Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 75 I, Hermana Randall, write this record.

An account of Hermana Shelby Randall and her 10 companions, being called, (beginning in

the MTC) Hermanas Stock, Scalise, Borges, Handley, D`Angelo, Challco, Jimenez, Samaneigo, Guzmán, and Quintero. The Lord calls Hermana Randall to depart out of the land of Utah, to preach unto the people concerning the gospel. She taketh two days’ journey in airplane into the wilderness. The account of her joys and sufferings. She teaches families in the desert wilderness of the Atacama. Her joys and triumphs in the wilderness. The course of her travels.  She serves alonside the large waters. Hermana Randall`s brethren work with (and sometimes) against her. She confoundeth them, and baptizes many. They call the name of the place Chile Antofagasta. She crossth the desert into various sectors of the promised land, and so forth. This is according to the account of Hermana Randall; or in other words, I, Hermana Randall
, write this record.

Chapter One --  MTC Santiago, Chile -- Hermana Stock

Here I began learning all that there was to learn about missionary work. I also began to learn about Spanish. This was the beginning to my mission. I loved the MTC and my wonderful teachers and companion. We learned abundantly and set the stage for the many miracles that would follow in our missions. I remember one day, we were working the the Spanish Computer lab practicing Spanish, and I asked a teacher a question about irregular verbs in Spanish. His answer was just SO COMPLICATED that I began crying, and everyone looked at me funny, and tried to make me feel better. But it just made it worse. But now I look back and smile. Because I can see the fear and the nerves I had. And now I speak Spanish! Take that!

Chapter Two -- Arica, Zapahuira ¨B¨ -- Hermana Scalise

Here I was with my Mamita! I recieved the amazing blessing of having Hermana Scalise as my trainer. She was light personafied. I learned so much from her. I loved every moment of our time together. I might not have been able to communicate with her all that much at first but I knew that she loved me. And I love her. Here I had my first 3 baptisms. Kathy, Maria, and Jaccelyn. I learned how to recite the First Vision and felt the first real whisperings of the Spirit for an investigatos and their needs. I grew to love so many people here. I feel sad that I couldnt really communicate with a ton of people here, but I know that they are forever friends anyways!

Chapter Three -- El Salvador -- Hermana Borges/Hermana Handley/Hermana D`Angelo

El Salvador, this is where I passed 6 months of my mission. I began here rather roughly. But like a stone in the river, I had a couple of my hard edges knocked off in the process. Here I had my favorite companion, and forever friend Hermana Eliza Handley (shout out). We were together for two transfers. I loved those two transfers so much. We passed the holiday season together, sharing Thanksgiving and Christmas between ¨Gringas¨. And ended everything with some of the best baptisms that I have had in my mission. Mauricio and José. It was an honor to teach these men, and see them and their wives grow in the gospel. They are both now preparing to go to the temple in January or Febuary to be sealed for time and all eternity in the holy temple of the Lord.  I loved El Salvador. The people here really became my family. I was about ready to set down roots here. But the time passed and I was once more called to move. 

Chapter Four -- Tocopilla, Tocopilla ¨C¨ -- Hermana Challco

This was a beautiful transfer. Maybe not for many reasons that I could mention. But it was a really hard time for me in my mission. I was struggling with my moral, and my whole body just seemed to give up a little bit. I got sick, and more than a sickness of body, I started feeling really badly in spirit. It was a time where I almost turned back. I heard Satan`s whisperings, and they told me that I had served a good mission, and that it was time to come home. It is a beautiful transfer, because here I grew to know my Savior. Here I learned to work even harder. I remember the first day that I was feeling better, I began reading my Book of Mormon, and I had been neglecting personal study (which is a no no for a missionary), so I opened up to the Book of Mosiah chapter 2 where I had left off and found myself reading these words;  

