Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Transfer Numero Uno

Final day of transfer numero uno!! There are 13 transfers in a sister missionary´s mission and I have completed the first one. I am staying in Arica and with Hermana Castor. I already knew that since we are still training, but it was still fun to recieve the phone call. Everyone spent the week making guesses about who was going to go and who was going to come. It didnt matter to me though, since I don't know very many of the other missionaries lol. One of the missionaries that we live with thought she was going to be transfered, so we were anxious and nervous to see what the change would be, but it turned out that she and her companion are staying with us, so no changes lol. We are getting a new zone leader so that will be fun. 

This week we saw great improvement! We were able to have an increase in the number of lessons we were having. It had dropped in the 4th and 5th week, but we are back on track! We have two new investigators. One is "V" who is a child in an inactive family. The goal is to activate the whole family so that we can have her baptized. We went and taught her the plan of salvation and at the end she shouted "I want to be baptized!". We are really hoping her enthusiasm will help her family. They are hard to teach and have mixed ideas about the gospel and science fiction, so its always an interesting lesson. Plus, they have been going to another church on Wednesday nights because this church gives free dinner, but the family is getting some mixed up gospel ideas from that church. We really need to reconvert them to the true church. It is a difficult task but not impossible. 

Our other investigator is" I". We had an address from the ward  guide (where all the phone numbers and dirrections are I forgot what its called) and wanted to find an inactive man. However, the address ended up not existing. The street where he lives is really far and in a part of the sector that we can't go after dark, so we decided to take advantage of our being there and make contacts and there we found "I". She is an older women of about 60 years or so. She is just in town for the next month because she is helping her disabled brother. She says that she had seen elders walking through her neighborhood, but had never contacted them. We taught her the plan of salvation and she was really captivated. We are super exited to see her progress. She invited us back and wants us to teach her brother as well. At the end of the month she is leaving, obviously, but we can teach her all we can and then turn her over to the missionaries in her neighborhood. 

Hermana Castor and I are working on our first ward activity!! We are super excited and it is coming together well, even though we are not going to do it until March 28th. We are going to use Hermana Castor´s idea of a talent show and its called Tarapaca´s Got Talent. We are going to have a dinner and a variety show of talents. There is also going to be a museum element to display those talents that are not for the stage (paintings, clothing design, etc). We already have six people ready and the best part is that 2 of them are meos activos and one is an investigator.We are plainning on having each quorum/auxiliary present somehting as well. It is going to be a lot of work, but we are already seeing a lot of excitement and it is still a month a way. The ward has not had an activity for several months and almost no one went to the last one, so if we can at least get the members to come it will be a success for the first activity. We are hoping that the food will really draw them in and we are going to distribute a lot of the responsibilities too so they are obligated to come hahah!

This week I also got to do my first intercambios where we change companions for a day. I was left in my sector and went with Hermana Delgado. I had to remember where all the people live and take the iniative in teaching. I was confident that I could do it, but somehow still super nervous. It ended up being great! I got lost for a minute with one house, but not super lost haha. I knew in the general direction where I needed to be. I also got to learn some new contact techniques and teaching methods from Hermana Delgado. it was a lot of fun. The sister trainers (Hermana Tumbaco and Delgado) are the sisters that live with us and they do all the intercambios with all the sisters in Arica. It is funny how we live with them but do not know them too well. We work all day and just see each other for a few hours in the morning and then at night. Therefore doing the intercambio gave me more time to know Hermana Dalgado. She is a ton of fun and really positive. I admire that. She is also much more up front with the people than Hermana Castor and I have been, so I learned a lot about that too. 

One of my goals for this transfer is to recognize and utilize the power and authority that I have as a missionary. It is easy to want to be friends with the members and investigators and menos activos, but they have to know my purpose. Sometimes I have fear of saying something direct like " why didnt you go to church?" or telling them that they really can change and need too. However, that is my duty. In the CCM we listened to a talk about our power and authority. It mentioned that as sisters this is the only time that we have the power and right to call people to repentance and to bring people to the waters of baptism. We can be member missionaries all of our lives, but only those who are set apart have that special power. I need to utilize that power more and remember that is my purpose in this short time during my life. 

These next six weeks I hope to see great progress both in the people I work with and myself. These first six weeks were great and I have learned tons, but there is so much more I can do. I am loving my sector and having an awesome time working here. 

