Monday, November 24, 2014

9 Makes its Mark

Firstly, I was able to repair my watch for 15 Bolivianos which is a little over 2 dollars. Its pretty awesome! and its good as new :) I totally forgot that it was Thanksgiving this week....and so HAPPY THANKSGIVING! haha...oh my mind, where does it go. I really do forget a lot about home sometimes. 

So we had zone conference this week. I was so excited because we always learn something and leave with motivation to be better missionaries. Each of us had to prepare a message, for just in case if President Hansen calls us to speak...and lo and behold....he called me up to speak. I was
nervous....and within that same week, I had already spoke in my ward. and I made sure to in my letter to president to say that I had already been asked to share a message in front of many people..hahaha but that didn´t do anything. He looked straight in my eyes and called me up. I had a feeling he would anyways. It was the second time to share a message in front of many people, speaking complete spanish. The first time was already, but this time, it came out perfect. As I was speaking, I was in complete awe how the words flowed from my mouth...I was guided by the spirit. Presidente Hansen taught us a lot about how we can improve in many ways. How we can find people to teach...which is
exactly what we are struggling with right now. We made it a goal this week from now on to ask for references from EVERYONE and to teach EVERYONE. I loved one of the stories that he shared with us about revelation. He said that there was an elder from a different mission, long ago. The point was that we can be surprised of how we receive counsel from the spirit. But this elder for some reason, a rock and roll song was in his head. Later on he found a woman singing that very same old rock and roll song. He contacted her and asked if he could teach her and her family. Later on, she and her family were baptized in the church. The spirit works in many ways!

Within that same day, that night we went to the temple with Patrick and his uncle, Gadiel, a less active member Albina, and the rest of the ward. It was Patrick´s first time, and it was Gadiel´s 2nd time after a whole year. Hna Albina couldn´t enter yet, but she stayed outside and enjoyed the spirit of the Lord. We were able to reactivate Gadiel and watch these wonderful people progress in the
gospel. Patrick was able to baptize family names of a sister who came to the temple with family names prepared. It was a special experience and they all look forward to going back again soon. With hermana Albina, we are working hard with her to go back to reactivation so that she can be sealed to her deceased husband. She lives with her discapable daughter (I don´t know how to spell that sorry) and her two sons who are all 24 years old and older. She really has a hard life and we are doing our best to help her. She has diabetes and anemia. Its a rough life. I had grown to love her and to be patience to listen to her stories of her childhood.

We were able to hear the testimonies of the few of the many 30 or more missionaries that are going home in 3 weeks. It broke my heart to see how time goes by so fast here...we all cried. And it breaks my heart more to think about going home. But it is really such a beautiful thing to see how time flies and how people progress in the gospel. The mission is truly a blessing...and I am so grateful.

This saturday, Patrick´s uncle, Jazmany got baptized. They asked me to sing..........I do not want to sing anymore......because I can´t sing, but yet they ask me to do it haha. It was such a beautiful baptismal service. Gadiel who is 17 years old, shared the message about the holy ghost. We were able to help him prepare his message beforehand. We also taught him a lot about serving a mission. It looks like he is preparing himself to serve a mission :). I always feel the spirit when we teach him. He reminds me so much of Gabriel. When Gadiel shared his message, he cried......then his whole family (did i mention there are a lot of them here?) cried too. It was beautiful! Jazmany got baptized and everyone was sooooooooo happy. They invited us to was a good meal. :) 

This sunday, we were so blessed to have 8 investigators come to church. We had our primary

program, so it was extra special! We also had more than 8 less active members come to church as well. We honestly had a rough week this week...with working with the members, with people not being home, but the blessings came through and we were able to reactvate Gadiel. I was so happy to watch Patrick and Gadiel pass the sacrament to the congregation. We are watching the Martinez family grow and progress....happily and joyfully. When I told them I would most likely be here on Christmas, they told me that I have to come to their house that day :). I am soooo happy to be hear and to witness the Lord´s hands not only in my life, but the lives of others. 

I am making my 9th month mark...which means I am halfway...that I only have 9 more months to become better as a missionary, to find people to teach, to bring them unto Christ....It scares me to think about how time passes and how soon it will come when I will have to leave this wonderful place, Bolivia. 

