Monday, May 26, 2014

Tres Meses en la Misión!!!!!

So this whole week we were searching for a literally everyday. Plus, we find out we don´t only have to look for a pensionista for dinner but also lunch...oh and did I mention we only have one week left to do that stuff? Oh the struggle.....but its all good. We were positive the whole week about that. It is really hard to find a house here in our area because they are either too expensive or in very humble conditions....but anyways, we will find a house and food to eat! I know it!

Besides that jazz...Hna Wingate, my first companion in the CCM was in the hospital all week and so my companion and I were constantly going back and forth to the hospital to help them with intercambios and bringing their things to them and so forth. Hna Wingate had really bad stomach pains and other doctor terms...(sorry Im not a doctor, and I have a hard time understanding doctor things in spanish to be honest haha). She is better now though. Slowing recovering back to work.

So this week we meet our new district and zone leaders and as well new missionaries in our zone. Its a change for sure. And imagine, we have cambios again in three weeks! I am so nervous about being the one who stays in the area and has to be the one who knows the members and knows the area..then knows what trufi to take. Its not easy.....but its possible. I have a feeling my companion might be with me for 8 more weeks after this cambio or might leave me and I will stay. But really it is all in the hands of the Lord...for all we know. Haha. (I laugh when I am nervous).

Oh oh oh! I make three months in the mission today! I can not believe it!!!!! And BIG CONGRATS to GABRIEL for the scholarships and for finishing high school! And congrats for JESSE for growing up and going to middleschool! Ahhhh I am just so happy for you all. I love the pictures. Oh gabe you stud. STOP IT. lol.

At times I get frustrated at the belief that if we don´t have baptisms, we aren´t working hard. We are working so hard. SOOOOO hard that we are exausted at the end of the day. I am learning to shove off those comments and just continue to work. Prayer always helps me forget those negative comments....oh the opposition. 
Oh so I ran into a kid who is deaf recently. And he knows sign language!!! but...its spanish sign language......soooo I really want to learn it in spanish so I can talk to him! 

I have been thinking of grandma so often lately. I am in worry at times, but don´t worry because I know that everything will be fine. I am so grateful that we do have the gospel for sure. Mom, when you go to Thailand, please tell grandma that I love her and give her a big hug for me. Also that I am sorry that I can´t speak Thai or Chinese to tell her that. Tell her that she has given us YOU, a wonderful mother who has brought miracles and blessings to all of us. Tell her that I am grateful for her and her love that she gives to each of her grandchildren :).

So I have wrote a letter to the ward and here it is:
Kahuku First Ward, ALOHAAAA!
Oh, how I miss saying aloha so often. How is everyone? I just want to truly give a big, grande MAHALO por todos, for everything. Thank you for your support, your prayers of faith, and love. Being apart of K1 is a blessing just as it is to have the gospel in our lives. I think of all of you often and how all of your wonderful church leaders, and members are building the kingdom of God. I am so grateful for every sunday school teacher, seminary teacher, young women leader, primary teacher, member, etc, everyone pretty much for raising me up to the person I am today. My family and I are truly grateful. We couldn´t have done it without the gospel. Thank you for taking care of my family when my mom was sick. Thank you for your service and love. Thank you for taking care of my family while I am not home right now. Mahalo for your spirit and testimonies. Muchas gracias for being true disicples of Christ. I can promise you that as we continue to be true to our covenants which we made with God, repent of our sins, keep his commandments, and endure to the end, we will be absolutely blessed from a loving Heavenly Father who loves and knows you perfectly. The mission has taught me so much. Its such a beautiful experience that will bless generations in the future, present, and past. My eyes are widened more and more each and every day (Don´t try to imagine my Asian eyes doing that. I´m speaking figuratively haha). I learn something new all the time and gained a firmer testimony of the restauration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Thank you for everything. Se que tenemos el evangelio de Jesucristo en nuestras vidas a ayudarnos y bendecirnos. Dios les bendecirá cuando somos obedientes y fieles a sus mandamientos. Tenga fe en Cristo y que Su amor es sincero. Otra vez, muchas gracias por todos. Gracias por sus oraciones de fe y amor. 
les quiero mucho!
Hermana Santeco

