Monday, June 24, 2013

Hola, Élderes; Goodbye, Humphreys


This week was another crazy one, and hard, but good.

On Tuesday we made the switch from having four hermanas in the sector to having two elders and the two of us.  Elders Catrón (Beunos Aires, Argentina) and Gonzalez (Santiago, Chile) came and they immediately made a good impression.  We are excited to be working with them.  Elder Catròn is also our new district leader and even though he just started this transfer as a district leader he is already doing a great job.  They have a lot of ánimo and they work hard and we learn a lot from them, even though we only see them at lunches.

That has been a funny adjustment, to go from eating with four hermanas to having the elders.  We have to eat more now, and faster.  I am working on it.

As a mission we have a goal to baptize 150 people in the month of June, and we are getting close to our goal.  On Saturday we started a fast as a mission to be able to reach that goal and also to have people in church.  We fasted with everyone else, but I was feeling a little low on faith and didn`t wait on miracles even when the Assistants had called out district leaders to tell them that we should.  But the miracles came none the less!

Sunday morning came and we had not been able to commit as many people as we would have liked to come to church, but we did what we could to scrape up the few options we had that morning and we went to church.  Our one investigator we were certain would be there did not end up coming, but two others just appeared out of the woodworks!

First, earlier in the week we had stopped by to visit a recent convert and found one of her friends (or actually, the mother-in-law of one of her sons, as I understand it) there with her.  We taught the friend and invited her to baptism and to church, but she wasn`t really strongly committed to either idea, but in she walked, with her recent convert friend!  I was so happy!

The other amazing miracle we had was that another woman, who along with her daughter, is also a recent convert, showed up at church with her mother, a non-member, at her side.  I had not yet had the opportunity to meet the mother of this member, but from what I gather she had not had very kind feelings toward the missionaries before and would not even allow them to visit her daughter and granddaughter in the house where they live together.  But this Sunday she shows up at church and she tells us in Sunday school that she thinks that this is the path that God wants her to follow!  We were astounded, and grateful, to see the Lord provide this miracle in our ward.  So there you have it - fasting, it works.

Of course last night was the international broadcast on missionary work, where they announced some additional changes to the missionary program (missionaries on Facebook and guided church tours, for a start), and taught us a LOT about member missionary work and the role that members can and should play in the work of the Lord.  I am pleased to say that I hear from many of you that you are trying to do your own member missionary work, and I am so happy to hear it!  Thank you so much for your examples!!!!  Anyway, the broadcast was awesome, and I encourage all of you to watch it if you did not get the chance to attend last night.  In fact, let´s make it your commitment for this week.  Watch the broadcast or visit the webpage and make a plan for something you can do to further the work as a member missionary!  I can`t wait to hear about it!

Then today we had a mission-wide conference to bid farewell to President and Hermana Humphrey, who leave us this week, as well as the two stakes of missionaries who are headed north to Rancagua.  The Assistants asked me to sing in a quartet with Hermana Lovell and two elders.  We sang "A Child´s Prayer" in English, at President´s request.  It went well and I was really grateful for the opportunity to participate in the conference in such a special way.

The conference was good but sad.  They showed a video we had made for the Humphreys and gave them a scrapbook of photos with letters we had written.  One thing I really liked was that President Humphrey told us that he and Hermana Humphrey had been in the MTC in Santiago in the past week, and one of our old assistants, Élder Navarrete, is working there as a teacher now.  (Élder Navarrete was one of the most awesome assistants ever, by the way.)  Anyway, Élder Navarrete said to President Humphrey, "The Savior´s ministry was only three years long, the same length as yours, President.  But the last week of His ministry was definitely the most important."  I loved that.  I know that President and Hermana Humphrey definitely are NOT trunky, and I hope as a mission we are able to make this last week with them the most important and most successful they have seen!

