New Year, New Changes

Well, first off, it was SO good to see you all and talk on Skype!! Sorry I cried like a baby, but I think you all expected that. Christmas was wonderful, and talking to you was the highlight. We all recieved lots of fun gifts from Santa and I’m grateful for all you sent me too. LOVE IT ALL!!!

This week was pretty crazy, with Christmas and all, so the work was a little different than normal. Then on top of that, we had transfers TODAY because with it being New Years, they wanted to do it before.
So…..I’m still in Paine. Ha ha ha. Yep, its the truth. I’m really happy to still be here, I love it. BUT there are a LOT of changes, in our zone and the mission in general. Hermana Ruiz is going to Manzenal por Rancagua. 😦 I cried saying goodbye to her at the train. She has been an AWESOME companion and I learned so much from her. She’s pretty serious, but she also has a silly side that is so fun. 🙂 And here with me came Hermana Silva de BRAZIL. She trained Hna Wilson, my friend from the CCM. We havent had a chance to get to know eachother really well yet, but she seems really nice and I hear shes a great missionary. But wait, it gets crazier. The two other Hnas are going to Rancagua as well to whitewash an area TOGETHER. Yep, still comps, in a new sector. And the most crazy – they arent bringing any other hnas here this transfer. So its just us two in the house! Thats gonna be really hard for me to get used to, not gonna lie. Elder Angel is going to Rancagua, las Nieves. Ha. And Elder Horsley is still here with Elder Campos, from Chile I think.
Packing was the worst and I hated saying goodbye. I was really strong until this morning, and then I just felt so sad. I loved the hermanas here and its gonna be crazy for awhile. Especially now that I have to lead the sector…ahhhhh. I’m gonna need your prayers!!
Overall though, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect over this year and how it has changed my life. 2013 was absolutely the HARDEST year of my life, but probably the best also. I have learned and grown SO much, and we’ve grown a lot as a family too. We’ve all had our challenges, but Heavenly Father has given us so many blessings too. I know I have a lot more to learn too, so this next year is gonna be awesome as well.
Love you all, be safe and happy. Feliz Nuevo Año! 2014!!!!
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Feliz Navidad!

This is gonna be a little rapido, because I get to talk to you Wed!!

Mon- We taught families!! Carlos and Ian (father and son) are investigators, Carmen and Marcos (mom investigator, son recent convert), Ana and Scarlett (originally taught by Amy Cluff), and Guillermina, Maritza, and Patty (recent converts – patty is 9 and she LOVES me).
Tuesday was my 5 month cumpleaños! Loco!! We also had an AMAZING noche de hogar (Home Evening) with an active family and 3 less active families. We had a cool message, they became friends, and we played the write to 100 game where you steal the pen…they loved it. And I got 2nd place. Javier stole it from me at 99…not joking. Ha ha.
Wed I had divisiones with Hna Davis, another gringa!! We contacted a lot of really wonderful people and its always amazing to see how other hnas work, teach, and they always have lots of wisdom to share with me. 🙂 We also had a music class that night and our investigator Carlos came! Thats a HUGE deal because hes in a wheelchair, so that means he can come to church!! Woo!
Thurs  was super special because…they replace our shower head!! We’ve been living with a hose for the past few weeks. And now the water pressure is right, the water heater works right…I’ve gotten so used to come things I didnt think I would be able to….so they are the biggest blessings! Also, we met with some menos activos (less actives) that haven’t been to church in a long time, but their testiomies are still strong and they remember a lot!
Friday we spent finishing finding people from our list of menos activos so we walked a lot. I’m getting to be a really good walker. 🙂 We also had a special noche de hogar as a rama (branch family home evening) ….musical numbers, short messages, food… and they gave us missionaries a bag of goodies. We are definitely being taken care of here! No worries!!
Sat we had a lunch with the sweetest hna. She lives on the edge of the sector, so people don’t visit her a lot. Normally after lunches we take turns sharing a scripture, but I got the thought to ask if we could sing. It was kinda random, but it turned out to be really special and she loved it. And she sent us home with pan de pascua (fruitcake…yum)
Sun…..I GAVE A TALK. Say wha?? Hna Rosario is a member that helps our companionship a TON, especially by coming with us to lessons. She was assigned to give the talk, but mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to. I offered to do it for her, to help, but never  heard from anyone officially. Sat when we met with the Elders, they told me that the branch was planning on me speaking. So sunday morning I whipped something together really quick. It was on keeping the sabbath day holy, but I mixed some general christmas spirit in there too. 🙂 The funny part was that the President de la Rama, Pres Frederickson came up to me before the mtg started ( I was at the piano) and said, Usted tiene un mensaje, cierto (you have a talk, right?) ?   Si, I said. Then, he said, IN ENGLISH (he loves speaking english with us, he’s in his 30s) “But you know its in other language, right?” Ha ha. He’s a jokester.
Then today we had an awesome zone activity. We painted our faces, split up in teams of lamanitas and nefitas (lamanites and nephites), and had a water fight. In the words of Elder Horsely “This is as close to a snowball fight as it gets”. We got DRENCHED…but it was so fun. Also ate chicken nugget sandwiches.
A great week and an even greater one to come!!
Love you all! Tenga uns Navidad muy feliz (have a very Merry Christmas)!!!

