Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'll Go WHere You Want Me To Go!

August 26, 2014

Hola mis queridos!!! 

So it looks like my time in Congreso is over. :( I’m pretty sad about it. :( But at the same time I feel ready for something new- for the next stage of the mission where ya gotta transfer and learn a whole new area. I am now in Almagro. And guess what? It’s like 20 blocks from Congreso....so yeah, I don’t really know how to feel about it. Like our limit in Congreso is where Almagro starts, but luckily, that’s the Elders´ area. So yeah it’s interesting. My companion is Hermana Cipriano from México. This is her last transfer in the mission so I’m what you call "killing" her in the mission. I’m actually pretty stoked. It should be interesting and fun. Since she has so much time I’m going to be able to learn soooo much from her. It’s going to be great!! Also, since she’s going home after this transfer it means I have to learn this area in one transfer, there’s no other option jaja. So that'll be good for me. Super good learning experiences always! 

So Malena didn’t get baptized this week :( But we did receive permission to baptize her in September! And that’s all that matters, that she’ll be baptized. So last night I had to say goodbye to Carmen and the family and oh my gosh I can’t even tell you how hard it was! Like, I just wanted to cry so much. I mean, this family has a piece of my heart for sure. I did cry a little bit while I was there. Carmen and Fiorela gave me some gifts which was super nice of them. Like I can’t even believe they gave me gifts. I wasn’t expecting it at all!! To be honest, as I’m writing about them and my time in Congreso I just want to cry. La verdad. Jaja! Also, as I was leaving I was giving hugs and everything and Fiorela told me that she loved me. I just wanted to drop dead in that moment. Just a couple months earlier she treated us so badly and didn’t want anything to do with us and now she has made just about a 180 turn in her life (she still lacks baptism, but hey, its a work in progress). But really, I can’t even believe the change I have been allowed to witness in this family. Its almost like if I didn’t have a testimony of the gospel before, I 100% do now.(Even though I totes had a testimony jajaja) There’s no way this gospel can’t be true when it changes people so incredibly and drastically. Oh how I love being a missionary. There really isn’t anything better. Everyday I think I realize a little more just how short this time is I have to serve the Lord. 

So um last week I was sick again. I don’t know if it was the flu or just a super super bad cold, but it was rough. I have NO idea what has been happening to my body lately. Maybe it’s from the stress, but I don’t think so because I’ve never gotten sick from stress before. Oh well, I’m slowly on the upswing. Jaja! Last week was Hermana Quintana´s birthday! It was fun. We went to two different members’ houses to celebrate her birthday.

Fun Fact: Justin Bieber isn’t allowed in Argentina. At all. Completely banned. He once took an Argentina flag and like stomped on it or something like that. Don’t disrespect the Argentines.

Another Fun Fact: Michael Buble is coming to his wife’s country!! Aka Argentina! His posters are all over the place! I want to go sooooo bad jajajaj! Oh well. Maybe one of ya’ll are gonna take a little trip to Argentina to see Michael Buble and then make a quick pit stop in Almagro. ;) 

Bueno, la verdad, no sé que más que puedo decir ahora. Van a tienen que esperar hasta el proximo lunes cuando pueda contarles más de mi área. So yeah, that’s about it for the week. So I couldn’t give ya more. Just remember that I know this gospel is true, and that I love you all very very much!! Like more than ya know! Thanks for your continued support! You are all great examples to me and great sources of strength. Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

Hermana Van  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ceeeelebrate Good Times! Come on!!

August 18, 2014

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!!!!!!
Where do I even start with this past week???? It has been NUTS!!! 

Okay so to start.....CARMEN GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My joy is unreal right now...still....the day after. However, I will write about that a little bit later. First I’ll start with the beginning of the week.

Hermana Van Wagoner with Carmen
Soooo Monday was great, p-day, soccer and other fun stuff as usual. Then that night I woke up at 1am and my stomach hurt, and it was the kind of hurt where you KNOW you’re going to throw up. So, to make the story short, that’s exactly what I did. And continued to do the whole night, every hour on the hour. So like 8-10 times in total during the night. It was a blast. So I didn’t even go to our district meeting last Tuesday. Then Wednesday we had interviews with President so I mustered up all my energy to get ready and to go by bus to the chapel. Interviews were super awesome. I LOVE President!! Like literally there isn’t a greater mission president in the world. Of that I’m sure. So I received super great advice and then I went back and rested some more. Last week I had to rest a lot, which was really rough because we were supposed to be preparing for a baptism!! Ugh, it was rough. 

