Monday, May 26, 2014

My First Gringa!

Things have been going really well this week. We are having so many lessons with members and investigators present, it is super great for our investigators. We have been working a lot this week with T and her son P. T is a less active, but she wants P to be baptized. However, of course we need them both to be going to church for that to happen. She is afraid of what people will say because she is a single mom of two children, but we are getting really close I think. She is really begining to understand her divine nature. We went to visit her on Friday with a member and it was such a great lesson. She knows that Heavenly Father sees her as a strong woman who is trying her best. We are really happy to be able to help her. Tonight we are going to a member´s house for family home evening and we have invited her. I think it is going to go really well, but keep her in your prayers.

We had great success with A this week. She and her boyfriend and daughter all want to get baptized, and they have been attending pretty consistingly for the last 8 months. However, both the parents need to get divorced and then married. We were having problems with A because she cannot locate her husband. They have been separated for 16 years and dont have any communication, so she cant make any progress in the divorce process. However, our mission is now using a new program to find less actives and locate the true addresses of members. We have an hour every week to work with the on-line part and then we go out and try to locate the members that supposedly live in our sector. The cool part is that we have access to all the voting records in Chile in order to find addresses and names, so we were able to put the husband´s name in the search and WE FOUND HIM!!! We gave A the address and she is starting to get a divorce! Its funny to be excited for that, but it is a great step so that she can marry her current partner. Its a six month process, but she is super happy and so are we,

Lots of progress here in Tarapaca Oriente! We are still seeing lots of progress with the activation of less actives, so thats exciting too. This past Sunday, J came to church. He is the older brother of C, who we activated about two months ago. He only attended sacrament meeting, but he enjoyed the talks and the sacrament and when we went to visit his family at night he stayed for the lesson! I think he is ready for something more in his life.

This week we also welcomed Hermana Christensen to our apartment. She is really kind and great and a fellow Arizonian from Snowflake! The first gringa that I have lived with since I started the mission. We have a lot of fun when all four of us sisters have time together. Today we went to show her the Morro and Roly´s (more huge sandwiches:) We entertained ourselves by pretending to throw ourselves off the el morro (a common thing to do her in Arica apparently).

I hope you guys are living it up in the beach house. Be safe and remember that I now live fifteen minutes from the beach so be jealous!! Hahaha enjoy your vacation! I love you guys.

Hermana Biggs

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Trip To Hawaii

This week was a little off for us here in Arica. For Friday all of the missionaries traveled to Iquique for a zone conference with Elder Spanuas (a 70 from Argentina) and the mission president. We left Arica at 11:30 and filled an entire bus with missionaries. The five hour drive to Iquique dropped us off there at about 4 am! We were all so tired and then had to walk to the chapel. Once there we all crashed on the pews trying to take advantage of the last hours of sleep before the conference. When the confrence started we were all still tired, but I learned a lot. It was great. The main topic was prayer. President Dalton talked about the mission goals that we have, and said that he was thinking about why we hadn't seen the progress that we wanted. He prayed about it, thinking that maybe the goals were too high or something, but his answer was that the mission isn't accomplishing the goals because we are not praying for the goals. I thought that was really interesting, and it is actually true. Then he talked about how we need to pray with faith and trust that we will be granted the things we want and need in time. Elder Spanuas and his wife then talked about praying with a specific plan. They said that we would see more of the Lord's hand if we prayed, not only for the goals, but thought and prayed about a plan. It could be something simple like "prepare the owner of the bread store to accept our message today when we go and buy bread" or something more involved when we need more help.

Their advice really struck me because we are really struggling with the V family. They want to be baptized but have not gone to church. Plus the mom´s bipolar depression has made some situations complicated. In Ward council the bishop asked what help we needed with them, and I was completely lost. I didnt have an answer because we had done everything to try to get them to church. When I Heard the advice  in the conference I knew that that was something we needed to impliment. We need an inspired plan and then we need to pray to see results. We are going to put this in action soon! (once we have the plan ready). It was a really great conference and I was glad we could all go.

