Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Love To See The Temple!

May 25, 2014

¡Buen Día!

¡Hoy ha sido increíble! En serio. We went to the temple today and oh my goodness oh my goodness, I LOVE THE TEMPLE! I know with all my heart that it is the House of the Lord. It was my very first time doing a session in Spanish and it was beautiful. Ah, we just got back so I’m still reeling about how amazing it was. It is absolutely incredible how much revelation we can receive when we go to the temple with specific questions. I feel like Heavenly Father just poured out His knowledge to me in the temple. After sitting in the celestial room for a little while, Hna. Centeno came over to me and we discussed our feelings and thoughts about our investigators. I couldn’t believe how united we were in our thoughts. Heavenly Father literally blessed us with the same thoughts and feelings about our investigators. It was incredible. It was the most peaceful, incredible experience. I will bring up the temple more throughout this email. 

So last week I had my most spiritual lesson with an investigator yet. Their names are Kathy y Jony. They are married (thank heavens!!) and they have a little boy named Axel who is 8. The last transfer, Hna. Centeno and her companion had contacted them and Jony seemed really interested in the Gospel, but Kathy wasn’t interested at all. At one point when the missionaries called her she told them that she didn’t need them, and that whenever she wants to know more about God and whatnot she will call them. So there’s more to the story, but it’s kinda long, however at one point last week we taught her about the Restoration in her door (teaching in doorways is suuuper typical). She invited us to come back and teach her and Jony on Friday. So we went back Friday and taught them about the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was incredible!!! They didn’t come to church unfortunately, and they haven’t been the greatest at keeping their commitments, but they really do have a sincere desire to know the truth. Before we showed up, Kathy said she prays every night to know which church is true. That’s why it’s a bit frustrating that she doesn’t keep the commitments we give her. But in the temple I was able to receive a lot of revelation about them. I kept having the thought to be patient. But this time, not with myself. I need to learn to have patience with my investigators as well. (Great, another thing to be patient about jaja.) This is all so new to them. I also could see Kathy and Jony in the baptismal font. I could see their progression in the Church. I could see Kathy one day being the Primary President or the Young Women’s President or something. Most importantly I could see them in the temple being sealed one day. They are so ready to receive this gospel. I can see it. They are the ones that can’t see how ready they are. I don’t know how Heavenly Father is going to do it, but I know that they are going to be baptized. When? I don’t know. With me? Again, I don’t know. But I do know they are ready. I am so excited to think of everything that is in store for them!

To be honest my head is a little fuzzy right now. I’m super tired because we had to get up super early yesterday and today for a meeting and for the temple. So I don’t remember everything that happened last week. Jajaj. Oh, here’s a story. The craziest thing happened last week. We were contacting an old investigator that we just happened to pull her name off an old progress report. A lot of the times they move or aren’t home, so to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. So we get to the apartment and call up to her apartment. When we say it’s the missionaries she’s like Wow, I’ll be right down! So she comes down with her Book of Mormon and pamphlets in hand. Hna. Centeno and I look at each other and are like, Wow, she’s ready to be taught, this is awesome! So then she tells us that the night before she had been praying to the "universe" to send the missionaries to her house, and then the next day we show up. I was like; there is no way this is happening. This is the greatest thing ever. Well, it turns out she was praying because she wanted to return everything to us because she doesn’t need it. *WHAT??* She said that we needed to give it to someone else who would benefit more from it. Apparently she decided she doesn’t need it in her life. She said that she was at peace with the questions she has and that she doesn’t need any religion in her life right now. To be honest, I don’t know everything that went down. I just know that it was so frustrating because God answered her prayer, we came, but to share the Gospel, but we had no idea how to change her mind. To help her see why we really came. Honestly it was a weird experience. I don’t know what God’s plan was/is, but there must be a bigger purpose to why we came after she prayed, just to have her reject us and whatnot. 

Well, folks, I sincerely apologize if this letter was a bit weird or hard to understand. My mind is a jumbled mess after the lack of sleep and the bus ride. (The buses here drive like maniacs and I get car sick from them so...) I do know that whenever we need to feel peace, there is no greater place than the temple. The temple is the closest we can be to God and His presence in this world. That is something we should not take for granted. Always try to go to the temple with at the very least one or two questions. There is no better place to receive inspiration. I have a firm testimony of that, and today it was strengthened so much more. Thanks for all your support. I love you all so so much. Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged! :)

Hermana Van 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It Must Be Sinking In....