 ¨30 For even at this time, my whole frame doth tremble exceedingly while attempting to speak unto you; but the Lord God doth support me, and hath suffered me that I should speak unto you, and hath commanded me that I should declare unto you this day, that my son Mosiah is a king and a ruler over you.¨
I remember crying and falling to my knees knowing that I was sick, I couldnt go out and proselyte, but that I would do it anyways, and God would give my the strength to do so. I loved Tocopilla. I met many wonderful people there, and was able to teach and baptize Norma Rodriguez, a beautiful single mother from Bolivia. This was a sector of great personal growth and miracles. 
Chapter Five -- Antofagasta, Cerro Moreno ¨A¨ -- Hermana Jimenez/Hermana Samaniego/Hermana Guzmán
This was my favorite sector by far. I love Antofagasta. This ward became my ward and my family. Here I literally left family behind. Here is where I truly felt that I knew these people before this world began and was called here to find them. I know that I found who I was meant to find. And they will be my forever friends. Not just investigators, but members. I found myself a member of a family I didnt know I had. Here I was called to be an Hermana Leader, and was given the charge of three sisters. I was able to not only get to know my own companion, but to help and support two more. It was an amazing privledge to learn from them. I was also blessed to be called to train here.  I was assigned a beautiful new missionary named Hermana Guzmán, who runs in the tops of companions. I loved every minute with her. I was so blessed to help her love the mission as I love it, to share the gospel at every moment in all things. We had three baptisms together, Luzmaria, Anibal, and Millaray. Three children that are very special to me and very close to my heart. I love them very much. This sector was so hard to leave behind. I left behind my family for a second time here. Leaving them felt like I did when I left my family in Utah. I LOVED this sector.
Chapter Six -- Vallenar, Torreblanca ¨B¨ -- Hermana Quintero
Here I arrived with only 6 weeks left in my mission. Here I arrived with all motivation to work harder than ever and accomplish all that God had sent me here to do. Here I had to crack down on some laziness and basic rule-breaking. Here I passed through many things, but here I have found some of my greatest joys. This last week we were witnesses to many miracles. We ended the week with 3 baptisms! And an Open Chapel. It was the BEST Saturday ever. I was very grateful for many things on Thanksgiving. I love these special people who entered into the waters of baptisms this week. Magdalena, Marcela, and Jean. It was a privledge to be here and be a part of their eternal journey. The story of Vallenar is still progressing for one more week, and I know that there are many more miracles in store. But I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father that I am here to end my mission.
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of Granstville, Utah, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the Salt Lake City Airport, Amen.

Love you all. Thank you for being with me through this amazing experience. I have looked back and loved EVERY MINUTE of my mission. I wouldnt trade it for the world. I love you. See you next week!
Signing off for the last time,
Hermana Randall

Week 74 JUDE

I am naming this email Jude not for anything super specific. Not a huge revelation or anything like that. But because the second to last Book in the Bible is called Jude. And this is my second to last email. So I got to make it good. Because no one ever quotes the book of Jude that I know. So I got to make it a good letter. One to be remembered.

This week went pretty well. The things with the other Sisters are A LOT better. Thank you for your prayers I know that they helped. They were very much felt this week. These weeks seem to be passing faster and faster. Our Mission President was in the District Conference in Vallenar this week and he had all of his missionaries stand up in the Adult Session in the afternoon (it was more of a conversation than a formal meeting) and he announced the we were all his best missionaries and he sent us here for a reason. And that we are there to serve with all we can. And then he announced to everyone that I only had 2 weeks left, then turned to me shrugged, looked at the audience again and said, ¨She has a cruel Mission President¨ then he chuckled to himself. It was funny.

But this week was a good one filled with many miracles. And with many eye openers for me. I have seen a lot of things in my mission that have really opened my mind and my eyes to the living situations of people and cultures. But this week I had two new ones. Two that break my heart and I feel like I need to share them. 

