete year that I have spent in Chile.  So after I get home if you ever refer to anything that happened in 2013, I probably won't know what you are talking about.  Isn't that strange?  But I hope you all have a very Happy New Year!  I think it's gonna be a good one.

New Year's Resolution for all of you - READ THE BOOK OF MORMON EVERY DAY!  We all have the opportunity to start out this new year right and we can have a perfect year where we don't miss a single day of reading - even if we only have a chance to read one verse, I know that we can do it!  It will be a challenge for all of us, but I also know that we will be greatly blessed for our efforts and our sacrifices.

Wellp, love you all.  Hope you have a great week and a lot of fun with your New Year's activities!  We'll probably be sleeping when the New Year comes in, so make sure y'all celebrate it nice a good in my honor.



I Shall Have the Beach for Christmas (December 16, 2013)

Hello All,

Today we had cambios.  President says I am to go to Tomé and be companions with Hermana Vieda.  Hermana Martinez (who I lived with in Chillán) is also in that house, and she will be finishing the training of Hermana Frandsen's companion from last cambio, Hermana Gamboa.  This will be the first time I live without gringas since Hermana Fajardo and I were alone together for those five weeks in San Javier.  However this time it is not 50/50, but three against one!  I am a little worried about that.  I can teach a lesson and communicate just fine and stuff, but I am just not very funny in Spanish.  But I hear that Tomé has hills (good for getting in shape after flat, flat, flat sectors my whole mission) and ocean!  I have yet to see the beach here in Chile except from afar during mini-cambios in Penco and Lirquen.  So that will be fun.

Hermana Frandsen and Hermana Chavez are going to be companions, as now all the Sister Training Leaders will be in companionships, just like Zone Leaders usually are.  I can't believe how good they have it.  They were my first and second choices for companions and instead of being with me they are going to be together.  So unfair!  We were surprised to learn that in Hualqui not only are they NOT sending elders this cambio, despite having made all the arrangements with lunches and the new house and everything, but they are also closing my sector and having just one trio of hermanas there.  Hermana Razeira will be joined by Hermanas Martos and Meyer, and Hermana Call is getting sent to Collao to open a new sector with her new Sister Training Leader companion, Hermana Oldroyd (they were companions in a trio in the MTC along with my "hija" Hermana Holland, so that's interesting).  Also of note is that this cambio I am becoming a GREAT-GRANDMOTHER in the mission.  Hermana Lyons ("daughter" of my "daughter," Hermana Morán) will be training!  AAAAAH!  I am SO OLD!!!  I will not be able to take any more pictures of myself during the mission because now my hair is all white and I am all wrinkly and gross.

Sorry about all that cambio talk.  I know it is probably super boring for all of you, but I find it absolutely fascinating, the way these things work.  I always want to know as much as possible about where everyone is every cambio.  Probably my propensity for gossip feeds that need.  But I think that being curious about cambios is one of the more acceptable way to appease my gossip monster, so it's a healthy outlet, at least.

Today was a really hard one because I had to send Hermana Haymond home.  She has been pretty sick over the past couple of weeks and after a lot of prayer and many blessings, she and her family and her stake president and President and Hermana Arrington decided it would be best for her to go home and get better rather than try to stick it out here.  They took us with them to the airport.  It was sad.  And super stinky.  But I am looking forward to hearing about how she progresses in the Harry Potter books once she gets home.  The "Very Important Vocabulary Words" that Hermana Call and I have been trying to teach her haven't been sticking in her brain very well yet.  So far the only one that has stuck with her is "muggle."  Probably because, unlike me, she is one.  It is because of that that wizard vocaublary is just harder for her to grasp, I think.

Anyway,  lots of other stuff happened this week, I am sure, but I can't think of anything else to write about.  Except that this ciber is playing really lame techno music.  I wish I could shut my ears off.

How did it go last week with the commitments?  We are going to finish Alma this week - hurrah!  Helaman kind of bums me out, but it is exciting to get there, right?  So KEEP ON READING!  And also, watch this awesome Christmas video:  The Nativity  I could watch those things all day long.

Wellp, gotta go now!  Hope all y'all have an awesome week!

Lovelovelove muchly,

Hermana B

The Importance of a Film Education (December 16, 2013)

This is just a quick one to tell you all about an experience that Hermana Haymond and I had a few weeks ago.  So Hermana Haymond had never had her ears pierced.  I guess the rule in their family is that you have to wait until you are 14, and by the time she got to be 14 it just didn't seem all that important to her.  But here in Chile EVERY woman has pierced ears.  In fact, even every little baby girl wears earrings.  They do it in the hospital before they even send them home, if I understand correctly.  So anyway, earrings are a big thing here and you can buy them on the street for like 50 cents.  It's totally awesome.  So Hermana Haymond decided that she wanted to have her ears pierced.  We asked María Graciela, since she could explain it best in English, and she and her mom told us to go to the "clinica" because they knew we would need to do it someplace safe.

Well, after thinking about it for a while, Hermana Haymond decided that she trusted me to pierce her ears just as much as any Chilean CNA, so she asked if I would do it.  I wasn't originally completely sold on the idea.  Nor did I think she was very serious.  But the more she thought about it, the more she wanted to do it.  And so though I was still reluctant - and frankly freaked out - I agreed, with some conditions, of course.  