It’s Almost Christmas

Fun fun week.

Last monday we spent in Linderos and we played pool as a zone. I was terrible, ha ha, but Hna Ruiz ROCKED. Uh, secret talent much? So yeah, we won the one game we played. Ha. But it was way fun. Later that night we had a dinner with Javier and Celia because she left for Bolivia this week. Their kids are still in Bolivia with grandparents until they can save up to bring them here. But she really wanted to spend christmas with them, so now she’s gone. 😦 But we enjoyed a fun bolivian dinner together.
Tuesday we had something awesome happen: almost all our plans went exactly as planned! Ha. No, it was just cool because we got to visit alot of people (they were home!) in a short amount of time. Keeping busy is the best!
Wed – Well, I just want to say that I have a testimony now of planning. In the CCM when they said planning was spiritual, I thought that was so weird. But really, I know it is now. Sometimes we are in an area for a certain reason, or to meet certain people. And even if they don’t become progressing investigators with us, it could open people up for missionaries in the future. We had an experience with one lady who let us in because she had a good experience with missionaries earlier. Super cool! Also, that night we taught our first music class! The branch and lots of people we visit have wanted to learn to play piano, sing, etc, so I think its gonna be really successful.
Thurs= HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! It was really weird not being able to tell you in person, and especially not to be able to see you, but we saw some really cool things this day, so I think it was like a special birthday miracle. 🙂 We invited Carmen to be baptized. She didnt REFUSE, which was kinda a big deal. She is really catholic and has made it clear that she has already been baptized. It was funny though, because when I invited her, I was a little nervous, it came out kinda shaky. But she felt something because she got all hot, asked her son to bring water, and started fanning herself. Hna Ruiz said later that it was the “dos nerviosas”. Ha ha ha. Also, Carlos and Ian have been reading and praying!! Carlos believes Joseph Smith was a prophet and said that he is happy! Which obviously makes us happy too. 🙂
Friday was lots o walkin. We are finishing verifying the list of menos activos and that meant lots of time in the streets, far far away. Sore feet, but worth it.
Saturday was SUPER fun. We had our Christmas activity! We joined a Tupahue zone in Rancagua. We had a spiritual portion with musical numbers (I played the piano for accompaniment), mormon messages (the Pres Eyring one Dad!!), and a talk from Pres Warne. Then we had time for DEPORTES. We played futbol, dodgeball, waterballoon toss, and ULTIMATE FRISBEE. I can’t even explain how fun it was. And it was nice to be able to zone out a bit and just have fun. Then they fed the most gringo lunch I’ve had here: (and it was amazing)- grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, salad, pan, and frosted brownies with candy cane. A fun fun day in Rancagua, and when we headed home, the other Hnas had a baptism!

 

The only other thing I have to say is that today I MADE BAKKELS. WOOHOO!!

 

Love you guys so much and miss you, especially this time of year. But I know that really, I’m sharing a gift with people that has blessed me SO much and its the small sacrifice I can give. 