There is a family of investigators here that are progressing very well. We may even be helping them to set a baptismal date this week (faith!). But while we were teaching them, just the Mom and the Daughter, and finishing up the lesson. In stumbled Dad....... Completely drunk. He was still on his feet and coherent. But you could tell that he really wasn't all there..... He began apologizing to us saying it is just who he is and making jokes. And the Mom and Daughter, you could tell that they were just so sad and so embarrassed...... When everything settled down and we finished the lesson they invited us to have a little meal with them. So we did. And while we were sitting there, the father had his little grandson (who is 4 years old) bring him a cold beer. The little boy dutifully went and got it, and before giving it to him looked at his grandpa in the eyes and said, ¨The only one okay Grandpa? Just one.¨ And the Grandpa agreed and went on to drink the can. We conversed more (or he was talking and we were responding but the responses weren't really getting to him, you could tell....) And then he ran out of beer.... And he asked his little grandson again to bring him a beer. The little boy said no. He repeated the request and the little boy covered his ears with his hands so he couldn't hear his Grandpa. 

I share this experience because I know my family isn't perfect. But I am so incredibly grateful that my Grandparents, and my Dad, are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am grateful that I never had this experience. I have such a testimony of the Word of Wisdom, and of a happy family. I could never imagine not being a member of the Church. My companion and I were talking the other day about members who go inactive in the church for whatever reason. And she said, ¨Well we can say things now, but we never know what is going to happen to us in the future to make us go inactive.¨ And I thought about that.... And NO. JUST NO. My Mother always taught me that we make the decision RIGHT NOW about whether or not we are going to be faithful. Or aren't we. I make the promise and the covenant looking forward to a future. Not until the day that I get tired of something or when someone offends me. My Mom always said, ¨Make the decision right now not to break the Law of Chastity, or try drugs, and when the situation or if the situation arises, you already KNOW YOUR ANSWER.¨ It is the same with the church. You were baptized. 

You aren't going inactive in the church. 

You are going inactive on Christ. 

You are falling into your own form of apostasy. And who knows how many people are going to be affected by your bad decisions. 

Sorry for the rant. I just love this gospel, and I know it is true and how it blesses people. And I feel so so so so sad. That people see membership in the Lords church as something as an option. It is not an option. It is salvation. 

The other experience was with a single sister with no family. She is 64 years old and her children have given up on her as a useless old lady. She built her own house out of cast off wood on the side of a hill. She doesn't have running water or a bathroom. No job. Nothing. Literally, this poor woman doesn't have anything. She has gifts of dishes and a table a little refrigerator, etc. But it is empty. She has no food. Nothing. She had to beg food from a friend to feed her little cat that shares the house with her. And you know what she told us? ¨But I don't worry. God knows me. He knows what I need. He will help me find some food.¨ That type of faith is an example to us all. We are doing what we can to help her of course. But she doesn't worry. She is more than happy to wait on the Lord with faith and patience. 

I share these stories, and this lovely rant. Because I have felt many feelings very strongly in this last week. This world is so beautiful. We have everything in front of us, ready for the taking. And when we get to the tree of life. 

What do we do?

Do we partake and WALK AWAY? 

Or do we eat, and keep eating, inviting our family and friends to partake also?

 Or do we reach the tree, look at the fruit and say, its too far, I cant reach it, and walk away. 

Or maybe we are among those who partake of the fruit, and then ARE ASHAMED AND FALL AWAY INTO FORBIDDEN PATHS AND ARE LOST. 

Make the decision NOW. Don't say what my companion said. Make the decision NOW. And pray with all the energy of your hearts that you enter not into temptation. 

I hope that this email makes sense. It is much longer than I intended. But I feel that the spirit has sent me a couple of these thoughts. So I hope that they reach the person that God wanted them to reach. Maybe they were just for me in 30 years. I don't know. But thank you for reading. For loving me and supporting me in this wonderful time in my life. My Mission. The Mission of the Lord. 

I love you so much. I will talk to you one more time next week. So until then. I love you all. Think about which decision you are taking right now. Make it now, not later. 


Hermana Randall

PS. And go watch this.

Week 73 El Fin se Acerca y Hay Poco Tiempo!

Translation of the title for all of you who don't speak Spanish, ¨The end is coming and there isn't much time.¨

This is the song that everyone is choosing in EVERY single meeting and I get looked at funny by everyone. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that I'm going to be seeing all of you soon. But the idea of coming home also fills me with a weird feeling of anxiety and I need to breath harder. So I only allow myself to think of home when I am writing emails. It`s easier that way. 

