February 24, 2014

So Sad

Hey People!

I love you all so much. Just so you know.

Jason (a menos active that we taught) showed up to church in a suit this week AND is now a Priest in the priesthood. He'll be blessing the sacrament next week!! We were so happy we almost cried, us little excitable missionaries.

Spoke in a funeral this week. THAT was a new experience. At least my Bishop called me 8 hours in advance.... Gives me lots of time to prepare a talk while proselyting at the same time, right? Oh boy. But it turned out pretty well and we set up a visit with someone who was there listening. We'll see how that goes!

I forgot to tell you about Susana! We found her last week while looking for another person, and she opened her door to us right away. After entering her house, she said to us "I'd been waiting for you to pass by my house! I knew you were looking for me and was ready for you." Oh my, I feel such an affinity for her and she is so prepared. Hermana Call and I finally found someone together!!! She proceeded to tell us the history of every time she had seen us in the street, on the bus, near her work, and how finally one day we talked to her in the street. We had written her direction down but that day was the first time we'd actually gone anywhere close. She had literally been waiting for us, and said she felt something special every time she saw us. She is so brave and came to church last week even though her friends and her son questioned her about it, and she is going to be baptized!! Now the only problem is that she accidentally slept in this week and now her baptismal date comes after transfers.... Dang it. I'm praying so hard that the Lord lets me stay to see her baptized. Pleeeeeease???

One of my big experiences this week was that of "Righteous Correction". There was a big disobedience problem in our Hermana Group, and we had to go visit a group of them to talk about what had happened, find out their point of view, and commit them never to do it again. We were stressed before, but it went well.

Other big realization. We had been talking with someone that has great knowledge of the gospel, but who struggles to feel the love of God. She felt so caged by stress, pressure, hopelessness, and utter lack of desire to do anything. She just didn't feel motivated to do the things that she knew she should do, didn't feel a personal relationship with God, didn't feel like He listened to her, etc. We did everything we could to help her, but coming out of that talk, I was just so weighed down. It gnawed at me all day, and it wasn't until after my personal studies and our sharing time in companionship that I realized why that had affected me so much. As I was sharing with Hermana Call about my study and my feelings, it became a little clearer.

It wasn't that I was overly concerned or stressed for that particular person- I understand how agency works and I know that she has all the support that she needs. I know I can't control the decisions of others, and that we just have to do our part in helping her as much as we can. But sometimes it just kills me to see what happens when people lose that personal relationship with God. I really don't understand it. I love God so, so much, and it is the instinct most natural and central to my being. To see that some people don't feel that way, don't feel that urge and consequently don't get to feel that happiness or peace of seeing His hand in our lives- THAT was what weighed me down and made me so sad.

I hope each of you feel it. I hope you love God and want to do what He wants for you. I promise that He only wants what is best and I promise that what He has asked of me has ALWAYS turned out to make me the happiest I can be. I know that this gospel plan is inspired. Please follow it.


Hermana Oldroyd

February 17, 2014

Fulfilled by Service

I'm so happy!!
 It was a good week. I feel very fulfilled by the service we're doing here, whether that be teaching an investigator, listening to a member tell their life story, listening to an hermana about her struggles, or making up jokes and trying to be fun for Hermana Call. Here are some more little moments-

1. Our cute district leader, Elder Layton is so protective and sincere. He asked us what he could do for us, and we jokingly told him to bring ice cream to district class for us. He really brought us all ice cream!!! I was so touched. It helped me reflect on the love of God, and how much He really does just want to please us and makes us happy. Little miracle.

2. When we went to visit Hermana Marlenney and Nelson and their family, she said, 'I have something to show you!' She pulled out one of her mission pictures and said, 'Do you recognize anyone?' Examining the picture, there was someone that seemed familiar, but it just wasn't quite coming... 'That is your cousin!!!' She said. Turns out that one of my cousins was her district leader!! How crazy is that?? She showed me pictures and told me stories (Apparently they both loved granola and yogurt, and the zone teased them for eating it at activities. He also drew the calendars and announcements for their zone- she wasn't surprised when I told her he now works for church magazines.)

