Monday, April 28, 2014

Dos Meses en la Misión? Que?!?!?!


Ahhhhhh I can not believe that in two weeks I will be able to see you guys on Skype!
 I have to warn you though that I am going to cry. I miss you guys choke!!! I miss saying choke! My spanish has improved little and little each day. But when I do get tired of speaking it I have to be honest that I just speak english to my companion even if she can not even understand me. Jajajaja.

This week was roughhhhhhh. But what week isn´t? So last pday I took a nap and had a pretty bad experience of not being able to wake up or move.......long story short, but I had a dream that a young boy ran in front of me and all of a sudden I just knew I had to wake up. So I did. When I woke up, my eyes were open, but then I felt like something was entering into my body.....and I could not move or speak. All I could hear was my companion outside of the door talking to someone and that I needed to call out for her. But I couldn´t. Then I fell asleep again because I was really tired, and well I woke up again. And the SAME THING HAPPENED again. I could feel something enter into my body! I am dead serious. I could not move or speak but my eyes were opened.....then I fell asleep. Woke up and the same thing. But after 10 minutes of trying to move, I finally was able to move. The whole time I was praying for whatever was inside of me to leave. My compañera finally came into the room and I told her what had happened. The next day I got a blessing from our zone leaders because well that night I barely slept..I am so much better but I still feel that the "evil spirits" that satan has are still attacking me because I am here doing something they do not want me to do. Just pray for my protección please...jajaja but really I am okay. Never again will that happen. I was told it can be common on the mission for satan to attack your dreams, but we do have the autoridad to send those spirits away in the name of our savior.
What else happened? So we have been teaching and teaching and have not have much success. So we made it a goal to be more specific in our prayers that we will be able to have fecha baptimals and people who are prepared for His word to find us or for us to find them. We had miracles because of that prayer. A young boy found us and has been really good at keeping commitments in his progression. He came to a baptismal service with us this saturday and so far he liked it. But then last night we found out of the possibilities of what may cause him to decide to change his mind about learning more, but we are praying hard that we will perform a miracle with him. We also have a young girl who we are teaching. She is so prepared to be baptized but her father makes it difficult for us to have her come to church and for us to teach her. Getting permission from her father is hard...but we KNOW that we can perform a miracle with her too. She came to the baptism with us too and she kept saying how beautiful it was to her. It made me SOOOO happy.
I was able to participate in lessons. Yes, I CAN TEACH. Well kind of. It is coming. Its the language barrier that keeps me from trying but when I do try, I can feel the spirit working through me. Last night we taught an investigator who needed to hear what I needed to say about how Perfect Love really Does Cast out Fear. I realized so much that because I have the perfect love from our savior with me, I have no reason to fear. She cried when we were teaching her. And when I said, "Como representantes de Jesucristo, le prometemos que Dios le bendicirá si usted guardará sus mandimientos y Él nos bendicirá con las cosas que necesitamos. Dios le ama mucho. Su amor es perfecto. Con eso amor, no necesitamos tener miedra." Ahhhhh it was so powerful. I love when those kinds of things happen.
Today we hiked up a mountain to see a waterfall. It was FREEZING cold. It was a water fall in Hawaii but the water below was like a huge puddle. The elders asked me how are the waterfalls are in Hawaii and I said that we can jump from the top to the bottom and that here we can too but if we do, we will die....they laughed so hard. Its freezing cold here in the mornings and nights that sometimes I can see the smoke from my breath.

Yesterday our lunch appointment with a miembro fell through last sunday. So.....we made sandwiches. We always make sure we have food in our house incase for these kinds of things. I told my compañera that I can make saimin with eggs and such. She was excited. jajajaja. I think I can cook. She thinks I can cook. But really all I make is spam and saimin.
que más?....oh mother! Happy Birthday!!! This saturday is your birthday and I wish I could be there with you all! Have a laie chop suey birthday please! For me! I miss the food at home soooooo much. I swear I crave everything all the time. Pandas, bbq, a real legit burger. But its all good. I showed my snacks to the elders once and they almost cried because its been so long since they ate chex mix and slim jims.

