Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 26, 2014 - Be The Change That You Wish to See in The World."

Hola Queridos Míos!! 
     First of all, I was waiting all week to see pictures of the Hawaii adventure! It looks like you guys had an absolute blast! Happy, Healthy, relaxed, and TAN!!! I love you all and I´m so glad you enjoyed yourselves.. I don´t know of anyone who could have deserved it more than you did!
This week I´ve just kind of continued on in my thinking and reflecting about the word ¨change¨. Like I said, I´ve come to love that word, and all that it entails. It´s such an important part of why we´re here... it´s the purpose of our existence... So I´ve been focusing on embracing and making the most of every change that comes..and this week, well, there were a lot of them! 
     We got to Tupongato on Wednesday night. and can i just say, I was instantly IN LOVE with this place. It´s got that totally small town in the mountains feel... like an Argentine version of Park City almost... kind of... But we´re surrounded by mountains, there´s endless viñas and campo... there´s horses, cows, chickens... AND you can see the STARS!! ha, okay so yes, I am in HEAVEN. 
     As always, because we´re washing the area... there are always the first week glitches and adventures. They don´t have real addresses or street orders here... so sometimes it´s literally impossible to try and find people... or find them again. But we´re going day by day... blazing the trail and creating the map as we go. 
We´re sharing a ward... i mean branch with the Zone Leaders. So that´s super fun. The branch is really small, and it´s not even included in a stake... we´re in an independent district. Huge change from Dorrego. We are the Relief Society Presidents, I already gave a talk yesterday, we switch off teaching Gospel Principles, and we´re in charge of visiting teaching coordinating! 
     Honestly... we talked on the colectivo here, and just said... we have no idea what to expect... what to do... or what awaits us.. but the area is gorgeous, the people need the gospel, and President and the Lord trust us to be able to work the area... So here we go.
     Our first day in the area it SNOWED. and not just a little, ALL DAY. wet, freezing snow. it was a fun day of ¨getting to know the area¨... and within an hour, our only map was a giant smudge of blended colors... ha day 1. But hey, mom, I finally got to use my snow boots! I didn´t bring them in vain! 

     ¨It is nearly a certainty that some of your expectations will not be met today... choose JOY anyway.¨- Jonathon Lockwood Huie. 
I´ve thought so much about that this week... how honestly the way we choose to view the situation, and make the most of it, come what may, impacts the results and the memories we make.

Dad once sent me a quote that I often think back on... 
     ¨I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess the tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or de-humanized.¨ -Johann Wolfgang Goethe

     There is so much on the mission... okay honestly in LIFE... that is beyond or out of our control. But it is our attitude, our daily decisions of how we will cope, that make all the difference.
Yesterday we had our leadership meeting in Tunuyán. It was so crazy to go back to my very first area after 9 months. It was pretty much the same, but I saw it through completely different eyes. Hermano Molto, an Hermano from the branch there was waiting outside the church, I went up to shake his hand, and within 10 seconds he said to me ¨Hermana Cox, There is something very different about you....physically not necessarily... Your spirit, your maturity from the mission, YOU are glowing, and you seem so much happier.¨ I told him that through everything I´ve learned on the mission, I have changed so much since he last saw me. 
     I am NOT the same person I was back when this whole thing started.

     I thought immediately of my favorite Gandhi quote ¨Be the change that you wish to see in the world.¨ Looking at things through that perspective has changed my mission experience, and ultimately, my life.
True change is a decision... it is a conscious effort. It doesn´t come from passiveness, from ¨taking what life hands you¨ and ¨letting¨life make of it what it will.
Elder M. Russell Ballard once said ¨Be a creator of circumstances, not a creature of circumstances.¨

     Agency is a beautiful, powerful thing. The ¨way¨has been provided for us. As well as all of the tools and truths to help us along. But with that... and sometimes the trickiest of all... comes with the decision. our decision, as to how, and to what extent we will accept, apply, and incorporate them into our very selves. Yesterday in my talk, i talked about change, repentance, and the atonement. I used the story of ¨You are Special¨and the Wemmicks again, but this time in the way of allowing ¨The Maker¨to remove those ¨dots and stars¨the imperfections, sins, and the marks of the world. To come unto Him and to allow Him to work with us in the way that only He knows how. 
¨You may permit the Lord to change your nature if you give yourself to Him... He cannot work on what He does not have, and He cannot have you unless you give yourself to Him.¨ (The Fourth Missionary) .