So back to my letter, mom don´t worry about my sweater then. I can find something to keep me warm here :). And as for the chicken alfredo pasta I have asked for...if you havent bought it or sent it...dont worry bout that...because I realized that I will need milk to cook that here..and the milk here will probably make me sick. I don´t wanna risk sorry if you have bought it already. I will eat it when I come home! haha. Also send me chocolate almonds please.....they don´t have that here... :( and constantly eating them but they are all plain and salty. Maui onions if can?! hahaha. Just send me food.....and photos. I love you all. The packages and letters aren´t here yet :( I think they could be possibly at the mission house now, but our zone leaders haven´t picked up anything I am HOPING they are here. 
I pray for you all daily. I miss you all terribly. Congrats to the bros with graduation. Oh the good old days....Congrats to NICOLE VERAS! She is gonna talk to dad in Tagalog! I am sooooooo happy for all of you. I send my love to all of you. To be honest sometimes I will be brushing my teeth and I´ll think, "Oh my gosh....where am I right now?...Bolivia...gasp". hasn´t really sinked in completely yet. haha.
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am glad you are attending the temple. Do the names that I have left for you on the fridge please :) Our family is waiting for their work to be done. 
Hermana Santeco

PS: I got my nails done for three bucks! sweet!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Denme a una jovencita que hará milagros para el señor..

Alohaaaaaaaa mi familia!!!!! Comó estan?
This week has been just a rollercoaster for me because well all I can say is that I do not know which is it harder to be told by our investigators that they do not want anymore lessons or is it harder to tell your investigators that you can´t teach them anymore....this week we had to decide to stop teaching one of our investigators and in fact we had him date to be baptized this coming saturday, but it just could not happen. It broke my heart of how hard we worked to teach him and really it just became something else. I can not really say the details, but the spirit really told us we needed to discontinue our visits and teachings with him. It was the hardest and by far the scariest thing I have ever far that is. 
Because we had to go through companion and I were sincerely fact we cried so much and had a hard time sleeping because of it. But we were having such a hard time with trying to understand the promptings of the spirit because in fact we were just so confused if we should continue teaching him or just drop it....then we dropped it. Inspite of this challenge that we faced, we have always maintained our faith through it all. We kept telling each other, its okay....after this God will give us a miracle...(Alma 26:26-27). That night we cried and cried talking about our day and how terrible it was. Plus that we were told that we needed to look for a new house within the next four weeks...which also includes a new pensionista for dinner meals. Our stress levels increased to the max....

We kept the faith going...we did...we prayed ernestly and frequently that God will give us comfort and protection. The very next day, we had miracles. I had the feeling that the spirit was telling me to call one of the references we had two weeks ago, who we couldn´t visit because of other things to do...and when we called her, she said that she was so happy that we called and that she was actually waiting for us to call. It was really a miracle. Then after that we visited a señora that we recently contacted. Our first visit with her was amazing......she has such a beautiful spirit. That day we worked so hard...we had 9 appointments in all. It was amazing...we NEVER have that many in one day because they either aren´t in their houses and we can´t find them or just things get in the way for ejemplo...tramites (visa stuff). I can really testify that God gives us afflictions to humble ourselves and to learn something that we need...and after we show our faith and grattitude, He blesses us and gives us success. My companion and I were talking that very night and seriously, she is amazing...she is not perfect but she has a big heart for the people here. She keeps telling me that I am her best and favorite She told me how scared and how she felt uncapable to train me (I am her first daughter, greenie), but I was able to make it less fact fun hahaha. She said I was able to teach her to be more positive and happy and loving. It made me feel so good to know that I am doing something right...really lol because I feel that I do not do much when there is a language barrier. I am just so glad that I get to have her as my trainer and very first companion here in Bolivia.
So this week are cambios. Last night we were waiting for our leaders to call us to tell us if we have cambios. I was SOOOO SCARED. Because I did not want my companion to leave me and also I did not want to leave our area just yet. But it so happens that we don´t have cambios. We have four weeks left together in fact. This cambio is only 4 weeks and the next one is 8 weeks. Usually its 6 weeks but since we are getting a new mission presidente after the few cambios (yo creo), everything is changing. We have about 15 sisters and 10 elders coming this week. Its crazy! The mission has opened new areas. There are so many missionaries in our mission. Its incredible! 

