Monday, August 25, 2014

Half Way of a Year and One Year to Go.

HAPPY 6 MONTHS!!! :) I hate imagining myself going home in exactly one year from now....but I can´t help to do it. 
This week was......a lot of learning. With a new companion and her having to adjust to a completely different area wasn´t only hard for her, but it was hard for hear her compare every little thing to her old area. hahahaha...but really its hard. Plus with her, I have a greater responsibility to listen to the lessons a lot more attentively. But with this kind of companionship, it really has pushed me to teach, to understand, to speak, and to rely on the spirit. Teaching has gotten easier, loving the people, too. When you really love the people, teaching them is a lot easier. 

So...I FINISHED the BOOK OF MORMON the third time in my whole life this past week :). But its the first time that I read it completely in Spanish. It made me so happy, more than ever because everything that we do promise to our investigators, if you read this book and read and ponder of what it contains, the holy ghost will bear witness until you of its truthfullness...the whole time I read it, I could feel of its truthfullness and power and also the love that God has for His children. I have developed a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, I recognize the spirit more, and I developed the charity that I desired to have for so long. With Hermana Trujillo gone, I can look back and really see how much I have learned from her. I believe I already told you last week, but really...I have learned to love the people here because of her and most of all, I have learned to love my Savior more than myself. 

We talk a few lessons to people who only speak Quechua. It was awesomeeeee! Because we had Hermana Esperanza there to translate and the funny thing was that I could actually understand what they were saying in Quechua :). When I was telling her what to translate, she could understand me enough to translate it to Quechua :). It made me so happy because I could be understood, I could understand and the spirit was there in the lesson. But like I said, I have gotten better at teaching at last. We also have an investigator who is still learning Spanish but speaks Quechua. And so we had the Book of Mormon in Quechua in her hands and a spanish one in our hands. It worked. She could finally understand what we were teaching. The Book of Mormon is key. It is the power to teach with the spirit and understanding. 
We have been walking A LOT. I love it really. Its good exercise. Plus I think I am getting a little fat. But oh well. We have been walking past the same street everyday and I had such a huge impression to talk to a lady who is there everyday but after 3 days I didn´t do anything about it....but this saturday, we had free time to contact people and I told my companion finally that I wanted to talk to this lady. It so happens that she had been having the same impression this week. So then we went and it turns out that her and her family are inactive. It made me happy to know the spirit is talking to me and my companion to do this work. 
I had a dream this past week that I finally went home but I still had my name tag and all...but we went to 7-11...and I was SOOOOOO happy to eat a manapua and pork hash. I woke up disappointed....I would like some 7-11 when I go home pleaseeeee!!!! 

With lots of hair is getting more blonde each day....I thought I cut it all out. After six months, I finally finished my tube of toothpaste I had since day one and as for the cocoa butter you gave me, I still have a little bit left. But I always had a little since the beginning. You guys gave it to me with one eighth left of it inside. Did you know there are hibiscus and plumerias here??? I always pick them and smell them. They remind me of home :). 
Hermana Donoso was here again for training for leaders meeting so we ate dinner together. She gave me photos to help me through the hard days of the mission. Lots of the missionaries are so helpful and supportive when its rough. I was having a rough week to be honest with many reasons. But I had managed to deal with it with a positive attitude and lots of faith and trust in the Lord. But yesterday morning when the other sisters who live with us knew that I was sad, they made me breakfast. Hahaha they know food makes things all better. Oh which reminds me, we ate the last can of spam this morning for breakfast...I am out of food from home. Just send me food in my packages. hahahaha that´s all I want really. And printed out photos and letters :). 
I just know that God is trying to teach me something. Everything when I have a trial, I ask Him want is it that He wants me to learn. I am so grateful to be here. 6 months and I am still here. I have never wanted to be here as much as I do now. You really learn to be a disciple of Christ. You learn to love, to serve, to trust, and to work. Doctrines and Convenants 12:8 taught me that. 

