May 27, 2013


Here we are again, my dear family and friends-

Forgive me if this email is missing some `o`s. The keyboard is a bit sticky. A better week for us- we taught a lot of lessons and brought a lot of members with us. I do love this ward very much! Perhaps I could relate the big climax experience of the week to illustrate several principles: How great our ward is. How many different plans and backup plans we have as missionaries. How, even with those plans, sometimes everything just dissolves into chaos!

Lunch with the fabulous ward members

Hermana Peterson started feeling sick at the beginning of the week, but we went out to work like normal. Finally, Thursday afternon, we called the office and asked if there was a medication she should be taking or something to help her get over a pretty bad chest cold/flu. The elders bought her some medication and brought it to us, and Hermana Mena and I worked out a quick mini-cambio situation so that we could get to all of our sitas. I called several people to change a few things, and we thought everything was covered. (Foreshadowing, anyone?) She left with Hna Mendoza to work, and I stayed and organized our Area Book while Hna Peterson slept. The Hermanas returned, and I left with Hna Mena and Saria Cortez, a soon-to-be missionary, to our first sita. That went well, but a little long. Right after that sita, I got a frustrated phone call from someone who hadn´t gotten the message that we´d have to change the sita with him. Tried to explain the situation, but he was still frustrated. 

Next, we´d arranged to have Alexys and Tatyana, (Our EQ president and his wife) come with us to visit Henri. Before we knew about the mini cambio situation, Tatyana had told us she wouldn´t be able to come because of a work meeting, so we´d called Hna Luka to come with us as well. (When we visit single men, we need another woman with us.) After this first sita, we gave Saria the option to accompany us to Henri as well if she´d like, and she decided to stay with us. We went to pick up Alexys, and found out that Tatyana´s meeting had been canceled, and she was also going to come. I quickly called Hna Luka, briefly explained that she didn´t have to come if she had other things to do, but she said she´d still like to come. Went by her house to pick her up, and out she came, hand in hand with her granddaughter. We literally had five members with us in our lesson with Henri- Elders Quorum, Relief Society, future missionary, and the Primary. Wow.
I´ve been fighting with my self-perspective a bit this week. There are just so many things I want to fix and improve as a missionary! It is ironic, because I know I can´t really be effective if I´m focusing on myself and my weaknesses rather than on the spirit and how to effectively serve those that I teach. Had a couple really good moments of studying and pondering repentance. We´re reading the Book of Mormn as a mission before our new president comes, and we´re in Alma right now. This morning I was in chapter 13, which begins rather repetetively, actually. I was reading, marking, the usual, when finally by verses 10-13 I realized that I should probably pause a moment and internalize what it was saying. 

View from our window each morning

As I thought this week, I realized that I haven´t had very many definitive experiences with repentance in my life. Crimes of omission? All the time. Always praying for help with little things like study habits, attitude of service, etc. etc. But times when I´ve felt real guilt? Pondering that, I could think of only three- one as I was preparing for the mission and didn´t consistently follow a prompting I´d received, and two on the mission when I chose to spend the Lord´s mission time with activities that I knew weren´t really productive.

 I´m not trying to confess to you all, so I hope you´ll forgive me for being a bit personal and explaining that to you. I bring it up because as I thought about my feelings this week and all my desires to be better, to be new, to be more what the Lord wants me to be, I realized how key repentance really is in our life process. I thought of the people I´m teaching- those who haven´t always had a loving, supportive family, a good social environment, and a gospel upbringing. The longer I´m here on the mission, the more i realize that the world is in a state of desperate need for the gospel. This week I also encountered the most miserable human being I have ever seen in my life- Ana Maria. She drinks, smokes, is bulemic, has cancer, lives alone, one of her daughters called her to ask her for money while we were visiting her, her other daughter is living with an abusive partner, and I think her water got shut off this week. The state of her mind wasn´t stable, and she rambled and sobbed while we were there, saying "Just talk with me. I´m so lonely." This world needs the gospel. She needed it, and once again I found myself crying after a visit as wondered if she was even physically capable of accepting and understanding it. 
Though I´ll struggle sometimes with my self-satisfaction as a missionary, it was a priceless gift this week that I could take a couple days to really think about the blessing of repentance and the power of the Lord´s Atonement to help us overcome all types of trials. Whether I´ve been less than perfect as a missionary, whether someone else has lived a lifetime of misery, repentance is real and has real power to heal. It is just a matter of humility- when we turn to the Lord and accept His uplifting sacrifice, we become free of burdens and may work with Him to reach the divine potential we each have. I´m trying to put this into practice for myself- obviously, not doing it perfectly yet, but that just brings us back to repentance, doesn´t it?