Que más.......oh many people keep telling me that my accent is really really good that they mistaken me as a Latina. But I have a hard time believing that when I struggle to explain in spanish certain things. But its better. Its mejor. Poco poco....really little by little. jajaja I make three months in the mission next week! It really goes by fast. I will be sleeping and I´ll wake up and think, Oh gosh itsFriday?! Oh so I ate raw saimin yesterday because I missed Jesse so much and I am running out of money for the month so I ate what we had in the house. And I think my companion thought I was weird to eat like that but its whateves lol. I do what I like. jokes. 
I am learning to pray with more heart and to humble myself....and that noche de hogar that we had with president dyer and his wife? It was great! I was honestly nervous because I never speak in Spanish with President because well I only had one interview with him so far. So I had to teach in front of him too with my companion....but it went great! :) I feel pretty blessed!
We are hoping for more milagros, miracles, more investigators, and more assitencias a la iglesia this week. Ayeeeee its so hard to type and speak english when spanish words are popping in between. Imagine my diary....oh my diary! I was reading my very first entry last night and it just made me smile. It says: "It begins at home. Surrounded by family, filled with the spirit and the love of God. This is such a big step for me to take and its scary. President Hafoka steps into our home and the spirit grows stronger. He shares his testimony and gives the advice that every missionary would need. "Its normal." he says. "Its normal to feel scared, anxious, nervous, or any types of feelings of anxiety". I felt like he was reading my fragile soul just at the verge at tears. I was scared. Bolivia? Cochabamba? Colombia? Millions and thousands of miles away from home. From mom, from dad, from Gabriel, from Jesse, from Marvy...even Tofu (my pet fish). Friends are leaving for their missions or have already left. How do they do it? Get over these feelings of fear?..." Then I write about D&C 84:88...."Now I am at Gate 17. Wet eyes. Running nose--its my cold..I can´t help it. And I feel nothing but so much love. Saying Goodbye to my family was hard, but I knew that everything would be okay. Mom shared a wonderful reminder to me...a story that Lolo shared with us. It was about two little boys in the premortal existence. ...this is missionary work....How am I feeling? As of now...I am calm and at peace. And now I´ll enjoy my last hour in Hawaii at gate 17."
These feelings of anxiety never really end....but then I think about the plan of salvacion and our purpose here on earth. We face these feelings of opposition to help us learn and grow...and as well to rely on the Lord to help us through them. To be honest....every cambio I know I will be scared out of my mind. It was just like receiving a new mission call. You don´t know where you are going or who is your companion. Especially as I am learning the language...the feelings come and go...but with the spirit I know that I can do it. The spirit and the love of God really comforts me through it all. Every time I pray and after I pray, I feel the peace that I need. 
Really I miss you guys so much and I do not want to imagine that day when I go home because I want to take everything opportunity I have here to make it last and worthwhile. 
Here is my fav quote in spanish:
"Denme a una jovencita que ame su hogar y a su familia, que lea las escrituras diariamente y medite en ellas, que tenga un testimonie ardiente sobre el Libro de Mormón; denme una jovencita que asista fielmente a sus reuniones de la Iglesia, que se gradúe de serminario, que haya ganado el Reconocimiento a la Mujer Virtuosa y que lo luzca con orgullo; denme a una jovencita que sea virtuosa y que haya matenido su pureza personal, que no se conforme con menos que un matrimonio en el templo y yo les daré una jovencita que hará milagros para el señor, ahora y en las eternidades". --Presidente Ezra Taft Benson
Les prometo que las promesas en el Libro de Mormón que les dice....son verdaderas. Dios les bendicirá si somos fieles y que eso es la verdad. Tenga fe y recuerde que nunca estamos solos...
les quiero mucho!
Hasta proxima vez!
Hermana Santeco

Monday, May 12, 2014

Its a beautiful rideeeeeeeee!