In three months I will see all your smiley facesssss!!!! 
I Love you all!!! Les amo bastante!!!
Hna Santeco

Monday, August 18, 2014

Amo a Bolivia bastante

I have learned so much this past week and I have seen how much I have grown. With a new companion, I have realized so much of what Hermana Trujillo has taught me. I was training, but really she was training me to become a better person. Now that she is gone in a different area, I have seen all of the little things that she would do and bug me..(haha) are something I can learn from..but things I actually really appreciate me. She would always look back to see if I was with her or made sure she was walking by my side. She would always wait on her knees even if she was done praying for me to finish praying so that she wouldn´t be up on her feet while I was praying. It was things out of respect, love, and a true companion. I have mostly importantly have learned to love the people here. I have seen her example of how to teach with so much love for the people and also how she has prepared me to have a new my companion. I don´t know, but she is kind of special. I love her already, but she is special. I had a little hard time because she tends to not listen or pay attention during the lessons that we teach and so its just a little frustrating. And its her first "poor" area, its a lot for her to adjust. But then I really do realize how much I do love my area, the people, the members, and my calling in the church. Its hard in our area because people aren´t progressing or coming to church, but I keep moving forward with faith. I am reading the book of mormon again and I am finally in Ether. Ether 12 has taught me a lot this week about faith before miracles. We always pray for miracles but why don´t we pray for faith? It says in this chapter that faith brings forth the miracles. I have been praying for faith and I see the difference of how I react to the trials and the difficulties of when investigators don´t pray or read the BOM or just don´t progress. I am learning to be humble to accept the will that God has for me and its such a great feeling to be able to do it. 
I love Bolivia so much. It has changed everything for me. The mission changes lives, the gospel changes lives. I am so different now. I can see things in a greater and eternal perspective and it just brings so much joy and comfort. We are helping a few families to be sealed in the temple right now and now that I have been there, I really want ALL families to enter the temple. There is a great need and importance to go...because it is the Lord´s house. 
I can not believe that next week I will be out for 6 months. I can´t believe that in one year from now, I will be on a plane ride home. I counted the exchanges I have left. I have 8 left including this one that I am in. It really goes by too fast. 
I really think so much in what God wants me to learn when we have so many trials and challenges. It helps you know? When you are struggling with something, thinking of what He wants you to learn from it, it helps you grow really. Every companion I had prepares me to learn something knew or in other words, to really become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. I have grown to love our Savior more too. 
I have so many responsibilities now as senor companion. I have been in Bolivia for 5 months and it just gets bigger and bigger the amount of responsibilities that we have. But I love it. I have grown to know how to submit to God´s will and to see the importance of the commandments. 

Its really cold here lately. Lots of rain, a little of snow. I love the food here. Well depend of what I eat. I took a picture of one of the plates I ate. Its called Silpancho. Its delicious with egg and a salad and potatoes. I also love this type of soup called Sopa de Mani. I think I´ll bring some of it with me when I do go home.

I think of the ward often and each of you. I hope and pray all is well and that you all have a wonderful week. I love you.
El evangelio me ha bendecido en muchas maneras. Aprendí amar a los demas como Dios ama a sus hijos. Aprendí y recibí el atributo semejante de Dios de la caridad esta semana y es incredible. Aprendí que tenemos que tener mucha fe antes de los milagros. Saben que les amo a ustedes y que realmente quiero estar aqui en la misión. Lo siento, esta carta de esta semana es mas corta que usual. Que tengan una buenisima semana!
Con cariño,
Hermana Santeco

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Errand of Angels

Familyyyyy and Friends, ALOHAAAA! 

Can you believe that it is August?! I will be falting one year! And....if you haven't english is getting terrible. You have no idea...I had to talk to La Hermana Hansen, the president's wife a lot this week because we went to the doctors and everything for my companion. I had to explain everything in english and was rough. It just came out terrible. I was translating spanish into mind is confused. And so if my email comes out broken english, just know that God is pushing me in the language. Hahaha. This week we went to the doctors. Big surprise there. We went this past thursday to a different hospital though because the first one was horrible.....the second one is amazing!