We figured that since we'd seen "The Parent Trap" with Lindsay Lohan, we had a pretty good idea how a successful home ear-piercing could be carried out.  So on P-Day the following week we went to a jewelry shop and picked out some sterling silver (we think) earrings.  I wrote up a contract for her to sign which relieved me of all liability should anything go wrong or should she just decide she didn't like them or what have you.  Also verbally included in the contract was that she never, ever say anything about it to the mission nurse, Hermana Balden, since she'd probably freak out.  (Those were my conditions.  Also that she didn't scream too loud if it hurt.)  So Hermana Haymond signed the contract and I had Hermana Razeira sign as a witness (which she did as a good sport even though she didn't really want to be involved in our crazy scheme).  Then, following the steps we'd seen in the movie, we sterlized our needle with flame (and alcohol), used an ice cube (well, ice pack, really) to numb the ear, cut up an apple to "catch" the needle on the other side, and got the earrings ready to go.  Oh, but first Hermana Haymond selected some theme music, "Humble Way" from Saturday's Warrior.  And then we were ready to go!  Wahoo!!!!

So it turns out that the movie wasn't quite as accurate as we would have liked.  (You know, we think we are all educated and informed because we've seen things on TV and in movies and then it all turns out not to be real at all - what is that even about???)  It was SUPER HARD to try to get the needle through her earlobe.  We had to keep restarting the theme music and stuff.  Hermana Call was filming and I think the first ear took like five minutes or something to do.  The apple was totally useless, so we ditched it after about one second.  Then I tried with the needle for a minute or so, until Hermana Call suggested I just push the earring straight through, since then I wouldn't have to try to replace the needle with the earring.  So that's what I ended up doing.  And finally the first ear was done!  And Hermana Haymond didn't even scream at all.  She said it didn't even really hurt.

Well, we expected the second ear to be a little easier, since we had the technique down and everything by then, but it actually took us longer than the first!  Like seven minutes or something.  At the end, Hermana Call cued up the Hallelujah Chorus.  But then Hermana Haymond had earrings!  And she liked the way they turned out, so I was relieved.

So if any of you need an ear piercing after I get home, I'm pretty much a professional now.  Though the contract did come in handy later when Hermana Haymond's piercings got a little infected....  She took them out for now  to get rid of the infection, but says that she will have them redone once she is home, because she did like having earrings.  I think for sure we wouldn't have to worry about infection if we'd been a little more sure about the quality of the earrings and maybe a thicker needle....

Anyway, that was our crazy P-Day a few weeks ago.  I know you can probably believe though that I wouldn't say it was the craziest P-Day I have had.  Just the most experimental!

Lovelovelove you all,


Prayer. It Works. (December 9, 2013)

Hello Everyone!

Guess what?  We found out that there are two ELDERS coming to Hualqui next transfer.  Crazy.  I have always liked having elders and hermanas in my sectors, though, so it will be good for Hualqui to have both.  Most of the priesthood holders in Hualqui work "afuera" (at least a half hour drive away from Hualqui) and get home pretty late, so it will be nice to have priesthood available all the time, at the very least.

I don't really know what to say about this week.  It was hot outside a couple days.  When it gets really miserable and hot I try to remind myself that last summer in Chillán was MUCH hotter.  But I think I have blocked those memories out, because sometimes it seems impossible that I could be any more uncomfortable.  We're all getting tan and my hair keeps getting more and more blonde.  I hate that part.

But there are flowers everywhere and lots of trees and it is really still impossible for me to believe that it is December.  Christmas just looks so funny in the summertime!

So besides it being hot and everyone giving us ice cream for dessert at lunch (no complaints here!), the main thing that happened this week is I learned some things about prayer.  Mostly that it works.  I mean, I knew that before.  But I just experienced it differently this week, I guess.

The truth is that I have never been real great at prayer.  Before the mission I almost never had a real consistent habit of doing personal prayers, I would get anxiety when I had to pray in public, I usually didn't recognize personal revelation for what it was, and I didn't know how to turn my prayers into something very real.  But throughout my mission, I have felt strongly that one thing I needed to learn to do here was pray.  I still struggle with it a lot, and I have to really concentrate on it and make a concerted effort, but I am starting to notice a difference.

One of the struggles I have had with prayer in the past is that I didn't feel like I very often received answers.  Or at least, I didn't know how to recognize them.  I am learning that this is because 1. I have a wild imagination and so anything less than a grand gesture (which, as we know, is not the general format for answers to prayers) is generally lost on me, and 2. I have a tendency to overthink things, so I would manage to talk myself out of the answers I received or rationalize them as being my own thoughts or desires.

So throughout the mission I have tried to improve my prayers and to be more attentive to personal revelation, though I have not always had much success and at times I have been frustrated and felt alone and unanswered, after such experiences my "prayer cycle" would sink back down into its "vain repetition" phase.  But there have been a few times when I have been able to break through those barriers and feel that my prayers were sincere and honest and that I could be at peace through having received an answer - or at least knowing that one would come.

This week I had two cool experiences with prayer - neither of them miraculous angels-descending-from-heaven-to-beat-you-over-the-head-with-the-answer experiences, but miraculous and special in their own way.

First of all, one day we were out working and we ran into one of our investigators, whom we hadn't seen in a while.  She is the daughter of a menos activa and takes care of her two little siblings while her mom works.  So we saw her out in the street and when we went to talk to her we found out that her little brother (who's about four years old) had gone missing and that she was waiting for the police to come and help her look for him.  We offered our help as well and started scouring the neighborhood for a little boy in green camoflauge sneakers, asking all the little kids if they knew him or had seen him.  After a few minutes of searching, we remembered that we had told Andrea that we would pray and that we had not yet done so.  So we stopped there in the street and said a quick prayer and then completed our rounds of the población, with no luck finding the little guy.  We went back to Andrea's house to see if the carabineros had arrived yet and no one was there.  I wanted to call, but I didn't want to interrupt if maybe she was giving a police report or something, so we decided to keep working and keep our eyes open for little Vicente.  Then a few minutes later, down the street walks Andrea with Vicente by her side.  She and the carabineros had managed to find him just a few blocks away from home.  We were so grateful that our prayer had been answered.

