Monday, March 25, 2013

Playing Soccer on P-Day

March 25, 2013

This week has been a good one.  We started off the week with a new missionary meeting and it was so amazing.  We talked about the Atonement and the Savior and I loved every bit of it.  I know with all my heart that Christ is my Savior and that He knows me personally and He knows how to comfort and help me in my personal trials and He does the same for you too. It was crazy in the meeting, President announced that by July we will have 50 new sisters in our mission and yep, that is more sisters than we have right now so some sisters are going to have to train 2 sisters and almost all sisters might have to be trainers.... I am kind of nervous but I doubt I would be made a trainer because I still need to learn Chilean Spanish.... they talk terrible! Like I understand all the other missionaries from other places, it’s too funny.

This is my Chilean sister that reminds me  so much of Autumn 
This week was such a great week we found 4 new people to teach finally. One of them is named Jorge and some of his family are members but he isn’t and neither are his kids or his girlfriend. He has been going through a tough time and his family told him he needs to look into the church so he did. He also has already started living the Word of wisdom and the only thing left he has to stop is smoking. He is very funny and has a desire to change. The next 2 are a 13 year old boy, who is the investigator, and he is just the cutest because he really wants to know and he really seeks for truth and he knows a lot about the gospel. His mom always listens to the lessons with us and she is interested but has some problems with tithing and Word of Wisdom, but only with time and the Lord we will see if she accepts the gospel. The last one is Cecilia she is so sweet but so sad.  I know that the gospel will help her find happiness in her life again. It  was the best being about to find people who want to be taught this week. It was the best to know that I get to help bring the best thing ever, the gospel, to people every week.

Guess who gave a talk this week in church?  Yes this girl did, haha!  I think it went well. Members said I did well and they were like, and “We understood everything you said,” well I hope so cause my companion translated the talk from English to Spanish for me!  Ya it was a neat experience because I was so nervous, but I made it through. Something so funny about church is that there is a sister who moved to Chile with her husband and son who is 3 and she doesn’t know any Spanish. The relief society president asked me to translate for her.... ya cause it’s hard to understand at church. I do better with one on one talking and it takes all my concentration. Let’s just say I am so not at the translated level yet.  So this is what we have to do to translate - so my companion sits next to me and listens and then says what she hears in Spanish to me, cause I always understand what she is saying, and then I translate that into English for Miranda.  I sure think it’s the funniest thing ever.

P-days (preparation days) are a normal day till 11am. Then we clean the apartment and we just have free time till 6 when we write home, I usually take a nap, write letters or do random stuff, we go shopping, laundry etc.  So P-day today was extra fun we had a barbeque with all the missionaries in my zone and we got to play soccer forever it was the best! It’s fun to be around the other missionaries and it was so fun playing soccer with the elders because they are almost all from Latin America and they are so good!

I have heard some horror stories about sisters gaining 40 pounds on their mission like I would die!  Pray that doesn't happen to me I so don’t want to get punished for going on a mission that is my one thing I don’t like about the mission they feed us so much food it hurts to eat! haha but we walk and walk every day, it’s so fun.  I try to find happiness in even the small little things, like the way birds walk its hilarious to watch their heads bob back and forth and it’s good to work hard every day it helps me sleep at night.

Oh so this week we were at one of the less active members and when she found out I was in nursing school and she asked me if I could give  a flu shot to here 6 year old daughter. Apparently it is cheaper to buy them here.... I guess I really didn't understand a ton except that she wants me to give it. I told her I could but I would have to ask first.  I just have to call the doctor here and ask.  I am going to ask this week and we will see, hopefully he says yes.  I love the mission it’s crazy to think I am living in Chile and speaking Spanish every day. The language is so hard, like sometimes I understand everything and can speak and others I don’t have a clue what is going on and I can’t express myself at all. It’s hard like some days Spanish is super annoying and others I love it!  haha I think my companion understands everything in English I say so that’s a blessing thank goodness I can understand everything she says in Spanish too so that is nice.  Sometimes I am like, this can be real, but it is and I am so blessed to be able to preach the gospel every day.

Love all of ya’ll so much

Hermana Jennings

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Walking Everywhere!

