December 31, 2013

Elijah's promise

What a GREAT Christmas!!

Honestly, it was so special. We got to spend Christmas Eve with the awesome familia Oporto, and we had tons and tons of good food. Turkey, beef, pork (I LOVE the pork steaks they make here.), green beans, potato salad, papas duchezas (like tater tots), bread, soda, Pan de Pascua (fruit cake, which I actually really like), ice cream cake, and everything else under the sun. They gave each of us a nice pen with our name engraved on it, and we performed a funny skit for them. Leslie and her family also bought and gave us presents earlier that day, (keep in mind that we just barely met these people a week ago), and I've enjoyed wearing some cute little Crocs around our heavenly apartment. Aren't the Chilean people so giving and Christlike and sweet?? I love them so much. Just a heads up- don't be weirded out if I kiss you all when I get home. They've been telling me for months that we Americans are very 'frio', or cold, and I'm finally starting to feel it. What is going to happen when I just have to shake hands with everyone again? Lame.

Did my first mini-cambio this week and loved it. I love feeling like I can be more of a help to the Hermanas and to the Lord. Also had our first leaders meeting today and that went really well. We got to play soccer after, and my inner thighs are going to be sore again... I should also start keeping a tally of how many elders have asked me "So are you the Hermana that did that rap?"... Oh boy.

Here is my cool, non Christmas related story of the week. After a coordination meeting with our ward leaders (Collao really is AWESOME for coordinating with the missionaries), one of the primary leaders called us and asked if we could help them out. They were practicing for the Primary Program and asked if we could play the piano for them. Obviously both of us play the piano, and usually I'd cede to Hermana Call in these circumstances, because she plays better than I do. I felt the urge, though, so I volunteered to play. We practiced a little with them, and then Sunday came. The kids sang really well, it was nice to play the piano for them, and we had some cute little talks. I felt the Spirit really strongly!

The Primary President was the last one to stand up, and she began speaking about the importance of teaching our children and of the Primary organization. All of the sudden, I hear her say the name Aurelia Spencer Rogers- I almost didn't recognize it at first because she pronounced it a bit differently, but I focused in a little harder and she was retelling the story of how the Primary was founded. People, that is my great-great-great Grandma!! I've read her journal two or three times and I know her story almost by heart. I was shocked- even in Utah, I had never heard anyone talk about her or the founding of the Primary.

It was such a beautiful testimony to me of the reality of Elijah's promise. Our hearts and lives and legacies really do turn to our fathers, and I FELT that in such a real way. There I was, sitting in sacrament meeting on the other side of the world, hearing about my very own family and the influence that they've had on generations. Even more than that, I was participating in the very work that she loved so much, and I felt so close to her and so amazed at the way the Lord works His plan.

We had lunch with the Primary President and her family that day, and I explained the story to them. The Hermana was so, so, happy. She told me that she'd had a whole different talk planned, but at 2 in the morning that day, had felt like she needed to change it. Doesn't the Lord really just direct our lives? We see it every day here, and I can't even tell you how many genuine, real-life miracles we see as we serve in the Lord's work. You can see them too! Open your eyes, pick up your feet, and get moving on the path the Lord has laid out for us. It is only when we get ourselves moving in the Lord`s cause that we can really see His All powerful hand in our lives, and I invite each of you to ponder on how you can do that just a little more.

I love you all- so, so much.

I pray for you daily.

Hermana Oldroyd

Going running on our mini cambio with Hermana Skirvin

Is that a Christmas miracle, or what?? Who would have thought that these two cousins would be bringing the Glazier Christmas spirit together on the other side of the world

Erica, Kata Oporto, Hermana Call

Javiera, Hermana Call, Sofie, Lucas, and Leslie. They're the ones that gave us the Croc shoes! Leslie and Javi aren't members, so we're teaching them right now. So fun!!

Another Christmas miracle!!! That white elephant game turned out pretty well for me.

December 23, 2013

a Palace

Familia y amigos!

Ok, we are short for time once again. Numbered list?

1. Rode in a double decker bus. Always have wanted to do that! Found out, however, that you get more carsick on the second level. Blech.

2. We were at lunch with a member this week and explaining that Hermana Call and I had been compaions in the MTC. I made some comment like, "Well, we've changed and become more Chilean since then!" And Hermana Call came back "Well isn't that right! Remember when we had a companionship inventory (part of the weekly missionary routine- we chat about our relationship as companions, etc.) and I had to ask you to hug me every night so that I wouldn't be touch deprived? Well now you're putting your arm around me in district class, hugging me all the time, and I'm thinking "What happened to Hermana Oldroyd?"  So apparently I'm a LOT more touchy feely than I used to be.