The other experience I had was one that blessed me greatly.  Many times throughout my mission I had been invited to ask Heavenly Father a specific question about how He feels about my missionary service.  And though I had done it before, I had never really felt that I had received an answer, so I just didn't really bother to keep asking.  Well, this week in an interview with President Arrington  he challenged me to do it and he looked me straight in the eyes (darn mission presidents that just look right into your soul) and made me commit to do it in every personal prayer until I got an answer.  So I said I would do it, though I didn't have a lot of faith in the experiment.

Over the next couple of days I tried really hard to take President Arrington's challenge seriously, and I would try to wait and "listen" for a response after I prayed, but I still didn't really feel any different than before.  But I said I would do it, so I kept doing it, and hoped that someday the answer would come.

Well, Thursday morning I started thinking a lot about Hermana Snyder.  Worrying about her, really, and I wanted to know how she was doing.  But as she isn't in my zone or my sister training group, I don't really communicate with her on a real regular basis.  A quick email once in a while and sometimes we see each other in the office on P-days, but that's it.   We aren't really supposed to call other hermanas just to chat, but I just felt so strongly that I should and I just couldn't ignore it.  I just kept thinking about her and wanting to talk to her and so after lunch I decided I was just going to try to get a hold of her.  By complete luck, we had in our phone the number of the companionship of hermanas that lives in her same house, so I called Hermana Taylor and she had Hermana Snyder come talk to me.  And I was so glad that I did.  It turns out that she didn't really need anything from me - my "worrying" about her was just a way to get me to call her, I guess.  Because as we talked, she communicated things to me in a way that no one else could have done.  Only her personality and our relationship could have resulted in that conversation, and it was an answer to my prayers.  We are often taught that the Lord sometimes answers our prayers through other people, and so it was this day.  At first I was tempted not to call the experience an "answer," but the more I think about it and remember it and reflect on it, the more I realize that that is what it was.  God needed to use Hermana Snyder to tell me things that I wouldn't have been able to hear or understand in any other way.  And I am so very grateful.  To her and to Him.

This week I want to invite you all to take the opportunity to focus a little more on your prayers.  Talk sincerely and openly with Heavenly Father, and He WILL answer you.  Maybe not now, and maybe not in the way you think, but the answers will come.  I know because they have come to me.  And they are so special.  I know that God loves me very much, and I know that He loves all of you as well.  So talk to Him!

And how are we doing in the Book of Mormon?  I know those war chapters are a little tough, but we're getting down to the end of Alma - hooray!  This week I was excited to read about when Zerahemnah gets scalped by one of Captain Moroni's soldiers.  I don't know why, but I get a real kick out of that story every time.  Anyway, keep on reading!  You can do it - EVERY DAY!

Well, it's seriously time for me to go now.  I love you all and hope you are all very well and happy!  Talk to you again next week!


Hermana B

Sed Agradecidos (December 2, 2013)

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday to all y'all!  Hope that your day of gratitude was just great.  We had a good old time out here in Hualqui.
On Wednesday it was Maria Graciela's birthday, and she had asked for pumpkin pie, which she hasn't had since she got back from her mission in DC two years ago.  And since her birthday so conveniently coincided with Thanksgiving, I was more than happy to make a "pumpkin" pie for her.  (Pumpkin does not exist here, so I had to use squash.  It worked, though.  I was even lucky enough to find a mesh strainer in the house which I was able to use to turn it into puree.)  She was very pleased, even though it wasn't very pretty.  (Guess what?  When the only thing you have to use as a pie pan is a silicone round cake pan your pie crust has a tendency to collapse in on itself and on the pie while it is baking.)  We stopped by her house for a bit to drop it off and eat some choripan (best thing ever!) and tell her happy birthday, of course.  She said that after we left they ate the pie and everyone loved it and her sister-in-law asked for the recipe.  I'm more than happy to give it to her.  I just don't know how good my Spanish translation skills are when it comes to recipes....
Thursday was Thanksgiving, of course, so I rolled out the remaining pie crust (cut open some grocery store bags and stuck it in between them and used the glass we use to dry silverware as a rolling pin) and poured in the leftover filling and made our pumpkin pie.  This time I got a little smarter, though, and placed the silicone baking dish inside a springform pan that we had in the house, and it didn't collapse on me!  Hermano Eric, our ward mission leader, brought us a lemon pie at correlation, and then at night we had our own little Thanksgiving "dinner."  Hermana Haymond and I had bought some slices of deli meat turkey at a negocio and some frozen pre-cut french fries, so with our turkey and potatoes and pumpkin pie we were totally set!  Hermana Call and Hermana Razeira donated to the feast as well.  We used Hermana Call's barbecue sauce to dip our fries in (along with mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, and ají - which is hot sauce) and we all threw in a little of our junk food, so we also had some chocolate cupcakes, mini chocolate bars, Crystal Light-type juice that we found on one of the kitchen shelves (for making toasts, of course), M&M's, and mini Reese's cups.  It was awesome.  Probably better than real Thanksgiving.
And then on Friday we had a ward activity about gratitude.  At first all the members were confused about what it was and why they would want to come.  But we told them it would be like a Noche de Hogar and that there would be food.  So they came.  I basically duplicated the activity we did last year in Cordillera, where we made lists of things we were grateful for in certain categories, and then we played a "Do You Love Your Neighbor" type game, where someone would say something they had written on their list and everyone who also had that on their list had to stand up and switch chairs, but there was one chair short so there was always someone left standing in the middle.  It was a hit.  And we had a coloring table for the little kids where they could draw pictures of the things they were grateful for.  We hung them all up on the bulletin board and they look so cute!
Something else that happened this week is that we found another house to rent in Haulqui.  The assistants called Hermana Call a couple weeks ago and asked that we find another house (and quick!) because they are bringing another companionship of missionaries into Hualqui in this next transfer!  Whoa!  We all love the new house we found, though, so there may be some shuffling around houses once we know who's going to be here next transfer.

