Monday, September 30, 2013

...So tell that someone that you love, the things you're thinking of, if tomorrow never comes. ~ Garth Brooks

To preface Katie's email this week, we would like to share with you 
some background that is significant in relation to Katie's letter.  
Eleven years ago, Katie's father, Scott Pendleton, tragically passed away. 

Scott was born on January 23, 1960, to Alan and Beverly Pendleton and was raised in Bountiful, Utah.  All that knew Scott enjoyed his uncanny sense of humor and quick wit.  He had many talents and excelled both at academics and sports.  Scott graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University; where he met Dianna Woodland.  They were married in the Salt Lake Temple and were blessed with two children, Jeremy and Katie.  Scott fulfilled his dream of earning an MBA from Harvard.  However, he was the first to acknowledge that his greatest accomplishment and most valued treasures in life were his children.

Scott passed away on September 29, 2002.  He was a gifted man who loved the Savior and the gospel.  To this day, his influence continues to be an important part of his children's lives. 

September 30, 2013 letter from Hermana Katherine Pendleton:

Hello my dear friends and family,

I am wanting to share a cool experience for my email this week. It probably won't be very long because I have to go back to the doctor in just a bit...but this is something super special that happened to me this week.

For those of you who don't know, I have been consistently sick my entire mission. Stomach problems, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, the list goes on. Just when one thing starts to get better, I am blessed with something else. I could go into detail with what I am dealing with right now, but I will save you all from unpleasant images and unwanted information. I'll just simply say, I spent three days in the hospital this week, trying to get back to a healthy state.

Luckily, I have been blessed and get to have one more change with Hermana Castleton! This girl has really helped to keep my spirits high, and has all the patience in the world to stay with me and take me to and from the doctor almost everyday. (I have another doctor's appointment today and Wednesday.)

On Friday morning, I don't know why, but I just really wished that I could sit down and talk to Daddy Scott about what was going on. It's one thing to be sick and not feel good, but when you're sick and in the mission, all you want is a parent to take care of you. This whole time, Mama, I've wished it was you. But Friday morning, I could have used a good Daddy Scott joke. As Hermana Castleton and I were walking to lunch, I told her, "I would never wish to have my dad here on earth, after all that he went through...but for some reason, I just really want to talk to him about all that is happening." We arrived at our lunch appointment without time for her to respond.

Even though I was feeling sad, I was happy we were able to have lunch with our Branch President, President Ortega, (aka, my dad here in Coquimbo). He knows about all that is going on with my health and is always calling and checking up on me to make sure everything is okay. He asked if he could give me a priesthood blessing and I gladly accepted. As he put his hands on my head, I immediately could not only feel his loving hands, but also Daddy Scott's. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Dad was there, with his hands on my head, present for this blessing. 

As President Ortega started to give me the blessing, I couldn't believe the things he was saying . Not only was he blessing my physical health, but my mental health. As if he knew all that I have been through throughout my life. He was saying things that I knew I had never shared with him before. It was all perfect and we were all in tears. Never, have I felt the spirit so strong in my entire mission.

I know I am being watched over and that blessing was just what I needed to help me pick myself back up. The power of the priesthood is real. I know that our Heavenly Father is very aware of all that we are going through and he knows exactly what we need. I love being a missionary. I don't care if I have to be sick for the rest of my mission, I love this work and will always be willing to work through my trials. 

Hermana Castleton con Maria y Guillermo!
I was so happy to receive so many wonderful emails this week! Thank you all for the update in Crazy-ville! TayHermana Castleton and I are dying over how pretty you looked for Homecoming! Becca and Cam, thanks for your letters :) Cam, so proud of you for accepting the challenge to bear your testimony. Tay and Becca, there is always next month! Dad, your message was beautiful and got me even more pumped for General Conference! Seriously, G. C. is like Christmas in the mission! 

Okay, I love you all so very much! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Keep strong and carry on!

Hermana Pendleton

Monday, September 23, 2013

Halfway mark! :-/

So weird. Wednesday is my halfway mark. Weird. Weird. Weird.

