Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 41 St. Patricks Day. A Green Mean, Preaching Machine.

First, the title is misleading. St. Patrick´s day does not exist here. I wore green anyways though. And we taught a TON of lessons this week!

We has a Zone Meeting on Tuesday, where among other less interesting things, we discussed how we can set daily and weekly goals with faith. And Hna D´Angelo and I really thought long and hard about that. And we both realized that lately we had been setting goals according to what WE thought WE could accomplish.... And that is not what missionary work is. So now we are trying harder, praying more specifically, and LISTENING HARDER. The goals that we have set this week have seemed almost unrealistic at times, but we both felt that they were correct. And you know what? Not only did we meet the goals. Once or twice we passed them. I have seen so many small miracles this week. I realized that I hard started to depend on my own strength here. Not a ton. But more than I should have been. I had a good wake up this week. And putting the faith to work has really only increased the faith that I have. I really have a testimony of goal setting. Of seeing what we can do as missionaries. Seeing that number. And then saying a prayer and asking God what he KNOWS we will accomplish today. Following what we can do we will teach one lesson with a member a day maybe. Maybe two other lessons. Maybe one new investigator. Very average. This week we were blessed to have 3 lessons with a member, 9 others, and 5 new investigators. For El Salvador, this is a week of miracles.

Sadly this week we also experienced a death in the Branch. One of our Sisters passed away suddenly this week because of a heart attack. Hermana Seline. She  has two children 13 and 16, and the whole branch is in shock. But one thing that has been amazing to see, is how the knowledge that we have of the Plan of Salvation brings us peace. We are sad. We miss her. But we are not destroyed. We know we will see her again. There is an incredible peace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week has been a week of faith, and of peace. During this time of Easter and remembering the Resurrection. Moments like this are even more poignant. (Here´s hoping I spelled that right... English is hard guys.)

We were also able to see our convert José pass the Sacrament for the first time, and give a talk in Sacrament meeting about prayer.

This is basically what happened this week. Ending on a story though. We had a lesson yesterday with a family of investigators. Ingrid y Claudio. They are very Catholic. Even though ALL OF THEIR EXTENDED FAMILY ARE MEMBERS. When I say all, I literally mean all. And they are just okay living their lives the way that they are. they are happy and content and don't want to change. Missionaries have been sharing with them for the better part of forever. But yesterday something may have changed. 

We were at a loss of what to teach them, until we started thinking about the upcoming conference. And then thinking about the conference that we just had in October. At this time I invite you all to watch the talk, or read it, ¨What Lack I Yet?¨ From Elder Lawrence of the 70. We shared this talk. And we discussed how we can all continue to progress. After sharing stories and experiences, we challenged all of them to pray and ask for one thing that they can work on. And Ingrid said, ¨I will ask. I do not like to ask. That is why I recite my prayers. That is why I haven't asked about your church. Because I am afraid someone will answer.¨ She knows. She knows. SHE KNOWS. So we are working with them at the moment as well (shout out to Hermana Eliza Handley!) 

We also hiked on of the larger hills here in El Salvador this morning and got some really cool pictures.

But that really was the week. So challenge for all of your. Read the talk. Talk to your Heavenly Father and look for one thing that you can improve. You will receive specific answers to specific questions. I love you all, and I hope to see you all constantly improving. 

Love you,
Hermana Randall

PS. Transfers are next Monday. And its almost a sure thing that I'm headed somewhere else. I've been here for a long time. So I may not write next Monday. But instead on Tuesday or something. We´ll see! Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Week 40 The Unsinkable Hermana Randall

First of all. Ten points to whoever gets the movie reference in the title of my email.

Second, Hello everyone! Officially another week has gone by and I have the pleasure of once again using technology and talking to my friends and family. 

Hope this email finds you all well and good. Things here this week were pretty uneventful.... With the exception of a Strike where they halted all traffic and we were stuck in a bus for 2 hours..... 

Assuming you would all like to hear the story I will proceed to tell you. 