Love you all so much. Hang in there with all!!
Hermana Oldroyd

Sergio, one of our favorite waiters at Rincon Marino. Have I mentioned that we eat at a nice restaurant once a week? The owners are members and we love love love it

May 21, 2013


My dear people,
Happy day!! I am staying in Lirquen for at least 4 more weeks!! (Yes, this next cambio is only 4 weeks. The one after will be 8 weeks. Crazy, huh?) Elder Saénz called at 6:50 this morning to break the news, and I held my breath as he announced my name first. ´Hermana Oldroyd.... Se va.... a quedar!´ (Hermana Oldroyd... is going..... to stay!) I´m very very happy that I´ll be able to stay and teach a couple of the investigators that we have. They´re so dear to me! I hope that they can progress and take the decision to be baptized. I promise I´ll do all I can!
As for this week, we had a mini cambio! Hermana Mena, who is basically our sister zone leader, came to Lirquen to work with me for two days, and Hermana Peterson went to Chiujuansito. (Still don´t know how to spell that.)
Sister Mena

It was so great and I learned so much! She helped me learn how to plan more efficiently, how to organize things a little better, and I learned a lot from watching her teach. She is loving and sweet and humble, from Ecuador. She came Tuesday after lunch and stayed until Thursday afternoon.
As for this cambio, Hermana Daglio is leaving to another sector, and guess who is coming to Lirquen? None other than Hermana Mena!! I was quite thrilled when I heard the news. Not that I don´t love Hermana Daglio- she is great but there is also a whole lot more involved with her that I´ll try to write in my journal. Always more to write than there is time for...
This week we had Henri at church! We´ve taught him four times now, and the last time that we called him to verify our sita and his reading, he said ´Yes, 7 is still great. The pamplet? Yes, I´ve read it three times.´ Oh. Wow! He is super sincere and really wants to change his life, so we´re going to work to help him quit smoking and prepare for baptism. He´s super, super open and ready to learn, and he buys cookies and juice for us every time we come over. Just to keep illustrating how much I love him, he also sends the cookies home with us if we don´t finish them. Little blessings, my dear people, little blessings.
As for Luis and Mercedes, (did I write about them last week? I sure hope so...), we had a struggle with them this week. Luis was never actually at our sitas, since he lives in Penco and just drops by to see Mercedes. We didn´t know that when we first started teaching him. Long story short, we did all we could this week but we didn´t have any contact with Luis. We were able to teach Mercedes and she is progressing in her knowledge of the gospel. (Already a member, but very inactive, just in case I didn´t write about her last week.) The bad news is that neither came to church. We´re going to keep working with them!
Comment on Chilean culture- they love media of any kind. Lots of the members here have their TV on all day, watching news or telenovelas or whatever is on. Others prefer radio, and our ward mission leader Hermano Tomas Torres has headphones in all the time. Funny man, I´ll have fond memories of him. They also watch movies in English, and they´ll watch old church movies as well, with subtitles in English.
Love you all so much! I hope you feel how blessed we are to live in this place and time. Just think of all the people around you, the ones you love, the ones you don´t, the ones you just don´t know. Each has his or her own world, each is living and learning and growing, and we have the sacred privilege to take part in each others´ lives. Think about the influence that you have and take a moment to evaluate the way you are using that power. Our common bond as human beings is our dependence on the Lord and Jesus Christ for our eventual salvation and our present happiness. We need him now and forever, and we are each equally indebted to Him as our Savior. This plan really is perfect, and He really is our perfect guide. Turn to Him in all you do!!
yours always,

Hermana Oldroyd

Special bracelet from high school friend Kristine  
Erica beams after her call home on Mother's day
Gloria Aguayo Llanos in the middle, their son Neil on the other side of her, their son Dallyn, and Marcos Llanos
Hermana Daglio woke up and made breakfast on Mothers day! With our missionary diet, it consisted of toast, a little bowl of eggs, cookies, and Ecco. Yummmm
Me on a more typical day... Bulky bag, black jacket, hair in a ponytail and looking quite ´functional´rather than decorative. Oh and the chickens!! Another Hawaii flaskback

May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Dearest family and friends-

(I thought about saying ´Dear Utah´, but didn´t want to offend my few out of state family members, so we´re back to the usual greeting. Forgive my redundancy each week!)

Happy Mothers Day to you all!! I hope your day was as wonderful as mine. I GOT TO TALK TO MY FAMILY!!  Granted, we had a few Skype complications, but they were very patient with me and we had a great time. Like I told Kirsten in an email today, it felt like I haven´t even been gone. What makes that even better? It feels just as natural to be back in mission life. Family and missionary work really are one and the same, and I feel like we´ve all never even been apart, and like I´ll see them again tomorrow. (According to mission time, Christmas practically is tomorrow. The weeks are going by so quickly!) I know that each and every one of us is in the place the Lord wants us to be, and that the bonds of a gospel-centered family aren´t broken by time, distance, or minor differences.  Eternity is a real thing, my dear people, and we´re all working towards it.

We called from the house of Ana Cortez, my Chilean mother. She worked really hard to make a whole taco spread for us, which was SO GOOD. Best tacos I have ever eaten in my life.