We each got to go up and say goodbye to them individually, and President Humphrey gave each hermana a hug, and Hermana Humphrey had a hug for each elder.  Nobody tell President Monson.  I am going to miss them a lot.  I was especially close to Hermana Humphrey, having had to make my fair share of phone calls to her in my day.  She is like the world´s most amazing person.  She told me to add her as a friend on Facebook.  :)

The other super sad part about this conference is that I had to say goodbye to Hermana Fajardo, who is going to the Rancagua mission.  It was the worst.  She was such an amazing companion and we got to be such great friends and since she lives in Guatemala it´s just really not all that likely that I´ll ever see her again. We cried and cried and took pictures together even though we both look terrible from crying.  I swear I have never been more grateful to live in this era where we have such easy access to different parts of the globe.  At least we´ll have Google Hangout!

Anyway, at the end of this week our new mission president and his wife are coming.  I am excited to meet them!  I know they have been praying for us and for our mission and the people we are working with, and I know they have worked really hard and sacrificed a lot to be ready to come.  Everyone pray for President and Hermana Arrington, along with the Humphreys this week, please!  And pray that our mission will meet our goal for baptisms in June!

Well, that´s all for this week.  As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  I love you all so very much!



Tuesday, June 18, 2013


So today we had cambios again, but this was the BIG one which determines which mission boundaries we will remain in starting on July 1.  I had kind of mixed feelings about it - when we were in San Javier they told us all to basically plan on being sent to Rancagua, and then as soon as I got used to the idea they sent me back "inside" the Concepción mission boundaries here in Chillán.  But as I had never served more than two cambios in any one sector, I knew that my chances of getting sucked into the Rancagua vortex hadn´t been completely eliminated.
Anyway, the results are in, and (drumroll please...) Hermana Snyder and I are staying together in Libertador for another eight weeks!  This also means that I will be staying in the Misión Chile Concepción for the duration of my mission as well!  (Sorry, David Archuleta fans, I won´t be sending yáll any pictures of Davie-the-missionary.  Though I hear he´s a district leader, so maybe you can imagine him better now that you know that!)
They did make some crazy changes in our house, though, as they pulled out one set of Hermanas (Hermana Lovell and her new companion Hermana Martínez) from our ward and are putting elders in their place, while the other sisters, who will continue to live in our house, will begin to work in what was previously a ward with four elders, just on the other side of the maid road from our sector.  So now in our church building on Sundays there will be two wards with two elders and two sisters apiece.  It will be a strange adjustment, but it will be nice to have that extra priesthood support in the ward.  I remember my first couple of weeks in San Javier it was SO WEIRD having the Elders there all the time, but then we got to like it a lot, so hopefully that is how it will go for us this time around as well.
In other transfer news, Hermana Phelps is getting sent to Chillancito in Conce, to be companions with Hermana Miskin again!  So strange to end up with one of your old companions, but this time they are going to be in a trio and they will be training, like Hermana Fajardo and I did with Hermana Holland.  Hermana Frandsen is also staying in Conce, but she is getting sent to Talcahuano, which is the portion of the mission we sucked up from Conce Sur.  I am really glad that we are both staying in the same mission - we started this thing together and we´d darn well better end it together, too!  Hermana Fajardo is still in San Javier, so she is going to Rancagua, and dude I am going to miss her!  She is so totally awesome.  But I know she is where she needs to be and that Rancagua just got one of the best missionaries in the world!!!!
So one little sad thing about the boundary change is that in the boundaries that are headed north, there are 16 Hermanas.  In the boundaries we gained to the south, only 4.  :(  Sad day to lose a dozen Hermanas from our mission, but I guess that must be how the Lord wants it.
So yesterday in Church we were in Sunday School when the bishop beckoned Hermanas Lovell and Phelps out into the hallway (Hermana Snyder and I were in charge of teaching the class) and tells them that the Elders´ Quorom had been in charge of providing the talks for Sacrament meeting and apparently nobody had come prepared, so suddenly we missionaries are in charge of the entire program, except for a musical number provided by the Primary (a Father´s Day tradition, of course!).  So that was fun.  We grabbed our scriptures and each came up with something nice and short and then threw in another musical number just for good measure.
Being Father´s Day, I gave my talk on our Heavenly Father.  I don`t know why, buit I don´t remember it ever occurring to me before to honor our Heavenly Father as much on Father´s Day as our eartly fathers and grandfathers, but I was glad that it finally did.  I shared several scriptures about how He is the Father of our spirits, how we are created in His image, and how He loves us and has provided us with the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation in order to be able to bless us with all that He has.  In culmination, I read John 3:16-17, which has become one of my favorite scriptures here in the mission:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
I know that what this scripture says is true.  Sometimes keeping the commandments and repenting seem like really hard, painful things to do, and I know that it certainly isn´t meant to be easy.  But it is a blessing.  God sent His Son to teach us the way, to set the example, and help us to know how we can be able to come to receive all the blessings that God has to bestow upon us.  He did not send the Savior so that we would feel guilty when we sinned, but so that we would be ABLE to repent and become free of stain.  He does not give us commandments so that we feel restricted or limited, but so that we can be free of pain and sorrow and be prepared to receive all the He hath.  He loves us SO VERY MUCH and He wants all of us to be able to participate in His celestial glory.  I am so very grateful for the opportunity He has given me to learn His gospel and try to live it and to share it with others.

