Saturday, December 27, 2014

Week #21

Hey everyone,

This week I sent home Hermana Butler.  Our time together went by so fast, but I learned so much from her.  Right now I am in a trio with Hermana Aycho from Peru who has about 4 weeks in the mission and is still being trained and with Hermana Dana who is from Argentina who will be going home at the end of January. It has been a little bit hard working in both sectors, but I have enjoyed working with them for the past two days and it is really only for 3 more weeks and then I should have a new companion.

Victor is doing pretty good. His baptism is in 2 weeks, on the 2nd of January, so we are really excited.  He still isn't smoking, which is amazing as he was smoking a lot before. He basically decided to stop the day he commited to a baptismal date and has been staying strong ever since.  The only thing that is really hard with him is his health is still really bad and he is undergoing dialysis and as part of that his memory has gone way down hill, so he has a hard time understanding some things and remembering what he is reading in the scriptures and what we are teaching.  The other thing is he is in the process of a divorce with his wife and is going to move soon after his baptism and so we are really working hard to help him have a firm testimony in the gospel before he leaves.  Please pray for him.
This week I finally found Jacquelin in her house and she let us enter for a little bit, but she told us that she isn't reading or praying and that all of this is a personal decision that she has to make, but it is very hard for her and she is happy with her life as it is right now.  It broke my heart to leave that house after working my whole time here with her, but I know that we did all that we could to help her and maybe she just isnt ready right now, but I pray that one day in the future she will be ready and will receive the missionaries.  We have had to stop teaching several of our investigators, but the others weren't as hard, but it is definitely one of the hardest things we have to do as missionaries.  Please pray for her as well even though we are not teaching her right now.
We taught Belen this week and shared the parable of the 10 virgins and talked about the importance of not putting off the things that are really important.  It was a great lesson and at the end she said that she was going to go to church this week no matter what and she was going to talk to Jonathon more about marriage, but then they weren't at the church on Sunday and so I am not sure what is going to happen with them.  Please pray for them.  They have testimonies and they want badly to be able to go to the temple with their family.  They are just struggling, with other things going on in their lives, to make time to do the things they need to do to reach these goals. 
Other than that we have been teaching a few other people that arent really progressing right now or that we have only been able to teach once, but I am excited to see what is going to happen with them.
This Sunday we had a Christmas devotional with just music, which was really cool we all sang and there were a lot of solos.  It is amazing the power that music has to bring people together and to bring the spirit.
Well I can't wait to see you all for Christmas.  I love you all so much and am So very grateful for all of your support!
Hermana Stringham

Monday, December 22, 2014

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad, from Chile!

Week #20

Hey everyone,

Okay so this week was a little bit of a harder week with not as much success! So it was a little long and my letter is a little shorter this week again.

My companion went to the temple this week and had a meeting since she is going home, Thursday. I was with other Hermanas a lot this week, which was fun.  Last week had a great week for numbers and this week our numbers weren’t so great!  We spent a lot of time outside, but it was good as well because we worked really hard. Although we didn’t find anyone new to teach, I know that all of our hard work is going to pay off.  Although the week was a little frustrating, it just helped us to work all that more harder. We also had a lot of fun anyways.  We had our Christmas activity, which was really fun. We played a lot of different sport and ate completos and so it was nice to have a little brake and just have fun with the other missionaries.

Victor still is preparing for his baptism, but he is going to move right after. I am a little nervous about that as well. He forgets things a lot and a member told us that it is because of his dialysis.  So we are a little worried what will happen after he moves, so we are really trying to work hard with him.
Belen and Jonathon are doing alright, but again didn’t go to church. They are talking about getting married, but in a year, so we are really trying to work with them to help them to progress. Please pray for them.

I am going to be in a trio after my companion leaves with Hermana Dana from Argentin and Hermana Aycho from Peru, who only has 2 weeks in the mission.  I am excited to work with them and I am sure it will help my Spanish.  I am just a little nervous because we have to work in both of our sectors and we are in different wards so that will be a little interesting.

I love you all and am so very grateful for your support.

Hermana Stringham

New Companion - Herman Butler!

Herman Stringham & Hermana Butler

Week #19


Wow this week has gone by so fast.  We have been working really hard and we have seen it. Our numbers have like tripled! It is crazy!  We are working a lot with this Christmas video that is called, “He is the gift”.  We have been able to get into so many houses with this video, that would not have said yes otherwise. It has been really cool.

My new companion is really great. She is really hardworking and direct, which has helped our sector a lot.  I have loved working with her even though we only will have a short time together as she goes home on the 18th. I am going to be put in a trio with the other girls in our house.  It will be interesting to see how that goes, as we will have to work in both of our sectors and we are going to have to trade off going to different wards. But I know there is a reason for all things and it will all work out great. 

