Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 57 - New Area! New Adventures! LOTS of miracles!

Hello Friends and Family!!

Well, I have lots of news for you guys.. so I'm going to start with the bad news so that I can end with the good! :) 

I think you guys may have misunderstood why we had to have this switch in Areas.  Our house before was pretty.  It was new and had everything that it needed and was just a little cold and humid.  But nothing that we couldn't live with.  The real reason that we were looking for another place to live was that we were living next to 4 men who were at times quite drunk.  Here in Valdivia there are a lot of houses that are build behind other houses (just in their back yard) so that they can rent them out. That is the case with the house where we were living before and also where we are living now.  In Collico, there were three houses in this yard and the two other houses were filled with drunk men.  This was especially a problem since our front door didn't really lock well and in the summer when the door wasn't bigger with the humidity it just opens with the wind...  Sooo when President Obeso saw this and saw how secluded our entire sector is, he told us that we had to leave.  And now we live in a really old house (I think it's like 50 years old and you can see it's years) but it's behind our mamita's house! and it's the only house there and it has 4 fences haha so we're super safe :)  

The bad news about the house is that it has RATS!! And slugs all over the place and the water heater sometimes works and sometimes doesn't and when it's working it just about burns us but when it's not it's water straight from the freezing river. Not to mention the man smell that we found when we got here. and there weren't even any cleaning supplies in the entire house! No wonder it was so dirty! The elders didn't even have any supplies!! haha so we're still in the process of cleaning and getting rid of all of our little friends who like to play in our kitchen! haha But we are being very careful about putting away all of our food so that they can't get to it and washing the dishes with bleach before eating off of them.  So we're still safe :) Don't worry.  And we put out poison for them and they have eaten a BUNCH so they're going to die within 3 days now I believe! Whoo! Sad but necessary.  

But now for the good news!! OUR AREA IS INCREDIBLE!! The field is white already to harvest and the ward was just waiting for sister missionaries to get here to be able to progress.  Our bishop apparently has been praying for 7 years (since he was called as bishop) to get sisters in the ward and now here we are! The thing is that there are a LOT of sisters that live alone and are inactive in this ward so the Elders couldn't go into their houses to teach them.  There are also a LOT of sisters who are super excited to go out to teach with us!! We even have ward missionaries!! :D It is so great!! We taught 13 lessons with members this week!! That is definitely a record for my mission.  I have never felt so much support from the members before and it makes a WORLD of difference!! We have also received a LOT of references from the members!! They have a lot of confidence in us! Which is great! but also pretty nerve wracking! 

I don't have much more time but I just want to share one story!! We received 11 references from one member of our ward and decided to try to find a few of them when we had time that same day.  As we were leaving the house, we said a prayer, as usual, but this time, as I was praying, I prayed specifically that we could find someone that God had prepared to listen and accept our message.  Even in the prayer, the spirit was super strong and I KNEW that God was preparing someone to answer my prayer.  So Hermana Marinho and I both felt that we should go find one of the references that lives close to our house.  So we went and knocked on his door and it was really interesting because you can tell from the very moment that someone opens their door if they are going to be receptive or not.  When he opened the door, we knew that he was interested in listening to us because he left the house to come talk to us in front of his gate.  We started by introducing ourselves and telling him a little bit about what it is that we do as missionaries.  After talking for a little while about how our message can bless us as families, he told us that he had woken up that morning feeling like there was something missing in his life. He said that he had been crying and didn't know why he felt so sad and just began to pray to God and he asked him for a sign.  He told us that he didn't think that it would really come but he did know that he had asked with a real desire to receive.  He then told us that he knows that we were sent from God to be that sign that he had asked for.  He said that he could feel something, something good, something that he knew was from God, almost a pain in his chest, and wanted to cry.  We explained to him that he was feeling the Holy Ghost and we invited him to be baptized. He said yes!  Then we gave him a pamphlet to read and he told us that he would read it but that there was just one problem.  He doesn't really know how to read.  In this moment, Hermana Marinho and I both felt really strongly to promise him that if he tried the best that he could, God would help him to understand by the spirit what he needs to understand.  At this point he was crying and we were just about crying also and he promised to read it and to pray for the help of God to understand and to know if it is true. But he told us that he can already feel that it is true.  We will be meeting with him again on Wednesday! God listens to and answers our prayers!! When members and missionaries work together, we can see soo many miracles!! 

