Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lots of Learning!

March 30, 2015

Hola Hola Hola Hola!!!!!!!!

First on the list.....FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS PAPÁ!!!!!!!!! :) I hope you had a spectacular day and ate lots of strawberry shortcake!!! :) Thank you for being the greatest dad there is! Thank you for all you have taught me and for your incredible example! I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have you as my dad! :)

Okay, so it’s been quite the week! If I’m going to be honest, it’s been a bit stressful. My companion, Hermana Palacios, is absolutely perfect. Not even joking. I’m learning a ton from her! I’m super grateful to be her companion. Sometimes I feel a smidge inadequate compared to her, but it’s okay because she’s helping me become a better missionary. Then with my new responsibility I’ve been feeling a little stressed because I feel very inadequate and unqualified to help out these amazing hermanas. They really are incredible. I do know that the Lord qualifies those He calls so really I just need to learn to trust more in Him. I know that I have many weaknesses and that He knows them even better than I do, but nonetheless He has called me to serve these hermanas, which means He will be the one that helps me in this assignment. I know it is only through Him that I can do it. Half the time I have no idea where we are in the area since it’s a very big, weird area in how it’s laid out, and then I feel a little lost in divisions now that I’m the Hermana Entrenadora, but its cool. I just need to remember that I’m not expected to be perfect. Give my perfectionism back over to the Lord. It’s like I regained it when I was given this assignment jaja. Oh well. 

We have this super stellar investigator named Nicholas, he’s 12. He’s gone to church quite a few times and he’s getting baptized this Sunday! Yep, he’s getting baptized Easter/General Conference Sunday. Is there possibly a better day to get baptized??? I think not!!! I’m so incredibly excited! Not even kidding!! I can’t believe he’s only 12. He’s absolutely incredible and learns so so quickly. Oh how I love this kid with my whole heart!!! He’s like the little brother I’ve never had!! Jajaj! It’s also looking like His mom will getting baptized as well promptly!! I’m so so excited!

I’m incredibly excited for this weekend with it being General Conference and Easter! What an incredible treat! I can’t even express how much love I feel from Heavenly Father to be able to have a living prophet on the earth today and that this week we will be able to hear what He wants to tell us through His chosen prophet and servants. He really does love us so much. I’m actually pretty sad because it’s my last General Conference in the mission and there is NOTHING like General Conference in the mission!! Ugh. :( I know that as we ponder and reflect on our lives and watch conference with questions we have, seeking specific answers, we will receive them and have an incredible, spiritual experience. We will have a stronger testimony that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet and that the Apostles are chosen servants of God. I know we will feel very really that God is speaking to us through them. 

And as I said, it’s Easter too!! I don’t have the words to adequately express the deep love I have for my Savior. I have never before experienced His influence in my life like I have in my mission. How grateful I am to be able to serve and represent Him. My testimony of Him and His infinite Atonement has deepened more than I could have ever imagined. He is my best friend. He is my Savior. He is my hope. He is who I run to when I need fixing. It is only through Him that we can become whole and clean. Thanks to Him and His sacrifice I can live with Him, my Heavenly Father and my family forever. If there is one thing that I’m absolutely certain of it is that He lives!

I hope you all enjoy this week and Conference and Easter!! Thanks so much for all you do for me! I love you all with my whole heart!! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

Hermana Van 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Just All Levels of Crazy!

March 24, 2015
Bueno Dia!!!! :)

Okay, so I’m just still in a whirlwind with transfers and everything. This week has been incredibly crazy and transfers possibly even more crazy!! So I’m not going to be finishing the training of mi hija. :( I’m leaving San Fernando. :( It’s crazy, I feel like I just got there yesterday. The time went by waaaaayyyyyy too fast!! :( Ugh I’m just super sad! Hermana Yancey is incredible! I love her with everything I am. She is just such an amazing missionary. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to be her companion and learn sooo much from her. What an example she is to me. Oh yeah. So where I’m at now.  I’m now in Chacabuco. I’ve returned to Capital. I’m actually in the same stake I was in when I was in Almagro. So I got a quick trip to provincia for 3 months and now I’m back at the city life. It was a really fun experience being in San Fernando. En serio, lo mejor! :) My companion is Hermana Palacios, she’s from Mexico! We arrived together in the mission. She is absolutely incredible!!!! :) Oh, I also have a new assignment, I’m a Hermana Entrenadora, or in English it would be a Sister Training Leader. I can’t tell you how big of a surprise this same to me. I was positive that I was going to stay in San Fernando and that I would finish training Hermana Yancey. Then President called me yesterday in the evening and told me about my new assignment. I just started crying because I was so sad to leave Hermana Yancey. I’m excited though to be able to be in Chacabuco working with Hermana Palacios and to be able to serve the Hermanas. I think its going to a really unique opportunity. It’s just crazy to me that I even have this opportunity. I’m going to get to learn a ton from the other Hermanas. :)