Okay so this week we taught Victor twice. The first time we taught he said that he wasn’t sure about somethings and that maybe in 2 years he would be ready for a baptism.  We told him that he needed to pray about it. When we returned he had completely changed and asked us when he could be baptized. We set a date for the 2nd of January as he has to quit smoking. But he hasn’t smoked since and is doing pretty good.  Please pray for him.  We are working with a lot of people and I am really excited to see how this week goes.

I am so sorry my letter is really short this week, as I don’t have a lot of  time to write. Sorry!  I love you all so much and I a praying for you all.  I will write more next week.

Love ya,
 Hermana Stringham

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Home Sweet Home!

Home Sweet Home!

In the Rain!

Herman Stringham and Hermana Nokes
Playing in the Rain!

Zone Tupahue 1

My Zone

My District

P-day at Safari - November 11, 2014

We rode in these trucks!
The Lions were bribed with meat to climb on the trucks!
Then the visitors could touch the Lions!

They could touch the lion's tongue and paws!

Week #18

Hey everyone,

Yesterday I completed 4 months in my mission! It is all going by so fast and I am sure it is just going to go even faster.  This week has gone by so fast.  Today I had to send home Hermana Nokes which was sad, but she lives in Utah so I will get to see her after my mission so that makes it a lot easier.  As for my new companion her name is Hermana Butler she is also from Utah, but I don’t remember what part.  I was really surprised because I really thought I was going to be with a latina this transfer, but it looks like the Lord has something else in plan for me than I thought.  I haven’t met her yet as transfers happen tomorrow, but I am excited.  I believe that she going home in like 3 weeks though, so I will be having another new companion here really soon.

This week we had divisions as Hermana Nokes had a lot of things to do her last week, so I got to learn from a lot of different missionaries which was really fun.  It was a little bit of a harder week for lessons, but I am excited to get working this week and hopefully find some new people to teach.

Belen and Jonathon-  They were going to move but now they aren’t ,and I am so excited that I have the opportunity to keep teaching them.  This week we taught Belen twice and she just seemed so different.   She is so happy and she basically said that this is what she wants for her family and she feels really good about it but she wants to wait until Jonathon is ready as well because it has to be a family decision. They are progressing so well and it has been amazing seeing the changes in their lives.  We had a lesson with a the president of relief society, with her, that went so well.  It was so cool to see how they were instantly friends. I was able to see what a huge difference it makes when investigators have real friends in the ward who can support them.  Belen told us that she was going to go to church no matter what this Sunday because things always seem to happen, but then their 6 month old got pneumonia and they were in the hospital with her Friday night so they couldn’t go.  Satan is working so hard against them right now as they have had whatever thing pass that has made it so they can’t come to church.  Please pray for them.

Jacquline-  She isn’t going to move either, which is really exciting.  Every time we teach she has been studying and praying a lot, but she still hasn’t asked if this true is true and if baptism is what she should do.  It is really hard because she can feel a difference in her life, but because her family is catholic she knows that to join the church would be a hard change.  I think that she knows it is true or she wouldn’t be going to church and studying the scriptures. She is just afraid because if she gets her answer she has to change a lot in her life.  Please pray for her as we try to help her to move past this challenge.

I had a miracle happen Saturday, that I would like to share.  As missionaries and as members in general we have the amazing opportunity to have lots of miracles, but we often just don’t recognize them because we aren’t looking for the Lord’s hand in our lives.  I have been working hard to look for the Lord’s hand in my life and I have realized that we have so many miracles that happen each week.  Earlier this week I lost the map of our sector.  I was so frustrated because I could not understand what could have happened to it and I was looking everywhere and could not find it.  I was praying that I could find, it as with transfers coming up I really needed it and with no success.  Saturday morning I prayed specifically that something would happen when we were walking in the street and we would find it.  Saturday it rained and so the streets were very muddy and when we were walking to an appointment, my companion found the map covered in dirt on the side of the road.  It had been there for three days and miraculously hadn’t been swept up by someone.  I know that the Lord answers are prayers and I am so grateful for his hand in my life.

I love you all so much and I hope you all have a great week and know that I am praying for you!

Hermana Stringham

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week #17

Hey Everyone,

This week has just flown by.  It has been a little bit of a harder week, as we didn’t have anyone in church Sunday and a lot of our lessons fell through, but this just gives us the opportunity to work harder to find new people to teach.  This week we are going to have Changes and I will be sending my companion home Monday.  I am so sad to see her go home and to be honest a little nervous to find out who my next companion will be.  I am hoping to have a latina companion to help me more with my Spanish, but I guess we will see.  I know that the Lord will send me a companion that will be the best for me.

This week we had ward conference so we had an activity with the ward almost every night.  We had once (dinner here but it is really small),  with the ward, family history night, and a family home evening with the ward.  It was really fun to work with the ward and spend time with the members.  The family history activity was fun to see here because their family history is a lot different. Where we already have a lot of information on our families on family search, they have to start at the very beginning, as a lot of them our converts or their parents were converts.  I hope that I will get the opportunity to work with family history more here and help people to do theirs.