We had a Zone Conference planned with our Mission President on Tuesday, so we caught our bus at 8:00AM and an hour later normally we arrive at the halfpoint mark. A little town (bigger than El Salvador), called Diego de Almagro. But our ride was slightly different because when we were about 10 minutes out of Diego traffic stopped in both directions and we were in a huge line of buses and work trucks from the mine. 
So turns out that a couple different companies fired a whole bunch of people or cut their pay or something like that. So in order to attract attention to their Strike, these people began burning tires and all sorts of things in the road. And the side roads as well. They had blocked all entry or exit to Diego. So we sat on the bus and waited for people to make a bunch of calls. We waited. And waited. And waited. And by this time all of the people that were on the bus with us, got off and walked to Diego. Which we couldnt do without permission from the Mission President. And he was traveling and didnt have cell service for a little while. 
When he finally called us we told him the situation and he said some of the scariest words I have ever heard from a leader....  Hermana. Do what you think is best. 
So after praying out the options, we walked about 30 minutes into town, managed to find the Plaza, hire a taxi (super expensive) to Chañaral, and make it to the Zone Conference only an hour late. President was very pleased. 

So that was my super adventure for the week. Other than that not much happened. We found a couple new investigators this week that have a lot of potential and we are really excited for the progress that El Salvador is making. 

Yesterday there was a specail conference broadcast from Salt Lake city for all of Chile, and we were privlegded to hear fromPresident Russell M. Nelson. And he spoke Spanish! It was really cool! All the members were so excited that he chose to speak in Spanish. You could tell that he hadnt used it in a while, but he spoke very well, and he had a beautiful message about following the commandements and doing all of the small and simple things that really build a home and a testimony.

I hope to find that you are all well at home. I miss you all, but in reality I have no idea how much I miss you. Im too busy to miss you all as much as I thought that I would. Haha!

I love you all, thak you for all of your thoughts and prayers, you are all constantly in mine! Congradulations to the friends who got engaged this week, and the families that continue to grow and change in my absence. LOVE YOU!

Hermana Randall

Week 39 Over the Rainbow. Officially Halfway.

Hey Everyone! All is well in El Salvador, Chile!

Before I get to the news about my week I would like to give a couple shoutouts:

1. My little brother Jarrett made the High School Soccer Team and I am beyond proud of him.

2. My little sister Emma is Sunshine in Human form.

3. Cassidy, my not so little sister, is getting closer to graduation every day, and is about to start college. I love her. And she scares me. 

4. My parents are the best parents. Thanks for being the best parents.

5. I have the sweetest Grandparents.

6. I have a couple cousins whom I love quite a bit, who are both returned missionaries, and one finished his mission while I was in mine. AND NEITHER OF THEM HAVE WRITTEN ME ANYTHING. THIS IS NOT A SHOUT OUT. IT IS A THREAT. 

These have been my shoutouts for the week. 

Well world. I hit 9 months this last week. My mother very proudly has sent me a photo of my half filled countdown calender. And I feel as if I should write the obituary. I still have a lot of time, but I feel like I got kinda kicked in the pants this week. I know that I am working hard, and I am a better missionary every single day. But I always feel like there is more that I could be doing. And now I only have 9 months left in the mission to do them. So these 9 months are going to be the best of all the months. Thats a goal. A resolution. And a fact. 

Other than this not much has happened this week. Hna D´Angelo was out one day with a pretty bad cold, but she is all better now. And we are back to working with all our hearts, mights, minds, and strength. 

El Salvador has also helped to increase my belief in the Resurrection, because this week our ghost town of no one, has exploded back into a place inhabited by real people. School starts today, and the world is back in order. Slowly we are reciving all of our investigators and Members back and we are over the moon about it. 

Our investigators that are progressing have slowed in their progress a little bit, but they are still progressing. Just do to factors that we cant control, like interfamilial issues, etc... They have slowed a little. However I am confident in their futures.

This was basically my week. Taking care of a sick companion, hitting my ¨Hump Day¨, and seeing all the people coming back from vacation.