     In the end, our agency is the only thing we have left to ¨give¨to the Lord. He has given us everything. and so nothing we give to Him is really ours anyway.. But our choice, our will, our selves... He won´t ever forcefully take from us. Because He knows how absolutely essential it is that we are the ones to offer that sacrifice. So that the change is more real, more sincere, and more lasting. 

     Well, this is full of quotes... because I love them, and those people put it better than I ever could.

     This time is about change....this LIFE is about change. Whether we choose to accept it or not, it comes. So why not embrace it? 
The Lord loves each of us SO much. Much more than we can even imagine. Even with all of our faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings. But He loves us too much to leave us that way.
Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer. He gave His life so that we could have the hope of a brighter future. The opportunity to repent, to grow, to change. That´s what this is all about. To change to become better, stronger, happier, more pure. More LIKE HIM.
There is nothing better than helping someone to understand the Love of their Heavenly Father. and helping them see that through the Atonement of Christ there is hope, there is a way. We don´t have to stay how or where we are right now.

¨BE the change that you wish to see....¨

I love you all so much! 
xoxox Your Hermana C

ps....no one´s sure if we can get pictures to load from here.. .which is a shame, because they´re amazing.. .but I´ll try to figure that out. love you all!!! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 19, 2014 ¨just because everything´s changing doesn´t mean it´s never been this way before....¨‏

I have decided as of late that I am learning to love the word CHANGE. 
For lots of reasons. But first, the biggest changes: 
We got transfer calls last night, and as expected...I am leaving Dorrego. Having Presidente warn me a couple weeks early didn´t exactly soften the blow... but change will be good, and Hermana Cooley is coming to take my spot (i called it :)) so I will rest assured knowing that Dorrego is in good hands with her and Hermana Enos. 
I am headed to Urbana B. Valle de Uco. Which is the same zone as where I started when I got here to Argentina. The Hermanas in Tunuyán are the hermanas we´re over, so I might be able to do a couple of exchanges there! My comp is Hermana Hales... and she´s my first comp that has more time in the mission than me/wasn´t in the MTC with me. Big changes, and I am off to the MOUNTAINS! Urbana is seriously GORGEOUS, and I will be able to HIKE again! (I´m looking for all of the good to keep my brain from remembering how frigidly cold it is there.) 

This past week was a crazy one... yeah, i know, I say that every time I think. But seriously we´ve been working hard. I hope that all of you enjoyed Hawaii for me, I was praying you´d send some of that sunshine our way, and turns out it worked. Today at least I can´t see my breath. I can´t wait to see pictures and hear all about it! 

This week we´ve really been working on getting all of people ¨prepped¨ for baptism.
*Mauricio and Ivana are GOLD. we talked about the priesthood yesterday and he´s super excited. He is already like a member, and will be a HUGE addition to the ward. He finished the Book of Mormon and is making awesome progress with Doctrina y Convenios.  It was hard saying bye to them, but they assured me that they are in this for the long haul! Seeing them get married was a HUGE miracle, and I feel so blessed to have been able to work with them. It wasn't so much of a goodbye as it was a ¨See you later¨. I KNOW that is true.
*Tonight we are going to have a ¨mini testimony meeting¨with Camila, Sofía and their parents...to set a fecha and help the entire family to be more involved in their decision to be baptized. THEY taught US a couple lessons this week, and are seriously full of light and desires to be missionaries themselves someday! They too have assured me ¨We´ll see each other in the Celestial Kingdom. ¨! 
*Gisela, the girlfriend of one of the jóvenes that´s preparing for a mission has come to church the last 3 weeks, she couldn't listen to missionaries before because she wasn´t 18 and her grandma didn´t approve.. .but she turns 18 next week and is as good as in the water. 
The testimonies of the youth here amaze me!! 
*We found several new and amazing families this week! The hermanas are going to have their hands full of miracles here in Dorrego.

