October 29, 2013

You ARE bringing it!


Hope that all is well over there. So much to say! Ana Maria got baptized this week, and everything went well with that. Even if she showed up just 5 minutes before the baptism was supposed to start and came 10 minutes late to sacrament meeting the next day (young people these days...), she was so excited and felt so good. Hermana Nájera and I sang Lead, Kindly Light acapella in her baptism, and that went well.

Also! Nicole called us last Monday night with important news- she told us that she had a really bad day, but that when she got home, she knelt to pray and ask for help. She said she felt the biggest surge of faith and hope, and that she had started seeing everything with new eyes. She has a new optimism, and even if life is still filled with drama, even if her family still doubts that she can handle being a Mormon, she felt it. She really felt it. I was so happy!!!!! I can't even describe it.

Hermana Berta sends saludos to all of you. She says to tell you that there is someone here in Chile that loves me a lot. She is such a dear- she is so loving, and so utterly thrilled to visit people with us. Lately she's even tried to show some extra love and care by baking us things- even if she burns them or fries the death out of the sopapillas, she always sends us home with a bag.

Let's mix up this letter a bit, shall we? Sometimes I feel like my letters are becoming more and more lame. I'm sorry. I think I'm just so involved with the missionary mindset that I may have lost touch with what will be a novelty to you, what you might like to hear, what might be important to say. Sometimes I'll think of things during the week and kick myself for not telling you, not sharing that scripture, not telling that funny story. I do my best!

The point is, this week I wrote a poem! It has been a looong time since I've done that, but we were on the bus going to our district class (about an hour long), and I felt the urge. I should title it, but I hate titling things. Think of it in a gospel/missionary work perspective, yeah? Here it is.

A little bit of sky.
They reach, wanting more,
wondering why,
and what for.
They walk on,
ever on,
searching for a bit of sky.
How exalted,
you and I,
to know and breathe of heaven's air,
to know just how to lead them there-
with us,
a little bit of sky.

If then,
we see their faces fall,
how gently,
we must spread our borrowed feather wings,
to lift them up.
So that we all
in this are filled,
and find,
a little bit of sky.

Yep. There is that! Also, Hermana Nájera accidentally broke my camera, and the Elders were supposed to pass us more photos of the baptism, some activities we've done, etc. but they're late and our internet time is up. Sorry for the limited photos!

One more thing! Writing my best friend, chatting about missionary work. Wanted to share with all of you a little piece of encouragement that I shared with her. "Changing the general perspective of 'missionary work' is half the battle in bringing the gospel to all the world. You ARE bringing it! Being a missionary is being loving and good and a little bit brave in explaining just what makes you the person you are. That is all!"

I know that we can all be missionaries. That is what, in this last dispensation, the Lord has called each of us to be!  If we ever want to see the face of the Lord, we'd better get busy about preaching His gospel, because it just won't happen until we've done our part to bring His word to ALL of His children. Do it with your words, with your love, with your lives. Our message will not fail. I love the Lord with all my heart, and I love each of you so very much. The greatest joy comes from working with the Lord in His work and glory, and I wish that we could each be just a little better in doing that. I pray for you all-

Hermana Oldroyd

Pato and Escarlett, those sneaky girls. They went and bought my exact same shoes two days after seeing mine. Twinners!
Nicole, me, Hermana Nájera, and Ana Maria. Bunch of 20 year old buddies, growing in the gospel together. Love it!

Trying to be an 8 cow missionary!! (Name that old church movie)

 Zona Parral

October 21, 2013

Together Forever

Family and friends!

Another good week in the mission. I'm so very happy!!