I barely remember the rest of the week, but those were the basic highlights.  We had many opportunities to give thanks, and it was fun.  How did it go last week with your gratitude commitment?  I hope you were able to recognize how much Heavenly Father loves you all as you thought about the things you are grateful for.
This week you have two commitments.  One:  Keep reading the Book of Mormon every day!!!!!!  Two:  Read, watch, or listen to one of the talks from this most recent General Conference.  It's been two months now since we heard them, and I know I am ready to review.  We are just barely getting our Conference Liahona here, though, and right now we only have it in Spanish, so it will be a real learning experience to read them until the English Liahona gets here!

Anyway, that's all for now.  Except to say that we have a Christmas tree in our house and we put it up on Friday!!!!  It doesn't have a stand, so we kind of had to improvise a little, and we haven't decorated it yet, but it's still awesome.  Hooray for Christmas!
Love you all.  Hope you have the best week!



Suffer the Little Children (November 25, 2013)

Hi Again.

This week was children's week in Hualqui.  Or rather, children's weekend.  On Saturday Hermanas Call and Razeira had a baptism.  A 9-year-old boy named Juanito.  His great-aunt and uncle are members that live in Conce, and after his dad passed away recently they told him that if he got baptized he would be able to live with his father again in the next life.  So of course he wanted to get baptized!  He lives with his grandmother, who is very Catholic, and who supports him fully but was not interested in hearing the lessons for herself.  But we are VERY anti-baptizing-niños-solos (without their parents or other support) in this mission, because those sweet little kids just go inactive because there is no one to go to church with them.  All of my "hijas" have had to raise their right hand to the square and swear that they would never, ever teach or baptize niños solos.  But Juanito was really committed and really wanted to get baptized, and Hermana Call and Hermana Razeira could feel that the grandma would come around eventually, so she didn't want to tell Juanito he couldn't live with his dad after death just because his grandma didn't want to get baptized yet.  So they made arrangements for his grandma to go in and have an interview with a member of the bishopbric to give her consent and commit to make sure he is in church every week and that he can get to the activities and things.  And she is totally on board.  So Juanito got baptized on Saturday.  It was a really, really special baptism.  The Spirit was so strong there and you could definitely feel the presence of his dad and his other deceased family members supporting him, and you could feel how happy they were.  His grandma really felt the Spirit too.  I think she was even crying.  It was such a nice day.  Juanito is going to be an amazing missionary someday.

Then on Sunday we were treated with the annual Primary Presentation!  It was also very special, and full of that same special Spirit that we had felt in Juanito's baptism.  I loved the theme this year, "I Am a Child of God," and how all the songs and scriptures had to do with our relationship with our Heavenly Father and the plan that He has for His children and their families.

All the kids did really well on their "talks" and the music went pretty well, too.  There were a couple of kids who played the recorder, a cute family that sang "Families Can Be Together Forever," and for the grand finale, the BISHOPBRIC sang with the Primary kids on "Teach Me to Walk in the Light."  I thought that was genius.  If I was a Primary chorister I'd definitely try to get the bishopbric to sing with us for the Primary Program.  Something else really neat that they did was all the kids dressed kind of color-coordinated.  Everyone in white tops (or a white jacket or sweater or vest over a top of another color) and the boys had these royal blue bowties and the girls had blue hairbows.  And they all had a sticker that said, "Soy un hijo de Dios."  It was really cute.  I was really happy to get to see it.

Being Hermana Haymond's companion has been great because we just sing all the time.  In the house, in the streets, in the church, wherever we are.  It's been a real long time since I sang so much.  But we have tons of fun!

We are starting to get excited for Thanksgiving around here!  Right now our biggest concern is whether or not we will be able to make something that resembles pumpkin pie....  It will be my biggest Chilean baking challenge yet!  And then once Thanksgiving is over we are going to put up our Christmas tree!  Hooray!

But anyway, what are you all grateful for?  Your commitment this week (along with reading the Book of Mormon every day, of course - we're about halfway!) is to write a list or a letter or a blog or journal entry or email or a Facebook status or what-have-you about what you are grateful for.  Try to think outside the box and you will feel really blessed.  As the beloved hymn states, "Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."  For example, today I am grateful for copy machines, safety pins, a seat on the bus, the ability to read and write and type and spell (mostly), crazy coping mechanisms, alarm clocks, earplugs, and the good taste in music that they have at this ciber.

Anyway, that's all for now, folks.  Next week I'll report on whether the pumpkin pie turned out and fill all y'all in on another week in the life of the crazy Hualqui hermanas!

Hope you are all well and happy.  I love you all sooooo much!


Hermana B

Holiday overload!

This is Danielle.  So, over the holidays I got WAAAAAY behind.  I'll be posting all of the letters that Jordanne has written since the end of November. Bad missionary Mamma that I am.  