Okay so that’s pretty much it for the week that I want to say. We can now fast forward to THE BAPTISM!!! So to be honest I was on edge all morning Sunday morning because its like, ANYTHING can happen. Not to mention when we talked with Carmen a little on Saturday, she told us not to pass by to pick her up and that she was going to go solo with her family. Um okay....máteme!!!! So we were praying super hard that everything would go well and that she would actually show up. Well luckily she did show up!! With her whole family! But some of them didn’t know that the baptism was at 1:00 (even though we gave them invitations) so a couple of them left early and then one returned for the baptism. In Gospel Principles, Carmen bore her testimony about how she knew God existed. The joy I felt was unreal as I was able to see how I was able to be an instrument in God’s hands as she developed her testimony. She also admitted in there that she had told her whole family to tell us that she wasn’t home whenever we passed by. So yeah, that was pretty funny. The perseverance that it took to get her to baptism was unreal. But not to"get" her to baptism, but to have her want it! I thought she was super ready in June to be baptized, but now I see that was just me wanting to drag her. The change I see in her now is REAL. And it’s the most incredible thing I have witnessed. I love this work!!

Hannah loves being a missionary!

So, next week we have transfers (I’ll be writing on Tuesday) and I told Carmen, Malena and Fiorela that there’s a good chance I won’t be here next week because I’ve been here for 4 and a half months. (In this mission 6 months in an area is rare.) They were all super surprised and were asking me if I could still visit them and what not. It was super sad. So then Fiorela started REALLY thinking and pondering about whether or not Malena should be baptized next week. Because she wants to be baptized while I’m still here. Like, she is really thinking about it! After the baptism she was SUPER happy! Like she 100% felt the spirit!! She was saying things like "These are hermanos de la verdad" referring to the members. And she wants us to come over on Thursday for my comp’s birthday to have a family home evening and teach them how to do it! She also signed up to give us lunch! Ah, I could go on and on. Basically Fiorela is REALLY changing! It’s incredible! The change the gospel brings in people is the most incredible thing I have ever seen! I seriously love being a missionary! Seeing the change makes all the really really hard times worth it!! So yeah, there’s a big chance we will be baptizing Malena next week too! Please please pray lots for her and Fiorela!! 

Okay wow, this email is getting long. Ah, I wish I could just call you all and explain it all because there’s just so much to tell! Just know that I know this is the work of the Lord! I don’t have a single doubt. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve my Heavenly Father and Savior for 18 months. This work is real. I encourage you all to be apart of it! The missionaries need the help of the members!! Together we build Zion and find the lost sheep. I love my Savior and I know He lives. Thank you all for your support! I love you all so very much! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

Hermana Van 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Me Encanta Ver El Templo!

August 11, 2014

Hola mis queridos!!! :)

To start off...Can y’all believe that tomorrow I hit my 5 month mark?? Um, that’s seriously so crazy!! I, for one, can not believe it! It’s crazy how the time flies!!  

So this last week was an interesting one. To be honest I can’t really explain a lot of my feelings about last week, but I’ll definitely tell ya a little bit of what’s been going on. 

Carmen. Let’s start with Carmen....and Malena. We went to visit Carmen and Fiorela one morning in order to get permission in order to baptize Malena. Well when we got there Fiorela had to go to a meeting at her kids´ school. So that was a super big bummer. But then Carmen talked to us for such a long time that we were STILL THERE when Fiorela got back jaja, so that was awesome. So we talked to her and she told us the Malena had gone to an Evangelist church a while ago and wanted to get baptized then too. She said she’ll get baptized as long as someone tells her to. So she said she doesn’t have a problem with her learning more and going to church, but she wants her to wait a year or two. Basically I was crushed!! :( HOWEVER! Ustedes no saben que pasó con Carmen! In that same meeting we were talking with Carmen and we asked her if she remembered her Baptism date and she totally did! And then when she realized it was that coming Sunday all she said was, wow the time passes super fast!! So she was totally cool with being baptized the coming Sunday! She also told us to remember that in the beginning she didn’t want to get baptized either, but that changed. So yeah, I still have hope for Fiorela and Malena! 

