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