Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 21, 2014

So little time AGAIN!!!  Sorry!  Let me know if you prefer a longer family email or better individuals.

Anyway.  After a couple of weeks of ... hard...ness... this week was AWESOME.  We have been diligent and hopeful despite the difficulties of the past few weeks.  Ricardo Ahumada was married Saturday  9 am!  He passed his interview Saturday. And he was baptized yesterday after church.  I think he was the world´s most-wanting-to-be-baptized investigator.  He has been investigating since the change after I left here!  His now-wife was a a once-member-turned-atheist who now believes in and dearly loves her Father and Savior and feels the presence of the Spirit at every turn. It has been such a humbling and wonderful experience to work with this family.    The restored gospel is for everyone and can restore even the most broken families.  I love being a missionary. I want it to never end.  But I know my time is running short.  So I´m working harder than ever.   And I will run through the finish line, knowing that my Father is proud of the work I have done, and knowing that He has accepted my sacrifice to Him, and knowing that that sacrifice, will NEVER end.

Sister Thomas

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014
HOLA CHIQUILLOS LINDOS,
Puessssss, this week was AWESOME.  Just like every other week.  BUT, I was down and out for two days, sicker then I`ve ever been except maybe when I had apendicitis... but even that was better because at least I was in my house/hospital with medical attention.  As you know, I do lots of exchanges, at bare minimum 6 per change because this change we have six sisters in our group.  Thursday I had an exchange in the centro - Compañía (MY DREAM SECTOR) - where I seriously lived the dream.  IT WAS SO FUN.  Not to mention it was with Hna.Rivera from Mexico who is a true rockstar.  We worked so hard all day long and had a blast! But.  That night!

Oh my word.  Pause.  This drunk guy.  If you could hear him. He is singing so loud and thinks no one hears him.  But boy oh boy do we all hear him.

Anyway! That night was very very cold. Friday morning, I work up feeling a little cold coming on, but nothing to worry about.  We returned to Renca where I packed my bags again and went to another centrico sector.  I started to feel a little bit lousier and lousier.  As we walked and worked quickly, all of my average daily back and hip and leg pains started getting more and more excruciating. And then we were teaching a lesson and I had to stop in the middle because I nearly passed out.   So we went home for the lunch hour and I got back up to work.  But oh my.  It was terrible.  We came back around 7 and I just collapsed onto the floor in the fetal position and hoped I could die right there.  It would have been so much easier.  Straight to the Celestial Kingdom.  But I didn`t die. And the next day, I got up to go back to Renca. That day I stayed with our branch president and his wife while my diligent companions kept up the work.  Sunday,  I woke up unwell, but had to go to church.   Obviously. So I decided that after church I would rest. 

PAUSE: This drunk guy.  Seriously.  You would not believe him.

I needed to make up for my lost days of conctacts because we have to be examples.  So we went out and worked.  And you know what? There I was, contacting on the street when I suddenly saw a woman walking her baby in a stroller.  She was a little far away.  So I kept walking.  But something said,"Stop.  Turn around.  Talk to her."  So I chased that poor lady down thinking she was going to be terrified of me because I ran up like a crazy person and you know what she said?
"Right now, my husband is coming home (and he passed by right then going home), but I want to invite you girls to my house.  I have a friend who is in your religion and she has such a special spiritual peace. And I have had some problems lately and I want to have the spiritual peace that she has.  And so I told her to send her missionaries to my house because I didn`t know how to find them.  I know that you will be able to help me.  Could you come over this week?"
 Being diligent is the best.
 Being a member missionary and an example of the believers and inviting nonmembers into your temple-like home is even better.  Hats off to that sweet sister who has preserved her spiritual peace despite the difficulties of the world and has been an example to her friend who, rest assured, will soon be baptized.
 I worked all the rest of that day.  Imagine if I had given in to my body`s desires to rest!  HA!  I`d rather rest when I`m dead.
 I love you all and I am SO NOT TRUNKY.  If anything, I`m considering extending.  Let the party go on.

