May 26, 2014

Life an intricate process

Hello, my dear people!

Here are my couple random details of the week:

1.Missionary Work for the Dead- My ward here, 18 de Septiembre, indexed 25,000 names in one trimester. Can you believe that???? I just had to include that in my email to all of you because I was so proud and happy with that when our ward consultant told me. How are all of you doing with that? I encourage you to find a way to participate in the work of salvation for those who have already passed on. They are waiting!

2. I just love the priesthood. I have come to appreciate it so much more here in the mission, and I think I really took it for granted my whole life. This Sunday we had lunch with Rene Fierro and his wife Alejandra Guzman, one of the strongest families in our ward. He helped us visit someone the other day and was with us right when some of the Hermanas called us with difficulties. When he saw our worry for them, and the effort we're still trying to give in our own ward, he really took it to heart. He called us the next day with words of encouragement and promised blessings, and all during lunch he shared sacred experiences from his mission that really changed him.

There are few times in my mission where other people bring the Spirit to me- we already have it with us so constantly, and the good thing about the mission is that it teaches us to seek, share, and deserve the Spirit always. Listening to someone else talk, give a class, etc. I can learn from them and be taught from the Spirit in what they say, but this time was special. There is something indescribable in a worthy priesthood holder, seeking to minister and share of his Godly power. The distinct feeling of love, concern, and Godliness that I felt while sharing his dinner table touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It was for this reason that I loved Bishop Osses so much- both of these men impressed me so much and helped inspire me to live to gospel better.

3. In our companionship inventory, Hermana Lòpez said to me "I have a question, and I don't want you to feel offended... But are you hyperactive?"Asked her to explain her definition of that, and she told me that she considered it as a need to always be doing something, to always be busy with something, etc. And as I pondered that... I realized that following that definition, (though I know it isn't a complete or medical definition), I probably am! Ever since going to college, I don't like watching movies because I feel like it is a waste of time, I have never taken a nap on the mission because I know there are so many other important things to do, I never go to bed early because I need to call the hermanas, write in my journal, etc. Walking in the streets during the day, we talk about upcoming classes or about people's needs, what we need as missionaries or as people, how we can improve. Don't get me wrong, we joke around and have a really good time, but there is always something to talk about or do, and I want to do it! So I guess that makes me partially hyperactive.

4. I love you all!!! Life is such an intricate process- time passes quickly but God gives us depth within each moment to improve and grow. It is amazing and I'm so blessed to be here sharing His message with a people that I love so dearly. There are days when rejection hurts so much. Talking to people in the street, getting to know them, sharing a joke and making them smile, then telling them why we're here, and then hearing them say, time after time "Ahh, but I already have my religion." or "I'm really busy." Sometimes my heart just hurts and I cry out "But don't you have time to hear this precious message from God?" It is an experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. I'm learning, every day, to be patient and Christlike in everything I do, say, and think.

I love you!!!

Hermana Oldroyd

May 20, 2014

Took you long enough

Well, we're still alive! There was no big earthquake, though we did have a couple little quakes.

Let's get to the good stuff and I'll tell you about my two teary moments of the week.

1. Happy tears. Hermana Marisol is the sister that washes our clothes, and about two weeks ago her grandmother passed away. We had the funeral in the chapel, and we sang a musical number for her. Just a couple days ago, she gave us a reference of one of her cousins, who had attended the funeral and was fascinated by the church. She decided that she couldn't die without really knowing what we believed and why she felt something so different there. We went right away, and even though she wasn't home the first time, we found her the second time. As we entered into Yanet's home, she said "Well, it took you long enough! Let me introduce myself."

She went on to tell us that she believes in God, but feels like she has lost focus on the spiritual side of life and that her soul feels dirty. She said she doesn't just want to be in any church- she wants to have the fullness of the truth, wants to return to the faith and purity that she had before. When we talked to her about baptism, about prayer, she said "Hm, you have the same central beliefs that I have seen in all the other churches. It seems like it all started with the same teachings, and then some people just went and changed a few little things." Well that, my friend, is basically the story of the Restoration. Yesssss!!! The spirit was so strong, and it was so obvious that we had what she had been waiting for. She got emotional, and I cried tears of joy.

She came to church, and knows half of the ward! We'll have to marry her and help her husband stop playing soccer on Sunday, but I have such a good feeling about them.

2. Sad tears. On the other hand, we woke up Sunday morning and saw a call from Sabu at 1:30 in the morning. (I can't remember if I've told you about her or not... She is fantastic. She and her son, Sami want to get baptized but also have to tackle the marriage/divorce problem first. Her husband is menos activo, and they've lived complicated lives. Very complicated.) Well, we called her back and noticed that something was wrong, so we went over there before church to talk. She was distraught, crying, and went on to tell us that her "husband" hadn't come back from work on Friday, and that she just knew he had gone back to his other woman and was cheating on her. Knowing a bit of their story, it is believable. We listened to her and watched her sob, and I felt a heavyness in my heart that I haven`t felt for a long time.

It would be one thing if they were always fighting and he's just a bad person- but once again, there is the balance and there is more than one side to every story. Zeb is a good man, and she loves him, but he does not love her and just lives with her to be a good father to Sami. He is starting to remember how it feels to feel the spirit and his guilt is hitting him hard- he knows he is living in sin but he feels like he's in way over his head. As for Sabu, it isn't the first time this has happened and she refuses to leave him. She blinds herself to reality and it just HURT to see and feel all of that. Those were my sad tears of the week.