The Hermana with the Red headband is Marisa's Latina companion :)
I absolutely love being on a mission well because its such a beautiful ride! I was so happy to see all of your happy faces on skype yesterday. I woke up supahhhh trunky this morning but its all good. I am going back to work and forgetting myself. This week was a rollercoaster. As I have told you on skype, one of our family investigators told us that they no longer wanted us to come to their house and teach them anymore. After they closed their doors in our faces, we cried for a good two hours. But it was only because we had truly felt the Godly sorrow for them....we have grown to love their family so much and to have to no longer visit them just broke my heart...I have never felt something like that before in my life. I mean I have been heartbroken before in my life, but this was much hurtful...painful because their souls are on the line. But its fine. We did our part and planted the seeds in their hearts. They knew that the things we were teaching are true, but they were not ready to change. 
So last night after we talked on skype, I went to see my companion in the other room and she was bawling...talking to her family. When I went in to comfort her, she was saying how much of a wonderful companion I am. And of course I refused that it was true. It was such a blessing to be able to talk to our families. It made us so content with our decision to be here. Then we talked during dinner how much time in the mission we would have next time we skype. I will have 9 months! That is half of my mission! On Christmas I will exactly make 9 months! And I bet you that my spanish will be super better. I know it because I have God helping me. To be honest the whole time that we were talking last night, I had such a hard time speaking complete English. I had many urges to say certain words in made me feel so silly. My thoughts are all in spanish, well so far its beginning to be because I am making it a better effort to do so. So I am sorry if my English has gone terrible. jajaja. I have been so blessed to be here in Bolivia. We learn new things everyday of how to be better daughters of God and how to be more patient....I learn more of the doctrine and of course Spanish.
Speaking of Spanish...more spanish stuff, after we talked to our families my companion told me that she told her brothers about me and how my spanish abilities are pretty good... (not to brag but really she keeps telling me). This week I have been taking the intiative to begin the lessons with our investigators and to be more involved in the lessons. Her brother said that majority of North Americans never begin lessons or talk in lessons at 2 months in the mission...I am a miracle! lol. It made me so happy because I am really working hard and God is blessing me to be able to do these things. Its not easy but its really possible with faith and hard work.
In two weeks I will make three months.......and in one more month I will be done with training. I am sooooo freaked out about that. The time goes by so fast. I have seen how the life of missionaries is completely different from the norms. My companion and I have moved our investigator´s baptism date on week later because of some things which have come up. It was strange because...well not strange but incredible how the spirit really guides us. When we were teaching my companion had the strongest impression of something which could hold our investigator from being baptized this week. It was so specific and clear in her mind of what it was. The next day I had the same impression while I was studying. But the thing is that it is so quiet, still, and its THERE. When my companion later told me about her impression, I was so surprised because I had the exact same impression. Then that very day when we taught him a lesson, he had told us what he has commited...and it was EXACTLY what the spirit told us. It was a was the spirit. We are so grateful that we have the spirit with us during our lessons, in our days, and in our lives. I have learned that you constantly have to be REALLY sensitive to the spirit and to CHOOSE to act upon its promptings. Its not easy but as you continue to follow the promptings it will become easier to recognize it and to follow it...thereon blessings follow. 
Tonight we have a special Noche de Hogar (FHE) at the mission home with our mission president. Can you believe that? My companion told me that he NEVER invites missionaries for that. But he invited us! We are bringing our investigators to come with us and to enjoy what we have prepared for them. I am pretty excited and nervous because well....president Dyer will see how we teach as a companionship and spanish capabilities. But there is something that I constantly remember when I start to be afraid. Its the scripture that PERFECT LOVE CASTETH OUT FEAR. I can testify that with the perfect love of our Savior, I am able to do these things which I am actually really scared of doing. Relying on the spirit and trusting in the Lord to help you.....really helps you. 
I am constantly culture shocked everyday. I am still learning to understand the culture here. We would be teaching a lesson to a Cholita and while we are teaching her baby would start crying...then she´ll lift up her shirt and start breastfeeding her baby in front of us.......during the its awkward but its normal here. Oh much I love you and do understand you

A special shout out to KAYLA AFOA and JOSIE HOOD! I wished I could have been there are your farewells. I bet you have both rocked it at the podium. You will love the mission. Enjoy every moment you have...because we only have 18 months to dedicate every minute of our time to the Lord. It will be hard but it will be a wonderful blessing to you and your family. Thank you both for your friendship, sisterhood, love, and EVERYTHING. Muchas gracias por todos. Disfruten la comida de Hawaii will miss the food at home. TRUST. lol I told my family they can not send me photos of food. I will literally cry. I love you both. You are beautiful daughters of God! We are truly instruments in His hands. Mucho mucho amor para ustedes!
Back to my family.....It saddens me to hear about grandma reaching stage 4...but I know that it is all God´s will...and that we do have the true gospel to strengthen us and to give us the joy that we need in this life and the life to come in the eternities! Mom and dad go to the temple please! And read that scripture I gave you last night! Please send all my love to the ward, the people in Hawaii, our friends, EVERYONE. I will write a letter to the ward and send it to you sometime. 

