Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29th - Week 39 "OVER THE HILL"

Hey Everyone,
Feeling a little sad about the subject title....I can't believe this week is the halfway mark of my mission!  By the end of this week, I will officially be "over the hill".

Armenia accepted a baptismal date this week for March 19, we also taught her the word of wisdom and it's gonna be a battle for her to give up her tea. Haha she always talks about how she wants to receive the blessings but it's a family tradition to drink tea so I'll be praying lots for my Tocopillan abuelita. 

Carlos and Catalina are progressing tons. Still don't want to choose a baptismal date but we have had some really good lessons. Catalina has also started inviting her friends to church and to all the activities. Pretty sure the elders in sectors norte and sur are pretty excited about that too. 

We had a really great youth activity this week which was really fun. It was a mixture of spiritual and fun and I think it helped Carlos and Catalina lots. Part of the activity was a quiz game. All the questions I got were about Chile and I knew none of the answers! I've got a lot of studying to do. 

We didn't find many new investigators this week which was a bummer but we will just have to work harder this next week. 

This week we also went to Antofagasta to watch a broadcast from Buenos Aires with Elder Bednar. It was a Q and A and was so great! He talked a lot about faith. His wife also talked a lot about humility which hit me hard this week. To be honest, the week was a little rough and yesterday when we counted numbers it was pretty humbling to see the work we had done throughout the week. I definitely realized there is so much more I can be doing. There is always more I can do! And being a missionary is hard work! It isn't supposed to be easy because we are working to save souls! So I have 9 more months to take advantage of every single day and work as hard as I can! 

Thanks for all the prayers! Love you all tons!

Hermana Freedman

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February 22nd - Week 38 "Couch Potato"

Hola Familia!!!! 

This week was so great and I feel like I spent most of it myself. But those are the best moments so I wouldn't mind if they kept coming. 

This week we traveled to Calama for zone training. I don't know how much longer I can handle Tur bus. We left the pension at 4.15 in the morning because the bus was supposed to leave at 4.40 but we ended up waiting outside (there isn't a terminal here in Tocopilla because it's so small) for an hour. Then there was construction so definitely didn't sleep. When I did end up sleeping I woke myself up because I was sleep talking so loud. But I learned a lot in zone training which was good. We did lots of practices with the baptismal invitation and it was good. Hna. C and I have really gotten better this week with that. Coming back we were stopped in the canyon just outside of Tocopilla for an hour. It was the middle of the day and so hot. I was dying but oh well. My Tur Bus days will come to an end and I will miss all the good adventures. 

While we were planning on Wednesday night a giant, GIANT moth flew into my facee. We both freaked out and ended up trying to kill the moth for half an hour! Not one of my best moments and if you ever need help killing moths don't come to me. But we were laughing so hard the whole time. 

Also at lunch this week I was feeling super brave and opted to try stomach....definitely was fighting to keep it in my stomach. I think I'll stick to the typical Chilean rice and chicken diet from now on. 

Last funny moment from this week. We were teaching an investigator Gladys in her house. I went to sit down on the couch and I don't know why she didn't inform me that her grand kids had cut out the bottom but the cushion was resting on top of a giant hole. I ended up inside the couch folded in half. 

As far as the work goes we are really seeing progress!!!!! Carlos and Catalina are really progressing. We taught The Gopsel of  Jesus Christ this week and Carlos kept talking about how he really wants to repent and do things right. They have not accepted the baptismal invitation but they both say it's because they want to be baptized but, when they know they will be converts. They don't want to feel pressure to be baptized just because. They have been assisting [she means attending but is thinking Spaish in her head] weekly activities, call us when they have questions about their reading assignments, and participate tons in church!!!! I am so excited. It has been so cool to see Carlos go from not believing in God to accepting him in his life. 

Armenia didn't come to church this week but she is also progressing slowly but surely. We were able to work with Hermana Dalton this week and it was an incredible day! Full of miracles for sure. I don't know what happened but Armenia was crazy when Hermana Dalton showed up. She just kept kissing my face and pinching my cheeks the whole lesson. I think I've found my Tocopillan grandma. We found a few new investigators with Hermana Dalton and had some really spiritual lessons. Definitely a highlight of the week. 

