Monday, January 26, 2015

La vida como capacitadora! Sister training Life here I come!!!

I ammmmmmm soooo excited and I am you are happy for me because...I´m sister trainer this transfer!!!! I am blessed to stay in my area and have an wonderful sister to be sister trainer with me to help the sisters in various zones in Cochabamba. I have been chosen and called to be able to train sister missionaries to teach, to find people to teach, to be a happy and effective missionary! I am honestly so happy and so blessed because its a blessing to be able to help other sisters out here. I will be doing companion exchanges weekly....and it will be an adventure! I am a little nervous because its a lot of new responsibilities, but I am truly grateful for this wonderful opportunity to be called as one of the sister leaders of this mission. WHOOOO-HOOOO!!! So its most likely that I will stay here for 3 more months...and hey! I hit my 11 month mark! Its going by so fast and I´m learning so much and yet have so much to learn. I only have 5 transfers left here in the mission. Its going to be the best! I honestly thought I would leave this area, but it looks like I´m staying and the Lord wants me to do more. 
And I have a special shout out for Jasmine Emerson...Your christmas letter arrive!!! Thank you sooo much!!! It made me so happy. It made me wanna go back to basics and dance with you. I need to get back into shape (like if I ever was in shape bahahaha). I love you and I´ll write you!!

So this week was a week where I literally gave it my all to teach, to contact people and find new people to teach, to call members to accompany us in lessons, I felt like I was doing all I could. It was also a rough week. Its sad when we are with a member for two hours going to house to house looking for someone to teach because the set appointments which we had, had fallen through. Plus every member´s phone was shut was frustrating. But what I learned which is more important is the efforts we make....I made it a goal to include in my prayers at night to really tell my Heavenly Father of the things I had done throughout the day and ask Him if He was pleased with our work and efforts. I can say that He was pleased. I was sad because no one was home, but happy because we did all that we could. The mission is hard. It is really hard, but last night I realized that its hard for me because I worry about the people here that I don´t even worry about myself. But when we are home...when I go home, I will have to worry about myself and my future. The mission is seen to be a lot easier in that perspective. The mission is the best. You literally learn to forget yourself and just focus on the lives of others. Going home is rough, you have to face the real world...but the gospel blesses us. But I made it a goal to continue to be a member missionary when I get home. I want to be able to enjoy seeing the gospel change the lives of others. Its the best feeling ever. 

I saw something really funny people buy clothes from the states and as we know there are shirts that have funny sayings on it, but its in English and so they don´t know what it says. One day, I was helping my Pensionista sell bread at her house as she was preparing dinner and a girl comes to buy bread. I look at her shirt and it was a nice shirt. Nice, clean, white...but it had an image of a boy that didn´t look so happy. Do you know what the shirt said?? It said, "I´m not smiling, I´m just passing gas." I LAUGHED SO HARD. The poor girl doesn´t even know...and plus she was with her boyfriend and he didn´t even know. I told sis. Rosmery and my companion of what happened and we laughed soooo hard. Our Pensionista hna Rosmery told us that is why she refuses to buy American Clothes with things written on it. She has a good point. I had seen many shirts with interesting things on it. 
Yesterday in sacrament meeting we heard a talk given by one of the senior companion missionaries that work in the temple. They talked about something that I really liked. They said that the number of baptisms in the temple, baptisms for the dead, in a year should be bigger than the number of baptisms of the living. We have lots of work to do in the temple. We have many responsibilities to help souls on both sides of the veil. This work is wonderful and I love it. 
I would never think of myself getting to where I am today....I can make people laugh when I speak spanish and its not because I make mistakes speaking spanish, I make them laugh with my jokes and comments! Haha! I can be myself here.....and I can be happy, obedient, blessed, and an instrument of the Lord´s hands. I had grown to love the people even more week after week. I love being a missionary and this I tell you every week because I really do love being a missionary and if I could stay here forever, I would do it...but at the same time I think about how much I miss sundays with family and eating food at home...then I say, there is always a time and place for everything. I will be coming home in 7 months. 
I had made friends and family here and I enjoy everyday that I have here. I love the mission with all my heart and I made the promise with the Lord that I would forget myself and get to work. Its truly a blessing to be called as one of His leaders in the Cochabamba Mission and to be able to serve my neighbors. Its going to be wonderful 7 months...
I just want to bare my humble testimony that I know that our Savior and Redeemer lives and loves us. I know that our Heavenly Father has sent His beloved son to die for us so that we can live with Him again...I know that we can have eternal life as we live the gospel. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the father and the Son, Jesus Christ. Yo lo se con todo mi corazón. Yo lo se porque he sentido el espíritu decirme. Estamos en la verdad. Hay que hacer más...mucho más para que esta obra crezca. Soy Mormona, yo lo se, yo lo vivo. y yo lo amo. Les amo a cada de ustedes.......
I hope that my emails are uplifting to you and can help a few of you in your struggles which you may be passing through..remember that our Heavenly loves us and He knows us perfectly. Estas cosas, les testifico en el sagrado nombre de Jesucrist, Amén.
Sigan adelante. Hasta una semana!!!
Hna Santeco