We do have one investigator that comes to church every week because his wife is the Primary President. We had a lesson with him this week that he thought went really well. But after testimonies and everything. He just kind of stopped us and said, ¨Im not saying that it isnt true. I just dont care.¨ And thats the truth. He likes his life. And he does not care. That was almost more heartbreaking than being rejected. I have a feeling that many missionaries are going to come and go. But the people that are ultimatly going to make all the difference are his two little boys.  So we continue to visit and love them. But until he decides to care. There isnt anyone of any religion, that can do anything about it. 

Isnt agency annoying some times? 

However that was our week! We begin week 5 of the transfers today, and continue to Preach His Gospel. Love you all and thanks for all that you do!


Hna Randall

PS. I found a Hersheys Cookies and Cream Bar! And tried on the first pair of heels in 9 months. It was weird. I was tall.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Week 38 Traveling, Another Conference, Battling Sleep, and Knowing What Love is

Hello there Regular World! Hope to find you all well and happy today!

We had a good week here in El Salvador. It wasnt a week that will stand out in my mind for the rest of my mission, but there were some very special moments that I was able to be a part of.

The first news to share is that we had a great satelite conference with Elder David A. Bednar from the Quorm of the 12 Apostles. He was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but thanks to technology, missionaries from all over the South America South Area (where I am at), were able to see this amazing conference and recieve the training that we needed this week. 

Elder Bednar is amazing to listen to. I had only ever really seen him in an ¨Offical Apostle¨ roll before. So it was really cool to hear him joke around and laugh and just have fun with the missionaries and his translator. He actually is a really funny guy, we were all laughing pretty hard at some points. And yet feeling the spirit so strongly. One of the thing that he shared that I just loved, was when we were talking about our own personal conversion. He was telling us about how spiritual experiences are more a bunch of little things than one big moment. He said that there is a really good reason to not want to see an angel when we want an answer, quote, ¨Paul saw and angel... Paul was REALLY MESSED UP. Alma the Younger also saw an angel... AND HE WAS REALLY MESSED UP. Do you REALLY want to see an angel?¨ That had everyone laughing and thinking at the same time. He is wonderful about asking questions that allow people to think and learn from themselves. I think that I learned more from watching Elder Bednar, than I did from actually hearing what he had to say. That is what a true leader does. Teaching by example, as well as through his words.  

To top off the whole week we had a lesson with Javiera and Daniela. Our two progressing investigators. They are doing well! Really well! We had given them the homework to read the Book of Mormon a little bit and the pray to know if this was the path that God wanted them to follow, and when we got there they hadnt done it! So you know what we did? We read with them. We answered their questions, got them excited and then invited them to go into the other room and pray. They left the room and we immediatley sunk to our knees in a companionship prayer. We ended our prayer to see the two coming back with tears in their eyes. Daniela told us that she already knew it was true, but she wanted just to say a prayer, and when she was praying as normal she thanked Heavenly Father for the Sisters (us), and she said her whole body was filled with light, and she knew. Javiera said that she began her prayer and asked spcifically if the Sisters were just here to annoy her and give her homework(she literally asked that), or if the message that we were sharing was true. And when she asked she also said she was filled with something that she couldnt describe, and that she knew what she needed to do, was to follow the things that we were teaching. The next morning they were both at church even though they had to walk the whole way (about a mile with a screaming 1 year old in your arms. I was impressed.)

I love being a missionary so much. The best feeling that I have ever felt is walking out of someones home, and just loving everything. In those moments I know what Charity is. Im not far enough along in my path to have Charity all the time. But these moments when God allows me to see the world through his eyes.... These are moments of refinement, and moments of peace. I love being a missionary. I love being able to help people understand that God has a purpose for them, that they are loved, and that they are not alone. I feel so blessed to share this message with member and investigator alike. I hope all of you reading this one day have the opportunity to share the gospel like this. It is something more beautiful than I could have thought possible. 

I love you all. And Im glad that I can also share the gospel and my testimony with my friends and family every week through email. I love you, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I pray for you all more often than not. 

Les quiero mucho,

Hermana Randall