This past week turned out to be a really good one. We saw a lot of improvement in different areas- our companionship, our work with members, etc. For example- we had 2 lessons with members the week before, and this week we had 9! Woohoo! I feel the Lord is really rewarding us for our dilligent obedience. Can I emphasize that enough to all the prospective missionaries and all you members our there? It is so key.

I´ll include at least one good spiritual story this week. Wednesday and Thursday we had a ´mini cambio´ in our area. Hermana Daglio went to another area to work with our Coordinating Sister, Hermana Mena, and Hermana Ruis came to our area to be with Hermana Mendoza. When we were eating lunch in Rincon Marino (restaurant owned by members. We eat there every week and it is so so delicious. Bread, cheese empanadas, rice, chicken, natural Chilean fruit nectars, and ice cream), Hermana Ruis said something in relation to our mission focus on finding families that really caught my attention. -Encuentra que busca-, which means -You find what you look for-. I realized that I had not internally focused as much on finding a family as I should´ve. That night, Hermana Peterson and I made specific plans to accomplish this goal of finding a family to teach. We prayed a lot about it and exercised a lot of faith.

The next we followed those plans, doing our best to use every single minute of the Lord´s time. Right at the end of the day, we ´hallo-ed´ at a house, and a middle age man answered the door. We introduced ourselves and our message and asked if we could come in. He poked his head back inside, asked his wife what she thought, then apologetically told us that she already has her religion. Perhaps I was a bit bold, but I said something along the lines of ´Great! Is that a Christian religion? Because we´re representatives of Jesus Christ and we bring a message from Him.´ He poked his head back inside, said a few words, then let us in.

There was our family! Rufi, the papa, Sylvia, the mama, Valentine, the 20 year old daughter, and a son that left just as we were entering. We really followed the spirit as we taughter that lesson, and it was one of the best I´ve had on the mission. In the end, they were hesitant to read the Book of Mormon, but we´ll pass by again and work with them more. As we left the house, I was so humbled and overwhelmed by the Spirit. We had really found a family. We find what we seek, we achieve what we plan for. It was a miracle and we were so happy!

I love you each so much and wish you the very best. My prayers are with all of you!!

Hermana Oldroyd

May 6, 2013

Big question

¡Hola todos!

Hope you´re all doing so well. Hardly know what to write this week... Hm, strange feeling. Perhaps I´ll write just a little bit and spend more time explaining my pictures. The work goes on for Hermana Peterson and I. This Thursday we had a mission conference, which was so so good. I got to see Hermana Gonzalez, meet new Hermanas, and learn so much. I also said the closing prayer!

Bread bowls with Chili, yumm

Obviously, every big church meeting or event like this deserves a predetermined list of questions. (just like General Conference, etc. Maybe you could think about doing the same for your next meetings, firesides, devotionals, etc.)
 I took one big question- "What is it that I´m lacking, or what do I need to do to become a celestial missionary?" We had several breakout sessions, several encouraging talks by the APs, the President, etc. and by the end of the conference, I was very impressed with my answer. It may not have been the answer I expected, but I came to realize in a very personal way that there really isn´t any big secret. I will become the missionary I want to be when I can combine all the small things that I learn each day and put them into practice on the streets, in the houses of my investigators. As I apply little things, I´ll bring about great miracles. I know it. I also know that I´m not quite there yet, and if I only look at the end goal of where I want to be as a missionary and person, discouragement will quickly follow. I´m learning to focus each day on the little goals that we´ve set, to work to perfect just this one principle or just that one skill. This is the process that will take us to perfection, along with the incredible atoning power of the Lord. As we walk step by step towards the future that the Lord holds for us, let us not lose sight of our little victories. I´m not perfect in this principle either, but I needed to use it this week to get through a really discouraging day.

Yes, there are hard moments in the mission every here and there. Mine came on Saturday night- we´d planned a ward mission activity for that day and had three investigators committed to come.

We spent a good deal of time preparing for the activity, and in the end, none of our investigators came to the activity. We called and called, but as we got message machine after message machine, I felt like I´d wasted the Lord´s time and felt a bit lost in being a senior companion and trainer. Prayed a lot that night, talked with my compainon, and thought back to the conference. It was in that moment that it really all came together into the lesson that I learned above.

As for some funny moments this week? I still snore as loudly as ever! Hermana Peterson told me that about 2 minutes after I climb into my sleeping bag, I´ll start quietly and then build and build to a climax. One night this week, I abruptly stopped after this climax and then started speaking fast and furious Spanish to someone in my sleep. Sorry, Hermana...

Also had our first real rain!! It was wonderful and so fun. The good news is that my jacket and boots are still as fabulous as ever, and I think we´ll be good for the winter season coming up.

Also sang a musical number with the Hermanas and ward mission leader in sacrament meeting. I even had a solo! You´d be proud of me. We also performed several funny little skits in our talent show, and all the members really loved those.

Think that´s it for now! Love you all so much

Hermana Oldroyd

A mouse in the house!!
The cat that Hermana Daglio grabbed to help us out... It did nothing
(luckily Mr Mouse found the front door . . .and was never seen again)