Now more about Carmen. Last Thursday we reviewed all the baptismal questions with her and she was awesome! Like SOOO ready to be baptized!! Then Friday she told us that she had a problem. She said that all her kids had to work on Sunday and that her grandkids wouldn’t be able to go to her baptism. She asked us if we could change her baptism to the next Sunday (this coming Sunday) because she wants her kids and grandkids to be there so they can feel the spirit. But if she had to be baptized the 10th she said she would do that even without her kids. I wanted to say that she had to get baptized this Sunday soooooo badly jaja. But I KNEW that that wasn’t God’s will. I knew in that moment that she needed to be baptized the next Sunday. I mean obviously her desires were very sincere and reasonable. So we have postponed her baptism to this coming Sunday. I think it will be an incredible experience for her and her kids and grandkids. I know it will also be an awesome missionary opportunity. And ya know, as a missionary, I LOVE them missionary opportunities. :) She bore her testimony to her grandson and it was so beautiful. The change I have seen in her has been unreal!! I love it so much!!! She also went to the temple last Saturday with the whole ward and it was a super awesome experience! She absolutely loved it and really wants to be able to go inside one day! We waited with her at the bus stop with the other members and when we sent her off I felt like a proud mom sending off her child to her first day of school jaja!! I can’t even tell you how bummed I was that we weren’t allowed to go with her!!! :(

So that leads me to the other thing I wanted to talk about--- The Temple. Oh how I absolutely LOVE the temple! I was studying about the temple last week in preparation to teach Carmen about the temple and it made me realize just how much I miss the temple!! Before the mission I really always tried my best to go to the temple every week, and now in the mission I’ve been able to go once in Argentina. I literally can’t even explain how much I love the temple and how much I miss it!! The more I teach the gospel in the mission the more I understand the true importance of the temple which, in turn, makes me love and miss it more! The temple is like my home---which was something I learned last week---that the only thing that compares to the sacredness of the temple is the home! Think about it...YOUR home is the next closest sacred thing on earth to the temple! I think that’s really important to recognize as you build your home, so that you always strive to have a home of peace and harmony, where the Spirit can dwell. It’s just something to think about for all of you who have homes. ;) Ah, I just want to go on and on about temples!! But, I’ve already written a lot jaja. Just remember to NEVER take the temple for granted!! We are SO privileged where we live with SO many temples! I have come to realize that so much in my mission! With so many temples so close, there is not an excuse in the world to not go to the temple! I know the temple is the House of the Lord. The Lord visits His temples. Of that I’m sure. Please, go to the temple this week!! 

So I’ve been kinda long in this letter jaja! So much happened this last week! Please keep Carmen in your prayers that she can be baptized this week! The week before the baptism is always the hardest (so I hear, haven’t had one) because Satan throws every obstacle in their way because he knows and understands exactly how important the covenant is that they’re making. Anyway, I love you all lots and am so grateful for all you do! I hope you all have an amazing week! Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

Hermana Van

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bronchitis say what?!

August 4, 2014

Hola hola hola hola hola hola hola!!

So basically tons happened last week and to be honest I don’t know where to start! Its nuts! I hope I make sense, but no promises because I’ve been sick the last few days. Like I had to rest pretty much most of Saturday and Sunday. I called the mission nurse (even though I didn’t want to, but the zone leaders, my district leader, and my companion made me) and she thinks I have bronchitis. So yeah that’s fun. My companion keeps telling me I need to lay of the cigarettes, but hey, it’s a struggle. 