But we got some bad companion has injured her back really bad...we went to a few doctors who are professioned in those kinds of things and they told her that if she has another incident, she won't be able to walk nor go to the bathroom on her own. It will hurt to sneeze, it will hurt to breathe. It was rough...she cried so much and I just couldn't help to cry with her because we knew that she had a huge chance of being sent home. And so...they gave her pills and everything and the pills made her nauseous. She was throwing up and throwing was terrible. Poor girl...I felt so bad for her because really she wants to be here. And the thing is that our area is all mountains, hills, and rocks. And it hurts her back to climb and to go down. Now that exchanges were coming this week, I had an impression that she would be sent to a different area with flatter ground, and that I would that impression was correct. She is leaving our area and I am staying here...perhaps for one more exchange, 6 more weeks. I am honestly content because she can finally go to an area where she can work more. It was rough because every week we would have to go to the doctors or she would have an incident where she couldn't get up and things that like. I just hope and pray she can stay here in the mission because really she is really worried about going home. So please pray for her, Hermana Trujillo. She needs it..
I really can not believe that this is my 4th exchange now. My new companion will be Hermana Castro from Peru. She came to Bolivia the same time I did. We will see how things go. I am honestly really excited because we will be working together and I don't know, at first I said I don't like exchanges, but really I can see how its inspired and how obedience is key to follow it, 
So I went to the temple this past week. It was exactly what I needed. I found so much peace, and plus, I could finally understand everything inside because I know the language! hehe!! I bought my scriptures, and they don't accept cards...and so I had to pay with cash, But I have pretty spanish scriptures now! I love them! I have never loved the Book of Mormon so much until I came here. I found so much comfort and strength and as well as power from it. And plus I can finally read it in spanish and understand it. Its funny because I actually understand the context so much better in spanish more than english...I never really liked english was always a little complicated or old english for me to understand...
I love going to church here and see how children who live so far from the chapel, take the responsibility to come to church without their parents who are less active. It just makes me so happy to see so much faith and testimony that they have. 
I eat a lot here apparently? But I know that I actually eat less here than I do at home. We would eat with our pension and her daughter would say, "Hermana Santeco is so skinny, and she eats so much! Yet she is still skinny!!!" I just laughed so hard and continued to eat, Then this saturday we ate at a members house and they watched me grab for 4ths..not 3rds or 2nds...4ths...hahaha and they said, "Where do you put it all?" And I looked at my stomach and said...I honestly don't know. But it was because it was bien ricooooo! The food was sooooo good. I hate to admit it, but I wasn't full afterwards. I honestly wanted more...even yesterday when we ate at another member's house they kept tempting me to eat more..and so I couldn't refuse the offer and I ate. They are all asking for Thai, Hawaiian, Filipino platter recipes. Can you send me some? That perhaps is possible to make here? Because well we can't eat pig here or lettuce. Its sad. I miss it so dang much. 
Many people in our area don't have a source of water in  their homes for such a long period of time now. Its been such a struggle for them, but like I said before, they are always so happy. I have never seen someone who has so little, yet are so happy with what they do have. I seriously have never felt so humbled to be welcomed into their homes and to be offered bread and mandarinas and plantanos every time. They are just so kind to us. 
I have reflected back a lot of my time as a trainer and it saddens me that it has come to an end with my greenie companion. But I had learned so much. This past week, God really has helped me to enjoy my time with her and to really help her in her trials. I really enjoyed my time with her and the opportunity to be her trainer. I even reflected back to the time we were in Jack in the Box before you guys took me to the airport, I miss Jack in the Box and I miss you guys too. I thought of when in Jack in the Box, mom was telling me of the story, my dear friend, I will find you and how I just started to cry and mom started to cry. Then mom said, "they found me". I always think of that story and have it written in my journal in spanish. I think of how we find people and also we find ourselves in the mission. We find ourselves truly as His servants and His children on this earth, trying to find ourselves back to Him and to peace. I almost have 6 months and I have learned so much.....I want to learn more.
I am so happy to see all of you are safe from the hurricane. I always pray for your protection everyday. I am happy Jesse is enjoying the Priesthood and going to the temple. I am happy that Marvy has a steady job and that she was at least home when she fell asleep hahaha. I am happy that mom and dad are happy even if I am not home. I am so happy to be here and to be a missionary and representative of Jesucristo. He has blessed me so much and I have seen it in so many ways which He has. I am so happy to be a daughter of God who loves me and who loves you! Know that I love you and that I think of you all so often but of also my calling....this is by far the best calling from the church that I have and I never want it to end. You truly learn how to be obedient, to be patient, and loving here in the mission. You learn how to trust in the Lord and the spirit. This is better than BYUH. Sorry bout it. I have made the best decision to be here and I'll always remember it! Hahaha. 
I love you my family. 6 more weeks in cochabamba and who knows where I will be. The Errand of Angels is given to women. That I know. What a priviledge is it to be entrusted so much by our heavenly father to be a part of this marvelous work.
Hermana Santeco