Big new, though... we have a release date!  She will be leaving Chile on January 28th and should arrive in Salt Lake City sometime on the 29th.  Not much more time!!!  We'll be happy to have her back home.

OK... here come the letters.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Some Stuff That Happened

¡Hola mis seres queridos!

So I was chastised by my grandparents because apparently it slipped my mind to tell you all some vital statistics about my companion.

Hermana Haymond is from Santaquin, Utah (but she was born in Logan!), and she is now in her second cambio in the field.  She spent six weeks in the MTC in Mexico City and honestly it just freaks me out that our MTC experiences were so wildly different.  I keep trying to tell her stories about the MTC and the locations of things and the cafeteria food and things like that, but then I remember that she is not familiar with any of it.  It's just strange.

This week Hermana Lovell called me and asked if I was up for a two-day mini cambio with her.  Thursday afternoon, all day Friday, and then switch back Saturday morning.  I said I totally was!  She is going home in two weeks :( and so I was really glad to get a chance to do one more "mini" cambio with her.  She came to Hualqui and we had a great old time.  I always have so much fun with her, and she is an amazing missionary and really knows how to make you feel good about yourself (I think I have probably said that before).  She isn't trunky, but she is getting a little bit more loose-cannony as her departure date draws near.  It's funny.  She takes pictures of some pretty strange things, but how else is she going to be able to remember what Chile was really like?  On Saturday morning before we left we spent a few minutes doing a photo shoot of her in my huasa dress, since she doesn't have one.  It was great.

Sunday was the day of the elections, so we only had sacrament meeting.  That was kind of strange for us as missionaries.  But we used some of our "extra" time to make peanut butter cookies with mini M&M's and took some with us to the family giving us lunch.  We found out today that our favorite for Senator, Navarro, WON!  WAHOO!!!!!!  The President still isn't decided, but it has been narrowed down to two candidates (Michelle and Evelyn) and there will be a second round of elections in December, if I understand correctly.  This is my second Presidential election on the mission - the first in November of last year, when Obama was re-elected, and then this one.  It was interesting to see the differences.

Today some of our friends from the ward, Carlos and Maria Graciela, took us out to lunch.  It was awesome.  They are so good to us.  This ward is really amazing, and especially the members who work with us in the obra misional.  And Maria Graciela is one of my favorite people ever.  We normally aren't allowed to go to the mall, but they wanted to take us to a certain restaurant that is part of one of the malls here, so I called President and asked him if it was okay, and he said that it was.  But of course no shopping allowed!  There was one moment where I wished I could have gone shopping - there is a Gap in that mall.  But really I would have been more tempted just to go in and feel the Gap feeling and smell the Gap smell and unfold and refold some Gap clothes.  I know that doesn't sound very fun to any of you, but I worked at Old Navy for three years, so it would feel like home to me.

As fate would have it, several of my companions have been seriously under-educated in the film department.  If I quote something or am reminded of something I am often surprised by what they don't recognize.  It was really bad with Hermana Lyons.  Her movie list is so long.  Hermana Haymond's is shorter, but mostly because she just has different taste.  Isn't funny how Heavenly Father works?  They needed some serious film education, and so He gave them to me as companions so that I could help them out when we all run out of missionary time.  I knew I had this special "gift" of cinema madness for a reason!

Also today we went shopping at Líder (WalMart) instead of Jumbo and we got some American peanut butter and some more garlic pills (anti-flea!), so that was great.

All in all it has been another crazy but good week here in Hualqui and in the Misión Chile Concepción (the best mission in the world!).

How are we all doing on our Book of Mormon reading?  I am not necessarily getting BETTER at reading in Spanish, but I am still doing it!  Oh sea, reading in Spanish and pronouncing the words and stuff isn't that hard for me.  I just don't always get anything out of it....  But even if you are in my same boat, KEEP GOING!  The Lord will bless you for your efforts, even if you struggle to understand sometimes.  I know that I have seen that on the mission many times.

Well, it's time to go now.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Hermana B


This week was Halloween.  How much does that day rock?  I was Hermione.  Again.  Third year in a row, but as a missionary you have to accept that your Halloween costume choices are going to be pretty limited.  Though I did have a chocolate frog and the most amazing wand that Hermana Lyons and I found on the ground about two months ago.  I got pictures.  Hermana Lyons made an awesome costume out of a Post-it and her placa.  She was Hermana "Frandsen."  It will make more sense when you see the pictures.

So Halloween does exist in Chile, but it is kind of a newer thing, so not everyone celebrates it and a lot of people are frankly scared of it.  Several people asked us if it was true that Halloween is the devil's birthday and there were some religious groups hanging fliers up everywhere which warned people about the dangers of Halloween and invited them to come to church instead.  What a bummer.  Halloween has always been like my second-favorite holiday (Those of you viewers at home who guessed "birthday" as my favorite holiday just got TEN POINTS!), so I was just a little bummed that my Chilean friends were so wary of it.  But the Primary threw "The first annual spring party of the Hualqui ward," and it was a hit.

Then the day after Halloween was Day of the Dead or "All Saint's Day" or I don't know what they really call it here because I don't have a real Chilean calendar, but it was a holiday similar to Memorial Day and the cemetery (just about a block from our house and set in a little "valley" so you can see like all of it at once) was brimming with people.  And right outside the cemetery?  Brilliant entrepreneuers selling churros filled with manjar (totally overpriced or I would have bought one), those water-gun looky thingies that actually make bubbles, mote con huesillo, and flowers.  And baskets to put the flowers in.  Seriously, they are so smart.  Anyone who lived within a one-block radius had turned their house into a completo restaurant.  Next Memorial Day I'm totally setting up a snow cone stand right outside the local cemetery.  It's genius.  I'd sell mote con huesillo but I have a feeling it wouldn't be quite as popular as snow cones back in the states....  Bummer.

