Friday, August 21, 2015

Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos



August 17, 2015

Bueno Día queridos!! :)

My Last Letter. Where do I even start? 

I’ll start with a brief summary of last week. We did divisions twice, once with the hermanas from Almagro and once with the hermanas from Palermo. I was in Palermo for my last division of my mission and it really was just what I needed. It went really well. I’m going to miss getting to know the hermanas and helping them and learning from them. It’s been incredible. On Saturday I broke the news to Ulises that I won’t be here this Saturday for his baptism. It was hard. I cried, I think he may have a little and we were all just really sad. But we’re friends in facebook so he’s going to send me pictures and all. He and his little brother Raul went to church on Sunday. Sadly Noelia, his little sister, didn’t go. She’s super shy and I think was kind of scared of going. But Ulises and Raul had a really great time at church. :) And then, yeah, that was basically a really quick summary of the week. 

When I think back on my mission, it all just seems like a dream. I find it so hard to believe that I have been away for almost 18 months and have just about completed my mission. The mission has been more than I ever could have imagined or hoped for. I remember back 2 years ago when I "chose" to serve a mission. As I have been in the mission I have come to realize that I didn’t choose to serve a mission, GOD chose ME; And how grateful I am that He did. That He has given me the opportunity to learn so much. To show me that there are miracles that happen every single day. To show me just how much He loves me. To show me that His plan is perfect and all I need to do is trust in Him and the plan He has for me. 

The most precious thing in the world to me is the relationship I have been able to develop with my Savior, Jesus Christ, in these short 18 months. I remember thinking that I already had a strong relationship with Him and an idea of the Atonement, but this time in Argentina has shown be just how mistaken I was. I have come to know and love my Savior more than I ever. I know He is leading and guiding me in every moment. He is so aware of me and my needs, and He goes to the extremes to help me. He has carried me through many hard trials and He has rejoiced with me in the very happiest of times. He is my best friend. My greatest desire is to be able to continue developing this relationship with Him so that when the day arrives and I am brought before God, I see my best friend as my mediator.

This work is perfect. This work is the work of the Lord. He is at the head, and He directs it. I have witnessed countless miracles. I have seen His hand touch the heart of His children countless times. The greatest miracle is the change that occurs in the hearts of those who choose to follow Christ and His teachings, while making covenants with their maker. I know that the Church is true. God loves us and knows us perfectly. The Book of Mormon has been my main source in order to know my Savior better. It is true. I love the guidance and comfort that I am able to find through reading it diligently every single day. I know that prayer is real. I know that He hears and answers every single one of our prayers. We are never alone. What joy I have had sharing the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Our message is incredible! It is unique! It is the truth! I hope to share this message with all who choose to listen for the rest of my days. One of my most sincere desires is to be able to serve God forever. How grateful I am for this incredible opportunity God has given me to serve the beautiful people of Buenos Aires Argentina! They are incredible. I love them with my whole heart. "Because I knew (them) I have been changed for good."

Thank you so much for all the love and support you have given me constantly in these last 18 months. I love you all with my whole heart! Hasta Pronto!! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, STAY ANXIOUSLY ENGAGED!!!!! :)

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Calletas con chocolate en Polvo...Yum?



August 10, 2015
Buen Día a todos!! :)
Okay, so this last week was weird jaja. I feel like nothing really happened too crazy. There was one day where Hermana Hawkins and I went completely crazy jaja! I love that girl so much :) Anyways, Hermana Urra was super sick, so we didn’t leave the apartment the WHOLE DAY!! We didn’t even touch the apartment door once to leave, which is in and of itself a miracle, because usually on sick days we half to leave to eat or something, but nope, not on Thursday. So yeah pobrecita Hermana Urra was in bed all day since she was super sick. :( So Hermana Hawkins and I tried to be creative and do stuff, but the time just passed by soooo slowly. We made empanadas for lunch (Hermana Urra´s idea) which were just delicious! :) Then Hermana Hawkins and I wanted chocolate, but we couldn’t leave and buy chocolate, so we attempted to make chocolate chip cookies with what we had, substituting the chocolate chips for nesquick powder, yeah I know we were desperate. So basically they didn’t work too well, so we modified the receta like 3 times and each time they just got worse and worse. So that was fun. We really did have so much fun making them. Then we ironed Hermana Hawkins´ Preach My Gospel with hair straighteners because it was super wrinkled from the rain. Yeah that shows just how bored we were. And yeah, that was basically the sick day.....
I think it was then the next day that Hermana Hawkins found lice in her hair. :/ I was so sure that I had lice too, but Hermana Urra searched me head and told me that I didn’t, and I trust her, because she told us she’s had a lot of experience taking lice out of people’s hair. Ew. But yeah, that was another fun adventure.
Last week, we had Mission Leadership Council and then our Zone Conference and then a Zone Breakfast, so we had like a million meetings last week. jaja. They were all really good and I was able to learn so much. When I go to those meetings I realize just how much I don’t know and how much I still need to improve, and how little time is left. It’s crazy. After almost 18 months I feel like I know absolutely nothing. There is so much room for me to still improve. And sometimes it feels like after the mission I won’t be improving any more, like the time to improve is only in the mission, but I know that’s not true. Progression never stops. After the mission we continue to progress in life. After life, there’s the spirit world, the millennium, and eternity to continue progressing. We truly never stop progressing and that is something that I need to remind myself a lot. I heard in a meeting once that the spirit leaves us for one of two reasons, because we have sinned, or because we have stopped progressing, and we need to search to have the spirit which requires us to progress. So that just a little thought for ya there.
Last week we got to know Ulises (our miracle from last Sunday) a little better. We stopped by his house on Monday and got his permission signed in order to teach him. While we were at it we got the permission signed for his two younger siblings. Noelia (12) and Raul (8). The mom, Maritza, works on Sunday sadly, but it turns out that she had already gone to church before and she wants all her kids to go to church. She has been through so much and is basically and angel. It was a miracle being able to find and teach all of them. Sadly only Ulises went to church on Sunday because the other two had a sleepover with their cousins. :( Next week they’ll all get to church! I have faith! :) But as for Ulises, he’s doing fantastic and progressing super well! :)
Pigeon update: They are just straight up pigeons now. Nasty. And they eat a lot. And I’m just not a pig fan of them any more because the the windowsill outside is just full of pigeon poo. I’d send pictures, but the computer isn’t letting me load so I can’t.
And.....I believe that’s just about it for this last week! :) I hope you all have a fantastic week! It’s crazy to think that this is my last week in the mission field. I prefer not to think about it. But yeah, I love you all. Thanks so much for your support and prayers!! :) Les amo! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)
xoxo,
Hermana Van

Friday, August 7, 2015

Enferma y Milagros!