Everyone here is starting to put up all their Christmas stuff and there is a lot of Christmas music in the stores.  It is kind of weird to see all the Christmas decorations up without snow and in the heat.  I am looking forward to see what Christmas is going to be like here in Chile!

As I am coming to the end of my training this week, I have  been looking back on these past 17 weeks and I have changed and grown so much.  I know that I am not the same girl that left Utah 17 weeks ago.  When I first got here in Chile I could not hardly understand anything that anyone said let alone speak the language.  Although my Spanish is not perfect, I can now at least communicate and I understand almost everything that people say.  I know that I would not be where I am today were it not for the help of the Lord.  More than anything my confidence has grown a lot.  Learning a new language is hard and it definitely made me a little more timid than I would have been if I were speaking English, but I have grown to be a lot more confident and as I have done that, my Spanish has become a lot better.  It is amazing what a difference confidence makes.  I have learned to rely on my Heavenly Father a lot more as I have had to trust in Him, that he would help me to say the right thing when I needed to say it.  I love being a missionary so much and I cant wait to see what other adventures and trials are in store for me now.  I know that I have a lot more growing and learning to do here in Chile.  I love the people here so much and am so grateful for the opportunity that the Lord has entrusted me with to teach and to serve them. 

I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support for me while I am here on the mission!

Love ya,
Hermana Stringham

Friday, November 21, 2014

Week #16

Hey Everyone,

Okay so this week went by so fast with having P-day Tuesday.  And this week we are having another conference as a whole mission with Elder Evens of the Seventy.  It is crazy because these type of conferences rarely happen and we are going to have two in just two weeks.  The last conference was so great and so I am really looking forward to this conference.

So this Sunday was a little hard since none of our investigators or menos activos came to church, but we were able to have some really great lessons this week.  When Elder Christensen came he talked a lot about how much the missions in Chile have changed since he was here.  Because when he was here they had a lot of baptisms, but now he says we don’t have nearly as many baptisms, but we are reactivating his converts from before.  We have been working with that a lot. Here in Chile there are a lot of members, but a lot of them are inactive.  I have loved being able to work and help others come back to church. I have realized  that for me it is just as rewarding as teaching a new convert, because we are helping them to change just as we would a new convert.  We are also working with members and recent converts more to help them become stronger in the gospel.  It is so important that we are constantly building up our testimonies.  Something that I have learned here is that if we are not working on building our testimonies, then we are loosing them. Some of the less actives here were strong members in the church, but little by little they stopped going for one reason or another.  Some stop because they are offended and others because of work or they just didn’t have time.  It can be easy to get caught up in the world and in our own little lives and stop doing those things we need to be doing to build up our testimonies, but that is how we loose them.  It doesn’t happen over just one event in church, it happens little by little.  My challenge to you this week would be to think about what thinks your are doing to build your testimonies in your lives right now and what things you could do better.  We have such a blessing to have this gospel in our lives and we need to treasure it and be constantly working on it.  I had a seminary teacher who always would say that what matters most is what direction we are facing, because if we are not building up our relationship with our Heavenly Father then we are going the wrong direction because our testimonies don’t stand still.  We have to be continually using them and building up.   

Okay so a miraclye we had this week happened this Saturday night.  We had an appointment with Belen and Jonathon, who we haven’t been able to teach for 2 weeks because they were out of town.  We went to their home and they weren’t there and so we decided to stop by the Relief Society President and share with her.  We got to talk with her and share gave us Pizza, but like actual real pizza like we have back home.  We never get that here so we were so excited.  (no the pizza is not the miracle).  Anyways it got late and we realized that it was time to leave but she was preparing one of her kids for bed so we had to wait a little bit because here in Chile everyone has gates around their house so we had to wait for her to let us out. We left with not even enough time to get home in time when we ran into Belen and Jonathon and were able to talk to them and set another appointment with them. Right as we stopped talking with them a collectivo(taxi) pulled up and we barely got home in time.  I know that the Lord is aware of us and had a hand in our whole night.  He made it so we were able to run into Belen and Jonathon and helped us get home in time.  I know that he blessed us because we were working very hard to be obedient and get home in time. 

We got to teach Belen and Jonathon yesterday and it went so well.  They are getting ready to move to Nancagua, a different part of the mission at the end of year which is a little disappointing, but they said that they have friends there who have been members for three years and just went through the temple that they have been talking with.  They both say they feel like these things are true and that this is what they want for their family.  They have so many questions and truly love hearing about the gospel.  They both still have to pray to know that this is what they should do and if these things are true but they feel really good about the things we are teaching them.  I am so excited for them!

Well I am out of time But I love you all and I will talk to you next week.