3. Was really touched by the Relief Society lesson. It made me wish I'd been a more loving sister, a more attentive daughter and granddaughter. I hope we are really serving and loving our families- they are the most precious that we have. I'm determined to be better when I get home.

4. Am LOVING all the opportunities I'm having to counsel people- the concept fascinates me and it really is something that I want to be able to do just exactly like the Savior. We so naturally seek help and counsel from those we love, wanting to express ourselves and our needs and our desires. Sometimes we go, seeking solutions and wanting a way out of the problems that fog our eyes. Other times people come to us, and in our desires to help, we give a prescription and shower them with advice that we think will help them. The most inspired model I've seen, though, is when we listen and ask inspired questions to help people come to their own conclusions. Inside of each of us, we already have the answers that we need. The Spirit wants to speak them to us, but we get so clouded by our own confusions and problems. Sometimes all we need is for someone to listen, express a little bit of love, and ask us the right questions to help us find our own inspired solution.

I love you so much!!! Be missionaries. It is what the Lord wants from us.

Hermana Oldroyd

Have I mentioned I love bombachos? Because I do!!!!!!! They're big and bright and comfortable. I might bring home 12 pairs.

Hermana Marlenney showing me her mission book- So crazy that she served with one of my cousins!!!!

February 10, 2014

THAT brings happiness

Dear family and friends!

Good week. I can't believe that the year mark is coming up soon, and I've been pondering on that and all it means for me. More than anything else, I've been looking for little happy mission moments and thanking the Lord for all the basic things that make me very happy. In any stage of life, it is so easy to get caught up in routine and become blind to the blessing that surround us. I've caught myself falling into that trap several times, and it always surprises me the increase of joy and Godly love that I feel after opening my eyes and pulling myself out of that trap.

As my Dad would sometimes say "When I write a book, (or more accurately, when he writes a script for a movie), I'm going to include a chapter on this." I've decided that one of the great secrets to life is loving who you are, where you're at, and who you're with. THAT brings happiness. I'm a missionary!!! I love teaching, I love walking, I love talking to strangers, I love the green Chilean hills, I love calling a whole family together and bringing the spirit into their home. I love when people think that I'm the Mexican instead of Hermana Call, I love when I see myself picking up Chileanisms (like serving mayo on everything, or giving a good heartfelt gift, or elongating my vowels a lot, or giving the latin kiss, or things like that). I love seeing the Lord speak to me through the scriptures, I love feeling my self take a deep breath and exercise patience, seeing myself grow in my humility. I love eating whatever I want (yes, that would explain the cheek change that you've all seen), I love putting up my hair when it is really hot, I love all the little table and blankets with fruit and jewelery in the streets, I love the dog zapper that Hermana Call has (one of things that plays a high frequency noise and makes them run away? Yes, that thing!!! Great invention.), and I love how much the people here go crazy for my brownies. I love peanut butter. I love bachata music and the American music that we hear a lot here, I love the moon and the stars and our suuuuper nice apartment. I love having a washer in our house and being able to wash our own clothes, I love letters and emails and pictures of all of you. Did I also mentioned that I love eating whatever I want? Because I really love that.

Life is good. The gospel is true, eternal, and ever reaching. The more we let it penetrate our lives, the longer our happiness can last. We are, after all, created that we might have joy.


Hermana Oldroyd

p.s. The familia Toledo says Hi to all of you. There are a family of ex-missionaries and future missionaries, all boys, and are about the funniest family I have ever, ever met. We laughed until we cried when we had lunch with them on Sunday.

Work at the Temple site
I`m trying to decide if I have an "Hermanas can do anything an Elder can do" complex.... But when I saw the boys over there taking turns axing the tree, I couldn't resist! Got some tips from them on how to handle it, and it was a fun diversion

Unusual service- helping unbraid hair! La familia De la Fuente Pereira. Hermana Marleney and Hermano Nelson, their sister Monica.

Biggest bag of Manjar I have ever seen.... Have I mentioned that almost everything comes in little bags here? Spices, mayo, ketchup, ahi, manjar, olives, spaghetti sauce, Everything!!