Okay, so about last week. Well, it was just nuts. I was basically at a doctor’s office or hospital every single day because of my eye. I couldn’t sleep last Monday night at all because my eye hurt so badly. It was so so rough. I woke up and it was ridiculously red and I couldn’t really see out of it and I had like a white blotch in it and my vision was super foggy. So they thought it was just pink eye so we were just treating it like that, but then we ended up sending pictures to Salt Lake so that a doctor could see my eye. Turns out I have something called Keratitis or maybe a small ulcer or something like that on my eye. So then I went to the hospital super far away to get it checked out on Friday and then again on Saturday. We had to wait hours to get in to the doctor. Amway, the doctors in Argentina say one thing and the doctors in Salt Lake say another thing, so I’m semi confused, but I think at this point we’ve got it fairly figured out. My vision is definitely improving with the drops I’ve been using. It should heal just fine. The horrible news is that the doctor in Salt Lake told me I can’t use my contacts for the REST OF MY MISSION. I could DIE! Jajaja! But really, I may be dramatic, but I’m super bummed about that. I hate using my glasses!! Ugh oh well. It’s worth the sacrifice in order to have my eyes heal. 

So this whole situation with my eye has been really hard for me this last week. I don’t know it was just all really rough and confusing. It was a hard week. I had Elder Lines (the Lines are a missionary couple in the offices) give me a blessing of health. It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL blessing. It was such an incredibly spiritual experience for me. It’s exactly what I needed. I just cried through the whole thing and even Hermana Yancey did too. He said a lot of really really beautiful things. I’ve written a few of them down in my journal. One thing he told my in the blessing is that Heavenly Father had given me this experience to show me He loves me. It hit me really hard. I loved the wording he used. That he had given me this experience. I loved the word experience instead of trial. I don’t really know why, I think it has something to do with my patriarchal blessing. It’s been quite a rough experience (those who know me know that I’m super paranoid about my eyes) and I was really worried. But in the blessing he also told me that my vision would be restored to its previous state. Sometimes we look at trials or "experiences" as punishments from God or as God turning His back on us, but really it’s the exact opposite. He gives us trials and experiences to show us just how much He really loves us. This life is for us to have many experiences so that we can learn and grow. Heavenly Father wants us to become like Him and reach our full potential. For that reason, He gives us opportunities to learn and grow and reach that potential. He is so aware of us and our situations. Of that I have no doubt. This has been an incredible learning experience for me. I can’t even explain it adequately. I can’t even believe how many beautiful experiences I’ve had in order to learn in the mission. I know that Heavenly Father loves me so much. I know that I am His daughter. I know the same is true for each one of you. You are all children of God and He loves you more than you could ever know!

Well, I think I should probably wrap it up. Just know that I love and appreciate you all soo soo much! Thank you for all you do! I hope you have a fantastic week! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

