Monday, July 15, 2013

The rain is falling, it's after dark, the streets are swimming with the sharks.

It is difficult to put into words the feelings of a mission. 
It´s hard to explain how I felt this past week. 
Happy, yet humbled, I think. 

I am definitely being humbled every day as I remember that this is not my work. "And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man somtimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy, and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved." 

Sometimes it is difficult to work your very hardest, with exact obedience - "Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them." -and not see all of your investigators choose to accept the gospel. 

It is even more difficult when you know your investigators have been progressing or receiving answers to their prayers. "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man...". I would say the thing I am learning most in the mission is patience. I know I have said that many times before, but it is so true. I am trying to be patient with myself, with my investigators, with the plan of our Heavenly Father..."Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their partience and their faith". 

But, I am learning that if I do my part, am diligent with this work, my investigators will progress according to what the Lord sees best. "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage (or help your investigators progress.)"

I am gaining a strong testimony of this gospel and the plan of salvation. It is an honor to say I am a representative of Jesus Christ and to help love and serve the people here in Chile. This week we saw great progression with Daniel and Mauricio (both papa and hijo).

Daniel has been looking for work the last two months and finally found a job this weekend. His schedule is every Saturday and Sunday, 10-9. He asked us if he could change his baptism date from this Saturday to Friday but obviously, we had to explain el día de reposo and that if he wasn't able to come to church after his baptism, he wouldn't be able to be confirmed nor tompoco partake of the sacrament every week. He was very aware and of the situation and said that he would talk to his job and see if they could change the dates. He was able to change his schedule so that for the first month, he would work Sundays 1-9 so that he could come to Sacrament meeting, and after the first month, he would change to a Friday/Saturday schedule. WAHOO. Because of some family drama, he is going to be baptized next Friday.

Mauricio papa and Mauricio hijo are progressing very well! Both came to church yesterday and had a positive experience. Mauricio hijo told us he prayed about the Book of Mormon and said that immediately after, he had no doubt that it was true. He accepted to be baptized this Saturday with Daniel, but yesterday in church, he explained that he wanted to wait a bit longer. Tomorrow we are going to see if he wants to be baptized with Daniel for the following week. I don't want to rush him and think that it is best for him to spend more time with the lessons and getting to know the members in the ward. He has a blast with the youth and loves coming to church. He is a great example to his dad and other family members. His mom is VERY catholic and I think may be playing a part in why he is holding back a bit, but luckily the papa is very supportive! 

Great email this week, Dad! It tied in perfectly with a family in our ward. Familia Roman. Hermana Roman has been a faithful member her entire life...but her husband, Carlos Roman, simply isn't ready to accept the invitation to be baptized. He knows the missionaries and the lessons better than I do. He believes that the church is true but doesn´t want to make a covenant with God. The joke he always makes with the missionaries is "I'm simply planning on being baptized with spirit world. I think it'll be a lot more stress-free to plan my baptism there than it would be even says so in Alma 40:12!" We still continue to pass by his house once or twice throughout the week. 

Yesterday, in between Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society, I saw Hermano Roman outside, standing in the street, in front of the church. I grabbed Hermana Martinez and ran out to invite him inside. He refused to come in and simply wanted to wait for his wife to walk home with her. We sat there and stared at each other for a good while, I smiled and said, "Hermano, Priesthood is about to start, and I think it's your time." I then took him by the arm and escorted him to Priesthood! After church, he found me, smiled and said "Thank you. I better see you at my house this Wednesday for pizza." :)))) Let's hope we can see a miracle with this guy.

We had an amazing Family Home Evening with Familia Navarro! They accepted to come to church....and of course, didn't show up. It is so frustrating!!!! Aaahhh. It is the same every week. We have an amazing lesson, the spirit is so strong and they are all about "We want to be family forever and make the temple our goal, blah blah blah...." and then they never show up to church. Please say 10 prayers for them this week. Thank you.

The mission is freaking hard. I'll just say that. Every night I am extremely exhausted; physically, emotionally, mentally....but it is all worth it when you can see the miracles of your investigators changing, progressing and gaining a testimony of this gospel. "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."

Love you all! I am so happy to hear you had a nice, easy, laid back week. Tay Tay, keep up the good work! Becca, I hope you enjoy your last week and dance camp! Mom and Cam, enjoy the sun for me and Dad, keep being the boss! Jer, Tina and Scotty Boy, love you 3!  :)

Thanks for everything you do! 
Love, Hermana Pendleton

Monday, July 8, 2013

Purify the colours, purify my mind, and spread the ashes of the colours over this heart of mine!‏

What an incredible week! I am here to testify that obedience brings blessings. I was extremely humbled this week and saw miracles. 