This week for your commitment, I want you all to take the opportunity to celebrate Father´s Day by honoring our Heavenly Father.  Take some time to pray and thank Him for all the He has given you, and show Him your gratitude and love by doing your best to live His commandments and do His will.  I want to do the same.
Well, gotta get going now.  I love you all and am so very grateful for you!

Have a great week!



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hump Day!

Hello Everyone!

First of all, millions of apologies that you had to wait two extra days for this email.  On Monday, Hermana Phelps and I went to Conce to do some stuff in the office and get one of her prescriptions refilled and it turned out to be kind of a weird day and we didn´t get a chance to do internet before we got back to Chillán and it was time to go out and work.  So we got permission from our zone leaders to do it this morning, because proselyting is a little bit slower in the mornings.

Even though it was kind of a different P-Day, it was still fun.  I love being in the office because there´s just so much INFORMATION there.  I took a picture of the transfer board so I could see where everyone´s at.  The Misión Chile Concepción Sur mission office is right next door to ours and so we got to meet several of the missionaries from that mission as well as seeing most of our friends from our mission who are now working close enough to Conce to go in to the office on P-Days.  I even got to see my friend Elder Kelly who was in my zone at the MTC but who is in the Sur mission.  The Conce Sur mission already had their transfer which determines who will be moved into the new mission boundaries, so alongside our transfer board are their pictures, waiting to be put up when the boundaries change on July 1.  It´s a very interesting time to be here, with the mission president changing right along with the mission boundaries.

The office elders showed us, along with two other Hermanas who were in Conce from the "outside" for the day, an awesome Peruvian restaurant which was delicious and very reasonably priced.  It was this totally awesome combination of foods.  There was like kind of a stir-fry type thing going on with meat and onions and tomatoes and they put that on top of thick-cut fries and there was a side of rice.  It sounds weird (and super heavy in carbs, I know), but it was super delicious.

Anyway, so that is what I was up to on Monday and that´s why I wasn´t able to write.

Now, THANK YOU everyone for the birthday wishes!!!!!!  I had a good day.  Hermanas Lovell and Phelps conspired with some ward members to give me a little party which was disguised as a Noche de Hogar.  The Familia Vergara hosted all four missionaries and our recent convert, Jorge, came along for the ride.  The older daughter of the family, Mary Carmen, made the most delicious cake and then Hermano Vergara and the younger daughter, Laura, performed a traditional Chilean folk song.  Hermano Vergara played a big drum and Laura played the guitar and they both sang and it was totally awesome!!!!!

