Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015 - Week 30 "Merry Christmas Chilean Style!!"

Hola Familia!

Wow, I hope everyone had the greatest Christmas and it was so fun to talk to you on Friday!!! Yesterday we had transfers and Hermana San Martin was transfered to Copiapo. I will be staying here in Tocopilla and will be tranining!!! I am so excited and will get my new companion on Wednesday in Antofagasta. In the meantime I will be working with Fernanda, a member of the rama (branch). She is super and served her mission in Salt Lake!

As far as this week goes, I don't think there has been a faster week in the mission. We were so busy! Christmas was incredible and I loved the experience of Christma in the mission. As a district on Wednesday we went to the hospital and visited people and also sang Christmas carols in the street and handed out little packages with candy and pass along cards. Hermana SM an I walked around with Santa hats all week too. Here in Tocopilla there are Christmas caravans that drive around all day throwing out gifts and candy. 

On Christmas Eve, which is the day they celebrate here in Chile Hna SM and I spent the day mostly with members. We helped wrap gifts and get other last minute things done. In the night we went and had dinner with Familia Nievas and after in the pension celebrated like Chileans. At 12 we toasted to Christmas and then opened our gifts. We had a fun time and it will always be a fun memory. 

On Christmas we also visited a lot of members and also had a few lessons which was good but it was a pretty normal day here. 

As far as investigators go...

-We found a new investigator Darinkat who is amazing! We were able to teach the restoration and the spirit was so strong. We have another appt on Saturday and I am anxious to see if she really keeps her commitment to read the BOM and pray. 

-We also have started teaching Jacky, Camila's mom and she is the sweetest. She is really going through some hard things with her family so we always go and help her cook, and teach her at the same time. The other day we all sat peeling potatoes and talked about the plan of salvation. It was really great and Fernanda was able to come with us too. 

-Carla isn't progressing too much and it's hard because she will be leaving to Argentina soon but we will see what happens. She isn't really keeping her commitments which is a bummer. 

We have a lot of future investigators to contact this week so hopefully we will continue to find new investigators!!!

I have loved this transfer with Hermana San Martin and will miss her but am so excited for this coming transfer too!!! Happy New Year!!!

Hermana Freedman

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015 - Week 29 "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

I can't believe it is almost Christmas! It's feeling a little more like Christmas here in Chile the only thing that's missing is the chilly...but lots of people have their lights up and every year the week leading up to Christmas there are caravans that drive around the city and throw out candy and presents. I would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping that something would get throw to me. 

This week was great! We spent Tuesday in Calama again for zone training and I'm getting a little tired of bus rides but oh well. Hermana San Martin and I froze in the morning because Calama is SO COLD! In the mornings it is like Utah in Winter and in the afternoons like Utah in Summer. And 10x drier too. But we spent the morning before the conference in the mall and the afternoon waiting for our bus in the mall too. There isn't much else to do close to the chapel. 

We also had intercambios this week so the STLs from Calama came to Tocopilla. We had a blast and it was good to work with Hermana Caballero again. 

As far as investigators go we found 11 new investigators this week! I wouldn't mind if it was Christmas all year round because the people are so much more receptive! I basically have "A Savior is Born" memorized and Hna San Martin and I walk around laughing trying to imitate the actors and their voices. But really the campaign is so great. We have started passing out candy with the pass along cards we have and we have found a lot of future investigators which has been awesome. Chileans will never turn down candy. Haha. 

Camila had a baptismal date for the 9th of January but didn't come to church yesterday so we will have to postpone her baptism. She is really progressing though but the last lesson we had she told us her parents really don't like our religion. So we might have a hard time with that...especially since she lives with them and they raised her son and everything. But hopefully we can help her realize the importance of her desire to be baptized!

We also found a new investigator Carla. She is 19 and is from Bolivia but is living here with her mom right now. She grew up in Bolivia and Argentina and will probably be moving back to Argentina in February but for now she is really progressing here! She is Evangelical but has been reading the book of mormon and has lots of faith! We have only had 2 lessons so far and she has yet to accept the baptismal invitation but we will just keep inviting her!

Nobody else is really progressing as of now but we have a good pool of people to teach which is awesome. As usual the challenge is finding time when they are free to meet with us, and helping them get to church. 

Along with the video the church released we have also been sharing Alma 7:10-11. It is obviousy so necessary that we have a savior and I am so grateful for this Christmas season!