May 19, 2014
¡Hola Hola Hola!!

How are y’all doing mis queridos? I hope fantastic! :) So let’s just start off with why the subject of this letter is what it is. I believe this Spanish must be sinking in because a couple nights last week I slept talked in SPANISH! I’m a big sleep talker, so the fact that it is now starting to be in Spanish is wonderful. I’m absolutely stoked. Hna. Centeno told me that one night I was testifying in Spanish, and guess what she told me? She told me that my testimony when I was sleep talking was better than it is when I’m awake! (She really likes to tease me jaja) But seriously, apparently I think way too hard about it when I’m in the lesson. I should really always let my subconscious just take over. Ya  know, just take a little nap right when it’s my turn to bear my testimony in the lesson. That’ll solve everything. 

Let me tell you, I have never been tried so hard in diligence in my life. The Lord really is testing me to see if I am dedicated to Him and His work. And boy is it hard. In the 4 Sundays I have been here we haven’t had a single investigator come to church! I mean, that’s basically a whole month. And the thing is, we are trying so hard and doing everything we feel like we can. We are teaching the gospel like crazy, but we’re not finding anyone that is progressing and coming to church. We even found some really awesome investigators last week. Like really awesome, I was determined they would come to church and everything and then Sunday came and we went to find them to take them to church and NADA! Ugh it’s so hard. But this is just an opportunity to work even harder, be even more diligent, and figure out the best ways to find the elegidos (chosen investigators). 

My companion in the MTC used to say something that I would like to share because it is applies super well to my circumstances at the moment. The word in Spanish for "to hope" is "esperar". "Esperar" also means "to wait". Think about that for a moment....When we hope for something we also must wait or be willing to wait. Hoping and waiting go hand in hand. So right now I am hoping with all my heart to learn Spanish and communicate with these incredible people, and I am also hoping to find golden investigators. But in order for these things to happen I must also be willing to wait - to be patient and trust in the timing of the Lord. Entonces, think about what you are hoping for most in your life right now, and then think about if you are also willing to wait and trust in the timing of the Lord. If you aren’t, then pray for the ability to wait for that which you hope for. Believe me, that is something I always have to pray for. 

Well folks, I finally ate something straight up disgusting. All the food I have had so far has been really great, and I haven’t had a problem adjusting to it (just the portions...oy). But, last P-Day we were eating at a restaurant and my companion made me eat Mondonga. It’s a part of the experience I was told. What is mondonga you ask? Cow stomach. The worst part of it is the texture. You feel like you’re chomping on rubber. I took two chews and swallowed it immediately. For sure the grossest thing I have had here. BLEH!

So there are two major soccer teams here in Argentina. River and Boca. Yesterday, River won the championship (not against Boca) and oh my gosh the streets were nuts! Everybody was singing and chanting and marching and waving their jerseys and flags. The cars in the street were honking like none other and the people were all hanging out of their cars cheering. Oh I wish I could have taken a picture and video. It’s something you just have to see. Basically it was one of the greatest sights I’ve ever seen. I was cracking up the entire time! These people are fanatics! And apparently there are even more Boca fans in the area I’m in, so I can’t imagine what it would have been like if it had been Boca.    

Well, I should probably wrap up this letter. I think that’s just about everything for this week. Life in Argentina is hard, but it is great. I love the people and the culture so much. How blessed am I to get to serve them! Remember, when we love the way the Christ does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged! :)

Hermana Van Wagoner

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Happy Two Months To Me!

May 12, 2014

¡Hola Todos!

Well, real quick, yep it’s my Two Month mark! I can’t decide if it’s gone super fast or super slow. I know, odd. I mean, I think "Wow, it’s already been two months?" But at the same time its like, its only 2 months... ya know? I don’t know if that makes sense, but yeah. 

So basically yesterday was the greatest day of my mission. Skyping with the fam could not have been any better!! It is EXACTLY what I needed. It seriously gave me so much hope and encouragement to keep on keepin’ on. It was good to see that life is still the same as it always is. Man do I miss you all! Only two more skype seshes! 

