Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 35

Hello Friends and Family!!
Remember that 96-year-old lady that I talked about before? The funniest things always happen when we go to her house!! She INSISTED that we had "once" with her the other day. (once is the meal that the Chileans have at night where they drink a hot drink (usually coffee or tea) and eat bread or crackers or sweet bread) She didn't have any herbal tea, only black, so we told her, it's okay, we'll just drink hot sugar-water. So that we did.  And then she was talking to us about her napkins and telling us that someone gave her these napkins with cupcakes pictures to her as a gift and that she didn't know how much that cost but she knows that they're really really expensive.  She said, "Take it... put it away... take care of it..." Well..., actually she said, "Tómalo... Guárdalo... cuídalo..." But that doesn't really directly translate to English.  I find it funnier in Spanish.

I don't know if I've already told you, but Madeline and Gonzalo finally have real dates for their wedding and Gonzalo's Baptism!! They will be getting married in our chapel on April 17th and he will be baptized on April 18th!! We are soooo excited for them!!! There are no words to describe the way that we feel!! 

Another miracle that we saw this week was that we helped one of our investigators understand as she read in the Bible.  It was really funny because she was saying that no one in her Bible study group could understand what was going on in a chapter that they were reading because there was a lot of symbolism and it didn't make sense to them.  We read it with her and didn't understand what it was saying either.  So we asked her if we could say a prayer to invite the spirit and then try to help her.  So we did and guess what... It was EASY for us to understand!! It is INCREDIBLE how the spirit can help us to understand things that through our own efforts, we have no hope of understanding!! That was a huge testimony builder to me!! That with the help of the Holy Ghost, two 19-year-old missionaries from the United States could understand more than an entire bible study group in Chile!! As Cambrea Van Kammen would always say, "The church is true, you guys!" :)

I love you all!! Talk to you next week!!

Hermana Harvey

Older pictures because my mom says she misses my face... Here ya go!! :) Sorry... I haven't been taking many pictures.
We made our own dessert one day at lunch! They eat a lot of fruit for dessert here.

A picture of us with two of our investigators (Luz and María) at a Family Home Evening

the sky is BEAUTIFUL in Punta Arenas!! But it's hard to get a good picture of it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 34

Hello friends and family!!

I received lots of emails this week!! Thank you all so much for writing me!! It means more to me than you know!! :)

So they do this really interesting thing here to all of the students that are starting for the first time in a University.  They take all of them and they cut up their clothes and paint them and put a bunch of food that smells REALLY bad all over them in their hair and everything and then they all have to go out into the streets and beg for money for school!! It is so gross!! And they are EVERYWHERE right now because summer is ending so school is starting. It is one of the weirdest traditions I have ever seen!!

Another thing that you may not know about South America is that the people here are not exactly the best in the world when it comes to music.  And the wards are not quite as big as they are in the United States so every week I get to lead the music in Sacrament meeting and Relief Society and Hermana Jenkins plays the piano.  I don't know what we are going to do when she leaves because no one else in the ward knows how to play piano!! I might end up regretting all the years that I didn't practice piano!! haha I mess up even when I'm leading the music because I don't know all the words to the songs in Spanish so I lose my place every now and then as I am leading and just sing non-sense trying to follow what the congregation is singing as I try to find my place again. Haha So fun.

They also don't really have pie here. They make one lemon pie and that's really it for pie so on pie day we made some chocolate pudding pie for the activity with the substitute ingredients that we could find here in Chile (a cream that they put on the cakes that is almost a pudding texture and oreos!).  You would not believe the way they were raving over this pie!! haha it was hilarious!! it was gone in seconds and everyone was asking for the recipe so we had an activity on Friday to teach all of the women in relief society how to make chocolate pudding pie! haha It was funny.  

