Saturday, November 18, 2017

...and the Army Goes Rolling Along

(Español abajo)

Hello folks!
Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything here and from the pictures I posted on Facebook with this link, you’re probably wondering, “Is this for real? Is she INSANE??” 
I think we all know the answer to that.
Yes, I am.
But I figure it’s only fair to let you in on the secrets of my mad mind. 
To put any doubts to rest about the meaning of my pictures, let me start by saying that I have decided to enlist in the Army!
If you’re surprised, you can just take that feeling and multiply it by about 700,000 and that’s about how surprised I am. This entire process and decision has been an extremely spiritual experience for me and I am convinced that I have been led to this new path and opportunity by Heavenly Father. Never had I imagined myself joining the military in any capacity; in the entire course of my life between wanting to be an actress, a scientist, a ventriloquist, an astronaut, a spy, or any other thing I may have set my heart to, I had never put any thought into being in the military, but I am a firm believer of following promptings from the Holy Spirit, no matter where they may take you, so here I am!
About a month ago my brother Jeffrey graduated from basic training and I was able to attend his graduation in Missouri. Long story short, in the conversations I had with my brother and upon watching those corny Army recruiter videos they show, I became more and more interested in learning about the ROTC program. In the fifteen hour drive home, I had more than enough time to research and investigate to my heart’s content, and by the time we arrived home, I was pretty well decided. I wanted to be in ROTC. 
Fast forward a bit: the next week I went to the recruiters, fully expecting them to try to convince me to enlist immediately, but I was going to stand my ground. I did for the first couple of days, but I soon felt a prompting to investigate further what they were telling me about going into the reserves. As I researched and talked to people and found out more, I was having stronger and stronger impressions to enlist and go active duty. This idea terrified me more than anything else ever has, so I decided to go to the temple for guidance and direction. 
A large part of me was hoping to receive an answer something to the tune of, “Elizabeth Annette, what the heck are you thinking? Are you crazy?? Stop this RIGHT NOW,” but a bit to my dismay, the answer I received was a little different. 
I have learned that many times when we pray and ask ambiguous or vague questions, it’s harder to receive an answer, but if we make a decision and pray for confirmation, we are  practically guaranteed an answer. The question I asked in the temple that day was not whether or not I should join the Army, but rather the statement that I had decided to join the Army and the question of whether that was the right decision. 
The answer I received was a resounding, “Yes.”
So, despite the many fears I have to take on this new challenge and adventure, I know that this is the way Heavenly Father wants me to go right now. Who knows if it will continue being the right way, but for now, I know that it is. 
Now before you go all, “But Elizabeth, you don’t know what you’re getting into,” on me, let me say just one thing:
I am well aware of how much I don’t know what I’m getting into. 
My all time favorite scripture that has kept me company through many walks of my life is found in 1 Nephi 4:6 and part of 7. It reads, “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. / Nevertheless I went forth…” 
I know that I am being led by the Spirit down this path; I know that He would never lead me astray. I’m also aware of how challenging and difficult this is going to be, but I know that I will never be alone during this process. To quote one of my favorite hymns, “The Lord is my light: then why should I fear?” 
Of course, I am terrified, I think any normal human should be terrified upon making a decision like this, but I take peace in knowing that this is not just some irrational and sudden choice, but rather a carefully investigated and inspired choice. 
So there ya go! That’s it! I’m joining the Army! Hoorah!
The end.
P.S. For anybody that is just dying to know more details, here are just a couple: I’m planning on working as a cryptologic linguist, so I’ll be learning at least one new language, which is what my goal has been all along! I probably won’t be shipping off to basic training until late January or February because I’ve got some preparing to do (if you know me, you know how much I loathe running), aaaand that’s actually about all I know. Feel free to ask me any other questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my knowledge and abilities!



