Monday, May 25, 2015

15 out already and its cold

15 months!!!! WHoooooo!!! 

This week the traveling, the altitud, the food, the stress, the spiritual experiences all hit me all at once and I got sick. I couldn´t work for three days and stayed home to rest and get better. The good thing is that I have gotten better and I am back to work. 
This morning we traveled again. And I think I won´t be getting sick from the traveling. We left at 4 in the morning to go to Uyuni. I am in Uyuni right now! Its colder here and its beautiful. We will be seeing the Salt Flats. 
So the traveling. We went to Tupiza until Quiriza which is a historical church site in Bolivia. It was the first place where a chapel was built. We got to learn more about its history and of the miracles that took place there. Elder Richard G. Scott was mission president here when it all began. We hiked and sat in the very chapel. A miracle was that when they constructed the chapel, it was all donated by people to make it happen. All the funds and materials. The beam that was to support the entire chapel was being placed into it, but it sadly wasn´t long enough. They called it a day and left the materials overnight and as a people they fasted and prayed so that they could get their chapel built. They live in an isolated place. Full of little groups of people, mountains, and rivers. The very next day, they found that the beam could fit. Their prayers and fast and also their faith allowed them to see many miracles such as that. 
We visited places where President Kimball was to dedicate the place and where Elder Scott prayed. At a rock and near a tree to pray and find out if they should start building chapels there. We met a few of the very first members. President Dyer and President Dyer from the CCM and my formal mission president before President Hansen were the first missionaries that served in Quiriza. And look at how much the church has grown since then. There are hundreds of members in Bolivia and many chapels and a temple. We also got to learn many wonderful things from our mission president that day. Things that I can´t imagine not learning. My time in the mission is going by so fast and 12 weeks....that is almost nothing. I have seen the missionaries here who are going home next week having such a hard time accepting that they are going home. Its hard.....but I´m motivated more than ever to keep working. 
I learned that I need to recognized that I am not working for myself, for a leadership role, my companion, myself, neither my mission president, or the prophet, but I am working for the Lord. After 15 months, the leadership positions I gained in the mission, they don´t matter to me as much as it did before. Its nice being sister training leader and to be known as the sister that only had 10 weeks in the field to start training a greenies....but it just doesn´t matter to me anymore. I learned that the Lord recognizes our efforts and our work. And who else needs to recognize that? I don´t need to annouce to the whole world if I got a baptism or if I taught 18 lessons in 3 days (that´s hard to do here.....I didn´t acheive, but the Lord needs to see me that I am trying. I was sick...and I could feel Him recognize that I was trying to get better so I could get back out there. He could recognize that I was SAD. I hated to stay home. But I accepted His will and asked Him to give me patience.
I can´t really say much about this week. I am sorry, but it was because I was sick in bed most of the time. But this week is the last one of this transfer and there is a huge chance my companion will leave and I will be finding out who will be my last companion in the mission. I am going to miss Hna Crawford so much. She became a really good friend to me. She took good care of me when I was sick this week and if it weren´t for her, I would´ve been sick still. I am dying in the cold. It has gotten colder. Sometimes I still ask God, Why POTOSI???? I am from a ROCK...a Hot ROCK and I am dying. This area is the hardest one I ever had in the mission, but I love the challenge.
I know the Savior lives and I know that He loves us. I know that this work is real and that the work will never come until an end until God says so. I know He blesses us through our obedience and our efforts to show Him that we truly do love Him. I love being a missionary and seeing the things that He does for us in such an area where I am. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Stay warm in the sun. Its good for you.

Les quiero muchisimo,
Hermana Santeco

Monday, May 18, 2015

Yay for baby Trey!!!!