When we returned to Arica on Saturday we had to hurry and get our missionary activity underway. The Elder's had planned a Trip to Hawaii activity for the two wards that attend our chapel. We worked all saturday getting the chapel transformed into a troipical Paradise complete with a movie theater, club, smoothies, soccer, a mini chapel, and video games. The visitors received leis when they entered and could visit all of the attractions. It was really fun and those who went said it was great! We enjoyed it and are already planning our next activity.

We got our transfers that night as well, and after many heart attacks for people saying I was going to leave Arica, I learned that I am staying to finish training Hermana Alonzo. I was soo happy to hear that! I am not ready to leave my beloved Tarapacá still. Hopefully, at the end of this transfer I will be... but not yet.

Last night we said goodbye to Hermana Delgado who has lived with me since I got here, but she is now finishing her mission. She should be home on Wednesday. It was sad to see her go, but hilarious to see her try to pack up all of her things. I am sure she will enjoy being home, but she is awesome. Today I am in a trio until Hermana Fernandez´s new companion gets here in the morning. It has been fun, and soon Hermana Christensen will be joining us in our Little apartment.

I hope you guys enjoy this last week of school. Send me pictures of the finished product of the kitchen. Sounds like it is going to look great! What is the color scheme exactly? I think you should use pastel Green. I like that color hahaha. I love you all. Ciao!

Hermana Biggs

Emilee's missionary plaque came in and is proudly displayed at our ward building!  However, Emilee was quick to remind me that her release date probably won't be until July 15, 2015- not June.  I'm not sure how I feel about that! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Because of Him

It was great talking to all of you guys too. I was so nervous to call, yet I had no idea why. It has been a great four months, but it was fun to see everyone in person.

This past week was a little rough. We had some great lessons, but I feel like it was a bit difficult. The spirit in the apartment was definitely lacking. I was worrying about how I could help my hijita be a better missionary. I had tried to be an obedient example, but it seemed like my example wasnt the one that she was trying to follow. I have a tendency to be a little too controlling, and I have really tried to be on top of that, but I stil felt like I wasnt doing enough. On Tuesday, I was pretty upset. It seemed like every conversation lead to some topic that didnt need to be discussed and every joke was just a little too much. Little disobedient acts and comments that really dont seem like anything grand were really affecting the spirit. We had a district meeting that morning, and I went to it contemplating what I could do to show love but also express how I felt. As we waited for a video to load I started praying for help. I felt like those parents that they talk about in General Conference, that want to know how to raise a righteous child in a world full of evil. (A little dramatic I know, but I really do worry about my hijita)

It was amazing to recieve an answer right then and there. I felt my mind being flooded with things that I could do and say to help the spirit in the apartment and show love. I was amazed at how easily it all came to my mind, and of course I was reminded of the great love Heavenly Father has for me. He took the time in my moment of need to help ease my worries. By the time the video was ready to watch, I felt confident that I could make the changes that I wanted to see.

However, it seems like Heavenly Father wasnt completly done giving his answer. The video we watched was a video that the church had made for Easter. It is called Because of Him (Gracias a El). After watching the clip, I just felt overwhelmed with love for my Savior.  I felt a renewed sense of hope that I could become the person that he and my Heavenly Father want me to be. I am so grateful for the things that Jesús Christ has done for all of us. He sacrificed himself selflessly so that we can be clean and live again with God and our families. He gives us limitless possibilities in this life and in the life after death. Because of Him, I have so much potential.

My spirit was renewed after I left the district meeting, and I have tried to put in pratice the things that came to my mind. Bit by bit things are improving. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to be happy.