I hope you guys are all doing well there! I love you all !
Hermana Biggs

Monday, February 24, 2014

One Month In The Mission Field

Wow sounds like a packed week. I am glad you guys are so involved in missionary work there. That is awesome, and member missionaries are really the key. Keep up the good work!  We have an 8 year old that we are trying to get baptised . Her parents are investigators and her mom attends church every Sunday. This past week, F, the girl, turned 8 and really wants to be baptized. However, her mom wants her to wait a little longer until she knows more. We feel that she is ready and have talked to the primary president. We all agree. F is super motivated and knows several Book of Mormon stories. We are going to teach the missionary discussions to her and then hopefully commit her to a baptismal date for the 15th of March. We have to get permission from the mission president since she is under 16 and her parents are not members, but we are pretty sure that he will agree since they are active. Keep her in your prayers. 

We have several other children of menos activos that need to baptized, but the rule is that children cannot be baptised unless their parents are active. We have a new less active family we are working with. It is actually part member because one of the daughters is an adult but not baptized. Plus, there is a 10 year old boy but his parents of course are not active. Hopefully we will see some changes there. 

Hermana Castor and I are really struggling to find new investigators. We did not have any dias de los muertos but we had no success finding new people. This week we have promised ourselves to ask references from everyone, regardless of what state of conversion they are in. We have a goal of 5 new investigators which would be amazing! With a little prayer power I am sure we will be able to do it. 

The family we are really focusing on right now is K and E and their daughter S. I have talked about them before I believe, but they are great. They have a lot of interest and want to keep learning and learning. They like to invite us over at 7 pm for "once"  (pronounced like the Spanish number 11). It is the final meal of the day here in Chile. They do not eat dinner , but have a large lunch. Then the once is in the evening and consists of tea, juice, and ham and cheese sandwhiches. They love their bread and eat it with everything. It is super delicious. Although I am not sure why since its not anything super special, but at 7pm there is a bread shop that has fresh bread and the smell fills all the streets. Its a temptation every night to eat it!  

Anyways we want to start really pounding baptism with K and E so that they really understand the importance. They are still committing to come to church this Sunday, so that is great. However, like what is happening to you guys we have people promise up and down that they are coming to church and then never show up. However, we had luck for the first time getting someone to church! She is a less active and has a 2 month old baby. She is really struggling with emotional problems and being a new single mom. However, she said she would come to church and asked if we could pass by her house in the morning to make sure she went. She has been inactive for 10 years, but went this past Sunday!!! She said she would come again this week too! I am so happy to see her trying to put her life in order. 

This week I passed my first month in the mission field (the time in Arica not including MTC time)! It was Valentines Day! I feel like I have learned so much about the gospel and the Book of Mormon. However, I am sure there is much more I need and will learn. In the BOM I am in 3 Nephi; Christ is about to come and visit the people. I have been looking for the promises we can obtain from keeping the commandments. There are so many scriptures that speak of an action we do and then immediately promise a blessing. Those are my favorites. I also like the war chapters in Alma and Helaman and trying to find principles. I have learned so much  from those chapters but sometimes the principles  I pull from the readings are a little stretched to be applied to something besides war, but that’s the fun part! Relating it all to my days and struggles. 

I hope you guys have an awesome week! When is the udderly show? I think Superstition Farms is where I took the girls this past summer? It is out in Queen Creek and on Hales Rd or something? Super fun! Mom make sure you have time to make up for the Valentines Day diseaster! Hahaha too funny, surprises never work the way I want them to either. 

If you have not made CDs yet there are a few songs I am interested in Come thy font by the Mormon Tab Choir, one song from the best 2 years one line is " Can’t you see I am not who I used to be" sung by a male, and the last is a song by a woman- she talks about being in a plane and talking to an atheist. One of the lines is " It passes all my understanding how it all turned out just right". I dont have the titles but maybe you can find them with the lyrics. Anyways I love you guys and cant wait to hear from you next week!

Hermana Biggs 
Here's a photo from the BBQ we had today for the final pday of our zone leader. This is not our zone, just some of his close misisonary friends. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Death... and Life...

 This week we had a hard time getting a hold of our investigators. When we were doing our weekly planning and district meeting, we realized that we had not hardly seen any of them in the entire week. A lot of appointments had fallen through and such, so we spent a lot more time with less actives. They are awesome but frustrating! However, we keep working with them and hopefully we will see progress. 

D is one of the investigators that we could not get in contact with all week. He ended up not going to church and we have stopped by his house just about everyday, but no one is ever home. We had a set appointment for Friday, but again no one was home. I hope he is doing well, and we realize that things are a little crazy right now because it's summer break here, but school is starting up in March. Everyone is hurrying to get the shopping and enrolling done and taking their final vacations out of town. Hopefully, this week we can see D though and see what happened this past week. G and N are dying I think (in missionary terms). It has been two weeks and again we have not seen them. They have been home three times when we pass by, but they always set an appointment for another day. That's a good sign that death is setting in.