I ammmmmm just screaming from my chair from a sucky internet place in Tupiza, he is finally here and he is an asian poly for sure!! Your emails brought me so much joy and I am just soooooooo excited to see him soon. I am in Tupiza right now. I was just here three days ago and had to go back to Potosi in a 5 hour bus right back, and we left this morning to come here for a zone conference. I´ve been traveling a lot. And its not the end just yet. The ride here wasn´t so bad just because we traveled in the morning. Usually I travel at night and try to sleep. 

This week was a lot for me. It was a little of a trial, but the fruits of the labors do show through it all. Potosi is not an easy area. It is cold here, the people can be cold too, and its just dark cold vibes, but don´t get me wrong, I love it here and its beautiful. We do meet some great people here. We left to Tupiza tuesday night and had the best seats ever. Top floor, window front seat. The only thing was that it was COLD. But we got there. We did companion exchanges with the sisters and it was a blast. It was exactly what I needed this week. Tupiza is hot......its a little cold, but Potosi...COLDER. I love being with the sisters that are finishing the mission. Some are trunky......and some are just awesome. They are working hard and doing all that they can to not even think about home even if they are going to be home in two weeks. I love their example. I do honestly feel that I learn more from them, than I teach them as their sister training leader. I love that the most. I was with Hermana Perez from Guatemala and the other day with Hermana Rhoton from Idaho. Hermana Perez is such a doll. I remember meeting her in Tiquipaya when I first started the mission in Linde. Its amazing how quickly the time went. She´s already going home!!! Hermana Rhoton is my favorite. She inspires me. She has 11 brothers and sisters. She told me that her mom has a saying that she would have as much children as the Lord permits her to have....she had 12. I think I will remember that and might do the same. I want to bring God´s children here on earth and see how many the Lord will allow me to have....but really I am inspired. Hermana Rhoton is a darling! She is a happy missionary and I told her twice already that if I were a new missionary, I would love to have her train me. 

My companion and I left Tupiza that very night and went back to work in Potosi. I was sick with a cold this whole week and it affected me a lot in how I was working, contacting people. teaching.....I was literally exhausted from the traveling, the weather, the altitude, everything. But I´ve gotten better. We have been able to meet wonderful people this week and see how much the work and efforts that we are doing do bring forth fruits. If I say that I had a hard week, I say it because I do sometimes feel sad that after working so hard with so many people, they just don´t seem to progress....but I keep thinking and remembering Alma 26. Patience in thy afflictions and thy shall be given success. Sunday came around and I dreaded it. For many reasons. Mostly because investigators don´t come to church. We called a few people to see if they were coming and they all said no. We were walking to the chapel that morning and we decided to pass for the Familia Vara inspite that they said that they weren´t going to come. We couldn´t give up so quickly so we knocked on the door...and they came. The kids came. I was just happy and they loved it. They absolutely loved it. The downside about the first impression in that sometimes kids are naughty. One of the little boys that came with us to church said, "A boy called me pregnant! They are bad behaved kids!" I was just like this kids am I going to have 10 kids if they are going to scare the investigators away. But he just took it as a joke at least. 
This week has gotten by so fast.......I did see miracles this week. A girl named Stephani is a less active in our ward and we finally got to find her. She has been inactive after going to a Catholic school where its required for her to go to the catholic church and when the elders that baptized her, left. When she heard we past by the first time and she wasn´t home she was so happy. She has been praying for the past few days to go back to church. She made a huge sacrifice and skipped the catholic church to come to the ward. I was happy to see her in the chapel. She even has brought a friend to her house one night to share the gospel and they were both in tears.......apparently they think that my companion and I are perfect. Or in other words, they just look up to us so much. They admire us for being happy and living good values. They kept saying, "You both just have something so different and we want that". I always heard that people say that about seeing mormons, but it was cool to actually hear it from someone in person with real intentions. 

Leticia. The grandmother that is sick with cancer has gotten worse these past weeks. She is in bed rest and really weak. Please pray for her. 
Oh I lost one of my agendas in the street while walking outside. It was terrible. Its my life. It has everything. I had to start over with a new one and the down side is that we are already more than half way through the transfer. 