Hola a todos!
Bueno, ha sido un buen tiempo desde que publiqué algo aquí, y de las fotos que publiqué en Facebook, probablemente se están preguntando, “Qué honda? Ella está LOCA??”
Creo que todos sabemos la respuesta.
Sí, la estoy. 
Pero supongo que solo es justo que se enteren de los secretos de mi mente insana. 
Para resolver cualquier duda sobre el significado de mis fotos, voy a empezar al decir que he decidido entrar al Ejercito!
Si estás sorprendido, puedes tomar ese sentimiento y multiplicarlo por 700000 y eso es el nivel de sorpresa que estoy sintiendo yo. Todo de este proceso y esta decisión ha sido una experience extremadamente espiritual y estoy convencida de que se me ha guiado a este nuevo camino y oportunidad por el Padre Celestial. Jamás me había imaginado entrando en las fuerzas armadas en ninguna capacidad; en todo el curso de mi vida entre queriendo ser actriz, científica, ventrílocua, astronauta, espía, o cualquier otra cosa que quería mi corazón, nunca jamás había pensado en entrar a las fuerzas armadas, pero soy creyente de seguir a las impresiones del Espíritu Santo, no importa a donde te llevan, así que, aquí estoy!
Alrededor de un mes atrás, mi hermano Jeffrey se graduó de su entrenamiento básico para el ejercito y pude yo asistir a su graduación en Misuri. Para ser más breve, al conversar con mi hermano y al ver los videos medios chistosos que te muestran, llegué a tener más y más interés en aprender del programa ROTC. En las 15 horas de viaje de vuelta a nuestra casa, tuve más que el tiempo suficiente para investigar cuanto que quería mi corazón, y al llegar a casa, ya había decidido. Quería entrar en el programa ROTC.
Un poco más adelante: la próxima semana, fui al reclutador, sabiendo que iban a intentar a convencerme entrar inmediatamente al ejercito, pero iba a permanecer firme. Lo hice por los primeros días, pero muy pronto sentí la impresión de investigar más lo que me estaban diciendo de entrar en las reservas. Al investigar y hablar con algunas personas y encontrar mas información, tuve impresiones cada vez más fuertes de entrar inmediatamente al servicio activo. Esta idea me dio muchísimo miedo, más que cualquier otra cosa, así que decidí ir al templo para pedir guía y dirección. 
Una parte bien grande de mi quería recibir una respuesta parecida a lo siguiente: “Elizabeth Annette, qué en el mundo estás pensando? Estás loca?? Basta YA,” pero un poco para mi consternación, la respuesta que recibí fue un poco diferente.
He aprendido que muchas veces cuando oramos y preguntamos cosas ambiguas o vagas, es más difícil recibir una respuesta, pero si tomamos una decisión y oramos para  la confirmación de ella, prácticamente se no garantiza una respuesta. La pregunta que hice ese día en el templo no fue si debo de entrar en el ejercito o no, sino fue una declaración que había decidido entrar al ejercito y la pregunta de si eso era la decisión correcta. 
La respuesta que recibí era un resonante, “Sí.”
Entonces, a pesar de los miedos que tengo al enfrentar este nuevo desafío y aventura, sé que este es el camino que el Padre Celestial quiere que tome en este momento. Quien sabe si seguirá así, pero por ahora, sé lo hará.
Ahora, antes de que digan todos, “Pero Elizabeth, no sabes a lo que te estás metiendo,” déjenme decir una cosa:
Estoy bien consciente de exactamente cuanto que no sé a lo que me estoy metiendo. 
Mi escritura preferida de todas y que me ha acompañado por muchas fases de mi vida se encuentra en 1 Nefi 4:6 y parte del 7. Dice, “E iba guiado por el Espíritu, sin saber de antemano lo que tendría que hacer. / No obstante, seguí adelante…”
Sé que estoy siendo guiada por el Espíritu en este camino; sé que nunca me extraviaría. También estoy consciente de cuan desafiante y difícil que va a ser esto, pero sé que nunca estaré sola durante este proceso. Para citar uno de mis himnos preferidos, “Jesús es mi luz, y no temeré.”
Por supuesto, estoy aterrorizada, creo que cualquier humano normal debe de estar aterrorizado al tomar una decisión así, pero tengo paz al saber que esta no es una decisión irracional e imprevisto, sino una decisión cuidadosamente investigada e inspirada.
Así que eso! Es todo! Voy a entrar al ejercito! Hoorah!
Fin.

P.D. Para aquellos que están muriendo para saber unas detalles, aquí están algunas: estoy planificando trabajar de lingüista criptológica, así que estaré aprendiendo hablar por lo menos un idioma más, lo cual ha sido mi meta desde el principio! Probablemente no me van a enviar al entrenamiento básico hasta el final de enero o durante febrero porque tengo que prepararme un poco (si me conoces, sabes cuanto que odio al correr), yyyyy de hecho eso es todo lo que sé. Siéntanse libres de preguntarme cualquier otra cosa y les responderé lo mejor que pueda! 




Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Surely Death Has Lost its Sting"

We never really know what we have until it is gone and many times it takes a difficult trial to realize just how aware of us the Lord is and how active He is in our lives. Sometimes we don't realize we have a lesson to learn until it is forced upon us, in the same way that we don't always realize our strength until it is put to the test. We all experience a myriad of seemingly pointless yet excruciating trials in this life, but I bear witness and testify that each and every single one of them has a purpose, whether or not we can pin point it. We will all experience loss, heartbreak, regret, fear, hopelessness, anger, etc. at some point, but it is only through experiencing the lowest of lows that we have the capacity to fully enjoy our highest of highs. 

