Monday, June 22, 2015

Sweet 16 months

I got into BYU-Hawaii! I just got the email and I got in. :) I am pretty stoked! I will be starting in Winter Semester 2016. Its really getting real more and more each week. And mother........Marvy told me that you are counting the weeks. Hahaha me too. I am counting and just in shock everyday...every moment. But we just keep moving forward right?

This week was a really good week. We worked HARDER than last week and we finally found a way to get through the struggles and keep moving forward. After being here 3 months, my companion and I finally found the strategy to move forward the progress here. It started with a goal that we were thinking of a week ago. We made a goal to ask at least 5 people, whoever it shall be in the day for references, if they would happen to know someone that we could teach. It works. It totally works. We asked 41 people this week for references and 4 of the 10 new investigators we found were from references. Our work has improved tremendously and we working even harder each day. As we ask for references from others throughout the day, I know that the Lord recognizes our desires to find someone to teach, and so he places them in our path. We did get rejected many times, but we were still able to continue to look for people to teach. My faith has been tested and challenged here in Potosí, after all the trials and the challenges I had here, and with patience we were able to find a way to help our area progress and improve. I am still learning a lot about patience and I am sure that is something that I will have to learn about my whole life. I am just absolutely grateful for the Lord helping us in this area. Potosí is hard...but its a learning experience that I can´t even imagine not having in the mission.

It has gotten so much colder. The 24th this month is San Juan when supposedly is when its the coldest day of the year, but to be honest, I think I have gotten used to the weather now after just putting on more clothes. Plus its so much colder in the states. They said the coldest it was this pàst week was -8 degrees cesilus (Oh my gosh, how do you even spell that word?).

I had a few ups and downs this week when it came to controlling my attitude towards everything. I am not a perfect person. Potosí really helped me to really accept that I am not perfect. The cold, the weather, the lack of sleep makes me grumpy and I am really learning to control my emotions so it won´t interfere with the spirit nor my faith. The church here is still beginning and it is literally kind of still starting here after 50 years, the church here is still being developed. We have been without a bishop for 5 months already, but the surprise is that they announced yesterday that we will have ward conference this next sunday...which was super out of fingers crossed...I hope we have a bishop. We need one. The Lord needs one.

We did two companion exchanges this week. With two different companionships in our zone. It was a really humbling experience for me. The things that I really learned from them is that I learned to truly search more things to learn and to apply them. If we don´t apply anything we learned in the mission, it wouldn´t mean anything to us and we don´t progress. I did a companion exchange with a sister that only has three weeks in the mission field and I was super impressed by her desires to learn and to apply the things she learns into her life. And with the other sister, she is applying it already...after being in the mission for 16 months, I can see how the Lord really teaches us little by little, precept by precept....and after making efforts to improve each day, He blesses you with more. I remember starting the mission and looking at Preach my Gospel as a book that I was not very familiar with at all....I never knew what to read, what to apply because it was a lot at one time. But now at 16 months...I know what chapter is which by heart and I know what I am applying and what I am lacking in my abilities to teach. The Lord has blessed me to teach in a language I didn´t teach by the spirit. Who would´ve knew that I would reach this point....and now I have great desires to continue teaching the gospel to others when I am home. I never liked when I was asked to teach people because I get so nervous. But now, I love it. I love teaching and I love being involved in the discussions in classes in Gospel Principles and everything...I love it. I love teaching..and who would´ve thought I would? The Lord blesses His missionaries with gifts and talents that they never had before. I am grateful...

As I mentioned before the Lord really had guided us to people this week as we constantly searched for people to teach. We got a reference about two weeks ago that we finally could contact yesterday. We contacted her, great person, made an appointment, left her a pamphlet and we asked her for a reference, too. She sent us to her next door neighbor who happened to be home already. We first thought that maybe we should try going back a different day, but my companion and I figured that we should go already because it was way below of a hill and a little far from where we usually are. We knocked on her door, contacted her, shared a little message....We could feel something really special with her...we could feel the spirit. We were just about to finish with a prayer after making a next appointment and my companion asked her an inspired question, "Hermana is there something you would like me to pray for specifically?" We look at the Hermana...and she just started crying. We gave her a little moment...and we could see that there was some difficulties possibly going on in her family. We prayed with her and she felt a lot more calmer. She said, "Chicas. I´m catholic, but I am willing and openly willing to get to know the Mormons. I think I really need to get to know of this church before I make any conclusions." We left that appointment really happy and really content. The Lord led us to companion also contacted this one lady when I wasn´t with her because we did companion exchanges who is now reading the Book of Mormon. She told my companion that she wasn´t home that day when I was going to meet her finally because she was working. When my companion and the other sister meet her the first time, she was looking for a job and it was HARD. Finding jobs in Potosí is hard. But eversince that visit, she found a job and now she is reading the Book of Mormon. I never got to meet her yet....the downside of companion exchanges, but I already accept it as a miracle and a blessing.

My companion and I have been making lots of efforts to help the people here as well as the members to really keep the sabbath day holy. Its really hard for them here. And I don´t remember if I mentioned this in my letter last week, but Bolivian time is way later than Hawaiian time....we made lots of efforts to help them get to church in time just to take the sacrament. There is a family that we are teaching with a daughter that we will be baptizing soon. As a family, they haven´t taken the sacrament for a longgggggggg time. Last week we called them in the morning...and they came to church and partook of the sacrament. My companion asked the father of the father in a lesson, "Hermano, How did you feel when you took the sacrament?" He said that he felt really good...really realized after all that time of not taking the sacrament. We were able to help a family come to church...and many others yesterday.

We also saw the power of the BOM take place....the familia Vara..we have been focusing a lot in the BOM with the mother who we invited to read it for awhile, but haven´t got to read yet...its sad when one doesn´t read because it all really is read it, pray, and desire to know if its true or not. We asked her lots of questions to understand how exactly she feels...and what she is expecting from us when we visit her. She told us that she still remembers the first time when she read the Book of Mormon and she felt something really special..something really different. She liked that feeling. We asked her, "Hermana why do you think you felt that?" She didn´t know why. "Hermana, that was the holy ghost...and that came from God. And why do you think that God allowed you to feel what you felt?" She said..."I think its because He wants me to read read the Book of Mormon." I was soooooo happy to hear her say that. The Book of Mormon took place...and touched her heart.

It is a little hard here because lots of the schools here are catholic schools and they obligate their students to go to their church and go through their first communion. Its mostly hard for the members here and our investigators...its a challenge, but its something we learn from.

I will have an interview with President this week. I am excited!! and I´ll be completing 16

I am really grateful for my companion. We do make a really good team. We teach by the spirit and we finally know what we are doing. We found that studying in the morning is when we really receive revelation for our area and the people we are teaching. I love that...I love it all...and I can´t imagine it coming to an end.

I love you all and I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love the mission! Es la mejor!!!

Hermana Santeco
PS: I love green apples with peanut butter and nutella!!!

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