Feliz Día de madres a todas madres en el barrio y en Hawaii tambien. Dios esta allí para nosotros....siempre. Para siempre......Oren siempre, lean el Libro de Mormó your love to others often....ahhh I love you all so much. This is the best thing I could ever do in my life. To serve the Lord....and to witness be a representative of Jesucristo. Les quiero mucho, mi familia! Disfruten cada momento juntos!
Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Santeco
:) Abrazos!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Milagros de nuestro Señor

I am deeply touched from all of your emails. Unfortunately I did not receive an email from Jesse.. :( is it from your email address or his, mom? Your emails bring me so much joy and motivation to continue to work...harder..haha. So this week was pretty busy. We had las manos Mormonas que ayudan, Mormon helping hands. It was hard work. At first we were going to paint trees (I have no idea why we would paint trees), but instead we just weeded and did some gardening. I ran into Élder Johnston there! Tell April that! He recognized me right away. I had to take a little time to realize that it was him. He is doing great. 
It was really cool to see all the many Bolivians get together and do some service. It was hard service. Afterwards our ward had lunch, but there wasn´t enough for everyone, so the sister missionaries, we ate really little. But its okay.
I had my first intercambio this past friday! I was sooooooo nervous. I was freaking out when I found out that I had to leave my house and sleep somewhere else for a day...then having to get to know new people and a new area....but really it was just a day. I was just overreacting. hahaha but it so turned out to be really great. It was a great experience. My companion for the day was Hermana Flores from Peru. She has a month and a half left in her mission. She is such an amazing missionary. I swear, because I was with her, my spanish has improved mostly because with her, I refused to speak any English. She pushed me to teach in our lessons and it helped tremendously for me to really rely on the spirit to guide me through the lesson. We also had another service project as a zone. We cleaned a yard of some family in Tiquipaya (our zone area). It was HUGE. We cleaned for 4 hours straight. I have never raked so hard with such a tiny bolivian rake....but really, I worked so hard. My body aches from all the service. 
We had many miracles this week. It was fast sunday, and we were fasting for our investigators that they would be able to progress and to have the desire to change their lives. We have investigators, but our usual problem is that they NEVER go to church. It was a problem because before they can be baptized they need to go to church three times. We fasted and we prayed with so much faith. Yesterday, 3 out of 5 of our investigators came into the chapel one by one. It brought me and my companion so much joy. Then we see a less active family that we teach often walk in too. I started to cry. It was just incredible how miracles can happen so quickly at once when you really do your best in this work. So far, our investigators are really progressing. They show so much desire to change their lives. In fact one of them tried to come to a baptismal service with us this past saturday but he was late. And we told him, its okay next time you will see how baptisms your own baptism. And he said, "Yup, I can bet on that". He really sees that the Book of Mormon is changing his life eversince he started reading it. Its really a miracle. Then another investigator, he is so good at keeping his promises to do the things we invite him to do. He plans on coming to church again next sunday, then the 17 of May, we have him date to be baptized. 
It brings me so much joy! 
So there is this young boy named Fernando. He is in the photos I have sent a week or two ago of me and Hna Esperanza, the Cholita and her nephew on the mountain. He is 12 years old. He ALWAYS accompanies us in our lessons and helps us to find people to teach and he is only 12 years old! I showed him a picture of our family and said that Jesse was his age. Then we was like, "He is so tall! So big". Then I realized that Jesse is still growing...I can not believe that he is taller than dad! Dad are you shrinking? hahaha jokes. But anyways, we invited Fernando´s cousin to the baptismal service and we were calling him but he was not picking up. His cousin is a golden investigator by the way. So we ask Fernando to go to his cousin´s house to see if he was there because we were at our house and it was a trufi ride away. Finding trufis is hard at times. So Fernando goes and it so happens that his other cousin starts telling him that missionaries are bad..and she started to call us really bad things. Fernando defended us and went home because our investigator was not home. Fernando was crying so hard. He called us and we could not understand what he was