I’ve decided to start with the message since the rest of this post is going to be  the nitty gritty details; what everybody has been asking me for weeks, thought I’m of the opinion that the details don’t matter nearly as much as the message they portray. 

I haven’t posted since now because I could not find the appropriate words; I wasn’t even really sure what I was feeling, that is once I had finally stopped denying my feelings and decided they needed to be acknowledged.

Today I went to the temple and found some of the words I needed, and though they don’t nearly account for all the details, I’ve determined that they are good enough for now. 

On July 1st of 2017, my grandma passed away, about two weeks after having been diagnosed with skin cancer. It wasn’t so much that she passed away, but what preceded her death that has had me unable to communicate for the last month. 

When my grandma was diagnosed with cancer, she was living alone in her own apartment nearly an hour and a half’s drive from where I live. She had been perfectly fine; she had been driving that week, functioning normally; everything was fine, so when I was asked to stay with my grandma for the weekend since she had become nauseous and dizzy, I had no idea the gravity of the situation. 

It soon became very apparent. A formal doctor’s visit confirmed that she had Melanoma, but I didn’t need to know that to see that something was going awry. By the end of my second day with my grandma, she could no longer walk by herself, though she had had no previous problems whatsoever. I remember distinctly the moment I knew something was very wrong: I got up to get a glass of water and turned around to see my grandma walking towards me and then stumbling in her dizziness and nearly falling into a table. 

That was the last time she walked by herself.

From there it only worsened. A tumor in her brain stem was creating pressure which was rapidly paralyzing her body (though mostly the right side), manifesting first in her eyes, then her legs, her throat and lungs, and then her arms and hands. The decline was extremely rapid and despite immediate action to start radiation treatments, steroids, etc., I always had a nagging feeling at the back of mind that this battle was going to be over very soon. 

Despite this whisper, surely from the Spirit in order to prepare me, I continued caring for my grandmother 24/7, “sleeping” on the floor in front of her couch where she always slept so that I could be there as soon as she needed me at 3am or whatever time it may be, helping her get to and from the bathroom, making sure she ate something since she had lost her appetite, encouraging her when she couldn’t swallow all the pills, or even a sip of water, calming her down after random crying fits and long days of appointments, reading her texts to her when she lost the ability to do so herself, carrying her when her legs no longer functioned, helping her do her hair when she couldn’t reach up high enough to do it anymore, feeding her when her hands no longer worked, trying desperately not to show how scared I really was so that she wouldn’t have to feel that way either. 

It was the next Saturday morning when I was to be relieved from duty for a day by a friend of the family. As I left the apartment and told my grandma goodbye, it was apparent by our tears that we both knew we weren’t going to see each other in that apartment again. 

Sunday morning she was taken to the emergency room where we were informed that the tumor on her brain stem had something like quadrupled in size since it had first been scanned, a mere six days prior, and was inoperable because of its placement, though my grandma didn’t want surgery anyway. The respiratory doctor told us her lungs were filling with fluid and there was no solution (besides an extremely dangerous and painful operation that she so kindly described in great detail for us).

That was the last day I held conversation with my grandmother. 

Monday morning she was put in hospice and was mostly unresponsive until she passed on Saturday around noon. 

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not one to ask “why?”

But this experience has made me ask that exact question in excess, and though I believe there will always be a lingering “why?”, I have also been blessed to understand some of the reasons, and to be at peace not understanding. 

To echo what I stated in the beginning of this, sometimes we don’t realize our strength until it is put to the test, and I would add that we don’t realize the Lord’s strength until we put it to the test. 

Being able to put on a smile each day, muster encouraging words, even the physical act of lifting Grandma, are on a list of things for which I will forever thank the Lord I could do. I know with every fiber of my being that I was not alone with Grandma for even a second during that week. I testify that angels exist and that God answers prayers. 

The Lord’s strength is unfathomable; His reach is infinite; His love is all-encompassing. Just when I thought my body couldn’t handle it, in the moment when I didn’t know if I would be able to take Grandma to the bathroom one more time, in the final moments before I knew I couldn’t do it anymore, He was there. He was there for me and He was there for her, and He will be there for you, too. There is no task we cannot accomplish with the Lord’s help; no burden we cannot carry when He is by our side; no battle we cannot finish. I know this to be true. 