We've got a baptism coming up this week! Perhaps I should back up and tell you how we found her. It was a couple weeks back, on one of those crazy days when we knew we'd be running all over the place trying to make all our visits on time. We finished one, and thinking we were late, we rushed to the other población to get to our other. The visit fell through, so I glanced at my watch to see where that put us with our schedule. I was surprised to see that we were really on time, in fact, we were early!
We went to our backup plan, but she wasn't there either, so we thought of all the people that we knew there close. Guess who came to mind? Ana Maria. We'd found her a couple weeks before, but we'd never been able to find her in her house after that. To our surprise, there were lights in the house, and there she was, just waiting for us! She accepted a baptismal date, agreed excitedly to come to General Conference, and has been so very good. She is 20 years old, has a 2 year old son, and she works and studies. She's as excited as can be for her baptism. Woohoo!

The crazy thing was that after leaving Ana's house that night, we went calmly to our next visit, knowing that we'd only spent 30 or 40 minutes with Ana. Calling at the next house, we were surprised when the woman opened the door and said "Why are you working so late? Can't you come back another day, a little earlier?" We thought to ourselves, Óh come on! It is only 8:30!" but agreed to come back another day. I glanced down at my watch, and had to look again. What?? It was 9:45!
I was more than surprised- I never read my watch wrong, but apparently that was what had happened. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways, though. It was because of that little time warp that we found Ana Maria, and also our other progressing investigator, Ana's best friend. Nicol is the only nonmember in a family of pure less actives, and she has been totally anti-missionary her whole life. She's 19, and is studying and working, and she just happened to be in Ana's house  one day when we passed by to pick up Ana for a Family Home Evening. She was a bit startled at first, but we chatted with her, and she eventually agreed to come with us. Nicol is a bit dramatic, but she's very smart, very fun, and we're really good friends.

We also found a family!!! Angel, Lucy, and their grandchild/daughter Valentina. The first time we passed by for them, Angel and Vale were the only ones who talked with us- Lucy didn't want to come near us or even saludarnos. The second time, however, we brought Juntos Por Siempre ( a sweet, cheesy, Church family video. WATCH IT.) and invited Lucy to watch part of it with us, and she accepted! Their son passed away a couple years back, and she actually left the room sobbing during the video. The Catholic religion has been pretty hard on her, telling her that because her son committed suicide, God would never forgive him, and she would also be condemned as a mother for not stopping him. She and Vale came to church, but Angel was feeling sick and didn't come. We'll work on committing him better this next week! We're really excited to work with them, and we're  going to put a baptismal date with them tonight.

I'm just so grateful to know such a loving Lord. I had some big prayer moments this week, and I know that He is aware of us and always answers our sincere prayers. I've been striving to know the scriptures better, and I'm always so touched by the spiritual power contained in the Book of Mormon. He is willing to forgive, He wants to show us He is there. Do the little daily things, and each week you'll find yourself a little better than before. He takes us step by step through the pathway to eternal life, and little by little, I know we'll make it there. I love you and and pray each day that you are well.

Be joyful! It is why we are here-

Hermana Oldroyd

There we are, in the office early Thursday morning. Did I mention that the bus we were going to take to Conce on Wednesday night broke down? We had to rearrange all our plans, travel to Chillan, sleep over there, and take another bus early in the morning. Whew!

Hermana Peterson has a dentist Dad that sent us vampire teeth candies! You can't really see them, but we intented to take a vampire photo after a group study session.
Want to hear about our little Sunday fiasco? Last week after church we found quite the commotion near the back of the chapel. Lo and behold, we found that a sneaky mother cat had pried open one of the windows to a supply room and given birth to three kittens amidst the folds of a Boy Scout tent. Fast forward to Saturday, when we're cleaning the church. The kittens are still there! Pondering the distraction, and a little bit of irreverence for having kittens in the chapel, we gloved up and took action.

The little trash can home that we made for them... Don't worry, we put them right outside the window and the Mom found them


October 14, 2013

So very, very joyful

Dear Family and Friends-

This may be my shortest email yet. Want to know why?


We're here in Conce today so that Hermana Nàjera can have her TB shot. That went well this morning, and we were able to get a lot done here. Bought new shoes, some new summer shirts, etc. and during our internet time, in walked my dear cousin. Oh boy, you better believe we both screamed and cried and hugged each other like crazy. I am so happy.