Today is Hump Day.  June 12.  I entered the MTC exactly 9 months ago today.  How weird is that?  I read your emails and I can´t even believe that the things you all say are happening could possibly be real, because it seems like all that time can´t possibly have gone by.  Like a whole entire school year?  That´s insane!  So anyway, halfway point.  "It´s all downhill from here," as they say.  And I hope it is.  I hope I am able to just let go of the brakes and keep accelerating and improving and working harder and harder with more urgency and power and efficiency from this point on.  That would be totally awesome.

Not too much more to report this week.  Hermana Snyder and I are just working hard and trying to figure out our way around the sector (because sometimes we forget the maps...) and get to know the members and find the menos activos and those families who are waiting to hear this awesome gospel message!

I just remembered one cool experience we had this week.  The Relief Society President, Hermana Caro, had asked us to go and visit Hermana Margarita, who had been less-active for some time and whom neither Hermana Snyder nor I had yet had the opportunity to meet.  She lives in a street which we do not frequent and this happened to be one of the days when we forgot our map.  But we went to where we were pretty sure that it was (There are seriously not enough street signs here and sometimes you just don´t know where you are!) and knocked on the house that had what we thought was her house number.  And it was them!  We went in and she talked to us for a while about her job and how many opportunities she has had to share the gospel with the people she works with and we were left in awe of how awesome this lady is.  Basically she stopped coming to church out of sheer exhaustion from the hard manual labor she does every other day of the week.  Anyway, we talked to her for a while and though we invited her to church, we weren´t sure if she was really committed to come.  But she came!  And she came to all three hours!  And she is amazing!  She has the calling to teach the Principles of the Gospel class, which is the one that all the investigators and recent converts attend, and though Hermanas Lovell and Phelps gave the lesson this Sunday, she attended and had so many awesome comments and so much to add to the class.  We were totally stoked!  She´s just amazing.  And her husband came up to us in the hallway and thanked us for our visit because he felt it had made a difference in getting her to come to church that day.  I think she just needed to be reminded, is all.  I was so happy she was there I almost cried.  You can tell that she really has a strong testimony and that she is an incredible person.  She just got a little lost for a while.  I feel so blessed to have met her and to have been led (truly, we were led without our maps and without being sure of the exact address) to her home to share with her that night.  I pray that she will remain active and we look forward to having her take over the teaching of the class once again, as she will do an amazing job and will be such a great example and help for our investigators and recent converts.  :)

So here´s your challenge:  Remind your less-active friends that you love them and the Heavenly Father loves them too.  There are a million and one reasons why someone may have stopped coming to church, but that shouldn´t really matter.  What matters is that they, too, are children of God and they need to be able to fully participate in the blessings of heaven.  Maybe they won´t come back right away, like Margarita did.  But please, please take the opportunity to let them know that you love them and that you are there to serve them and help them in whatever way you can.  I know they will be grateful that you did.

I LOVE you all SO MUCH.  Have a great week and thanks so much for everything - your love, emails, thoughts, letters, support, and prayers!  You are the best in the whole world!

Until next week.