As for the language, a few of you had asked me if I am fluent. Bueno, you can say that I am fluent...but I always say, that there will always be more for me to learn. :)

I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father for blessing my family y a cada de sus hijos e hijas. Estoy tan agradecida a mi Padre Celestial por darme esta gran oportunidad de servirle y ver los milagros que hacen todavia...

Les amo mucho,
Hermana Santeco

PS: I am going to Chilimarca today to visit my first area!!! Its Pday!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Half way through November

A 11 yr old investigator did my hair one day.

my watch (im gonna get it repaired soon)
camera case.....
shoes. they arent so bad after cleaning them. haha

my shoes are tiras!

we ate with a family for the last time. they did a bbq. we were soooo full. lol

Patrick passed the sacrament this past sunday! And now we are working on going to the temple with him :). Yesterday Hermana Callata and I gave talks in sacrament meeting. The bishopric only told us the night before....we were soooo nervous....considering that it was my first time to give a talk in sacrament completely in spanish....I was sooooooo scared, but I did it! My companion and I have been getting to know many families...with lots of problems. We were happy because we were finding families that need the gospel, but their problems began to stress us out..we are working hard on finding ways to help and serve them one family at a time. As so, we talked about how the gospel blesses families. The Familia Martinez was there when we talked, my companion told me that their eyes were full of tears during our messages were given. I was certainly guided by the spirit to give that talk..because I was dead scared. 
My companion noticed that I am always carrying my purple pillow around our house. I told her how Jesse would be a bully and take it away from me, and then she told me that she would do the same to bother me...-_____- everyone is being bully with my pillow. haha jokes. 
Mom gave me the ganas, she made me soooo excited to shop for new clothes last week. I was able to buy a blue long skirt, a red dress for 20 bs each which is a little less than 3 dollars. I bought a thin hoodie for 5 bs..less for a dollar, and a blouse for 18 bs, a little less than 5 dollars. 
We haven´t been able to decorate the house yet, but we are making some plans. I recieved the package with the chocolates, spam, maui onions, gummy worms, and soap. and the letters that were inside. Thank you for the package!! and for leaving letters inside. :) It made my day. Last night I dreamed that I was eating was a deceiving dream. I woke up craving for it. 
The missionaries in our ward, we are planning a ward activity called, Viaje a Hawaii! It a Trip to Hawaii activity that teaches about the plan of salvation. Its gonna be awesome!!! The missionaries were joking and saying that we are all going to Hermana Santeco´s house. 

My companion and I passed a huge beautiful red tree yesterday and took pictures with it. If you look behind me in the photo, theres a dog pooping in the yard...dang it. There are so many dogs here that I developed almost a phobia of dogs. Because there was a month that every week, there was a dog that almost bit me....its terrible. I´m holding tight to my book of mormon with me to defend me from those dang dogs. There is a street near our house that has at least 15 dogs....its terrible. 
We met a 82 year old woman who LOVES the bible that she is apart of a bible society. We visited her yesterday and she should us her bible collection. She has over 5 different versions of the bible and she read them all. We tried teaching her about the restoration but she has a little hard time understanding our message. She says that she already believes our message to be true because its the word of God, but we are sure she believes we are going to work harder with her. Poor thing, though, she lives all by herself in her house, but she always says that she is always with the Lord and so it isn´t so bad. 
We are teaching english classes on Saturdays in the chapel and we had sisters wait outside and call people in. A family came in into our class. It was a good turn out. :) 
We have been doing family home evening with the Martinez Family every monday and we see miracles in this family. We have been teaching them the lessons in FHE and we would always end the lesson in tears. 
I cannot believe that in two weeks, I will be out here for 9 months. It goes by so fast....and so slow lol. But since Christmas time is coming up, I miss home more than usual...the last thing I want is to feel homesick on Christmas, but its only normal. I made family here too :). Thank you for sending me emails and packages. I feel so loved :) haha. 