Gabriel, you letter made me cry so much. You have became a spiritual giant. I am so proud of you. Remember that you have something so special. You have the priesthood. You have the authority to act in the name of our savior. That is so sacred and precious. Something that will bring so many miracles and blessings to our family and future posteridad. I watched the elders perform the baptisms this past weekend and I was so happy to see that our gospel does have the proper authority to bring others unto Christ. As missionaries, we do have the power of God with us. We have the authority to promise blessings to our investigators even if it does seem crazy...for instance, if we were teaching a lesson about tithing we can promise that they will never lack food or things they need as long as they are faithful in paying a full tithing. We can promise them that God will take care of them because we are like Christ and God will take of them!
Yesterday many people nevah like sign up for feeding us hungry missionaries and one of the ladies said, "Do you want Jesus´s in your home! Do you wanna feed Jesus?". Jajajajajaja. For real though, please feed me. Everyone is losing weight here while I feel like I am always eating. I am ALWAYS hungry.
Entonces, I feel that this week has gone by so fast. Oh and the mountain trip! It was so UP UP UP UP. We are going again this week. We go every week. Lots of cows and goats. The photos that Elder Johnston has probably might be one of the areas that only elders go to. I am not sure. I have not seen him yet either. But I know I will! Oh and I always make butterflies out of paper origami. People love it. They will know me for the butterflies because I always pass them out and they will say "que Lindo!".
Well I just wanna bear my testimony.......muchisimos gracias por todos. Estoy tanta agradecida que podemos estar en Bolivia. Tenemos milagros por que Dios es con nosotros. Dios me dijo que yo puedo hacerlo...puedo ser misionera poderoso si yo hablo. Its all about opening your mouth. Por favor oren cada dia, cada noche. Oran por mi protección y que yo hablaré. I can not wait to hear from you next week. The following week I will get to see your smiling faces! and AHHH!!! You got a car! I want to drive! I miss driving! Thanks for getting fishes and saying that my fish decided to go to heaven. It makes death a lot less painful...but its all good. We have the gospel!!!!!

I love you all sooooo much! Please continue to "Come unto Christ". Mi objectivo como misionera es a invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo. We are all His children and He is depending on all of us to help build His kingdom on earth. Gabe, always remember your experience with the iron rod. The iron rod is the BOM, the teachings of the sweet day we will receive that hug from Jesus, our savior. I always read about the tree of life and imagine myself searching for it as I am holding onto the barro de hierro.
Be safe. Take care. Les amo mucho. Les quiero mucho. Tenga un buen semana!
Hasta luego!
Hermana Santeco

some photos are from one of the elders. but here is the chapel we go to, and our Zone!!!!!

Oh!!! one more thing I was also able to invite someone to be baptized for the first time and it was a real person! it wasnt just a fake investigator for practice. and he said yes! my first invitation to be baptized, he said yes!!!! :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

¡Feliz Pascua!

Since it was Easter, I missed you guys more than ever. Here they do not really do egg hunts and such, but I was lucky to be invited to a member´s house who had us search for eggs. A buscar huevos fue muy divertido! pero esta diferente sin mi familia. It was my companion's first time searching for eggs. But here are some photos of yesterday´s easter experience.
It is soooo funny how people mistaken me as a Latina. They would ask where I am from and then assume I am from Guatemala or something. I met this one sister last week and I said, "Hola, comó esta?" and she was like "Bien. Mucho gusto" Then she saw that I was speaking in English to one of the other sisters and she was like "usted sabe ingles?" (you know english?) and I said, "sí....yo hablo ingles". She said, "pero su español es perfecto!" on earth can you think my spanish is perfect from the simple frase of how are you in spanish? jajajajajajaja. I was flattered to be honest, but really my spanish is alright. It is improving a little more and more each day. But when days are long and my mind is shut off, I can not understand anything. Its funny how I can understand my companion, but when I talk with the people here, I can not understand them..she told me herself that she could not understand the people here the first time she came as well. It is normal to not understand....and that I am learning to accept. I am reminding myself that this is only my second or third week and that it is okay that I can not be completely fluent in the language. Its just like line by line and precept by precept. It takes time...lots of time and patience.

One night my companion and I were talking before bed and I was sharing with her about the story mom told me in Jack in the Box before I left Hawaii. The one that lolo shared with us. It so happens that my companion knows that story! She is the only person that I have met that knows it! The one about the two boys in the premortal existence! It made me so happy.
So we are going up a MOUNTAIN this THURSDAY. A MOUNTAIN. WALKING. No trufi to take us up......I am about to die (joking of course). The people that live up there speak quechua....entonces...we have a person to come with us and to translate for us. Its pretty cool! We walked past a woman a couple days ago and we asked how she was...then we realized she was speaking we were like okay..have a great day, we can not understand you sorry, chao! jajajaja.
I do not like PDAYS. It is trunky days for me. Homesickness suck, but the investigators that we teach make up all the difference. Yesterday our appointment with a member for lunch fell through, but thank goodness I have spam! I made spam for lunch with my companion and she loved it! It was just like home......I could have cried eating it. We also had eggs and bread, it was so ONO.
When we have extra time, my companion and I watch movies and eat icecream. Church movies of course. jajaja. I miss watching movies with you guys. But otherwise, we eat icecream everyday for "inspiración". Helado cada dia por inspiración" jajaja.

