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Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8, 2016

Kylee has made some wonderful friends in Chile!  One couple has reached out to her family through Facebook. They send messages and pictures to show us how much they enjoy her and how she is doing. Today they traveled to her area to say goodbye. Hector's English is quite good and his messages make us smile. He sent this message today and it seems to sum up the mixed emotions we all feel as she leaves her mission:

Hello my dear, good morning, it was a beatifull morning for us , we went to see Kylee...she was so happy , we cried, it was a nice surprise for her and more for us , we really love her, she is so special, we seat together in the general reunion, side by side with my wife, the bishop ask her to share the testimony and it was so special to hear so nice inspirated words...
Thanks for everything , thanks for let her come to this country to bless so many people with her job, i know that i was so difficult for you to get separated from her for year and a half but, believe ...it was the best desition for her and for us , she will be always in my mind and my soul , some day i will see her again i know that, so now is time dor you guys to enjoy, give her all your love and be so happy with her, time to start new things, take care 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016 - Last Blog Email

Well, the day has come. I've been here set apart as a missionary for over a year-and-a-half, and this is my final email.

I've learned a lot about our Savior. I've learned a lot about His Father's plan. I've learned a lot about how to love, how to serve, how to repent, and how to endure. I've learned a new language. I learned about the restoration of the Gospel. I learned that God truly does love every single one of us. 

In the mission, I've never run out of things to do. There have always been people to find. There are always people to teach. I've never run out of scriptures to study. I've always had characteristics and attributes of mine that I've needed to improve. There has always been something that I've needed to counsel with the Lord. Truly, looking back, I realize that spiritually, I've never run out of anything in the mission. The only thing that I will run out of is time. 

I will miss being a full-time missionary and hope for the best for all of the people that I have served and those that have served me. Family and friends from the United States: I will see you soon! Thank you for loving and supporting me and praying for me. Family and friends from Chile: My hope is that one day, we will all be together again. 

So, I will give all that I can this last week, trying to bring souls unto Christ, because He is the only way. I've loved the adventures I've had here in Chile. I love the good people here. I will never forget them. I will try to give it all that I've got. But I know that in the end, I'll really give nothing compared to what He gives to me. He is the Ultimate Giver. I also realize that if not even one other soul was brought unto Christ for my efforts here, at least I know that mine was.

-Hermana Martin


Hola Hermana Tracy, soy Hermana García, compañera de Hermana Martín. Estoy muy agradecida con Hermana Martin y no solo con ella sino que con ustedes sus padres también. He aprendido mucho de ella, tiene cualidades y atributos semejantes a los de Cristo que me han ayudado a perseverar, y adquirir esos atributos en mi vida también. Agradezco que ella haya extendido, y siempre le digo a ella que se quedo por mi, porque me ha ayudado mucho, en mis primeras semanas en la misión, me ha fortalecido y brindado animos para poder seguir adelante en la obra del Señor.  Ella es una gran misionera, ahora que ella regresa a su casa, bendiciones extraordinarias les esperan a ella y a ustedes como su familia. Sé que Nuestro Padre Celestial les ha bendecido a ustedes con unas hijas maravillosas y muy espirituales. Estoy muy agradecida con ella y con ustedes también, aunque no les conozco pero se que son unos grandes padres, porque en hermana Martin se reflejan los esfuerzos que ustedes han hecho por criarlas en el evangelio. 
Saludos, 
Hermana García

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26, 2016

Summary:
It's been a great week! Hermana Garcia and I set a goal not to return to the apartment until we've taught about the restored gospel to somebody. Even if we didn't have scheduled appointments we just knocked doors and talked to everyone in the street until somebody would give us a few more minutes to explain the restoration and why it was and is necessary. It's been awesome! We also had exchanges with the Hermanas Capacitadores and Stake Conference this past week so it's been pretty jam-packed. The temple president and his wife,  president and hermana morgan, and our stake president all spoke. 

Spiritual Moment:
As we were leaving the chapel after stake conference, we saw a man making his way up the isle to shake the speakers' hands. He caught our attention because he wasn't in sunday clothes and was wearing a bright orange beanie. I took a good look and it turned out to be a man that Hermana Garcia and I had contacted on the street and invited to the conference. I was so surprised because it's the first time in my whole mission that a street contact has gone to church after only being invited one time! He told us that he loved the meeting and felt something so special and wanted to go every week. I felt such guilt afterward because I realized that, at some point, after inviting so many people to church and not seeing them there I started doing it without faith. After some amount of months I started to invite "just because." It made me realize that that's just not how it is! I'm here to help people come unto Christ! I promised myself that I will never again invite anyone else to do anything in the mission without the faith that their life can be changed through Christ.