saying, so we promised to visit him at his house after the service. After the service, we had such a hard time to find a trufi to go to his house. We were waiting for 20 minutes and just about to give up, but at the very last minute a trufi comes our way and we reach his house. He tells us what happens and just cries and cries. Then who knows what happened but my companion, Fernando, and I were crying. We were expressing how grateful we were for his sacrifice to help us. We told him not only did he defend us, but he defend Jesus Christ. I have never met such a young boy with such a big heart. Hes only 12! Tell Jesse about him! Tell everyone about him! He is such a great example. I have learned so much from him. He always talks to me in Spanish and he knows I can not understand everything, yet he still talks to me. hahaha. I am helping him with his English homework. I gave him a English Book of Mormon and told him that if he read it completely, he could receive the gift of tongues. Because I know he can. I have seen it happen, because the BOM is so powerful and God is willing to bless him. 
Last night we taught a family that is preparing to be sealed in the temple this month. We talked about eternal families. I carry a picture of our family in my scriptures. So I showed it to them and said, "This is my family..." and then the following words....I just cried. So much because the spirit was so strong. I know right there and even now that our family is eternal. I expressed how much our Heavenly Father loves us that He blesses our families through His gospel. He made it possible to receive joy here on earth and the life after. I saw their family as God did. Their family, every family is special to God. This I really know to be true. 
I hope Stef is doing fine. Tell her to email me! Tell her not to be down on herself. God understands her. He is blessing her. I know it. Tell her I love her and that I miss her! And that I am proud that she can ride a bike! hahahaha that's my bebot!
This morning at 2am my companion woke me up crying. She had really bad stomach pains and was constanting walking back to her bed and the bathroom to throw was 2am and my mind was shut off from spanish. Bad...i know but I did my best. She told me to call the zone leaders and so I did and they were pretty shut off from speaking period, and she was crying and I was like WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!?! Then I woke up the mother of the family in our house to help us. She took us to the Clinic to get her checked and from my understanding she had food poisoning. Everyday we eat or drink something really WEIRD. Mostly drink something weird. I can eat. It's the drinks. They make drinks out of peanuts, or it will not have enough flavor...last night we drank or more like chugged down this jelly drink made out of this reddish fruit. It was really gross but we had to drink it all. I think it was what made my companion sink. She believes that too. When the mother of our house realized it might be the food, she looked at me and said, "are you okay?!" and i was like yeah......hahaha I can handle food here now. Its like nothing. I think I have adjusted well so far. I told my companion that I will make us saimin with eggs and spam. She thinks I can cook....bahahahha but really its just the simple things we eat at home. Speaking of which we have a new pensionista for lunch and it happens to be a guy who is a chef! His food is soooo rico!!! so good! I promise you I almost cried eating it because it was really almost just like home. He made a broccoli was to die for!!!!!

I can not believe that I get to skype with you guys this sunday! I am stoking! I do not even know what we will be talking about because I bet I will be screaming for the first 5 minutes. We will have 5 to 10 minutes this saturday to talk on the phone to figure out what time I will be calling on Sunday. 5 to 10 minutes aint enough for me but it will have to do. I lie....i think we only have 40 minutes to talk on skype.. :( but itll be worth it! Ill let you know the real facts. It is hard to really understand what is going on when I'm still learning the language. lol
I am hoping that we will have three or 5 baptisms this month...I am hoping sooooo hard. Thank you to our ward members for being so supportive of the mission that I am serving. It touches my heart to know that they are donating money towards the mission. Tell the ward that I love them and miss them! And a biggggg MAHALO. un GRAN MUCHAS GRACIAS! Ah I miss hawaii and the beaches and such. I saw a church video that had parts of BYUH in it and I had to rewind to see it again. TRUNKY. Wahhh.

But sunday! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! I get to see all your smiling faces! I am soooo excited. I love you allllll soooooo much!!!!!!! See you on sunday!!!!!
Con MUCHO amor y abrazos,

Hermana Santeco :)
PS: Fotos from last week´s hike to the waterfall and my scripture covers!