but this is my week. as far as I can remember. I am making sure to take pictures and to write in my journal every night. I do love the things that I do learn here. I learn so much about applying what you learn in your works miracles.
I love you all and only one more month before I can see all your smiling faces on Skype!!!
Hermana Santeco 

Monday, November 10, 2014

ALOJA (How you spell it with spanish characters haha)

AHHHHHHH!!!!!! I am screaming my minddddd and heart out here because one of my best friends just got called to Chile!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!!! Dang......I know one elder from Chile and he talks so fast....that when I first met him, I did everything I could to not talk to him because I couldn´t understand him...hahahahaha but that is sooooo awesome!!!! Congratulations Nye-nye!!! I am soooooo happy and filled with joy for you!!!!! We are going to be speaking Español!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! But I´ll be just returning home when you are in Chile.....oh well. MUCHO ANIMO! MUCHO EXITO!!!! AHHH!!! FELICIDADES!!!!!! 

But anyways...last pday I was sooooooooo Navidad sickkkk. My companion and I were doing our nightly planning and all we see through our window is that the family that we live with, putting up their christmas tree, with music, lights, and other decorations. We stood at the window soooooo TRUNKY......saying oh no.......November just begun!!!! But coming and I am sick inside of me, thinking about all of you enjoying the rain...when its sooooo HOT in Cochabamba. My companion and I are going to search for Christmas things to put around in our little house of ours. 
We were contacting an reference one night who works in a store that sells DVDs. It was the funniest thing ever. Many people here love Korean Soap Dramas. And when this young girl saw me, and when I saw she had a whole corner dedicated to Soap Dramas, I already knew. She was so eager to ask me where I am from. She approached me quickly even before we could ask her what was her name to make sure it was the right person that we were looking for. She looked at me, with eyes, opened wide..WHERE ARE YOU FROM?! It was sooooo funny!!! The chinese traits that I have call people towards me. hehehe. 
Patrick, our recent convert was able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! We are working on getting his temple recommendation so that we can go with him and escourt him to do baptisms this week or the following week. Its amazing! 

In Bolivia, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints makes 50 years and so they had an event that is pretty much like a culture night. It was beautiful. It made me think of home, but I loved it so much because I could really learn to love the culture here. All the stakes of Cochabamba were assigned a specific type of dance. I was able to see ward members of the ward I was in before in my first area, Linde. I constantly heard, "Hermana Santeco"! everywhere. I would look around and around and find a family that I was teaching!!! I saw many of them that I just wanted to cry because I realized that I do LOVE these people! I took a picture with Hermana Mariel Teran, I lived in her house the first 3 months in the mission field with my trainer. Her son, Manuelito said my name too! It was adorable. I miss them all! 

Because many missionaries are getting sick, they made a change in the mission that we can no longer eat with members on the weekends. It made us so sad because it was the best way to really get to know the members in our ward and to gain their trust to help us in the obra misional. But these past two days, as our last meals with members, we ate with this one was a lot of food. Soup, second meal, and ICECREAM GRANDE. I ate it all.............I ate every drop of it every grain of it. I ate it allllllllll. We were already late for an appointment because we had to push ourselves to eat everything, and we were in the areas of the elders, up on a hill...we weren´t capable to run.....we were rolling practically down the street and hoping that none of our investigators give us food. And so we will be eating with our pensionista everyday. :) 
I am learning a lot about the application of the things we are learning in the mission. A really prepares you for life...for marriage...for living the gospel and enduring to the end. I cannot believe that in a few weeks I will be out and away from home for 9 months already. It scares me at the same time because the time goes by so fast, and next thing you know I am home, in pants, alone without a companion, and I have to speak english.....haha.....But I am so excited to see you all on SKYPE!! Poco a poco its coming closer!!!!! 
But this is my weekly update. I love the gospel and being a servant of our savior!!!
I love you all and have a wonderful week. 
Hermana Santeco

PS: My companion and I are going shopping for clothes today. I am sooooo tired of my clothes. lol

Monday, November 3, 2014

Patrick got baptized!!!! By President Hansen!!!

