Saturday, October 31, 2015

Week 21 Forward With Faith

Hello There Everybody!

This week was defiently interesting to say the least. We taught a bunch of lessons and found 7 new investigators! (Some of them were old investigators of other missionaries, but they are new to us.) One of the hardest things about this sector is that it technically is not a town. It is not a permanent place for people to live. All of the houses and such are all owned by the mine Cobresal. So when someone lives here, it is for only like 2-3 years at a time, maybe more, maybe less. So our Area Book is filled with investigators that dont live here anymore. We are basically the Rest Stop of the mission. We prepare everyone to recieve the gospel in another city.... El Salvador hasnt had a baptism in over 3 years.

(Sorry for the novel here. Be patient. If you begin to read, read to the end. If you dont want to read it, that is okay too. Its mostly my own emotions.)

On another sad note. I was yelled at pretty hardcore by my companion this week. It started earlier in the day when I found out that she was using the mission funds, not personal funds, to buy her brand new digital camera. That is a lot of money, and we are only supposed to use the money from the mission for specific things that are outlined in the Missionary Handbook. I wasnt sure if she knew the rule so I explained a little, and she got REALLY upset (the guilty taketh the truth to be hard), she told me that she knew the rule, but that it isnt really a rule, and that President knows that everyone does it, and that I could tell him if I wanted but it wouldnt change anything and I couldnt change her decisions. So I got really quiet and just let the matter drop..... But I could tell she was irritated with me.... So later I gave her my last cookie and granola bar because she was complaining about being hungry. I thought that fixed it.... But no....
Later we were leaving a house that we had entered REALLY late. Like 9:45. I was hesitant to even go in because of how late it was. But we hadnt been able to contact this person for a very long time. And we didnt even have anytime to teach them. So we just talked a little. And I didnt inturrupt and say the time, because last time I did that Hermana Borges yelled at me later as well. I just thought, Okay, we´ll leave the house and walk REALLY fast to the apartment, because we were pretty close. So we left and we both took off. I explained really quickly that we didnt have the 10:30 buffer time because it wasnt a lesson, and I thought that we were on the same page. So I was walking really fast, and she was just taking her time. I got a Little annoyed that she didnt seem to want to follow the rules. And she was obviously still peeved with me. So by the time we got to the gate in front of the house, I thought she might slap me. She was yelling how I was crazy, how I was going to end up killing myself, and how if I didnt relax and show love once in awhile everyone would hate me, and I would hate me, and I would have a horrible misión. Then she threw down her bag (we are in the apartment now) and dropped to her knees and still yelling some pretty mean things, she stopped and said, Lets pray and plan for tomorrow.
I sat in shock for a minute, I didnt want to pray with these feelings. I knew that whatever work we did would not have the spirit. Because of how angry she was, and how sad I felt. She continued saying somethings about how I could continue on this path and hate my misión if I didnt at least try to be happy, or I could change, because she has never had this problem in her misión before. I am happy to say that my response to all of this, at first it was apoligetic and confused, and a Little defensive, but by this time I hadnt spoken in a few minutes, I was just kneeling on the floor across from her and listening. My response became, ¨Im so sorry. Thank you. Im going to work on that.¨
After I said that she couldnt seem to have any other epithats to throw at me. So she prayed. It was a very angry prayer that indirectly addressed all of my percived shortcomings. And then afterwards planning for the day after took over an hour. I did all the planning by myself while she sat in silence and took off her makeup.

I dont think I ever prayed as hard as I did at that moment and the whole day after, and every day since. I recieved the impression to just ignore it, and continue doing what I´ve been doing. Just trying harder every day. Because this one incident doesnt have to be the downfall of our companionship. This was just one day.  The rest of the week went really well. I do admit it is hard to feel the Spirit in our times when it is just the two of us. Because I know she doesnt want me here. But we are both here, and both learning and growing. And I really have grown to love her, and appriciate her. My approach to everything right now is love, and the words, ¨Thank you. Im going to work on that.¨
I know that through my prayers, God has granted me a Little more humility and a Little more charity, to be able to sit back and listen to an angry list of my shortcomings and now feel angry. Not feel like I have to change her perspective and respond to what she is saying. Just to have enough emotion to say, Thank you. Im going to be better.

Sorry for the novel. I dont talk to a lot of people here. It feels good to get that out of my system. For the record, Hermana Borges, is a beautiful person. She has really wonderful qualities and a very strong testimony. She has and will change the lives of many people in her misión and in her life. I know that she is a daughter of God with unlimited Divine Potential. And I love her. And with that love on one side of the companionship, we will get through this Transfer. She doesnt have to like me, to agree with me, or want to work with me, for me to love her, to agree with her, and for me to have a desire to work with her.

But with faith and now that I talked with the Sister Training Leader and President about some rules that I knew where being broken or at least bent a little bit, our numbers have started to go up. Thing in El Salvador and our relationship are progressing. I wake up every morning ready to help her and the Lord with everything that I can.