Funny Moment:
There's this couple in our ward that are ward missionaries. The hermana is Chileana and the hermano is from England. She speaks english and he doesn't understand much spanish. He's the best though because he's always just so happy and it doesn't seem to bother him when he can't understand. Anyways, he participated in the ward chior on Sunday. Hermana Garcia and I looked up at the stand and everyone was all singing passionately and Hermano Clark was just there sitting with a lost look on his face. Later he told me that he didn't know the hymn in spanish and he didn't even know how to fake singing in spanish either but at that point there was no escape. He was already up there. Haha There are some great members here. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016

Summary:
This week has been crazy! We've done a lot of traveling in the bus and the underground metro. We went to the Santiago Centro to do my passport and legal stuff and I got stuck with the same lady that gave me a million ridiculous problems last time I went. She lived up to her reputation and gave me a million problems again... oh man we were there ALL day long. It's alright though because I like being in the registro civil. There are all kinds of foreigners there and it makes me feel at home in a weird sort of way. There are also a lot of people bored and waiting in line, so it's the perfect opportunity to share the gospel. They can't run or say they're busy! I also had a self-reliance class and and interview with my mission president. On the weekend, it rained like crazy! A lot of people were actually in panic and they shut of the running water in Santiago. Luckily, in our building they had a reserve, so they never shut our water off. 

Spiritual Experience:
Yesterday in the morning, I was organizing the papers and talks I have and I came across one that I had never seen before. It talked about suicide. I think it was by Elder Nelson, but I'm not positive on that one. I thought, "How strange..." and then I read it. Later that day, we contacted a lady on the street. She kind of did the whole, "Ah yeah thanks! See ya later" kind of thing and kept walking, but then stopped and turned around and said, "Wait! I have a question for you. What happens if my brother recently commited suicide? I just don't know where he is... or what to do." We were able to give her a short, comforting answer that came straight from the talk that I came across in the morning. She started to cry and gave us a big hug and said, "Thank you so much."

Funny:
We were in a lesson the other day when it started to rain HARD. Our sweet investigator, Rosa, wouldn't let me leave her house without putting on one of those blue plastic rain poncho things, like the ones they sell outside of splash mountain. Haha... Long story short I ended up walking down the street in that thing when a car drove by and splashed us from head to toe. I turned around and lifted up my arms in the "Seriously?" position. I turned around and my companion was laughing hysterically. I realized that with my bag and the hood of the jacket, my poncho was all weird-shaped and I looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dam walking down the street. I, too, busted up laughing all wet and dirty in a blue plastic poncho. 


This is a noche de hogar we did with the Familia Martinez and Hermana y Hermano Mora, two of my favorite families! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 12, 2016

Summary: 
It was a good week! Hermana Garcia is doing awesome. I have to say that I've been blessed with great companions my whole mission. I really feel like I've been out here serving my Savior with my best friends for a year and a half. 

We've been getting pretty creative with our contacting methods lately in Ñuñoa because of the very small percentage of people that will even accept a pass-along card and much less stop to talk to us. haha! It's been pretty interesting. We've also been going to the feria the past few Saturdays to hand out laminas and pass-along cards has really been helpful in finding people. I've always had a fear of going to the feria because there are so many people in one small place, but my companion helped me conquer it! It's true, we are here to invite PEOPLE to come unto Christ, so I guess it makes a lot of sense that we need to go to where there are people.

Spiritual Experience:
We met a lady the other day that let us into her house to share a message. At one point in the lesson, she told us a story about one time when she wasn't feeling well. She said she was walking in the street and saw that the doors to one of our chapels was open. She had heard of blessings for health before, so she entered the church and asked one of the brothers that she saw about it. They gave her a blessing. She felt better, and she felt the Spirit. It made me think of Elder Renlund's talk about the keys. The keys of the priesthood really are in this church. The keys really do open doors to many blessings, from the very smallest to eternal life.