I love you guys and  hope you can get a chance to watch the video.  It is amazing. I love you

The photo is from a market called YES. They sell American clothes by the kilo. We went there today and basically had to dig through huge piles of clothes. It was pretty hilarious, but in the end I got a cute navy blue Banana Republic cardi for about a $1:) Imported all the way from the USA haha

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'll Virtually See You In A Week!

Your space for the show was so cute! I love the "Love" sign with the heart and the cute little burlap flowers. Bailee´s skirt is amazing too. Did you find that at a thrift store or make it? So adorable, send me one too:)

I am glad that things went so well for this show. Your little black and white boxes show how much Heavenly Father cares about us, not just spiritually but in every facet of our lives. Like it says in Mosiah 2:41 those who keep the commandments are blessed in all things both temporary and spiritual. I think that that is an awesome promise that we have, and your success is just a fulfillment of that promise. Perhaps if the show hadn't gone so well, I could be accompanying you guys next summer for the beach house, but I guess that's just how things are going to be. Enjoy your time there. I hope to see lots of photos. 

This week was difficult. We had a hard time finding people home in the afternoon and then when it was about eight o´clock we would enter a house and they would talk and talk until 9:45 when we had to leave to go to our apartment. We got to know some of the families better, and that is great that they trust us and are open. However, we didnt get to visit the majority  of our families that we normally do. It made the week hard, seeing as we planned everyday to visit several people and then in the end only get to talk to one or two families. We are majorly tied to the spiritual development of the people here in our sector, and that's a great responsiblity. When we do get to visit many of the investigators or less actives or members, I worry about them. I know what we share is important and always want to work with as many people as possible.  It seems like there is always a disappointing week in every transfer, but that doesnt make them any more fun or bearable. By the time this past Sunday rolled around I was just ready to start a new week with a clean slate. 

Three investigators came to church. A and F,  who always come,  and then a friend of C. C is a 12 year youth that we have activated (still not his family, but we are working on it!). He recieved the Aaronic priesthood 5 or 6 weeks ago and invited one of his neighbor friends to come to church. J is only nine, but said that he really enjoyed primary. Sacrament meeting was boring for him, but I think most nine year olds have a hard time in that meeting. Hopefuly, we can have a lesson with him and his grandparents this week, and invite all of them to come to church. 

The V family didnt come and is having more struggles again, so we will see how we can help them tomorrow. We go to ward council about every week, and the leaders have said that they are going to go and visit them. I hope they do. They need some advice, that as missionaries we cant give (about budgeting and stuff like that). 

Tonight we are having family home evening with a member family and bringing two of our investigator families. I am super excited for it, and I hope that it will be a good way to start off the week. We are trying to increase our lessons to investigators with a member present and have created a calendar where the relief society can sign up to work with us for a few hour each day. The first week, nobody signed up to go with us, but they did fill out the spaces to have an FHE with us in the month of May. This past week, we have two sisters who signed up to work with us in the mornings. I hope that they have good experiences and can share with the other members so that EVERYBODY wants to work with us. Hahaha. 

Thats about it for this week. I have a lot of hope for this coming week. I think it is going to be awesome. As a zone we are going to sing the EFY melody of As Sisters in Zion and Army of Helaman for a zone conference in about two weeks. It is going to be for all the missionaries in Arica and Iquique (we get to travel!), the mission president, and a member of the 70. We have been practicing, but there are only four sisternaries in our zone and none of us know how to sing. Plus we are singing partly in English and I am the only gringa! I am praying that the spirit will be strong and convey the message because I am not so sure that our voices will hahaha. No, it should be fun. We are looking forward to it. 

We talked with the bishop and it looks like we can skype at 7:30 Chilean time which I think is 4:30 AZ time. Check on that to be sure please. I think I remember my skype information so I should be able to connect, but if not keep your email open and also facebook. Our mamita was saying that there is a way to sign into facebook and use skype from there if we remember that password. Ill shot you email if I have any problems connecting. 

I love you guys! Good luck with the end of the semester. Ill virtually see you in a week!!

Hermana Biggs