Hermana Van 

Friday, March 20, 2015


March 16, 2015
Hola mis queridos!!! :)
Como les va? Todo bien?? Espero que si!!
Okay, so this week. It was a pretty solid week. Not like a crazy out of the ordinary week, so there´s not much to report necessarily. Let’s see what I can come up with.
Saturday we had a capilla abierta!! It was in an area of elders so we went with the hermana entrenadores. We pretty much weren’t able to work at all Saturday due to that. But seriously, the Capilla Abiertas are the best! I love them so much!! We get to teach so much and it’s just the coolest experience! I love it! Mi hija rocked it! She is really starting to speak so so well! Everyone is super impressed with her. They think I did something like maybe I taught her all of it. Yeah, I’ve taught nothing. She just came super stellar!! :)
Hannah and Hermana Yancey are big "Miranda Sings" fans.
Okay funny story! So we received a reference of an 82 year old Evangelist that wanted a Book of Mormon and her name was Bienvenida. So it was kinda hard to contact her, but at last we were finally able to contact her and she invited us in. Well, let me tell you, she knows her Bible!! She was happy to talk to us and luckily she didn’t argue with us or anything. Anyways, we give her the Book of Mormon and she’s stoked. She really loved it. So we just had a quick lesson and then we asked to close with a prayer. She said of course and when we asked her who she wanted to say it she said we all had to offer one. So I was like well, okay. So I said the first one and the whole time she’s just saying things like "Amen, si Señor" Etc. Ya know just agreeing to everything. So I finish and Hna Yancey starts her prayer. Well, apparently she was just taking a little too long to pray for the likings of Bienvenida because she says "Si señor" and begins to start praying in the middle of Hermana Yancey´s prayer! I was dying! It took everything within me to not just crack up in that moment!!
Celebrating her one year anniversary with ice cream!
We’ve been having some good success working with the members. We’ve able to find a few people by taking them out of their houses and meeting their neighbors. It’s been a really great experience for us and for them. Oh! That reminds me. I’ve been thinking about it and I feel like I need to invite you all to give the missionaries a reference this week. The success of the missionaries doesn’t come when your friends and family members get baptized. Giving them a reference doesn’t mean they’re going to get baptized. Rather, the success is INVITING your friends to listen and come unto Christ. Our purpose as missionaries is to "Invite others to come unto Christ". That is also your purpose as missionaries. Just invite your friends and family! And DO NOT say that you don’t know anyone because that is not the case! I pulled that one before the mish when, now that I think about it, I totally knew people. So please! Be the missionaries´ miracle this week! :)
Studious Missionaries!
I tried chichulin this week! It’s Cow intestine. It’s absolutely DISGUSTING!! The texture is horrific! So that’s fun! :)
Well, I don’t have much time today, so I’m going to wrap it up! I hope you all have a fantastic week! I love you all! Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)
Hermana Van
PS. There were like 6 Americans visiting our ward yesterday. It was the most awkward thing of my life talking to them. I’ve become Latina. I had never realized how different Americans and Latinos really are.....

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Adonde ha volado el tiempo??

Buen Dia!!!!! :)

Okay, I’m going to be pretty straight up right here. I have little to no ganas to write an email about the week. I think it’s because I have LOTS of thoughts going through my mind right now. Like just about everything! I think one of the biggest things on my mind right now is how much time I have in the mish. Yeah, we’ll just talk about that now and get it over with. 1 year. Yep, this Thursday I’ll have 1 year in the mish. That is absolutely CRAZY to me. I never thought I would get to this point. Ever. And now that its here, it’s super sad. I really do love being a missionary, it’s the absolute greatest and it’s just sad to think that I’m well on the downhill slope. Oh how blessed I’ve been to be able to serve the beautiful people here in Argentina!! :)

So Richard did not get baptized. He had some huge problems come up in his life with his handicapped son and it kinda sent him into a whirlwind. I still have faith that all will work out and that he’ll be able to be baptized. The roughest part is seeing him turn his back on the one thing that will help him through these trials. Darn agency. We’ll see what comes of this week. 

Last Thursday night I had deja vu of my sickness seven months ago. I threw up a few times throughout the night and then we pretty much couldn’t leave the apartment all day. I tried leaving at lunch so my poor companion could eat, but we had to go back right after lunch, then we tried leaving at 7:30 and that just lasted for like an hour nothing more. I just felt horrible all day Friday. Then we left Saturday even though I wasn’t feeling too great, but I just couldn’t stay in the apartment anymore and we had really important appointments on Saturday. We had to go work si o si. I think it actually ended up helping me feel better. But I’m starting to feel lots better!! So that’s good! :) 

Yamila was confirmed yesterday! What a miracle! Another door opened to the Celestial Kingdom! Miracles happen daily!! :) 

Fun Fact: My companion tells me that I frequently sleep talk in Spanish. I thought it was every once in a while, but she tells me that I actually do it a lot. So I’m VERY pleased with that! :) 

Pringle craving.  Pringles are very expensive in Argentina!
Fun Accomplishment: I have yet to miss a single day writing in my journal in my whole mission!! So that’s like a year! I feel very proud of myself!! :) 

My companion never ceases to amaze me. Like she really is so great! I love getting to see her progress! I feel like I fall short a lot in my attempt to train her, which can be really hard and frustrating for me, but she still is learning and progressing a lot! She’s really just an awesome example to me of doing what the Lord asks and not having any fear! :) I just love her with my whole heart.

