Saturday, July 27, 2013

[Insert Catchy Subject Line Here]


Sometimes people here say "holas" when they are saying hello to more than one person and they don´t want to say it more than once.  I find it a bit strange but it seemed appropriate to use just now.

This week we had interviews with President Arrington.  The assistants (one of whom is my awesome two-time zone leader, Élder Carvajal), the Pulsiphers, and the Baldens (both senior couples) gave us some trainings while President met with us one by one.  Hermana Balden is a nurse and she taught us about personal and household cleanliness, and she did it all in Spanish!  She served her mission in Paraguay/Uruguay or something like that and so she is one of those rare exceptions to the wife-who-doesn´t-speak-the-mission-language norm.  Although her skills are a little rusty and she was a little self-conscious, she did a great job.  Plus she´s hilarious.  She is about 5-foot-nothing and has the cutest little voice and she kept telling us about messy apartments she´d seen in the missions (they work in both the Conce and Conce Sur missions) and like how there´d be a pile of dirty laundry on top of a pile of clean laundry and then she said, "¿Qué vale eso?  ¡Todo huele!"  (What good is that?  It all smells!)  And she kept saying that "¿Qué vale eso?"  or "¡No vale nada!" when she would give examples of poor cleanliness.  It was so cute.

Anyway, interviews went well.  I told President Arrington (as I had been directed to do by President Wallis when he set me apart) about my musical abilities and he thanked me.  It wasn´t a surprise to President Humphrey when I came, since he had just read about it in my mission paperwork, but since President Arrington has just read about 200 of those mission applications, there´s no way he could have possibly remembered a detail like that.  At the end of the interview we knelt and prayed together, which is something I hadn´t done in an interview before with my mission president.  I appreciated it.  President Arrington is very loving and has really great perspective.  He admonishes us to work hard and to improve but does not ever want us to feel discouraged when we don´t reach our goals or our potential.  We are very blessed to be working with him and with Hermana Arrington.

This Saturday the elders in our ward baptized six people!  I went with Hermana Lovell in a mini-cambio (since they had double-booked their evening and I had been asked to sing at the baptism) and it was a cool experience.  There was a mom with her teenage son and daughter, a mother and daughter, and the daughter of a menos activo who has come back to church and whose boyfriend is also getting ready to get baptized.  The teenage boy almost didn´t get baptized.  Earlier that day he had told the elders that he didn´t want to do it and then when he came to the church it was just to see his sister and his mom get baptized and he didn´t bring his white clothes with him.  But after he watched the other five people and all the spectators had gone back to the chapel to wait, the elders asked him if he wanted to get baptized and he said, "yes."  So he changed into one elder´s wet baptismal clothes and the other elder baptized him while everyone else was in the chapel.  Just his mom and his sister were there to watch.  It was awesome and crazy and really special.  And before that the companionship of elders both got in the font together and were taking pictures of them soaking wet, both in baptismal clothes.  I imagine it´s not super often that both elders in a companionship get to baptize in the same baptismal service.

Because of all the baptisms on Saturday, our sacrament meeting on Sunday was mostly made up of confirmations.  I love hearing confirmations.  It is so cool how they are all so individual and no matter how many times you are there when someone gets confirmed, you can always feel the Spirit especially strong when they confer the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It was a great day to be in sacrament meeting.

What else can I say?  Didn´t have too many crazy experiences this week.  Except for one day Hermana Snyder had taken some cold medication that WAS non-drowsy, but apparently her body didn´t think so.  She walked around in so much of a daze that that night as we were walking down the street she walked right into someone who was working their way down the street in their wheelchair.  It was quite humorous.  We didn´t laugh about it until we got home, though.

Also, it´s FREEZING cold here.  This Mediterranean climate that everyone said I would be experiencing is apparently part of some other Chile Concepción mission, because here where I´m at it´s just plain COLD.  Sigh.  We bundle up though, so we get along all right as long as we remember our gloves and scarves and wear several pairs of socks and fleece-lined leggings and the like.  Maybe more people will let us in, right?

For this week your commitment is to review your favorite talk (or any talk) from this past conference.  And I promise you that if you do so, you will be blessed.  You will receive an answer you have been looking for or at least receive an extra spiritual lift.  I know it will make your week better.  I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this!

That´s all for now, folks.

Have a great week.  I love you all very much!