The Lord loves us and he listens to our prayers; He will provide us with what we need (though not always what we want). He hears our pleas and cries for help, and though He does not always remove our difficulties entirely, He will lighten our load so that we might carry it a bit easier. I was witness to that in the small things: I told my mom one day after church that I was really craving oatmeal cream pies and when I got back to Grandma’s house, there were oatmeal cream pies on the table. As I waited for my grandma to return from a radiation appointment, I ran across one of my favorite TV shows that I never get to watch. As the fear and panic started to sink in that last Friday night and Grandma became significantly less cognizant, my uncle stayed the entire night with us, refusing to leave because he “had a date with Candy Crush.” 

The Lord is in the little things; He is in the big things; He is in everything. 

And despite experiencing something as, for lack of a better word, traumatic as I did, I cannot deny the immeasurable gratitude I have to have been able to be with my grandma and show her every ounce of love I had left for those last two weeks. 

As I drove to the temple today and tried to think of some of the words I was going to say, a pair of songs helped me determine what they would be.

One song, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” as sung by the BYU Men’s Chorus, struck me with a new meaning. I have had a very hard time adjusting from my mission; I feel like I’m not doing anything of worth here as I was there and it has motivated me to change some of my previous plans in order to be on the path to a career that allows me to travel and help others as much as possible. Many of my plans have been foiled and I have been very much stuck in a rut, but as I heard the words to this song (for perhaps the billionth time), they took on a whole new meaning. 

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak
So trusting my all to thy tender car,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I’ll be what you want me to be.

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what you want me to be.
Especially in this day and age, with the society we live in, there is a great need and desire to help and to make a difference, but sometimes the biggest difference we can make is hiding right under our noses; sometimes it’s right across the fence, down the road, in your own kitchen even. Don’t let Satan fool you into thinking you’re not doing anything just because you’re not doing what the world considers to be great. True greatness hides in the shadows; true greatness is manifested through charity and integrity; true greatness will show when standing at the judgement bar on the last day being told, “well done.” 

The Lord has been foiling my plans with a purpose, I am sure of it (sometimes more sure than others), but I know that there is no place I would have rather been, nor that the Lord would rather I had been, than with Grandma for that week.

The other song, “The Dying Soldier” (I listened to it as sung by the BYU Men’s and Women’s Chorus and Philharmonic) struck me a bit harder. It is written from the point of view of a soldier who is dying on the battlefield. He speaks briefly of his suffering, the fact that he will never see his wife or children again, he asks that a letter be written to his wife, and then comes the part that hit me so hard today.

Oh brother, I am dying now,
Oh, I do die so easy.
Surely Death has lost its sting
Because I love my Jesus.

I can think of no better expression of my feelings than that. 

This has not been a pleasant journey, but after all is said and done, I can say with confidence that “Death has lost its sting because I love my Jesus.” I know where Grandma is. I know the plan of salvation. I know that this is but another journey, another chapter in her eternity. 

I do not know the underlying “why?” this had to happen, especially in the manner that it did, but I am at peace. 

And with that I am satisfied.


I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. I know that families can be together forever. I know without so much as a shred of doubt, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and beautiful and I testify that it is a source of light in what is becoming a very dark world. I know that we are all instruments in God’s hands for doing good and spreading love. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us infinitely and without conditions. Of these things I bear solemn witness in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen. 






Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Golden Rule

So, let’s talk about the race for president this year. I have some opinions, but let me bring to your attention that none of my opinions have to do with the actual candidates. Because since when was it my job to judge somebody just because they sin differently than me?

Oh that’s right, it’s not. 

We live in a society that is constantly throwing opposite ideas at us and this might just be one of the biggest ones I have seen yet. 

We see all the time people posting pictures of inspiring quotes about not judging others, about accepting everybody how they are, helping people who are struggling or who don’t understand certain concepts yet, however these same people then post things on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. “[candidate] is sexist.” “[candidate] is a liar.”

Okay.

And have you looked in the mirror lately?

Alright, maybe your flaws aren’t the same flaws, but they’re there.

Granted, you aren’t running for president, so you’ve got that going for you, but then again, you aren’t running for president so who are you to judge those who are? 

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” (John 8:7)

There are no conditions in that story. The woman that Jesus Christ himself saved was an adulterer. “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Now let’s take a moment to put this into perspective. 

We are all children of God and His love for us is infinite. So infinite in fact, that He sent His only begotten son to the earth to atone for our sins that we might have the chance to live with Him again. Jesus Christ suffered, was crucified, and was resurrected, all for us. 

For every single one of us.