However, there is good news too! We found a new investigator who was open to the gospel. In fact she, C, was taking the lessons and wanted to be baptized about a year ago, but then moved. Many of her brothers and sisters are members, but all are in-active. She is in a really sensitive spot right now because she just had a miscarriage. She is having a lot of difficulty with that and has moved back home (she is 19) to help cope with the depression. She is really sweet and we hope we can help her understand the plan of salvation and also her potential and worth.

Finally , we have K and E. K is the investigator who has no religious background at all,and E is her husband who had an LDS friend and has read almost all of the Book of Mormon. This week we had several appointments with them that all fell through because they have been busy. E works in a mine and had a heavy piece of metal fall on his shoulder, so they have been working to get insurance. However, the good news is that he is now home and we can teach them together as a family. Our meeting with them starting out a little rough. He told us he was looking to work in a different mine and that if we could help him get a job he would come to church. We had to help him and then he would help us, he said. However, after our lesson in 3 Nephi 11, his demeanor changed. He wanted to know what people wear to church and what happens in the meetings. He also wanted to read more of the pamphlets we have. K seemed really interested in the Plan of Salvation especially when I told her that it focuses on families. In the end, they said that they would come to church not this week but the following. This week is Stake Conference and for some reason they don't want to come to that. Overall, I think we made great progress. When we left the lesson Hermana Castor said she knew that they would be baptized. That's two people now that she has said that about, so I am excited to see it happen:)

These next couple of weeks we are really going to focus on strengthening our relationship with the bishop. Our ward is pretty new. It was just created 8 months ago and we are seeing a serious lack in leadership. However, our bishop has a lot of enthusiam and the Relief Society president is awesome too. They are normally the only ones at ward council, and they are super dedicated to their callings. We are hoping to rob some of that enthusiam and use it to strengthen the entire ward. We are planning a ward activity, so if you have ideas we could use them. We want something fun for everyone,and something that people will actually come to. Also we want lots of investigators and less actives to show up as well. We are hoping a fun activity with bring more unity and enthusiam for missionary work and the ward in general.
That is the update for this week. We are hoping to see a lot of improvement in the next eigtht weeks that Hermana Castor and I are together. I cannot wait!
I love you all:)
Hermana Biggs

The pictures are from the humming bird sanctuary that we went to today. It was so green and beautiful, but we only saw one humming bird. However, there were also goats, chickens, ducks, and llamas. Plus there were like 14 missionaries from my zone and another zone and we had a blast:)


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Teach Me To Walk In The Light