I am sick of traveling. And to think of it, if I am really going to finish the mission here...its going to be more traveling. But its awesome really and a priviledge. I made spam for my companion one morning with eggs and rice. She liked it! I found Jazmin Rice (made in Bolivia) and it was not too bad. Funny story, I do have a hard time remembering things. My companion and I were sitting at the bus station waiting for the bus to come to go back to Potosi and trying to remember actors and actresses names. We couldn´t remember Hermione from Harry Potter´s name. We were it Emma Smith????? Hahahaha its Emma Watson. We got the restoration stuck on our minds. When we arrived at Potosi from the bus ride, it was 3am....I was DEAD. I was drowsy and walking practically half asleep. A member was actually there and said hi to us...I couldn´t...I just couldn´t go up to her and make a conversation. I just waved and walked out looking for a taxi with my companion (i am terrible for that........) but we got in the taxi and my companion starts contacting the driver trying to give him a pamphlet (im proud of her) and I was just DEAD. I could not talk, could not think, barely walk...I was dead tired. The mission is full of funny moments.....I am a funny person....I like making people laugh here by just being myself. 

This whole week I did think about Marvy and ask myself....hmmmm I wonder if she is in labor right now....hahahaha 

Congratulations to Marvy and TJ and Trey. I am happy to hear all about the good news and see the beautiful pictures of my nephew. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Hermana Santeco

Monday, May 11, 2015

Y quienes os reciban, allí estaré yo también

the things i do to get warm. ugly but necessary. oh well we are in bolivia right?

adobe houses-

Vara kids. 

Happy Mother´s Day! Feliz día de la madre! I was really happy to see you all last night and to see how seeing my family is something I do look for and what I did need last night. I woke up this morning and my cold got worst. The weather change going on here is affecting me. I had to wear three layers of sweaters last night to get a little warm, not completely warm, but just a little. Haha. But I´ll be getting some cold medicines for that. 
This week was a little stressful, but full of wonderful blessings. We were able to find new less actives to teach and new people to teach, and new members to work with. The work is moving forward here. I like it! Potosi is the hardest area I ever had in the mission and knowing that I will be most likely finishing the mission here is a big push for me to keep working. Hna Donoso shared a beautiful quote with me that I carry with me always now, "Como termina su día será como terminará su mision. Como termina su misión, va a determinar como será su vida." How you end your day is how you will end your mission. How you end your mission is going to determine how will you life will be. I am pushing myself so I can end the day well and keep seeing the fruits of our labors. My companion is an amazing she is helping me go through the trials of the mission and to really see the Lord guiding and protecting us. I do feel like if I am going through the same footsteps as our savior and see how there is good as well as there is evil. Satan is working hard with us and trying to tear me down. But then my Zone Leader remided me a scripture last night. Doctrina y Convenios 84:88. Y quienes os reciban, allí estaré yo también, porque iré delante de vuestra faz. Estaré a vuestra diestra y a vuestra siniestra, y mi Espíritu estará en vuestro corazón, y mis ángeles alrededor de vosotros, para sosteneros. Stake President Hafoka shared the same scripture with me just when he set me apart as a full time missionary. He also told me that its normal to be scared, but remember this. This scripture. I had seen how the scriptures had helped me to see and open my eyes how they are true and they do provide comfort. I had a hard time sleeping last night, but I thought profoundly in this scripture and thought of Jesus Christ our savior receiving the comfort from His father. His Father sent Him an angel to comfort Him as He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. I could feel it, inspite of the cold weather laying under 5 thick blankets, that my Heavenly Father sent His angels to protect me and hug me as I fell asleep. 