3. Our apartment is a PALACE. Oh my, it is nicer than Liberty Square. It is new, new, new, all carpeted, with nice closets, lots of rooms, and a balcony. I'm still in shock.

4. Barrio Collao is FANTASTIC. The members have received us like traveling royalty, "We haven`t had Hermanas in 20 years!! We love you!!" and they're excited to start working more with the missionaries. We are going to have a TON of success here.

5. Our ward mission leader is the BEST!!!! Hermano Oporto recently reactivated, and all of his family are recent converts. His daughter is a ward missionary now, his wife always wants to send us home food, he has a car and drives us to visits, and he is all about uniting our efforts with the ward. He makes me think of how my Grandpa must be over there in Provo. Ohh, heaven sent ward mission leader. It makes the work so much better!!

6. That isn't to say that I still don't love Nico and Mary with all, all, all of my heart. We got to travel back to Parral for a Christmas devotional this Sunday, and it was a Christmas miracle for us. I sang Mary, Did You Know solo, (almost hyperventilated in the bathroom before, but after walking around the chapel and praying, it went perfectly and I felt really good about it. It was a good experience!), played the piano for some songs, and got to see lots of people. Mary and Nico came, and the first thing they said to me was "Have you heard the news? We changed the name of the baby. We're naming her Erica." Oh my dear people. My heart just almost exploded with love, humility, gratitude, and amazement at the way the Lord works with the heart of the people.

That is the big spiritual thought of the week. The longer I spend on the mission, the more I come to understand the nature of God and how He really loves. Life is so huge, we love, and hurt, and joy so much, and all of that happens on a larger scale for God. It is so humbling to me and I love Him so much.

Merry Christmas!!

Hermana Oldroyd

saying goodbye


saying goodbye
Erica and Hermana Call

December 16, 2013

Our Faces gave it Away


Family and friends, it is that time of year.

That is, it is that time of the month where everything changes and all of the sudden, I have to leave Estación. I felt super calm this whole week, not really thinking a lot about transfers. Every once and a while, those little worry moments, but nothing big. Sunday night, we were waiting in Nico and Mari's house (ward mission leader and his wife) for Ana Maria to arrive so that we could teach her a lesson. Just about the same time that Mari was saying "Don't goooooo!!! You can't leave us!! I want you to meet our baby!!" we got a call from President Arrington.

Hermana Gutierrez answered the phone, and after a little "hello and how are you?", she passed me the phone. "Hi, President! How are you?" "Doing well, Hermana. How are you?" Good question. We've got President on the phone, the night before transfers... "Doing really well! What can I do for you?" "Well, Hermana, we want to give you another assignment. We want to call you as a Leader Hermana here in zona Andalien with Hermana Call. Would you be willing to accept that assignment?"

Of course I would!!! I LOVE the Lord, and I LOVE serving in His work, and I'm so, so much more than excited to start working over there. Not to mention that Hermana Call and I have already been companions (MTC, remember?), and it'll be a blast working with her. I told him that I would be happy to do it, and when he asked me if I was worthy to accept the assignment, I told him that I was. I may not be a perfect missionary, but I am worthy.

Hermana Leader Trainer, or some title like that, is basically like a zone leader for the sisters. We do exchanges with them, give training classes sometimes, are more involved in the leadership of the mission, attend some meetings, etc. Hermana Call has already been a leader for a while, so she'll be teaching me how it all goes. We'll also be opening a new sector in Collao, so if I understand that right, it means that we'll be no Area Book, no map, and no previous Hermana work to go off of. I think the Elders have already been there, but we'll be accompanying them in the sector now. At least, that is what I understand as of now. I'll give you the real update next week!

Hanging up the phone, you just should've seen Nico, Mari, and Hermana Gutierrez's faces. Oh, it was terrible. "So, you're leaving? "Yep..." President had asked me not to tell anyone except my companion until the next day, but our faces pretty much gave everything away to Nico and Mari. Ana Maria came, and we taught the lessons just like normal, but Nico and Mari also pulled out a little Christmas present and handed it to me. "Open it now", they said.

There, nestled in a little popsicle stick frame, was a pair of little gold earrings, a pearl bracelet, and a handmade card. Pulling the little gifts out one by one, I could see that Mari had carefully painted, glued, and arranged the frame to surround one of our passalong cards of Christ, and had written in Sharpie marker on top "Feliz Navidad". I started getting emotional, and Mari said to me "And that bracelet is special... I wore that for our wedding. See?" And she showed me the picture of their wedding day. I cried, and we made plans to go back and say goodbye tonight. I love Nico like the crazy, rebellious, loving, law-breaking brother that I never had, and Mari has a very special place in my heart.