It was a stressful week. Planning everything for a baptism, we literally were running all week getting things done. But things fell through fine. The baptism was beautiful. I had to sing in his baptism with a sister and two elders. The entire Martinez family, Patrick´s family came to his baptism and we had work miracles. After his baptism, two people came up to us and told us they want to be baptized too and they had felt something so different being inside the chapel during the baptismal service. The spirit worked through them. Yesterday Patrick received the holy ghost. Hermana Callata and I are tremendously happy. And with transfers this week, we were so nervous about being sent out to a different area. We both did´nt want to leave. Luckily and happily we are both staying. I have a high chance of staying here until new year and I would love to do that! I love it here in my area. I truly see so many miracles and meet wonderful people. The Martinez family literally had become like our family. We have family home evenings with them every monday and they always feed us haha. After the baptism they invited us to have dinner with them at their house. We even helped them make bread early that morning. President Hansen and his wife came. President Hansen baptized Patrick.  
It was such a beautiful thing to see. Patrick is only 12 years old and goes to seminaries and loves going to church during all the 3 hours. He truly understands why is it necessary to be baptized. He is a true convert. He will bless his family tremendously. He came to his baptism and to church yesterday in his suit. But he didn´t have a tie. President Hansen asked him if he had a tie, and he told him no. And so president got down on his knees and took of his own tie and placed it around Patrick´s neck. It was so precious. So yesterday Patrick came to church with his suit and tie. He really looked like Jesse. I was telling him to look at the picture I had of our family with jesse in his suit and red tie. I told him to look and see how much he is like jesse haha. I carry family pictures with me everywhere I go. But I have a transparent BOM case to place my BOM inside and I put pictures inside for others to see my family and to call attention and help me to conversate with people that I meet.


Oh and I won free icecream this week. They sell icecream here and its like charlie and the chocolate factory. Inside they have stickers. I won!!! :) it was perfect for a hot day. 

Halloween has past and just as many had told me, they don´t have halloween here. It made me sad. There weren´t any kids in costumes or passing out candies. My comp and I just ate brownies that day and took pictures because we missed home haha. Here, they give food to the dead. The day of the dead? Something like that? I don´t know how to translate it. But Thanksgiving? Really?! I won´t be home for that!? When I eat the most......when I was home. Which reminds me. Yesterday I found a scale in bishop´s house. I was sooooo scared to weigh myself, but you won´t believe me. I hadn´t lost or gain a single pound. I am the same weight........:) But I think I lost muscles...and so I will be exercising more. Its sooooo hot here now. Hot and dry. Its strange though because I can´t eat too much now. I just can´t. I try, but I get full easily. Today in Pday, various wards including ours, we went to a park with a huge pool, soccer field, volleyball, swings, etc- it was tempting for all the missionaries to swim....ahhhh....I miss swimming. But we ate good food. BBQ, potatoes...rice. The regular bolivian stuff. haha

We went to the temple. It was a beautiful experience. I understand more and more as I keep going. Not just the language, but the teachings and sacredness inside. The temple literally is such a beautiful place. Lately I have been feeling the spirit stronger than ever. I feel it when I hear primary kids singing, I feel it when I testify the truthfullness of the gospel, I feel it when I reflect on the blessings that the Lord blesses me with. My comp and I are looking forward to go to the temple with Patrick, our recent convert and watch him grow and progress. He is already preparing himself to receive the aaronic priesthood and looking forward to passing the sacrament. 
I cannot believe I will be almost halfway done with the mission. It goes by too fast and slow haha. I talked to president about school and everything and he told me we will talk about the timing for my departure during our next interview. So we will see...but honestly I do not want to leave earlier than I am planned for. We will see...

I am honestly so happy to be here. With Hermana Callata, with all the wonderful bolivians, and seeing the miracles....I can truly say I have so much to learn still and I look forward to learn more. The blessings come really does. They do. I miss you all. And I do not want to be home sick this christmas! But we will see...haha I am losing myself in this work...that I forgotten it was halloween and that it is already november and that transfers are this week. Its a wonderful thing. I love youuuu alllll soooo muchhhh and I constantly think about the awkward attempts to speak english with everyone when I get home because its not easy...its not easy at all. hahaha
I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you allllllll.
Hna Santeco