The Gilbert temple sounds amazing. Hopefully it isnt too run down come July 2015 haha. Sounds like more missionary work is happening out home than here in Chile!
We made the sugar cookies for a FHE last Monday and they turned out all right. The end result following the recipe was very liquidy. I think it was because we made substitute buttermilk. Also, we dont have measuring cups here with American measurements. Everything is in grams. So we just kept adding more flour and then some sugar and then more flour. The oven is also another story since it works off a gas flame. It doesn´t really have temperature control, but overall they turn out good. A little more buttery than sugary but still delicious.
Tell Ivory that I am having fun on the mission and there are not too many animals here but A LOT of dogs and cats. Sometimes they start following us in hoards and we have to drive to distract them and then run so they quit following. Also many people have little turtles for pets, so that is super cute.
Aspen: There is unfortunately no rain here in the dry desert, so I haven´t seen any rainbows. You will have to take a picture of one and send it to me:) I have met several kids your age. There is one girl that is about to turn 5 and she is adorable. She has dark hair and brown eyes, but her smile and goofiness always remind me of you. I will try to get a picture with her the next time I go and visit.
As far as the finances go, I get 80,000 pesos every month which is about 200 dollars. If we just buy food, it is more than enough for the month. We get around primarily on foot but there are taxis and buses that we can use. However, we just use those for activities that are outside of our sector. Our sector is about a 3 mile by 3 mile square, so nobody is very far from us. It's just the days where nobody has time to talk to us and we walk from one side to the other trying to contact different people that come to our minds.
That was all of Thursday this week. We had a member accompanying us, so we were super excited to contact as many of our investigators as possible. We had two set appointments and then a list of others we wanted to see and then our back up plan of people. We set out to work, and no one was home. Our two appointments got rescheduled for a different day and we went to every single one of the houses we had planned and thought about and not one was able to have us in. We walked the full length of the sector back and forth as people came to our mind. Up the hill and down the hill and then back up. It was terrible and the worst part was that our member got blisters on her feet! So sad. Luckily she is a YSA who wants to serve a mission, so she understood that some days were like that. But it was terrible.
The language is great. I was worried because everyone said that Chileans talk really fast, but so far it hasn't been too bad. I understand just about everything. They like to add "po" to the end of every sentence, though. It is super funny. Also they have a lot of different words for things, but luckily Hermana Castor helps me with that. My vocabulary is obviously more Mexican and Nicaraguan, but Chileans have made up their own words for things, so that's where I need the help.
We found an investigator this week that we hope is "golden". He (D) had been the taxi driver one day for Hermana Castor and her other companion, and wanted to know more about the gospel. It turns out they had an appointment for the day that transfers occured, so they never got to visit him and then somehow he got forgotten. However, we met him in the street and he still wanted to meet with us. He listened to the entire Restoration lesson and just kept saying that he wants to learn more. We gave him the Book of Mormon. And guess what? He loves to read so he said he would read any part that we assigned. He also said he would come to church! We left the lesson feeling really great about everything. Hermana Castor got the impression that he and his wife will be baptized. However, he did not show up to church yesterday. We are going to visit him either tonight or tomorrow and hopefully find out that he just had to work extra or something. He is such a kind sweet old man. D is our only promising new investigator, but we are constantly looking for more.
Luckily our young family, G and N, have not be able to leave town to go and pick grapes. They are waiting for some money from the dad of G to buy the tickets to Santiago. It is awesome for us because we have more opportunities to teach them! G asked us the other day to pray for her and the money and we said we would, but then when we left I told Hermana Castor that we cannot because we have to teach them first hahaha. So far our non-praying has been answered haha:)
Keep working with those less actives! We have such problems with them here. We become such great friends with them, we share our testimonies and visit often to give spiritual thoughts and FHE. They have testimonies but without a friend and connection in the ward, they do not see the purpose in going to church. We are always asking for people to go and visit them and become their friends, so as often as you can, meet with them and become friends.
I love you guys and love the pictures you sent!! Keep up the good missionary work. Good luck on the javelina hunt, Dad.
The picture is of the baptism this past Saturday. It was not one of my investigators, but one of the people is in my ward, so we attended. The older man is a baptism for the other ward that uses the building. There was such a strong spirit at the baptism. The girl who was baptized for our ward is 24 and has a 2 year old daughter. When she came out of the water, we were in the bathroom to help her and she was crying and crying. It was beautiful; she really felt clean. That is the point of all the work I am doing. Crying repentance to all the Chileans so that they too can feel clean, through baptism and then again in the temple. Aww it was such a good experience.
I love you all!
Hermana Biggs

Excerpts from Letter To Bailee

All of the missionaries love the little photo book you gave me. It sits on my desk and they are always wanting to look at the pictures of you crazy people. Its awesome!
This week we had a lot of fun doing missionary work but we also had lots of disappointments. However, I think it should start improving soon. We are really focusing this week on contacting random people in the street to find new investigators.
The other day we went to visit a less active member and we felt the spirit so strong. We talked about Alma 7:11-12 and she was remembering one of the sacrament hymns that she loves. She then began to remember the song that was sung at her baptism which is Teach Me to Walk in the Light. Her less active daughter was there too (she is about 24) and that was the same song they sang at her baptism as well. We decided to sing it for them in Spanish and that really brought the spirit. I could tell that we were filling an emptiness. They were both happier and said that so many precious memories were brought to their mind. The mom told us at the end of the mini lesson, that she wants to come to church on Sunday and is going to try. We are going to pass by her house again to confirm, but it is amazing to see how the spirit works with people.
The mission is still awesome. I am getting more connected to the people since I am visiting and getting to know them more. Plus many of our investigators are new, not just old investigators from my companion, so I am starting at the beginning with them. They are all such great people, and I love them all instantly, it is sometimes funny,
I hope you continue doing welll! I love you so much and am so grateful for your emails.
Hermana Biggs

Excerpts from Letter To Madison

The washing feet thing, I am not sure why it is a tradition. I think it comes from Jesus washing the apostles feet. So like they are the older, more experienced missionaries and are serving us. I am not sure. However, they don´t actually do anything!! It is just for the photo, they act like they are shining our shoes. My shoes really need a shining; I wish they would have actually done it. My companion is great. She is awesome at saying the right thing when people have super odd questions or comments. Like the other day we were walking and some guy asked me if I could teach him English. He then wanted to take me dancing and offered us drinks! Oh goodness. I told him we had to hurry and leave since we had an appointment to get to; however the word for appointment and date are the same in Spanish "cita". SO he asked if he could have a cita with me!! How ridiculous! I was like no we are missionaries and we teach the gospel of Christ, but my companion stepped in and offered him a pamphlet about the restoration and then said we had to keep walking. People are crazy and I am glad to have my companion to help me handle them haha.
I love you!
Hermana Biggs