Hermana Stringham

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Week #15

Hey everyone,

This week has been another great week we had the amazing opportunity to have a conference with the whole mission and to listen to Elder Christensen of the Seventy. It was so fun to be able to see all those that I came from the CCM with, and to see the whole mission together as this almost never happens.  The talks were so good and I learned so much that I am trying to apply.  I loved a though of Hermana Christensen.  She talked about the sacrifice of a mission and how it is when we are sacrificing and struggling that we gain the most.  Looking back on my past 15 weeks on the mission, I feel like I have changed and grown so much, but it has also been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I am so happy to be a missionary because although it is really hard sometimes.  The reward that comes from the hard work is oh so sweet.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of my mission has for me.  I have come a long way, but I also know that I still have a long way to go and I am going to continue to grow. I am here in Chile to bring others unto Christ and to help them, but in turn I strengthen my own testimony.  

Okay so we are continuing to teach a lot of the same people and the are all doing pretty well they are just progressing really slowly.  Please pray for them. They need your prayers. I want to share just a few experiences that we had that were really cool with some of our investigators this week.

Jacquline  Okay so this week we had a kind of a break through with her because she has been coming to church, reading, praying and doing so well, but every time we bring up the word baptism she freaks out.  So we brought a member with us and although we had planned on teaching something completely different, we started talking about baptism and why its important. The member was able to share her testimony and experience with her baptism a year ago.  Her face completely changed and she agreed to pray about.  We are so excited for this breakthrough and I know that it wouldn’t have happened without the member there with us.  Members make a huge difference in our lessons.

Adriana  Okay so we had a bit of a miracle yesterday.  We got out of lesson with a less active that was a little disappointing, and to top it off our next two appointments called and canceled.  So we were left with very little to do for the rest of the night.  We weren’t sure what to do, but decided to continue with some of our back up plans.  We went to the house of a less active who we have passed by for many times but is never home and we have never even met her.  This time however, she was home and she let us in.  She is a return missionary who fell away from the church a long time ago, as none of her family are members.  The missionaries were teaching her a while ago and her kids were going to be baptized but then decided not to.  As we talked to her she told us about how she has desires to return to the church but has had some problems with some of the members.  We were to visit with her and the spirit was really strong.  We talked to her about how this gospel is perfect, but sometimes its members are not and were able to talk a little bit about the blessings she was loosing by not going to church and I feel like something really changed and she agreed to talk to her husband (who isn’t a member) about her desire to return.  I am so grateful for this opportunity we had to speak with her. I know it would not have happened if we had gone to the other appointments.

Other than that, everyone else is doing pretty good.  Please continue to pray for them and especially for Ana, one of our less actives.  She returned to the church about a week ago, but this week told us that there are some things she doesn’t like and she wants to return to the catholic church.  We are working hard to help her to gain her own personal testimony right now.

Okay today was so much fun because since we had P-day on a Tuesday we were able to go to Safari.  Safari is a zoo here that is closed on Mondays. We got to see so many cool animals and the coolest part was that we got to go on a tour of the lions in these cars that the lions climb on top of and you get to touch them and see them literally inches from your face. It was so much fun I have lots of cool pics to send.

Love ya all,
Hermana Stringham

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Week #14

Hey Everyone.

Answers to your questions:

The people here are so loving and kind they are always giving us food and are so giving.  Another thing they do is whenever you see someone or enter a room you have to go around and give a hug and a kiss to everyone (handshake for the men since we are missionaries).  You have to do it when you enter and when you leave even, if you were only there for like five minutes.  If you don't sometimes the people get offended or think that you are mad at them.  I love it because everyone here is so close and loving. Sometimes they are a lot more blunt here.  If they think something they are just going to say.  It is not all that weird for someone to say you're fat or just straight out tell you that your Spanish is terrible.

I am not sure how big the city is because we are usually just in our sector, but it is pretty normal. It's like back home as in there are paved streets just a Little less nice. The paving isn't as good and the houses are usually really small.  I will take some pictures when I get a chance.  It is just hard because I dont usually have my camera with me.

Family life is pretty much the same as back home, other than a lot of people aren't married here they just live together and have kids. 

Yes they do celebrate Halloween here, but it is kind of lame.  Only the little kids do anything like trick or treating and there wasnt really that many out.  The teenagers and adults usually don't do anything.  A lot of people don't like Halloween here because they say it is a holliday to worship evil. They have only been celebrating Halloween for like the last 10 years or so.

Okay, so this week has been pretty normal.  We had divisions this week, which was fun because last time I went with a gringa to her district, but this week I got to go with a latina from Argentina which was really fun.  It went good and I was able to understand and communicate with her all day.

I feel like I am finally able to feel at least comfortable with the language as in I can understand the majority and communicate sufficiently, but as always I have a lot to learn.

Victor- He is doing good as in he is coming to church and keeping his commitments, but he says he doesn't want to be baptized. We are working hard to help him to understand what true conversión is and how he needs to ask for himself.  We had a baptism this Sunday of a 12 year old boy the elders have been working with and he came, but walked in right after the actual baptism. We were able to talk about baptism a lot with him and show him the Font.  He told us that he is going to move soon to live with his mom who lives far from here so we are a little bit worried about him.  We are working hard to help him to gain a testimony for himself so that he can continue to progress after he moves.  Please pray for him to be able to work his problems out with his family and to be able to gain a testimony for himself.

