It's fun to hear from y'all and all of the new details of your lives. I am SO SO SO SO SO HAPPY for Evan!!!!!!! I cried when I read that. I am sending him all my love from Río Bueno, Chile, and I would love to email or write him! (Email is easier, I have approximately zero time to write letters.) I am also so happy that Abby has physics with Mr. Marr. The best ever. Thank you for the quotes you sent this week. I always feel like you have mother-daughter telepathy or something because each time the quotes are literally exactly what I needed to read. My favorite today was "See the good in yourself." I need to write that really big on a piece of paper and see it every morning. It is incredible how many people the Lord has placed in my path to love me throughout this mission...here in Chile and from the United States in emails or cards. If so many people can see the good in me, I need to be better at seeing the good in myself. I would love it if y'all would send questions! I've been here for long enough that I've gotten pretty accustomed to things and I don't always know what to share! I always want to tell about my spiritual experiences, studies, investigators, companions, etc, or the hard things or the really cool things. So I forget to talk about the other things. I need to take a picture of our house to send to you! Our house is kind of famous between some of the senior missionaries and some of the sisters. It is the Barbie house. It is a tiny, cute little white house. I love it! It will be sad to leave it! Yes, it rains a ton here. It rains pretty much every day. But it normally doesn't rain all day. It'll rain kind of hard for a few minutes, then the sun comes out for a while, then it rains again. I basically live in rain boots. So it is cold and wet. But the rain honestly doesn't get to me much. We have a lot of people to visit...less actives, investigators, contacts, members, etc, so we are usually not outside all day. Some days are hard because we are out in the rain all day and when it rains all day, people don't want to let us in or talk to us in the street. But I try not to let it get me down. I think that it gets me down subconsciously though, because when we have really nice, sunny days, I suddenly feel really happy without a real explanation. haha. Last week my boots completely died, so I went to the store that is basically like Goodwill and bought two new pairs, one for nice on Sundays or meetings and one more like snowboots because they are really warm. I also left my umbrella on the bus the other day and bought the third one that I have bought in Chile today. Pretty much everything is humid and that makes everything smell weird, but I know that winter is ending. We are starting to see pretty little yellow and pink flowers on some of the trees, and we have had a few sunny days in the past couple weeks! It is still cold, though. I wear one pair of fleece lined tights with another heavy pair every day, and I use the long-sleeved black or white T-shirts under everything. Our rain jackets and skirts are my best friends. They are ugly, yes. But they keep the rest of my clothes dry!
Having a new companion here is fun. She wants to take pictures of everything. Here is me with a statue of a legendary Indian from the Mapuche tribe named Caupolican, and me at the river.
Today in the morning it was somewhat sunny and Hermana Ball wanted pictures with the Río Bueno, so we went and took pictures! It has been fun to have a companion who hasn't been in Río Bueno before because it helps me to see everything new again and I remember just how much I love Río Bueno. I know that one of these days I will have to leave, and thinking about it makes me sad! At first I was worried because I felt kind of like I didn't know where else to look for new investigators. But the Lord never said that there was a relationship with the amount of time and the new investigators that one missionary can find. With fasting, prayer, diligence, and faith, we found four new investigators this week! It was so special. One of the new investigators came from one of my favorite missionary miracles yet. One day we visited a less active lady and her family. It was really hard to invite the Spirit in their home, and we just felt like they really weren't interested. We decided that we wouldn't go back. But later on in the day, we realized that I left my pretty pink scarf in their house. NOOOO! So, Hermana Ball said to me, "Maybe this is a sign. Someone in that house is ready for this message." I thought at the same time, "Pssh, yeah. But really? Could it be?" So we planned to go back and a couple days later we went by to visit. One of the less active's granddaughters was there in the house, and she told us that she was looking for a religion. She is 11, and she had been in the house other times when I visited and always called my attention by her goodness and purity in her eyes. She loved the story of Joseph Smith and really identified with him. She told us that she wanted to pray like he did. And it was also cool because Hermana Ball and I had just been practicing saying the First Vision memorized, and when she shared it in the lesson, she totally NAILED it! I could not have been happier. It makes me think of Alma 37:6, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." ow 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. We went to visit because of a scarf.
Here is us at the river and a picture with the pretty yellow flowers that are starting to spring up by the river
(and lots of wind! Note the hair and the flipped over missionary name tag! haha)
This week we also had two of our investigators come to church! We have been inviting them for months and they came! It was GREAT! The branch presidency asked me to give a talk in church yesterday, and we have the meetings inverted (sacrament last). So they asked me right before Sunday school, and I was kind of wigging out in my mind thinking of what I could say in my talk. I am also playing the piano in sacrament meeting now, so I was up on the stand when I saw them sitting on the bench next to my companion! They loved the meeting and they looked so happy. Their names are H and F.
I titled this week's email "diligencia" because Hermana Ball and I studied and really applied diligence this week. There is a scripture about diligence that I love in Moroni 9:6: And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. He talks about how there is a work for us to do while we are in this tabernacle of clay, and we should do it with diligence! Every day is a gift, and the Lord always puts people in our path for us to serve. As we do it with diligence, He blesses us with joy. Diligence is hard. Sometimes we get tired. But as we pray, the Lord gives us the spirit and the strength to keep on and we are blessed so much!
It was funny to hear you talk about iPhones. Everything here in terms of technology is really behind. Super behind. There are lots of people who don't even have computers in their homes. Hardly anyone has smart phones. So I didn't know about the colored iPhones. But that's cool! The other little thing...We can't receive visits from people from other areas and we also can't receive email from anyone who lives within our mission limits. So...we have to be careful with investigators from our old areas.
I love you all so much! I hope that the beginning of school treats you well, and please, please go to the temple and think of me! :) I miss the temple every day and I can't wait to go again. (about the temple in Santiago, I'm not sure if I'll get to go or not.)
Gigantic hugs from Río Bueno, Hermana Latham