Monday was a great last P-day with Hermana Martinez! We spent the day running around Valparaìso, exploring all sorts of crazy streets and eating every kind of new food we could find. Sofia, one of the ward missionaries who loves to come out with us, was our tour guide and we had an absolute blast! Hermana Martinez is going to be a life long friend. There is no doubt about that. Even though we were only together for four weeks, we became the best of friends and seriously kicked some butt with the missionary work! It was so nice to work with someone who put everything they had into working their hardest every single day. It prepared me to become a better TRAINER.

What did I tell you? I told you I would be one of the lucky ones who would have the opportunity to train one of those new seven hermanas! My new companion is HermanaMartinez (otra vez)! She is 19 years old, from Argentina and is ready to work! Once again, I will say, it is SO NICE to work with someone who knows their purpose as a missionary. It drives me crazy to see some of these Hermanas sleeping in until 9 in the morning, staying in the house because the hills are too hard to climb or they are too scared to talk to people. Hermana Martinez has an incredible testimony and we were able to have some incredible lessons this weekend. 

Right now we are working really close with Daniel and Mauricio. We were schedule to have a Noche de Hoger with both of them on Friday. Mauricio at 6 and Daniel at 8. We planning on watching The Joseph Smith Movie with both of them but when we got to Mauricios house, he couldn´t find the remote to his TV to chance the language to Spanish. He was really looking forward to watching this movie so I had the idea, maybe we could invite Mauricio to Daniel´s house and we could have a combined lesson. At first I thought that might be weird to invite an investigator to another investigators house...especially because Daniel already had a fecha for baptism and we were planning on asking Mauricio to be baptized after we watched the movie. I felt really strongly that I needed to invite him, so we did and ended up having a KILLER NDH. We watched the movie and after Daniel asked if he could share his experience about receiving an answer to his prayer about the Book of Mormon. It was incredible to have Mauricio, an investigator, hear the testimony of another investigator preparing for baptism, bear his testimony and share his conversion process. 

Both Daniel and Mauricio came to church yesterday and are becoming friends! They were laughing and joking and being goofs in Gospel Doctrine class. So great. Last night, we stopped by Mauricio´s house to talk to him about church and what he thought. His dad, Mauricio Papa, was there and we were able to teach him Lesson 1 about the Restoration. It was INCREDIBLE because Mauricio hijo was helping us teach the lesson. When we were done, we asked the papa if he would pray to see if it was true and he simply said, "I don´t need to pray. I already know it´s true." WAHOO. So what did I do? You bet I asked both of them if they would Seguràn el ejemplo de Jesucristo! We invited Mauricio to be baptized on 20 Julio with Daniel and the papa to pray about a baptism date for Agosoto. They both said they wanted to pray about it but that they wanted to invited their mom to listen first! Ah, we have a whole family here. It is so amazing. I know they are all going to get baptized. Mauricio called us right after to tell us he did said that he wanted to come to church this Sunday! 

Ah, flip. We have to leave right now to go pick up my visa! There is so much more I want to write about. Just know that I had amazing experiences this week and am super content. I know that the family fast worked. I have been 100% healthy since Friday night and continue to feel great. I even ate a giant ice cream cone and had positive results :) Thank you so much for thinking of me. Please tell the family I love them and am truly blessed to have their love and support. I, too, include the extended family in my prayers and constantly feel their love here in Chile.

This church is true. There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I know that every single word in The Book of Mormon is true. I can feel it´s truth every time I read it. I think the thing that I love most about this mission is the opportunity I have to bear my testimony about Jesus Christ. I always had a testimony about our Savior Jesus Christ but now, I feel the spirit of the atonement in my life all the time. I am so thankful for His sacrifice and all that he went through so that I can live with all of you and our Heavenly Father forever. Don´t worry mom. Imma gonna make sure that all of our family chooses to get married in the temple. We will be a family forever. 

Mom and Dad. I read both of your emails and just bawled through both of them. I am so blessed to receive such incredible messages from both of you every week. They are always inspired and exactly the thing that I need to read. Dad, your testimony is unreal. Thank you for your example of diligence and unconditional love for all those around you. Our ward is extremely blessed to have such an amazing bishop.
I love all of you and hope you have an incredible week! Thank you so much for being so cool and the best family EVER.

