Monday, October 19, 2015

Experiencing so much joy!

A selfie after a teaching appointment. 
Julie and Hannah sent me those earrings this week.

19 October 2015

Dear Family,

I finished reading Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard this morning. He wrote, "Many of our missionaries begin their missions thinking they are going to repay Heavenly Father for His goodness toward them by serving Him for 18 months or two years. But before long they learn an important eternal truth: you can never do more for the Lord than He can do for you." How true that statement is. I am experiencing so much joy. I am seeing all of the goals I set for the mission being accomplished and all of the promises the Lord made me through His servants being fulfilled. Perhaps I will write more about those goals later but I want to tell you about my week.

We thought that a new member didn't go to church last Sunday. His wife has been out of town and promised to attend church there but he was going to attend in Los Mares. We were disappointed and worried when he didn't show up but it turns out that even though he went to visit in-laws he made an effort and found a chapel in another sector. He took a picture to prove it and recorded his testimony on his phone when he shared it in their sacrament meeting. He talked to the bishop there, too. What an incredible convert. There was a confirmation in their ward that Sunday and I can't help but think what a good example he is for that new convert, attending church even when out of town because he wanted to renew his covenants.

The new young woman we are teaching is beyond amazing. On Tuesday in exchanges I taught her with Hermana Uribe, from Ica, Peru. We taught Lesson 1 and invited her to pray and ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She said she already did, that she has been praying through this whole process and that she already believes. She also read the Book of Mormon we gave her last time. She had asked how one reads the Book of Mormon and I responded that it's good to start from the beginning to get the context of the stories but that she could also read by topic using the GEE. (I love the Spanish index because it has definitions like True to the Faith. It's different than the English index.) She had looked up topics like prayer and marked lots of verses she liked and she shared Alma 37:37 with us. Her copy is full of colorful Post-it tabs and it is obvious how much she is treasuring up the word of God.

She invited her family to her baptism next Sunday. They aren't as supportive as she would like but it sounds like her parents will go. She isn't sure about her brother. When things get tough at home she reads the scriptures. 

She came to church again and got to know Cata Roman. Cata knows how to include someone and make them feel comfortable and not pressured because she was inactive when I arrived in the ward but comes from a really active family. She didn't see the need for the church but always told her family that when she came back it would be for good and she would be strong. It's true. She is amazing. She even came to the Gospel Principles class and sat with our investigator in Relief Society. She was friendly and invited her to the YSA family home evening. I'm learning how to be a member missionary while observing here. It's simpler than we often think. Sit by someone. Invite them to come back. That's it! Sometimes that's all people need but when it doesn't happen it's so uncomfortable.

I'm also learning about leadership, delegating, and callings. I feel privileged to be a missionary and have the opportunity to see many wards and participate in ward councils. We're a little bit worried about this baptismal service coming up because we don't have a ward mission leader. Leo Roman, Cata's older brother, got married and moved out and we're still waiting for them to call someone, but in the meantime we found our new investigator and I don't think she's going to wait to be baptized. She's ready.

Yesterday we went to LuLu's house with her and taught Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. Basically we pulled out the pamphlets and she taught us. She already heard about these commandments and told us that she has already gone without tea for two days.

She found out yesterday that I am finishing the mission in four weeks. I told her and I hope she knows what a miracle she is in our lives and that I want to keep in touch with her forever. It's kind of fun to teach someone who is a peer. I feel like I already knew her. She's even studying something I'm interested in studying in college. We are learning over and over with her that coincidences absolutely don't exist. 

Some interesting things about Chile:
There are no rain gutters. I dread the rain because it all pools up in the street and has nowhere to go.
We ate lasagna with corn this week. Chile also has sandwiches and completos with corn. And corn pie. This country is really a VanCott place. No wonder so many of us are called here. Maybe Parley P. Pratt brought the corn to Chile or maybe he brought recipes back to his cousin John VanCott. Either way, Lauren and I are going to be making some pastel de choclo for Thanksgiving, right? Pastel de papas es mejor, pero hay que tener el choclo, ¿no?

Hermana Eva VanCott

Lunch with members
Just taking more photos of our not so interesting P-day. 
Here is some Chilean fast food we just ate. 
All Chilean fast food has the option of avocado instead of lettuce, 
empanadas instead of french fries (or both) 
and Chirimoya juice is always better than Sprite. 
But it's still just fast food...
Hey Lauren, does this photo bring back any good memories for you?
I think I wrote about a family who set an appointment with us 
but was really contentious. Their daughter made me this clay flower 
while her parents bashed our doctrine. What a sweetheart.

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