April 28, 2014

Hello Tome

Whoah. Big week.

As usual, super hard to leave Collao. It just so happened that there was a ward Family Home Evening that night, and since Hermano Oporto announced on Facebook in the morning that I was leaving, it kinda turned into a huge "Goodbye Hermana Oldroyd" party. Everyone brought presents and they asked me to share my testimony- you'll all be proud to know that though I was emotional, I did not cry during my testimony. Saying goodbye to certain people or families, I did lose it a little there. But that is part of sharing a deep love! It is ok.

Got here in Tomé, and found myself relieving a lot of Lirquen. They're quite similar- cold, gorgeous, close to the sea, etc. In the house we are 6 missionaries and one really small bathroom. so that is an adventure. It is a fun group, though, and we laugh a lot. My first day, our Zone Leaders, Elder Grammar and Elder Collins, called me to welcome me here and ask us to call some of the hermanas. When I asked what else we could do, he said "Write a rap for Tomé?!" Oh boy...

Want to know something else? Someday I hope I can be a parent like God is. All of my mission, I've wanted to marry and baptize someone. (Half of the families here just live together... Big law of chastity problem and a big baptism problem!) It just so happened that here in 18 de Septiembre,  the Hermanas had everything lined up for a wedding and baptism this weekend. At first, I just felt really bad that Hermana Rodriguez had to leave, after working so hard with Sindy and Luis.

Kinda guilty for being there, knowing that I hadn't done any of the work to deserve it. As I cried and prayed about it one night, though, the Lord helped me remember that it is never MY work or MY effort that gets anything done here, nor is it the planning or organization from any other missionary. It is His work, and He is the one that makes these miracles possible. If He put me here, part of the reason is just because He loves me and wants to grant me my righteous desires. What a good Father.

Also, Lirquen is in our stake and who do you think I saw when I walked into the church on Sunday? Bishop Osses, my first Bishop. I teared up and almost cried- he works in the stake now and it was so special to see him.

Someone asked me this week if I was from Argentina. Ha! Small victory for this gringa!

Also met Victoria, one of Hermana Glazier's converts. She has been inactive for two months now, but I felt a super special connection with her and I know she's going to come back. It was another confirmation from the Lord that this is where I'm supposed to be.

More I wish I could say, but time is out!

I love you all!!

Work with the missionaries. Just do it.

Hermana Oldroyd

 First day together! She is so funny and I love her

Finally saw Hermana Gutierrez! Saw her at our little part for getting the flu shot

April 22, 2014

Goodbye to Collao

Well, say goodbye to Collao...

Because that is what I will be doing all day. Booo cambios. The good news is that tomorrow is another day and I know it will be alright!! I'm going to Tomé, the exact same ward where my cousin started her mission. My comp is Hermana Lopez, from Argentina.

As for this week, we did a mini cambio and I got to play volleyball in the morning with Hermana Romney. Fun stuff! But I realized I'm very out of shape... Had another realization when I thought this morning about all the things that I've broken recently- Did you know that I sat on all of them?? That table in Barrio Norte, a toilet seat in Santa Sabina, (long story), and a glass tupperware that I  displaced off of a chair right before Relief Society...Smash, crash, and bang. I really know how to bring the Spirit. Maybe God is trying to send me a message about upcoming winter weight gain. Whoops!

On the other hand, we've been working with a less active, Hermana Cecilia Silva, and her nickname for me is "mi flaquita" (My little skinny one). She is a returned missionary, actually, and is great. When we first found her, she started to explain the reasons why she couldn't come to church, and under the direction of the Spirit, we hit her hard with a really good scripture from the Book of Mormon to help her realize that it IS possible for her to start coming to church again.

(Read 1 Nephi 17- If God can tell him to build a boat, turn earth into water, and he has faith that he can do it, who are we to put excuses to God? We can do ALL things!)

 She told me about a book that she used on her mission, one that compares gospel topics using scriptures in the Bible and modern scripture, and said "I think it'd still be useful for you, I'll find some way to get it to you!" Yesterday she showed up at church with a stack of paper about an inch thick- she had photocopied the whole book for me. Not to mention that she gave me her scarf last week when I wasn't bundled up enough, and that she gave Hermana Baturité and I little sparkly theater rings. So cute. And the funny thing? We only found her last week, yet when I talked to her yesterday, she said "I hope you don't go, Hermana! You have such a special spirit, and I feel sure that we knew each other in the pre-earth life." It was so sweet.