I´ve been thinking a lot lately about changes. I was reading in the 4th missionary, and honestly some of the things in there literally have changed the course of my mission, and really, my life. 
It´s amazing to think back on the last week, the last transfer, the last year (and a little)... and think about the ways that things have changed.... things back home, things in the mission, the lives of the people I meet, the people who come to know the gospel. But more than anything, the change that i´ve seen in myself. Sometimes it´s hard to really measure changes in yourself... because as things change day to day, we just become accustomed to it.
But I´ve thought a lot about how change really is the purpose of this life.... it´s the purpose of this gospel. It´s such a necessary part of our progression... our eternal potential... to be able to change ourselves from bad to good, good to better...and ultimately become like our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. The Atonement is such an essential part in assuring that those changes are not only superficial, but that they are real, lasting, and cause a sincere change in our hearts.
It´s amazing to me the way the Lord can work with his children... each so specifically according to their needs... and many times it is through ways we didn´t even know we needed. What we think we need, and what the Lord knows we need are often different things... But he works WITH us to show us our weaknesses, call us to Him, and test, try, and refine us until we see eye-to-eye. 
I love this gospel. I know that it changes lives. I see it every day. As a missionary I often realize that I, Hermana Cox, do NOT have all the answers... but the Lord, sí. We are so blessed to have such a loving Heavenly Father who has provided with a perfect plan, and all the necessary tools to be able to guide us step-by-step along that path. I know God lives, Jesus is the Christ. That Lord hears our prayers, he knows us, our strengths and our weaknesses. He loves us the way we are... but too much to leave us that way. He knows our potential, our eternal goals. And He has given us what we need to reach them.
What are we willing to change? 

I love you all so much! 
Hasta pronto.
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xoxoxoxo Your Hermana C
*Familia Perez. Bishops family. They have THE cutest kids!

*LOOK AT THAT FACE!!! 
*Baby shower for Hermana Perez. 5th one under 7! 
 
*Camila, Sofía, Abril y Cintia 
*Familia Medina! The only family that doesn´t 
make me look like a giant! 
 * Magalí, Ivana, Milena, y Mauricio



* Hermana Beatriz. She is a solid mix between Granma Stella and Betty White. I LOVE HER!!! 



 * Victoria y Florencia! 


* Zona Guaymallén! 



 
                                              *Familia Luxardo! 



May 19, 2014 - LAS Malvinas

Las Malvinas is the hugely famous soccer stadium here in 

Mendoza.... we even got permission from Pres 

to go to a match... ha psych! 




May 12 2014 - Photos





May 12, 2014

I love you all SO MUCH! It was so good to see your happy faces yesterday. I feel so blessed, and more so every day for the amazing family that is MIN,  for each of you and all you do for me! 
I hope you have so much, much deserved FUN in Hawaii. I can´t wait to hear all about it! 

Happy Mother´s Day momma!
I love you!!!!!! 

xoxoxox C
These are from our intercambios en Uspallata. Just to give you a glimpse at the ¨other worldly¨passage from here to there.




Some cool Graffiti


plus a giant chancho 

May 5, 2014 - "Then Sings My Soul"

First of all. I have to tell you all that i FINALLY got a package!!! Christmas in May, anyone?? It was part one of the Christmas package, but it had the majority of the letters in it. I was so overwhelmed as i unfolded letter after letter, pictures, snowflakes, poems and stories from the littles. I think I appreciated it even MORE due to the fact that it was 5 months late. I love you all so much, and I´m so grateful for the outpouring of love that I felt! 