Yesterday was also super great because afterwards we were contacting references and we found a girl named Jaquelin. She is 18 and she is the first person we have felt like is going to be a real golden investigator. I have so much hope for her! When we were teaching her how to pray we said "What are you grateful for?" and she said she was grateful for us and that we knocked on her door. That was the greatest feeling ever! Oh how I hope she progresses! Espero espero espero!

Quick funny thing that I keep forgetting to tell y´all--My very first day here I met Hna. Urmston! She is one of the trainers and she came up to me and was like,"Hermana! We´re family!!" At first I was kinda confused and then I looked at her tag and knew exactly what she was talking about jaja!! Basically she has told everyone about how we’re "family" and sometimes hermanas will come up to me and be like, "Oh you’re Hna. Urmston´s cousin" and I just say, “yes” jaja. It’s pretty much hilarious. I love it. So yeah, I’m just chillin’ here in Argentina with the fam....kinda....

So this last week, I feel like I learned a lot because it was a bust week. However I feel like sharing my experience with divisions with the Sister Training Leaders. I went on divisions with Hna. Jensen and Hna. Centeno went with Hna. Vivas. While on divisions, I learned how to street contact. Hna. Centeno had never street contacted in her whole 9 months on the mission and she has wanted to have me learn, so Hna. Jensen taught me. Let me tell you, it is not an easy thing. However, I learned it is extremely important. Somewhere in Congreso, there are people who are extremely prepared to receive the Gospel. And they are ready to hear my testimony in my broken Spanish. But the thing is, is I don’t know who is ready, Heavenly Father does. So, I have to show Him that I am willing to talk to everyone in the street and constantly be asking for references so that I can find those people. If I can show Him this, then He will be able to trust me that when He puts those chosen/prepared investigators in my path that I am going to find them. I want to show Heavenly Father that He can trust me. Now, let me tell you, I still am sooo bad at heeding the promptings to talk to people in the street always, and it’s definitely a work in progress, but at least He knows I am trying. At least He knows I have the desire to do so. Sometimes I have promptings and think, "oh this is a prompting from Heavenly Father, which must mean something is going to come of talking to this person." But ya know what, that’s not always the case. I think right now Heavenly Father is giving me promptings to test me to see if I will respond to the promptings, so that later when He prompts me and it’s one of His prepared children, He knows I will respond. 

Another thing Hna. Jensen taught me that’s a key component of diligence, is being happy. It’s not just continuing to do what you have to and working hard, its also working hard with a good attitude- truly showing God that you love Him and His children. It’s showing Him that you are truly willing to give Him everything...your whole heart, might, mind and strength. I had never thought about happiness being a part of diligence, but it truly is. Sometimes it’s hard to be happy about trying another building, hoping the reference or less active will answer, especially after a long day and my head hurts from all the Spanish, but I know that it is so important to keep a good, happy attitude. Again, something I am working on. But again, it’s the effort that Heavenly Father wants. 

Good news, I did nothing to hurt myself this week. No more falling off the bed, so your heart can be at ease Dad jaja. :) We did, however, get sprayed with liquid garbage. It was possibly one of the most disgusting things of my life. No joke. (Then again, I’m known for being a smidge dramatic). I think it was Friday or Saturday. Hna. Centeno and I were just walking along when we passed a garbage truck. They were loading tons of garbage into the truck and I guess when they put it in the truck the truck compresses it or something. Honestly, I have no idea. All I know, is as we passed the truck, we walked through this spray/mist that came from the truck. It was so nasty. I couldn’t be more thankful that we weren’t talking in that moment and that my mouth was shut. Good times in Argentina. Jaja!

Well, it looks like that’s all for this week. Last week went by super fast with every day. I learned so much, and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to continue learning. It’s hard, but I trust in the Lord and the perspective that He has. Thanks so much for all your support. I love you all so so so so so much! :) Have a fantastic week! Remember, when we love the way Christ does miracles happen. And always, stay Anxiously Engaged. 

Hermana Van Wagoner

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


May 5, 2014

¡Hola Familia y Amigos!