This week was SUPER dramatic. The sisters that we live with were breaking a rule that no one knew about, so we asked President if it was a rule, he said it was, so we had to be the heavy and tell the sisters about it. (They were going to a gym in the mornings, nothing serious, a good idea in other situations, just as missionaries we cant do it.) And they got really really, but I mean REALLY mad. Stormed out of the house, etc. We felt awful because it was never our intention to make them feel bad. And they lost the money that they had paid to sign up ($23,000CLP). So the house filled with a super awkward, weird, angry energy, it was so bad I literally lost my appetite and wanted to throw up. We had a couple long talks with President,and finally settled everything. It is still a little like walking on eggshells in the house, but a week later we are doing a ton better and the spirit is in the house again. So we are all really happy about that. And all trying to keep the peace.

We had a baptism planned for this Saturday, but the young woman is facing a lot of opposition from her family, so she wanted to postpone the date until her family understands a little more. We felt like it is the right thing to do, so we are still preparing her and a couple other people to be baptized. There are many miracles here in Vallenar, we just need to get out there with our butterfly nets and catch em! (Gotta catch em all! Just call me Hna Ketchem!) 

Yeah, sorry about that.

Anyways, it was a good week other than the extreme drama at the beginning. We are still all working on getting along. It was just too much to ask for a peaceful last 6 weeks. There is still much that God wants me to do. So here I go!

Les amo muchisimo, and I hope that you have a great week. I just want to share my testimony that I know that God knows you personally. Your blessings and your trials. He is going to send you blessings in your trials and trials to accompany your blessings, because these are what is going to help you grow. 

I want you all to go and watch this video: 

And then ask yourself, Who is Jesus Christ for ME. For YOU personally. WHO is your Savior? I love you! And he does too.

Have a fabulous week!

Hermana Randall

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 72 Traveling....Emotions.....Another Week

Well hello there World, here we are another week and another email from you favorite sister missionary named Hermana Randall :)

Well many things happened this week for sure. Our P-Day went well and Tuesday as well. WE had 7 baptismal interviews this week, and a definite baptism next Saturday! We are so excited to see the progress that Vallenar is making right now. 

We also had our last Leaders Conference before I go home.... I thought that there was going to be one more before I left... But no.... So in the middle of the meeting I had to stand up and give my last testimony in front of all of the leaders in the mission..... What a surprising time to rip out my heart and show it to everyone. sigh.

But it was a really good conference! As a mission we received a congratulations from the general authorities because we as a mission baptized 118 converts in October! The mission is so happy and as a result there are more and more people that are being able to partake of the various blessings that God has prepared for the faithful and obedient. :) It really is the time to be here in Chile Antofagasta!

The meeting was in Antofagasta so I had to travel the 10 hours in bus, back to where I just was the week before, and then take the bus back.... Ugh. It was very hectic. Wednesday we received a call from the office saying that the new elder that is in the office and in charge of buying all of the tickets, didn't buy tickets for us.... So we suddenly had to find a member who could drive us 2 hours to Copiapò so that we could take a different bus from there to Antofagasta..... So we had to leave at 6 in the afternoon, drive awkwardly to Copiapò, which we arrived at about 8:15, then wait until the bus left at 10:40PM. Then we tried to sleep but we got to Antofagasta early... Like 5 in the morning early. So we had to sit and wait in the bus terminal until the assistants woke up and came to get us. They took us sisters to the apartment of the Cerro Moreno sisters! My old apartment!  And then I was able to see a member of the ward who I love a ton. And then the conference all day. We left at 6:00 or so from the office. The bus left at 8:00, and we arrived back in Vallenar at 6:00AM Friday morning. It was a busy week. 

But a super great week! 4 investigators in the chapel Sunday, and the spirit in all directions. I love the mission. I don't even want to think about going. But I'm

glad that I am here in Vallenar! We have another busy hectic week planned, but we are going to conquer it!

I love you all, thank you for all of your unconditional support. I hate to say it, but love it at the same time, but I will see you all soon! LES AMO!

Hermana Randall