All my love,
Hermana Pendleton

Monday, July 1, 2013

O be wise, what more can I say?

Our District

Deciding to serve a mission is like cliff diving without looking over the edge first to make sure you know where you are, all conditions are clear and you´re sure to have a positive experience.  Once you decide to serve and submit your papers, or jump off the cliff without looking, you must accept whatever comes your turning back.

"Therefore, O ye that dive in the water of the unknown, see that ye hope to endure whatever is at the bottom with all your heart, might, mind and strengeth, that ye may land clearly into the water successfuly in hopes that it´s not your last day..."

In the mission, you can´t choose where you serve, your conditions; the weather, your copmanion, the dcidions of your investigators...sometimes there are branches you´ll hit, rocks at the bottom, a feeling of "Why the crap did I ever think it was a good idea to jump?"...sometimes things will be clear and positive, a feeling of "I could do this jump over and over again..."

Wether your experience is rocky or must deal with all conditions and do your best to come up out of the water alive. There are days in the mission where I feel like I jumped into a lake of fire and brimstone with endless tourment (...okay, maybe that´s a bit over exaggerated...) but also I have days where I feel like I could serve for the rest of my life.  This week was a bit of both- regardless of the day, I went to bed every night having to read 1 Nephi 3:7 and during the day, considering Nephi´s later advice, "...and I was lead by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do..."

I am just trying to simply learn to listen to the Spirit about which cliff I should jump off.

We had to a lot of work this week in the freezing, windy, rainy weather while trying to hike up these blasted steep hills. I felt like I was trying to walk upstream with all the water rushing down on us... I tell you, Valapraiso will be the death of me. My back hurts, my legs hurt, my butt hurts, everything hurts....But I think I am losing some weight, so I won´t complain too much about the pain :)

Mauricio is perfect! He is another Nibaldo. In our last lesson, he begged that we stay and read "just one more chapter!" with him. He is killing it with the English as well! What I don´t understand is how we will have AMAZING lessons the night before Sunday, and then all the sudden, they don´t show up to church. Ughh..Chileans are great at making commitments....keeping them is a whole other story.
Luckily (and Unfortunantly), Daniel, showed up for church on Sunday!....with a terrible hangover :/ He told us he had gone to Viña the night before for a fiesta and didn´t get home until 7:30 in the morning. He had to get up and go to the bathroom three times during Sacrament Meeting so he could puke. Ughhh.....I am telling you....Chileans.....yeah.
Yesterday, Alejandro was confirmed and is seriously a different person! He is glowing and smiling all the time! So cool to see the conversion in someone. It makes the mission totally worth it to help someone come unto Christ and really see them change their lives for the better.

The highlight of my week was a Noche de Hogar (FHE) we had with two Hermanas in the ward. We made brownies and pancakes and had an american night! They are one of my favorites in the ward. The message that they prepared for us was in English and I felt right at home :)

We find out about changes Wednesday morning! I am guessing I will stay here in Valpraiso and be training. There are 71 Hermanas right now in the mission and we are receiving 7 more this week. With my luck thus far in the mission, I will probably be one of the lucky ones and get put with one of those 7.....I am okay to train, all I ask is that they are latina, por favor! I will die if I get a brand new grina who knows nooo español :/ (..."I will go I will do....I will go I will do.....") 

I can´t believe how hot it is at home! This week was freezing but we woke up this morning and the sun was shining and it feel like a nice summer day! The weather in Valparaiso is the best weather in all of our mission. It has it´s rainy, freezing moments where I seriously want to die, but it´s way better than being inland where it´s feezing for 3 or 4 months straight. I am praying I can stay here at least one more change to enjoy the sunny days during the winter. This morning, when I wrote 1 Julio 2013, I about died at how fast time is flying. I am doing my best to not think about all the fun 4th of July activities going on at home. With the changes that they made in the MTC, Spanish speaking missionaries are only 6 weeks and not 9 weeks, I think I´ll be coming home about 4 weeks early....which means I will be home for 4th of July next year! Wahoo! Enjoy my favorite holiday for me this year!

Okay, I think that´s about it for this week. I am doing okay and feeling a bit better health-wise. Tay tay, I am happy you are liking your new job! I would kill for some Zupas!  Eat a berry salad and tortilla soup for me :)

You are all beautiful and I love you! 

All my love,
Katherine Pendleton

Finally, some subway! WAHOO #healthyfoodrocksbutthissubwaystillkindasuckedbutohwell