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!!!!! :)

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!! :)
Hermana Van

Friday, August 7, 2015

Enferma y Milagros!

August 3, 2015


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!! :) 

Hermana Van 

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