Whoever shall receive me shall also receive Him. He will be on my left, On my right...surrounded by His angels to bare me up. 
I am a happy missionary blessed with the knowledge and the five cans of spam that the Eyre Family sent me and my companion (hahahahahahaha). But really. I am grateful. Its amazing how the time goes by fast and life just keeps moving forward and we see how wonderful our Heavenly Father is. 
If I do have to say another thing which I learned, it has to be that I´m learning to respect people´s free agency. Mostly of the people we contact and teach. Or in all, everyone. Its a trial at times, but I´m learning a whole lot about it. 
This week, just like I said last night, I´ll be traveling to Tupiza to do companion exchanges. A 5-6 hour long bus ride. Not fun. We will be also getting back and we will have to travel back to Tupiza until Quiriza which is 5-7 hours away in Bus the following week. I am not too sure when we will be traveling there next week, but I heard it could be in the afternoon or 4am monday. We shall see. So if there is a little difference of when I email you, difference of time, you know its because I am traveling. 
Just a friendly reminded, I expect a movie marathon night with you all when I get home and to eat panda´s express when I get home. My zone leaders call me panda power now because they think its so funny that I´m chinese and that I could own Panda Express. They gave me the idea that I actually wished that I did hahaha. I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Don´t worry too much about sending me a package if not. I figured that if you send it, I´ll be getting it in July and that´ll leave me 2 months to enjoy it. But its all up to you. Send me warm fuzzy socks! Haha. I love you all and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.
Hna Santeco

Monday, May 4, 2015

El mes de mi Madre!

leadership training conference lunch

it was the last time i got to see hna rumualdo, my last companion. she is going home this transfer

with hna Hansen

one the plane with the others sister training leaders to get back to sucre and potosi

after 7 months, i finally got brian wheeler´s letter from Japan.

            i love letters!

How lucky is my mom to have her birthday and mother´s day combined in one month. I love the card that dad made for you mom. Its true really. You are special to us everyday and we do really love you and appreciate you for all that you do. I am so grateful for mothers and the wonderful women in my life who I have as my examples. Just yesterday as the nursery leaders brought all the loud noisy kids to the relief society room when we were still in the middle of the lesson, I observed each of the children run searching for their mothers. Many of them ran up to their mothers hugging them and kissing them. Inspite of the noise and the chaos and the poor relief society president trying to speak over the noise of the kids screaming and crying (which was funny), I could feel the joy of being a daughter of a wonderful mother, and the future of being one, one day. I have my moments in the mission where I rethink and say, "How am I going to be a mother if this kids drive me nuts?!" But then again...I could see the beautiful moments that a mother could have with her children. I yearn for that and that really also makes me excited for Marvelyn to be having her son very soon. 
This week was a week full of traveling, learning, and taking care of my companion. My companion has gotten a little sick from traveling and the both of us had felt a little overwhelmed from all the things we are expected to do as sister training leaders in Potosi....1. Its really cold....2. we have two little heaters (portable) and five blankets, and fuzzy socks. 3. We had to go through Godly sorrow with our investigators, 4. Companion exchanges..we still got to do them still. 5. and many other factors.....but we had the wonderful priviledge to fast and pray to find a way to get through this little mountain in our journey together in Potosi. The Lord shown His hand...and touched our hearts to show that there is still good when it seems there is only bad. 
We traveled to Cochabamba this past tuesday night. Just as last time, we traveled the night before in a taxi, a three hour car ride to Sucre, stayed the night there and traveled through plane to Cochabamba the following morning. Traveling is not fun. I would love traveling if I were with Gabe, Jess, and Marvy. Like those fun times on the plane rides to Thailand. But I do my best now to take advantage of the time to sleep...but its kind of hard to sleep in small cars and short plane rides...and when the elders want to talk the whole way......but the conference, the leader trainingship conference was awesome. Loved it! We also ate good food for lunch. It was almost like a loaf of bread filled up with pizza stuff, almost like a hot pocket, but not. But it was huge!!!!! The funny thing was that out of the 10 sister training leaders in the mission, I was the only sister that could finish it. Bahahaha....oh do I know how to eat! We stayed at President´s house that night and when I told him and Hermana Hansen, his wife that I ate it all, you should have seen their faces. They were shocked and said, "You ate that whole thing?!" hahahaha....I love eating so much. After that conference, my companion and I went out and shop a bit for a few things from the supermarket for things we can´t find in Potosi. For example, Doritos and pasta. hahaha and pancake mix. I am cooking like crazy now. I even bought a hairdryer because its hard to leave my hair wet here now in Potosi...its cold. We ate dinner, ate some good chicken and went to the mission house. Hermana Hansen was there home alone while president was at a meeting. We talked to her as we were just settling down. She gave us some clothes to bring to Potosi so we would be warm. (Thank goodness) and then we started to talk to her like just girl talk. She told us how she meet president, how she knew she was to marry him, and how he proposed and how she responded. It was so funny and so fun to talk to her like that. She made me realize how the mission is really preparing me for marriage...(I am not trunky, I am just being real now haha). But really. I can see it and I am really grateful. 
Being in their house was really nice. President Hansen got home and joined the conversation and that is when I told them about how I finished my lunch at conference. Hahaha. Then when we just finished the conversation and about to leave to the room, President asked if we could do a family prayer. It was so tender. He said the family prayer and literally accepted us along with his wife as if we were their daughters. 