August 3, 2015

HOOOOOLLLLLAAAA!!!!! :)

Well, this week has been a mission changer for me personally. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this week, because I have learned very very valuable lessons. We’ll just start right into it.

Last Wednesday I woke up just fine, but throughout the day, me health started getting worse and worse. At lunch I could feel that the next day I would be super sick, thinking that at least it would take a little longer and take affect the following day. Well, I don’t know how, but in a matter of hours I was absolutely miserable. My whole body ached, my throat, ears, and head absolutely killed. I was on the verge of tears many times because I couldn’t believe the amount of pain I was in seeing as that it all came on at once. But, I didn’t want to go home and rest because we need to work. We needed to find people. We had absolutely no one. So we continued to work. Then we go to our meeting with the ward mission leader and the other elders, where I basically just sat down and leaned my head against the wall in mas o menos agony waiting for the meeting to finish. A new elder in our ward was sitting next to me and offered to give me a blessing if I needed it (the only one out of the 8 elders in our ward to offer me a blessing and he wasn’t even my zone leader. My respect for him is tremendous.). So then, the young men’s leader came into the meeting (he’s a recently returned missionary) and he sees me and immediately brings me water. After the meeting he asked me how I was and if I needed anything. I ended up asking him and the other Elder for a blessing. (Which was quite an achievement for me, because the truth is that I don’t like asking for blessings because I find them very very sacred and don’t want to ask them for just whatever.) So the Elder did the Anointing and the YM Pres sealed the anointing. It was one of the most special blessings. The spirit could be felt so strongly. I was crying through the whole blessing. He told me in the blessing that Heavenly Father loves me and sees every single one of my efforts in His work and is pleased with what I’ve done. He told me that He wants me to feel more of His love. And then some other things as well. This blessing was honestly an answer to my prayers. After the blessing I felt a spiritual weight lifted off of me. I realized that I honestly needed this blessing a long time ago, but I’ve been too prideful thinking that I didn’t need to ask for Heavenly Father’s help in that way and that I could do it. Luckily for me Heavenly Father loves me enough and I was put into a situation where I would ask for a blessing in one way or another. I’ve been so humbled this last week. Since the blessing I feel like I’m me again. There’s been a big change. It’s been such an incredible experience. 

So last week we worked hard, had quite a few people with baptismal dates, all ready to go to church and then Sunday came, we looked for them to go to church and none of them showed up. Walking to church I tried to keep the faith that one of the investigators that said they were going to church would be there already, waiting for us. We get to church and our ward mission leader says that he has a reference for us and that there was a guy that had shown up by himself. Then he tells us that he thinks the investigator is gay because he heard him say that his novio (boyfriend) told him to go to church. That was disheartening. But after meeting him and talking to him we find out that his novia (girlfriend) is a member in a different mission and has taught him almost all the lessons and told him to come to church. So long story short, he asks how to become a member of the church and ends up accepting a baptismal date for the 22nd of August!! It was a huge miracle!!! It just strengthened my testimony that we really don’t do anything in the work. This is the Lord’s work and He is the one doing everything. He is working grand miracles in our area. It was really such a tender mercy from God. I love the mission. I love seeing God’s hand bringing about His work and His glory. 

Well, this email is already far too long, so I’ll just cut it here. There are some other little things, but it’s okay. The trio is going just fantastic! And the pigeons now look like pigeons and are just hideous. They still have yet to fly. And that’s about it! I love you all!!! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

PS As way of health, I’m much better, but I do have a pretty nasty cough. But it’s all good!!  :) 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Feliz Dia do los Pioneros!



July 28, 2015

Hola mis queridos!! :) 

So today we had transfers!! And guess what?? I’m staying here in Chacabuco for my last 3 weeks!!!! :) I’m so so happy!!!! I’ll be here in Chacabuco in a trio, which will consist of me, Hermana Urra and our new companion Hermana Hawkins! Hermana Hawkins is from California! She is just fantastic! I love her already with my whole soul. We were talking today and we found out that we were in 3 of the same classes at BYU and we never met each other! Too funny! :) The only time I was in a trio was in the MTC, so it’ll be interesting being in a trio. It should be fun. :) 

Hannah in her Trio with Hermana Urra and Hermana Hawkins!
On Sunday I had my despedida. It was so weird. Because I said good bye to everyone, but I’m still not leaving so I just didn’t know how to feel jaja. It was fun seeing the members from my wards and everything, but it just didn’t feel real. Because honestly, none of it feels real. I just can’t believe how quickly the time is passing! :/ 

On Pioneer Day, July 24th, we had an activity as a mission where we commemorated the pioneers and we read Moroni 10 as a mission to finish the Book of Mormon together as a mission. It was one of the most beautiful activities we’ve had. As we finished the BOM and sat in silence pondering, I was able to feel the spirit so strongly. I was able to have yet ANOTHER witness that the BOM is true. It is without the truest book that exists on this earth. I loved feeling the conviction again and again, as we listened to some testimonies from the missionaries. We then watch part of 17 Milagros to remember the pioneers and their sacrifice. I cry every time in the movie. I think it is one of the most beautiful movies there is. One of my very favorites. I always feel so humble watching it. It was a beautiful movie. It has been the most beautiful experience reading the BOM in 24 days. I have no doubt that it was completely inspired by our Heavenly Father. It was exactly what I need, exactly when I needed it. I know the BOM is true. I know it has the answers to all of our questions. It is such an incredible guide in my life. It has the power to change the lives of those who search and ponder it diligently. We receive God’s guidance through reading it. Don’t let a single day pass by where you don’t read it. I love the BOM with my whole soul. It is the greatest treasure to me. 