Many of the kids here ask me, "Usted es china?" Yes I am chinese....hahaha I was asked that three times yesterday. It was so precious. They would say, "Mira una china!" Look a chinese! Then they will tell me about the Korean dramas they love to watch.
We taught this guys this week and he is poco loco. He loves the bible. So much that he will not accept the Libro de Mormón. He will not look at it, read it, nor touch it. He would not even listen. He refuses to do anything with it. It is so sad. Teaching him was hard because he wanted to teach us more than we could teach him. He also went online and saw things about our church that were really bad and false. It broke my heart. But so it goes...
My companion and I were eating dinner one night and she totally scared me about McDonalds in Mexico. She told me that one guy in McDs was sitting by the statue of Ronald McDonald and said, "Siento cansado" and then the statue replies "Yo tambien"...and they caught it on camera! Ahhhhhh...that night she was laughing so hard at how I reacted. I am SOOOO GLAD there are not McDs here. I refuse to go to McDs with the Ronald Statue.

I taught about the tree of life to kids this week. It made me appreciate the Book of Mormon because it really contains the plan of salvation. Study that story! 1 Nefí 8,11,12. Study it as a family. You will love it.
I really felt the spirit when I realized that the gospel can really help you in your life. I look back and see how the church has raised me up to the person I am. Also you, too mom and dad. But those teachers, leaders, that we had in our youth, helped us and shaped us into the people we are.
We had an activity in one of the wards in our area and we were able to have a family to come, a family who are our investigators! It was a miracle.
We had training last week with all the missionaries in Cochabamba and they had all the greenies introduce themselves in front of everyone. When I did, presidente Dyer asked me to repeat where I was from three times....then everyone realized I said Hawaii...and they all yelled, Aloha. hahahaha.

We eat fry chicken and french fries everyday. I love really I do. Its meant to be...for me to be here. Its MEANT TO BE. God is so good to me and my stomach.

There are so many dogs here.....its like in one area where there are actually more cows and dogs than there are people. Every house here has at least 3 dogs. If not 3, probably 10.
I started a trend. Buttons on your watch. Hermana Hansen´s watch broke so she sewed a button on it too and showed it to me. Oh and I have an ugly tan on my feet....from my flats. apparently all the sisters get it. I am gonna have to tan my feet when I get home.

Thank you for sending me pictures of the silly things at home. It makes me laugh. I showed the others of the photo of me and Kayla at the beach. They laughed so hard and asked me "When did you go to the beach?" and I said "I dont remember"....but it so happens that I am wearing that exact shirt right now so I said "probably not too long ago." hahahahaha
I am going to be a pro-jay walker here. I miss order of laws when it comes to driving. I miss driving!
But anyways, that is my week. Yo quiero decirles que les amo mucho. Cada dia tenemos milagros porque Dios esta con nosotros siempre. Esta Iglesia es muy iglesia contiene la plenitud del Evangelio de Jesucristo...como el Libro de Mormón. I make two months this saturday....two months away from home!? It goes by so fast. Estoy muy agradecida que yo puedo servir mi salvador y mi Dios. El nos conoce perfectamente y personalmente. El nos quiere a sentir su amor por medio oraciones, su espíritu, estudio escritura y los convenios. Por favor oren siempre a nuestro padre celestial por ayuda y su espíritu. I think of you all often and well as my savior Jesus Christ.
I hope Jesse can go to Baptisms for the dead soon! That makes me so happy to know that you are all doing wonderful! And as for my dead fish...tofu.......its okay. I know he is in better hands. hahaha. but really though. Thank you for taking care of him.

I love you all soooooo much. Pray always as a family on your knees and also personally. Read the scriptures together! I promise you as a representative of Jesus Christ that He will pour upon you many blessings.
I love you.
Les amo mucho.
Until next time, hasta luego,
Hermana Santeco

this boy is adorable. his name is jeremy and he is 4 yrs old. his mom is our investigator.