Funny:
While leaving the house of a less-active hermana and an investigator that we are teaching , we somehow got ourselves locked inside the gates of an apartment complex. It was getting late and we were running out of options. Then, I remembered that there is a man who is always drunk that always sits on the street corner outside of the apartments. I've seen him go in and out a few times, so I knew he had keys. Haha... so we went up from the inside of the gate closest to where he always sits. We could only see his tennis shoes so we just guessed it was him. We weren't sure about what his name was either. So we just sat there contemplating and whispering for about three minutes about what we should do. My companion finally whispers, "Jorje! Can you open the door for us?" He had no idea we where our voices came from and his name isn't even Jorje, but instead of getting scared or looking confused he just goes, "Ah yeah I've got keys how are you guys doing where are you from...." as he staggered to open the door for us. We just yelled "THANKS!" and went running as fast as we could to our apartment. haha

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 5, 2016

Summary:
It's been a great week! General Conference is definitely the Lord's Conference. We were able to invite lots of people! Unfortunately, there was a Coldplay concert here in Santiago the same weekend and only and two of them found time for conference. But hey, two of them went! I especially loved the first and last talks, President Eyring and Elder Holland. It's such a blessing to know that we have a living prophet! I got to thinking, it's crazy to think that God's prophet on the earth stood up to speak and the majority of the people here had no idea. That's why we're here, I guess! To tell the world! 

We were also able to clean out the Area Book last week and contact lots of people that have recieved the lessons a while ago and some of them showed interest in recieving us again!

Spiritual:
Junior, the man that stopped us on the street a week ago, went to church and read a lot of the Book of Mormon. We asked him if he had been able to read and he said "Yes." We asked him what he was able to read and he responded by telling us the whole story with every detail from the crossing of the sea and the language of the Egyptians, to how he imagined the sword of Laban, to Sariah's murmuring and Nephi's faith! First time in my whole mission that an investigator has read and remembered so much of the Book of Mormon after just one visit. We were with a sister from the ward and all three of us actually just started laughing as we listened to him because we couldn't believe how he remembered every detail. 

Funny:
So we have a neighbor in our apartment building that REALLY wants to use our storage closet that's in the basement of the apartment building to store her Christmas tree. We've explained to her about three times that we have no idea even which closet number is ours nor how to open it. She wasn't getting anywhere with us, so she called the owner of our apartment and asked permission. Anyways, they gave her permission and we had to go down and try to open the closet with her to put her tree in there. We tried all the keys and at one point one of them got stuck. The lady all the sudden starts moving her wrists and saying a spell... like casting a magic spell on the lock so that the key would come out. haha... oh man and at that point we realized that we were with this crazy lady in the basement of our apartment and she was saying a spell on the doorhandle of our storage closet...  haha

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016

Summary:
We've been getting creative lately with finding new investigators. As I'm writing this letter there is this guy standing behind me and my companion smoking and trying to tell me us his life story in English... so it's a little hard to concentrate... But anyways, so we've been trying to work a lot with the members. The ward is full of awesome members! They're just really not used to working with the missionaries. It's kind of like the missionaries do their own thing and work hard and then if someone gets baptized the ward realizes they need to become friends with them. So we're trying to change that! It's something I wish I would've know before serving mission!
Hermana Garcia is doing awesome. I sometimes can't believe she's only been here for a month, especially when I think about how I was doing when I was a month into the mission! We get along really well and I'm learning a lot from her.

Junior (The man that stopped us on the street last week) went to church on Sunday. After the Gospel Principles class he asked which church is the true one. The Mamani-Leon family got wrapped up in their work and school and really haven't been reading or praying or going to church. :( We really don't want to lose them, but sometimes you've just gotta do all you can do and let it ride from there. 

Spiritual Experience:
Yesterday we taught a man. He didn't let us talk much, but he had SO many questions and all of them are answered by explaining the restored gospel. I was thinking about it afterward, and I realized that I've probably acted the same way with the Spirit. God always has the answers, but sometimes I just don't stop to listen and hear it. 

Funny:
Here  on the weekend they have la feria, which is like a giant fruit market where everyone goes to buy their fruit and vegetables. We thought it would be a good idea to go contact in la feria because there would be a ton of people and we could give out all the pass-along cards, pamphlets, and pictures of Christ that we have in our closet and never use. So, we set up a little table and started handing the things out. It was going alright, but we couldn't really hear anything because all of the the sellers were yelling about how cheap and awesome their fruit was. "BANANAS 50 CENTS!" "WATERMELONWATERMELONFRESHWATERMELON!" and stuff like that. Later, the elders showed up. Next thing I know, I look over towards the table and Elder Tehani, an elder from our ward that's from Florida was holding up the bible images and yelling, "Amor de Dios. Gratis!" I don't know if it's because he didn't know how to speak much spanish or what, but later I was thinking about what I would do if I was in the United States buying fruit and some foreigner was there yelling "Love of God! Free!" haha Hermana Garcia and I were laughing so hard that night thinking about it. Everyone all yelling about fruit, vegetables, and fish and then out of nowhere they hear, "Amor de Dios! Gratis!"