I love you guys!!

Hermana Harvey

This is Yeni! She loves to go out and work with us! She worked with us for 3 days straight!! :) It was great haha

Woo!! Look!! The rats ate their food!! Good rats... 

 In therapy! :) Whoo!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 56 - Big News!!!

Hello Friends and Family,

So... This week we had interviews with President Obeso and he decided to do them differently.  They came to each and every one of our houses to see if they are clean and organized and if we have everything that we need and when President Obeso got to our house, you could see by his face that something was wrong.  He asked us about our living conditions, who lived next door and everything and after a while of talking, he told us that he wants us our of our house as soon as possible.  He told us that he is very protective of his sister missionaries because he sees them as if they were his own daughters and he does not want us living or working in Collico.  Soooo... They called us last night at 10:00 PM and told us that we are leaving TODAY! At 6:00 we have to be in the church building so that we can switch sectors with some elders in another ward.  Soooo we were up until 4:00am packing up all of our stuff and we don't even have time to say goodbye to all of the people that we have grown to love here in this area.  It all happened so fast because President Obeso told us that maybe he would wait until the next transfers come along but then they called us and said that we have to get out today... Sooo that's the big news of this week! Pretty crazy, right?  I'll let you know how the new area is next week.

In other news... we have seen lots of miracles this week!!! So my companion has some trouble walking because of some problems that she has had with her knee and the mission nurse told her that she can only walk 3-4 hours a day... which is not much when you're a missionary... so we're a little more restricted with the way that we can work.  So this made is a little complicated to know when we should head back to the house so that she can rest her knee.  So what we decided is that every time that she isn't feeling well and wants to go back to the house, we say a prayer to ask if there is anyone else that the Lord wants us to go see before we go back or if it was time to let her rest.  I'm just going to tell you right now that when missionaries have to put in an extra effort to do the work, the Lord blesses them even more than usual!! We have seen so many miracles from the prayers that we have said before heading back home!! I don't have nearly enough time to share all of them with you but I need to share one that was AMAZING!!
 So we had gotten to that point that Hermana Marinho didn't feel like she could walk any further so we sat down and watched the sun as it set over the river and just relaxed for a little while before saying our prayer to see what God wanted us to do.  When we said our prayer, we both just sat there for a long while after... thinking and trying to interpret what the spirit was telling us.  We both, in this moment, felt as though there was Someone... but we couldn't put a name on who that Someone was... So, knowing this, I tried to think of all of the people that I could and one name came to my mind but I wasn't sure if it was really the right person or not but I just felt that we should walk in that direction and see if she was home and if she wasn't home, we decided that we would just go home.  As we were walking, we saw a man there who was just looking at something on his phone and we just said hello and continued walking.  After we had barely passed him, I felt REALLY strongly that I had to turn around and talk to this man.  It was almost as if the spirit literally turned me around and opened my mouth to speak with him.  We asked him why he was out there and he told us that he didn't really know why, but he felt as though he needed to leave his house to get some fresh air and just think because he had been passing through some pretty hard times.  After talking for a while, we began to share with him a little bit about our message and the great blessing that it is to each and every person as they come to know that it is true.  We shared with him our testimonies that we have a prophet on the earth today who receives revelation from God to guide us in the way to be truly happy on this earth and for eternity.  The spirit was soo strong as we spoke with him and he told us that he knows that God had sent us to him in this exact moment to send him the message that he needs. After setting up an appointment to come back and teach him more about our message, we were walking away when I felt the same spirit again push me and tell me that we hadn't finished yet. We turned around and I told him that we had one more question for him.  We asked him what it would mean to him if he came to know that this message that we are sharing is true.  He responded with "If it is true... it means that I have waisted a lot of my life not following the Gospel."  This response brought such power that there is no doubt that he felt the spirit touch his heart and tell him that if it's true, he has to follow this path.  I honestly feel the spirit right now super strong even thinking about this moment.  It was probably one of the most spiritual experiences of my life!  I am so thankful that I have the knowledge that this church is true and that I have felt the joy that it brings into our lives and that I can share this knowledge with the people here in Chile!!
 Obviously, we are sad that we aren't going to be able to continue visiting with Fernando (this miracle man.... haha) but we know that God has a purpose for everything that happens on this earth and that Fernando and all of our other loved ones here in this sector are going to be able to continue learning and will have their chance to receive the same joy that we have! I am just so glad that we were listening to the spirit and that we stopped and talked to him in the moment that God sent him our to talk to us!!  I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!! I LOVE CHILE!!!  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!