Monday, April 14, 2014

its time to grow up

i still am in awe that i am in bolivia. its insane. but anyways, my companion is from ecuador. her name is hermana donoso. she is the sweetest person ever. i know i said that about all my companions but this time i really mean it. she is so patient with me. my first are is the linde 2 area. its on a hill. like really...a hill. i walk so much that i feel pretty tired at the end of the day but its a good tired. 
being here, i have witnessed so many different miracles everyday. my first day when we were looking through our binder of records of our investigators and such, i had a strong impression to tell my companion that we should go and see this person. so when we went, we happened to run into the person´s cousin!
we didnt have to look for him. god brought him to us. another miracle is about the cars we ride. its like a taxi but a van called a truffe. its so cheap....7 bs is about 1 dollar in the usa. its 1 bs the most a trip. but anyways, one night we were waiting for the truffe to come and we have been waiting for 20 minutes. it was really dark. so i turn to my companion and say podemos orar? can we pray? so we prayed and lo and behold the truffe comes down the hill towards us right after we have said amen. the same thing happened last night as well. 

the people here are so humble. we have been teaching kids who were recently baptized or who are our investigadores. most of them live in really rough conditions. one of the families we teach, the daughter who is 12 years old cooks for her brothers everyday. her mother left them, so they only have their father. another family has their mom only and their father is in jail. they are always hungry so i would bring snacks for them.

i was able to go to the temple last week and we will be going this wednesday. its really beautiful here. its really a culture shock for sure though. its funny because everyone i meet here thinks i can speak spanish but when they realize that i dont theyll ask me where i am from and then when i say i am from hawaii they start getting so excited. its a blessing to be from hawaii.
what spanish is getting better slowly. i can understand better each day because the people speak really slow here hahaha. but i still have to practice speaking the language. my ward is pretty awesome. its a lot of imformation to take in for my first week but i know that it will come. i am actually pretty patient here...its strange. its probably because i have been praying to be patient and its working. 

what i did learn is that i should never ignore a prompting from the spirit...and it brings miracles.
as for the large photo of me...bahahahahaha thats creepy. it brings me so much joy to hear about gabriel and jesse exercising the priesthood. its just such a joy to know that they hold it and use it to bless everyone.
mom, travel safe. dont get sick! i have gotten a little sick but my companion takes good care of me that i have gotten better quickly. its gets pretty cold at night. at least i am not in potosi haha.
in the ccm, they said if they get my letters, they forward it with the missionaries who are coming here. its okay. it will come when i need it most. i know it will. my faith has grown tremendously and continues to do so each day. i love being a missionary. more than i did in the ccm. the ccm made me more stressed but far so good. 
today i am going shopping with my companion to get our nails done and stuff...haha since its so cheap and its a nice treat. i also order legit scripture cases for 30 bucks us dollars. ill show you them next time. 

i love you guys so much. continue to pray for me please. i hope to hear from you soon. its almost may! i swear i am never homesick. but when i do email you guys i do get homesick just a tad bit. being here makes me realize that i really need to grow up and be independent with finding a way around here and taking responsibility of my own choices. i keep telling myself its time to grow up rissy. haha
by the way this keyboard is missing the capitalize key...that is why everything is lower case....oh bolivia. 
but until then,
abrazos y besos,
con mucho amor,
les amo mucho,
hermana santeco

oh i forgot to mention that we were lucky to have a washing machine and dryer in our home. and we have two pensionistas to feed us two meals a day. mucha comida aqui....mucha....i am surprised that i can eat everything. its custom to each everything on your plate. so far so good.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Arrived in Bolivia!!!

Apr 8

Hey Family,

I am in Bolivia!!! In Cochabamba! It is so unreal...and a blessing
indeed. I have met the mission president and his wife. Their home is
just across from the temple. I totally wanna be a mission president
wife one day. Who would have wished such a thing? Me!
They are just so loving and welcoming. Its beautiful here. The
mountains are incredible. I wish you could all see it. I just wanted
to email you to let you know that I am safe. Pdays are on mondays. I
love you all so much. I am so ready to work!

Hermana Santeco

Friday, April 4, 2014

Last Pday at the CCM

Familia y amigos!!!!

I don't know where exactly to start because there is so much to say, but first thing first is that I have been putting grandma's name in the temple every time I go. I actually put Sister Soh's name in just this Tuesday. I felt prompted to do so. Please extend my love to them. And as for grandma as well. Ah it just hurts my heart, but because of the plan of salvation, I gain comfort from our trials.