Judith and Aracelly didn’t go to church again last week so we’ve had to drop them. :( I’m super sad about it, but it’s for the best. If you love them, you gotta drop them. I know that when the time is right they will be baptized. They have the desire and they’ve received their answers, now they just have to wait until the circumstances allow them to. I’m glad I had the opportunity to teach them and show them the truth. Now we’re just about starting from zero, but I know that we’ll find. It’s when you have nothing that you see the biggest miracles!

Today, I had to go to a self reliance class for all the missionaries going home. It was weird....and sad. I think it’s just easier to stay on the mission.  Oh and it was also the last time I’ll see mi hija, Hna Yancey, it was really sad. :( 

Hideous, noisy pigeons!
Pigeon update: They’re absolutely hideous now. And now they make lots of noise. I will send pictures. 

Yesterday we talked to a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t know how. It just happened. It’s very interesting talking to them. I don’t really know why I shared that, it was just a random thought that popped into my head.

Well, I think that’s about it! Love you all and am so grateful for your constant support!! Have a fantastic week!! :) Remember, when we love the way the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

Monday, July 27, 2015

El Templo, Comida, y Palomitas!



July 20, 2015

FELIZ DÍA DEL AMIGO!!!!!!!! :)

Well, last week was pretty good all around. Last Monday for Pday Hermana Urra and I went to an authentic Korean restaurant since a Korean town is in our area! It seriously rocked!! It was lots of fun! :) It was pretty dang good. To me it was really similar to Chinese food, just more vegetables. 

Yum!
Last week we went to THE TEMPLE!!!!! Oh que gozo!!!! En serio! I can’t adequately describe my love for the temple. But I  think I’ve said that many times. It is just such an incredible place to be. I love it because when I was in the Celestial room I was able to just feel so much peace and tranquility. I love conversing with my Father in the temple because it’s just so easy and there are no distractions and I feel like I can just receive revelation so much easier. It was just pure joy and beauty! Oh how I love it! :)

Hannah's favorite place!
Last week we found a family of 7 and the parents were MARRIED! Huge miracle. Sadly we had to drop them because they weren’t progressing. :( The dad was a chain smoker. I honestly have never seen anyone smoke so much in my life. I would leave the lessons smelling like a smoker. Pelo, ropa, todo lleno de humo! But they are really great people! We had to drop them because they liked learning out of curiosity, but pretty much only because of curiosity, not to actually make changes and what not. It was really hard to teach them a lot of time because they hardly let us talk since they had sooooooo many questions. And the mom had studied a lot with the Jehova´s Witnesses, so that was interesting jaja. But yeah, like I said they are super great people.

Yesterday Judith and Aracely didn’t go to church because they slept in and their mom didn’t want to wake them up. And now they’re saying that their parents want them to wait a year before they get baptized. I was pretty sad about it all during church knowing that they won’t be able to get baptized this week, but I just had the thought come to me that they have the right to exercise their agency however they choose, and Heavenly Father would never take away that right. I’m hoping that tonight when we go and visit them that they will have received an answer that they need to get baptized now, instead of later. We’ll see. I know that whatever happens is the Lord’s plan. 

Today, we went bowling with the whole zone. It was really fun! I had a really good time!!! I’m proud to say that I wasn’t the worst bowler jaja!! :)

Hey remember the pigeon nest with the eggs? Well this week we did divisions with Almagro and I said to the sister that stayed in Chacabuco with me, "Hey come look at this nest! Do you see the eggs??" And then she responds to me, "Umm...they’re not eggs anymore..." They hatched!!! So now we have baby pigeons outside our window! They’re pretty ugly, but oh well. We’ve decided we’re their aunts jaja!

Well, I think that basically sums up this last week. It’s the last week of the transfer. I can’t believe how quick time is flying!!! I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you all! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

El Dia de Independencia!!



July 13, 2015
Hola todos! :)
This last week was a good one. :) We’ve seen many miracles in our area...as usual. :) On Saturday we invited a 15 year old kid to church. (We found him through a less active) and at first he was super mas o menos. Then we explained why he needed to go to church. So then he tells us that he was going to go to church and that he would go with his friend (the son of the less active that isn’t a member). Well when he said that he would go with his friend and that he didn’t want us to come and pick him up, I had kind of written him off in my mind, thinking he wouldn’t go because I figured his rebellious friend wouldn’t want to go. Oh ye of little faith. Just as they had promised, they were in Sacrament Meeting 20 minutes early. The rebellious friend is kind of rambunctious (how do you even spell that? no idea), but that fact that they came was a huge huge miracle! I couldn’t even believe it. God continues to show me every day that He is the one in charge of His work and that I need to increase me faith.
Aracely and Judith are progressing very well!! :) Last week we were able to receive signed permission for both of them. Their parents are really really awesome, but they work so we haven’t been able to talk with them much. Aracely was really tired and hungry yesterday morning so she didn’t really want to go to church that much, but Judith was able to convince her to go and they stayed for the whole time. They are just so fantastic. They’re working on receiving their answers to know that the church is true. They’ve been quite diligent about reading the BOM and praying, but they haven’t felt that they’ve received an answer, so we’re helping them recognize their answers right now. The other day Aracely prayed and it was the most sincere, beautiful prayer. I was able to feel the greatest amount of peace and love through her simple prayer. Kids have so much power!
We did divisions with an area called Palermo. It was an awesome experience. :) I was in Palermo with Hermana Johnson. I don’t have the words to express my love for this Hermana. She is incredible. She is my sister in the mission because we have the same mom (trainer). So that’s cool. I was able to learn so much from her. I love divisions because I love seeing how God uses me as an instrument. I mean, that’s every day in the mission, but it’s like I can feel it even more in divisions. This hermana is a huge example to me in diligence and sincere love and interest for those around her.