But I am not going to lie. It was HOT in Cochabamba to sleep there. I do not know how I am going to adjust to the Hawaiian weather. I am so used to the dry and cold climate now. 
That next morning they made us french toast and sent us off to the airport in a taxi. I felt like I was literally with a family of my own who loved me. President Hansen and Hermana Hansen are amazing.
We got to our area after the long traveling and went straight back to work. We did not eat lunch that day because we felt sick from the traveling, but eventually I literally went crazy for food...mostly chicken because I didn´t eat any meat that day. But we kept working. 
I had seen so many funny things here. Its sooooo funny. Usually how you can see on google that the people here carry things and somethings their babies in ayuayo (the colorful fabric) on their backs. That day I say a lady carry her son on her back who was probably like 5 years old, just strapped awkwardly on her back. Just like a strap. Just like he was duct taped to her back with his legs dangling. Its was hilarious! 
We are traveling to a farther place for zone conference this month, to a place called Quiriza. Its an hour away from Tupiza. It is where the church started in Tupiza. Its a beautiful place and I´ll make sure to tell you guys more about it as soon as I know for myself for sure. 
We were lucky to find a member to have us come to use their computers to skype you guys. We are so excited!
I got Brian´s letter after 7 months. I loved his letter!
I got your package! I loved that too thank you so much!
The miracles this week...with the Vara Family, it has been hard not with them, but everyone in our area. Sometimes we feel that this area is just really one of the hardest ones in the mission. People progress really slow here. But we went back to this family to teach them and show them the Restoration Video of Joseph Smith. After thinking that because her kids are noisy and won´t let her listern or pay attention...we could see that the spirit was working in her. She told us that she felt something different, from that movie, and even when she reads the pamphlets. We gave her the Book of Mormon...we are so happy. We left that appointment happy. It was the same day while we were fasting. My soul was filled with so much light and I was content and grateful. 
Finding people here also is hard. Finding people to teach. They just....disappear sometimes and get lost. We go to this place, sabores urbanos where they make DELICIOUS food. I go there a lot to eat salchi papas, lomito, hamburgers. We always wanted to contact the owners of that place. We finally did yesterday in the street. Did you know how hard it is to find people who live together and are married and dont work on sundays? They happened to live together, to be married, and to not work on sundays. Thank you Heavenly Father for that miracle.
I am grateful. Just so grateful for the things that I am learning here and the opportunity to grow and to serve the savior. The time is going by so fast. 4 months to week to go to see your beautiful faces. The mission is the best and I´m loving the time I have see the progress...of others and ourselves. 
I look forward to see you all soon.
Have a wonderful week. Love you,
Hermana Santeco