Obviously, we must learn to accept him in our lives and use the atonement that he has provided, but just picture Jesus putting himself in front of the adulterer to protect her, or in front of yourself, your brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, children and grandchildren…

[insert name of presidential candidate]

Are they not children of God, too?

Fortunately in the story that the Bible portrays, the people realized pretty quick that none of them were without sin and nobody threw a rock, but today, the situation is not the same. Today, people are hurling rocks at anybody and anything, people we don’t even know personally, even friends and on occasion, our own family members, not only blood-related but in our family of faith. 

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

So those rocks you’re throwing, are you really throwing them at a presidential candidate? At a work colleague? At a brother or sister?

Or are they all hitting that one person that put himself in front of them to protect them? 

Is this not exactly what Satan wants? 

Have we not all fallen into his snare?

Even if we do not agree, even if what they are doing is not morally correct, we do not have the right to judge them as people. That is not our job. 

We as followers of Christ more than ever in these times need to be the light in a world of constant chaos. We should be building others up; not tearing them down, whether they be presidential candidates or relatives. What kind of example are we giving to the people around us (friends, coworkers, bosses, children) as we post degrading or cruel comments or articles? And what kind of behavior are we showing our Father in Heaven?

We are not animals. We are not objects. We choose how to react. 

So are we choosing to be like Christ, “at all times, and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in…”? (Mosiah 18:9)

Or are we letting a presidential race affect our relationship with God?

If you don’t agree with a candidate or consider them unfit, find a different one and get over it. 

Does putting nasty comments on Facebook change anything? Has it ever?

Support righteousness and good morals; don’t waste your time stepping on the other guy. I guarantee it’s going to stick with you a lot longer than with them.

Hypothetical situation time: 
     You’re in the library. You hear a person talking about something you did across the room. You would probably ignore it, am I right?

     Now, you’re still in the library, but this time a person approaches you and addresses you personally about something you’ve done. In this case you might have a bit more interest, no?

Do you get where I’m going here?

It does no good to talk about people, only through talking to people can we get things accomplished. So seeing as none of us will probably ever get the chance to talk face to face with one of the presidential candidates, it’s best we show them with our vote what we think, no nasty Facebook argument necessary. 

Let’s just all get along. Life is hard enough for all of us without throwing this in. Get out of the house for a bit, go for a walk, revel in the fact that you are alive and you are a child of God. Vote wisely and quietly; don’t allow Satan to use you as his tool to create contention. 

Standing up for good morals and righteousness doesn’t mean standing on top of your opponent, it means standing next to them on a bedrock podium of unshakeable testimony and unquestionable virtue, alright people? 

And if after all this you still don’t know who to vote for… vote for yourself!

Just kidding, actually please educate yourself about all the possible candidates, but in the right place (i.e. not social media), and try voting according to your conscience, having taken all factors into account.

The presidential race will end; it’s not going to last forever. In comparison to the eternities we will live and have already lived before this life, this moment in time is nothing. In reality, our decisions right now are both of great and little importance: if the presidential race is causing you to change how you react to situations and comments in a negative way, that will be reflected in a negative light at that great and last day, whereas if we continue to follow Christ, be examples of Him, and love all people, that will also be reflected, but as a virtue. 


So, let’s just remember who we are, what we stand for, and let us always follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Very Fond Farewell

That is not her hand. :)


well

wow

okay

so

this is happening

this is really and truly happening

this is my last letter as a missionary and my last week in the field

whoa

I'm FREAKING OUT a little bit to be honest

and even though I've been thinking about what I was going to say in this email and how I was going to make it different from the rest the whole week...

I got nothin.

So let me tell you about what happened this week and I'm sure I'll get my groove on pretty quick.

This week was another really hard week here in the mission field. Pretty much all of our appointments failed, half the ward moved away, and an unusual amount of people yelled at us in the street, but you know what?

(imagine me crying because I'm crying)

I love being a missionary. I love the gospel. I know that it is true and I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves us. I know these things and I hope that somebody that I've talked with has been able to gain a testimony of these things as well because it is more important than any other knowledge we can gain in our lives. I am so very grateful to have the gospel in my life; I am immensely grateful to have been able to serve a full time mission of a year and a half here in Chile. I am grateful for all the people I have met, for the things I have been able to do, that I have been able to learn; I am grateful for the understanding of the gospel that the Lord has provided me with and to know who I am and who I serve. I am a child of God and my loyalty is to the Lord.