 10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalemwhich is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictionsand temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

I know that Christ lives and that through him we can be saved and also find peace during the trials we face in life. Have the merriest Christmas!

Hermana Freedman

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14th - Week 28 "Have You Accepted Jesus in Your Heart"

Hey everyone! 

This week flew by. I can't believe it is Monday again. 

Last P-day was pretty great. We went a walked around the cemetery here in Tocopilla, I don't really know why but people had kept telling us we should visit the cemetery. After...we went to Alexis Sanchez house (only Chiles #1 soccer player) because he was in town. He is from Tocopilla, and recently was injured so he is back in Chile to recover. 

His mom loves the missionaries so we went to visit but neither of us knew exactly who his mom was. Hna. San Martin was so nervous. I knocked the door and a woman answered and the only thing Hna SM could say was "can I please use your bathroom?" She wasn't kidding when she said she was really nervous and to make a very long and awkward story short I ended up interrogating his whole family because nobody would help me keep the conversation going....not one of my best moments! Then when Hna SM left the bathroom she asked for water and I have never seen her drink more slowly. All I wanted to do was leave. I felt so uncomfortable! Alexis and his mom both weren't there, or at least that's what they said... so we ended up taking pictures with pictures of him. But hey I can say I walked the same hallways as Alexis Sanchez so it was worth the pain. 
Alex Sanchez Home

This week was a little difficult as far as the work goes. We had a very hard time having follow up lessons with our new investigators and ALL our appointments fell through. 

We did find 2 new investigators Camila and Gabriel. They are both 18 and have a 3 year old son Oliver. Camila was a contact from our activity in the plaza we had a few weeks ago. They are separated and are just friends for their son. But...that means that we don't have to wait for anyone to get married so theres a lot of potential there. Before we started teaching the lesson Camila told us that she had a lot of inacurate perceptions of Mormons but was suprised how normal we were. Then she said "I want to be mormon!!!" We taught the Restoration and it was really great!!! Camila even accepted the baptismal invitation, and they both committed to come to church this coming sunday, because they already had committed to something yesterday. But our follow up lessons ended up falling through because Camila traveled to Antofagasta. Hopefully this week we can meet with her again!

We also contacted an Evangelical woman in the street yesterday. At first she was really closed off but we just started asking about her and slowly she opened up. We started talking about religion and at one point she yelled with a very concerned look on her face, "but have you accepted Jesus in your heart?"  Hna. SM and I thought she was referring to some type of ceremony or something so we started to explain what we believe. She lost it and started to preach to us all about Jesus...oops. We re-explained that yes, we have accepted Jesus in our hearts and were able to place a Book of mormon. We had a good laugh after. I've never seen anyone more concerned for my salvation. 

The rest of the week was pretty normal. I was able to read the talk that mom sent for Thanksgiving and loved it! So thanks mom. At one point Elder Anderson quotes Heber C. Kimball when he said, "there will come a time when we can't survive on borrowed light". Elder Anderson goes on to bear his testimony that we are now in those times. It is so true! We all need to have our own testimonies or we won't be able to overcome all the trials and temptations we face. it is so important that we do all the small things continually to stay spiritually strong and on the path. 

Have a great week!

Hermana Freedman

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 8th - Week 27 "Baptism by Fire and Baptism by Fire"

This week I have great news!!! Elena was baptized!!!!! It was a very special day and Elena was adorable as usual. But...I doubt that anything will ever run smoothly for Hermana Freedman. On Saturday we went to find the baptismal clothes in the morning, because it was the only time anyone could meet us with the keys. We spent 30 minutes looking and said lots of prayers because there was only men's clothing! Finally we found a jumper. Phew. Then when we went to fill up the font the water heater wasn't working. We started filling the font anyway and when it was about half full realized the batteries to the water heater were dead, so President went and bought new batteries. We put the water to all the way hot since the font was basically filled with cold water, thinking that it would be nice and warm when Elena got there. 

Plot twist...when Elena went to get in the water she said it was too hot, Hermana San Martin and I were really focusing in on the baptism by fire part of baptism. Elena wanted the water we waited for 20 minutes while Hermano Marcelo dumped cold water into the font. We got all situated and then Elena got scared so we waited 20 more minutes and talked it out with her. But after that, everything went well and really all that mattered was Elena and how she felt! Her brother baptized and confirmed her and it was really great. 