Paulina-  We taught her about the Book of Mormon this week and the plan of salvation earlier in the week.  She had so many questions both times and has a lot of interest and a desire to know for herself if it is true.  The hard thing with her is that she lives with her mom who has more than 90 years ( they dont know the exact age of her mom because records are wrong I guess that happens a lot here)  but she can't work because she has to take care of her mom so she is really struggling. We are working hard to find a way that we can get her to church. It is just really hard with her mom as she is basically bed bound.

Jacqueline-  She loves the lessons and has a ton of interest still and I have seen her life change so much, she just is having a hard time because she says it is really hard with her family all being catholic. 

Ana-  Okay so we had a breakthrow with her this week.  She came to church and even put up a sign in front of her store that she is going to be closed for sundays so she can go to church and observe the sabbath.  I am so excited for her and amazed by her faith as she said that she doesn't know how she is going to pay all of her bills and not work sunday, but she knows it is important to go to church and she has faith that it will all work out!

That's basically it for this week as Jonathen and Belen are out of town for the week.  I loved hearing about everything back home with Jaxsons baptism and Halloween.  I love you all and am praying for all of you.


Hermana Stringham

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week #13

Hey Everyone,

Sorry, My grammar is bad, because of Spanish. I write so fast to try to get it all in, as well the spell check is in spanish so the computer thinks that I spell everything wrong.

Okay here are the answers to your questions.
**No we don’t have any investigators with baptismal dates right now, since Victor canceled his, but we should have some soon.
**The Spanish is coming pretty good.  Right now I can understand the majority and I can talk alright, but it is much easier to understand than speak it.  Looking back I have come along ways and I have gained such a strong testimony of the gift of tongues, because I know that there is know way I would be able to communicate this well in Chile only after 6 weeks on my own.  As well it is amazing to see that I can always understand, and I can always speak when I have to spirit with me and I have something I am prompted to say. 

Okay so I was finally able to watch the video of the grandkids it was so fun to see all of them and hear their voices and I am so glad that you sent it tell them hi for me and that I love them.  

This week we had someone in our ward pass a way so we went to help with the funeral. It was a beautiful funeral, because the spirit was so strong.  The majority of the family are members and it was amazing to hear them speak and see how at peace they were, especially the Mom who was at peace with the passing away of her daughter. Yes, she was sad, but she was at peace because she knows that she will get to see her daughter again.  It made me feel so grateful for this gospel that we have and for the knowledge that we can be with our families forever. This knowledge brings such happiness into our lives.  I can’t even imagine how hard it would be if I didn’t know that.  There are people in the world who don’t know, and it is our job to share this message with him.  I love being a missionary for the opportunity that I have to share this message with the people of Chile.

This week we have also seen a lot of miracles, as we have been working on looking for the Lords hands in our lives.  I have realized that we have several miracles happen in our lives everyday, especially as missionaries.  A lot of times we are just to busy to notice or recognize them as missionaries.  Miracles such as we often have members drive by just when we are running late and praying that we can get somewhere on time.  One of the miracles we had this week was when we were outside contacting, not really getting anywhere and just praying in our heads to find someone that we could teach.  Just after my companion had said a silent prayer, a man drove by in a car and called to us.  At first we were hesitant but then the man called to us, “Hermanas, my mom has been looking for you.”  So we asked who his mom was a recognized her as a contact that we had made earlier. We had stopped passing by.  They never let is in for one reason or another when we used to pass by and so we assumed they weren’t really interested.  We finally got to teach her and her husband.  I know that the Lord answered our prayers that day and had been preparing her. 

This week we also had stake conference and the topic was missionary work, which was really exciting for us as missionaries.  One thing that they shared is the statistics of contacts and references being baptized. For contacts is like 1 in more than a thousand, and for references is more like 1 in 30.  I don’t remember the exact numbers, but the point was that as missionaries we are much more effective when we work with members.  I have seen this first hands many times in my mission.  Members can add a special testimony and experiences, that the people can relate to as they have more similar experiences to the people. Our lessons are always so much more powerful when we are able to bring a member.  As members we need to remember that although we may not have a missionary plaque we are always missionaries and have a responsible to help with the work.  We have such a great gift with the gospel in our lives and we need to share it with others.

I love you all and am so grateful for your support and letters!

Love ya,
Hermana Stringham

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week #12

Hey everyone,

So this week has been absolutely amazing and hard at the same time.  I have seen the Lord’s hand in my life so much this week.  The week started out bad because after we wrote home and returned to our house, we received a call from Victor saying that  he didn’t want to be baptized anymore because he talked to his family and he doesn’t want to commit to a church.  It was really hard to receive this call after watching how much he had progressed and changed his life and we were so excited for his baptism, but he said we could still go by to teach him so we held onto a little hope but at first it was hard because he cancelled the 2 of the appointments that we tried to make with him. On top of that two of our new investigators Marcela and Camilla called us and said that they didn’t want us to talk about the gospel with them, because it was too confusing for them with their previous beliefs.