March 18, 2013

Hermana Jennings & the Chilean Flag
This week has been so fun and hard all at the same time. The language is going well- apparently I am really good at it compared to previous new missionaries. I am understanding about 3/4ths of what people say.  One day this week I was a tad bit discouraged about my Spanish even though people say I am doing really well.  It’s hard when you have so much in your heart and you can’t get out the right words to explain it. I told my companion about this and told me the story about when Brigham Young was learning about the gospel. The missionary that was eloquent and a great speaker did not impress him that much, but the missionary that was not good at speaking but gave a simple powerful testimony was the one that made Brigham Young feel the truth of all things and feel the desire to know for himself.  My companion said I was like that missionary - I may not be able to say all the things that I have in my head but I can invite the spirit and speak with the power of that spirit.

We made my mom's your cheese cake but we changed the recipe and used crushed up Oreos as the bottom instead of gram crackers  and the topping we made with more cream cheese, condensed milk, vanilla & sugar mixed with more crushed Oreos.  It was great!   The recipe calls for sour cream and I couldn't find it anywhere here,  but all in all lets just say it was heavenly! I love it . Oh another sad thing I cant find sweet potatoes anywhere.
We have a huge area - like I swear we walk miles and miles each day. Our area covers one ward and they are great, but I do miss the good hard workers in our ward back home.  We also have the APs in our ward with us so our district is split down the middle and we can cross so we don’t waste as much time walking everywhere. The mission office is like 30 minutes away and I have never been to the mission home.  There is a lady here who is my favorite, her name is Carmen and she is like my Chilean aunt. We went over to her house this week to help her make a chocolate cake for the relief society lunch that is after church this Sunday. It was so fun. She is so cute she always says, “I love, love, loooovevvee you", to me.  She was so funny because she was like - I want to you marry my son so you can be a part of my family. He is a doctor....ya there is a catch he is 30, um ya no way!  Way, way too old for me! I just laughed.

This week we had zone conference.  It was such a great experience and I loved being with all the missionaries. We got these sweet shirts for our zone, they are awesome!  I loved what I learned at zone conference also. Our mission president gave a great talk about the prophet Joseph Smith and talked about Joseph’s point of view. It was not easy, he was not perfect.  He did not go into the grove of trees looking to be the next prophet. He probably felt inadequate, but the neat thing is that he just put all his trust in the Lord. Even though he was a prophet he did not have everything go perfect for him.  He had trials and difficulties, but he was able to do superhuman things because he indeed was a man called of God. It was so inspirational and helped my testimony grow of the prophet Joseph Smith and made me even more excited to share the news of the restoration with everyone. I also learned that we should carry a Book of Mormon in our hands at all times as a missionary and even more importantly we need to carry the Book of Mormon in our hearts. If we do that then everything else will be easier because the Book of Mormon teaches us how to become like Christ. It has really helped me to be better because I am always thinking about keeping the Book of Mormon in my heart. When I am about to make a mistake I think about the Book of Mormon and that helps me make a better choice.

Chilean school bus - so cute and small.
So all is good. There are some crazy experiences as a missionary and some really great ones. One of my favorite things is the little Chilean children. One of the girls I met last week came running up to me at church and started talking to me. It was so cute. I then gave her a primary sticker and she loved it.  Tell Liz Emery thanks so much those stickers are a hit with the Chilean children. There is also a daughter of a less active member named Flor.  She is so cute I really want to love her because I know that if we love Flor then her mom will realize that we love her too.  It was so cute she was showing me pictures she drew and I am going to draw one for her. I really want her and her mom to come to church.

The members feed us so much food here. So don’t stuff the poor missionaries in GA haha It’s so hard to eat the huge quantities of food. It’s not that I don’t like it -it's just so much.  Don’t think the missionaries don’t like the food you serve them, it’s probably because they have already been served so much food earlier that day. Like the days when we have 2 dinners is crazy, I can barely walk after.

Missionary work is coming along. Our district where we teach is an area where everyone works and most people  don’t live in this same area so we can’t teach them.  We are finding people to teach, but other missionaries get to teach, but no worries. I love finding people and talking to them.  We do a lot of less active reactivation. So good news this week all of our less actives we have been working with except one, Flor and her mom, came to church this week. It was the best I just love them all so much.