So I’m going to start of with my favorite thing, as you all know by now...MIRACLES! Yep, I’m lucky enough to witness miracles ALL THE TIME. And this week was no exception. Tuesday night the Hermanas in Congreso 1 called us and told us that the cousins of their 2 recent converts that just got baptized the previous Sunday wanted to get baptized and they live in our area!! I was floored!! Then as we continue talking they tell me that it’s Malena!!!! Malena is our old investigator that is 9 years old and we haven’t been able to teach her because her mom didn’t want her to be baptized, but the hermanas told us that Fiorela (The mom) was way open to Malena being baptized! So then we go and try to find Malena and Fiorela at their house but they weren’t there, BUT Carmen (the grandma) was!! And she was an old investigator too!! We were able to teach her and she was super receptive again. (I mean we haven’t been able to find her in like a month.) Then we went on Friday to teach them (Fiorela still wasn’t there) but Carmen accepted a date to be baptized this coming week! It was such a spiritual awesome lesson! After that lesson Malena told me that after she gets baptized she wants me to be her godmother! Jaja!! It was so funny! Basically she just really loves me and I really love her! She is such a special 9 year old little girl! So Fiorela, Carmen, Malena, and Matias (He’s 6 years old) all went to church on Sunday!! So we tried to get permission again, but to actually baptize her this time, but it didn’t work out too well sadly. We’re going to talk about it better tomorrow with her. The whole thing is a super long story, but that’s the gist of it. I can’t even begin to describe just how great of a miracle it was that we were able to come in contact with them again. Oh, also, we took tons of pictures on Sunday with them all and Fiorela´s going to put the pics on FB (She’s going to add me I think), it was super fun. But don’t be surprised when I look horrific!!! En serio, the pics are rough! But hey, I’m sick, so what can ya expect?

So Friday, we were on divisions with the Hermana Entrenadores (STL). I was with Hermana Jensen from Utah. She is probably one of the greatest people ever. I seriously love and adore her so much. Like there is no doubt in my mind that we’re going to be super good friends after the mission. I was able to learn so much from her! Like how to be bolder and more direct with questions. It was great. She also was able to tell me a ton of my strengths that I really haven’t been able to see. I mean, when she started naming them I was super surprised! It’s so funny that others can see your strengths so well, but you never can. Interesting how that works. But I have also realized that we really do need to recognize our own strengths. Not to look at ourselves and think, wow I’m so great, but instead, when we recognize our strengths we can see how the Lord can use us as better instruments in His hands. That’s a huge thing for me as a missionary, but everyone needs to recognize that we are ALL instruments in His hands! He has given us our strengths to use them in His work and to serve His other children wherever we may be. So this is the commitment I’m extending to you all this week: ¿Se esforzarán a ver sus fortalezas esta semana? (Will you strive to see your strengths this week?)

On Friday President called us because he was in our area. His daughter just returned from her mission in Tennessee so she is here visiting her family before she goes back to BYU. So they were doing some touristy stuff (obviously that would be in our area jaja) and they were eating lunch in Burger King so he invited us, Congreso 1 and Juncal to come and meet them and meet his daughter in Burger King. Basically it was the coolest thing ever! I loved it!! It was so much fun! :) Also, it was hilarious seeing President in regular clothes jaja! 

Okay, one quick last thing. Spanish. I was recently thinking about my Spanish last week and I realized something. I’m not struggling that much with it. I mean sure, I don’t know how to say a lot of things still, and I can’t understand everything at all times, but I’m totally able to function here with my companion, the members, and the investigators with the Spanish that I do know. Yesterday a member that I’m super close with told me that he recently realized that my Spanish is super good. He said when I arrived I couldn’t say hardly anything jaja! And today I was talking to the Zone leaders and one told me he was super confused because he thought he was talking to my companion because I sounded like an Argentine...so that ROCKED!! Like President told me in my first interview, my struggles right now really aren’t with the language, it’s basically 100% with the investigators and trying to find them and get them to baptism because I KNOW how much this gospel can bless their lives! I’m not fluent by any means, but I am totally able to function and it’s truly another miracle! I can’t even tell you all how blessed I have been with my language! God is so good!

Well, I could go on and on about this last week but I should probably wrap it up! Love you lots all of you!!! Thank you for all your support! Espero que tengan una hermosa semana!! Les Amo! Remember, when you love the way the Savior does, miracles happen!! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)   

Hermana Van

PS Shout out to my cuz Bradley James!! I can’t believe you are already home!!! Wish I could have been there for the big day!! Thanks for your incredible example!!! :) Cuidáte y sigue con el mismo Espíritu de la misión!