This week was crazy fast. we started our with consejos and several meetings. and then, to top it all off, Thursday- Sunday was feriado. Which means all the business are closed, and no one works...aka there´s NO ONE in the streets! 
We have really been trying to refocus our efforts on the most important lately. Meaning, reevaluating what has helped us to be the most productive. Which just made the stand-still start of this week even that much more frustrating. But, we continue working.
These past few weeks, we´ve  really been focusing on working WITH the members. This barrio has so much potential, and they honestly have those desires to share the gospel.. .sometimes they just lack the know-how. So we refocused on them, 

And... to top off the week, honestly Sunday was one of those ¨It all came together¨days. 

*Camila and Sofía CAME TO CHURCH!! Their parents gave them the okay, more than the okay, they encouraged it. They absolutely LOVED young women´s and primary. They impressed everyone with their knowledge and their eagerness to talk about ¨When they get baptized and are members¨. 
*Jorge received the priesthood!! It was a really emotional moment. 
*Fernando is the best friend of Jorge. Jorge shared his experieces with him, and Fernando started reading the Book of Mormon and the folletos... and wants to be baptized... by Jorge. We´ve been meeting with him a few times a week, and he honestly is super great and will be antoher huge strength to the ward.
*Gisel, the girlfriend of one of the young men in the ward came to church, and is excited for when she turns 18 next month and can be baptized! 
*All in all we had 6 of our investigadores at church. 4 member familes came up and asked us to have family nights this next week because they have families that already have Libro de Mormón and want to learn.
*After sacrament meeting, a member couple from Chile walked in, and then told us ¨We have a golden investigadora for you!¨They introduced us to their friend that lives here in Dorrego. She then hugged us and told us she´s been reading, prayed, and felt the strangest ¨Heat and peace pressuring her heart¨telling her she needed to act and let them introduce her to the missionaries. We have a lesson with her this week. 

As i was sitting there in fast and testimony meeting, Camila and Sofía on one side, and Jorge on the other, I was just so filled with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me this opportunity. I have learned so much in my time here, and these people, with their lives, their trials, but more so their faith and raw desires to know and serve the Lord have taught me more than I could ever hope to teach them. As I look back on each week, and more as I pray each night and thank my Padre Celestial for everything that he has blessed me with, the list gets longer and longer as time goes on. This work blesses lives. It opens doors, softens hearts, heals wounds, enlightens minds and increases our understanding and vision of what this life is all about. As I listened to the simple yet profound testimonies of the primary littles, once again I was so humbled by their words. ¨Jesus lives¨ ¨Heavenly Father loves me.¨ ¨The Book of Mormon is the word of God.¨ ¨My family can be forever.¨ It´s these simple statements, heartfelt convictions, and their sincere faith that help me to realize that the Lord is in EVERY detail. That his plan is perfect. and that even the ¨small and simple things¨ have unmeasurable eternal consequences.

I love you all so much. Thanks for all you do and are for me.
xoxoxo Your Hermana C

May 5, 2014 - Photos-Christmas in May!

*Christmas in May?? 
I love you all so very much! 


*okay... so Iknow that most of you can´t understand this letter from Camila... but honestly one of THE most touching things I´ve recieved. All my friends that speak Spanish, talk about ¨How great shall be your joy if you bring save it be one sould unto me¨?? This is coming from a little girl who jsut weeks ago didn´t even know who Jesus was... and now she is sharing her solid testimony that families are forever, that Christ lives, and that our Heavenly Father answers prayers. 
¨Dear Hermanas, Thank you with all of my heart for the things that you have taught us. You really are part of my family. Thank you so much. I hope that one day we will find each other again in the Celestial Kingdom and that we can spend all of eternity together. I pray that the Lord will touch my mom and dad so that they will let us be baptized. Love, Camila.¨
¨
*just enjoying my candy cane cocoa. bliss.
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May 5, 2014 - Q and A's

Do you know what today is?  Well yes, Monday, P day, and Yes, Happy Cinco De Mayo Day, But to me today is 6 days until I get to SKYPE with you!  Yay, I am just a bit excited... Best Mother's Day present ever! Please let me know today just what time you will be able to get on.  Do you call first again and then skype or just straight to skype.