Last Thursday was the 9 de Julio!! :) Independence Day in Argentina!!! :) We had a really fun Stake Activity with lots of typical Argentine food and dances! The most common dance the members performed was la Chacarera! :) It’s the coolest. I love it so much jaja!! :) Look it up on You Tube! :)
Well, I think that’s about it for this week. Life is good. The Book of Mormon continues to be a huge strength to me. It’s been so fun to read it in such a short period of time. I’m learning so much. After 16 months in the mish I feel like I still know nothing. Crazy how that works. jaja! Well, I hope y’all have a fantastic day/week!! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)
xoxo,
Hermana Van 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

El Libro de Mormon, Nidos y Cementerios



July 6, 2015

Mis Queridos! 

I have sooooo much to tell you all that I gotta start YA! This week has literally been a week of miracles!!! :) I will start with one of the most beautiful parts of the week. The Book of Mormon! We have decided as a mission to put an extra big focus on the BOM, so because of that we have decided to read the entire BOM together in 24 days!!!!! :) (That means we have to read 26 pages every day) We started July 1st and we will end the 24th to commemorate Pioneer Day! Ah, I can’t even express my feelings about this little project we’re doing. It couldn’t have come more at a perfect time. In the last 6 days, my testimony of the Book of Mormon has been strengthened more than I could have possibly imagined! I’ve have been desiring and looking for a greater fire, to truly give it my all in these last weeks of my mission, and I had become discouraged at times when I hadn’t yet received it. But from the very first day I started the BOM the fire and urgency I felt during the day was exactly what I had been looking for. The love for the Savior that I have has been greatly multiplied. My testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger than ever. On every level my testimony has been strengthened through these 6 short days of reading the Book of Mormon. I testify with my whole soul that the Book of Mormon in the word of God. It is the most powerful and perfect book that exists. I have no doubt about that. God always fulfills His promises, of that I’m sure. "Look and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." I beg you all to READ the Book of Mormon EVERY SINGLE DAY without fail!! It’s power will be oh so present in your lives. 

I know that as we have put this greatest emphasis on the Book of Mormon that God has been able to work miracles throughout the whole mission. We found a few people this last week and they had planned on going to church, but sadly they didn’t show up. The only one that went with us to church was Nicolas, Miguel’s son. Well, that in itself was a great miracle. After Sacrament Meeting finished, we were going to go to Gospel Principles, when out of nowhere everyone started calling for us to go meet the investigators we had in Church. 2 little girls (Judith-13 years and Aracelly- 8 years) had walked into church with an invitation we had given in the street. Friday night at like 8:30 we had given an invitation to two women with babies, but sadly the street contact was really short because the person they were waiting for showed up and they had to leave. Well, we didn’t think anything of it and kept going. It turns out that one of them was the mom of these two little girls and she and her husband sent them to church yesterday. It was a huge miracle! Then, a member had brought her friend to church that lives in our area. Her name is Noelia and she has 16 years. She’s an amor!!!!! We had been trying to contact her, but never were able to find her. So her friend just brought her to church instead! Ah, en serio, so many miracles this week!! I really could not believe it when we were in church that so many investigators that we had never met were in church! #tendermercies 

Fun times watching the Copa Finals.
I don’t know if any of you have heard of the Copa America, but it’s a really big tournament in South America. Soccer obvio. Anyways, it’s like the world cup but smaller since it’s only in South America. Well, the finals were on Saturday and obviously Argentina was in the finals so we were allowed to watch it!!! :) It was Argentina vs Chile (and it was being held in Chile). So basically it was just a blast to watch! Sadly, Argentina lost to Chile in penalties. :( Needless to say, my companion was very happy.

Chile won, Argentina Lost. Sad Hermana Van:(
Last Monday we took the subway to a random place we had seen on a bus once and it ended up being a cemetery! It was the coolest cemetery I have ever seen!! I will send pictures. Some lady got mad since we were taking pictures so we had to be really subtle about it! jaja!

Saturday Nestor went to the temple with the ward!! Oh my gosh! I am so proud of him! Que lindo!!! :) Also, he passed the Sacrament to us yesterday! It was his first time. He is progressing so so much! It’s so beautiful! He is so golden! I just love that kid so much! :) (Just a quick update on Nestor.)

We have a pet! But don’t worry; we’re not breaking any rules because it lives outside of our window. A pigeon decided to make its nest right outside our bathroom window. And....wait for it....there are two eggs!!!! Now, I honestly hate pigeons. They’re literally so disgusting. They are EVERYWHERE in Buenos Aires. It’s the worst. However, this pigeon is the only pigeon I like because I like to look at the eggs jajaj! :) I will be sending photos! :)
Pet Pigeon Eggs

 Okay, well I think that about covers it all. At least the most important stuff. I could honestly go on forever I think. But I think that’s all I’ll write for today so it isn’t tooooo long. jaja. Oh and we’re going to the temple this Friday! I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!! I’m so so excited! We are being so so blessed! Anyways, I hope you all have a fantastic week! Thank you so so much for your prayers! I love you all so much! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

La Luvia y Un Bautismo



June 29, 2015

¿Como Andan? :)

Well, this week was pretty fantastic!! (Besides the RAIN! It was been raining a FULL!!! That means A LOT! I have been straight up drenched the last couple days. Because between the two of us we only have one umbrella and I let my comp use it. Because really, the umbrella bores me and I’m just tired of using them. I prefer to just walk around in the rain with my hood on. So yeah, that was the weather this weekend.) 