More than sad, it just hurt and made me frustrated, because all this pain happens when we don't live the commanements. Forgive my sincerity in what I'm about to say, but I just wanted to scream or swear or kick something, because I just love them and I want them to open their eyes and live the commandments of God!!

Oh, the patience that God has with us.

Time is up, my dear people. I love you!!!

Hermana Oldroyd

Matchy matchy for district class. Why not?

Let's just say that a companion DOES have a large influence. Hermana Lopez started hinting at me that I should layer my hair, then the other hermanas jumped in and started asking if I've ever had bangs, which I never have. After thinking about it a little, I realized that if I didn't try it now, I never would! So we had a little hair-cutting party one night and Hermana Page, who studied this stuff, gave me a makeover.

May 13, 2014

Earthquake coming. . .

Well, my dear people.
Happy Mothers Day!
What a joy it was to speak with my family. It was a great reminder that I still do have a place over there in the United States, that I do still feel love and belonging there. It is so easy to forget as I feel more and more love for my mission and for Chile. I was even afraid I wouldn't be able to carry on a full conversation in English... You can ask them how well I did with that.
Good week, really crazy with some of the situations that our investigators are going through. Lets just say that we could make a Latin television show based on some of the things we're seeing right now. We're asking for lots of guidance and using lots of boldness- I'm gaining more and more appreciation for the old, grumpy grandmas that just say whatever rude things they want. Is it terrible that I'm becoming almost the same as a missionary? There just isn't time to waste on saying flowery things!! Sometimes you've just got to lay it out there and make the choice very clear.
Gave a talk this week about the Book of Mormon, and felt so grateful, once again, for the guidance of the Spirit. There is really nothing like that warm, pulsing feeling when you know you`re speaking the words of God. I love that more than anything. We also sang a special musical number for the Moms and the ward LOVED it. On an unrelated note,  keep your eyes open for a big earthquake this Friday- we're hearing rumors and, as a result, have started filling water bottles....
If not, it'll be something to laugh about next week.
Love you all and love my companion, love my hermanas, love my ward and love Chilean barbeques. (Had a great zone activity today.) Just don't ever forget that God isn't just the Father of all ages and all the earth, rather the Father of your soul. You really are important. Don't lose sight of all He wants you to become- little by little, we are getting there, and He celebrates the small successes with us.
Don't forget that.
I love you!

Hermana Oldroyd

Oreo game at our Zone activity... Guess who won? Yours truly!!

 Mini Cambio, we just happen to be climbing the steepest hill in Tomè, `El Santo`. Bring it on.

 Foggy Tomè

 Sent this to my buddy Vale

 For you, Dad

 GIANT rubber boots

May 5, 2014

Get Involved

Well, this was a GREAT week.

We worked super hard and saw some big successes with the members, our investigators, etc. I've come to realize that real love grows as we share in the Savior's cause- that is why the members loved us so much in Collao. Working together in this saving mission is what ties us eternally with the love of Christ. I hope you`re all rolling up your sleeves and getting VERY involved.

Continue to see huge miracles from the Lord. Last Tuesday was Leadership Council, so we went to the office in the morning. After the meeting, Hermana Baturité grabbed me and said, "Hey, come outside for a second, we need your help." They may not have exactly needed my help, but as I walked outside I saw Vale Canobra and Camila Vargas there waiting for me. Ahhh!! It was so good to see them and I felt so loved. Hermana Rosa had sent me a homemade queque and we got to talk. As we were chatting, I glanced out at the street and couldn't even believe what I saw.

Victor Jara, from Lirquen, was standing there looking back at me, also rather shocked. Remember him? We found him when he was still dealing drugs, still drinking, still asking us punk questions that lead to nothing. When I left, he had changed and was sincerely preparing for baptism. A couple weeks after I left, after working really hard to pay off all his legal fines, he was baptized. (Hermana López was actually there for his baptism!) I've written him once or twice to encourage him, but recently he moved away from Lirquen and we didn't know much about him. He told us that he had some struggles and was inactive for a couple months, and in that time conceived a child with his girlfriend. Recently he moved to Tomè to live with her (Yes, I did say Tomè- he lives in my very same city.) and he's super excited to be a father. He's started going back to church in the ward just below us, and his girlfriend is taking the lessons from the missionaries. They're going to get married and he just felt different- more mature, more stable, more ready to face an adult life. He was even wearing a CTR ring!!!

I was so, so happy and amazed to see him. He told us that he walks by the office almost every day, wondering if he'd ever see us, his missionaries. I was so touched by God's perfect timing and another little miracle that He gave me.

Just want you all to know that we are not alone in God's work. As I sat in Sacrament meeting and heard so many precious testimonies, I was impressed by the feeling that the Lord really does see us in "one eternal round". Paloma Fierro, the cutest little 10 year old, cried as she shared her testimony and said "I don't know why I'm crying. I'm just so happy to be here." She reminded me a little bit of myself, and I pondered on the person I am now and all the progress that God has helped me make. Not just that, but I felt around me all of those from my very family who keep working alongside me. I could tell you a million other stories, but just believe me when I tell you that there are people working on this and on the other side of the veil to hasten the Lord`s work. Don`t be the only one that isn't taking part.

I love you, and I love what I do. I love knowing that this is what God wants me to do- it is for that reason that He is able to bless and guide me. Be well-

Hermana Oldroyd

 Hna Lopez and I at the beach in Tome