Monday, July 15, 2013

Noche de Navidad, Obispo Hidalgo, and an Empty Pileta

Hi All,

I can barely remember what happened this week.  Sometimes that happens.  Im´ll go ask Hermana Snyder what I should write home about....

Okey dokey, three highlights of this week:

First, every Monday night we do a little noche de hogar (family night) with Hermana Dina, this little old lady in the ward.  The Relief Society president and one of her counselors usually come too, and anyone else who wants to come.  We invite our recent converts and our investigators and we go over to Hermana Dina´s and have a little lesson and a little treat.  It´s a great opportunity for our female investigators and recent converts to get a little more integrated into the ward and the ladies are awesome, so we feel the Spirit and we are all uplifted by it.  Anyway, for like three weeks we have been trying to pull of this "Noche de Navidad," since it´s winter here and it reminds us of Christmas and the 25th of June was the halfway to Christmas mark!  We couldn´t do it the 25th because we were in Conce and our P-Day lasted all day instead of just until 6:30 like usual.  Then the next week a bunch of the regulars couldn´t be there, so we decided not to do it then.  So last Monday we finally had our little mini-Christmas celebration and it was awesome.  We read the Christmas story from the Bible and, just like we do at home on Christmas Eve, stopped to sing the hymns that correspond with that part of the Bible story.  We sang Noche de Luz (Silent Night) twice, though.  Because it rocks.  We also ate Pan de Pascua (the world´s most awesome verison of fruitcake - so delicious, even if it was a little expensive to buy out of season) and had some kind of a traditional drink that was made of milk with café de trigo (That´s fake coffee stuff that all the members drink here.  It´s made out of wheat.  I like it.), cinnamon, and clove.  I loved that stuff.  It reminded me of the herbal Chai tea lattes that I love.  So I´ve gotta get that recipe for sure!  Anyway, that was our little Christmas party.  It was super fun.

Last Sunday they put a new bishop in our ward, Obispo Hidalgo.  This week he started going out with us to appointments and he is AWESOME!  He is a recent convert of about four years.  He is a cabinet-maker (mueblista) and works out of his home doing that.  His wife, Hermana Adela, also totally rocks and they have three kids, a son who´s about fourteen, a daughter who´s like six, and a little baby boy who´s five months old.  Their conversion story is super cool.  If I remember right, Hermana Adela has a sister who has been a member for years, but Adela always said that she wasn´t interested, no, no, no, no, no, and no.  Well, for some reason one day the missionaries started coming by every day.  EVERY DAY.  And though they never ever even opened the door for them, they came every day and left little notes on pass-along cards and things like that.  Well, this went on for probably over a month and then one day Hermana Adela was having a bad day and she let them in and the rest is history!  Obispo Hidalgo told us that he asked the elders why they came by every day when they didn´t know them and had never had any success in trying to get in the house, and the elder told him it was because the Spirit indicated to him that they were special and that they needed to be members of the Church.  I wholeheartedly agree!  We are very excited to be working with him!  Even in this first week, he has already helped some of our investigators a lot, and us as well.  We hope to be able to become great helpers to him and together work to build the ward to at least double its current size!

This Saturday our zone leaders, who work in the other ward that meets in our building, had a baptism.  I don´t know if I´ve mentioned this before, but when we have a baptism we have to go over the the church about four hours ahead of time to start filling the font.  Well, Hermana Snyder and I were out working Saturday evening and we get a call from the zone leaders.  "Hey hermanas, what are you doing right now?  Got any important citas?"  They had forgotten to fill the font, and it was about an hour and a half before the baptism was supposed to start!  So we ran home (we work and live closest to the church) and grabbed our electric water boiler thingy and as many buckets and pots as we could find and headed over to help the elders fill the font with as much hot water as we could get our hands on.  For a while we waited for the water to boil before we took it in to the font, but after a bit we decided that a lukewarm baptism was better than none and so Hermana Snyder and I went into the bathroom and started filling up pots with water from both sinks while the elders continued with the hot water in the kitchen.  It was hilarious.  I wished I could have stopped helping and made a video clip of it, because there´s really just no accurate way to describe how funny that situation was, with all our kitchen implements  from our houses over and the church, and the electricity in the kitchen flipping off every once in a while from all the hot water boiler things we were trying to use (eventually we moved two of them to the cultural hall, which is on a different circuit and didn´t cause any more power outages), and the elders running up and down the hall from the kitchen to the font with huge pots of boiling water.  If that ever happens again I will not miss the opportunity to at least take some pictures.