Miguel was Baptized!
Okay moving on from the weather....What was so great about this weed?? MIGUEL WAS BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED!!!!!! It was a huge beautiful miracle! Ah en serio!! I’m just so so happy!!! :) He is so so incredible! I can’t even believe it. Or I mean I can obvio, because the Lord is just constantly working miracles. But yeah. Nicolas and Alicia have baptisimal dates for the 11th of July. And they REALLY need your prayers! pero mal! So if you could pray for them that would be greatly appreciated!!! Oh and THANK YOU for praying for Miguel so much! I know it is thanks to your love support, and prayers, that this miracle was able to come to pass! So thank you thank you thank you! :) You are all amazing!!!  :) 

So happy for Miguel!
This week we did divisions twice. I stayed in the area both times. Ah I just love divisiones because I learn so much. I also love praying and asking Heavenly Father how we need to do the divisions, like who needs to be with whom and where. Because honestly He guides us so much and the divisiones are inspired. I was able to see that this last week. I think what I love more than anything about being a missionary and then having the assignment I do is feeling and seeing how God uses me as an instrument in His hands. Ah, it’s something I just never want to change in my life. I want to continue being an instrument in the hands of God always. The happiness that comes from it is immense.

Oh......so Hermana Lines (the couple missionary in the offices) called me last week and told me that the date has been approved for me to leave early. So it looks like I’ll officially be leaving August 19th. Crazy, crazy stuff. I can’t even imagine it. It’s just so weird to think about. I just feel like my whole mission has been a dream. 

Fun Fact: (I may have already said this.....) My companion’s mom’s name is Marcia just like yours mom! :) 

Hannah and Companion Marcia (with same name as Mom)
What else.... Well we’re really in need of finding new people to teach so if y’all could just keep us in your prayers, which would be greatly appreciated!!! :) Basically the mission life is just great and moving along super rapidly! We have our ups and downs in the mission, but when it really comes down to it, the mission is literally the best! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mission is the best decision I have ever made in my life. I can’t imagine my life without the mish. And I certainly can’t imagine who I’d be without the mission! 

I love you all and am so grateful for your love an support and prayers! I hope you all have a fantastic week!! Remember when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fiestas y Torta!



June 22, 2015

Hey Hey Hey it´s Christmas Day! 
Nah, mentira, but it has been SO COLD here in Argentina that it could be Christmas...

ANYWAYS! Last week was interesting. What I can say is that it has been a great week of learning. Sadly Miguel and his family didn’t go to church last week so only Miguel will be able to get baptized. We still don’t know everything that happened, but yeah, it was sad. We’ve changed the plan. We’re hoping that Miguel will get baptized this week and then in 2 weeks he can baptize his family since he will have the Priesthood and all. So please please please keep him and his family in your prayers! That would be greatly appreciated!! :)

So it happened again. I had another bout of throwing up last week. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me. This is the third night in less than a year where I have been up all night throwing up. I think that’s more than the last 10 years of my life jaja! But I don’t know, I’m fine! No worries! This last week my stomach has been pretty sensitive! And lately I’ve been losing my appetite. I don’t know why. But yeah, I’m totes fine now. 

Yesterday, we were talking to a guy in his door way when his adult son showed up and asked us if we wanted some cake. So obviously we said yes. I was thinking like a tiny little sliver of cake but NOPE! He came back with 3 huge slices of cake, one of each of us! It was so funny! So we took the cake, finished our small lesson and then went and sat down mas o menos in the street with Kevin (the member accompanying us) eating cake with our fingers. It was pretty much hilarious. It was pretty dang good too the cake! :)

This last week I went to a Bolivian birhtday party for a one year old. It was the hugest birthday party I have ever been to IN MY LIFE! And it was for a ONE YEAR OLD! How is that even possible! It was in the church. We felt very uncomfortable so we went and helped make empanadas... We went because It was a recent convert that invited us and we had to eat top ramen for lunch that day so we went with the intentions of eating some good food. (gotta be honest). So yeah, it was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced! 

Last week, we were just searching so hard for new investigators with no luck. We’ve come to realize that we have been doing the same thing every day and having the same results, so basically we need to start mixing things up. We’re starting to come up with new ideas so that we can really find these people that God has prepared for us here in Chacabuco!! 

Okay, sorry this letter was super short!! Anyways, I hope all you Fathers had a stellar day yesterday!! :) And of course, Happy Birthday to the best sister in the world!!! :) I hope you all have a fantastic week this coming week and pray for missionary opportunities!! :) Love you all with my whole soul! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

xoxo,
Hermana Van

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

El Comienzo del Fin :(



June 16, 2015

Como andan???? :)

Fua, cada vez hay mas cartas trunkis jajaja!! Bueno me supongo que es la vida ahora que solo me quedan 2 meses.....:( 

So anyways! Today’s the day of TRANSFERS! And guess what?? I’m staying in Chacabuco!!!!! Ah, I’m seriously so so excited!!! I can’t even believe it! And I’m staying here with Hermana Urra. She is an amor!!! So, I’m excited! So I only have a transfer and a half left:(, so basically she’s killing me in the mission since this transfer will be my despedida. It’s funny, because she killed my mom, Hermana Centeno, in the mission. So yeah, she’s just killing´ the whole fam! (I really hope you understand what I mean when I say ´kill´ in the mission...)

Moving on.....
So this week has been good. Kinda crazy. Life is just flying by so fast that I don’t know what to do with myself. Déjenme pensar un ratito................Oh yeah. We did divisions with pretty much my favorite sisters ever. The thing is is that we got to the area at like 5:15 and then we had our meeting with the ward mission leader at like 7:30 so we didn’t have hardly any time to work. Asi que medio truchas las divisiones, pero esta bien. I was still able to learn a ton from this hermana (Hermana Olivares) though. She’s so capa! Ah I just love her with my whole heart. Sometimes I don’t know how I come to love these missionaries and people SO MUCH, SO QUICKLY. It’s the craziest thing to me. But yeah, she’s a super great missionary. 