Later, Hermana San Martin celebrated with sushi (I can't believe I am eating sushi, I don't know what happened to my taste buds when I came to the mission). It was really yummy and even better, Pedro, a less active who owns the sushi shop gave us a deal. Saving souls and discount sushi. Don't know if it gets much better than that. 
This week we also found a great investigator Sheila. She owns an almacen (mini-mart) down the street from our apartment and we have taught her twice now. She lives with her boyfriend and 2 sons, and we just need to find the boyfriend and teach him now. When we shared the Restoration, she started talking about how she thought it would be a good idea if we had prophets today! We were able to testify about President Monson and it was a very special moment. 

We also have an investigator, Ivanka who is so great. She works a lot which is a little difficult, but she's married (that never happens here), and when we taught the Plan of Salvation she already knew everything!!!! All her beliefs lined up with ours. 

Also we had a branch activity in the plaza on Saturday, called Meet the Mormons. All the organizations had a stand and the missionaries did too. We had a game with bible questions and if people answered right we handed out balloons. We were able to make some good contacts and it was fun to work together with the branch!

Yesterday we had zone conference in Calama. Calama is actually more pleasant than I was expecting but the weather is awful. It is freezing in the morning and night, and burning hot during the day. Also, there is dust everywhere, and tons of wind. But, being that the conference was inside I enjoyed my time there. I am so excited for Christmas in the mission and for the holiday season! I was also able to have an intercambio (exchange of companions) with Hermana Caballero, from Paraguay for a few hours last night and it was fun to work in a different sector. 

I'm pretty positive all of you have seen the new Christmas video but I want to invite all of you to share it! Find missionary opportunities!!!!

Cant believe 6 months have already gone by! The time is flying, and I wish it would fly a little slower. I love you all so much and hope you have a great week. And birthday shout out to Thomas!!!! Have the best day!

Hermana Freedman

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November 30th - Week 26 "Sick But Happy - 6 Months In The Books"


This week was incredible! Definitely one of my favorites so far because I saw miracle after miracle. On Monday, Hna. San Martin and I made our homemade paper Christmas tree and all we talk about is Christmas. We are both so excited!!! 

This week was good but on Tuesday I had a super sore throat, Wednesday I walked around with a headache and the chills all day, and Wednesday night ended up going to bed with a bad fever...Thursday we stayed in during the morning and I rested a bit. But we left to work in the afternoon. I am feeling a lot better now, just a cough and a runny nose. That was the only bummer this week. 

On Friday we had a ward costume party and were able to bring two YW who are investigating, Rosio and Anahi. It was really fun but all I wanted to do was dance!!!! 

We found 9 new investigators this week which was incredible!!!!!! 6 on Saturday alone! Honestly a miracle. Saturday was the greatest. Hna. San Martin and I spent the whole day laughing because the funniest things just kept happening. At the end of the day we were walking around pretending to interview each other for the radio, telling all the dumb things that had happened during the day, but it was fun and we laughed and laughed some more. 

As far as investigators go:

-Elena will be baptized this Saturday!!!! She is 9 and her family are members but between active and less active so we are working a lot with them to get everyone reactivated. Elena reminds me of one of the girls in Matilda and is the sweetest. Her attention span isn't so sweet but I'm excited for her. 

-Mario is one of our new investigators we found this week and his religious beliefs are so different. He is a high school teacher and one of those really deep thinkers. In our first lesson we watched "Because He Lives" and we asked him after what he learned or what caught his attention.
He started talking about the physical charachteristics of Christ and how the church did a good job depticting Christ for the time period, and all this information about the middle east. I didn't catch much of it because he uses really big fancy Spanish words...but at least he believes in Christ. We will start from there. 

-Ana is another investigator we have. She is from Bolivia and currently lives here with her boyfriend. She knows everything is true but the only problem is her boss is also a member of her church and he provides her housing, food, everything and she is too scared to ask him if she can go to another church, but I think she just needs a little help and a little time...and to get married. 

-Romina and Belen are a family we found on Saturday and we had a very spiritual lesson on the restoration. They committed to read the book of mormon and pray so we just need to follow up! We will see where it goes. 

We have some other investigators but as of right now they aren't really progressing. 

On Sunday President Dalton came to the branch because obviously Tocopilla is the celestial kingdom of the mission and he wanted to show his parents around. Also we got a new branch president. I love the branch here and I am branch pianist which I really enjoy. 