Anyway, that´s about all for this week.  I did want to say that we had our lesson in Relief Society yesterday on Relief Society and how awesome it is!  It made me miss all my friends from Relief Society back home.  Thanks, ladies, for all that you taught me and for helping me grow each week through your lessons and especially through your examples!  I feel sad for all the men who never get to know how amazing it is to be a part of Relief Society.

Well, for your commitment this week I want you all to read Ether 12 and/or Hebrews 11.  They both talk about faith and give several examples of people from the scriptures and the miracles they were able to work by faith.  I know I always need more faith, and I just wanted to share these awesome examples with all of you.

I love you all very much!  I hope you have a great week!



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Presidente H-Arrington


This week we got to meet our new mission president, President Arrington.  He is awesome.  We had a zone conferenceon Wednesday and for the first time in my whole mission we didn´t have to travel to the zone conference.  Now that they have changed the mission boundaries, Chillán is the biggest "out" city in our mission, so instead of sending half the mission to Talca and half to Conce, now the "in" people stay in Conce and the "out" people all come to Chillán.  So we just walked on down the street from our apartment to the capilla.  That was cool.  Another awesome thing is that we got to eat amazing Peruvian food for lunch from a restaurant that is in my sector in Cordillera.  We actually taught that family a couple of times while I was there, too.  I also got to see Pancha Ardiles (her family was one that we were really close to in Cordillera), because she was there helping with the catering.  It was weird but also awesome to get to see old friends from my old sector.

The first thing they did was have us all stand in a big circle in the cultural hall and they walked around and greeted us personally.  President Arrington asked me how I pronounce my name in Spanish.  I told him that I haven´t come up with anything yet that anyone can seem to say, so I just respond to whatever....  He says that they can´t say Arrington, either, and that they always put an "H" in front, so instead of the English "Air-ing-ton", in Spanish it is said "Har (with a rolled "r")-ing-tone".  I think that´s great.

Hermana Arrington spoke first in the conference.  She doesn´t speak or understand Spanish hardly at all, so Elder Rees, one of the assistants, translated for her.  She spoke about the still, small voice of the Spirit and how important it is that we follow it.  She then told us that her entire married life (30+ years) she had had a prompting to learn Spanish, but she thought it was just her "thinking" and she never did it.  Then she said, "And now I am here and I can´t understand you."  I can tell that that is really hard for her, to be the "mom" to a hundred missionaries that she can´t understand.  And it also taught me even more the importance of listening to the Spirit.  Elder Bednar gave a talk (I think in the MTC sometime?) where he says that as long as we are being a "good boy or girl," that all our thoughts and impressions come from the Spirit and we shouldn´t have to question ourselves, but just act on it!  I hope to be able to learn to stop over-thinking and just act on those thoughts that I have which lead me to do things which are good and which will fill my life with more light and joy.  There is a scripture in 1 John 1:6-7 which has been one of my favorites since I have come on the mission.  Perhaps I have already shared it with y´all before, but that´s okay because it´s awesome.  It says:

"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

There is light and there is darkness.  There is white and there is black.  There is nothing else.  If we are walking in the light, with Christ, we will be able to know that our thoughts and impressions come from the Spirit.  Isn´t that great?

Anyway, something else Hermana Arrington said was that the day that she and President Arrington opened their mission calls, their hearts came to Chile, and that they are glad to have finally arrived to accompany their hearts.  I loved that.  I know that they have been praying for us and for these people ever since that day and I could feel the power of those prayers and their study and sacrifice and preparation as they addressed us in the conference.  I am excited to have them here!

President Arrington is real great, too.  I wasn´t there for this, but Hermana Lovell told me that in the leadership training meeting last P-Day one of the zone leaders gave a prayer in which he apologized to the Lord that we were not able to meet our goal of 150 baptisms in the month of June (we had 144).  After the prayer, President Arrington said, "Elder!  You don´t need to apologize.  Maybe you didn´t make your goal, but you did have more baptisms in this past month than there have ever been in the history of this mission!  The Lord is pleased with your work!"  I feel really blessed to have a mission president who has that kind of love and perspective.  I don´t remember a lot of the specifics that he shared with us in the conference, but I do remember feeling a confirmation that he has been called by God to be our mission president.  That he and his wife were reserved to be the mission presidents in this mission at this time with these missionaries since before the foundation of the world.  I know it.  I love the Humphreys dearly, and I miss them a little, but I am also excited for the Arringtons.  I know that they have a grand purpose to fulfill in these next three years.