1. What time do we get to Skype and for how long?( so if your church is out at 12 and you have until 4 that is 9-1  our time and that is perfect!1. I will be skyping you at 3 my time. :) I, too am so excited to SEE all of your cute faces!! 
2. Your last set of photos showed you looking so great. Are you doing better with parasite and strep?2, i{m finally losing weight again. i´ve been feeling much better healthwise
3.  Did you throw up after you ate that "soup add-in"3. i have now self-induced thrown up twice after eating at her house..... i didn´t throw up after the body part, but i did asked to be excused to the bathroom, and i may have cried a little?? 
4. Your hair looks so good, i love the color that it is growing in to be!4. the color doesn{t have a name we´ve decided.
5.What on earth was that meal that you showed in the blender(pinkish, plate of some meat etc...?all I could make out was a lemon and cilantro on the side.5. hahah the Mexican elders in our district made us REAL Mexican tacos. it was divine! The red stuff was salsa
6.Our beautiful spring weather is trying to decide if it wants to stay?  what is your winter doing? what are temps etc?6. it{s getting colder  and colder here. President told me in my interview where he is sending me... ha i love him, we have a great relationship and he always gives me the inside scoop :) i am headed to the cold of the cold. awesome.
7.What about Derrego makes it more unique than the other areas that you have been in?7. that is a really long story. mostly just that life here is literally sketch. .... take that as you will. i wrote you and dad a snail mail letter, and i{m hoping that that will help explain that..
8. What is the names of your new president in July?8. Presidente Goats. He{s from Arizona.
9.Any more, i will save to talk with you about.......................................9... talk to you in 6 DAYS! 

I really loved reading your last entry of "if your Happy and you know it!"  You are are so amazing! It made ME so happy.  i love that you are always looking at the good side of hard things to do.  You are such an amazing example to many people. I love that you love the people so much.  That is a good quality to have.  I love that you are able to take to heart the message; There isn't any one that you can't love once you know their story,  even half way around the world, you can see the trials, the differences and the similarities that bind us together as children of a loving Heavenly Father.  

I love you, happy May! MOM

I LOVE THIS WORK SO MUCH. i have had a lot of really good times on my mission... but for the past two weeks, i have just been HAPPY in every sense of the word. I{e made a huge goal to change and to just give my all to this work and to just focus on loving and seeing the people as the Lord does. It{s hard, but I can see how the Lord has worked with me to open my mind and my heart. it{s painful sometimes, but I{m so grateful for it! 


love love love love love you!!!! 

April 28, 2014 - Photos





* Hermanas conference!! Cerro de la Gloria! 




*Sofía. you know it´s official when 
they use the yellow crayon to color your hair....


*the Mexican elders in our zone made us 
AUTHENTIC Mexican tacos. YUMMMMM


*Wedding time! 



Mauricio and Ivana got married on Friday morning!!
They are extremely happy and you can just SEE the
difference in them already.

*Okay... Beatriz. She is attending our English class and is honestly the craziest lady I know.... She always rides her bike into the church... and this time with safety goggles on her head. I had to take a picture. I love her. 

* activity with all of the JAS :) 

* Maxi. He is the wild child of the barrio. but, reminds me SO MUCH of Ben.
Jekyl - Hyde but super tender when he wants to be! 

* Lessons at Jorge´s! We´re teaching his friend, Fernando,
and he too is going to be baptized on the 24th of MAYO! 

April 28, 2014 - If you´re happy and you know it....‏

This week passed by super quick! The weather´s getting colder, and the days are definitely getting shorter... 
This past week we were working hard to find that balance between intercambios, scheduled events, leadership meetings, and trying hard to make our ¨end-of-the-month¨goals a reality.
*Mauricio and Ivana got married on Friday morning!! They are extremely happy and you can just SEE the difference in them already.
He did not get baptized because of some difficulties with his job.... he has had to work Sundays, and so confirmation wouldn´t be possible... But, he is working with that, and is planning to be baptized the first or second weekend in June.
*We had a goal to get into one new house every day, and we nearly completed that goal. We have been working more with members, and had 6 really good ¨with member¨lessons this week with friends, family and neighbors that aren´t members. I love working with member referrals, and the ones we got this week are GOLD! 