Best Miracle (week of miracles continued)

Then Saturday was one of the best days of my mission, if not my LIFE. For reals, I’ve waited so long for this day and we have put in a ton of work.
CELIA WAS BAPTIZED!!
Sister Ruiz, Javier, Celia, Sister Clawson

Sister Ruiz, Javier, Celia, Sister Clawson

We decorated the chapel/multipurpose room in the morning, then filled the font, that whole deal, pictures….and then the actual baptism! She was SO happy and Javier too. She had a hard time expressing her emotions when she bore her testimony, but you can just FEEL her faith. Its incredible – especially about the Book of Mormon. She’s a faithful reader!! After the baptismal service, we had a quick intermission…then their wedding reception!
Javier and Celia's Reception

Javier and Celia’s Reception

Two big events in one night, so I was exhausted afterwards, but so worth it. We had special musical numbers, they had some time to share their feelings, (during that, Javier grabbed Celia’s hand…I started to tear up. I look at Hna Ruiz and she is too, but she just said, “strong!” strong!” – Yes, in english. Ha ha.) and then they cut the cake, toasts (with ginger ale)  and lots of other goodies. It was a GOOD night, spent with people that I love like none other.
And that was my week. Seriously, before the mission, I didn`t understand what miracles were. But Heavenly Father has a plan for all of his children. I have a testimony that sometimes when our plans don’t happen the way we want, sometimes (or all of the time) its for the better, because He has the perfect perspective!!

Week of Miracles

Seriously, it rocked. And its gonna be long, so hold your horses.

Monday I made french toast and more almond syrup. AMAZING. All the hnas thought I was crazy though, putting my bread in some egg milk stuff and then putting it in a pan…. ha ha ha. We had a TON of flies in our house that day too, so it was an adventure. They are nuts this time of year, pretty much in every house. But the coolest thing was that we visited Carlos and Ian, who investigated the church before. Carlos said that since the missionaries have visited him 3 or so times now, maybe this is the right path. 🙂 And he accepted a date for baptism if he feels its right! Woohoo! That night we also watched the John Tanner movie with Javier and Celia – They LOVED it. And they thought it was cool that we are ancestors. I joked with them, “Sí, y no me falta pan.” (Yes, and I’m not lacking bread).  Probably my best joke in spanish so far. Because seriously, I eat so much bread. Ha ha ha.
Tuesday we had a way cool experience with Carmen, the mom of one of our recent converts. First off, we had left her with the plan of salvation pamphlet to read, and this week a family member passed away. She even said how “interesting” it was, the timing of everything. So she and her daughter (who has never been interested before) had a lot of questions and found a lot of comfort in what we shared. 🙂
We’re gonna skip to Thurs. WE HAD A WEDDING. Yep, Celia and Javier finally tied the knot! We went to the registro civil in the morning, a simple ceremony, and boom. Married! We walked down the street afterwards and Javier bought us all some sodas. When he invited anyone to say a few words, I just lifted up my bottle and said “salud!”. We all just laughed and had a good few minutes together. Love them!
Afterwards, we headed to Buin to do divisiones. Hna Welch came back to Paine with me and we had a gringa party! First time I’ve done splits with someone who speaks english. It rocked! She’s from Utah too and is SO nice. I learned a TON from her, in just one day. Plus, we had an amazing day. We had Celia’s baptismal interview and it was a bit stressful for me because….she wasn’t home! I was calling errbody, nothing was happening, I knew the Elders were on their way. But we said a prayer, headed out to the street to wait…and they pulled up in a taxi. Phew. It was crazy, but worked out, thanks to some help from los cielos.
Later, we were just contacting a few houses…and we found a family! We shared the restoration really briefly and they said ok to having us back! Hna Welch is really good at just conversing with people and opening them up. We discussed a few ways (a little sneaky) to get people talking so that we can eventually teach them. Some of the things I like to do include asking for directions, asking for help prounouncing something (verdulería…they loved that one), and most of all: COMPLIMENT THEIR COUNTRY. It gets em talking like none other. They tell you all the cool places you have to go too. This worked really well for us when we were talking to a future investigator we wanted to follow up with and she had all her neighbors over. We just conversed about our missions, Chile, and eventually some principles of the gospel. Awesome. The last contact of the night was special too. We called the house, and a man walks out, “digame”. We asked his name, but was reluctant to share. We started talking about his family and how the gospel truly blesses families and eventually he said, “me parece bien”. And gave his name when we asked again. 🙂 Overall, a way fun and interesting day with Hna Welch. We worked really well together, and she is tall too! Probably a strange sight, but fun.
Friday we spent in the Trilla, so LOTS of walking again. I just tried to keep a conversation going, so we ended up having lots of fun. Hna Ruiz found a stick shaped like a gun, so we had lots of fun with that. I also the “Pioneer children sang as they walked” song…. Yep. Ha ha. Then for two miracles. One, our plans fell through for a bit, so we were just walking down a street, didnt know what we were going to do. I look at this house and seriously, I just stopped and went to call. This woman walks out and asked what we wanted. I said that we were missionaries, she looked at us, and said, “pasen”. Hna Ruiz and I just gave eachother this crazy look, like, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” We got in the house, and she asked if we were mormons. Turns out, her family was baptized years ago, but she wasnt 8 yet. We have plans to visit her again and hopefully we can teach her family too, she has kids of her own now! Later, Hna Ruiz told me that she was grateful that I listened to the spirit, she had passed that house plenty of times and never thought to stop. Later, she did the same thing in a different neighborhood, where we didnt even have to say much, they just were like, “come in! come in!” Why can’t every house be like that! ha ha. We gave eachother the crazy look and got to know this teenager and her mom. They said that they see us in the streets all the time, walking, and invited us to their house whenever. VERY friendly. And the teen wants to learn english (and LOVES Elder Archuleta), so overall, really fun amazing visit.