i took photos with the 70ty son, Joshua in his traje. he is a darling.
Mariano the dog who lives at our house and always follows me in the street. 
sonia and her son owen from our ward. shes a true friend!
the girl with the shirt I pee in pools is going home tonight. she was my sister trainer this passed transfer. and we ate lots of pizza that day. my zone leader and district leader took a selfie with my camera

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Mission Changes You

This week I had the wonderful priviledge to have an interview with President Hansen once again. I was tremendously happy. I love having interviews with him! But the funny thing was when I entered into the office and ofter saying the opening prayer, he got right straight into it and asked me, "Hermana Santeco. When are you to go home? What date are you going home?" He took out his list of the transfers and I said to myself, "He is already asking me when I am going home??? I still got time left!" After talking about the situations of school starting in November, I told him that I would like to go home as I am called to go home. The 26th of August. It looks like that there is a possibility that I will be arriving in Hawaii on the 25th. We will see. Because lately missionaries are now being sent monday nights instead of tuesday nights. But they will send me my itinerary when I am a month and a half away from going home. That would we when I would have 16 and a half months.......that is crazy to think...and to even think that I have been out for almost 11 months. I keep telling you guys this, but really...I look at myself and ask myself constantly who am I? Where am I? What am I doing? I am Hermana Santeco. A missionary and representative of our Savior Jesus Christ and I am serving the Lord in Bolivia. I literally loved my interview with President Hansen, but I can´t lie but say that I always cry in those interviews because I am just so happy to be a missionary. He told me that he has seen a huge growth in me since the first time he became President and he asked me to share of the things that I had learned thus far in the mission. I told him...that I am learning that we are truly doing the will of the Lord....that God works miracles to this very day...and that the spirit really works through people. He looked straight at me and smiled....and said, "The mission is really changing your life". I nodded my head yes....the mission is changing my life tremendously. My heart is absolutely full.....and my love continues to grow more and more for the gospel and the people of Bolivia each day. 
Now...I got a question. I talked to Sister Hansen, the mission president wife and she told me that gas price has gotten down really $2????? Please tell me that is true in Hawaii too????? And explain to me how that is even possible??? Because hearing that makes me want to drive all day and go out to buy some pandas express...hahaha. But really tell me!!
So I have been studying a little different in my language studies. I am studying Bolivian Sign Language!!!! Its pretty awesome! Apart from spanish, I´m studying the signs so I can talk with one of our investigator´s son who is deaf. She lended me her book and its an awesome book! We had intercambios this week and my companion was the one who stayed in our area. She told me that that day they found him in the street hiding behind a tree...he is a funny guy. And my companion tried signing the word mom, but instead it turned out to be a wave just under her chin just using her fingers...hahahahahaha but the following day I was able to put into practice a few words that I learned in Bolivian Sign Language. I asked him if he was hiding behind a tree the other day and all he did was laugh and say yes. This is a blast really. Sign Language!!! But I have been thinking...I have a feeling that I will not go back to studying ASL....I think I´ll minor in Spanish at BYUH so I can cultivate the gift of tongues and continue speaking the language. I think that would be awesome and also a blessing.
So as I mentioned, we had intercambios. It has been rainy these few days but when it doesn´t rain, it can be really hot or really cold. Its a bipolar climate here. You never know. But during intercambios or companion exchanges, I was in the other area with my sister trainer. Her area is a hill...and full of dirt. And after it raining so much it was pure mud. I was in muddy shoes.....but that day was great. I learned a lot :). Plus I missed my companion, but I was able to learn!

I have been helping my companion learn english this week and she has improved tremendously. She has gotten to a point to share her testimony with me in English every morning. I´m so proud of her!