This week I had an experience that really impacted me.
The past few months that I´ve been in this area, I´ve really been focusing on what the Lord wants from me. What this area needs. What the people need. and how to allow the experiences I have to help me to become what he wants me to become. It´s not a typical area. It´s really hard, and a lot of times, the ¨results¨you expect to see aren´t the ones that come. 
Finding new investigators is tricky... well finding people who will really listen and keep commitments. President is constantly saying that it´s a miracle if people even let us in their houses. And that our biggest task after that is getting them to let us come back. It´s hard sometimes. Sometimes no matter how well the first lesson goes, they are never home again, they get scared and avoid us, they decide that they´re ¨fine¨ with how their lives are.... there´s all kinds of things that keep people from progressing. 
This past week for weekly planning, we were talking about our investigators, the people we are working with, the reasons why some of them progress and some no... honestly it got to this point where I was just kind of frustrated and sad. I couldn´t really explain why... I just felt super low, super confused... like ¨what more could I be doing? I´ve been here for almost 5 months and I feel like I´ve just about seen it all...¨ I was beginning to wonder if I just wasn´t learning what the Lord wanted me to learn.
I finally just started talking to my comp about how I was feeling about the area. Kind of just thinking out loud, really. I told her: ¨There are just so many of these people that I have come to love so much. I´ve seen them go through so much, and I´ve seen how the gospel can bless their lives. I´ve been there as they´ve said they´ve felt the spirit. I´ve seen them take those first steps, and seen how things have already changed so much. I just want them to want it, and want them to do what they know they need to do. I love them, and I can feel how much the Lord loves them. Why don´t they see it?¨
I realized in that moment: ¨This is what Elder Holland meant when he talked about how missionaries, to really understand the atonement, and how the Savior feels (even if in the smallest sense)... we have to ¨spend a few moments in Gethsemane....take a few steps toward Calvary...¨ That is what it means to really see them as He does, to love them as He would, and to ¨desire their salvation¨. 
Now, that is NOT saying that I´m always perfect at that, but it made me realize that the reason I was sad, the reason I was frustrated, the reason I felt confused, was because I LOVE THEM. I love them and I want the best for them, and I want them to want it for themselves.
We went to walmart, and I was standing there in line to check out, I had this feeling hit me. I all of the sudden had tears in my eyes, and my comp said ¨What´s wrong?¨And I just told her, ¨I just love these people!¨I laughed because it seemed silly but at the same time, I realized that that is what this is all about.

This week we had interviews with Presidente Ávila. The last ones with him as our mission president! As I walked into my interview, he asked how I was and honestly the first thing that came to my mind was ¨I am HAPPY, President.¨ He smiled and nodded, ¨I can see that.¨ and then asked me ¨So tell me... how has it been for Hermana Cox in Dorrego? What has been the greatest thing you´ve learned? What changes have you seen?¨
I told him how over the past few weeks, I´ve honestly had some of the most insane growing moments of my entire mission. How there have been the lowest of lows, but also that the Lord really has opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart to the greatness of this opportunity that I have to be a missionary. My time here in Dorrego has been really distinct. I have learned so much, and I´m grateful to know that the Lord knows his children so personally. 