Sister Thomas

July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014
Well, due to having written various personal longer letters, again this one will be relatively short.  First off,
RODRIGO CORTEZ SE BAUTIZOOOOO!!!  He´s from Santa Maria.  Do you know what that means?  In every sector I´ve been in, at least one of my investigators has been baptized.  It´s exciting.  And what´s more, Sister Alonso recently showed me a foto of four young, missionary-aged men that we had worked to activate in suits and ties at church.  That is "building up the church" as the brethren have instructed us.  Baptizing and reactivating missionary-aged,  priesthood-holding candidates, that can go on and build up the church more.  It´s an exciting time and the obra se esta apresurando.
I ate Peruvian food this week in a restuarant that had english translations (I´m guessing from google).  Papas fritas is french fries.  The translation?  Dad´s fried.  Hahahaha we died laughing.
Our third companion, Sister Adamson came back!  Party!
Our new President and his wife are AWESOME.   SERIOUSLY.  They are so cool.  They are already making a whole lot of changes.  Some are questionable, some we´re all excited about.  But it´s a good new start.  Should be fun to see them shine.  They are from the south of Chile, Puerto Mont I think.  It´s probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. 
I need a little bit of help with Sister Arroyo.  Could you please find out when she needs to turn all her stuff in, have tests taken, etc. in order to make it into winter?  I personally think it would be better that she applied to spring.  Also, if you could find out all information possible about the ELC.  How to apply, get in, how much it costs, etc. 
I´m glad to hear that you are all doing well.  It´s an exciting time in our lives dear family!  We are truly working to bring the world His truth!

AND….SOMEONE FOUND MY CAMERA!!!  I´ll get it this Wednesday and try to make up for all my lost picture time.

Questions and Answers

June 30, 2014
For my letter this week I will respond to the questions you asked me because I have VERY limited time.
 Today we moved houses because the dueños are coming back to live there.  It was a long processs, but it´s all finished now!  I have a lot of respect for you parents having moved all of us several times.  I officially solemnly swear to never buy a big house.  Ever.
 Our Average Day?
9-12 Study
12-2 Street Contacting
2-3 Lunch
3-10 Street Contacting and appointments.  We try our best to never knock doors.
 Companion?
THE BEST OF THE BEST.  Sister Adamson left this week, which was sad, but she was needed elsewhere.  But it´s fine because Sister Ibarra and I get along so great and work really well together. 
Favorite food?  Least favorite food?
Favorite food is pastel de choclo.  You can only get it in the summer when they grow corn. People don´t use canned stuff.
Least favorite food is blood sausage.  It tastes alright, but just knowing that it´s bllood...
 What are some common foods people serve you?
casuela, carbonada, charkikan, chicken with rice
 Who are you teaching these days?
We have two yes or yes baptisms for July - Maria Pinto and Ricardo Ahumada.  They´re THE BEST. Seriously.  So prepared.  And so pumped to be baptized.
 What kind of service are you doing?
Apart from serving the Lord all day everyday?  Last week we painted a fence.  We have very few scheduled service projects because it´s a rich area and the people look bad if they ask us to help instead of contracting someone. But we are always contacting the people carrying groceries and whatnot to help them.
 How is your new mission president?
Ummm... not sure. Don´t know him yet. Tomorrow we should meet him I think. Just know that there was a minor crisis yesterday and our third companion had to leave us.
 Were you sad when Pres. Essig left?
Devastated.  Like you can´t even imagine. But I´m sure the new President and his wife will also work wonders.
I have to go.
 Love you all,
 Sister Thomas

June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

Today´s  letter will be very random.
 This week we finally got the Conference Liahona!  There is a picture of the HR Stake center!  REPRESENT!
 It´s fun here in Renca.  Sometimes I contact people and they remember me from a year ago.  It´s awesome.
 I met some Venezuelans the other day here on vacation.  It´s scary.  There´s no more food in their country.
 I have "Chimpanzee ridin’ on a segway" stuck in my head.  Now you do too.
 Yesterday at church, nobody really was there when it was supposed to start.  I was playing prelude.  I prayed that some more priesthood holders at least would get there and began to play "Venid los que teneis de Dios el Sacerdocio" (is that a song in English?) and the chapel, within minutes, was full.
 The new President and his wife come this Friday.  It´s pretty bitter-sweet.  But it´ll be neat to have a new, Chilean perspective.  But I sort of fell in love with President and Sister Essig.
 I have decided that two more months is simply not enough.  I will be staying until September 23rd.  How in the world could I possibly cut the best thing that has ever happened a month short when God permitted me to come here?  Ni loca would I cut it.  And HE doesn´t want me to either.    So, if President Videla by chance asks me to extend, I will.  But I doubt it. I assume that I will be home the 23rd.  With that being said, if it is possible, please make me doctor appointments including physical therapy sessions and chiropractor sessions.   Not that I´m having problems, just that, as Elder Holland once said, I very well may come home on a stretcher.
 I´m guessing you already know, but Chile beat Spain.  It was a REALLY BIG DEAL.  Like you can´t even imagine how big of a deal that was.  And today they play Orlanda.  We´ll be spending our p-day in the house.  Fun.
 Sister Duffy, the new mission nurse is in my sister group!  Cool right?  She´s a nurse.  And a missionary. And she´s awesome.
 I´m livin’ the dream.
Sister Thomas