Que mas? Well, we went to the despedida with Miguel on Sunday. The despedida is when the missionaries who are returning to their houses share their testimonies and show some pictures of the converts and then the members and their converts and the missionaries can talk to them one last time before they go. So in order to go we had to take an investigator so Miguel being tan capo went with us. I love the despedidas because I get to see all the members from my other wards. But yeah, that takes place the last Sunday of every transfer. It was a really great despedida. There are a lot of incredible missionaries that are leaving this transfer!!

Last Tuesday we had a lesson with the familia Julca. We were planning on sharing the Word of Wisdom, because Miguel needs a little help with that. But the day of in our studies, we felt that we needed to change the lesson and share the Family Proclamation with them. When we were in the middle of the lesson Alicia stopped us and started crying and poured out her soul to us. They told us about how they had decided to separate. It was amazing to see the hand of the Lord because I know without a doubt that He wanted us to teach that lesson so that they could know what God wants for them as a family! The spirit could be felt so strongly. I know that the Gospel is exactly what they need right now in their lives. I have no doubt that if they do their part and apply the Gospel in their lives, that God will do His part and their situation will change and they will become a more happy and united family! I just love this family with my whole being!

Well.........that’s pretty much all I got jaja!! :) I hope y´all have a FANTASTIC week!!!! :) I love you all with my whole soul! Thank you so much for your support and prayers, I feel them and I really need them jaja! Thanks for everything!! :) Love you all lots!! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Siga la Vaca



June 8, 2015
Hola mis queridos!!

Wow! Where to start?? I do believe that this has been one of the greatest weeks of my mission. What a blessing!! The work is moving along so well. Everyday passes faster and faster. I can’t believe that it’s all going by so quickly. 

Okay to start. I just want to say Congrats to the old man! ;) I really have no words. It’s so crazy to me that you’re bishop, but hey it’s not that surprising. You’ll be amazing! I’ll write you your own letter, don’t worry. Just a quick note in this one to say congrats. :) 


So this week. Well, we had a crazy big miracle. You know Miguel? Well, he is the greatest. He’s always been saying that he wants his family to listen and he wants to get baptized with them and that because of that we needed to wait to put a baptismal date. But it wasn’t looking hopeful with the fam because they never wanted to listen to us. Well Tuesday night we go over to his house and he answers the door and we ask him how he is and he says that he’s super happy and content. We walk in and his family (his wife and child) and sitting at the table ready to listen to us. We end up putting baptismal dates with all of them and then we had stellar lessons with them the rest of the week. Then when we went to look for them on Sunday they were all ready to go right when we knocked on the door. They all really really loved church and are super excited to keep going and learning and preparing for their baptisms. Ah, I just can’t even believe it. It’s so beautiful. They’ve had some real beautiful changes in the family. The gospel is bringing them so close again. The Gospel is real and true and changes lives. It’s something that only Jesus can do. That is what I love about being a missionary. I love seeing the miracles and I love seeing the CHANGES that the gospel brings to the lives of those who LIVE it. 

Mission Zone at a Mission Activity
This week has been a week of miracles. Honestly. I’m amazed. I mean, we’ve just been working hard as normally and we’ve been blessed with a lot of success. God is really the one doing everything in our area. We now have quite a few people progressing towards baptism, but I was thinking about what it is that we did differently to have more success, but it was just the timing of the Lord. Honestly. He has done everything. I just love seeing the Lord’s hand in His work. He does it all and I get to try to help a little and in the process, become a better, more Christ-like disciple. Well at least that’s the goal. I still lack a lot to be a true Christ-like disciple. But I’m sure trying my best. I just feel so humbled to be apart of this grand work, being so imperfect. There is no other work more important in this world. And I have the privilege to dedicate all my time and energy to this sacred work. 

Okay, so Friday and Saturday were RIDICULOUS! I’m not even kidding. It was SOOOOOO humid!!! I think they were the two most humid days of my mission! And that is saying something. I felt like I was literally in a cloud. You could FEEL the water in the air! I’m not even exaggerating!! There were like little droplets that you could feel. The sidewalks and the streets were WET and it didn’t even rain. All because of the humidity. It was nuts. So yeah, the weather has been a mess the last few days. But the weird thing is that it’s June and it’s not even cold. I mean, it should be winter and it’s been hot. Something’s up. I’m not too sure. The weather here in Argentina is even weirder than the weather in Utah. Crazy right? 

All you can eat Steak!
Today we went to a place called Siga La Vaca with the Zone. It’s an all you can eat steak house. Um heaven. And it was only like 200 pesos, or 20 dollars. It could be worse. It was super fun! We had a really great time siguiend la vaca! :) 

Yum!
Well, I think that concludes what I wanted to tell you guys this week. I hope that you all have a fantastic week. I love you all and am so so thankful for each and every single one of you in my life! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo, 
Hermana Van 

Los Dones de Dios



June1, 2015

Hola hola hola!!! :)

Playing Soccer
Okay, so quick eye update. Last week I had to go to a member’s house and get it disinfected because well, it was a smidge infected jaja. But now it’s all good! Last Tuesday and Wednesday it was super black! It was the coolest thing ever! :) But now, it’s a lot better, not quite as bruised at all, oh well. It’s cool. Oh and the cut is just fine. I disinfect it twice a day just to be sure. But yeah, it’s just fine. And my glasses continue to be broken, but they’re not too bad. They work just fine so I’m just going to truck along with what I got until the end of my mission. I mean, why spend money when there’s really no need? 