I´ve been focusing a lot lately on the whole concept of ¨In the world but not OF the world.¨ How we, as missionaries, are So different. We are special. We have a calling like no other. A power that we have been given to fulfill this, the Lord´s work. He sends us out at this time, to change us as much as, if not even more than, the people we find and teach here. We are literally ¨set apart¨from the things of this world to be on a higher level, to turn ourselves over to him and allow him to work with us in that ¨higher order¨
I´ve thought a lot about the ways I´ve changed, the things I´ve learned, the qualities that I am able to strengthen from my experiences here. The change i´ve seen in myself from the beginning to even now is huge. I´ve thought about the reason the Lord chooses 18,19,20,21 + KIDS to do this work. Honestly there could be a lot more ¨success¨ if they sent out people with more ¨experience¨ who were trained as teachers, fluent in another language, good public speakers. But as always, the Lord´s plan is perfect. 
He knows what things await us in the future. What awaits us in the ¨real world¨, what awaits our families, our kids. He knows the kinds of people he needs to be to be leaders, and more importantly, the parents of the future generations. This is our preparation for the rest of our lives....the eternities.
I know that this time is priceless in teaching us, growing us, molding us for what lies ahead. To give us capacities and help us grow in ways that aren´t possible in any other way. I´m often overwhelmed with gratitude to my Padre Celestial for giving me this great opportunity. For knowing me well enough to know that this is exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It´s amazing what he can teach us, show us, and help us to become if we give him our all, serve with our all, and allow him to change us. Not just for now, but for ever. 

I love this work. Sometimes it´s honestly painful how much is asked of us. But in the end nothing he ever asks of us can even compare with the amazing way that he blesses us in every aspect of our lives. I´ve said it before, but I´ll say it again...
Coming on a mission is the best decision I´ve made in my life.... FOR my life. 
I hope you all know how much I love you, miss you, yes, but how much I´m loving and making the most of my time here. It´s short, and there´s a lot that goes into every day. But honestly I wouldn´t trade it for anything.
I´m happy and I know it. 

Love you all so much! I hope you have a great week! 

xoxox Your Hermana C

April 21, 2014 - Photos



* ¨¿quién es tu superheroe?¨


lesson for the kiddos that are obsessed with superheroes... 
talking about the greatest of them all...JESUCRISTO.
* Camila y sofía




I have to tell you that we all thought the strangest things that I could eat were found in the Philippines....
welp...
there´s a lady in our ward from Peru...and the other day we were eating big bowls of soup at her house
I was avoiding the meat because it looked too much like brain... then, after i´d eaten a good portion of hit, my spoon hit something else....
I uncovered it and.... excuse my vulgarity.... i found.... the very large part of a male cow....
it was a little bit much... and suddenly I found myself very full.

hahhaah just a laugh. It wasn´t funny then, but everyone in the mission has agreed that I win the award for the worst ¨food¨ever given to a missionary.

love you lots.

April 21, 2014 - GRACIAS A ÉL.

This week has been another one just jam-packed with opportunities to learn, work, teach, serve, and gain a greater appreciation for and trust in the Lord.
I think because of our new resolve to really purify ourselves, better our work, and promising to give ourselves completely to Him and His work, we opened up a whole new door for Him to test, try, and really prove us.
This week has been full of ¨proving your faith by fire¨moments. Our patience and determination were tested by countless hours of tracting during ¨semana santa¨(holy week), trials and crazy setbacks with different events, huge hurdles and disappointments with several of our most promising investigadores. Every we turned it just seemed like there was SOMETHING.
But with that, as we prayed more fervently than ever for the guidance and strength to keep working, we weren´t disappointed by the miracles. 
*Ivana y Mauricio. After several head-splitting medical reviews, waiting in lines for documents, and trying to work around work schedules. They ARE getting married this Friday morning. As of right now his baptism is scheduled for right after.
*We found an incredible new family. Familia Sanchez. Jesica y Ariel. we came around the corner and I saw him get off his motorcycle, scoop her and their son into a big hug, and knew that I had to talk to them. I had barely opened my mouth to explain who we were when he said ¨I´m just leaving....But can you come back tomorrow? We´d love to listen to your message.¨
We went back the next day, and he had to go to take a test, but we had a lesson with Jesica and their son, Joaquín (who is apparently my newest adopted nephew).We were all dying throughout the lesson as Joaquín right from the start wouldn´t stop shouting at me ¨Tía! Tía!¨(auntie) I spent half of the lesson on the floor building and destroying jenga towers with stuffed animals to keep him quiet and allow his mom to focus. The spirit was incredible, she is so prepared and has been SEARCHING for the guidance and love of the Lord. They are fantastic, and we´re excited to go back again!!  
*Sofía and Camila proudly announced that they had been praying a lot and really want to get baptized! (before we´d even taught them about it!) We are working with their parents more on that to get them permission! 
*Church on Sunday was amazing. We had 4 recent converts that haven´t been to church in forever that showed up. And two menos activos that haven´t come in years. It was a great recompense from our week of focusing on them and visiting them! 