I have never eaten so much meat in my entire life. All week long, we ate and ate....and ate.....and ate......and ate. We ate in every single lesson, family home evening...even when we passed by to just say hello to someone, they gave us a slab of meat or 6 scoops of ice cream. Seriously. I have never eaten so much in my entire life....and they STILL continue to Celebrate. ¡Feliz 18 de Septiembre por dos semanas! They had a big fire work show over the bay and it wassooo pretty! Hermana Castleton and I sung that National Anthem and pretended it was the 4th of July.

Here in Coquimbo for September 18, there is a place called El Pompilla, where EVERYONE camps out and stays there ALL week long. It is about 10 minutes or so from our house by taxi, so literally, our area was a ghost town. 
I am pretty sure we only had about 10 lessons this week and the only investigators we saw were Ana Maria and a couple named Maria y Guillermo that the missionaries have been working with for months now. FINALLY, Maria y Guillermo kept their first commitment and are starting to progress a little bit.

Last night we had another incredible lesson with Ana Maria. When we got to her house, she had made us crepes with Jim Croce lightly playing in the background. It was a beautiful evening to say the least :) I swear Ana Maria is Morrie from Tuesday's with Morrie. I have never met someone who understands the purpose of this life better than this girl. She is my hero and will forever be an inspiration. Every time we see her, I tell her to write a book because it would be a unreal. She makes me happy and is SO prepared for this gospel!!!!....but doesn't want to join any church. Just like you said Dad, I'll just keep bearing my testimony and hopefully one day, she'll come around.

We spent a lot of time with the members this week because there wasn't anyone to teach! The branch had a huge activity on Tuesday night that was a riot! Hermana Castleton and I helped with the games for all the little kids. We even participated in a race that they invented where two people have to try and get a piece of candy out of a bowl of water without using their hands, and then immediately after, with a very wet face, try to get a piece of candy out of a bowl of flower without using your hands. It was disgusting to say the least.....
We did a million service projects this week and painted every one's fences. I love the members here. They are becoming my family and I love them.

Yesterday, I gave a talk in church on la conversiòn personal. Aka. personal conversion. See? Spanish isn't that hard :)
I studied a talk that Elder Bednar gave last October Conference about how testimony and conversion work together. I would love to attach a copy of my talk,'s in Spanish and I don't know how much of it you would understand. I could write it out...but instead, I'll just attach a part from Elder Bednar's talk that I really liked....
An important lesson about the connection between testimony and conversion is evident in the missionary labors of the sons of Mosiah.
“As many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, … as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more. Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord.” Alma 23:6-8

Two major elements are described in these verses: (1) the knowledge of the truth, which may be interpreted as a testimony, and (2) converted unto the Lord, which I understand to be conversion to the Savior and His gospel. Thus, the powerful combination of both testimony and conversion unto the Lord produced firmness and steadfastness and provided spiritual protection.
They never did fall away and surrendered “the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more.” To set aside cherished “weapons of rebellion” such as selfishness, pride, and disobedience requires more than merely believing and knowing. Conviction, humility, repentance, and submissiveness precede the abandonment of our weapons of rebellion. Do you and I still possess weapons of rebellion that keep us from becoming converted unto the Lord? If so, then we need to repent now.

Note that the Lamanites were not converted to the missionaries who taught them or to the excellent programs of the Church. They were not converted to the personalities of their leaders or to preserving a cultural heritage or the traditions of their fathers. They were converted unto the Lord—to Him as the Savior and to His divinity and doctrine—and they never did fall away.

A testimony is spiritual knowledge of truth obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost. Continuing conversion is constant devotion to the revealed truth we have received—with a heart that is willing and for righteous reasons. Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion. We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel.

Last night, I sat in bed for quite some time, thinking about how I am half way done with my mission and all that I've learned until now. There have been many important lessons, experiences and even miracles that I've seen up until now, but the coolest has been to see how much my testimony has grown and to see MY personal conversion. There are so many things that I want to add and change for when I get home. If you're wanting to have a conversion, a mission is a great place to do so. 

