Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 26 Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving world!

There isnt a ton to report this week. Nothing really earthshaking. Except for the literal Eath shaking that we had. About a 6.4 earthquake happened this week. But with Chile´s standards about what is and what isnt a bad earthquake, they are calling it merely a Temblor, which basically means, Tremor. Not earthquake. It is really funny what the standard is for an earthquake here. If is it under an 8 or 8.5, doesnt count as an Earthquake. But that is the ¨Earthshaking¨news for the week. Haha.

I want to thank you all for the beautiful emails and testimonies that I recived this last week in response to my testimony. Im happy to know that I dont need to just proselyte to help other people I love come closer to Christ. 

This week was mostly uneventful, Hermana Handley had the flu, or something similar, and we were out for the count for a couple days, we never had a full day in the apartment. We left and worked as much as we could without her collapsing (which almost happened a few times). And because we pushed through, we were able to find and teach 4 new families and really help some less actives remember that thier Heavenly Father loves them. 

We are having one problem right now though. The problem that we are having is that some of the members here, view the church as a whim, as something to participate in at thier convienience. We had a meeting with the leaders of the branch to talk about what we can do to strengthen our youth programs, and the leader of the young mens and the young womens didnt come...... But other than these few things, the ward and the work here are more animated than they have been in more than 3 years. We are all really excited about the miracles that we see every single day.

Thanksgiving was a great day here. It obviously wasnt anything close to being home with the family and eating pie until I want to throw up. But it was good. No one else was celebrating, just us, and I was really glad that day that my companion was a Gringa and that she understood Thanksgiving. We bought a rotiserrie (didnt spell that right) chicken and made mashed potatoes, veggies, fruit, and ended it all off with a suprisingly American tasting donut. I loved it. But poor Hermana Handley was pretty sick, so she ate a roll and some potatoes and pretty much called it good, and then she slept on the floor while I cleaned it all up. Fun day though.

Our spiritual experience for the week that really stands out, was a day when Hermana Handley was running a fever again, we had come back to the apartment to grab some more water for her, and we were debating about leaving again because we only had an hour more. But we left anyways, and started walking. And to be honest I wasnt sure where we were going, we just walked, I felt like I was just wandering knocking on doors, when suddenly I felt the impression to go and visit an old investigator who is never home.  We made a sharp 90 degree and began walking. And down this street we saw a GIANT house, with Christmas lights all over it. Moving in the darkness and everything. It was GORGEOUS. We stood in the street open mouthed in front of it for a good 5 minutes, and then a man on the sidewalk behind us said hello. It was his house and he was very pleased about how much we loved it. We talked about the house for a moment, and then about why two gringas were walking in the middle of the street in El Salvador Chile at 9 at night, and then he invited us to meet his wife. We went inside and just shared a lovely experience talking with this couple for awhile. We didnt have enough time to teach, but they told us to come back any time.

It was amazing to feel the spirit guide my feet like that. And even more amazing to later realize that we had listened and followed a very clear prompting. 

That was the week though. A week of rest and love and a Spirit of Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have to be serving a mission. I am grateful for my friends and family who are supporting me from all over the world, and I am especially grateful for my Savior. Without whom, we would not be here. Love you all, until next week!!! (My 6 month mark is Thursday BTW. When did that happen?)

Hermana Randall

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week 25 Conferencia con Elder Cook

Hello there everyone!

This week has been absolutely amazing. 

After I wrote last week we went to the bus terminal and waited for my new companion to arrive. Hermana Handley is AWESOME. She is 20 years old, tall, from Orem Utah, goes to BYU, and has 15 months in the mission. She also speaks really great Spanish and has a lot of experience. Also, her Dad is the lighting designer for all of the theatre things at BYU. I met him before the mission and didnt even know it. So how is that for connections right? Haha. 

We have been getting along famously. We both have the same motivations for the work, we both want to help as many people as we can, and we both had a really hard last transfer. This transfer, so far, has been an answer to prayers on both sides. And it turns out that I might end up ¨killing her¨in the mission. (That is when your companion leaves, or dies, in the mission. If you are the companion, they say you are the one who ¨killed them¨.) So I could end up staying here in El Salvador for 6 months... That would be an interesting thing to do......