Hermana Marlenny called us yesterday and said "I have a message for you. The Easter Bunny called me and said he's not going to make it all the way over to your house, so he left your treats with me. Can you find five minutes to come pick them up today?" Awwwwww, I love that lady. She gave us the lapizlazuli earrings, which I love, and has treats for us every single time we visit her house. (Maybe this is why I gain weight... Vale and the family that gave us lunch yesterday also prepared us little easter bags of treats. Pretty sure I've received more candy here than I did at home!) Yesterday she had cute little easter baskets for us, and it was amazing in church yesterday to see her and Hermano Nelson be the perfect friends for the Familia Daza, our focus family of investigators. They've had lots of challenges, but I know they'll get baptized!! Befriending them has really nourished the family of Hermana Marlenny and Nelson also. Go do that, all of you!! Find the lonely people and sit with them. They need you.

We also had mini missionaries this week! The crazy little miracle was that my mini missionary was Valentina Tomás, the daughter of my first ward mission leader. Crazy! She did really well and I was so pleased to see the spiritual progress that she's made. One of our days together, we were visiting a menos activo, and he likes to analyze things. More analytical than faithful. He asked me, "Well, if Christ died on Friday but was resurrected on Sunday, that isn't a full three days! How would that have worked? What do you think?"  I paused a moment to make sure that the Spirit was with me in sharing my sincere opinion, and found that it was. Told him "Honestly, time or day does not matter to me at all. That is not the important part. We celebrate this holiday because Christ conquered death, and through Him we can someday live forever with God and our families." That is what Easter is to me.

I love you all!!

Be missionaries.


Hermana Oldroyd

April 15, 2014

An 18 inch Completo

Family and Friends-

Sometimes I just feel lazy and don't write very good letters... I'm sorry. But this week was a really good one! Today we took a bunch of pictures at the University of Concepción, one of the biggest and most prestigious universities here. It was fun being on a campus again and I loved all the beautiful buildings and gardens.

The more interesting part of my email today will be the update on a certain bitter man that I told you about a couple weeks back. Remember the one that was a little too quick to see imperfection in church leaders? The one that was causing his wife serious heartache because of his spiritual sluggishness? Remember that I told you that even with all his flaws, God will never give up on that man? Let me tell you how he is doing, as of yesterday.

Ever since we committed him and his family to pick things up, he's been reading his scriptures every day. He is praying with his family and by himself. He even agreed to come with us and bring his family to a lesson with us! In that lesson, he shared a beautiful testimony about how he'd felt at his baptism, and about how when we start reading our scriptures habitually, we develop a spiritual need for it. When we visited their family yesterday, his wife pulled out a book and showed us the record that they'd been keeping of their Family Home Evenings, and her smile was bigger than an 18 inch completo. (teehee, Chilean metaphor that none of you will really understand...Sorry.)

Change is real. I have seen it, felt it, and learned to seek for it with God's guidance. It is so, so hard sometimes to grab hold or let go of life's big moments, but when I squeeze my eyes tight and trust in God, I've always seen it come out ok. 

On another note, almost had a heart attack this Sunday. I looooooved General Conference, but I had to do some pondering on Tuesday when I realized how much self control I was having to exercise to show the same patience and love that I usually show towards others. Why was it suddenly more difficult than usual? During my personal study, it became more clear- I hadn't taken the sacrament that week. I had not had lifted from me my burden of sin or guilt, and I had to work so much harder to get through two weeks without that cleansing power. This Sunday started out a little crazy, trying to pick up people that didn't come to church, and we ended up setting out for church later than we should have. For a while there, I thought we were going to miss the sacrament again, and I was dying inside!! But just then, a member passed by and drove us there, and as I took the sacrament, I literally felt all my feelings of frustration, tiredness, and guilt wash away. It was amazing. I hope we really treasure that.

I love you all very, very much.

Hermana Oldroyd

 Lunch with the familia Chavez, and their son bought us Dr. Pepper because he thinks all Americans love it.... No worries, I pretended that it was my favorite drink in the world and it actually reminded me a TON of Grandma Oldroyd.