In other news!! We were knocking doors the other day and trying to find a few people that had said that we could come back in another moment to share our message with them and had three doors slammed in our faces. So we decided to just talk to some people in the streets because we had already passed for all of the houses that we had in plans for the next hour or so and as we started walking down the street, we saw this old lady walking carrying a whole bunch of groceries and we decided that we were going to go help her.  So we went up and asked if she wanted any help and her response was "no no. my house is just over there. I'm alone. (she started crying in this moment) My husband died a year and 3 months ago and now I am all alone." So we took her groceries, which were actually pretty heavy for this poor little old lady, and we helped her across the street and into her house.  Then we sang to her the song "Families can be together forever" and shared with he the message of the Plan that God has for each and every one of us and promised her that she would be able to see her husband again. She thanked us over and over again and said that ever since her husband died she has never really been alone because people like us always pass by just when she needs them the most.  It is amazing how the Lord can work through the people here on this earth!! I am so thankful that I can be a tool in his hands here on this earth to help others to receive the message of the restoration of the gospel!! OUR MESSAGE CHANGES LIVES!! And when people come to know that our message is true, there is a difference in their lives.  There is a light and a hope that comes that helps them through all of the challenges of this life!! I am so thankful that I can be a missionary to share this gospel and this hope with the world!! I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!! That is why I am so happy! That is why the people that we teach are so happy! We are here to help the people to feel the spirit of God testify the truthfulness of our message to their hearts.  We help people to find the answers for themselves!! Once again... I would like you all to know that I AM SO HAPPY!!! 

I love you all!!! Thank you for all of your support and your emails!!!

Hermana Harvey
We always have the BEST rainbows I have ever seen in my life here!! Really big, noticeable, complete ones! And it is not uncommon at all to see double rainbows! So beautiful!!

Hmmm... Hermana Jenkins and I thought this sign was funny... we ALWAYS walk down this street but we had never noticed it before... they're inviting the homeless to sleep in this little park? haha

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 33

Hello Friends and Family!!

Ahhhhh!! I have so much to tell you all and so little time!! Have I told you about Madeline and Gonzalo before?!?! I'm sure I have but I'll explain who they are again just in case!! Madeline is a less-active member of the church that Hermana Jenkins and her companion before me found knocking doors and she told them they could come back another time! When they went to visit her again she had fallen and broken her leg! Then they had transfers so when I got here Madeline had just had surgery on her leg so she has two huge metal plates in her leg now.  So obviously she was in need of lots of help which meant that Hermana Jenkins and I could come over  LOT to help them with things around the house that she couldn't do anymore and her husband, Gonzalo, just didn't have time for.  So we started sharing with them VERY often, just scriptures and prayers and service at first and Gonzalo would always leave the room when we were going to share a message but we continued teaching Madeline.  Little by little her husband started being more and more open to talking with us.

We came to find out, little by little, that Gonzalo was pretty sure that he believed in God but didn't believe in religion. He believed that all of the churches are just there to gain money and that he didn't have to be part of a religion to worship God.  Little by little we started teaching him about our message of the restoration of the gospel and we began to see him changing!! Friends and family... I just want you to know that this is the best thing in the ENTIRE WORLD!! To be able to see the change that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings to the hearts and minds and lives of the people!! He began to soften his heart! He began to smile! He began to laugh! He began to share his feelings and desires with us! He began to pray! He began to read the scriptures! He is now a completely different man from the one that we met 2 months ago!!
Well... now that you understand the background... Gonzalo told us this Monday that he has decided that he wants to be baptized!!!!! AHHHHH!!! I am soo happy for him and for his family!! They also have a son named Vicente and I just know that this decision that he has made is going to bless his little family in ways that he does not even understand right now!! The only problem now is that they, like the grand majority of the Chilean population, are not married. soooooo he has a baptismal date for April 11th and we are planning their WEDDING!!! How fuuunn!!!!  They want to get married in the chapel!!! :))) I am so happy that I get to be part of this huge moment in their lives!! And even more, I am soooooo thankful for the wonderful ward that I am in right now that helps us in soo many many ways!!! Ahhhh you have no idea how freaking happy I am right now!!!!!! :DDDD

