Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day!

My dear family,
It was so good to see you yesterday! and to those I couldn´t see, Grandmas and Aunts and friends who are moms....FELIZ (late) DIA DE LA MADRE! Espero que les pasó bien!
 It was fun having a staring contest with my family yesterday. Sorry, I couldn´t think of much to say either, and it was hard to stand awkwardly staring at a big screen with everyone else listening in on my end of the line. But, it was good to see you. You can write me your actual thoughts and questions and I will respond!

I asked the Familia Figueroa Molina what they thought of my siblings.
Their observations are as follows:
CHRISTIAN: They think you are attractive and a sweet boy. HA. 
GRACE: They were AMAZED by your flexibility! You are such a beautiful dancer. It was so fun to see your talents! They also think that you are beautiful . 
MAX: They said that you are very refined and intelligent. They laughed at how calm you were in comparison to Eli! aha. Sorry, I forget, you´re ¨Truman¨ now....awkward. Can you please make an exception and let me call you Maxi poo foreverrrr?
Elijah: They were amazed by how much energy you have! They also really liked your silly faces. They were all laughing all night thanks to you!
Mom and Dad: They said that you are good parents and you both look very young...I agree! You are both looking great and it doesn´t even show that you are coming up on your 1 year mission mark! What´s your secret?!

Well, this week was good. I would have talked more about the mission, but I didn´t want to be sharing too many stories and have the family think I am weird and all ¨Missionaryish¨. But, I will now share a few highlights from the week.
It´s amazing how the Lord prepares people and how they are just PLOPPED DOWN in our path. I can´t get over how many times people contact US and ask US what we teach. I feel like we should be walking around with a megaphone sometimes just so everyone knows that we are TRYING to do our part and contact them, but they just beat us to it.
Initially a lot of people start to talk to us because we are gringas. In those moments, we have about a minute to use the gift of discernment to know if they really want to hear our message or if they just want to hear our accents. This week, we got a lot of good first contacts. We had a day where everyone that talked to us knew about Joseph Smith and asked us different questions about him, and we were able to share our brief testimonies about the restoration. I was amazed that day and just kept thinking about all these different people, from different walks of life, who knew the name of the Prophet that restored The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...the prophecy that the whole world will know his name is definitely being brought to pass in Chile, Santiago Este!
We met a man named Andres this last week. When we can get him off the topic of Aliens he really is interested. His brother, at age 50, just passed away suddenly. He has been having a hard time watching his mother cope with it. He introduced us to her and we were able to give her comfort in the Plan of Salvation that Heavenly Father has prepared for us. We read from Alma 40 and she asked us how much ¨The Book¨ costs. I said, ¨It´s free!¨ Then she asked how she could get one, and I told her she just needed to say ¨Por favor!¨ She did, and she took The Book of Mormon with tears in her eyes and promised us to start reading it from the beginning.
After about 2 months of trying to get to know Fransisca, this week we met her. Her neighbor (not a member) gave us the reference of the family because the husband was in the hospital and going through a hard time. Fransisca is in her 70´s, and has been struggling with her husbands illness because he wasn´t there mentally. Her husband passed away. We had passed by her house about three times a week and had only gotten to talk to her son, but this last Thursday we were able to meet her. She let us right in.
It was interesting. We were thinking about teaching a bit of the plan of salvation, but as we sat there and listened to her story we were led by the spirit to talk to her about faith. Without her saying that she felt she didn´t have faith, we were able to point out to her all of the things that she has done to show she has faith. We taught that faith is a principle of action. In the end, she was very grateful and invited us back ¨ANYTIME!¨. She walked us to the gate and her neighbor that gave us her reference was outside.

The neighbor hasn´t ever been receptive to us, but she was put in our path to help us find Fransisca. We told Fransisca that her neighbor told us we ¨Needed to get to know her because she is such a good neighbor¨ some props to the neighbor who is generally pretty cold to us. Funny thing,  as we left the house with Fransisca, she yelled to her neighbor ¨Thank you for sending me these two angels! They have helped me feel happy!¨
The neighbor, who was sweeping up leaves, stopped and smiled and told her she was welcome. We then went and talked to the neighbor, Aida. (yeah mom, I knew you´d love her name.) Long Story short: now Aida is our friend.
The other day we were on the train and there was a mom with two little kids, a baby and a toddler. The toddler was throwing a fit and the mom was fed up. All of the Chileans on the train were shooting nasty looks at her. I was right next to her, and I said a little prayer not knowing what to do. I didn´t want to make her more embarrassed, but I also didn´t want to do anything that would make it look like a ¨Service Show¨...I don´t know if that makes sense, but it did to me. haha.
So, the little kid starts to freak out because his shoe came untied. I hurried and bent down and asked him if I could help him tie it back up. He was shocked into silence...I think because he didn´t understand me or maybe because I´m blond... but I hurried and tied his shoe and gave him a smile.
He stood there staring at me in complete silence for the rest of the ride. haha.
I find more pleasure out of the little unexpected opportunities that we get to serve every day than anything. In those moments, I feel like a true representative of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ wouldn´t pass by someone that needed help, even if he had an ¨appointment¨ to get to or something else he could be focusing on.
We´ve been able to find some new families to teach. It is a lot more work to get families to progress quickly, but I am excited to work with them.

I feel so blessed to know that this is the Lord´s work and I get the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands. There is no way that this work would go as smoothly or effectively as it does if this church was run by a mere man. I know that it is Heavenly Father´s church, and that his son, Jesus Christ, whose name we have taken upon ourselves, gave us the perfect example of how to do the ¨busy work¨.
I´m learning that the mission really is what I want it to be. I am grateful for my parents for teaching by example that every experience in this life is what we make it be. I´ve been learning that very slowly throughout my life...but I think it´s finally sinking in.  If we want to have fun while we work, we make it fun while we work. If we want to be happy when all of the plans fall through and we have to contact for a few hours, we´re happy as we contact for those few hours in the street.

I love you all! Thank you for your support, your emails,  your love and prayers! I am sorry that I don´t have time to write individually every week, but I laugh and cry and think about you as I read your letters.

Love you all, have a good week!

Hermana Lauren VanCott

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