I found this reading in the Liahona the other day and wanted to share it with you all:

President Kimball said, "In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves."

That is something I have really learned here in the missin. Everyday I learn more and more about myself and my potential. The mission is such a blessing and in just 6 months has helped me become a more Christlike person. When we serve we end up being the ones who are changed!!!

Have the greatest week and enjoy the holiday season!!!

Hermana Freedman

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 23rd - Week 25 "We Are The Message"

Hey Everyone!

Great first week here in Tocopilla!!!  A little background info on Tocopilla. It's a little coastal town, about 3 hours from Antofagasta and it's one big hill. Holy cow. I have never been more tired in my life. The streets are kinda like roller coasters. Up and down, up and down, but I love it. Its fairly nice, because in 2007 there was an earthquake that destroyed everything so all the construction is new, also after the floods (this is the city that flooded with all the mudslides in the news a while back) there have been some updates to the city. I also thought there were lots of dogs in Arica but I was wrong. Never in my life will I see more dogs. They are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The branch here is fantastic and the people are the greatest. 

I am still getting to know the people here but we were able to make a lot of contacts this week which was great and hopefully we will have some new investigators this coming week. We had one progressing investigator this week, Elena, who had a baptism date for next Saturday but it ended up falling through. She is 9 and her family is less actives, so really it's probably a good things we wait to baptize her. As of now we are really going to focus our efforts on reactivating her family and helping them create a home with more love. 

Hermana San Martin is a dream and we get along so well. She definitely speaks Chilean Spanish and I thought I was used to it but I was wrong. I can't count the number of times I have to ask her to repeat things, but hopefully after her I will be able to understand everything. She is the spunkyest person, loves to dance, and loves to move the furniture around. Haha. Last night we spent 45 minutes moving everything around. We spent the whole time laughing together. 
Hermana San Martin and Catie in Tocopilla

The highlight of this week was definitely the conference we had in Antofagasta with Elder Cook!!! Our bus to Antofagasta left at 4:30 on Saturday morning and we arrived at about 8:30. It was so fun to be with the whole mission and see some of the missionaries from Arica, and especialy Hermana Jacobson from the CCM!!! It was a little weird that neither of my previous companions were there but that will never happen again, considering that Hna. SM has less time in the mission. 

The conference was incredible and I received mountains of revelation. We were able to hear from Elder Gonzalez (President of South America South Area), Elder Soares from the presidency of the 70, and Elder Cook as well as their wives. Elder Cook had us write down 4 things and I have really been pondering them. 

1. We are ward and branch builders.
-He talked a lot about how we need to continually be building the youth of the church because ultimately they are the future leaders of the church. 

2. We succeed when we invite, regardless of the outcome.
- We can never have fear of sharing the gospel. We don't know the impact we can have!

3. If we are disciples of the savior, WE are the message.
- Our examples are everything, and people should be able to know what we believe by how we act.

4. Foucs your spiritual power on your teaching, planning, and purpose.
- For those of you who aren't in the mission maybe teaching and planning don't apply as much but really we need to always have our focus on our spiritual goals and focus our spiritual power on accomplishing our goals!

The conference was incredible and he bore such strong testimony. was a little bit of a bummer because at the end there was a special musical number by some elders. they sang Praise to the Man, but there was a problem with the piano and speakers and I think they were oblivious to what was going on, but it was a rock concert. Holy cow. I'm surprised they didn't blow out the speakers. Elder Cook was painfully smiling on the stand. Always adventures in the mission. 

I hope you all have the greatest week! Love you all so much!

Hermana Freedman

Wonderful family who game this shawl to Catie as a gift!

Shout out to the Salle Family!

Goodbye to great friends!

View of Tocopilla

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16th - Week 24 Tocopilla!!!

Hey everyone! 
I don't have much time to write because I spent my whole P-day (9 hours on a bus) to get here to my new sector! Every time I travel in bus I remember that really I am in the middle of the looks like the moon (not that I have been to the moon to compare...but just trust me) and sometimes I feel like Nephi traveling through the desert to the promised land...Tocopilla!!!! I already love it. My companion is Hermana San Martin. She is from Santiago and has 3 months in the mission. One transfer less than me.