Well, I’d say that’s about everything for this week. Thanks so much for all your support! You are all incredible! I hope all is well and that you are all seeing the miracles that happen daily!! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen. And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :) 

Hermana Van

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Cat and a Cracker

March 2, 2015

Hola mis seres queridos!!

Okay. Where the heck do I even begin? (And how many times have I even opened with that...?) Anyways, it was a fantastic week! Once again filled with miracles! I’m definitely a big "There can be miracles, when you believe" fan if ya know what I mean. #princeofegypt

Beautiful Yamila's Baptisim Day
So I’ll just start off with a few stories. First, Yamila got baptized!!!!! :) Last week was so crazy and stressful trying to get her baptized. We visited her every single day and asked her every single day if she had talked to her dad to get permission to get baptized and every day she told us no. Every single day we went there with the plan to talk to her about the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom (So she’d have all the lessons for her interview) and every single time the spirit told us that we needed to talk about something else and read other scriptures, so we did. So we scheduled her baptismal interview for Saturday morning, even though she didn’t talk to her dad (and Friday we taught those commandments quickly). We got there Saturday in the morning and finally she talked to her dad right before we showed up! She passed her interview and everything was dandy. (Oh yeah, we started our fast for her Friday afternoon.) So we’re chatting after the interview and Yamila and her mom tell us that her dad said she can get baptized but not tomorrow because it was way too soon. We asked what Yamila wanted and she said to get baptized the next day. I literally had no idea what to say or do to have her get baptized the next day. I knew she needed to get baptized the next day because Heavenly Father confirmed it to me soooo many times during the week. Then I said, "How do you feel if we pray and ask Heavenly Father when He wants her to get baptized? Maybe He wants her to get baptized next week, or tomorrow. Who knows? Let’s ask Him." So we went into a room and Yamila said the first prayer and then afterwards Mirian (her mom) said a prayer. Her prayer was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I can’t even believe it! I felt the spirit so strongly. In the prayer she said that she knew in her heart that Yamila had to be baptized the next day. After the prayer she said, "Yamila will be baptized tomorrow. I’ll talk to her dad tonight." And sure enough she got baptized. And her dad was there and everything. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my mission. So many ward members had been wanting this for so long and thanked us for the work we had done to help her get baptized. It was an incredible day. The Lord did it all. So mi hija already has her first baptism! That rocks! :)

A special day for Yamila and her family.
Then another miracle I just have to share. Thursday night ALL of our members failed us and couldn’t accompany us, even the ones that NEVER fail us. So then I was kinda stressed out and the next day I was just thinking who can I call who can I call? The thought just came to me more than once that I needed to wait until Lunch and ask the member Daniela who we were going to have lunch with to accompany us. So I did and she said yes! Then we went to contact a reference she had for us. We went there and afterwards there were a few people close to that area that I wanted to visit. So we go to a house and we started talking to a woman that was very hard. She didn’t seem to want much at all. But our member was PERFECT for her. After conversing for awhile she ended up letting us in and she told us her life story. At one point she said "A lot of religions have passed by. And one gave me a little blue book that I’ll never forget." She moved so she didn’t have the book any longer. I whipped out the Book of Mormon and asked her if it was the book she was talking about. And she said it was! She said that whenever she read it she felt like it was written just for her and her life! It was incredible!! (I’m SO grateful for the missionaries that gave her that book of Mormon even though she didn’t progress in that time.) She and her son ended up accepting to be baptized! :) So we’re real stoked about that! It was a beautiful testimony to me about using the members to find. The vision of the mission. It was an incredible miracle!

Okay, so this email is already real long so I just have few more quick things to say:

We (well mostly our member Anthony) rescued a cat from a tree this week. And then we watched it eat a cracker. A first for me. 

We have a stellar (Zenon from the 21st Century...hope you get that joke.) investigator named Richard! He’s like 70 years old and literally the coolest. Anyways, I’ll write more about him next week. He’s going to get baptized this week. So if y’all can pray for him that would be very much appreciated! We need a lot of miracles for him to be able to be baptized this week! :)

Well, I’ll wrap it up. I just want to say thank you thank you thank you for fasting and praying for me! Oh how real these prayers and fasts are! I feel them so so much! Thanks for your support! I love you all so much!! :) Remember, when we love the way the Savior does, miracles happen! And of course, Stay Anxiously Engaged!! :)

Hermana Van