Soccer War Wounds! Lovely Black Eye!
Okay, what else? Well, we had to stay home Monday and Tuesday because we were sick, but I think you already knew that so.....moving on. Ummmmm.......Oh yeah, Nestor was confirmed!!!!! :) Another door open! It was really great! His mom went to church yesterday and has a baptismal date for the 13th! Let’s pray she arrives to it! She did tell my companion when we were on divisions that she wanted to be apart of everything and support her son more. So that is fantastic news. So I do believe that she and her other son will be getting baptized soon!! :) Miguel, sadly, was not able to go to church this last Sunday. He had to take care of his 12 year old son. I guess he couldn’t leave him for like 20 minutes. I’m not going to write too much about that, because it just doesn’t make sense to me. Anyways, just a little opposition. We’ll get everything back on track. 

Umm.....I’m super sorry, but I’m pretty sure this week was just like really weird and I can’t really explain everything in an email so it’s going to turn out to be like a really boring email. Sorry about that!! :/

Random comment: It seems like every Liahona article and church lesson/talk I read or hear is about Eternal Marriage. Like what the heck? A sign? Probably not jaja. 

We did divisions last week. I was with an Hermana that was with Hermana Yancey in the MTC. (Mi hija has 5 months in the mission already, can you believe that?? I can’t!) Anyways, being with her reminded me a lot of Hermana Yancey! The divisions were very successful actually. Like super super great! Anyways, I learned a lot from her, Hermana Chelson. She shared a quote with me about the gifts we are given from God. That changed my life. Because there are SOOOOO many gifts God has given us, or so many that we have the opportunity to develop. And I think that sometimes I just don’t realize how many there are. When I read about a few of them, I realized just how imperfect and weak I am and how I have a great need to develop more gifts of God. I also realized I have some gifts that I didn’t recognize before. Because I think a lot of times we see gifts and talents as things like playing an instrument, or a sport, singing, dancing, etc. But I’ve realized on the mission that those are such a small part of the talents God has blessed us with. In my mission I have come to know my weaknesses and my strengths and talents so much more. Ones that I never new exsisted. But yeah, I’m just super excited to make goals and focus on developing these new gifts I’ve read about. I think it is something that will help me a lot. 

Well, that’s really all I got for this week. I’m really sorry it’s such a boring email. It’s literally probably the most boring email I’ve written in my mission. Well I guess it had to happy sooner or later. I’ll try to whip something up really exciting this week. Anyways, I hope you all know just how much I love you! Cuídense mucho! Les amo un monton!! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van   

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tan orgullosa de mi ojo!



May 26, 2015

Hola! :)

Wow! What a week!! :) It’s been a good one! :) 

We’ll start out with a miracle. Do you remember Miguel? Well, he has a baptismal date for the 6th of June. It turns out he has a lot of problems and is just a suuuuuuuper prepared investigator. We taught him a few times last week. We had stake conference on Saturday and Sunday and for him to get baptized the 6th he had to go to the sessions on Saturday and Sunday si o si. So we get there Saturday and find out that the water in his building had gone out and since he’s the owner he had to fix it and wouldn’t be able to go to the Saturday night session. I was heartbroken. We sat there for a few minutes in silence and I was like, what the heck do we even say? I just prayed that my companion would know what to say and find a way to get him to church. Well I looked at her, and she looked at me. Neither one of us had a clue as to what to say. So I just pray that Heavenly Father would help us. I just told him about how the Saturday night meeting was very special and didn’t happen very often and I expressed the importance of putting God in the first place and trusting him that everything would turn out and he would be blessed, but he first had to show God his faith. He then said "Give me 5 minutes and I’ll be out." What a miracle! Then we get there and I couldn’t sit still because it started later than we thought it did and I was like crap I only told him he needed to go for like 20-30 minutes and here he is an hour later. The whole time I just had a thought come to me to be calm and that everything would be okay. At one point in the Conference we told him he could go and fix the water and he said "No, I’m fine. When I walked in after talking to you guys my son in law came down and asked me if I needed to leave. I told him yes and he said he would stay and fix the water, so I’m not in a rush." I just died. I couldn’t even believe it! Every talk given was just for him, and he felt it. He then told us that he needed this and he is going to apply it in is life now. At the very end he said "Thank you so much for insisting that I come." It was beautiful. A pure miracle of God! (And he also went on Sunday so he’s progressing nicely towards his baptismal date!)

Another grand miracle. NESTOR GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!! :) It was so beautiful! When we picked him up on Sunday his hair was all cut and done up and he was just smiling so much! :) His mom, dad, and brother all went to his baptism! It was a beautiful sight! And while we was getting baptized I was watching his mom and I have never seen her so happy before! Ah, again it was so beautiful! :) Then after the baptism Nestor was probably the happiest I’ve ever seen him! We asked him how he felt and he was super happy and content. Que dia hermoso! :)

So remember I told you that we were going to have an activity as a mission yesterday? Well it ROCKED!!!! Ah it was so so so much fun! :) We had a Soccer Tournament between the zones and then we ate Hamburgers and watched Meet the Mormons! :) So I knew we would probably be playing soccer so I was like Hey I’ll wear my contacts. But then I thought nah Hermana Ayre will kill me. So I just went in my glasses. Well the first game in the tournament we won in penalties which was awesome. Then came the second game. We played against a zone of all elders. Not a big deal. Well at one point we’re just all playing (and my team was rocking it) when the ball comes flying and hits me in the face. My glasses are knocked off so I go and grab them quickly, see that they’re in fairly good condition and say "Let’s go let’s go let’s go I’m fine!!" :) Then an elder from the other team says "Hey hermana come here, your eye is bleeding" and I’m like what?!?! So I touch it and sure enough there’s quite a bit of blood. So walk of the field and tell them I’m fine and to keep on playing. I go to the bathroom with another hermana and the mission nurse. Sure enough I have a little gash in my eye. Nothing too intense, but quite a bit bigger than I was expecting. jaja! Not to the point where I need stitches so that’s a relief! I woke up this morning with a black eye. So I look pretty hardcore if you ask me. I’m going to tell everyone that I went in the villa. ;) Oh and as for me glasses, they’re kind of broken, but they still work. So that’s good. 