One day we counted all the dogs we saw.  169.  Just in case you were wondering.

And to finalize this lovely fall report (or spring if you are in Chile where the seasons are backward), today we had cambios.  Guess what?  I am going to be companions with yet another one of my "granddaughters!"  Totally weird, but I am staying in Hualqui and going to be finishing the training of the lovely Hermana Haymond!  Sad news.  No more Hermana Lyons.  She is going to Coihueco (super campo sector in my first zone in Chillán) to open a new sector with Hermana De Leon.  How funny is it that Hermana "Lions" and Hermana "Of Lions" are going to be companions?  We're totally cracking up over it.  Also they are separating me from the beloved Hermana Frandsen.  She got transferred back to Chillán (well, to Bulnes, but it is in the same zone as Lib so she'll see quite a bit of Chillán at any rate), is opening a sector, training, and she got made a sister training leader.  She's a bit overwhelmed, but I know she'll be great.  Also I will get less fat because nobody will sabotage my diet with homemade bread and Nutella cookies.  This week I'll eat so many vegetables.  I hear Hermana Haymond really likes them.

I am super sad to be losing two of the most awesome people in the world all in one day.  But I know Hermana Haymond will be a great companion.  And I love training.  You get extra time to do practices in companionship study and extra language study time.  I could use both of those things, and this is my fourth "hija," (Who is also my "nieta" since she was trained last cambio by Hermana Morán.  That "I'm My Own Grandpa" song is finally starting to make sense to me!) so you'd think I'd have some of those things figured out a little by now, but no such luck!

Something else.  When I was in the office today I saw a stack of manuals for the new missionaries coming tomorrow, but they were a different color from the "First Twelve Weeks" manual that I have been used to having, so I went over to check it out.  Turns out it's called "Adjusting to Missionary Life."  Wish they'd had that a year ago.  Maybe I'd be a little more well-adjusted....  Hahaha.  :)  Also now that I have long finished my training (and trained more than once) they have finally finished the "Stress Management" portion of the online training segments and come out with a "Twelve Weeks" manual for the trainer.  I am so ahead of/behind the curve on this whole new wave of missionary work thing.

Another thing.  Blonde jokes don't translate that well into Spanish, at least in Chile, because anyone who doesn't have black hair is "rubia" or "blonde."  It is very difficult to try to explain that when we say "rubia" in the joke, we refer to someone with hair the color of Hermana Frandsen's, not mine.  And as I tried to relate a blonde joke this week while we waited for lunch to start, I may or may not have (I did.) "inadvertently" told a little Chilean boy that blondes don't have a "cerebro."  Oops.  Hermana Frandsen may or may not have been (she was) a little upset with me for that one.

Here is the English translation of one of my favorite Spanish jokes.  Hope you haven't already heard it:

Why couldn't the Lamanites eat dinner?

Because the Nephites had the plates!!!!  :D

Okay folks, that's really all I have time for for now.  Love you all lots!

Your commitment this week may or may not be (it is) to keep reading the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY.  And report back!

Have the most fantastic of weeks!



Monday, November 4, 2013

Penco and Politics

Hello Family, Friends, and Devotees,

This week was pretty much boring.  Nothing all that exciting happened.  Talking the week over with Hermana Lyons, we came up with basically one thing:  Navarro.

For those of you not "in the know," Chile will be holding presidential elections on November 17th.  This means that there are campaign posters, billboards, flyers, calendars (we collect these because they are actually useful), and every other kind of paraphernelia everywhere on the streets around here - and have been for months.

Though we have basically no opportunity to actually learn anything about the different candidates since we don't watch the news or anything like that - and none of us are Chilean so we don't know that much about the government here anyway - we have gotten to know the candidates just by seeing their advertising.

There are two main candidates for President that we see on a daily basis - Michelle and Evelyn.  And each of them has their "entourage" of people who are running for different positions in the same party.  We have been especially "impressed" by Navarro, who is running for Senador along with Michelle Bachelet for Presidenta.  Mostly he is our favorite because he is seriously the least photogenic person we have ever seen.  He has pretty good hair, but his eyes always have this scared "deer in the headlights" look in every single campaign photo.  He has become like a beloved mascot for the Hualqui hermanas.  It is a common thing for us to pick up Navarro paraphernelia off the street and turn it into greeting cards for the other hermanas.

This week I got sent to Penco for another mini-cambio, but this time I was with the trainee and Hermana Morán went to Hualqui to be with Hermana Lyons for a day.  Anyway, while I was at lunch that day with Hermana Haymond (Awesome.  From Utah.  Went to Utah State for a year and studied voice.), we got to talking politics with the family.  Just technical questions, mostly, about how the election works and things like that.  For example, if a President won the last election, they cannot immediately run again, but they have to wait at least one term and then if they want to run again they can (Michelle Bachelet was the Presidenta before Piñera who is in now).  Also, this election they are going to be voting for President, Senador, Diputado, and like Executive Commissioner or something like that.  It is new for them to vote for Executive Commissioner, it is usually a position that is filled by the President.