Have a great week and I'll let you know how it goes in our new sector next week!

Hermana Harvey
Look! I found California in Chile!!

I never introduced you to Botch!! He's our dog... he follows us everywhere and fights with the other dogs along the way.  Super fun :) haha He even learned how to open our gate so that he can get into our yard at night.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 55

Hello Friends and Family!

We have experienced lots of changes this week! My companion is awesome! :) Her name is Hermana Marinho and is from Brazil.  I've already been learning a little bit of Portuguese which is super fun! :) I've decided that it is a mix between Spanish and French... sooo I'm going to come home speaking English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French! :) Whoo! Haha

It was funny when Hermana Marinho got here because each and every transfer, there are always a whole bunch of missionaries in the bus stations with millions of suit cases all playing games like signs or ninja. We get super bored waiting in the terminal sooo that's what we do to make the time go by faster.  As we were there waiting for our companions to get to Valdivia, one of the elders told me, jokingly, that the best part of these transfers is that I wouldn`t have to go to the clinic anymore (becuase we were always in the clinic with Hermana Sarceño) and I laughed and told him that my companion would tell me "oh, and by the way, I have to go do physical therapy every day in the clinic" haha And guess what Hermana Marinho told me when she got here!! "Oh... By the way... I'm going to have to go to the clinic every morning for physical therapy." haha So we will continue to share the gospel with the physical therapist :) 

Sooo.. for those of you who know me... You know that I have NEVER been good with directions. I get very turned around very quickly.  Which makes everything more interesting.  You know that you are bad at finding your way around as a missionary when you can't remember how to get to the church building!! So... short story... I got a little turned around after getting off the bus in the Elder's sector while headed to a meeting at church and we walked in the opposite direction and found ourselves walking through what we liked to call quicksand... or quickmud? And I almost lost my shoe!! haha It was hilarious but we showed up to our meeting with VERY dirty shoes :P  But the point is that in the end, I found the church building! So we're all good! :) 

We have already seen lots of miracles!! It's like God just wants to bless us and is trying to find every single excuse to bless his missionaries!! :) One of these miracles was Dorris!! It was very interesting because one night, I was planning for the next day and looking through the list of names and addresses of people who said that we could come back later to visit them and came across the name Dorris.  I didn't even look at the description that I had written because we were in a hurry to plan and I just knew that she lived in the area that we would be going the next day so I wrote down her name and direction to go visit her.  When we got there, she acted like she had never seen missionaries in her life (which I thought was strange because I didn't recognize her either but I knew that she was in the list of people that I had contacted)  She told us that she didn't have time right then but that we could come back in another moment to share our message with her.  But she said that she is Jewish and that she isn't looking to change her religion.  So, after asking her a few more questions about herself and talking a little while, we found out that her father had passed away just a couple weeks ago and that it had been really hard for her.  Hermana Marinho testified to her that families can be together forever and we began to feel the spirit super strong! Dorris then, obviously being touched by the spirit, invited us in her house and we got to share with her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation.  She later said that the missionaries that had passed by before (I guess she remembered us after a while) had asked if she needed help with anything and it surprised her because she said that it was the exact day that her father had passed away and she felt as though we knew.  When we got home, I looked at my list of contacts that I had and looked for her name.  I found that I had written that Dorris hadn't even opened the door.  She yelled from inside that she was busy and we simply asked if we could come back later and if she needed help with anything.  After she said no, we left.  It amazes me how God can work through the smallest of things in life to work miracles in the lives of others!! We can never think that what we are doing here is insignificant because each and every thing that we do is important to God's plan!