But aside from the fact that I love my companion, this week was amazing for other reasons as well.

On Friday we left El Salvador and went to Chañaral. Had Companion-Exchanges with the Hermanas there for the rest of the day, and then at 12:00AM we left and went to the bus terminal and waited for our bus to Antofagasta, which came TWO HOURS late. So after boarding the bus at around 2:30AM we tried to sleep a little on the journey. Got to Antofagasta at about 7:00AM and took a heart pounding taxi trip to the big chapel. We ate a granola bar for breakfast and then all of the Hermanas from all over the mission arrived! I got to see mi mamita, my trainer, Hermana Sclaise, saw Hermana Borges, and I saw all the people I arrived with from the CCM as well. The WHOLE mission was there. And for a really unique experience we were able to take a photo with everyone who was there (we were still waiting on a few zones). 

Then we sat down and began to sing, and prepare spiritually to hear from President Soares of the 70, Elder Gonzalez President of the South America South Area and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, and of course all of their wives. When they all arrived the Spirit in the room was amazing. Like a concentrated force in the front of the sacrament hall. We were given the privledge to shake all of their hands and look them in the eyes and everything. It was really amazing.

They said a lot of things that applied directly to missionary work and what we are all trying to accomplish as members, And I could transcribe all of my notes directly. But I dont think I will do that. I will say one thing as word for word as I could remember it. 

Elder Cook was talking to all of us, and he was closing up his talk. We knew that he was about to bear his testimony, but it suprised us all when he began to tell us that we shouldnt share every single little detail about the spiritual experiences that we have in our lifes. That they are a sacred trust from God, and that we should guard them closely, sharing them only when the spirit directs us. And then he said,

       ¨I share very simply and without details. That I know the Savior´s Voice. That I know the Savior´s Face. And In know that He Lives. He is the one who is leading this church today.¨

I have never felt the spirit as strongly as I did then. I felt without a single doubt in my mind, that my savior LIVES. I am not here alone. I am here for a purpose. MY SAVIOR LIVES.  The spirit in the room was one of the most profound things I have felt, or will feel in my life here on this earth. The divine witness that he bore, will forever be engraved in my heart. Because now I too know these things. 

He followed his Apostolic Witness of the Divinity of the Savoir with a Blessing on all of us. 

         ¨I give you an Apostolic Blessing that you will understand spiritually the signifigance of your mission. This will bless you and every single person you love, have loved, or will love...... You will go forward with Strength, and do what you need to do......You will have your own testimony....... I leave you with my witness of the Savior, with this Special Blessing. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.¨  

My mission, and my life, will be forever blessed because of the spirit that I felt in that room that day. I at this moment am feeling very much like Joseph Smith felt. God has given me this revelation. He knows I know it. I know I know it. And never will I deny it. 

In this world today, I have heard a lot of the different sides, the different debates about why the LDS church needs to change to conform to society. But I would like to add my witness, however small that it may be, to that of an Apostle of the Lord. I know my Savior lives. And I know that he is the one guiding the church today. 

Let us never forget, or become so caught up in the things of the World, that we forget that it is not our place to create rules of Heaven. It is our place, our calling as memebers of the church around the world, to have enough faith in the Lord to have faith in the men that he has called and ordained to speak for him. As I shook the hand, and later listened to the witness, of an Apostle of my Lord, Savior, and Redeemer, I recieved my own divine witness, that the Savior lives. He loves all of us. And he does indeed direct us in these Latter-Days. 

I love you all so very much. Thank you for all of your support and love. If you are having your own doubts about the truth or you dont know where to go or turn right now. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon, Pray to your Savior, and I know that he will answer you. Maybe in his own time. But he will answer. You dont have to meet an Apostle to recieve this witness. Im just happy that I was blessed enough to have that opportunity. 

I love you. And I love my Savior. Have a beautiful week wherever you may be.

Hermana Randall

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Week 24 Transfers... The Aftermath

Hello there Family, Friends, and intersted Fans.

This week was absolutely amazing. 