When I study, Joshua, the Balderrrama´s family which we live with, their son who is 6 years old, always visits me at my window. This morning he came to say hi to me and just started to talk to me. One day we promised him that we would play with him at night when we get home, but that night we were sooooo busy and all I heard was a knock at the window and after at the door. He was waiting for me with his soccer ball. I quickly did everything and got to play with him for a few moments. Hahaha but here are a few pictures of him, from my view from my desk, from his view from the window. Plus that morning I found out that my camera can take pictures by itself by detecting smiles. I was stunned that it was taking pictures when I wasn´t even touching the button...hahahahaha

I was able to buy a skirt for one peso.....that is one seventh of a dollar....that is amazing. 
Yesterday was the fireside in our stake. I had to sing and I was nervoussssssss. But it was a beautiful fireside. We had truly felt the spirit the entire time. I loved every testimony and message we heard. I can honestly say that the mission is changing me...its changing everything about me that I can´t even remember who I was before at home. I had never felt so much love for others and for the gospel. I had never felt so compelled to serve our Lord until that very day at the temple when I prayed and asked God if He wanted me to serve a mission....and I am so grateful for that day...and the moments that had brought me to that day to bring me to where I am today. 
It our last week in this transfer...and I have no idea what exactly what I leave or to stay...I love this area so much, our pension, our investigators....And Jenny will be getting baptized in two weeks! I love her so much...I seen so much changes in her and how the spirit is working through her.....But iré y haré lo que el Señor me mande que yo haga. 
As for packages.....can you send me some hersey kisses with almonds? or just normal chocolate bars of hersey with almonds? I miss that good stuff. 
Oh and little of culture background of Bolivia..I was always meaning to tell you all. NO ONE wants it to be their birthday in Bolivia. Why? Because they throw raw eggs in your hair...also flour. And you have to bite the cake after blowing the candles and its most likely there will be someone behind you to shove your face into the cake.......I´m not letting anyone know that my birthday is coming up...or I´ll just stay home all 
I love you all so much. I hope the family in Thailand can come back to Hawaii or at least I can go there to visit them. I would love that so much. I love you and I know that this gospel is true. I know that the Savior lives....I know that the Lord is preparing people to receive the gospel in their lives. I know it with all my heart.
Have a wonderful week. 
Until next week!
Hna Santeco

Monday, January 12, 2015

There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. Are we doing all we should?

"There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. Are we doing all we should?" -Thomas S. Monson

I can not believe how fast January is going by. Its already almost February...and I´ll already be out for a year....and many people are already going home....Nye told me that her farewell will be on the same day when Tyrone and Tatiana are giving their homecoming talk. How special is that!

I have to share something. This morning as my companion and I were walking to the internet place, we saw two dead dead and wet from the rain laying in front of a house along the street, and the got ran over by a car......two dead dogs within the time span of 10 was creepy hahaha. Poor dogs. 
This week.........I had grown the great desire to be a better person and better missionary. My Heavenly Father has answered my prayers daily. I was having such a hard time getting up in the morning. Mostly because the mornings are cold and it makes me sleepy and because the life of a missionary is exhausting. That night before I prayed with so much faith and remembered one of the lessons we were taught in our district meeting, that we can give all of our weaknesses to the Lord and have Him help us make them into strengths. I prayed so fervantly that night asking that He would help me get up without any problems getting up. That He would give me the energy that I need to get up and be better. That morning I got up, got on my knees and recognized that I wasn´t tired. I wasn´t sleepy and in fact, my body just didn´t want to be in bed. I prayed unto God with a grateful heart. I was extremely happy because after a prayer of faith, He has answered me. 
With a new year, we have been able to see the statistics of the Bolivia Cochabamba mission. In the year of 2014, the mission had 959 baptisms. And in December we had 60 baptisms. Welll 61 baptisms and 60 confirmations...I think there was complications with one of the souls that got baptized. Its a pity really. But last night we were going to have dinner with our pensionista like normal, but this weekend she went for a trip with her family out of town and was going to arrive just in time for dinner. But....she didn´t arrive. And all that we had to eat in the house was tortillas and my egg flour soup without an egg.....we were going to ask the Balderrama family to lend us an egg so I could make soup, but inside they invited us for dinner. I was dead nervous to eat dinner with a 70ty......But it was a wonderful dinner. We got to know them better. Elder Balderrama is the area 70ty of Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, and one more country....I can´t remember. But he shared with us that the church is growing tremendously fast in south America that statistics show that every 15 minutes, someone is getting baptized. To hear that filled my heart with so much joy...Its amazing how the work is hastening. He was telling me how he is to take an english exam to prepare himself for the possibilities of giving a talk in general conference. He asked me to lend me a few of my books and to help him with a few words. What a priviledge...I helped a 70ty with English...that´s going in my journal! Hahaha.