Birthday and Thanksgiving in Chile

First off, I got the birthday card!! I actually got it about a week and a half ago, but I waited to open it til the special day. 🙂 Thanks so much for the foto and recipes too,  AMAZING! Hna Ruiz made me pancakes, I made almond syrup (I found extract! ha ha), and they gave me a super yummy cake FULL of trick candles. Took awhile to blow out. I haven’t gotten the package yet, but its all good. Honestly, the card made my day, so I can be patient. 🙂 The rest of my day we spent contacting….which was interesting. Guys, I’m getting bold, and it kinda freaks me out. Its so cool how the spirit works too. On one street in the evening I had the thought to ask the people we were going to contact for references, or if they knew anyone we could serve. We were at one house and I did that. She asked us if we were looking for work, “No, we are just here to serve people here if they need help”. “Gratis?” At first she didn’t seem interested AT ALL in listening to us, but once we explained that we just wanted to help people, she was will to just talk to us and find out more. She couldn’t believe that people actually do that! Ha ha. Also, we ended the night with english class and the elders taught our one trusty student Vicente how to sing Happy Birthday, so they sang when I walked in. Kinda made my life. 🙂 No, but really, I had a very happy birthday, so thank you all very much!

 
Now lets go to the rest of the week.
Tuesday I spent the morning with Hna Zelaya again. Love her. We are pretty tight now. We talked alot about Bolivia, so it sounds like I really need to visit. Sounds good to me!
 
Wed we had a zone meeting and afterwards they had a cake for my birthday, sang, and also, one elder made hamburgers to share with everyone! Also, a random side note: One of our recent converts Marcos was wearing a shirt from BURGER STOP. Said Layton, Utah on it and everything. I freaked out of the inside, but only a little bit on the outside. 😉
 
Thurs= HAPPY THANKSGIVING! They don’t celebrate it here, but that didn’t stop me. I was a little bummed at first, because we had to spend the morning in Santiago again for MY carnet, but then…. I learned that I would spend it WITH MY FRIENDS FROM THE CCM!! Yep, I saw my comp, Hna Fast, Hna Wilson, Hna Bokovoy, all the Elders…It was AMAZING. And we all had to go to the same places and wait in huge lines, so we did a lot of talking and catching up. Life long friends FOR SURE. Some of us ate at this restaurant, get this” Arabian and Venezuelan. It was yummy. And the owner spoke english, so it was just a way crazy experience.
Thanksgiving Dinner
Then in the evening I bought a pollo asado (roasted chicken), some veggies, and a pineapple cake, and made some mashed potatoes and we enjoyed a thanksgiving feast. I’m not gonna lie, it was beautiful and I loved it. I also explained the tradition of saying one thing you are grateful for, so we went around and did that in our house. And yes, I had seconds, and yes I had leftovers. (I even shared some leftovers with the elders, cause they didn’t have much of a thanksgiving). Your guys’ thanksgiving sounds crazy too, in Chuck A Rama? But sounds delish. It was an awesome day.
 
Friday we spent in this place called La Trilla. We had to walk these dirt roads and my feet were DIRTY. But the houses out there were really nice, huge, and had pools. Yeah, we didn’t find new people, just menos activos. 🙂
 
Then skipping to Sunday, we had a Christmas devotional in Buin! The whole district was invited and it was a big deal. I played for the branch choir, and all went really well, they sounded great! Also, there was a choir of kids, and get this… ELDER ARCHULETA SANG. Yep, totes saw him. It was a way cool night, and a great start to DECEMBER! Yep, you can all celebrate now!! I am, that’s for sure.
 
Anyways, a great, great week. I love you all and thank you again for everything!! Til next week!