They say that your testimony is strengthened the more you share it....and when that's all you're doing all day, everyday, it's bound to happen. Tay, Becca, Cam...I challenge all three of you to bear your testimony the next Fast Sunday and write me about your experience. Even if you have to stand up one after the other, I know it'll bless your little bum cheeks and make you happy. I love that last quote of Elder Bednar, "We should know the gospel is true AND be true to the gospel." Sharing our testimony is a great way that we can be true to this gospel. 
We still don't know about changes. I have a good feeling my BFF Hermana Castleton is going to leave me. If she goes, I will be okay. It has been an incredible change and I have learned countless things from this girl. She is the epitome of love and humility and really has helped me change my perspective and outlook on the mission. 
Okay. I am off. 

Keep up the good work. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

So brown eyes I hold you near cause you’re the only song I want to hear‏

We just got done playing THREE HOURS OF SOCCER!!! So fun! I seriously miss playing soccer with people who actually know how to play. Hermana Castleton kills it. She has such a sweet, innocent personality....until she gets on the field. Really fun to see her competitive side come out today. 

When I went to the doctor this week, we weighed ourselves and decided it really wasn't that bad that we had only gained 10 pounds after almost half of our missions. We made ourselves feel good about ourselves and were feelin' groovy and all right. Within 20 minutes of leaving the doctors appointment, an Elder told Hermana Castleton she looked like King Kong and a random person told me I looked like Jell-o. :\ We stopped feeling good about ourselves after that. jajaja

This week really was amazing. The weather is so pretty and I just love our area. It's true when they say "time flies when you're having fun". I can not believe we already have changes next Wednesday. Pleeeease pray that Hermana Castleton and I can have one more change together. I know I will stay here but she's already been here 3 changes so the chances of her leaving are pretty good. Nooo. It's fine. I will accept whatever the Lord and President want. 
Doing service work. : )
This week I want to write about Ana Maria. Remember Leland, the super rich awesome dude from Adam West's mission? He LOVES the missionaries. He is always inviting them over, feeding them, giving them gift cards, taking them on cruises, etc...But for some reason, he just doesn't want to get baptized? Well, that is Ana Maria. She lives by herself, is 58, never has been married and seriously could be the next Mother Teresa. She loves to be outside, taking care of her 2 dogs and all of her crazy plants that she grows. The missionaries never have had a lesson with her but she has always stopped them to talk when they are walking by. She always tells us that when her neighbors or friends talk about about the mormons, she gets "the burning rage of a defensive mother's heart and explains the mormons are nothing but healthy, loving people who don't like to party with alcohol or drugs". 

"My name is Rod. And I like to party." (Hot Rod, thank you very much.)

She's just a straight up sweetheart. This last week, she invited us to her house to have once (dinner) with her. She made us homemade bread, lemon pie and sandwiches :) After living alone for so long, with not very many friends, we learned that this lady was just dying to talk--so we let her talk, telling us her entire life story of being abused, having her mom\bff die when she was 18, being forced to live with her evil step-mom who was only 5 years older than her and being abandoned by her dad after finding out that her 23 year old wife was cheating on him. Ana Maria had to figure out how to live on her own. Her dad finally came back 18 years ago because he was dying and needed someone to take care of him. She accepted with loving arms and quoted Matthew 6:14-15

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

I asked her if she had always been this wise and loving. She laughed and said absolutely not. I'll never forget what she said after that "I was in my own world, on my own time, selfish me until my Dad came back...That's when I learned how to be happy. All of my life I tried to be happy working to have everything...I never made it...I never knew happiness until I learned that it's not about working to have's about working to have nothing. We must learn to forgive and always give of ourselves." She has full on dedicated her lief to giving to those around her. She works to have money to help those in need and never gets caught up in buying worldly materials. She is truly just an angel. Someone that I really want to become. 

How easy it is for us to get so caught up in ourselves, the things that we don't have or what we can never become. Ever since our lesson, I just keep looking for ways that I can help someone someone carry their groceries, open the door for the person behind me, saying hello to someone who looks like they are having a bad day. It's been incredible to see all the extra smiles I've received. I just feel happier when I am thinking about others. I am really starting to feel like a representative of Jesus Christ. I wish so badly that this women would accept the gospel into her life. She is too wonderful to not have all these extra blessings. I know Heavenly Father is very aware of our situations. He will take care of her and all the good she is doing in this life. I love the gospel so much. This plan is perfect and I love being a missionary here in Chile.