RENCA AND THE WORLD CUP!

June 16, 2014

You´ll never believe where I am!  
I actually stayed in RENCA!!!!!!!!!!!!  And not just that.  WE STAYED TOGETHER!!!  You cannot possibly imagine how pumped we were.  How pumped we are.  And not just that.  We´re in a trio with an awesome sister named Sister Adamson.  She has like 7  months in the mission and is a rockstar.  This change is going to be another dream team time.  I´m so excited!  Presidente is so inspired.  Every change that happened was just... so inspired!  We will continue as leaders and the Sister Adamson is here  to maintain order and learn and prepare to be a leader.  I will continue doing the intercambios - this time all my sectors are in the centro centro, so it should be fun!
Can you even believe that we stayed together here?  Here´s the unfortunate part.  Two weeks ago, the owners of our house asked for it back and gave us 30 days to find a house. Here´s the thing.  There are NO HOUSES FOR RENT IN RENCA.  So in two weeks we will be left homeless.  Darn.  I´m guessing we will live near the office that is like an hour commute each way.  We are praying hard to find something, anything where we can live.  We have found some options but they are in sectors where they have gun fights every night.  It´s hardly ideal.
The World Cup has been pretty darn exciting around here!  Every time there is a Chile game we go home to plan and study, but don´t think we miss the game, oh no.  The drunk neighbors let us know all about it as they scream there chants and run out on the streets and fill the air with barbeque smoke and blow their horns and bang their drums and explode fireworks (or were those guns?... still not sure.)  But boy do they know how to throw a party around here. Vi-vi-vi ve-ve-ve viva Chile!
This week, a seventy came to visiit.  His name is Elder Robbins.  And he is the bomb.  When I heard he was coming I printed out one of his talks  - https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/what-manner-of-men-and-women-ought-ye-to-be?lang=eng#watch=video - and studied it.  RIght after I learned my lesson about being instead of just doing as I recently shared with you. He held a question and answer session, and to one of the questions, he answered basically with that very talk. I was so excited!  It was all very inspired.  I think my favorite part was where we talked about 1 Nephi 3:7.  Possibly the best known scripture of the Book of Mormon apart from the first verse of that same book.  He explained the reasoning behind it.  How it was that Nephi was prepared in such a moment to respond in that way.  If we turn back to the anterior chapter, we find the following verse.
 16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that did believe all the words which had been spoken by my fatherwherefore, did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
He had worked hard to gain a testimony and build his firm foundation so that when tough times came he didn´t even think twice.  He simply went and did.
I like that.
Also, I went to the doctor this week because I´ve got some... issues.  My back isn´t really... working.  It´s cold right, so I have to wear a scarf and a jacket, right?  But those things weigh a lot (or rather, they hardly weigh anything but it feels like a whole lot of weight).  So that´s not normal.  The doctor is not willing to do anything big while I´m here because, what´s the point?  I´m on some serious drugs.  Strong stuff.  And I feel good!  But he mentioned some things that I may have.  I'll have to get it checked out when I get home.   But I do know that it´s worse than your typical "I´m a missionary and my back hurts cause I´m stressed."  But don´t freak out.  I feel good now!  I just wanted to keep you updated so maybe I can have a good doctor visit when I get home.
Anyway.  I´m so happy.  Couldn´t be happier.  There is nowhere else in the whole wide world that I would rather be.
With much love,
Sister Thomas