Other blessing? The doctors appointment was this morning at 9:30, and there are no buses that leave from Cauquenes in the morning to get us here at that time. Thus, we had to take a bus last night and sleep over here in the nearest Hermana sector. Guess who lives there? Hermana Mena!!!!! She's in her last cambio in the mission, and we thought we'd never see each other again. She just changed sectors, and it was the biggest miracle to do a minidivision with her, talk about all that has happened, and say another goodbye.

I feel so blessed, so happy, so very, very joyful.

I love you all!

Hermana Oldroyd


Yeah, we went shopping! Wow, it felt good.

Operation Word of Wisdom. In our time together, we've confiscated a good amount of coffee, tea, etc. and it has been sitting in our house forever. We finally got rid of it! We took a nice video of us chucking all the tea, coffee, some soap, bleach, etc. and then dumping it out the window. Good times.

Hermana Mena!!!!!

October 8, 2013

Moral of the Story

Hello dear people!

To begin, I just want to apologize if my last email was negative or pessimistic instead of uplifting and informative. Thinking about it a bit after, I realized it may have seemed that way. Perhaps I'll capitalize on this opportunity, though, and add a couple Morals Of The Story.

Moral of the Story 1. Every person has a hidden pain. Don't ever fall into the trap of thinking that this member, that person has a perfect life and doesn't understand what it is to have a hard time. It is so important that we show love and consideration for EVERYONE, not just those who are sad, happy, our close friends, etc.

Moral of the Story 2. The mission is not all baptisms and yummy Chilean lunches. We see lots of problems, we struggle with lots of questions, we feel pain along with the people that we love here. But you know? That is ok. That is life! It always has its good and bad, and it just so happens that we get to take an active part in the good and bad of hundreds of people every week.. Perhaps that is why we grow and mature in the mission- we live the lives of hundreds of people in only 18 short months. It is quite the eye opener, but quite the eternal blessing.

Moral of the Story 3. I know I said this already, but I'll say it again for emphasis. The gospel is ALWAYS the answer. No matter what the question, it is ALWAYS the way to find real and lasting happiness. I know it because I've seen it in my life, in my pre-mission life, in the lives of many people I love here and back at home. Stick to that iron rod and you will never be unhappy for very long. The Lord promises a plan of Happiness, and when we're not happy, it is because in some small way, we're not following the plan.

Ok! As for this week, we had a couple interesting twists and turns, as always. First off, my companion might have Tuberculosis. Think that is just a good mission joke? Nope, think again. One of her old companions just got really sick and was discovered to have active, and fairly advanced TB. Considering that the disease is contagious, we had to hike ourselves to Concepción on Friday to have her tested for the disease.

The good and bad of this event: BAD- We missed a whole day of work, and it was so painful. We had to get up at 5 in the morning to catch a bus there, and there were no buses back to Cauquenes at the end of the day. We took a bus to Chillan, waited there, then took another to Cauquenes, then the usual colectivo (taxi) to Estación. Wheww! Oh, and there were no taxis at that hour in the morning, so we had to walk all the way to Centro. Boo. Oh, and the big bad? Even after 8 clinics and hospitals, none of them had the TB test. I think the latest news is that we´re having it shipped from the states.

This is how we feel at 6 in the morning, waiting for our bus to Conce.

GOOD- I got to see Hermana Call, my old MTC companion, and a couple other Hermanas in the office. We also had Domino's pizza for lunch, and that was wonderful. I was also present when then delivered my package!! Woohoo for spring skirts and Oreos from Mom, letters from the fam, and pictures from the Primary. I remember drawing those pictures, and I felt so privileged and touched to be the recipient, 12 years later.