April 7, 2014

I Love . . .


I love you!!!

And I love General Conference!! So inspired. But first, the background story.

Our zone set super high goals this month, and we started it off by fasting together to find the people and help bring them to Conference. We found two super good college students after that, and one of them came to two sessions of conference! Upcoming baptism: Valeria. She is so cute, and lives with her aunt, who is a rock solid member.

On the other hand, I had a little crisis this week, what with my last GC in the mission and having to renew my Chilean Carnet soon. Those are all signs that you're dying... Honestly, I spent one night just crying and praying that God wouldn't send me home. During the mini cambio we had this week, one of the hermanas asked me why I love my mission so much, and so I grabbed my tissues and started into the list.

I love teaching, I love meeting people in the street. I love having a companion. I love reading the scriptures every day and talking about the gospel all the time, and I love that look in people's eyes when they're really listening to you. I love seeing the stars at night and knowing that I've worked all day long, I love waking up in the morning and knowing that the gentle sunrise is about to turn into a long, busy day. I love when we have lots of visits. I love the days when we don't have any visits at all, and that all it takes to make it a great day is one little thought of how much Christ did for me and what a privilege it is to even just wander around and talk to strangers for His sake. I love all the graffiti that there are on the walls and buildings here. I love the little notes that my companion leaves me to tell me she loves me. I love joking around at night with the hermanas about funny people we met in the street. I love tin roofs. Love Chilean rain. Love knowing that fashion and makeup and getting ready in the morning don't matter to me, because I have more important things to think about! Love knowing that I'm helping people. Love it when the church leaders trust in me. I love all the multicolored beer caps in the road and the smell of fresh Chilean bread. Love giving talks. Love asking hard questions that make people change their frame of mind. Love taking the bus for half price. Love being on top of things- dividing time between helping the hermanas, taking care of my sector, progressing personally, showing love for my companion. I love seeing God take hand in people's lives and feel Him answering my prayers. And that isn't all!

There is nothing like being a missionary.

Saturday morning we got to watch a rebroadcast of the Women's session, and that was where I began to feel it. I worked with the Zone Leaders and a member in our ward to get a separate English room set up, but the member couldn't bring her laptop to that specific session, so we were all together in Spanish. As I sat there and heard the talks and presented my dilemma to the Lord, I don't know how to describe exactly what I felt. All I know is that I hadn't put a new pack of tissues in my bag after that mini cambio...

But really. It impressed me what Linda Burton said in the women's session of Conference- that all the easy things in the church have already been done. My life is the same- if I think well about my life up to this point, I can recognize that the easy things, the things that I wanted and planned for, have already been done. I've gone through the normal phases and the time will come when I have to enter another one, because God has called on me me to do that. This General Conference, I felt the reality of my mission after the mission.

It became clear to me that these months that I have left are a special gift, one that I must enjoy and use well. This is my time to serve with everything I have, find joy in those little missionary things, and continue progressing in the strength of the Lord. I felt myself change, felt myself take a firmer footing on the rock of my Redeemer  and trust in whatever plan He has for me ahead. We must be willing to turn everything over to Him, and I want you all to know that I have a living testimony of the law of sacrifice. My life has been, and will continue to be, one long journey to really consecrate myself to the Lord. Sometimes that comes in sudden moments of sacrifice, and sometimes that comes along with little daily denial of our natural man.

That was my big lesson of the week. How blessed we are to have living apostles and prophets that can really speak the words of God for us! A couple fun moments this week: helping Cata Oporto with her Calculus homework. The Spirit really does bring all things to our memory! I felt extremely happy after breaking open the hard problems that they couldn't find the answer to. Thank you, Calculus B! Also made my own version of Egg Drop Ramen soup today, and I must say it turned out quite well.

I love you all!!!!!

Hermana Oldroyd


First rainy day

Nice little blessing from God- I DO love English!! Tutored Cony Labarca, a cute 10 year old in our ward, for a little more than an hour, and had a blast

Wanted to take a picture with Vale Canobra Parra and her car- she is always willing to help and comes out with us once a week, sometimes drives us places also. Lifesaver!!! I looooooove her.