Everything is great with everyone else. We had our first lesson with Javiera and her mom yesterday after they made us Almuerzo! I think she will take a while to open up a bit but I know with time, she will come around. Family Alquinta is doing great! We are still teaching Joaquin and working with family to get callings and keep up the good work with enduring to the end! 

This week, 18 Septiembre, is Independence Day here in Chile. Aka, we are not going to work at all this week. The kids have 10 days out of school and no one has work. And wanna know where everyone in Chile goes to celebrate this week? Yup, here in Coquimbo. it is CRAZY. Everyone is here. Drunk as ever. So many people sleeping in the calles (streets). We will probably just start teaching the dogs. Like I told you, they always listen. 

Looks like I will be getting a colonoscapy next Tuesday. The doctor thinks it's best because it really is a mystery of why this keeps coming back. I also have had a terrible cold the last couple of days and really just feel pretty crappy. Please keep your prayers coming--they are very much appreciated!

Mama, your email sounded like things really are crazy at home! TAY CONGRATULTIONS. You are finally going to get your driver's license....with Becca! :) So proud of you. Beggz, congrats on making, not only one spot, but TWO spots in the Nutcracker. You're killing it! Cam, tell Huggins I say hi. I don't know if she will remember me but she was always one of my favorites. Did I tell you a sent you a letter last week? If I didn't, I sent you a letter last week. Also, does Mrs.Hinckley still have lots of dandruff? I am not trying to be mean. It's just a question. 

Okay, I love you all soooooo much. "Thank you sooooo much!" (Hermana Castleton and I are always quoting Hot Rod so it's just natural for me to do it in my emails.) 
OKAY, I love you. 


P.S. Aren't the children in the first picture angels? Love these girls!  I want to come back and adopt them. Right after we took this picture, we walked in to their kitchen and the mom was snorting crack. Their mom is 23, single, 3's the saddest. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

You and your sister live in a lemon world...

Ensenado Joaquin Alquinto afueta su casa.

This week was a good, nice, simple week. I don't feel like I have that much to talk about....

Right now we have a lot of investigators but have only taught all of them two or three times so it's difficult to see who is progressing and who really wants to change their lives. Family Alquintais receiving so many blessings. Hermana Alquinta and her oldest son Martin both found work this week. It's so cool to promise our investigators that if they keep the commandments, they will be blessed.....and then to see those blessings come into their lives is such a testimony builder to me. 

Last week, we told Hermana Alquinta that if she keeps doing everything that she possibly can for her family, that she would be able to see Joaquin be baptized. She found out on Saturday that, starting in December, she will have 100% custody of Joaquin and he will be able to get baptized right before Christmas! He is the last of her kids to get baptized. Their goal is to start saving to go to the temple for next December. SOOO Cool. I love our Heavenly Father and how he is always blessing his children. The Gospel really does bless and strengthen families.

Hermana Hemorrhoid is back. Lots of diarrhea and lots of feelin' sick this week. I go to the doctor tomorrow. The missionary nurse thinks I'mma need a colonoscopy.....I would rather die. Everyone here is really forward and just says it how it is. I can't remember if this is too much information to share with people? :/ It's just who I am. Love me.

Although this week was a bit boring, we had a killer ending with a beautiful baptism yesterday. Javíera was SO happy and looked so beautiful. Almost the entire Branch came to support her and (another incredible blessing) her mom was able to make it! All of the members were so welcoming and afterward, she had a thousand questions. Javíera and her mom invited us to have Almuerzo with them this Sunday. Javí told us that she thinks that we will be able to start teaching her mom :) That would be a miracle in and of itself.  It's a wonderful time to be a missionary here in Coquimbo

Becca, I am excited to hear if you made the Nutcracker!
I don't doubt for a second that you are going to make it....
my guess is, you'll be Snow this year. Don't sweat it.

Tay Tay, hi. :) Keep being cute.

Cam, you darling little railroad track braces boy :)))) So cute! I sent you a letter this morning in the mail. Look for that.

Dad, Don't worry about not emailing this week.  Keep doing a great job at being awesome!

MAMA, I LOVE YOU. Thanks for all your love and support. 

Hermana KTPYO