Monday, August 4, 2014

Yo puedo más

There is a saying in spanish, "Ya no puedo más" that at times its normal for missionaries to feel or in general for anyone to feel. It means like, I don´t want to do more, I can´t do more anymore, I give up in other words. Believe me, the mission teaches you so many things about enduring to the end. You will be working so hard and never feel like you are having any kind of success and sometimes you´ll just keep questioning, what am I doing wrong to not help these people to get baptized? But then you learn....the spirit teaches you, the trials help you realize it all. I truly have seen why I am here and why I do not force people to get baptized not just because, yah they all have their lessons taught to them or because I just want a baptism. It is not like that at all....truly my companion and I have been talking about this and we have found so many inactive members in our ward. We have seen the importance of conversion baptisms. We want converts. Not just baptisms. I have seen my true purpose here. To really help people to realize that there is a loving Heavenly Father who loves you and wants to help you in your trials because He knows that it is not easy. You have to know, I can do more, yo puedo mas porque no estoy sola. I am not alone. I have accepted this calling and I promised to our Father in Heaven that I would serve it with all my heart, mind, might, and strength. 

This week...I have learned a lot. There is a 11 year boy that I am really good friends with and who always helps us in the obra misional. We were waiting in his house for his aunty to go out with us to appointments. I overheard him crying outside of the room we were in and I went out to see what was going on. He was crying and crying and I sat next to him and tried to see what I could do. He took a little time to eventually tell me because I could tell that he didn´t want me to worry. But eventually he told me that his parents didn´t want to be together anymore. It just broke my heart. It brought me to tears to see a 11 year old to feel such sadness for his parent´s happiness...and as well the happiness of his own family. I sat there for awhile and thought quietly to myself in thinking of what I could do and to dicern his needs. I sat quietly and Brigham came to my mind. Brigham you are an inspiration really (if you are reading this). I told him about how amazingly strong that you are to have gone through so much in your father and yet to be so happy. I told him how blessed we are to have the gospel when we don´t have a perfect family. I cried with him and I told him that whenever I cry, or we cry in that matter, I like to imagine God crying with us. And I knew He was. That we are never alone in our afflictions. Never alone. Before we left his house he gave me a hug and kept saying, "Gracias Hermana. Por todo." He made me promise to visit him on his birthday Feb. 14 next year and that only that he wants me to come see him and nothing else for his birthday. It was adorable. I just hope I am in Cochabamba still to do that. We will see. haha.
This morning my companion woke up unable to walk again. She was actually up and awake 2 in the morning and I was dozing on and off because she had the DVD player on. She was watching the restauracion and eating was a crack up. But yeah she usually does that when she can´t sleep because she gets pain..(oh gosh I can´t even explain myself properly in Ingles sometimes). But when the alarm went off, she told me what had happened and we waited out to see if eventually her leg to her spine would be released from so happens that it dwelled with her all morning and that we had to go to the hospital. So that is why I am emailing later than usually. We went to the clinic and it just broke my heart to see her in so much pain. I nearly I saw her bawling in pain when the doctors tried to force her leg down when really it only gave her more pain. I kept telling her, "Think of the atonement. Piense en la expiacion, en Jesucristo...en que si no puede, vamos a quedarnos aca.....otra vez". Casi...almost we had to stay over night in the hospital but she was luckily able to walk after two shots in her bum. Poor thing. Its funny how every time we go to the hospital, my love for her grows. At home..not so much, but in the hospital yes. God knows that...I think that is why He keeps sending us there. hahaha we hate the doctors here...but it so goes on. 
There is one week left until cambios. Exchanges. I have no idea if I will stay and finish training my companion (most likely) or if I will leave. We will see, but I really don´t mind anything. I just want to work. 
Tomorrow we are going to the temple! It has been so long. I am so excited to get in there and find some peace. I already can feel that peace from thinking about the temple. Which reminds me, we have been helping a family to be sealed in the temple. They will be sealed in September! It brings me so much joy! But yeah tomorrow I will most likely be using my debit card. Watch my balance account por favor.
