Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The lessons we learn..............

Hola Familia y amigos! Como esta?

Spanish is coming... for real I understood all of sacrament yesterday... now I just got to get the speaking part down :)

This week the Copa America continues to rage on here. They completed the stadium in Concepción as well, so that means teams are playing here too! Sadly, that means nights spent in the casa even when Chile isn’t playing (because my sector in semi close to the stadium) but it is a blessing because we get to use the time to study, read scriptures and clean--- all things that normally don’t get enough attention.

This week we had mini cambios with our Hermana Leaders. Hermana Garces came to Barrio Norte and I showed her around. I learned so much from her. I love mini cambios, it is fun to mix things up and see how other people work. Hermana Garces is super awesome too, she had some wonderful advice for me and our sector.

Last night we had a lesson with a less active sister, Maria. I have learned so much from teaching her. Her son died about 5 years ago, just before the earthquake and she has really been living in bitterness ever since. It is so sad. She has spent a lot of time angry with God, but it seems this is her moment. It is like she has been waking up from a long sleep of sadness, and is ready to change. It is wonderful to see that as she slowly applies the teachings of the gospel into her life, she has more hope and faith that she will be with her son again.

Many of our other less actives ember we have been working with are 'graduating' and becoming 'full time members.'

Yesterday 2 of our vijitas (little old ladies) came to church on their own without help from members. It was such a pleasant surprise to see sweet Sister Smith in the Chapel after we had realized that her ride would not be able to pick her up. She had walked because she didn’t want to miss the sacrament. Que linda.(How wonderful)

As far as investigators... we are still in the market for some more. I have been learning so much about finding. It is true that we have not been very successful in finding for the last little while (well let's be honest I have yet to have a real progressing investigator in my mission) BUT I am learning a lot about what works, what doesn’t and how to be braver. I have learned a lot about how God helps us grow. He never gives us more than we can handle, but he always gives us tasks to stretch us. And we are stretched until we can handle more. I am learning that the mission, and this LIFE is all about learning. All about improving and being stretched to improve. God qualifies us for the tasks we are assigned by letting us take responsibility, letting us mess up and trusting us to do our best. He trusts in us. Scary, but true. Love you all!


Hermana Saunders

Monday, June 22, 2015

Waiting for the Rain

Wow- not going to lie, tough week. We are still keeping faith to find but this week we came up dry. I really am not sure what more we can do. Continue on, always aspiring to be better. I guess it is has been a good life lesson.

Last Mondays we had Cambios and many sectors got terminated. We spent the night in Santa Sabina to help an Hermana clean out the house and pack up her things because there are no longer going to be Hermanas in the Area. I was very surprised. The area is 2 or 3 times bigger than Barrio Norte. I think the apartment was becoming too expensive and we are getting fewer and fewer Hermanas coming in here.

It made me wonder why they have not decided to close Barrio Norte. There has not been a convert in the Ward for over a year now, which is bad. I know there are many logistical reasons for why they do things but I have to think there is a bigger picture as to why they need two sets of missionaries in the area. I have faith that there are people ready for us and that is why we are here. I don’t know if my faith has ever been tried more.

The Copa America Continues and Chile is advancing! (Whoohoo) So that means more nights spent in the apartment to avoid problems (only 1 hour mas)

In good news, the 27 of October they will begin construction on the Concepcion TEMPLE! Yes!

Hopefully in 2 or three years in will be ready. What a blessed opportunity to be here and help people prepare!

I love you all! I am working harder than I have ever worked, while things are tough, the hand of the Lord has never been more prevalent.


Hermana Saunders

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chile is Wet

Two Sister Saunders
A little rain

Officially Junior Companion

Hola! Wow this week was fast! I am officially 4 months old in the mission! And A JUNIOR COMPANION! I finished my training! What the what? Today is cambios but I am staying put- couldn’t be more thrilled to have another month with Hermana Ormeño! We have a lot of fun together. Last night we had a 'PJ Party'
This week Started the Culpa America, which is a soccer bowl for all of South America (Basically all of America without USA... whatever I am over it) it has been really fun to see how excited everyone is over it. During the times that Chile plays we are not allowed to leave the house for safety reasons. We can watch the game if we are with a less active or an investigator but this week me and my comp desired to stay in, clean and eat pancakes. It was a much needed break.
Wow we have been working so hard. Sadly all of our hopeful investigators fell this week. We started the cambio with no investigators and we are ending the same way (SHOOTA) but despite that I feel surprisingly really energized. This drought of investigators has been so long that I know it is going to rain soon! I just feel it in my soul! Because of this lack of people I am learning to be a lot braver. Not in desperate but I am starting to realize that EVERYONE needs this gospel and not one in our area is actually hearing about it! What a blessing I get to tell people about this great work! I just got to find them first... :)
Spanish... Am I supposed to know it by now? haha well I am definitely learning to laugh at myself and not stress the small stuff. My companion has helped me so much and I am so glad to be with her another cambio (change) to grow even more. It is true that I have progressed a ton since the CCM. I am learning that it just takes time for some things to sink in and you can study and study but it still won’t come all at once, often your brain just needs time to take it all in.
I just want to bare my testimony to all of you that I know this church is true. I know that with the Lord Jesus Christ we can overcome any and every challenge life throws at us. It is important to have an eternal perspective about life but remember that God wants us to enjoy this journey! Enjoy where you are right now! We are so blessed to live in this time where God speaks to us through living prophets. Never forget how wonderful your life, this Gospel and your Savior's Sacrifice is. I love you!
Hermana Saunders