So I have a latin companion. Her name is Hermana Bedoya. She is from Colombia and serving the Bogota Norte Mission. She is the only member in her family and apparently she left her mom living by herself. So it was a huge sacrifice. Most of the latin missionaries here have lived hard lives. It just makes me feel so sad. But they are so in tune with the spirit. I want to be like that. With my new companion, I am really learning how to be patient. Like REALLY patient. She takes 3 showers a day. THREE. and she just likes to take her time you know? And if you know me, I can get ready pretty fast. She also likes to wake up at 5:30 everyday....I had such a hard time being patient, but I have gotten better. She always thanks me for my patience. I also made a new friend, Hermana Ferrusca! She is from Mexico. I need a photo with her. I had no time to take pictures. But seriously she is the sweetest. I love her so much I told her she can marry Gabriel so we could be sisters. By the way Gabe, there are two sisters here who want to marry you because they love asian boys. One of them is from Bolivia. She is gorgeous. I approve. 

The second day with a latin companion, I kind of had a break down...a melt down. I was in a district full of Latins and I could not understand anything they were saying. They were talking SOOOOO FAST. Then when my companion asked if I understood, I just broke into tears. I talked it out with Hermana Dyer and she helped me so much to relieve of my stress. I also had a blessing from President Dyer. They told me what I was feeling is normal. It feel overwhelmed and frustrated. But seriously, I was torned. When President Dyer gave me a blessing, it was incredible. He was once a patriarch, and so when he gave me the blessing, I really felt like I was receiving another patriachal blessing. It was the BEST blessing I had thus far, besides the ones dad gives me. The next day, he came up to me and asked if I noticed something special in my blessing. I said, "I noticed a lot of things...." and he said, "I had a strong impression to say in your blessing that after you learn the language you will be teaching it in your future". He said that..He said he felt that! It gave me so much hope and appreciation for the priesthood authority where we can receive messages from our Heavenly Father. Can you believe that? I have the blessing in store to be teaching the language! 

I have gotten better at speaking. I see improvement each day. My district is awesome. They always pray for me to be able to understand them and to be able to speak the things of my heart. Once we were watching a video and it was in English. Then they all looked at me saying, "No entiendo." They wanted me to translate and I was like uhhhhh "Eso!" (That). Then I realized that their spanish subtitles were frozen hahahaha. Even one elder said, "It's not fair for you to not understand us...but we here for you". His english is really rusty. But really they are so encouraging. They make me pray in spanish so I can practice more. They make me read and say that I am improving. I am so blessed to have a district that is so patient with me. I taught them individually lessons and they all said they have felt the spirit even though I speak slow. I am sooooo happy.

We went prostelyting yesterday. It was hard because people are so hardhearted here. Most of them are catholic or Jehovah Witnesses. But then there were a few people that were really prepared to hear the gospel in their lives. 

Can you believe that this is my last pday? I don't know when my next pday will be in the field. I am honestly really nervous, but so excited to go because I can finally teach REAL investigators. This past sunday I learned something really sweet that I love to keep in mind. It is that we have help from the other side..our ancestors are praying for us. Ancestors of people here who don't have the gospel are praying that their family will receive the word of God. I also learned that we can ask for help from our ancestors...our angels to help us. I prayed for grandpa and lolo and lola to be with me and seriously I am not kidding that I could feel them with me while I taught. It was so comforting. Try it! I promise you can feel them with you.

I got Marvelyn's letter from dearElder, but I didn't get yours yet :( entonces...I will ask if they could forward it to me when it gets here. I want your letters! One day I was craving everything. BBQ, Pizza Hut, Mom's cooking, taco bell, jack in the box, was depressing. When I come home we better eat everything and I mean it even if I am getting fat here...

Oh! So I was able to escort my companion through the temple on tuesday. I thought I would only escort my future daughters. I guess not! It was such a blessing and priviledge to be there for her. It was a beautiful experience.

General conference is here! So excited! I love hearing all the words from the Prophet and apostles. I have learned that you show the spirit that you are ready to learn when you write things down. And that is why I always write things down. I want to be ready for the people who are waiting for me in Bolivia. I can testify you that the spirit really guides through love and patience. I want to become more like our Savior. I am so happy to hear that you are feeling so blessed at home while I am gone. I can not believe I have been out for a month and a half already. It freaks me out. 

My next email will be from BOLIVIA!!!!!!!!! 

Yo quiero compartir mi que Dios nos da su amor para que podamos recordar su hijo, Jesucristo. Se que mi familia es eterna. Mi familia es una gran bendición en mi vida. Les amo mucho. Yo necesito tener paciencia y todos los atributos de Cristo. Se que la Iglesia de Jesucristo es verdadera. José Smith es un profeta de Dios. Yo estoy muy agradecida por todas las cosas que yo aprendí en mi vida. Se que aprenderé mas. Muchas gracias por sus oraciones para mi. Les amo mucho.

Siempre con amor,

Hermana Santeco