Love you guys!!!

Hermana Harvey
My companion and I goofing off

Picture after stepping in quick-mud

Hermana Marinho playing in the mud

I made bread and we decided that it looked like a bunch of eyes

We went as hermanas to take some fun pictures today :)

My companion and I in Sunday Dress :) haa

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 54

Hello Friends and Family!!

I am happy to tell you all that this week was GREAT!! I don't know how to explain the difference between this week and the rest of this transfer but I think something finally clicked! I feel like I finally just this week got to know my companion and now, guess what? Transfers are here... It's funny how the Lord works.  He knows that we were finally able to learn the lesson that we had to learn from one another and now I will be receiving a new companion on Wednesday.  This transfer FLEW by!! I can't even believe that it's true!! But I'm going to have to accept it haha I forget the name of my new companion but what I do know is that she is from Brazil. :) Fun!! Maybe I'll be able to learn a little bit of Portuguese! 

Fun moment from this week... Hermana Sarceño were just knock some doors when a lady called us over to her car and said that a messenger had sent her to find me.  She said that there was someone who wanted to speak with me and she showed me a picture on her phone that she had received from a friend with instructions to find this mormon missionary.  She asked us "You're elders, right?" haha She said that Sister Espinoza's sister wanted to meet up with me to get to know me haha so she gave me here phone number and address and we called her today and met up! haha it was super weird!! Apparently Camila also has a cousin here studying in Valdivia and she served a mission in Brazil!! Small world!! :) so that was fun!

I don't have more time but I love you guys so much!!! 

Hermana Harvey

Sister Espinoza's family! Evangelia and Barbara.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 53

Hello Friends and Family!

First of all, this week we had an amazing lesson with Elena!! We taught her about the Restoration of the gospel and the spirit was super strong as we taught her!! Even with her 6 year old son trying to get our attention the entire time :) haha It was funny because her son just wanted us to come so that he could play with us and wanted me to teach him English. But in the end, we were able to concentrate enough to have an amazing lesson!! When we got to the part where we talked about Joseph Smith, we asked her if she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and she said yes! Then we started talking about the Book of Mormon and telling her how she could get an answer to know if it is true through the Holy Ghost. She responded by telling us that she already knew... she had felt something different, like something moving inside of her... something good... while she was reading the the introduction and so she already knows that it is true!! Wow! She is so amazing!! Elena is going to be baptized on August 29th! 

We also met a woman named Nora walking in the street.  We were walking in one direction and she was walking the other way and my companion stopped and practically started chasing her down (I asked later and she said that she just felt like we needed to follow her to talk to her.)  So we walked with her for a long time and finally, when we got to her destination, she thanked us for walking with her because she was really scared walking alone at night and we were a huge comfort to her.  She said that she would love it if we passed by to share more with her about the gospel! It was great! :)

Welp, I've gotta go! I love you guys!

Hermana Harvey

We found the church in Niebla! It's a little house right by a fort that we wanted to go see but was closed. :P Open from Tuesday to Sunday... Go figure haha
Got to play on the beach! :)

 There were lots of dogs following us haha you know you're in Chile when...