Monday, June 24, 2013

"All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you‏..." - The Hollies

First of all, Dad, I owe you a huge apology. I was waiting until June to send your birthday package for your birthday on JULY 14...Yeah, I´m an idiot. J-U-N-E 14th.....I´ll have to remember that for the next year :/ 

Just know I sent a little something off to you last week for your birthday that should get to you in about 2 or 3 weeks...I died when I read mom´s email when she said you celebrated Father´s Day AND your birthday. Sorry...

"Don´t you know I´ve had diarrhea's since Easters?"....I am pretty sure I have been sick since day one. Four months in Chile and I am still suffering. I was up all night throwing up...I have an appointment with a doctor in Viña on Wednesday. Pray that we can find a solution.

This week was an absolute blessing. Hermana Martinez and I are working like crazy! It is amazing how much you can accomplish in one day. The ward we are in is extremely difficult to work with.  Like I expressed last week, they are really lazy at helping with the missionary work. A lot of it has to do with the past missionaries that have been in this ward. 

When we met with the Branch President, Juan Carlos, to talk about Alejandro´s baptism, he told us 2 or 3 of the worst disobedient missionary stories I´ve ever heard.  Nothing pisses me off more than a disobedient missionary! 
But, then again, these missionaries were more than disobedient. Their stories were freaking apostasy - taking random people down to the beach to be baptized in the ocean without teaching one lesson, an Elder babysitting one of the Sister´s babies so the other elder could spend the afternoon locked in a bedroom with who knows who, etc.  Terrible experiences that obviously put a burden on the future missionaries....kill me. 

After much work with the Branch President and Alejandro, we were able to have a baptism for him yesterday! All went well and he was happy as could be.  He has the sweetest spirit and is incredible with reading and understanding the Book of Mormon. Watching someone convert to the Gospel makes all the stressful, discouraging moments not seem like such a big deal.
we were able to have a baptism for him.

We have been spending a lot of time working with Familia Nivarro Hidalgo and teaching them the law of chastity and eternal marriage.  Finally, after 12 years of living together, they finally accepted our invitation to help them get married and went and bought a fecha to get married on August 14! We are praying all goes well and that we´ll be able to baptize Cecilia, Emilio and their oldest daughter the following weekend :)

Our new technique to finding and teaching is offering to teach people English for free. We already have two new investigators: Daniel and Mauricio. Daniel is a 19-year old student here at the university in Valparaiso.  He lives with his brother and their family. Their mom is a member and so all of them are familiar with the church. We taught Daniel The Restoration last night and he accepted to get baptized July 14! His brother and their family are perfect...we just need to spend time with all them together. Wahoo!

We are waiting to receive Books of Mormon in English to help them learn. It´s a great way to share the gospel, teach and help them learn English!
Mauricio is 15.  His family (mom, dad and older brother) invited us for once (their version of dinner) on Saturday. We spent a lot of time with the alphabet, pronunciation and taught about the Book of Mormon. Mauricio showed up at church yesterday and loved it! He is stoked on the idea of Young Men's. So awesome!

I was stoked when I read that you were able to see the worldwide missionary conference yesterday! It was sooo GOOD and so perfect and I am so ready for all the new changes and counsel! 70,274 missionaries! 405 missions! Can you believe it! What a great time to be a missionary! This church is TRUE. 

Best Pday EVER w/ my new shirt & fav sandwich in Chile.
It's crazy to think that changes are already next week! Where does the time go? Seriously. I´m about 1/3 done. This mission is literally the hardest thing I´ve ever had to do. Trying to balance out every plan, investigator, emotion, goal, language, bleh, everything is so bloody hard at times...but it´s all worth it in the end :) The conference last night made me excited to come home and work as a missionary member.

I am happy you all had a beautiful summer week! It sounds like McKenna is adjusting well and having amazing experiences. She looks so happy in the picture with Tay Tay and Becca :) They are such amazing examples. I always use Tay and Becca as examples of how the youth should be when I am teaching the youth here. I have the best family in the world!

Thank you so much for your emails and love this week! You are all amazing. Be happy and remember how much I love you!


Hermana Pendleton

Monday, June 17, 2013

I put the right foot in front of the leg and beyond that is anybody's guess‏. -M. Ward, Epistemology lyrics

The view from my bedroom.

Where everyone accepts the invitation to get baptized 
and then becomes inactive the following Sunday.

It is incredible to me how many less active members there are in just my area alone. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, there was a good 40-45 people at church yesterday. During the week, our goals is to contact and talk to at least 20 people everyday. That is 140 contacts every week. This week I decided to keep tract of how many contacts said they were less active or had family members who were baptized but had left the church....I lost tract at almost 50. I feel like my mind-set is more focused on retention than it is on baptizing. It´s difficult to find a balance between the two. Ever since I got to Chile, I´ve always felt that less actives are just as important as finding those to teach and invite to be baptized. It doesn´t help that the Ward is extremely small and unmotivated to help the missionaries with the work.