Also as a thought for the week, the little things dont really seem like a big deal. But they are. For example, we needed to buy bread this week. And bread here is about 2,000 pesos. And we had 1,990. We needed 10 more pesos. That is like needing an extra 15 cents. And we didnt have it with us. So we had to leave empty handed. We dont ever really know when we are going to need that extra 10 pesos. Its like the commandment to read the scriptures and say your prayers every day. It is a small thing. Only 10 pesos a day for your spirit. But do you really want to get to the door of Heaven, or encounter a temptation and find that you only needed 10 more pesos to pass? It is by the small and simple things, that great things are accomplished. 

My Ponderize scripture for this week was 3 Nephi 18:24, ¨Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine until the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up – that which ye have seen me do. Behold, ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.¨

Jesus the Christ was perfect. In every way, shape and form. And there were days when he was tempted. When he cried out to the Father for strength to do his will. When he fell on his face because he couldnt seem to go on. And he was hated. This perfect man, who ALWAYS taught by the spirit. ALWAYS had charity and love and diligence and faith, and all of the other things we need to be perfect. And he was hated.
When we strive to follow his example and be the best that we can be. We are going to be tempted. We are going to cry to the Father because we just cant anymore. And there are people who will hate us for what we believe. But we will always have Christ as our light out of the darkness, if we pray as we know he has prayed, we will always have him with us.

I know that this is a long email that sounds like one endless complaint. I even considered deleting it. But I feel like I need to share this experience, this week with you all.

I truly feel blessed, extremely happy, and content to be here in El Salvador with Hermana Borges. I am growing in ways I didnt know posible. I have more of the attributes of Christ, at least the beginnings of them, than I did almost 5 months ago. I love the misión. I love what I am doing. And I am so very happy to be serving my God.

So, go forward with faith. Press onward saints. ¨Shall we not go on in so great a cause?¨-Joseph Smith.

Love you all. Hurrah for Israel!

Hermana Randall

Week 20 El Salvador: Scene 2, A New Perspective

Hello there world!

Yes, tis I once more!

I would like to thank all of you for the words of love and encouragement that I received from Friends and Family alike. And I would like to inform everyone that God is a God of miracles, and this week was amazing.

First off, after writing last week, I actually felt sort of bad, I felt like I had complained and sounded a Little whiney. Thank you all for being an outlet at a time when I needed to be a Little immature. Because after a lot of prayer and soul searching I have learned A LOT this week. I see why the misión changes you so very much. It really is like a spiritual bootcamp. You are given some of the hardest trials in your life, and all of the tools you need to over come them in the exact same day. After that God just askes us to use them to the best of our ability, and he´ll help us sort out the rest. And then the very next thing, or the next day, if you have used those tools, and accepted the help of the Lord, you have your eyes opened to see the Hand of the Lord in everything in the misión. Even if you only witness the Little miracles, arent they still miracles?

This week was a lot better. I wrote President about a couple rules that I had learned differently than we were doing here, and turns out that I was right. So that revelation made my companion a little more upset, but I decided that I was going to let her do her own thing as long as it didnt break the rules. So this is something I did talk to her about. But other than that I have been doing my very best to be the best companion that I can be. 

I made her breakfast a couple of times, and made her bed when she wasnt looking, and left a couple little notes where I knew that she would find them. Through the acts of service and my determination to be patient and love her, things are beginning to progress in our relationship. 

It really started after our Zone Conference last week. She really wasnt interacting with me that much. In fact she sat with a different missionary, so I had to sit with her companion. And then the leader of the Zone had to ask us to switch. That started out pretty weird. But then I gave up, and just payed attention to the lessons and added input. I felt like I talked a lot, but I kept feeling like I needed to keep talking. Later when we were back in our sector (2 hours on the bus later), she started crying and told me that during the meeting she realized why I was here, because she was tired of the sector. That she loved the sector, but that she was out of ideas, out of energy, and here I was full of energy, full of revelation, and so ready to work. That was a huge break through. She said that she could just feel my testimony, and knew I was here to help.

Then later during the week, after the Weekly Planning and during Companionship Inventory, she had a couple things that she felt I needed to change of course, but afterwards I felt really impressed to just say, Thank you, I´ll try harder. And then I spent the next couple minutes, at the prompting of the Spirit, telling her that she is a wonderful missionary, that she has done great things her, and that we are going to work together, and that we are going to see so many miracles. She started crying and I can tell that she really is just tired and a little lost. I wonder if it has to do with our level of maturities as well. Ive lived as an adult for almost 3 years on my own. And the mission is her first time. Although she has more time in the mission than I do, Im older and have a little more experience in the world and working with other people. 

I was able to see that her perspecitve is so different than mine, not only with age and experience, but culturally as well. She is from Brazil and is also learning Spanish. I cant expect my companions to be perfect and to understand me all of the time, that would be unfair and unChristlike. 

We have really made some great strides, and I really know her to be a Daughter of God. 

One experience I would like to share was really amazing and had all of us in tears. 