Anyway, so while we were talking about this, do you know what I found out?  That Navarro lives in Penco, and that this family where we were eating lunch actually knows him!!!!  I was so excited.  I tried to get them to give him to me as a reference but they said that we wouldn't be allowed in.  I did encourage them to invite him over for a family night or something like that.  They said they are unsure he has the time....  Such little faith.  Hermana Bowns and I totally taught the ex-mayor of Chillán a couple times.  That was cool.  So I know it is possible to teach political figures.  Kind of.

Anyway, that Navarro thing was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened to me all week.  That and how they changed the location of our district class so that we could walk past the political rally being held a couple blocks away from the chapel.  Michelle was supposedly there.  We hoped Navarro would be too, but unfortunately we didn't see either of them.  And I was dressed all presidential too, with a blazer and everything.  Bummer.

Also I made Hermana Frandsen the best Navarro card ever when I found one of his pamphlets on the street that had his baby picture in it.  It was an incredible find.

Anyway, that's a pretty thorough report of my week.

Except to say that I was studying from Preach My Gospel about Christlike attributes, and I really liked what I studied about hope.  There is a scripture that I love, which is in Ether 12:4.  It reads: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."  So basically, the hope that we have in obtaining a "better world" (i.e., the celestial kingdom), is what impels us to have faith and to be obedient to the commandments of God.  I am trying to infuse my life with a little bit more of that hope, so that I can be more faithful and more obedient and more happy and help more people to acheive that as well.

I encourage each of you to look to the Savior with hope and faith and confide in Him, so that you can have the strength to do the things that you need to do.

How are we doing with the reading????  KEEP DOING IT - EVERY DAY!!!!!!!

Love you all.  Talk to you next week.  :)



Mini-Cambios and a Movie

Wow.  Another week gone.  Weird.

On Wednesday Hermana Frandsen and I both headed over to Penco (her old sector, Crav) for a mini-cambio.  We have two sister training leaders that live in that house and so we got to go together.  It was fun.  I spent the day with Hermana Chavez, who is just plain awesome.  Also she goes to Utah State, so we talked about Logan a lot.  She said she hadn't been sure if she was going to go back there or not after the mission, but after we talked about how awesome Logan is for a while she was pretty much ready to go back.  Yay!  Go Aggies!

Being in Penco was good.  There are a lot of hills there - which is really common in those sectors closer to the ocean, I just have never served in one.  All my sectors have been really flat.  Anyway, we didn't have to climb too many hills because we stayed in this one neighborhood up at the top of a hill for most of the afternoon.  But at one point we did have to go up this crazy long, steep staircase which put us out of breath for a few minutes after we got into the investigator's house.  But it reminded us of Old Main, of course.  Maybe a bit steeper but not quite as long.

Speaking of Universities, something I learned this week is that the mascot at BYU is named Cosmo.  (This is probably not news to many of you, but I sure didn't know.  Why would I?)  Hermana Frandsen was telling me this story about her biology teacher who, when he was a little kid, woke up one morning and saw a cougar underneath his neighbor's car.  Understandably, he was alarmed and he told his parents.  So his dad went to go get his shotgun before it ate their neighbor (or anyone else) and in the meantime their neighbor came outside (a really old lady, from what I understand), saw the cougar under the car and went and grabbed it by the neck and dragged it out from under the car while she chastised it.  Turns out it was "the" Cosmo.  She was babysitting it or something.  Anyway, I tell you all this story for a couple of reasons.  One, because I wanted to give some context to it when I say that I don't think Cosmo is a very good name for a mascot, especially not one that is a Cougar.  Two, because this story represents a great achievement in Hermana Frandsen's ability to communicate with Chileans.  She said that she told this story the other day all in Spanish and that everyone was listening and thought it was hilarious.  In other words, she's pretty much fluent in Spanish now.  But now that we are talking about this here in the ciber, turns out she used the wrong word for "neck," calling it "coigo" or something instead of "cuello."  So on second thought, she says maybe that's why everyone laughed....  Anyway, she is telling me this story and she says, "Turns out it was COSMO under the car.  The REAL Cosmo."  And she's all excited about it.  And I am like, "Who is Cosmo?"  (Honestly, should I really be expected to know the name of a rival college's mascot?  I knew they were cougars, can't that be enough?)  And then she tells me that Cosmo is the name of BYU's mascot.  Well, I told her I thought that was a terrible name for a mascot and then we spent a few minutes discussing all the different mascot names from all our schools.  When I said our mascot was named Big Blue, she was like, "What is that?  An ox?"  Oh my goodness.  An ox.  Anyway, maybe Big Blue isn't the best name ever, but at least it isn't Cosmo.  I mean, does BYU think their cougar mascot lives in outer space?  Maybe I'd be on board with the name if Cosmo started wearing a space suit....  At least Big Blue is big and blue.  Also I am certain he looks so much cooler doing gymnastics on the sidelines than somebody in a cougar costume ever could, no matter what Hermana Frandsen says.

Anyway, so that's what we talked about one morning this week while we were doing our exercises.  Sorry about that weird tangent.

The only other really important thing that happened this week was that we had a ward activity on Friday.  We had been planning it forever and we were stressed that it might not actually come through, but it did!  And it was awesome.  We set up the gym like a movie theater and this guy in our ward who owns a popcorn cart came and made us all popcorn (SO MUCH popcorn).  We had a series of Mormon Messages and I'm a Mormon videos as "previews" and then we watched Earthly Father, Heavenly Father as our message.  And then we watched Tangled.  It was awesome and we based the whole thing on eternal families and being children of God.  We were so happy that it went well and there were tons of people there.  Our ward missionaries had even completed their job of inviting lots of menos activos and investigators.  It was awesome.