We had a day superrrrrr funny. My companion is improving in learning English. I´m doing my best to help her. One night I was praying in English to help her to listen and understand...but I had the hardest time to remember the word "example". I repeated the word "ejemplo.....ejemplo....???" then she told me "example"...she helped me remember the word.....we help each other pretty much. But one morning I was asking her questions of how to say a few words and I asked her how to say the word cocina in english and she said, "Chicken".....I laughed so hard.......she laughed so hard.......I´m in the chicken! hahahaha its supposed to be kitchen. Then much later that day two members invited us to eat at their house. And I was like...yeah sure we will come. The six missionaries in our ward went....did I mention they live like on the edge of a cliff??? They gave us HUGE PIECES of BREAD. We struggled to finish eating it....then after they gave us HUGE EMPANADAS big as my FACE. Then after they gave us cereal without milk to eat in a huge bowl........and the sister kept going outside, I don´t know what for, but she would come back with another bowl of was soooo funny because all of us didn´t know how to eat it was just a day where you just had to be there kind of day hahaha. 
I have been praying so hard to be able to see Giovana my convert with Hna Callata in the chapel. She has been busy with business trips and such that she couldn´t come for three sundays. My heart ached so much during those weeks...but yesterday she came...and I nearly just cried. It filled me up with so much joy. Then I saw our progressing investigators come into the chapel. I was even just more happy. And imagine how happy our Heavenly Father is...Jenny, one of our progressing investigators has a son who is deaf and knows sign language...for spanish. He also came to church yesterday and he stayed the three hours. I was constantly making sure that he was okay and feeling comfortable with that only his mom knows the signs. I tried so hard to talk with him with the signs that I can barely remember in English and he just kept smiling at me as I tried to make him teach me signs. Signing in spanish when I´m thinking English to sign is hard...but his mom told me that they will teach me signs as we continue to visit them. It made me so happy!! I´ll be teaching him hopefully the gospel in signs! I´m working hard on that. 
So there were a lot of changes in mission rules and such and it really was inspired. I loved the changes. But one of them that I don´t love so much is that packages can´t be more than 2 kilos heavy or I will have to pay...lots of money to get it out of a place where they keep it until I pay for overweight. Yeah that is just to let you all know :). 
We did a family home evening with the Martinez Familia a week ago and we a powerful activity that made a huge impact on one of the less actives in the family. We had brought chocolates for each and every one of them. And we had one of them do us a huge favor. We had one of them do 10 push ups for every person who wanted chocolate. But the thing was also if they didn´t want chocolate, the person still has to do 10 push ups. We had our less active member do the pushups...and he suffered. His body trembled and struggled to push through the pain. We taught about the atonement of Jesus Christ and how He has suffered for each of us, whether if we want to repent, have eternal life, go to church, keep His commandments....He did it for us because He loves us and sometimes we take advantage of His suffering because we will never come to full comprehension of how painful it was...but we were able to see that He has suffered...not completely like we do when we do 100 or more pushups....but He honestly did it because He loves us. The spirit was so strong......we were able to make an appointment especifically with him and the following lesson with the less-active....we could see that we did something good...and God was working through him. I could feel the power of his testimony that he once had and was coming back. I am eternally grateful for being guided to him and to see how he truly needed to go back to the gospel.
So....our stake is doing a missionary fireside! A musical fireside...which I have been waiting for forever. They don´t have a lot of those here. But its planned out by President Hansen, our mission president and he has chosen a few of us missionaries to do musical numbers...unfortunately I was chosen.....hahaha but really he wants me to sing. When did I ever get known to sing well??? or in my words...on pitch??? Hahaha....Its gonna be great. But nerve wrecking because he wants it to be PERFECT. It will be happening this sunday!
I only have two more weeks in this always goes by fast...I have no idea if I will stay here or leave. But I think it is really possible for me to stay. 
One of the things I studied this morning was about the 2000 do you call that in English??? hahaha......but its a wonderful story. Read it. Its in Alma 56-57. They had wonderful mothers. I have a wonderful mother. It made me think of you mother!! 
I´m absolutely grateful to be here...I look at pictures of everything that has happened and I sometimes can´t even recognize myself.....I would ask myself, who am I? I feel so different and I can´t even imagine not even serving a mission....who would have thought I would be a missionary...I never wanted to be one...hahaha but now I am. 
I know that la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias es verdadera. Yo lo se con todo mi corazon. I know that my family is eternal. I know we all have a purpose in this life and I am so grateful to be able to be part of this grand work of the Lord...
I love you allllll!!!! Abrazos!!!!
Hna Santeco
PS: I didn´t take a lot of photos this sorry....there wasn´t enough time....but here is a pic of me with my hymn book and of my chinese was a cold morning that day!