'Sí, yo sé que nada soy; en cuanto a mi fuerza, soy débil; por tanto, no me jactaré de mí mismo, sino que me gloriaré en mi Dios, porque con su fuerza puedo hacer todas las cosas; sí, he aquí que hemos obrado muchos grandes milagros en esta tierra, por los cuales alabaremos su nombre para siempre jamás.' Alma 26:12 (sorry i couldnt remember how it started in english so i searched it in spanish)

["Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.' Alma 26:12]


Maybe the scripture is really cliche to use, but it is the truth. I know that nothing I have done here has been with my own strength, but with the strength that the Lord has given me. There have been really great days and there have been really terrible days, but there has not been a single day that I didn't plead and receive the strength necessary to go where the Lord wanted me to go, do what he wanted me to do, say what he wanted me to say, and be who he wanted me to be. I testify of the power of prayer. I testify that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to bless us and never ever leaves us alone. We are his children; we are his most important creation; 'Pues he aquí, te tengo grabada en las palmas de mis manos' 1 Nephi 21:16. We are IMMENSELY important to him. 


["Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. 1 Nephi 21:16]

I have made plenty of mistakes here on the mission, but because of that I have also learned more than I could ever have imagined about the atonement. I know that Jesus Christ died for me, but more than that, I know that he also lives for me now. I testify of the resurrection and that through the sacrifice that our older brother made for us, we all have the opportunity to vencer la muerte [overcome death]

I think we're going to have a change of plan and I'm going to start doing this thing in Spanish because I feel it in Spanish (hope Andrew's okay with translating hahaha)

Sé que por medio de Jesucristo, tenemos la posibilidad de vivir eternamente con nuestro Padre Celestial y con nuestras familias. Testifico de las bendiciones del templo; estoy demasiado agradecida que mi familia se ha sellado en el templo. Sé que cada uno de nosotros podemos alcanzar esas bendiciones. Las familias realmente pueden ser eternas; lo sé. 


Yo sé que Jesus es el Cristo; sé que el evangelio es verdadero; sé que José Smith fue un profeta del Señor para restaurar la iglesia original de Jesucristo y que tenemos el gran privilegio de ser parte de esa misma iglesia hoy en día. Sé que Thomas S. Monson es el profeta que Dios ha escogido para guiarnos hoy en día. 

Yo sé estas cosas sin duda y con todo mi corazón. Amo el evangelio. Amo la misión. Amo Chile y las personas acá. Amo a mi familia, y más que todo, amo a mi Salvador Jesucristo. 

Entonces, para la última vez de aquí en Chile, les dejo mi testimonio de estas cosas con la esperanza de que alguno de ustedes lo lea en el sagrado nombre de mi Salvador y Redentor, aun Jesucristo el Señor, amén.

[I know that through Jesus Christ, we are able to live forever with our Heavenly Father and with our families. I testify of the blessings of the temple; I'm too thankful that my family has been sealed in the temple. I know that each of us can achieve those blessings. Families can really be eternal; I know.


I know that Jesus is the Christ; I know the gospel is true; I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord to restore the original church of Jesus Christ and we have the great privilege of being part of the same church today. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet chosen by God to guide us today.


I know these things without hesitation and with all my heart. I love the gospel. I love the mission. Chile love and people here. I love my family, and most of all, love my Savior Jesus Christ.


Then, for the last time here in Chile, I leave my testimony of these things with the hope that any of you read in the sacred name of my Savior and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ the Lord, amen.]


Seriously though, I love Chile so much and I am going to miss it more than I can express. It hurts my heart to have to leave here and leave these people and this calling, but I know that they are in the Lord's hands and that one day we will meet again and until then, I bid you all a very fond farewell.

I want you all to know that I really and truly do love you and thank you for being a part of my mission by reading my letters.

The next time we meet, I'll be in my own house, in my own country, with my own family, and probably still crying, but it's okay. 

I love you all and hope you have a FANTASTIC week :)

CCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3


[Because Hermana Schomburg's camera is no longer working, all photos are courtesy Hna Garcia.  They have been cropped for the privacy of the members and investigators in them.]