I have been talking in my sleep again. In Spanish. My companion woke me up just to tell me that I was sleeping. haha and also all of my dreams are in spanish now. Its just incredible really. I have seen so much improvement in the language every week as I reflect on it. Its not perfect spanish but it improves. 
So I have been studying a lot of conference talks. I love it really. One I love the most is from the YW general president from the sister general meeting this past april, se llama, Sisterhood: Oh how we need each other. To be honest of course I have troubles in my companionship with my companion but this talk just changes everything. It made me realize of my faults and of my flaws and that I needed to be a better sister to her. And so future sister missionaries that are about to go out, read this talk and take it with you always because you will have a companion that will perhaps not be your best friend, but will be your sister. But always I have read a talk by Boyd K. Packer se llama, Some things that every missionary should know. Its buenisimo. I love it. I took tons of notes and I have grown to see that importance of a mission. It really shapes you for life. It teaches you to endure to the end and to truly rely on the spirit and the Lord in your life. You learn to develop Christ like attributes. I can not imagaine any return missionary going back to their old ways after have been out here serving the Lord. Its literally training for life and eternal life. You become a true servant and diciple of Christ. Can you imagine serving Him forever? I would love that. And you can! You can serve Him all your life. You don´t need to be a missionary to serve Him. You don´t need a badge to say that you are His representative. We are all His children and we owe it to Him that we show that we love Him. And how can we do that? We keep His commandments. Before one is baptized you have to realize that when you make the covenant of baptism, you have convenanted, or made a promise to God to keep His commandments for the rest of your life. That´s a huge promise and at the same time a blessing. 
So have I told you how hard it is here to find addresses and houses? Probably..but I am going to tell you again. There is no street names in my area, tampoco there is no sense of direction. We have references that say 2 blocks up and 5 block west, door red. Its rough...its really rough, but we do it because God knows we must. We are hoping that my companion can get better soon because we really want to find new people to teach. We are knocking doors sometimes because we look for old past investigators and sometimes its someone different...and so we would be like...oh bueno we are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ.....lalallaala hahahaha but its pretty fun. You learn to lose yourself in this work and to really work. You learn to love others as children of God and to help them according to their needs. 
We have an investigator se llama Mariza. Do you know how hard that is for me? I never hear my first name much but her name is so similar to mine and so when I hear it, I can´t help to turn my head and see who said it. 

The people here are so humble. I love it so much. There are many homes in our area who don´t have any source of water for 3 weeks already. Its a struggle for them, but they still remain to be so happy....
I am so happy to be here. I love my companion. She drives me crazy a lot but really I love her. I love to learn things about the gospel and to see how the Lord´s hand is in this work. I have met a family who recently lost their mother to illness. They do not have any parents right now. And there are 7 kids...the oldest is 21, 19, 18, and so one. We were lucky to have the elders visit them because well they aren´t in our area but we found them. We were able to put a baptismal date on them. They are so prepared to hear the gospel. They have so many struggles right now, but are so faithful in knowing that they will see their mom again. I have seen so many miracles every day...It is just incredible. I have learned in 3 nefi about how God really knows what you need even before you say something. In 3 Nefi 13, before you pray, He already knows what you need, but you have to ask Him for it. Ask and you shall receive!! He is truly mindful of us and He wants us to become like Him and one way to do that is trials. Trials, trials, trials. But life really goes on and you grow :). 
I love you my family and thank you for all that you do for me. I do not want to be home right now. In a year, yes. Hahaha this month I will have 6 months in the mission. TAN RAPIDO ES! It makes me so happy to know that I have endured so much and yet I am still here. 

I love you sooooo much. Have a wonderful week and I will talk to you next monday!!!!!!

Les amo bastante, 
Hermana Santeco