We were able to do a lot of different things and we found one investigator that is progressing more rapidly than I have ever seen. His name is José and he is the ¨Pololo¨ or boyfriend, of a Less Active names Viviana. But she has been making great strides recently to return to activity in the church. 
They started dating awhile back, about 6 months, and she has been talking to him about the church. He even came to General Conference with her (the broadcast). While he was there, the other Hermanas (this was before I got here), gave him a Book of Mormon. Turns out, this whole time, like 5 weeks, he has been reading the Book of Mormon by himself! 
When we finally were informed that he was ready to recieve the missionaries we went and visited him at his house for the first lesson. And we asked what he understood about the origin of the Book of Mormon. He began at the very beginning. He explained that there was a prophet named Lehi, and that he had a bunch of kids, one names Nephi, and that God told him to leave Jerusalem. Then he proceeded to explain both books of Nephi and the first part of Jacob, because that is where he is at right now. He is INCREDIBLY receptive. We were blown away by the spirit in the room. And then we felt like we needed to aske the million dollar question. ¨When the Lord answers your prayers, and you know that these things are true, will you be baptized by someone holding the proper authority?¨

He proceeded to cry and he told us that he didnt have to ask again. He already knows that it is true, because when he reads and when he prays he feels a kind of peace that he has never felt. He is the equvalent of an EMT here, and he told us that once he was reading in the back of an ambulance after a long day (He has the Church Library app on his phone and reads stuff on there too) that he felt the presence of someone with him that day. And he knows that this is true. He wants to be baptized so much. The spirit was incredibly strong. So we have a baptism planned for the 5th of December!!!! 

We saw a lot of other miracles this week, but that is one of the biggest ones. 

And then after everything, the transfer calls came. Hermana Borges has been transfered to Mejellones, and I am staying in El Salvador to lead the sector. My new companion is Hermana Handley. She is from Utah, USA. And is arriving on a bus in about 3 hours. So I will let you all know about her next Monday. But Ive heard she is really sweet. (Something I need right now.)

We have a lot of great things happening in this little sector, and better things are to come!

Love you all, stay strong. And remember that even though the world is going nuts right now, and there are a lot of bad people doing bad things. That doesnt mean that God isnt there, that he isnt a god of justice because bad things happen to good people. It means that people are using the gift of agency to act according to their own selfish desires. It means that we all have more of an opportunity to grow, to become the people that we were intended to be. It means that one day, because of the actions of these people, they will answer for them all. The world is crazy, but God is not. He is stronger than all of the armies men can command. And if we trust in him. That strength will become ours. 

Les amo más de ustedes entienden. 

Hermana Randall

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 23 Transfers!

Hello there Everyone! It is me again!

This week has gone by waaaaay to quickly. Things really are coming to a head here in El Salvador. Although basically all of our appointments fall through every single day, we have been blessed to find new investigators who are really prepared to hear the gospel. We also have been able to contact a lot of Less Actives and they are begining to understand what they are missing out on by not being completely active and taking the Sacrament every week. 

Also things with my companion are a night and day difference. This week, without revealing details. We had a real break through. In the middle of lunch the other day, literally I had just taken a bite of chicken, and she blurts out. Ï think President is going to send me home this week.¨

Im able to see things in a whole different light right now. And she told me, because of who I am, and the way that I have acted towards her these last 5 weeks, has allowed the Spirit to talk to her, and let her understand that she cant just repent by herself like she thought that she could. Turns out, the whole time that I thought I was just bearing the trials of my mission, I was helping to change the life of my companion as well. I didnt just learn a lot from this experience, but she did too. We have become pretty close this last week, as she finally opened up to me and let down her VERY large walls. And as I held her and let her cry, I really saw her as my little sister who was broken inside and hurting, and didnt know how to fix it. 

Now together we are working together to make sure that she will be okay. 

A lot of things have happened this week. And that is what was most important in the work for me this week.

I love you all. I hope you know that. I have a strong testimony that no one is too lost to use the Atonement and find joy and peace in thier lives again.  God loves you more than you could ever know. You were worth the blood of the only perfect man who ever lived. What other testimony of the love of Jesus and our Heavenly Father, than the nails prints in the hands and feet of our Savior. 