Tuesday, August 30, 2016

speaking of poptarts



there are so many foods that i'm remembering just now that i havent had in a year and a half 

poptarts
cream soda
rootbeer (floats)
chili (how ironic eh)
pumpkin pie
cherry pie
real apple pie (they do it different here)
poppyseed muffins
bacon
hamburger helper
split pea soup
tater tot hot dish
green been casserole
hawaiian haystacks
craisins
snickerdoodles
life cereal
cream of wheat
summer sausage
green chili

and the list goes on

but also there are so many foods that i am going to miss from here (and neighboring countries [i had to put that because in reality i eat more peruvian and venezuelan food than anything else hahaha])

sopaipillas
cazuela
empanadas
completos (and panchos, as my companion says)
ají de gallina
papas a la huancaina
pabellón
arepas
arroz con pollo
pastel de papas
humitas
pastel de choclo
papas rellenas
calzones rotos
leche asada
flan
arroz con leche (y mazamorra)
duraznos con crema
salchipapas
churrascos
manjar


that list also goes on

oh man

guys can you even believe it's been almost a year and a half?

i'm still basically in shock because it doesnt feel real... i dont feel like i'm scheduled to go home in less than two weeks... i just feel like

i dunno

like i'm just missionary-ing and i'll just be doing that forever, hahaha 

but hey, let's not talk about that because IT MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE

let's talk about this week

this week i think i figured out what the Lord is trying to teach me this change. This change has been kind of difficult; all of our investigators are disappearing and it seems like the harder we work, the more of them disappear and the less receptive the people are, but I don't think it's because we're bad missionaries nor because the sector doesn't have any potential, nor anything else; I think that this is happening to help teach me the importance of perseverance. 

Perseverance is the fifth and final part of the gospel of Jesus Christ that he taught. To refresh your memories, the five are faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, or as the phrase translates from Spansh, persevere until the end. 

I was thinking a little bit about that word the other day and the difference between 'endure' and 'persevere'

I dont know about you but when I hear the word 'endure' I picture a person making an ugly face and is probably sweating and (the first time i typed swearing haha which could also be but we shouldnt swear no no) is red as a rocotto and is almost not accomplishing the thing that they need to accomplish but darnit they are ENDURING and they are gonna get it done

but when I hear the word 'persevere' the picture changes a little. I picture somebody that is pushing forward; even though what they are doing is hard, they are pushing forward, not giving up, and definitely gonna get it done

Enduring for me is a person hanging from a cliff and persevering is a person pushing a really big rock

and maybe i'm crazy and just talking crazy talk, but i like a little better the word persevere.

but anyway, that's not what the point is

the point is that the perseverance is something hard I would say for pretty much anybody, especially the farther along we get. As we persevere, we learn things; we make mistakes and learn from the things we do wrong to be better and progress more, but the farther we get, the more we learn, and the more we learn the more we can handle, and sooo, the trials get bigger. The Lord knows he can trust us with bigger problems and in order for us to learn and progress more, he entrusts us with those bigger problems. If this life was easy, there would never be any progress! 

And that's our purpose here after all. Before this life we lived as spirits with our Heavenly Father, but there came a point as spirits that we couldn't progress anymore, we couldn't do anything else, unless we obtained bodies and learned to use our agency well, and so we came to earth! So, if we find that everything is easy in life, are we really progressing? Or are we waiting for the day when everything will be easy? Is it wise to wait for a time like that?

Or should we just be happy and grateful in the state that we are; falling and getting back up, learning, growing, being tried in a myriad (is that a word or am i making it up?) of ways?

I think that that is one of the keys to life; finding happiness and having an attitude of gratitude no matter what is happening in our lives; a difficult task, but one that will help us to feel fulfilled throughout our entire lives. 

I hope something that I've said has made sense... I feel like my grammar is so bad and I'm using so many made up words that nothing makes sense but I'M TRYING FOLKS

but anyway, that's why I like to use the word persevere; because it implies happiness. It's like... we're going to suffer, but we're going to be happy about it (10 points to the house that names that movie). 

Sometimes we have to persevere through things we dont want to have to go through, but I know that the blessings we will receive for our faithfulness to the Lord are a lot bigger than we can even imagine and they will come with time, through patience and perseverance. 

I know that this gospel is true, really and truly I do. I know that it blesses us more than anything else on the planet; I have seen the blessings in my own life, in my family, and in countless people that I have met here in Chile. The gospel is a blessing in my life and I am infinitely grateful to have it. I know that Jesus is the Christ, that he is our Savior, and that he suffered and walked alone to the very end so that we don't ever have to do this alone. I know that God has a plan for us and I testify with all that I have that he lives and loves us, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

that's all the time i have for this week folks

next week we'll talk again

for

the

last

time 

I love you ALL AND I WILL SEE YOU LITERALLY SO SOON I CAN ALMOST TASTE THE AMERICAN FOOD HAVE A GREAT WEEK AND ALL THAT 

CCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Camera shutter is broken
but the hermana photos are still beautiful!