Life is good - I hope everyone is doing so great!  Love all of you!
Fun quote: family = an eternal adventure
Love Hermana Jennings

Monday, March 11, 2013

Church Tour & Making Chocolates

March 11, 2013


1. The Good and Bad of Missionary Work
So I’ll start off with the not so happy, we can’t get one of our investigators Raul to come to church and it makes me so sad because he is missing out on so many blessings. This must be how God feels when we choose a path that is not correct. We have tried everything and we just have to leave the rest up to the Lord and Raul. Hopefully he will come.

Another option for getting my hair dry!
Now for the good - I just love the members here. Today we ate lunch at a sister´s house in our ward and she has a daughter the same age as Autumn.  She reminds me of Autumn so much!  I sure miss her. The mom of the family was trying to set her other daughter who is 23 up with JC and she hasn’t even seen a picture of him . . . I better not actually show her a picture or she might find you JC.... So some random things about living in Chile - when we take out the trash we just throw it down a shoot in the hallway, how convenient is that?  Since I don’t have a blow dryer I use our fan to dry my hair.  It’s quite a funny sight. This mission is hard but I would not want to be anywhere else.

 2. The Morales Family

There is this inactive family in our ward that feeds us three times a week.  At the beginning I felt they didn't like me, but I think they were just going through a rough patch. Now they are some of my favorite people.  I can kind of understand them and their 2 daughters speak English so that is great. Sister Morales taught us how to make homemade chocolates with coconut filling - they were so good. We sure had such  a fun time making them and even a funner time eating them! They came to church this Sunday,  I was so pumped to see them. 

3. Chilean Culture Corner
So a funny thing I have noticed is Chileans just grab whatever food they want with their forks even if they have already used it...hmm, not sure how I feel about this . . .  We great everyone except men by putting our cheek on theirs and kissing the air.  hahah Its funny -  I’ll probably try to do that to you when I get home....sorry in advance.

4. Grapes, Jehovah´s Witness, and Kidneys

Thursday we were having a slow start.  All our appointments fell through so we then decided to go visit Hermana Medina. The Relief Society President had asked us to go visit her because she is having kidney problems and she needs to be put on dialysis, but she doesn’t want too. It was so sad because we had her read Mosiah 24:14-15 and she started to cry because she is going through a difficult time.  It just broke my heart because I wanted to help her but there is nothing I can really do but pray for her. Afterwards we went outside to her herb garden and she gave us a bunch of fresh herbs.  Then I saw the grape vines with real grapes on them - I have never seen grapes going on the vine in real life so I thought that was pretty neat.  She cut 2 bundles off and gave them to us and we ate them, but all of them had seeds and they were taking a long time to eat. We needed to leave so we quickly took the rest of the grapes off of the stems and shoved them in the bag of herbs and then shoved that into my purse. It was so funny. As we were leaving her husband told us they almost didn’t let us in because from the window he could only see me, and not my companion, standing by the gate and he thought we were Jehovah´s witness hahah So funny!  It was quite an adventure from sad to really funny.

5. Learning Spanish
At the Bus Stop - every day and all the time!
Apparently I am doing really well speaking Spanish for a missionary who is just got out here, but let’s be real I have a long, long, long way to go!  haha I can understand about 3/4ths of everything and some people I can understand everything. Still others I don’t know what they are saying to me!  It will take time, but it was neat because this week we got to eat at the bishops house and I could understand them perfectly.  It was so fun because I could also speak what I wanted to say.  It is like one minute I get it and then next I don’t. It’s fun being immersed and it’s also fun teaching English to my companion.  She pretty much understands everything I say in English. Cool, huh? 

6. Centro Visitantes en la Capilla
Saturday we got to do the funnest thing ever. We went to a ward building outside of our district and got to help with a program that starts with a Cristus in the chapel and then has 6 stations briefly describing all of the points of the gospel.  We got to be the teachers and the first time we taught it was just for practice before anyone got there. Guess who happened to show up, yep the mission president and his wife! hahah No pressure right? They were like, “You can just testify” but I have been teaching and doing wellish with the language so my companion and I decided to do halfsies like always. It went really well, people were surprised that I could do it and they said it was good especially for someone who has only been here for 2 weeks!  I truly believe that God is extra helpful to missionaries especially since the announcement.  We need to be more prepared and learn faster and be the best we can be now because the work is progressing.  While there was no one to take on tours we went out contacting to find people to invite to come take the tour. My companion and I saw 3 teenage boys in a park and they were the only people we could see so we thought why not. We went up to them and invited them to come to the tour and they came, which was a complete surprise to me. It was neat because you could tell that the experience did have an effect on them and that they felt the spirit. They smelled of straight up weed, but I am so glad we invited them.  It is not what a person looks like on the outside it is what they can become on the inside.  Who knows, they may not join the church but we planted a seed.