My Ponderize scripture this week was in Psalms 40:1-4 

¨I WAITED patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard me cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, AND estabished my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, EVEN praise unto our God: many shall see IT and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed IS that man that maketh they LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, not such as turn aside to lies.¨

Sometimes we need to wait for the Lord. And then when we have progressed through the path that he created for us, we will be able to sing a new song. Because now we know why we experienced that. And now we can understand the happiness that we wouldnt have had without this trial.

Love you all :) And I´ll talk to you net week!

Also Transfers are this Saturday, so I´ll let you all know what happens, I may or may not be able to write on Monday, so maybe Tuesday!

Have a great week! I love you all!

Hermana Randall

Friday, November 6, 2015

Week 22 Halloween!

Hello there ravid readers, friends, family, and curious onlookers.

This week was pretty great not gonna lie. Difficult, but great. I was able to talk to one of the Sister Training Leaders, and President a little, and things are starting to work out. I still feel like Im in an episode of MASH were a jeep gets stuck in a mine feild or something and Radar keeps dropping the map so every so often we hit a mine and blow a little piece of emotion off every so often, but then Im okay again. Weird metaphor I know. But it works.

But a good week! We had intercambios and I spent a  day with the Hermana Training Leader, a Gringa from Colorado who is super nice. And that really allowed me to unwind and let go of some pent up stuff. 

We also found out that everyone in the whole mission is taking a road trip 12 hours for me in a bus, to Antofagasta, because Elder Cook from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles is coming to speak to us! Usually we cant get the whole mission together because of how big we are, but for this very special occasion, yes we are! Whohoo!  That is going to be the 21st of November and we are all very excited. And we have interviews with President and Transfers next week! Thanks are all coming to a head here. 
We also had a lesson with an investigator who is amazing, her name is Maria Alfaro. And we were a little late because we were with another investogator, and when we knocked on the door, she opened it right away and said, I thought that you werent coming! Not only did she acutally remeber the appointment, but she had made us herbal tea, pie, and sandwiches. It was not only a great spread, but a great lesson. We read 2 Nephi 31 with her and talked about the principle of baptism. And then asked the million dollar question, would she be baptised. And she said yes! She is excited to be a part of the church, we still have a lot of lessons to teach, but she is really happy to be a part of something. 

She even came to the big Halloween party that we had the next day. And brought a friend and her daughter. The work here in El Salvador is progressing, slowly, but surely. Maybe after these long years El Salvador will see a baptism!

We also found out that a member here has had her records of her baptism lost. So she has to be rebaptized and reconfirmed.  So we are figuring out all of the logistics here and now. Complicated, but fun. 

Our Halloweeen party was a success (due largley to the ffact that thanks to years of Primary and grade school I know how to make cute Halloween decorations with minimal time and effort.) We had two large families of Less Actives come to the party, and the next day they came to church! We also met a nonmember daughter of the Less Active, and she came to church the next day with them and everything! (Which was cool because our Relief Society president was a noshow, so I taught Relief Society). 

Anyways, things are not perfect here. I strive everyday to make things better with myself, my God, and my companion. And every day is another challenge. But another oppottunity for a blessing. 

Thank you all for your patience with my stories and sometimes my complaints. I love you all very much. 

My Ponderize Scripture for the week was 1st Corinthians 10:13, it talks a lot about how God will give you the strength to overcome temptations, but I changed it a little for the week. God will also give you strength to over come situations you cant control. 

¨There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God IS faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear IT.¨

I know that if we in our hearts want to do what is right and we work as hard as we can. Then will the Lord step in and help us to do what is left over. I know this, because every day when I drop to my knees, I ask him to take what I did that day, and help to make something of it. More than I could make by myself. 

I love you all very much. Thank you for your words of love and support during this time of testing for me. I have recived a mountain of emails from friends and family alike, and I appriciate and read every one of them. I love you all.

Have a wonderful week!

Hermana Randall

PS: For the people who asked I disclosed everything to President and things are going to be okay, and the mission isnt going to blame me for the loss of funds. But thanks for the concern :)