Several times throughout the week, the thought of President Uchtdorf´s talk from this last conference came to my mind. The whole idea of being grateful IN your circumstances, the concept of keeping a disposition of gratitude. 
¨It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? 
Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I´m suggesting instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances--whatever they may be.¨
Then he goes on to share the story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, when he wrote in D&C 123:17
¨Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still; with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.¨
I´ve thought a lot about that throughout my mission. The importance of doing all that I can, but then knowing that people still have their agency to choose whether or not they will accept the message. It´s beautiful, but also as I´ve often said before. IT¨S SO TRICKY! 
But there´s so much to be said about having an attitude of gratitude in EVERY circumstance, every day, and for EVERY thing that the Lord has given us. 
Pres. Uchtdorf said ¨How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?¨
That stuck in my head, and I used it several times throughout the week to remind me to take time to notice the ¨tender mercies¨and small miracles that the Lord plants all along the way. 
¨Being grateful in times of distress does NOT mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It DOES mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.¨
He talks about how ¨It must have been this kind of testimony that transformed the Savior´s apostles from fearful, doubting men into fearless, joyful emissaries of the Master.¨
I thought about how important it is to let that unwavering faith, that solid testimony, and that hope that comes through the knowledge we have, carry us through EVERYTHING. The good times and the bad.
It made me think about the goal I made to be more focused on developing the attributes of Christ. The best way to do that is to study His life.... come to KNOW him on a more personal level.... and then, doing everything in our power to show our gratitude for all that he has given us.
¨Gratitude is the catalyst to all Christlike attributes.¨
Justo, we were online on mormon.org last week looking for ideas for ways to find new people to teach, and we ran across the video the church did for Easter. ¨Gracias a Él¨.... i think in English it´s ¨Because of Him¨? 
I know that Easter was yesterday, but if any of you haven´t seen that video.... go look it up. It honestly hit me so hard, and changed my entire attitude about this week.
In the video it talks about the magnitude of Christ´s life. The many miraculous acts that he performed. 
He lived. He died. But there was a difference. He was resurrected. He lived again. HE LIVES. and because He lives, each and every one of us will live again. BECAUSE OF HIM. GRACIAS A ÉL. 

I love Easter and the opportunity it gives us to really reflect on Christ´s life. Who he is for each of us. And to figure out how we can better align our will with His and change our hearts and our minds to be better disciples, servants, and followers of HIM. 

Because of Him I have the opportunity to be here as a missionary. Because of Him I can teach and testify with power that there is hope in a world that seems lost and dark. Because of Him I know that no pain, trial, struggle or hardship will be more than I can bear. Because of Him I know that this life has purpose, that death is not the end, and that there is so much that awaits us if we live faithfully. Because of Him I know that our family is forever, eternal. Because of Him I can start over each day with a new resolve to be a little better, work a little harder, serve a little more selflessly, dream a little bigger, and love a little more completely. Because of Him I can bear testimony of God´s love for us. I can promise blessings. and I can sing with conviction the words ¨I KNOW that my Redeemer lives!¨. 
I know that Christ is my Savior. That he guides this work. That he lived, died, and was resurrected to provide the way, the ONLY way, for each of us to do the same. To overcome the things of this world, to strengthen our hope of a better world to come, and to lead us to that straight and narrow path that will lead us back to our Heavenly home. Through Him, and His infinite love, hope is not lost, life is beautiful, and nothing is impossible.

GRACIAS A ÉL.

I love you all so much. 
xoxoxo Your Hermana C