7. I Got to Speak English Today
Sunday was fun because I got 2 opportunities to speak English. The first time was with a lady who is in her early 20s named Miranda Lewis.  she used to live in DC ask Sara Kowallis if she knows her? She is married and has a son, she is small and blonde.  Her husband and her just moved to Chile and she doesn’t speak any Spanish. I went up and talked to her and the Relief Society President asked me to translate . . . Let’s be real, I am not quite at the translating level yet.  It takes all my mind power to just understand what is going on!  I was trying, but it was not very effective.  Then I remembered the Morales girl can speak English so I asked her to translate and it went well.  Sister Lewis even got to bare her testimony and Catalina translated and she started to cry.  It was so touching because that was probably the first time she understood anything at church.  I have no idea how long she has been here. She is looking for a Spanish tutor and that’s where my next story comes in. The next sister is a mom in our ward who is probably in her early 30’s.  She is bilingual and is looking for work.  I got to share some thoughts in English with her and it was so nice to express myself adequately. One day I will get to do that in Spanish. I asked her if she knew Hermana Lewis, but she didn’t. I told her that she is looking for a tutor and maybe they could get together. That way Hermana Lewis can learn Spanish and make a new friend in the ward also and the other sister needs a job. They could both be blessed by knowing each other.  I hope they become friends, it must be so hard for Sister Lewis.  I can understand a lot of Spanish, but I have Hermana Cisneros who is an angel and helps me out so much.
A real Lemon tree - for Autumn - it would be great to have in her Lemon  room!

I am loving the mission so much. It’s so hard but it’s so worth it.   I just love people and everything will be ok.  This life is not about us, it’s about others. P.S. I am obsessed with peanut butter now... it’s probably because it’s the one thing that I can eat that is a little bit American to me! hahah The food here is good and interesting all at the same time. Well love ya’ll have a great week and don’t forget to smile. J

Hermana Jennings

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Danger - 7 Stories Up

Monday March 4, 2013

Hermana Jennings on the streets of Chile at night

 OK so it is a little harder to type here because I keep pushing things like รง haha.  I made it to Chile finally after a ton of delayed flights. I was the last missionary to show up and I showed up after orientation. haha   My  new companions is Hermana Cisneros and I love her so much, she doesn't speak English so that’s been an adventure.  I have been teaching her English and she is a fast learner!!!  She is studying Engineering, she is 21 she is a great missionary and has trained missionaries before. She is the sweetest person and I love being her companion she teaches me so much!!! It’s weird because I can’t understand most of what is going on and then I turn to my companion and she explains and I understand even though she is explaining to me in Spanish. Then other times I understand everything.  It’s weird but I am learning more each day.  I just keep trying,  I want so much to know these people better.  Boy did I underestimate the walking we do here hahah I will let you know when I break in my feet. haha I live in an apartment with just my companion and its nice and has a great view.  The members here are great and they feed us so much food, too much!  Here we eat breakfast and lunch which are the big meals -  like so much food it hurts! Its rude not to finish so I just don’t eat dinner -  like I am full the rest of the day! The food is different - kind of bland - but some of it is good, but weird. Like today I had a lasagna thing that consisted of mashed potatoes, raisins, hard boiled eggs, sausage, cheese, olives, and some sauce all together and surprisingly it was good. They have “once” which is like tea time and sometimes we eat lunch and “once” but I am never sure when we are going to eat. haha It’s always a surprise and lots of food! I don’t know how people do it.