This week we had zone conference and transfers which made this kind of a big week.  Zone conference was so good and I learned a ton about how I can be a better missionary.  I am so happy that me and my companion weren’t transferred and that we have six more weeks together. I am a little sad to be saying goodbye to Hermana Cantillo who lives with us and I am dreading saying goodbye to my companion and Hermana Parker as they will be heading home at the end of this transfer in 6 more weeks as well.

 So the beginning of the week was a little rough and we were definitely disappointed, but as the week went on it got better and better and we saw several miracles.  I know that sometimes God gives us some hard trials to face to build us up for greater things and that is exactly what he did this week. towards the end of the week we had a breakthrough with one of our menos activos Ana. We were finally able to help her understand why it is important to go to church and how we need her in the church. Now she has a goal to get back to church. However it is a little hard with her and is going to take some time because of her work she cant go to church on Sundays, so she goes to a different church that is much earlier in the morning. After working with for a lot of time she finally has the desire and is working to change her life so she can go to church. Please pray for her to be able to find a way that she can go to church on Sundays. 

The second thing that happened is when we were walking to a members house my companion thought that I said that we should take the long way, but I didnt say anything. We realized that this was a prompting and decided to take the long way.  At first nothing happened. The member wasn’t home and we headed to look for an old investigator and while we were trying to find this investigator we asked for help from a couple on the street who then proceeded to ask us if we would come visit them and ask us  if we wanted their number so we could confirm.  We didn’t even have to do anything.  I know that God is aware of everything we do.  That night we completely changed our plans and had no idea why until we found that couple.  The Lord led us to that couple who he had prepared for us to teach.  We haven’t taught them yet because we had to call and change the appointment, but we are going to teach them this week. I am so excited.  

We also got to teach Victor at the end of the week, after going by and calling so many times. He finally said yes and we brought his neighbor who is a member to teach him.  We talked about true conversion and all shared how we received our testimonies. The spirit was so strong and at the end. When I asked him to pray to know if it was true, he told me that he didn’t need to because he has already received an answer and he knows it is true. He doesn’t want to be baptized right now or go to church because it is to hard for him with his family, work, and his health, but he has a testimony and has a agreed to let us continue to teach him. I have faith that with time he will gain a desire.  Please pray for him especially that he can have the desire to be baptized and understand the importance of baptism and going to church.

The best part of the week was yesterday in Church.  It was probably the most amazing part of my whole mission for me.  We had two families come to church with us.  Jonathon and Belen with their children came and they absolutely loved it.  We had an amazing Sunday School class and they asked tons of questions. They seemed to be satisfied with the answers.  At the end of the class Jonathon raised his hand and asked if he could say something.  He talked about his experience with us as missionaries and how it has impacted his life. Then he began to share a basic testimony of how he knew that God had lead us into his life, because had it been any other night or if it had been the elders when we had found him he probably would have said no. Now he believes that our church is true. One of the ways he feels like is because we are the only people that his dogs don’t bark and get mad at when we enter the house.  It was so amazing to listen to this man, who had only listened to lessons twice, testify.  As a family they have a strong desire to know more about the church and we have started teaching a lot more then we plan in our lessons because they have a lot of questions and have a strong desire to learn more. They just are waiting to receive answers to the prayers that this is the direction that they need to go with their lives. It is so amazing to watch peoples lives change and their eyes begin to light up as the receive the truth, but it is even more amazing to watch families change and become so much closer as they together change their lives.

The second investigator that came was Jacqueline Ramos and her son Martin.  She absolutely loved church as well as there were amazing talks.  The theme of church seemed to be conversion and gaining a testimony for yourself.  It was an amazing moment as I looked over and she had pulled out her sunday school book and was flipping through the pictures and explaining to Martin about Jesus and different aspects of the gospel.  We later went to teach her that night and she was so excited as we taught her about the plan of salvation and then we started to talk about temples and she was really interested yet she says she doesnt think that she has recieved her answer yet, but our lessons have changed her life and she has faith that she will recieve an answer.  We are so excited for her as we watch her life change.  I think what changed things for her was bringing Martin to Church and seeing what the gospel could do for her little family.  