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Last week of Training

Well I am going to try to be a bit better about telling y’all what life is like here on the other side of the Equator.
First of all in Chile people talk about the earthquake that happened five years ago. "Ovi" was a big deal- and everyone has a story about it. It can be to our benefit on days when you are sitting at an awkward lunch table trying to make small talk- just asking about the terremoto and BAM you get an earful. It makes lunchtime more enjoyable when you are not the one trying to talk.
On another note- Chileans can TALK and they do talk. It is a blessing. In general they are a very open people- as missionaries our job is to find their needs and help them through the gospel of Jesus Christ- 'looking' for the need is hardly necessary because people will often just hand it to you. One problem that can arise, though is helping people listen to the message. It can also make timing a bit of an issue when you plan for a 45min lesson and a person wants to talks for an hour and 30min. I am learning though that it is not as offensive to interrupt people here- if the timing is right.
The Food- I got a lot of mixed reviews about the food here and my first comp didn’t really love it, but I enjoy most of what we eat. It is true we eat a lot of rice and chicken, but we have a lot of good cooks in my ward and I love all of the soups they make for us. Super rico! One thing Chile could improve on- the desserts. Lots of fruit and jello. All of the greengos have our Latino Missionaries hooked on cookies and cakes... (I have definitely been doing my bit with showing my comp microwave brownies :) we might be addict.
Dinner is a meal later in the day about 7 o’clock where people eat bread and hot drinks. I think it is the sweetest thing. Family is such an important thing to people here. For every meal- but more especially- you eat with your family - I love it. We can't eat with members unless we have made an appointment a head of time and teach something as well, but people always want us over- it feels so often that I have a family here!
The weather- We have had our fair share of cloudy days here, but I hear the rain is only going to get worse in the next few weeks. My agenda is totally water logged already! Without the help of plastic bags my scriptures would be toast too! I actually enjoy the rain but it can make contacting people on the street a bit more challenging. I hate to feel like I am bugging people and when we make them stand out in the rain to listen it is always harder to open my mouth. My comp always reminds mi that their salvation is the more important thing. She is right :)
This week- We have been finding a lot of people WOHOO! Sadly, none of them are progressing.... but on the bright side we are having a little bit of success with the less actives we have found in this week and the last. People are starting to recognize the need for Christ in their life. Honestly what more could I ask for in helping them in that journey (other than maybe a baptism....)
My Spanish is better, I know I say that a lot but really. I promise I have been talking a lot more. I am learning that even if it stinks, it is better to try, and make a mistake than not try at all.
 This is the last week of my training and I am not really sure if I am ready to be a junior comp but I have faith that the Lord knew what he was doing when he sent me there, and I am working hard- so there is really nothing more to worry about.

I love you all!
Hermana Saunders

Monday, June 1, 2015


When will summer come?

Concepcion is south of the Equator so, it looks like I will be missing summer this year. The weather here reminds me a lot of Washington State. It is rainy but not a continual down poor. I have several designated plastic bags for all the things in my backpack- without them my scriptures would wet.

We had mini cambios this week with the Hermana leaders. I got to spend a night in Colluo and that was a lot of fun to be with Hermana Blou. I admire her so much- this is her last cambio here in Chile! Craziness. I have learned so much from her in the short time I have been here. The experience definitely recharged my animo (excitement).

We are really exicted about the changes we have planned for the ward and the work in our area- my comp has a lot of great new ideas for uniting the ward in the obra de salvación (work of salvation)! This last week was the 1 year mark since the last convert baptism and we are working really hard to change that.

Unfortunately it is proving to be a challenge... BUT yesterday we taught some new people and they accepted a fecha! (date for baptism) First people to do that in my mission.

Early in the week had to an appointment with a street contact, we were looking forward to in all the week before. She had told us she had other missionary friends from the US and was supper friendly and happy to welcome us into her home. The whole week we were praying for the appointment and planned to invite her to baptism in the first lesson. We she welcomed us in she told us she was catholic but loved to hear about all religions. She is a talker. We spent a lot of the morning with her and when we finally brought up baptism in the lesson she explained that she was baptized in our church! She is a less active. What? I don’t think she realizes she is a member... anyway my comp and I were blown away at the lack of knowledge she had about the church- and that she was baptized. We will be working on that this week...

Other than that I think the week is pretty normal. Members are feeding us a lot more because it is so cold. We have been making heath metas so that we won’t gain to much weight this winter (hehe). But Hermana Blou says that they feed you more the more they like you. So... I won’t complain. It is nice to be loved. :)

Besos Chou!

Hermana Saunders