Here are some highlights from last week:
- Claudia and Patricio are starting to progress!!! We had 2 lessons with them this past week and the spirit was very strong. They expressed their desires to continue learning and shared their testimonies of what we have shared. They invited us to an Once (dinner) and Claudia had made homemade pizza, and all these desserts. They also went to a baptism this week and loved it. They said they felt the spirit and realized that it is a sacred covenant. Hopefully the elders that are arriving to our sector can help them progress!

-Also Priscilla is really progressing!!!! I don't remember what I have told you about her but she was a contact that I made with Hna. Espinoza. We never could find her when we passed for her house and all our appts. always fell through but I felt so very impressed to keep visiting her. We had 2 lessons this week, both very spiritual and she expressed her desires to change her life, and expressed that she has received an answer that this is her path God is preparing. She came to church this Sunday and cried the whole time. I am so happy for her and am sad to leave here but all the ward members were so great to reach out to her. 

-I can't believe this last transfer with Hermana Requejo went so fast. I learned so much and we are such great friends. 

Sorry I don't have more time to write. I promise I will send pictures next week....

Love you all!

Hermana Freedman

November 9th - Week 23 30 Minutes with Rachel... Requejo

Hey everyone!

I don't have much time to write this week and not much happened so this email will be short but here are some highlights of the week!

Natisha one of our investigators came to church this week and is really progressing. The YWs president even told us that she participated more than the ward members in her classes. But she is 14 so sadly probably won't be getting baptized anytime soon because she doesn't have much support from her family but we will continue to help her build her testimony. 

We also found a new investigator Natalie last week but this week were able to have a few lessons with her and she really opened up and we were able to find her need. She has family who are members and loves their example of the gospel and wants it for her family. Hopefully we can have the opportunity to share with her boyfriend at some point and help them progress as a family. They have 2 kids and Natalie is super great!

This week Hna. Requejo ended up cooking lunch at Claudia and Patricios and also on Sunday with Hna. Alma from our ward. Everyone wants her to cook for them! Her food is the yummiest and it was also great to have a little time to share with Claudia and Patricio. They are progressing very slowly but its progress! 

I can't believe the transfer is almost over. I am sad that Hna. R will be leaving. We are BEST friends. I have learned so much from her in just 5 weeks and will miss her like crazy. 

Hope you all have a fantastic week!


Hermana Freedman

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2nd, 2015 - Week 22 "Dulce o Referencia"


I hope that everyone had a happy Halloween and is enjoying the Fall weather! Another great week here in Costanera. This week we found a few new investigators which was great and also were able to meet with some less actives, who before wouldn't let us in so that was exciting.  

Tuesday was a day of miracles. We were out working and all our plans were falling through, but we decided to visit a less active who usually just tells us she is busy and doesn't have time. We knocked her door and it was inspired. She let us in and told us that she had been praying for us to come visit her, minutes before. We were able to find her need and gain a little bit of confidence. We also visited with another less active that also never lets us in but something was different on Tuesday because she opened up and now we know  what we need to do to help her come back to church. It really is incredible to see the Lord working through me. It is very humbling to learn and understand this principle.  Despite my own weaknesses, he finds a way to work through me. 

We also had a great lesson with Claudia and Patricio this week. They still wouldn't agree to be baptized but they understood about baptism and want to see a baptism and then make a decision. Patricio told us that he thinks the Joseph Smith story is logical and that it all makes perfect sense! We just need to help them progress as a couple!

We also visited Hna. María and tricked Fabiola into staying for the lesson. She was very aware we had tricked her into staying and we all just joked and laughed about it the whole time, but we read the introduction to the BOM and started talking about Joseph Smith and she asked us if we could come and watch the movie with her, about Joseph Smith so the next day we went and all watched the movie together. Fabiola isn't progressing, but really it's just because she can't imagine that it is possible to change! But her faith is growing and that's what is important. She will have her time. 

On Halloween, a ward member sewed us doll hats and in the night, us 4 Costanera Hnas, went around to the members and knocked their doors. When they answered we yelled ¨dulce o referencia¨ (candy or references) and handed out candy. It was really fun, and we didn't actually end up getting any references but I think we brought a little bit of Halloween ánimo (excitement) to our ward so that was good. 

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance. 1 Nephi 1:20

I loved this scripture in my study this week. Nephi is the greatest example and really when we have faith the Lord will help us. There are tender mercies in our lives everyday, we just need to recognize them!

Have the greatest week!

Hermana Freedman