My heart was touched yesterday as I saw the eyes of these two families light up with desire to have the gospel in their lives.  I was so happy as I watched them enjoy the church and as the members were so great with them.  I know that the experiences would have been totally different if the members hadn’t all been so supportive and come by and talk to them.  Members are the key often times for investigators. All I could think about during church was these parents and the impact that the decisions they are making now on their children’s lives and the future posterity.  I am so excited to continue to watch them progress and hopefully one day be able to seem them go through the temple and be sealed together as families for all eternity.  As missionaries our goal isn’t to have a bunch of baptisms. It is to help people to come unto Christ and accept His gospel.  Baptism is part of that goal, but it is just the door to so much more.  A big part of that is the temple and persevering and enduring to the end.  I love being a missionary so much although there are a lot of times that are really hard and learning a new language is very frustrating at times, there is so much joy that comes from it.  It is moments like I had on Sunday and those little miracles throughout the week as we watch lives change and eyes light up that make every single difficult part of the mission worth it.

I love you so much sorry for writing a novel I just had a lot of great things to write about this week.

Hermana Stringham

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week #11

This week has been really good.

This week we have continued to teach Victor he
is continuing to progress so well and is so excited for his baptism date that he wants to have a party to celebrate after.  He said the other day when we talked to him that he was quitting smoking completely that day, but we haven’t been able to talk to him as he has been busy with work so we are
really hoping that he has kept it up and can continue to keep it up.

Jacqueline Ramos is doing pretty good she just gets overwhelmed with the lessons a lot because she says that it is hard because everything she is learning is so different from the things that she was always taught. Please pray for her.

We have been teaching an investigator named Sebastion and his partner Monica (They don’t really get married here, so partner is a stronger word then girlfriend. Some parents here never get married, it is a real problem and really hard because getting a divorce is really hard here and single women have a lot of benefits like free houses from the government so people usually don’t want to get married.)  Anyways we have been teaching him since I got here and he is progressing just really slowly. He has a lot of doubts and different believes, but he has come a
long way.

We are teaching another young couple named Jonathon and Belen.
They have to little girls and are doing really well.  Last time we taught them, Jonathon said that he has a lot of interest, now after listening to us. When he first met us he didn’t really have any, just his wife did so we are really excited to teach him.

We are also teach a mom and her daughter Mercel and Camilla.  They have so much faith and like learning about different religions.  They are so kind and we are really excited to start teaching them this week as well.

The weather right now is starting to get hot it is spring time here and it is already pretty hot in the daytime. I cant imagine how hot summer is going to be. It can still get pretty cold  some nights here, so it is hard to know whether or not to bring a jacket
each day. The people here are all very friendly. Economically there is quite a range but the majority live off off much less then we have back home, They do alright and are a lot better off then most other countries in South America.  Their homes are all really small.  They are usually very colorful and usually the houses here are like one house split in two. I can think of the word to describe it sorry.

My Spanish is coming. I can understand a lot, but it is just hard to talk because conjugating in the different tenses is hard and people sometimes have a
hard time understanding my “gringa” accent.

I have been keeping a good journal. I have been slacking off a little lately because some nights I don't have time to write, but I am working hard to be better because I want to be able to look back and remember everything.  Right now I am just studying in the book of Mormon in Spanish unless I have something I want to study better for a lesson that day.  I do want to study different Christlike
attributes leading up to christmas and think about how I can better apply them in my life.  The food here different sometimes there are a lot of things that we have from back home just slightly different.  They eat a lot of empanadas.  They eat a lot of beans, but there are a lot of different kinds. Also completos which are hot dogs with ketchup, mayo, avocado and sometimes a bunch of other stuff. They put a lot on it though, so I don’t really like it.  I don’t really know how to describe the food here very well, it usually isn’t that weird.  The one thing I have noticed is that things aren’t as sweet here.

With love,
Hermana Stringham

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week #10

Hey Everyone!

This week has been so great.  It was kind of like a three day weekend, with conference and then p-day, so it has been nice to have kind of a break and be spiritually built up and edified to prepare for the next week.

Our main investigators we are teaching right now are Victor, Jacqueline Ramos, Jacqueline Mesias, and Eugenia.

*Victor is still progressing really well.  He is so excited and working very hard to prepare for his baptismal date.  He has given up a lot already and every thing we teach him he is so ready and willing to embrace.  It is such a great example of obedience to me because he hardly even questions any of the things we teach, like the word of wisdom, because he knows this church is true and he wants to keep the commandments.  He is working on quitting smoking right now and has come a long way, but it is really hard. He has a lot of other health problems. He is on dialysis.  Please pray for him for his health and for him to be able to give up smoking.

*Jacqueline Ramos is so fun to teach because she is this young mom with a little boy name Martin, who is 5. He is so funny. He always entertains us.

*Jacquline Mesias has been out of town, and she is still struggling trying to find a job.

*Eugenia is pretty new. She came to conference with us and liked it.  I haven’t taught her much because I was on splits for our last appointment with her, but I am excited to teach her.

*This week we have a new investigator that stuck out a lot to me.  Her name is Belen. Right when we went to her house she immediately let us in and was so excited to hear from us, even though we have never talked to her. She has two kids and a strong belief in God, but is looking for something more in her life.  We are so excited to teach her.