This week I was studying faith because on Wednesday we will be going to Antofa for a conference with Elder Bendar (a broadcast from Buenos Aires). It was cool to read how faith is a principle of past, present, and future. It starts out as a future hope for something. When we act according to our belief we are using our agency to accomplish something in the present. After the trial of our faith we have evidence (past) of the power of faith. This evidence leads us to have more hope. Faith is a never ending circle!

Hope you all have a good week! Thanks for all the prayers!

Hermana Freedman

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 15th - Week 37 "Pan Colombianooooo, Ricoooo, Saborosooooo!"

Happy Valentines Day Everyone, 

This week was super great and we had 4 investigators at church which we were really excited about!!!!! We are starting to see lots of progress here in Tocopilla and are receiving tons of blessings. 

This week Hermana Challco and I finally bought Pan Colombiano. There are tons of Colombians here in the north of Chile and in Tocopilla, in the afternoon they walk around with bags of bread and yell, "pan colombianoooo, ricooo, saborosoooo" (Pan Colombiano, delicious, flavorful). But really their accent makes it even better. After hearing that for so many weeks we decided we might as well try it and it was so good!

Also while we were out working this week we went to contact a future investigator and they had a BYU sticker on the door. What are the odds of that! We knocked and they ended up not being receptive, but apparently some elders lived there a few years back, but they never took the sticker off the door.

As far as investigators go:
-Estella isn't progressing and we have run into a lot of problems with her family situation. I think in the next 2 weeks or so she will be moving back to Coquimbo to live with her mom. 

-This week we had a lesson with Romina, who is an investigator I found with Fernanda before Hermana Challco got here. She is so receptive. She recently had her baby and we taught the Plan of Salvation again. At the end of the lesson she said "hermanas I'm just so excited to keep learning and I can't wait 'till I have progressed enough to be baptized!!!" There is literally not a better feeling than when people understand our purpose. The Lord truly prepares people to accept the gospel. The only problem is she isn't married but her boyfriend slowly is becoming more and more receptive. All she needs is time. 

-We also contacted a reference we recieved from one of our investigators and we have a new investigator Madeline. She is 24 and her husband is dying of cancer. She is also very receptive and we are excited to work with her. 

-One of our investigators Armenia came to church yesterday. She is an abueltia (grandmother) that is always sitting outside her house so we always talk with her. She just won't commit to be baptized but is progressing and continues to read her Book of Mormon and is praying. But she says she will know the church is true if she receives 20,000,000 we are working to explain the spirit and how the spirit works. That we don't need big manifestations to know something is true. At church she ended up having lots of friends so hopefully that will get her excited for next Sunday. 

-Carlos and Catalina also showed up yesterday! We haven't had contact with them for about a week and a half and they haven't been answering their door or the phone. We tried calling them Saturday and Sunday morning to invite them to church but they didn't show up. About 10 minutes into the meeting they walked in!!! Catalina stayed for all 3 hours and wants to go to mutual Friday and the activity on Wednesday. We had a lesson with them last night and taught the plan of salvation. Carlos was pretty interested and was looking things up in his Book of Mormon the whole time. At the end he also asked about family history and it just so happens that there is an activity this week to start family history in the branch! He is really excited to go and hopefully this will be his hook!

Not much else has changed in Tocopilla. Its been really windy and a little cold but I wont complain. Hope you all have the greatest week! Thanks for all your prayers!

Hermana Freedman

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 8th - Week 36 "DOCE"

Wow can you believe we are in February! First of all big birthday shout out to Charlie!!!!! 12 years old!!!! Hope you have the best day. 

This week was good and we are seeing more progress! 

Diana and Juan still aren't coming to church which is a bummer but I know they will have their time...

This week we also have started working a lot more with Estella. She wants to be baptized and the only problem is working with her parents. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying and knows it's true. She is the cutest, and the smartest 9 year old I have ever met. Yesterday she bore her testimony at church and i couldn't help but cry! It was like a missionary testimony! Super powerful!

We also found a new investigator Jose this week. During the first lesson we were able to commit him to baptism which we are super excited about. The spirit was super strong and I love the power in the first vision. We had another lesson yesterday and he hadn't kept his commitment to read and pray about the BOM but we recommitted him and we will see what happens when we follow up. 