Well, this week has been a pretty good one. It’s weird how it can feel so long, but pretty short at the same time. Anyways, I’ll just start off with the spiritual stuff, because I am really learning so much spiritually right now. 

Trust in the Lord and listening to the Spirit. That, mis amigos, is what I am learning now more than ever. This week I tried my absolute hardest to LISTEN to the investigators rather than think the entire time about what I was going to say and how I was going to say it in Spanish. Man is that a hard thing to do. Be still, and listen. There were so many times I would hear something the investigators would say and then I would say in my head, "Oh this is what I´m going to say and I’m going to say it like this, etc, etc." In those times I had to literally tell myself, Hannah - Hermana -, Stop and listen to what the investigators are saying. When I was successful and only listening, the Spirit prompted me with exactly the words I needed to say and I was able to communicate just what I wanted. The Spirit is truly the teacher, I am not. Now, I am so far from perfect at this. I get caught up in myself and my abilities a lot, but I am trying so hard to acquire this skill of listening. It’s definitely a process. 

Trusting in the Lord to give me the words I need has been a big theme of this week. And will continue to be a big theme in my mission. I am very lucky to be learning this skill at the beginning of my mission. Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and was the day I was supposed to be introduced to the ward....scary! Well the bishop didn’t mention it again before hand, but I just took initiative and bore my testimony anyways. I really didn’t know what I was going to say when I got up there. I just knew I wanted to bare my testimony on the Atonement and to tell the ward I loved them. I prayed soooo hard to have the Spirit with me. When I got up there I felt the spirit so strongly. I mean, total tears as I was bearing my testimony in Spanish. I felt the love of the congregation and I felt power in the words I was saying. When I got done, I had several people come up to me and tell me my testimony was very good, and that the Spirit doesn’t need words. One guy, Joel (you’ll hear about him in a second) told me he loved my testimony and it made him cry. This was just a testament to me that the Spirit is the real teacher and testifier. I’m just an instrument. It was an amazing experience. 

So Joel, he’s funny. We had lunch a couple times at his apartment this week. One of those days he was talking to me about my accent. (He tries to speak in English to me, it’s pretty funny.) He then proceeded to give me a little test. Jaja. He started making me repeat words that are hard to say or something like that. I don’t know, I was just repeating what he was saying the best I could. After he was satisfied with his little test he told me that I’m an Argentine, but I’ve just forgotten how to speak Spanish. Jajaja!! That seriously made me laugh so hard. It definitely made my day. :)

I finally dreamt in Spanish for the first time!! However, I didn’t like it very much. I´ll explain. In my dream my companion and I were practicing the lessons over and over and over. I woke up and my mind was exhausted from doing the lessons all night in Spanish in my dream. Jaja, it was pretty funny.

So basically I get called Rubia a lot. I mean, even by people on the street. Like one guy once said, Rubia, come pray with me or come teach me, or something like that. It’s funny. One particular day this week, a lot of people were calling me Rubia. We were walking home that day and there was this guy driving by and he yelled out the window and was like ¡Me encanta Rubia! It was a funny way to end the day.

Right now we don’t have a single investigator progressing. We are preaching the gospel like crazy, but no one is progressing. We just can’t find those golden investigators and its so frustrating because we are working so hard. This is where diligence is so key. I know that God must be testing us in our diligence. I know that we will have success and there are those golden investigators out there, but we just have to be excited, diligent, and hardworking. I know the Lord will guide us to those investigators in His time. It’s just hard being patient sometimes. 

So, the first week I walked into a glass door right? Well, it looks like some kind of ridiculous accident is going to happen every week. (Even though this is only my second week jaja). One night, my pillow fell off my bed and I didn’t want to get down (I’m on the top bunk) so I tried to maneuver myself in a very clever way so I could get my pillow. Well, that didn’t work and I ended up falling off the bed and landing on the back of the chair. I now have a HUGE bruise on the back of my thigh. Like one of the biggest bruises I’ve ever had, which for me, is saying something. Anyways, it was pretty funny, but man did it hurt.

Well, I need to be closing this letter. It was far long enough jaja. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord and share this glorious gospel. I love you all to Argentina and back!! Remember, love the way the Savior loves and miracles will happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged.

Hermana Van Wagoner