Coming back to the house, we knelt to pray, and Hermana Gutierrez said just about the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. She thanked the Lord for a lot of very specific things that we have learned together, things I've helped her with, etc. and there we were, sobbing again. Ohh, part of me is just sick inside at the thought of leaving Estación and all the people I have come to love so, so much. But I know that the Lord's will is in it, and that everything will be ok.

I hope you all are well!! I love you and look forward to talking with a few of you on Christmas!!

Hermana Oldroyd

Making Pan Eterno (an emergency type bread that lasts for months- you'd like it, Dad!) for a Relief Society Activity
Hermana Oldroyd Sandwich! Oh, Pato (Patricia Perez) and Mari, that pregnant woman... I love them!
These pants are all the rage right now. They're usually a really flashy pattern and kinda seethrough, but Hermana Miskin and Peterson and I decided to go a little more conservative and buy solid colors. Matchy!!
Hermana Christine and her skinned rabbit!!! I know it tasted good, but it looked a little unappealing in the pot..

December 10, 2013

Christmas Season

My dear people,

Here we are again! And oh boy, it is the last week in this transfer. Can you believe that? Also, it is December. That is another shocker for me! I'm also just cringing reading the English that I'm writing... It is really starting to bother me how inarticulate

It may be super hot over here, but we are still hustling and bustling to get everything ready for Christmas. We've got about a BILLION events to assist, plan, practice for, etc. and now I understand why some adults were always complaining that Christmas was more stressful than restful. Gotcha! But I'm still so, so excited, and so thrilled every time I get to immerse myself in Christmas music. Our zone is in charge of a Christmas devotional for our district (the four branches in which we serve), and it is coming together quite nicely. We had a little council with the most musical of the missionaries and the senior missionary couple, the Moras, and planned it all out. I'll play about 7 songs on the piano, sing "Mary, Did You Know" solo, and I've been helping direct and teach all the other missionaries in the choir. (Thank you, Britton Poulter- everything I know and remember about singing in a choir, I learned from you!!) I have never felt this musically needed!

Had a couple of internal, boiling stress moments this week, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I felt a great peace. When it comes down to it, this week was a good one. We were super diligent with talking to people, and we taught lots of lessons. We're still looking for those prepared people, but we're doing well with our pillars of faith, obedience, and diligence, and that is really all I need to be happy as a missionary.

I love you all and hope you're preparing yourselves spiritually for the Christmas season. It really is all about Him.

With love,

Hermana Oldroyd

Rocking some crazy P-day hairdos. This is the typical Hermana Peterson-do, and Hermana Miskin tried it to tease her a bit... turns out it is quite comfy in all the heat!

Blueberries! Half of Chile is harvesting fruit right now- blueberries, strawberries, and cherries. We´re eating lots of fresh fruit and cream, and loving it. Have I ever told you that Parral is also one of the biggest rice producing areas in Chile? We bus past the flooded rice fields every week.

December 2, 2013

Fully Immersed

Dear Family and Friends,

I love you!!

I really do.

The only problem is that the more time I spend here in Chile, the more my attention span goes to the work here, and my immediate family there. I´m sorry I´m such a lame missionary! I always shook my head at missionaries like me, thinking ´What, you have a whole day every week just to write people, and this is the email you send all of us?´ But that just goes to show that God is the only unchanging one in this universe. 

We found a really great less-active sister that came to church and shared a really powerful testimony.

I am not an angry person- hardly EVER get angry, but there are two things that do make me angry. Really negligent mothers and really repressive husbands. Ooohhhh. Not a fan.

I love you all!!! Love the gospel, so, so much.

Hermana Oldroyd

Ps.  Funny story- We were in the street this week when I remembered that I had to call a member. I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a person in the house in front of us. So I said to Hermana Gutierrez ´Go contact him while I talk on the phone!´ But she looked over there, started laughing, and said back to me, ´But he is half-naked!!!!´ and I suddenly realized she was right.... I guess it is easier to just go shirtless in the heat here. Oh boy, we laughed and laughed.
Making our own lunch!!

Silly Dad, thinking that there are Triscuits here in Chile. I was VERY happy about those, and ate them with some delicious mexican guacamole. (Hermana Nájera taught me a better way to do it- we´ll be snacking on that when I get home.)