Face painted at the church carnival


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ex-haus-ted

Hna Schomburg, Hna Paulson, Hna Palmer
Last trip to the Santiago Temple before coming home
in three weeks.


you have to take a pause in each of the dashes when you read the title

i am just

so

tired holy cannoli

let me tell you a story

once upon a time in the mission Chile Santiago Norte the missionaries that are headed home all go to the temple with Pres and Hna Videla the friday before their flight and then they have lunch together and after that, all the missionaries that are going home are just really terribly trunky

but one day when hna schomburg was in her last cambio the temple was going to be closed for maintenance her last week so they had to go on the 23rd of august, three weeks before going home

so they went and it was all REALLY EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING AND HNA SCHOMBURG WAS WITH HNA PAULSON AND HNA PALMER JUST LIKE HOW SHE STARTED THE MISSION AND SHE COULDNT HANDLE IT AND CRIED FOR LIKE 40 YEARS and then after everything, it was time to write the family and she didnt have any anything left to do anything ever again because she cried so much and she felt so much of the Spirit

the end

those are the circumstances folks, so i apologize if this letter is real lame

but let me try to say some things that will be spiritually uplifting or will let you know how this week went

let me consult my agenda

on friday we got on the metro and in one of the stations like A BILLION CARABINEROS IN FIGHTIN GEAR AND WITH SHIELDS AND STUFF GOT ON THE TRAIN and we thought it was real cool and then we were thinking more and we were like

why...

why did they have to take the metro? did they all have to pay with their bip?

on saturday we just had one heck of a day doin a lot of stuff and talkin with a lot of (interesting) people like one man that yelled at me like he was going to fight me and then started talking to me in italian and asking me to kiss his cheek

on sunday the gospel principles teachers didnt show up so they told me 5 minutes before the class started that i had to teach it #thingsiwillmissaboutbeingamissionary and then in relief society they talked all about marriage

and everybody teased me

because i'm going home in 3 weeks

oh yeah

i'm going home in 3 weeks

I'm so sorry you all have to read this terribly trunky letter, it's just that we JUST WENT TO THE TEMPLE and talked about all these trunky things and it's all fresh still and i promise i will be normal in a little bit

okay

how can i rescue this letter

well, it's still gonna be something a little trunky or sentimental or nostalgic or something, but let me tell it to you anyway because it meant a lot to me

so, yesterday i was in an exchange with Hna Paulson and in the nighttime we picked up Hna Palmer also (so that we could go to the temple today) and we were all thinking back on the CCM and everything that we had done and realizing how much we had grown. We went to teach a recently baptized Haitian man in Hna Paulson's sector and us three went in and sat down and had to teach him in english because he doesnt speak spanish and it just made me chuckle a little bit

remembering the CCM when we struggled to give a lesson in spanish and thinking that we're exactly the same now, except that we struggled to give the lesson in english

and i just got to thinking about the amazing things that the Lord can do. Sometimes it's when we least expect it that he gives us a change; sometimes we don't necessarily want it; sometimes we wait a long time for it, but everything that the Lord wants to happen will happen and in his own time, if we allow him to mold us. Sometimes we focus too much on what we want to happen and it just keeps not happening, even though we're obeying and doing everything right, but it's because we sometimes forget to ask the Lord if what we want is what He wants also. 

A lot of the changes I've seen in myself are not things I was expecting to change here in the mission, but they are things that the Lord wanted me to change. Our goal should not be to always get what we want, but to always want what the Lord wants, because if we submit ourselves to his will and his word and if we accept it, we will always have what we want, because the Lord always fulfills his promises.

I have been extremely blessed to be here in the mission. I am immensely grateful for the experiences I have had, for the changes I have made in myself, and if I was able to help even one person to have a better life and to make it better with Christ, if I was able to the be instrument the Lord needed for one single minute, I am happy with that. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God and when we are granted a small part of that sight, our love grows a whole lot. I feel that I have been privileged to have been a part of this mission and this work and I understand better now the plan the God has for us and the important part that every single one of us plays in his plan. We are all important; we are all special; we are all children of God and we all deserve to know the good news.

I know that this gospel is true! I know that the blessings we receive in the temple are unique and precious and we cannot afford to live without them. Do whatever you must do to be in the temple, especially with your family. I love the gospel. I love my Savior, and I really love the mission and I really really love Chile and I really really really am going to miss this. But I know that my life doesnt stop here; there are lots of things for me to do afterwards. It's all part of the plan :) en el nombre de Jesucristo, amén

sorry if this doesnt make even a little bit of sense

really and truly i 

am

ex-haus-ted

but I love you all and I will talk to you next week and it will make more sense than this week :) I LOVE YOU

CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Beautiful sunset with the Chilean flag.