We are also finally seeing progress with a less active Celsa and her daughter Valeria. Celsa didn't know she was a member until yesterday. Haha that was an interesting conversation but she took it really well. Valeria is progressing tons but has really struggled getting to church. she doesn't have desires to go but understands it's necessary. We have had the goal set for this Sunday for about 3 weeks now so I'll be praying for a miracle!!!! But they are so prepared and hopefully Celsa can find motivation to go now that she knows she is a member. 

Camila has started listening again but its so hard to find her in her house when she isn't working. She invited us to her birthday this week and we were able to share with her and we talked a lot more about the church and answered a bunch of questions that she had. 

This week we also kept the tradition going and celebrated another transfer with sushi!!! I can't believe Hna. Challco is halfway thorough her training. I'm excited to have 7 more weeks with her (this transfer is one week longer than usual). 

This week we also were able to watch a broadcast from Buenos Aires about the area plan for Sud America Sur. They are trying to help the members focus on keeping the sabbath day holy, self reliance, and the temple. I am excited to use the plan to help investigators, less actives, and converts and it will be a really good motivater to help people stay strong in the gospel!

Quick spiritual thought for the week. I was studying the conference talk by Elder Keetch and loved how he talked about true obedience. He said ¨true obedience, is giving ourselves entirely to Him and allowing Him to chart our course...understanding that He can make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves¨. That is something that is so important as members and especially as missionaries. I really got to thinking if I'm just obedient or truly obedience! There is definitely a difference. True obedience is doing things because we love our Heavenly Father and Savior. I want to really focus on that this next coming week. 

Love you all so much! 

Hermana Freedman

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1 - Week 35 "Tour Bus Platinum Level?"

Well it's officially February. I can't believe January flew by so fast. 

This week was good. We went to Calama again for intercambios. Everytime we travel I remember again and again that I'm literally living in the middle of the desert. And if I was an optimist I could say I appreciate the views but....I can't fool myself. Tocopilla and the coast are really beautiful but inland is a little depressing. Also....I think by now I should have like a Tour Bus Platinum status. If Tour Bus were run by delta that would mean lots of Nutella and Biscoff cookies for me. 

Intercambios were really great. I worked with Hermana Sotec and she is the funniest. We laughed and laughed for hours straight. 

Also this week I ate lunch in Alexis Sanchez's house. Pretty sweet. The only thing that was missing was alexis himself but oh well. 

As far as investigators go, Diana and Juan still aren't coming to church....I don't know what else we can do to help them. It is hard because Diana works till super late on Saturday night and doesn't wake up in time for church. We have tried everything, calling, passing by their house before church, daily contact. We will see what ends up happening. 

We ended up leaving Margarita because she isn't progressing and we were spending a lot of time focusing on her. Hopefully she will realize that she needs the gospel in her life at some point!

We also are teaching an old investigator Valeria. She wants to be baptized and knows everything is true but can't get herself to go to church. She understands the importance and can explain keeping the Sabbath day holy perfectly but just can't get herself to church! Also her mom is less active but she doesn't know she is a member. Lots of prayers and faith, but I am pretty confident that in not too long we will be sitting with her in the chapel. 

Carlos and Catalina are doing alright. We have run into a few problems with their situation but we are working to find solutions. Catalina came to church yesterday which was awesome! Her mom also wants to start listening but won't be back in Tocopilla for another week. They have both been praying which is awesome but are having trouble finding answers so we will focus on helping them recognize the spirit this week. 

One thing that I have really been studying and sharing with the  people here is the importance of the sacrament. It has been a really great experience and I have had lots of time to ponder and reflect on the sacred nature of the sacrament. It is something we can't live without. We have the opportunity to be clean again and again. I have felt so much peace during the sacrament in my time here in the mission and have really grown to appreciate the power of the atonement. I hope that as I share my testimony with the people here of the power of the sacrament we can inspire more people to come to church and make sacred covenants with God. It doesn't matter if we are members or just beginning to know the church we all need the atonement of Jesus Christ because we are all imperfect. Next sunday I would invite you all to really pay attention to the sacrament prayers and think about what Jesus Christ has done for you and I know that if we do everything we can we can have the spirit with us 100% of the time! 

I love you all so much. Hope you are enjoying the snow. It continues to get hotter and hotter here! 


Hermana Freedman