Hermana Call was working on the list when Kata appeared out of nowhere, just getting back from a shopping trip with her Mom. "Hermana, can I paint your nails?? We bought new nail polish!" Hey, sounds good to me!

February 3, 2014

Temple Grounds

My dear people!

Oh my, crazy week. I'll try and hammer out a description of everything that happened.

Everything was pretty normal up until Thursday. I believe I've mentioned the Arturo, Leslie family before, right? They're one of the first families we met when we got here to Collao. Javiera is their 16 year old daughter, and she has various challenges but is a really good girl. Not a member. Sofìa was 7 when we first met her, and introduced herself saying "My name is Sofi, and when I turn 8 I'm going to be baptized!"  Lucas is a cute little 2 year old flirt, and he always scrunches up his face and makes eyes at us.

Time passes, and we keep trying to help Javi progress towards baptism. Meanwhile, Arturo tells us one day that Sofìa won't be getting baptized on her birthday, because she wants him to perform the baptism. Oh no. That is not ok, buddy! Just in case anyone is wondering, D&C 68 makes that pretty clear.  We invited them to study and pray as parents about what they should do, and we were thrilled when they decided that Sofie should be baptized.

We helped them work things out with the bishopric and planned a couple little things to support the ward in the planning. 8 year olds count towards the ward as their baptism, so we weren't too stressed when Thursday came around. Went to lunch with the Bishop's wife and daughter, and Kate said to us "Yeah, Hermanas! Way to have a baptism! One more for your numbers!" We expressed our excitement and explained the situation to them, and Hermana Vargas said to us "Hermanas, that doesn't make sense. Neither of her biological parents are members, and she has no record with the church. She is a convert!"

After going through the Zone Leader, Assistants, and Mission President phone tree, we found out that she was right. Basically, we had a convert baptism planned in three hours without ever having taught her the commandments, interviewed her for baptismal worthiness, filling out a baptismal registro..... Ohhhhh boy. We were so embarrassed and so amazed at the same time- How did we not realize that she would count as a convert?? How did no one in the ward pick that up either until the very day of her baptism??

So it was crazy, but we got our district leader over to interview her, crash course taught her about tithing, the law of chastity, and the word of wisdom, and had a lovely baptism that afternoon. Everything went really well after that- I sang and gave a talk, and we all ate a lot of food after. I think the best part, though, was right after Sofìa came out of the water. Javiera was standing in the hallway, waiting, so I went up and asked her how she felt. She started crying and said "I feel so many things..." Talking to her a little more, (she is super shy and doesn't talk very much), we were able to help her recognize the Spirit and her own need to be baptized. She finally accepted a baptismal date!!! It is going to be a really long road for her, and I really need you to pray for her. She may be one of the most complicated investigators we've had, due to a mix of things, but I'm so happy for her progress and I know she can do it.

That was Thursday. Friday, some of our Hermanas called us because they'd had a big blow up. We talked to each of them on the phone, tried to help, but they kept calling us with problems, so we went over to their sector that night and had a companionship inventory with them. That was interesting and stressful. Also praying for them a lot.

Saturday, President Arrington invited us to do service with his family and a small group of missionaries. Want to know where?? On the future Conce temple site!!! It was so special to be on the temple grounds, take a little tour and hear about the progression of the temple, and just feel the special spirit that was there. It was so powerful. Had a blast chatting with their little visiting grandchildren and pulling some weeds.

Temple site

Other little details- accidentally stepped on a mirror. If something falls on me or I suddenly get sick and I never make it home, that is why. Used my sewing kit for the second time and fixed one of my skirts. We're making brownies about 3 times a week here, and everyone loves them! Our ward here has super high testimony quality here- there were no rambling stories, a super strong spirit, and it was super great to go and renew covenants. Also, one of the construction workers that we talked to in the street actually came to church. Whoah!!! That was a first. Turns out inviting people to church in the street does work out sometimes.

I love being a missionary!!! I know that the Lord is so aware of us. He loves us and tries to show His love in so many ways- are we looking to see them? Anything is possible with His help.

I love you!!

Hermana Oldroyd

Did I touch that?? Yes I did!!!!! Just ignore my facial expression....