1. Chilean Man Risks His Life to Help Us

This is Lauren's Apartment Building
Lauren's top bunk and beautiful view
 It is kind of like Rome here a little bit minus the history - it is straight up city life. I live in a high rise apartment building.  So funny crazy, crazy story for you - so my companion left the one key we have to our apartment in our apartment and there are no extras and so we were locked out -  ya big problem. My companion wanted to call the Elders, but there was no way I was going to be one of those sisters and call the elders because we had done something kind of silly. So we started to try to break into our room like straight up picking the lock....ya it didn’t work. So I was like lets pray, so we said a prayer and asked for a miracle. Then I was like, ok this isn’t working let’s ask the neighbors for help.  When I said that my companion was like, “We left our window open” and I was like ya “We could so jump from the neighbors window to ours.”  OK  I’m knocking on the door so I knocked on the door and my companion told  them about our situation. We asked if they could see if it was possible to climb out of their window and into our room  and then open our door on the inside. Before I knew it I was climbing out a window 7 stories high . . .  Just Kidding.  Our neighbor, a man, started climbing out the window of his apartment with the help of his wife before I could say anything. My companion & I were freaking out!!!   Please don’t die, please don’t die seven stories up is a super long way to fall..... but by some miracle he climbed out his window hanging from his window 7 stories up and jumped into our window and opened our door for us!  Miracle!!!! It was crazy!  We were so happy and then we said a prayer of thanksgiving.  It was such a crazy experience the Lord definitely answers prayers in his own way.  I know that the Lord is there and that he wants to bless us and give us the things we need. I know the Lord heard my prayer that day and helped us find a way into our room and blessed that Chilean man not to fall to his death. 
This is how high up we are and how high that man climbed out his window and into ours....ahhh ekkkk

2.  Praying to Find Two New Investigators

Another neat thing that happened this week that strengthened my testimony of  prayer was Sunday I said a prayer in the morning asking God to help us find 2 people that needed to hear about the gospel. So we worked all day and talked to lots of people and found no one. On our way home I saw an older couple walking holding hands and I was like, “Let’s go talk to them.” So we did and my companion did all the talking cause this time I had no idea what they were saying.  Later I found out it was because they were speaking Portuguese haha They were here on vacation and they lived in Brazil but they wanted to hear more about the gospel and they want missionaries to come to their house when they get back home.  We got their information and when they get home missionaries can teach them.  How exciting!  I knew the Lord would answer my prayer, He does hear us and He will provide a way but we must act first and then the Lord can bless us.

PB and J stuff yes  I managed to find some in Chile bahaha but the jam comes in weird packages

3. Typical Day in the Life a Chilean Missionary

We wake up at 7:30am, the mission president changed the hours in our mission, and we exercise oh P.S  (the exercise papers you sent are perfect thanks so much) and then we shower and get ready.The showers are warm so yay! Then we have personal study and then companion study where we do the new missionary training program. I like it because I get to practice my Spanish. Then we leave to go to lunch at member’s houses or less active members. They just give us so much food its funny cause usually they talk so fast I have no idea what is going on so I just sit there and eat food that is so so and eat till it hurts.  It’s quite funny haha but I love the experience of learning about new foods and learning the language and getting to know the people here.  They love bread here and a salad is exactly what Danika said; like lettuce with olives covered, I mean covered, with oil....not so tasty. haha  After that we go teach our investigators. we have taught 2 so far. One is named Raul and the other is named Freddy. It is so fun to teach because I can see how the spirit brings about a change in them when we teach.  It’s crazy that I can teach the gospel in a way they can understand I love teaching it’s the one time that Spanish comes easier to me.  After teaching we contact, which is fun because sometimes people accept and sometimes they give you weird looks... but it’s all good.  We then we return back home and plan and then get ready and then go to sleep at 11:30pm.  The weather here is hot - quite a contrast from Provo. 
Well that’s my typical day with lots and lots of walking in-between!!

Oh another cool thing I think I am the first 19 year old missionary that my mission has ever had crazy huh my mission president said that he is going to learn from me how this is going to work.... no pressure...ahhhh.....

My Chilean grandma
My first Sunday was so great it was Fast Sunday and I got up to bore my testimony and so many people came up to me after and said that I spoke so well which was surprising to me!   It was great. I was excited and I understood some of the lessons after that and had fun meeting all the new people. It’s hard to memorize names here because they are Spanish names haha but I’ll get the hang of it soon!! I did find an old couple that reminds me exactly of Grandpa and Grandma Emery & I love them so much and love being in their home. I have decided they are my Chilean grandparents. Tell grandma and grandpa  that I love them so much!

Love all of you so much it’s so fun being a missionary!

Hermana Jennings