Hermana Borges has been having me do the Daily Planning because she says shes leaving soon and I need to learn, so I felt impressed to visit an investigator that I have never met. We went the next day and the mother of the investigator answered the door. Her name is Yasna. She had really long hair, REALLY long. And was sort of dressed like a hippie, she was really cute. She saw us and got the biggest smile on her face! Invited us in, and we began to talk. 

She told us that she had been praying to God to show her the way that she should go, to send angels to protect her house. And then she stood up and was about to clean the house, when we knocked on the door. Not even a minute later. 

We taught her about the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon, and she told us that she knew that what we were saying was true because God always answers her prayers. She wants to be baptized and read the Book of Mormon!

I just ran out of time! But things are great! And I love you all!

Hermana Randall

PS: My Ponderize was, Helaman 3:26-27

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 19 El Salvador

Hello There Family, Friends, and People of the Universe.

Today I am writing from my new sector in El Salvador. Things are absolutely and completely different here. The whole sector is the whole town. There is just me and my companion. The nearest other missionaries are in Chañaral, which is an hour and 45 minutes away in a bus. And we have to do that journey, there are back, every Tuesday for our District Meetings. So that´s quite a change. 
The town here is a mining town, most of the people here work in the mines, or have something to do with the mines. In fact remember the story of the 33 miners that were trapped in the mine for a couple months? One of them actually lives here in El Salvador and the mine itself is only a couple hours away from here. There is a ton of copper here. Everything is copper, because they just have so much of it. Its pretty cool. And the town only has about 5,000 people here. In fact it is about the size of my hometown, Grantsville. But with more hills, less cows, and less members of the church. 
I´m not sure how many members we have here, but it is a teeny little branch, we only have about 11 people who attend church on a regular basis. And two of them are the missionaries. It was really awkward to have a Fast and Testimony meeting where basically everyone HAD to bear their testimonies to pass the time. The excitement and unity that Im used to in other wards isn´t here right now. Im not sure if it´s just because I dont know how everything really works yet, or because that´s how it it. I should know a little bit more next week.
My new companion is Hermana Borges. She just turned 20 this last week and she is from Brazil. She has about 10 months in the mission and she speaks Spanish really well, sometimes she has a weird portugese accent, but that doesnt happen all that much. She is also really pretty and a convert to the church. You can tell that she has a solid concept of the doctrine of the church and has a strong testimony. And you can also tell that she doesnt like me. 
And I have no idea why. 
I dont think it is so much me, as it is the sector. She is going to complete 6 months here, and that is a really long time to spend in a sector. Especially one as slow moving and cut off from the world as El Salvador. Im trying my hardest to get along with her, but she likes to compare herself to me and assert her way of teaching as better. The other day I asked her why we did something a certain way instead of a way that I was used to and she told me that she was the Senior Companion and that I didnt have to teach her how to be a missionary..... A bunch of other little stuff has happened as well and for the first couple days I was constantly praying that we could go an hour without her finding something about me that she didnt like. And so  far we have made it almost a whole day without her correcting me about something. So Im feeling pretty good. 
I spent a day and a half or so with just a really sad, sick feeling in my stomach and I prayed a lot about what I could do to make the relationship better. I had already made her breakfast two days in a row and made her a paper crane and a card for her birthday, I didnt know what else I could do. And as I was sitting in  Personal study I just heard a couple words in my mind, ¨What is worth more to you right now? Your Pride? Or your Happiness?¨ 
That hit me pretty hard. 
And now Im trying the new tactic of letting her do her own thing and adapting myself to what she is telling me. Im not changing completely, but Im learning to compromise with someone who isnt meeting me halfway. We may never be great friends. But I am determined to learn what I am supposed to learn from her. And she doesnt have to like me for me to love her. 
So far that has been my experience this week, going the exra mile. I really miss Hermana Scalise and Arica, but I find little things about this town to love every day. The stars and the sunsets. And the opporunity to share the most valuable thing that I own, my Testimony. 

My Ponderize scripture this week was 3 Nephi 5:13 ¨Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.¨ That is why I am here. Sharing my testimony so that all of my brothers and sisters here in Chile, here in this little mining town way up in the mountains of Chile, can have everlasting life, and be with their families for eternity. It doesnt matter if my companion is difficult or if the sector or the work isnt what I am used to. Because I am here for a reason, and Im going to work hard to make this vision a reality. 

I love you all. Please continue to read the scripures and ponder. I promise you that it will make a difference in your life. And I loved hearing from the people that sent me thier Ponderize scriptures. Thank you for those. I love you!

Hermana Randall

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Week 18 Transfers!

Hey World!

Dont have a lot of time this week because it is the end of my training as a newbie and Im being transferred! I have an 18 hour bus ride ahead of me and a new area and a new companion! Im super excited and ready for the world! 

But I do have a challenge for all of you. Go and rewatch the conference talk of Jeffery R. Holland and go tell your mother you love her. And go watch the Ponderize talk, and then do it. And share it with the world. Facebook, email, twitter, instagram, all of it. Flood the world with the message the God loves the world. I love you all and I am so proud to be serving the Lord at this time and at this place. 

Les amo,

Hermana Randall