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Drops of Awesome

I believe this is the blog post that Jordanne was referring to.  It was written by a young mom in Seattle named Kathryn Thompson.  It really is awesome!!
This post has been in my heart and on my mind for over a year now. I’ve talked about it. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve taught about it. I was waiting for the right time to post about it and now feels like that time. It’s a post about a tiny little moment that completely changed the way I see myself and others. As I think about it and act on what I learned, I find that I am changed in significant ways every single day.
It was a sunny school morning and I was walking Magoo to the bus stop. I don’t often walk him to the school bus. He’s in second grade and pretty independent and I’m usually busy getting myself and his sisters ready. I’m semi-nocturnal and I sleep later than I should most mornings.
When it’s time for school, he says goodbye and heads up the hill to the bus.
As we got half way to the bus, Magoo reached out and grabbed my hand in an uninhibited way that I knew wouldn’t happen many more times. He’s seven now but growing and how many 12-year-old boys do you see still swinging hands happily with their mommies?
I squeezed his hand, felt the rare Seattle sun on my face, and told him I loved him. I was nearly perfectly happy.
Just at that moment, the thought came into my mind, That’s awesome that you’re walking him to the bus stop and putting on this “mother of the year” act today. What about yesterday and the day before that? You hardly ever walk him to the bus. He’s probably holding your hand because he’s so desperate for the love and attention you haven’t been showing him.
My bubble had burst. I am a crap mom, I thought, as I looked down into his smiling face.
Then another thought came. Kathryn. What is wrong with you? You are being an awesome mom in this moment. Your child is happy. You are loving him and caring for him. He’s well fed and dressed. You’re walking to the bus stop in the early morning and you’re already wearing a bra for heck’s sake. Do not rob yourself of this moment’s joy because of what you failed to do yesterday or what you fear you might not do tomorrow.
This started me thinking of all the times I do something good while beating myself up for all the times I haven’t been perfect.
You’re worshiping in the temple? Woopty freakin do! How long has it been since you came here last? When are you likely to come again? You’re not good at this. This is a fluke.
Wow. So you cleaned the kitchen today. Want a cookie? That dirty rag has been on the counter for a week and those dishes you so righteously cleaned are from breakfast three days ago. You are embarrassing.
That was really nice of you to offer to watch your friend’s kids while she had surgery. Remember last week when you knew your neighbor was suffering from depression and you drove right by with a wave because you did not want to get sucked into the drama? You don’t really care about people. Not all the time.
How destructive are these kinds of thoughts?
As I said goodbye to Magoo and started to walk back home, my mind started to shift.
Drops of Awesome! I thought. Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.
I walked Magoo to the bus. Drop of Awesome!
I fed him fruit with breakfast. Drop of Awesome!
I told him I loved him. Drop of Awesome!
I wore a bra and brushed my teeth before schlepping it up that hill. Two Fat Drops of Awesome!
All day long I chanted these words in my head. I picked up that tootsie roll wrapper off the front porch instead of stepping over it for the eleventy hundredth time. Drop of Awesome! I unloaded one dish from the dishwasher when I walked through the kitchen on my way to the bathroom. Drop of Awesome! I texted my sad neighbor to say I was thinking about her. Drop of Awesome! I had a critical thought about one of my kids and I brushed it away and replaced it with love. Drop of Awesome!
When I started thinking about my life in terms of adding these little Drops of Awesome for every tiny act of good, I found that I was doing more and more of them because it’s a lot more fun to do good when you’re rewarded with joy, rather than being guilted about every failure in your past.
By the end of the day, I had realized something important. If I was spending time with my kids, really listening to them with attention in the moment, then I was a good listener, regardless of the 50 other times I’d brushed them off or multi-tasked while they were talking over the past week. If I was engaged in sincere prayer with my Heavenly Father, really communing with him and seeking his will, then I was a person who engages in sincere prayer, regardless of how my prayers were (or weren’t) yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.
As I added up these Drops of Awesome, I found that in those moments I actually became the person I had always wanted to be.
Have you ever said any of these things: “Well, I guess I don’t work out anymore,” because you missed one workout? Or, “I always fight with my brother. Our relationship is broken.” What about, “I’m kind of a nag to my spouse.” Or “I gossip and I always end up hurting people I love.” “I can’t stop spending money. We will never get out of debt.” “My house is always a disaster.”
These things are lies, depending on the next decision you make, the next Drop of Awesome you put in your bucket. You may have done these things or have a hard time with them but they don’t define you and you can change this very instant. You may not think you can change permanently but you can change the next choice you make. And as you change that one next tiny choice, you may think, I got this one Drop of Awesome but I may never be able to get another one again.
And that’s okay.
You made the right choice once. And in that moment you were the person you want to be and that is a triumph. For one night, you were a person who went to bed early. One morning you woke up and the first words out of your mouth were positive so you were a morning person in that moment. Bam! Drop of Awesome.
You do not need to wait three months to be who you want to be. Pick up ten things right now and say, “Drops of Awesome! I am someone who takes care of my house. That is who I am. I have proof.”
In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life. This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don’t get as many, you pick yourself up and say, “What can I do next?”
Now, there are a whole lot of religious implications to this because, as a Christian, I believe that you are not the only one adding these Drops of Awesome to your bucket. Christ commanded us to be perfect, but through His atonement, He is with us every step of the way.
As an object lesson when I was teaching this to the teenage girls at church, I gave them each a small dropper and I put a 2-quart bowl on the table. I told them that throughout the lesson they would get the chance to put drops in the bucket for every Drop of Awesome they could think of that they’d done. I promised them that we would fill the bowl to overflowing by the end of the lesson.
With about 5 minutes to go, we had barely begun to fill the bowl and the girls were looking around at each other nervously. The promised overflow did not look likely. Were they not awesome enough?
At that point, I pulled out a large pitcher labeled ATONEMENT and poured water into the glass bowl until it was spilling out all over the table and the towel the bowl was resting on. The class went silent.
When we are in a relationship with Christ, striving as God’s sons and daughters to do His will, He pours more into our buckets than we can ever hope to imagine. He can fill us to overflowing with peace, with joy, with perfection, with Awesome. And then what do we do if our bucket is overflowing like that? Where does the Awesome go then?
I pulled out an identical bowl, twice the size of the original. Our capacity for joy and lightincreases. And we just keep working, one tiny drop at a time. And we don’t compare today’s drops to yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. And we live and we love and we repent when we do wrong and we allow ourselves to be glorious, beautiful, and dare I say perfect in Christ, children of God.
I believe in a God who loves us and roots for us and cheers for every Drop of Awesome we can manage. Our victories are His victories and He wants us to feel joy. Not later, when we no longer make mistakes, but right now.
I’m gonna close this uber long post out with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I know many of you do not share my faith but I think you’ll find truth in these words:
“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6)