Luckily, I was asked to speak in Sacrament yesterday - for 20 minutes because no one else in the Ward wanted to talk this week besides the Branch President and me. (People in Chile can be SO LAZY!) Before I started to write my talk, I thought a lot about how I could write a message that would be beneficial for our investigators, less active members and the members in our Ward to have more faith in Christ and continue to strengthen their relationship with him. The only thing I could think of was "Help them feel loved...teach them how to serve with faith". That made perfect sense to me. All anyone wants is to feel that they are loved and accepted. I was reminded of a quote from this past General Conference from President Eyring:

"Many of you have loved ones who are wondering off the path to eternal life. You wonder what more you can do to bring them back. You can depend on the Lord to draw closer to them as you serve Him in faith.... My promise to you who pray and serve the Lord cannot be that you will have every blessing you may wish for yourself and your family. But I can promise you that the Savior will draw close to you and bless you and your family with what is best. You will have the comfort of His love and feel the answer of His drawing arms in giving you service to others. As you bind up the wounds of those in need and offer the cleansing of His Atonement to those who sorrow in sin, the Lord´s power will sustain you. His arms are outstretched with yours to succor and bless the children of our Heavenly Father, including those in your family."

Together with this quote, I did my best to write a talk letting all of them know how loved they are...but how their lack of service to the Lord kind of sucks right now.  I talked a lot about missionary work and ways they could help. Immediately after sacrament meeting, 5 different people came up to me and asked how they could help us this week, 2 gave us references and the sweetest sister offered to do our laundry this week. The message was a success! Thanks,Eyring.

Oh, by the way, I am also the Ward pianist and Choir director. We have Stake Conference next week and I´ve been in charge or the choir practices and getting our musical number ready for the beautiful 8 people that our in our choir. It´s great and really funny and I can hardly remember how to play the piano. But it´s a good experience :)
Hermana Martinez, Silvia and Me at a RS Activity.
Alejandro had a lot of trouble this week but we were able to put another baptism date for this Saturday!

We are working really hard with a perfect family. Familia Navarro Hidalgo. They have been together for over 12 years and have two sweet daughters ages 12 and 5. They know that the church is true and they want to become members. Only problema is...they aren´t married :/  Ugh. why is no one freaking married here? We are meeting with them tonight to talk about the law of chastity more and our options for them. PRAY FOR THEM PLEASE.

We are really working hard and doing our best to contact everyone! This week was really humbling and I am happy to be here. I feel like the more time I spend in the mission (5 months yesterday - Wahoo!the harder it gets. But the harder it gets, the more rewarding it is. I am grateful for all of my trials and everything I am learning right now. There are times when I fall, but I am relying on the Lord and every time, he helps me get back up. The Atonement is real.

Being goofs at Zone Conference

Hermana Martínez is heaven sent. I truly am so grateful for her. We have become the best of friends and are experiencing really incredible things together. I love her dearly. She will be an eternal friend fo sho. 

Okay, family. I love you all so very much! I hope you had a great week and a beautiful Father´s Day! 
Dad, thanks for your sweet message! Love you!!!!!
All my love,
Hermana Pendleton
Sushi to celebrate Hermana Martinez's 11 month mark in the mission.

Monday, June 10, 2013

¡Bienvenidos a Valparaíso!‏

This week. Wow! Remember a couple weeks ago, when I said I feel like I´m simply floating down the Lazy River at Cherry Hill? Well, this week I decided to go down Cardiac Canyon....
Wednesday morning I received a phone call from the President saying, "Buenas Días, Hermana Pendleton! I am going to be at your house at 14:30 this afternoon to pick you up and take you to your new area! Please be ready with your bags packed. Thank you and have a good day!" ...and that was that. On our drive to my new area, President told me that I was only going to be with this companion for three more weeks because she would be leaving the following transfer. He advised that I learn the area AND the language as quickly as :/   ....yeah.


Later that day, I found myself in Valparaíso with Hermana Martínez! Her companion was having health problems and her body wasn´t able to walk the gnarly, we swapped places, and here I am!  It truly is San Fransisco here, only a lot more ghetto and diverse. Everywhere I look, I have a smile on my face. The bright colors, the archetecture, the view of the ocean....IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.....AND SO FREAKING COLD. This week is officially winter and oh my gosh....I feel like I am re-living my first day in Boston all over again. It is so cold. That is all I can say. SO bitter, SO cold!