AANNND we had an awesome missionary activity this week!! (the missionaries plan an activity each month) and it went sooo well!! We were trying to help the members understand how the recent converts and investigators feel when they come to church for the first time so we had a couple of games that they were playing and we explained really badly how to play (one elder was even explaining in English... hahaha) and expecting them to be able to just figure it out themselves and we gave them a recipe to make Rice Krispy Treats which was super brief and in Spanglish and left them to it in the kitchen with all sorts of things in their that they didn't really need! it was super fun! But the best part was that we had one of our zone leaders dress up like a hobo and come in and just sit in the room where we were to try to see what the reaction of the ward would be.  Guys... You have to know that my ward is the BEST!! haha The members treated him sooo well! Included him in all of the activities and helped him to feel comfortable, offered him coats and other clothing items that they didn't need. Our bishop and first counselor even gave him an interview and found him a place to stay for the night and were making plans for the future for him!!! It was sooo amazing!! When we were ending the activity, one of the Elders in our ward was explaining that the same way that they felt when they were doing these activities is how the new members feel when they come into the church.  And then he said that his friend, Elder Gomez (the "homeless man") wanted to say a few words. As he spoke, there were multiple women (almost all of them) crying because the spirit was so strong as he was talking and others laughing because we had completely tricked them.  It was sooo great!!! Then... the next day in church they talked about the activity in EVERY meeting!! haha the bishop even spoke in sacrament meeting and half of his talk was about the activity!! haha we, as missionaries, felt really good about this activity!! :)

I love this work!!! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!!!!!

And I love you guys too!! :) so much!!!
Hermana Harvey

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 32

Hello Friends and Family!!!

First of all, I got a huge surprise in my email today!!! In my sector before I came here to Punta Arenas. We met this man, Marcelo, on the street who was out riding bikes with his son, Vicente, and we set up an appointment to teach them more about our message.  We were so excited to go to see them because we just knew that there was something special about this family.  When we got to their house, Marcelo wasn't there but his wife, Karina, was so we taught her and Vincente a few things and a little while later her husband came and we already had to leave so we left them with a pamphlet of the Restoration for them to read for when we came back.  In our next lesson, Karina practically taught the ENTIRE lesson when we asked her what it was that she could understand from the pamphlet.  Marcelo told us that he didn't have time to read the whole thing so Karina was also explaining it to him and explaining to him that his doubts that he had weren't valid because he hadn't even read the pamphlet to know!! IT WAS AMAZING!! Then, a few lessons later we put them date for their baptism and I received a picture today of them being baptised on that day!!!! :DDD AHHHHH!!! I started sobbing when I found out that they were going to be baptized and to see this picture now.... it is impossible to explain the joy that I feel right now!! I had the great opportunity to be the Lord's hands in helping to bring an entire, beautiful family into the gospel!! Karina is also pregnant with another beautiful soul who is going to be born into the gospel!! :) sooooooo happpyyyyy!!!!!!

In other news, one of our recent converts in our ward went to the temple this week!!!! She has been a member for 6 months now and she went to Santiago for vacation with another girl in our ward who was in-active for a long time and they went to the temple together FOUR TIMES while they were there in Santiago!! It was the first time that either of them had ever been to the temple and their experiences were BEAUTIFUL!! It makes me so happy to see them progressing so much in the gospel!! AhHH!!! I am so happy.  I don't know how else to explain how I feel right now.  I want to testify to all of you that the temple is the house of the Lord and that the work that is done there is not only for this earth but continues on for the eternities!! Families can be together FOREVER!!!  I know that that is true!! I have the great opportunity to help people to come to that knowledge and to make covenants with God that will allow them to become eternal families!! 
I love the mission soo much!! To go on a mission is honestly the best decision that I have ever made in my life and I will be thankful for this experience for eternity!! :) :) :)