Small and simple. Tiny drops. Go forth. Be Awesome.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



Okay, when I said "hello" in my brain just now, it was funny, because I said it in a Chilean "I'm going to speak all the English I know to you because you're clearly North American" accent.  Anyway.

I'm having a hard time even remembering what happened this week, honestly.

One highlight of the week is that I did a mini-cambio with Hermana Lovell.  She's awesome.  Something really special about her is that she has a knack for making you feel really good about yourself.  And she doesn't do it by giving flattering comments or anything like that.  Instead, she just reminds you of the love that God has for you and how special you are to Him and the incredible worth that you have as one of His children.  And Hermana Lovell has this way of sharing that love with everybody she meets.  It's incredible.  She always knows how to make things AWESOME!

Speaking of which, Hermana Lovell shared with me a copy of a blog post that she has, which is called "Drops of Awesome."  I don't know where it originated from, but I would highly recommend reading it.  You could maybe just try Googling "Drops of Awesome" and then read it and let it change your life, because it will.

So after I read that blog, I started to think of everything I did as a missionary as a "Drop of Awesome."  It makes everyday, normal missionary tasks lots of fun!  It's like in Mary Poppins when they sing while they clean the nursery.  "You find the fun and 'snap!' the job's a game!"

Anyway, I'm sorry but I don't have a lot more to say this week.  We are all still reading in the Book of Mormon, and this week I read Alma 34 again.  Remember that is wasn't that long ago that I read it last, and it was awesome then?  It's still awesome.  Read it again.

For your commitment this week, I want to invite you all to share the love that God has for you with somebody else.  We are working on building a better relationship with the ward members here, and some things we have been doing are leaving little notes of gratitude, recognizing birthdays, giving calls and visits of gratitude and support, and giving hugs (and handshakes, where appropriate).  So find something awesome to do to show someone you love them and that God loves them, too.

Thanks for all your love for me, even when my emails are lame.

Love you all so very much!


Hermana B