Throughout the conference I just kept thinking of the scripture in Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

Sometimes I get real bogged down in how much work it is to be a missionary and how much I still need to improve and I forget that it´s glorious.  That it´s God´s MAIN PRIORITY and that every single small success that we have in bringing others closer to Christ, and every small sacrifice that we make, no matter what the result, brings Him JOY.  I just need to remember that!

Anyway, this week for your commitment I want you all to read 1 Nephi chapters 8 and 11, which talk about the tree of life.  Especially I want you to think about the love of God and how His LOVE is the motivation for giving us the gospel, for sending us prophets and parents to teach us, and for sending the Savior to prepare the way and to atone for us.  One of the first principles we teach to investigators is "God is our loving Heavenly Father."  He loves us SO MUCH!!!  Try to remember that, and I will too.

I love you all and hope you are all happy and well!

Have a fantastic week and I´ll see y´all next P-Day!



P.S.  I did the MOST AWESOME study on how great America is on the 4th of July during part of my personal study.  I´ll try to remember to tell you about it next week and send the pics of our AMERICA party and the awesome patriotic sweater I paid 1 mil ($2) for in a secondhand store.  I totally rocked the 4th of July.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Hi There!

Another craaaazy week here in Libertador this week.

As I mentioned last week, the mission had a goal of 150 baptisms in the month of June.  So this week everyone was going crazy trying to make their baptisms happen.  We were especially blessed to be able to participate and to see our friend Cynthia get baptized on Saturday!

Hermana Morán and I met Cynthia, along with her mother, Cecilia, and her son, Antonio, back at the end of April, like our second week together in Chillán.  We were knocking doors on their street looking for an old investigator who lived near them when they came walking down the street and we started talking to them.  They invited us in to their house right then to share with them.  At first they seemed interested, but they didn´t come to church right away and when we went back to visit they couldn´t meet with us and they didn´t answer our calls and so eventually we lost track of them for a while.  Then a few weeks later we just passed by one day and they let us in.  We had a really great lesson about repentance and they seemed to be a lot more interested at that point, so after that we started teaching them pretty regularly, but it still took quite a while for Cynthia to prepare herself for baptism.

Before we met Cynthia, she had been through many physical and emotional trials, including serious and chronic illnesses, abuse, depression, and alcoholism.  She used to work as a nurse, but due to brain injury from one of her illnesses she can no longer work in that profession and she was left with poor memory and a slower learning curve.  But despite all this, she is a kind and positive person and we were so happy to see her face gradually light up more and more as she learned to apply the principles of the gospel in her life.

Cynthia´s major trial as far as getting ready for baptism was that she smoked.  She was willing to quit, but she didn´t seem to be really progressing in that regard.  We tried setting various types of goals and made several calendars and other "quit smoking" plans.  We bought her candies to eat when she wanted to smoke, we covered an old cigarette box with pictures of the Savior and things like that and filled it with "spiritual cigarettes" (rolled up slips of paper with scriptures and hymns and spiritual quotes written on them), we went into the "smoking area" in her house and put pictures of Christ up everywhere, we took her cigarettes away from her and were proportioning them out to her day by day based on her daily smoking goals.  Our zone leader even gave us a cigarette (taken from one of his investigators) he had soaked in milk and then set out to dry (Supposedly if people smoke this or a cigarette dipped in vinegar it makes them sick and they do not want to smoke anymore.  We never did resort to that and we have heard horror stories about it anyway so I am not sure that we would have given it to her regardless....).  Cynthia had "entrevistas de apoyo" (interviews of support) from two different district leaders and our zone leaders and everyone was doing everything we could think of to try to help her.

Though it was a long and difficult road (we almost gave up on her a few times and she even tried to back out once or twice), eventually we all got on the same page and she left those cigarettes behind!  We were calling her several times a day and making daily visits to her house to help support her and encourage her, but it was worth it!  She got baptized!

We are so proud of Cynthia and so happy to see her growing in the gospel.  She has the gift of the Holy Ghost now to help her stay on the right path and in her confirmation she was promised that it would also enlighten her understanding, so that her brain injury will not impede her too much from learning and growing in the gospel.  I am so excited for her!

Anway, that is pretty much the most important thing I could talk about this week, I think!  Love you all and hope you are all well and happy!

For your commitment this week, I want you all to read 2 Nephi 32 because it´s awesome and I love it.  And I love you all!

Until next week!


Hermana B