Hermana Martínez, my SIXTH companion, is great! She is 27 years old, from Mexico and is currently in her training to be a mission leader. I don´t know if you've heard, but they are now giving the Hermana´s leadership callings in the mission. As a mission leader, the Hermana´s will go on split´s with other Hermana´s and show them how real missionary work is done. That being said, I had to learn our entire área, investigators and ward in one day - on Thursday, because on Friday, Hermana Martínez was in Viña for training. I had a brand new Gringa, Hermana Boyd, spend the day with me and, oh boy, I was extremely humbled. Hermana Boyd has been here for three weeks and knows NO Spanish. Very funny day. I feel like I am being extremely blessed with the language and my abilites thus far.....but understanding everyone is a different story. Especially here in Valparaíso where some people don´t even know how to speak their own language. There is a lot of poverty here. We have lots of work to do....
This week I had liver and kidney for lunch.....I won´t say anything more.....Be grateful for your Café Rio.
As I was studying scriptures about putting our trust in the Lord this week, I came across a scripture in Proverbs that I can testify to be true as a missionary serving in Chile..."He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife:but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat..." I am really hoping all these steep hills will help me develop a Booty like Beyoncé.....
We have an investigator named Alejandro that we are hoping to baptize this weekend! Please pray for him. He has been having lots of doubts but definitely has a testimony of the Book of Mormon! He is such an amazing person and I know he is ready to be a member of this church! We have a lot of investigators but not many of them are progressing. I am hoping that I get a Latina for the next change because seriously, it is difficult to understand everyone here. Pray for me!
Other than that, this week was really amazing! It sounded like this past week was a success with the last week of school, your birthday, mama, and all other sorts of fun things! Please enjoy the sun for me! I am hoping these next two or three months fly by because this cold weather is horrible to work in! Becca and Cam, congratulations on graduating Elementary and Jr. High School!!! Tay, good luck with your job interview!!!
You are all beautiful. Thanks for being the best family in the world!

All my love,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Children, WAKE UP!

Okay...Mom...I would give anything to sit on the back deck with you right now! Your description of home may have made me a bit trunky.... :/ But only because I miss you like crazy! ....No worries though. I am having much success here in Chile!

I am feeling very blessed to be here in Villa Alemana. We found SO MANY people this week!

Valeria and Camila were terrified to come to church this week because they had a terrible experience with some weird church here in Chile. They told us they weren´t going to come anymore and weren´t answering our phone calls. Finally, on Saturday night, Valeria called us and said she missed us and wanted to going to church with us. Sooo, Valeria and Camila came to church with us yesterday and both of them ended up in tears during Sacrament meeting! The spirit was so strong and I know they will be baptized this month!

We found a family of 6! The mom is a menas activa (I honestly forget how to say that in English) and called the Elders saying "Elders, I need help with my family! Can you please come and teach my family?" Luckily, they were in our area. Hi. Best reference ever. We are working with their son Benjamin (12) and daughter Analice (14). The dad doesn´t want anything to do with the church but every time we have come to teach, he always sits on the opposite side of the room so he can hear us. I know he´ll come around....The other 2 kids are niños and usually are asleep. They are all progressing really well! Pray for them!

There is a girl in the ward named Yessi. She is my best friend. She is so freaking funny and is the BEST missionary. If every member could be like her, the whole world would be baptized already! Her mom died of cancer when she was 12 so we connected really well. She comes to a lot of our lessons with us and her testimony is helping us so much! I´ll attach a picture of her.

Other than that, things are going really well. I absolutely love my companions. Hermana Etechgaray is literally the funniest person I´ve ever met. She says really funny, innocent things that could definitely come across as "rude" to some people but it´s never her intention. I love how sarcastic she can be. Our sense of humor is exactly the same. People refer to us has Hermana Mentida (Lie) y Hermana Chiste (joke/funny). We are always jokin´and laughin´. Hermana Beu is so pure and innocent. She doesn´t understand any of our jokes but just laughs because we are laughing. 

Scott Bryon Pendleton....I get teary eyed every time I say that name.

I am jealous you are all having a wonderful sunny summer! Enjoy it for me. We are supposedly going into winter right now but the weather is still amazing. We had two days of rain this week and that was crazy. It was raining harder than it rained when I was in Africa....and I thought that was impossible. The nights are pretty cold but the mornings are always really warm when we go out to run (yes, I make them get up and run with me). The weather is weird but....whatever. I hate working out inside. We make up really funny workouts and dances for our exercise.

Okay, I love you all dearly! Thank you for your support and all you do for me. Mama, have a beautiful birthday this week! In front of our house, there is a big D B spray painted on the wall. I always think of you every time I walk past it :) Look out for something in mail this week! I am happy Ali was able to stop by! She is amazing. Such a good friend and has been so good at supporting me here in the mission! I am so blessed.

All my love,
Hermana Chiste