Well, I think I’ll wrap it up for today! How fun that we both had holidays yesterday! USA: Memorial Day ARG: Revolution Day (It’s a suuuper big holiday here!) Anyways, I hope y’all had a really great long weekend. I love you all lots!!! :) Have a great week! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracle happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van 

PS. I’ll try to send pics of my eye today, but if I can’t,  you’ll get them next week!! :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

La Dedicacion del Temple Cordoba!



May 18, 2015

Hola!!! :)

Well, the time has just flown by in the Cyber today doing a lot of small little things, so basically I don’t have much time to write because we have plans to go to a street called Florida today. So....I’ll be quick.

Nestor is a champ a progressing super well towards his baptism. Basically, he’s changed a lot and been a huge example for other people where he lives. That dad of his friend said he’s seen a big change in Nestor and wants that for his own son and wants to learn more about the church. Miracles. Every single day. 

We did divisions this last week and it was incredible. The hermana I was with has a transfer more than me in the mission and I was able to learn so much from her. She is super amazing. I learned so much about setting personal goals, and how to make plans to reach those goals. (Not just goals like number of baptisms and lessons with a member) I feel like what I learned from her will serve me for the rest of my life. She is a huge example to me.

Saturday night we watch the Cultural Celebration of the Temple in Cordoba. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!! All the dances were so cool. I just died. I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time. I enjoyed it so much. I wrote down some of the dances they did in my journal. There was a super cool one that just the guys did called El Malambo. Look it up on You tube if you get a chance. I hope you appreciate it as much as I did. What I loved was the huge celebration to honor the House of the Lord. The whole time I was watching it I was just thinking about all this was for our Heavenly Father. It was a way to celebrate and thank Him for the beautiful opportunity He has given us to have another temple in Argentina where more saving ordinances can be made. Hermoso. 

Then there was the actual temple dedication that we went to yesterday. Even though it was a bummer that we couldn’t have investigators go with us to church, it was a great testimony builder for me personally. There are no words to describe just how I feel about the temple. With every temple constructed in the earth the adversary has less power. Argentina now has 2 temples. That is literally the greatest blessing for these people here in Argentina. I have taken for granted having like 15 temples in Utah. My testimony of the temple and its importance has been greatly strengthened this last week. I hope to never again take the many temples around me for granted. The temple is the most sacred place on this entire earth. For me personally, when I get back, there is no reason that I shouldn’t be able to sacrifice a few hours of my week and visit the house of my Lord and Savior and assist in His work. I love the temple. I love my Savior.

Well, life is good here in Argentina. Really solid all around. We’re seeing a lot of miracles. Time is moving by oh so quickly. I hope all of you are doing well. I hear it’s been raining a lot so I hope you enjoy that rain. That’s my life many weeks here in Argentina, no importa la temporada jaja. :) Well, Love you all with my whole heart! Cuídense! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

xoxo,
Hermana Van Wagoner

Friday, May 15, 2015

Feliz Dia de La Madre!



May 11, 2015

¡¡Feliz Día (Ayer) a TODAS las Madres!! :) No saben cuanto les amo! :)

Alright, so yesterday was just so fantastic talking with the fam!!!! The time just passed by way too fast! It’s absolutely crazy to think that the next time we talk will be in 3 months and we’ll be together! #trunkimuch? But really where has the time even go. I don’t even know what time is any more. 

So I don’t really know what to say because I feel like I already said it all yesterday, but I still gotta write because I only talked with the Fam yesterday, not the whole gang!

Awesome news! We got Nestor’s mom to finally sign the permission slip for him to get baptized! It was a huge miracle! Thank you soooo much for your prayers!!! (We’ll be now working on her to get in the water too. Poco a poco.) Anyways, yesterday was a huge miracle because Nestor wasn’t going to go to church because his mom wanted to go to provincia to visit her cousins early in the morning. After praying and practicing how we were going to help them make the decision to go to church for a little bit and then go to provinica, they decided to change their plans. Not by much, but the still did it! Nestor was able to go to church for like 30 minutes, partook of the sacrament, and then headed off to provincia. It seems so little, but trust me, it was a huge sacrifice! And now, because of that, he’ll be able to get baptized the 24th without a problem (we’re still praying a full!!) We had to change his baptismal date because the Córdoba Temple Dedication is this Sunday and because of that there won’t be Sacrament meeting. So yeah, that kinda threw off the baptism, but its okay because it is an INCREDIBLE opportunity to watch a temple dedication here in Argentina. It is the second temple here in Argentina. Everyone feels extremely blessed. Oh how I love the temple! I’m so excited to see  the Córdoba temple get dedicated! :)

Hmmmm...What else happened? Well, we went to the Villa (ghetto) on Saturday because we had a capilla abierta. The elders from that area had to come and get us to accompany us into the villa because it was dangerous. Obviously nothing happened to us. We were just fine. It was really fun though going to the Capilla Abierta. I always love the Capilla Abiertas! :) I’m now the one that has to coordinate which of the sisters in the mission help out with the Capilla Abiertas where there are only elders in the wards. So that’s fun. :) 

Fun Fact: A ferocious dog bit me this week. Well....almost bit me. His mouth/teeth/tongue were on the back of my leg (I felt them) he just didn’t clench down. I honestly don’t know what stopped him since he was already there. It definitely scared me, but it’s all good. I survived #dogbitesurvivor

Well, it’s going to be on the short side this week since, I talked with them fam yesterday already. Those were the biggest things that happened this week. We’ve begun to see a lot of miracles in our area. I’ve learned a huge lesson this week. Work brings happiness. When I get out there and work super hard and focus on the area and the investigators, I’m soooo much happier. I’ve seen a real difference on a personal level this week. I’m excited to keep working and to witness more miracles. :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

xoxo,
Hermana Van