 Drawings from some of our Primary kids, to Erica

General Conference thoughts- Ahh, so good. We watched it on a projector in our little chapel, and I've got to admit that I was a little bummed that I didn't get to see it in English. I understand 99 percent of what they're saying, but I did miss the apostolic voices and expressions. I always go into Conference with the question "What do I need to do to become to person the Lord wants me to be?" and in Elder Packer's talk I felt really impressed that I need to learn the scriptures better. Any advice for me on how to do that??

My big conference experience was Sunday morning. I was finishing writing something from Elder Maynes' talk, (which was really good), when all of the sudden, something was different. I looked up at Elder Scott, paid a little more attention to what he was saying, and realized what the difference was. It was his voice. His voice!! I knew that some  of the apostles did their own recordings, but had not thought much about it, and I was so, so touched to finally hear a voice that I recognized. I bawled for about the first half of his talk, just basking in his slow, loving tones.

Thinking more about it, I imagined what it'll feel like to someday hear the voice of the Lord. I had grown up my whole life hearing the voices of the apostles and prophets, and I was bummed to miss them even for one short conference. Our earthly life is such a small, but vital part of our eternal existence, one in which we do not directly hear the voice of the Lord. We knew it in the eternities before and hearkened to His pre-earthly counsel, but now other voices may distract us from the plan that He gave us. Someday soon, though, we'll hear His voice again. Will we know it?

In John 10:4 it says that those who have loved Him, followed Him, striven to be like Him in this life will indeed know His voice. (Ok, well it doesn't actually say that. But His sheep know His voice, and that is my interpretation of how we may become His sheep.) I know the Lord, I love Him, and I'm so grateful for the voices of his prophet and apostles to live and guide us. I know that you each had some ideas of things you could do or change, and I invite you to really do it!!

I love you all. (See the picture I drew you?? I've been feeling more artsy lately, considering that we make lots of thank you cards and birthday cards to show love for the members.)

Hermana Oldroyd 

Attacking the mold in our house.... Oh Elders, why did you never clean the house??? We're under way, though, and with a little more help next we should be in good shape.
Yeah!!! Still a soccer fan, Syd.
Visiting people with Hermana Berta

October 1, 2013

The Sky Almost Fell

If last week was normal, this week the sky fell in Cauquenes. Everything turned out alright, but it felt like all of the sudden half of our branch and all of the people we were teaching had a sudden explosion of life problems. Just to give you a quick summary of the events of this week-

Last Sunday night, one of our strongest sisters had a fight with her wayward son (who we have been reteaching). He said a lot of hurtful things, and she started having suicidal thoughts. She called the Elders for a blessing and we had previously set an appointment with her for that very night. We were able to talk things out with her, and she's doing alright.

Monday, Hermana Nájera received news from her family that her Dad is really sick. She is the youngest in her family, and her parents are older. She was very worried and had thoughts about leaving the mission. She asked the Elders for a blessing and everything was much better after. She worked really hard this week and we've been praying a lot. We'll see what the family says today.

Tuesday we passed by to pick up Osvaldo for our lesson, but for the first time he told us he didn't feel strong enough to leave, and that his ulcers had been getting worse. Left him some material to read, and added his ulcers to the prayer list again. Right after, passed our Relief Society President in the street, and she asked us if we'd been by to visit Juanita, one of the Menos Activos that we've been reteaching. She said she'd heard that she wasn't doing well, so we went with Hermana Laura to visit Juanita. She's been having trouble with her husband, who likes to go partying and drinking and leave her in the house with all the kids. She had also tried to commit suicide. Chatted with her, put some goals, added her to the special prayers list. Later that day, passed by to visit Arturo, and he was really shaken up after a visit with his hijada (No idea what this word is in English. Oh wait- goddaughter? That whole Catholic business... You know.) She chewed him out for being baptized, and he was really shaken up, saying that he wasn't so sure about his goal to go the temple, etc. We're working on strengthening his testimony.