Anyway, that's all I have for now.  Except to tell you all to KEEP READING!

Lovelovelove you all.  Have a great week!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Lights Out

Another week of mission craziness gone!  I really can't ever remember what happened during the week when I sit down to write on Monday.  So sometimes I look through my agenda to see if it will help jog my memory.  It didn't really.

But this week we had two month-a-versaries, Hermana Lyons completed six months in the mission on the 10th, and Hermana Frandsen and I completed 13 months on Saturday.  13 MONTHS!!!!!  Hermana Lyons wanted to eat lemon pie for her 33% mark, so we took a temporary break from our diet and had pie.  It was good.  We didn't do anything special for our 13 months, Hermana Frandsen and I.  After you complete a year, it's like what's one more month?  Just one less, actually.  Lame!

The other day for some reason I started talking in Spanish in this really weird, high-pitched, nasaly voice and going on about how good my Chilean accent is and how everyone tells me that I speak perfect Spanish.  One of the recent converts in our ward, Aracely, was there and she thought it was about the funniest thing ever.  (I don't remember how much I have said about Aracely, but suffice it to say that SHE IS THE BEST!  We are always figthing over who gets to take her home with us.)  So now whenever Aracely is around, she's like, "Hermana Burgess, talk like a Chilean!" and I do the voice and she dies laughing and everyone else just looks at me funny.  It's great.

Hermana Lyons and I this week perfected some raps that we have been working on in those brief empty moments.  We each have one to introduce ourselves and they turned out great, if I do say so myself.  I might try to send some video, but it's all in Spanish mission-lingo with a bunch of inside jokes, so I am not sure how much y'all will appreciate it.  But it was a hit at last night's noche de hogar.

Yesterday morning while we were getting ready to go to church, suddenly all the lights went out.  This is pretty normal, seeing as throughout the course of the morning we usually use two space heaters, one or two straighteners, some kind of music player, occasionally the toaster, and the hot water in the shower which is also supplied by electricity, if we somehow forget to turn one thing off before we turn on another we get cut and we have to just turn everything off and run downstairs and flip the switch.  Well, we tried that but it didn't work.  So we went outside and flipped the big breaker switch a couple times.  Didn't work either.  But Hermana Lyons checked out the window and she said that the street lights, which are usually on all the time, were also out, so it must have been the whole street.  Well when we got to church we found out that it wasn't just us, or even just our street, but all of Hualqui that was without electricity, and that it would be like that until about 4:00 in the afternoon.  So in church we had only the emergency generator lights, no piano (because all the churches here use Clavinova-like electric keyboards), and no microphone.  It was fast and testimony meeting and it was so interesting without any amplification or lights.  But we went on nonetheless.  Nothing stops real Latter-Day Saints from going to church!

This week, in addition to my Book of Mormon reading, I studied a bit from the section "Talk With Everyone" in Preach My Gospel.  There was one scripture that I especially liked, in D&C 24:12, which says:  "And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men."  Isn't that awesome?  Strength such as is not known among men!  I am going to try to get that!

Many of you have told me how you are doing with the Book of Mormon.  I am so excited to hear about what you are reading!  Keep it up this week!  Let's read EVERY DAY!!!!!

Well, that's all for now.  Hope you are all happy and well!  Keep reading and praying and looking for those missionary opportunities.  Thanks for your love and prayers and emails and support and for everything!





Does anyone else find it hilarious but also awesome that the Church has a # for everything?  At the end of the re-broadcasted Relief Society session on Saturday morning when we saw the #ReliefSociety on the screen we about died.  Technology is cool and one really awesome thing about the Church is that the Lord knows how to use technology to His advantage.

My grandparents wrote to me and told me about how the missionaries in Logan have iPads that have all the things they could ever need in them.  I know that Hermana Lish ended up with an iPad when she got sent to Provo to finish her mission as well.  Don't anybody get too excited, though, because here in Chile we do it old-school.  Paper products and physical DVDs.  But even though sometimes the rain streaks important information in our agendas and I don't know a missionary whose scriptures haven't gotten water damged in their backpack, we rock it.  And our agendas (little spiral bound notebooks with daily planning pages for the six weeks of the cambio) are truly beloved.  Losing your agenda is like losing your right arm.  One day Hermana Frandsen got off the bus and realized that she had left her agenda on it.  At first she was really upset, but then as they turned the corner they saw that very same bus passing by again and flagged it down.  She got on and the driver was like, "Yeah, we have your book."  She was very relieved to have gotten it back.

Anyway, let's talk about Conference!  Wahoo!!!!!

What were your favorite talks?  I liked Elder Holland, Elder Oaks, Elder Ballard, and a bunch of others!  I mean, there wasn't really one that I didn't like!  But I loved those three especially.

Hermana Frandsen said she thought the theme was "Things are Bad and They're Gonna Get a WHOLE LOT WORSE."  I think she is probably right.  They were definintely preparing us for something.

Who loved the family choir?  We were cracking up at all the sleepy kids.  It was awesome.  We also loved the all-sisters MTC choir in the Relief Society session.  Who can believe that now there are enough sisters in the MTC to fill those choir seats?

I am so excited to review the Conference talks.  I am going to be dowloading some of them onto my iPod today while I am in the ciber so that we don't have to wait for the transcripts or the Liahona!

How is the Book of Mormon reading going?  I know we are all struggling through those Isaiah chapters, but I encourage you all to keep it up!  Your commitment this week is to KEEP READING ALL THE DAYS!  And try to love Isaiah a little bit more than last time!

Well, gotta go now.