I didnt get a chance to take many pictures this week. Sorry our zone activity of paintball was cancelled, so a member came to teach us self defence and some martial art thing that lasted for a long time. It was so much fun and then afterwords we went and got fried sushi which was so good.

Church here is pretty much the same as back home just in spanish.  There are a few differences one is that we don’t always have someone who can play the organ, so the hymns are sometimes not accompanied and everyone sings really low here.  Other than that ,it is pretty much the same.

We haven’t had the opportunity to participate in service projects here, yet but a lot of missionaries do.  We always look for service opportunities and try to help the people here, but they usually don’t let us when we offer. We have learned to just always do the dishes or sweep or find something to help in the home, because people will always say they are fine when you offer to help, but they never protest when we just start cleaning. It has been a great way to serve the people here and build better relationships with members and investigators.

We have a half hour to work out every morning but it is first thing in the morning, so some morning it is hard to get moving especially when it is really cold morning, but we always try to do something.

Our area is pretty big and we do walk almost everywhere.  It is like 30 or 40 minutes walking from the top to bottom. With how small and close houses are here, that is a lot of houses.  Our church is about 15 minutes walking from our house.  We do take taxis here to get to district meetings or at night if we are going to be late or if there aren’t a lot of people around and we don’t want to be in the streets late.

There are a lot of different culture things here, but is hard to think of one in specific. You can’t put toilet paper in the toilets. You have to put it in the garbage. That’s one thing that is kind of weird and gross here.  Also we cant leave our water heaters on and most people don’t, because they can’t afford to. So the water is always freezing here that you wash your hands with.  Everyone here is just really friendly. They kiss and hug just about everyone and it is kind of cool how kind and friendly the culture is.

Oh we had a cool experience earlier this week. When we were contacting in the streets we passed this guy and didn’t contact him, because we were about to contact this house. He came up to us and asked us what we were doing and we explained that we were missionaries.  He kept asking about our church and then we offered to share more with him and his family at a later time and he gladly excepted.  It was so cool to see how this man came to us when usually it is the other way around, and how the Lord had truly prepared him.

Conference was definitely the highlight of the week. I watched all the sessions in English except for women’s session which I watched in Spanish. It was cool and I was able to understand a good amount.  I got the concept of everything, I just couldn’t understand the details, because they talk so fast and have different accents in conference. I can’t wait to read the talks when they come out.  It was weird though because the voice over is weird. It made me very grateful that conference is done in English. This is something I have always taken for granted. Here it is hard because a lot of people associate the church with the US and then when all the talks are originally in English and they can’t understand any of the songs because they are all in English its hard.  But it was so cool to have the musical number of those children in China and then the talks in different langauges.  We went in to watch both the talks in Spanish and everyone here was so excited to have a talk in there own language.  The translations are good, but not everything translates over very good so you don’t really get any of the jokes and the voices make it so you loose any emotion.  I am so excited for this amazing change that is going forth in the church as it is becoming more global. It was definitely different this time going to conference as instead of just listening for myself I was listening for things that I could use to help my investigators. It was so cool as there were many talks that seemed to answer exact things that my investigators are struggling with right now, and I cant wait to share them with them.  I espeicially like Elder Bednars talk, as he explained perfectly exactly what I wish I could explain to all of my investigators of why we do what we do.

I loved a few quotes that I want to share They are not word for word, as I couldn’t get the exact wording of all of them fast enough.
 I love the quote that Elder Holland shared about how what we do is only about a drop in the ocean, but without us the ocean would be a drop less.    This is exactly how I feel missionary work is we work very hard but sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are doing much and compared to the big picture we aren’t, but every soul is great in the eyes of God and what we are doing individually is very important because we are working with salvation. Even if we are just planting seeds, that is great because every soul is worth so much and we have to first start by planting seeds.   I also really liked the quote by Elder Chi Hong (the guy who spoke in cantonese) He said,  “äs we work hard to rescue souls, we too will be rescued in the processs.”   This is so true and I have seen this over and over again in my life and as I have worked hard to find and teach others to come unto Christ. I have found I have grown so much myself and my relationship with my Heavenly Father is so much stronger.  The final quote I want to share,  I can’t remember who it was from. He said something like: “the strength of the church is not dependent on how big it is.  The strength of our church is measure by the strength of its individuals.”  I loved this so much because it is so true.  I ready a statistic this week  in the Liahona as there was a sections on Chile in there this month. You should read them they are so true. Any ways it said that 1 in 30 Chileans are members of our church.  This statistic is so cool, but of those members, a large potion of them are inactive as retention is so bad here.  We all need to work hard as we work to become more like Christ especially as members, because as members of this church are representatives of Jesus Christ and people watch us.  We need to ask our selves if we are examples and representatives of something that would draw people unto Christ and want to know more about the church or if it is giving people the wrong ideas of our church. I know that as we work hard to become more like Christ in our actions we will in turn draw others unto Christ.

I love you all so much and I will talk to you next week.

Hermana Stringham

Tupahue 1 Zone