Wednesday, we went by a young couple that we're teaching, Christian and Valeria. There was obviously something wrong, and it turns out they've also been fighting and are thinking about breaking up. Talked with them, had some good open discussion, and put Book of Mormon and prayer goals with them. Passed by for Hermana Lucy, the less active mother of one of our strongest sisters. She's had some complicated family and social problems, and is very hurt, very bitter, and not very willing to change. That night we also passed by for Hermana Christina and her husband, Tayo, her nonmember husband who we're teaching. Hermana Christina feels like the sisters are gossipping about her and looking down on her, and that she is unable to control her rage. Of course, Tayo is very put out by this as well. Gave her a Conference talk to read and we're praying for their family as well. That night, the Elders called us, quite distressed, and explained that they'd been late in picking up one of the members for a visit, and she had chewed them out, swearing never to visit with them again. Talked about what we could do, began praying for that Hermana as well. 

Hermana Christina and a late Birthday flan that we made her

Thursday we had a visit with Patricio, our investigator, but he had digressed again in her level of commitment and doesn't show a very strong desire to progress. We may have to drop him. We found another lady who was very distressed with the cancer of her niece, and another man who felt like Satan was haunting his home. Great, right?
The big climax was Thursday night, when the Elder called, once again very distressed. They told us that Nicolás was in the hospital, they didn't know all of the reasons why, and that he'd be back home in about an hour. We changed our plans and went to go see him. I know I'm breaking the Grandma rule in writing this, but someone literally tried to kill my ward mission leader. He was out picking something up from a friend when one of his old enemies came at him with a knife, stabbed him in the side, and his girlfriend whacked him in the head with a board. The Elders gave him a blessing, and he's doing just fine now. Nicolás may be rough around the edges, but he is like a brother to me, and that night was when I started feeling a little overwhelmed.

Nicolás and Mary, his wife. Still breathing, the both of them!

Friday I studied in the morning to strengthen my testimony of the need for trials, and you know what? Everything really did turn out ok. We've had so many spiritual experiences and so much opportunity to really rely on the Lord, and I know that the gospel answers really are ALWAYS the answers. Hermana Nájera continues to be a big miracle for me- she is not the same person that I first met coming into Cauquenes, and that makes me very happy. (That is, she's the same in all the good personality, work ethic, etc. ways, but her emotional issues have shrunk considerably.)
In fact, we were chatting this morning in our studies about the different kinds of love. We started talking about charity, based in Moroni 7:45. There is a slight difference between English and Spanish- in English it puts more emphasis on suffering 'long', when in Spanish it basically just says that charity suffers. She asked, "Why does it suffer long? And how?" Here is what I think.

Charity suffers long because it is a living virtue. It is born because of, and in spite of person-to-person understanding. After having known and loved, charity knows that paths will part and each will go their way. It gladly cedes possession, wanting what is best for both, but there begins that 'longness' of its suffering. Charity suffereth long because even when it cannot be there to see the joys and pains of one it loves, life carries on and those things will be lived. It suffers and rejoices because the heart follows where the feet do not. It will always feel, it will always know that name and share in the life of those it loves. Charity really does suffer  long.

At first, we were thinking in the perspective of people that we've loved in our lives. We're not with them now, and maybe there are some that we'll never see again, but we can keep loving them, 'suffering' with them from a distance. What really affected me was to think of it from God's perspective- He also lives at a distance right now, and can't physically be with us in our joys of pains. I do know, with all my heart, that He lives, suffers, and joys with us, even if we don´t ever see Him. I know that He loves each of you, as do I.

All my prayers,
Hermana Oldroyd

p.s. Comic detail of the day- The other night I was praying, face near my mattress, and a mite bit my eyelid while I was praying! Anyone else find that kind of unbelievable?

The Twister battle against Camilla. I almost won...
There I was, being moral support for Hermana Nájera. I looked the other way for two seconds, looked back, and she had chopped about 4 inches off her hair. Oh, that crazy girl! She'd told me before that she likes drastic changes, but now I really believe her.
Call it a mission midlife crisis? We decided to cut our own hair...