Other great news!!! We have English classes that we are teaching but NO ONE EVER SHOWS UP!! Just our Ward Mission Leader who is already practically fluent in English because he has been to the United States. But this week we had a married couple come to our class!! And we actually got to teach English to people who don't know very much and who really need our help!! And they are amazing people!! We started with a prayer to open the class and taught them how to pray in English (which, in turn, also meant that we got to teach them how to pray... English or Spanish) and then after the class they wanted to get to know the chapel so we gave them a tour and told them all about how things work on Sundays!! We are so excited to continue teaching them English and also about the happiness that they can find through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Which is a lot more happiness than we can bring to them than through our knowledge of English!! 

I love you all so much!! :)
 Hermana Harvey

Marcelo and Karina at their baptism!!!!!!! :DD

We have a new Elder in our ward, Elder Salgado from Texas and  He's a football player. He lives up to the Texan phrase, "Everything's bigger in Texas."

Hermana Jenkins and I actually decided to be girls one day and did our hair!! :) That's not going to happen very often... haha :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 31

So much happened this week!!
First of all, we went to visit a reference that we received from another missionary named Maria Eugenia and she is an adorable little old woman!! :) haha she does yoga and gardens and talks about nature and the beautiful things of life in her sweet little voice :) haha she is Really receptive and has great questions about the things that we are teaching her!! :) We are so excited to be teaching her!!
On Wednesday we went to visit this little 96-year-old lady that we visit every now and then because she is lonely and it makes her happy to hear us sing.  She doesn't understand anything that we say so we can't teach her but I have confidence that she will accept our message in the next life.  But anyway, she kept telling me how pretty my scarf was when we went on Wednesday so i decided to give it to her.  You would Not believe her reaction.  She just about died. Seriously.  I think I should be more careful with her because she's 96!! I could have given her a heart-attack!! and she kept saying that she was going to go get some money to pay me for it but I told her, repeatedly, that it was a gift.  It made me so happy to see this little old lady so thrilled over something so tiny like a scarf! 
Another thing that happened was that we had transfers this week and one of the elders in our ward had to leave to go to Osorno to be closer to the mission because he is having problems with his foot and so he left on Wednesday but no one told the elders that a companion for Elder Lopez wouldn't be coming until YESTERDAY!! So Elder Lopez was ALONE having to be with members or elders in other wards for 4 days!! So that was hilarious for Hermana Jenkins and I! :) haha we're so mean.
AAND!! I LEARNED HOW TO MAKE BREAD!! And I don't even need a recipe :) Because they don't use recipe's or even real measurements here for anything!! it's really funny :P And now I'm like obsessed with making pan and want to make it every day and Hermana Jenkins has to keep me in line and help me to not make bread every night when we get home :P haha I just want to practice so I don't forget! haha plus it's just really fun the way that they make it here!! :) I learned how to kneed the bread by slamming it down on the table really hard to activate the gluten! :) I really enjoy it! :) 
We are teaching this 16 year old girl named Titi right now and she hasn't really opened up all that much to us... UNTIL THIS WEEK!! She told us her entire life's story about how she gained a testimony that god loves her and is listening to her prayers and was crying as she told us. Which is normal for us because everyone seems to cry when we go to their house haha but it wasn't like her because she's the type of person that does not like to show her emotions. And she told us that she knows that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! :) We are sooo excited for her!! :) 
Aaaaand Madeline and Gonzalo came to church on Sunday!! Madeline is an inactive member who hasn't gone to church for over 10 years and we are teaching her husband right now.  Gonzalo has changed sooo much since we have been teaching him! He has opened up to us so much and even opened up to Madeline and you can just see a new light in him and he is ALWAYS smiling now and he barely smiled at all when we first started visiting them!! AHH!! I am soo excited for them!! The gospel of Jesus Christ really does change lives!! 
I love you all so much!! Have a great week!!
--Hermana Harvey