And I forgot to include that pdte hansen told us that this saturday, the church announced 11 new missions in the world. One of them will be in Bolivia! La Mision Bolivia El Alto! Que chevere!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Feliz año nuevo!!!! 2015!! cheee-heee!

Its finally here. 2015. When many things will happen.....yay!!! I am so happy to know that time moves forward and things happen everything...just to help me to count my many blessings. 
This week was like every other week, but not quite. It was a little rough to be honest. Why do people drink on New Years??? What are they going to remember anyways when they wake up and find themselves sleeping in front of a random door in the street.....On new year´s eve and new year´s day, everyone was either sleeping...or partying..or drinking...or drunk at the and this was in daylight. But after this week, everything should go back to little normal. 

Last pday was awesome! My companion and I did a house cleaning and sushi day for new years. We cleaned up and changed the furniture around. It made me super excited to study in the mornings to be able to look out the window (and what did I see....popcorn popping on the aprocot tree!..i just had to do it) and ponder on the things I learn and read. We made sushi!!! It was deliciousssss!!! With the nori you sent me, the spam...we bought a liter of cocacola, rice, eggs, and mayonesa and soy sauce to make us a little of home in my mouth. IT WAS GOOOOOD. My companion loved the sushi. I have not eaten sushi for over 10 months....and it was a lovely day. After cleaning the house, we jumped on the trampoline at our house. The family Balderrama got a trampoline from the states. It was rad. But I kept getting shocked when I touched someone or the metal on the tramp...hahaha

With new years here and because my companion is going home in 5 months, we are determined to do some exercise. We exercise in the morning and night. I´m loving it....oh which reminds me one morning my companion and I were thinking about McDonalds...I was craving a burger and fries....I could taste it in my mouth...and I just wanted to cry. lol who knew that I would miss the fast food restaurant that makes me fat.....but really I miss the flavors in Hawaii. 
It was my companion´s birthday on Tuesday. Did I ever tell you guys the traditions of Bolivia when it comes to birthdays?? If its your birthday in Bolivia, you don´t want anyone to know that its your birthday. They throw eggs and flour at your poor companion. I told her I would protect her, but the elders....the four of them attacked her. I didn´t know what to do, but try to clean it off...But she had an awesome day!!! She ran after the elders afterwards and wiped off the egg and flour on their shirts...hahaha. 
Last night I was laughing in my sleep again....I don´t know why I do it...but I laugh in my sleep. Hna Callata was scared when I did that and now Hna Muralles is scared of me when I laugh in my sleep.....but in my dream, there wasn´t anything funny. Hahaha. 

But as for the miracles of this week...I literally had grown to love the people here. I had never worked so hard to help them here. We are so blessed to have 2 people progressing so beautifully in our area. We are hoping to have 1 or 2 baptisms this month. But they are really progressing well in their church assistance and their efforts to learn more about the gospel. For this past 2 sundays, my recient convert Giovana hasn´t came to church and I was sooooo worried. To see your convert not come to church after being baptized hurts a lot. I was able to talk to her and she told me that she will never miss a sunday again. She was on a business trip. Please pray for her. She is really a wonderful woman. I just love her so much and she knows that. We are hoping we can really take her to do baptisms for the dead soon. There is a huge importance of members in the ward and their efforts in this work. We were able to have a few sisters accompany us in an appointment with our progressing investigator Jenny. And because of those appointments and that the sisters already knew who she was, yesterday at church when I couldn´t attend to Jenny the sisters were already talking to her. Sundays in the mission are crazy. I miss sundays at home, but literally you are running from one corner to the other to make sure your investigators, your less actives, recient converts are in their classes and with a friend. Its rough....but its a blessing. On top of that I´ll be talking to members to ask them to accompany us in appointments throughout the week, making appointments with less-actives.....its a crazy day that all I want is to sleep...but that is not possible in the mission. lol Jenny is progressing. The other is Melany who is a 12 year old girl who had never missed a sunday since december. She is our miracle including Jenny. I love having lessons with them because I can truly see how the Lord prepares people to receive the gospel. 
I enjoy each day  here although there are its struggles. I enjoy learning and serving the Lord. We are so blessed to be called as His servants to be here. 

This Pday we are going to eat lunch at the mission home with President and his know what that means.....FOOD FROM THE STATES! hahaha...:) I love being a missionary and seeing how fasting really brings miracles......I love fast sundays. I love the gospel and I love the Lord. I love you guys!!! I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Hna Santeco