Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!


When you are all getting fat Thursday, I will be walking around in the blazing heat of Argentina saving souls. Ya. Life as a missionary is good.  I have so much to be thankful for: this gospel, this work, my companion, the people of 9 de Julio, my mission president, my awesome friends on missions, my wonderful friends and family back home!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

This week went by super fast as do all of the weeks these days.  The best miracle of all and the thing I am most thankful for is that Florentina and Pedro were baptized on Saturday!  We were almost certain that it wouldn't happen after the Elders called us and said that there was no water in the chapel to fill up the font and that after several hours, the font still only had about a foot of water and the water had quit running.  The Elders left, and when we got there we just knelt down next to the baptismal font and prayed that Heavenly Father would help us find a way to fill that font with enough water that Florentina and Pedro could get baptized.  About an hour later, we turned back on the water, and it just kept runnning until the font was completely filled!  I don't know how it happened, but it was amazing.  Everyone just kept telling us we could do the baptism next week, but we had prayed and received revelation 4 weeks earlier that the 23rd was the day Heavenly Father wanted Florentina and Pedro baptized, and we moved forward with faith in that confirmation.

On Thursday, there was an asado to say goodbye to Karina :( It was super sad.  She left on Friday with her fiancĂ© for SLC, but when they released her in church on Sunday as a ward missionary, Sister Sanchez and I both cried.  Yesterday was an amazing day at church.  We had more recent converents and investigators at church than active members.  In the gospel doctrine class, with all adults and young men and young women we had 8 people.  In the gospel essentials class, we had 10 recent converts and investigators, plus the teacher and the four missionaries.  We talked to the branch president after church about the baptisms for December, and he said, "Sisters, can't we baptize those two investigators on the 7th with the two investigators of the elders?" We said we could, but we have two other people getting baptized on the 14th as well.  He said, "Wow! I guess we will be having a baptismal service almost every Saturday in December." (Obviously, he said it in Spanish and this is a translation. haha.)

I am now going to tell you a story about a conversation that I overheard this week that sounds like a joke but is actually true.  A recent convert and three investigators are talking in the kitchen after church, when the recent convert asks one of the investigators, "When are you getting baptized?"  He responds, "The 14th of December."  The other two investigators say, "No way! Are you serious? That is when we're getting baptized, too!" (Translation again. haha.)  Then, they all proceed to have a conversation about how awesome that is.  AHH! The church is true! 

Other than the few exciting moments, the work just presses on as normal.  My companion who has been sick for weeks is finally getting better. (After I gifted her the Musinex D that I brought from the U.S.)  It is insanely hot here.  Yesterday, it rained so hard that we didn´t even try not to get wet.  We walked around in water up to our ankles and loved every minute of it because it was the first time in a week we haven't been hot, and everybody let us in to teach them! 

Enjoy some good food for me! Love you all!!
Hermana Chloe

ps.  I had to cut bangs to protect my forehead from the sun.  I like the bangs, though!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Elder Holland in Buenos Aires!

Dear family and friends, 

I had an amazing birthday week. I sat on the front row for Elder Holland's talk this last Saturday!  It was the most amazing moment ever!!  I just love Elder Holland!!! And I really love Sister Holland, too!!! First, I am going to tell you about Sister Holland's talk.

She started off talking about a moment about three years ago when she and her husband were having scripture study.  They began to talk about how God would get all the work done in the last days.  She said that she told him,"I just read, I the Lord will hasten the work in my time." She said that standing there looking out at the 900 something missionaries in Buenos Aires, she is seeing the fullfillment of that prophecy.  She said, "If you have ever wondered why you are here, this is why! You are here to be God's miracles.  You were sent to this earth with the predestined purpose to hasten the work." She gave an amazing talk about keeping your eye single to God's glory.  She used DyC 88:63-68 to explain this and said it has been she and Elder Holland's life scripture.  Both she and Elder Holland emphasized that it is not what you say, it is who you are!

When Elder Holland walked up to the pulpit, he had everyone stand for a second.  When I stood my face was about 5 feet away from his.  The spirit was so strong; I got the chills.  Obviously, he said it as only Elder Holland can, but he mostly talked about true conversion,  now and forever.  That the mission of the church right now is to have everyone more converted, and this new era is starting with the missionaries now.  We are to be true now on our missions, and then be true forever.  As he said it, "The Mission is REAL LIFE! When you go home you are not to go back to anything like you were before."  It was great.  He talked about how missionaries are the most loved and prayed for group in the world.  His talk was uplifting, powerful, and just got us all excited for missionary work and the rest of our lives in this gospel.  I had expected to be chastized a little bit, because as a group of missionaries we are always always lectured about obedience, but Elder Holland said, "The most tedious thing I ever have to do is talk to missionaries about obedience," and  then he addressed our mission presidents and said regarding obedience, "But this group looks good, I do not sense much disobedience here at all." The gift of discernment is so cool.  

I mostly just would like to bear my testimony that Elder Holland is truly called of God.  I know that the words our Prophets, seers and revelators are to help us on this journey back through life and with things that we don't completely understand so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.  The church is just so true.

Work in our area has been great this week.  Florentina and Pedro will be getting baptized this Saturday! YAY! YAY! YAY! They are so ready and so cute. We also have many other investigators who are progressing.  O. is an investigator who found us.  He is very very educated about the Bible, and the first lesson there was a little contention with conflicting doctrines.  We told him that we love and believe in the Bible like him, but we weren't going to argue.  We just left him a Book of Mormon and asked him to read and pray about it.  When we came back the next time he held his Book of Mormon next to his Bible on his chest and said this is the word of God.  Thank you so much for bringing me the truth!  He is excited to be baptized in December.  We have many other miracles just like this in our area every day.  Our Branch is so so so amazing.  Every organization is always talking about missionary work.  "How are we going to get, more young men, more young women, more priesthood, more relief society sisters?" These are the words we hear often, and this is the topic of every ward council.  Yesterday we had 30 people at church.  And our Branch President along with other leaders of the area have set the goal to have 80 people in church by March.  My companion and I made a joke about how we found some good land for the chapel, and the branch president said back super seriously, "Let me know where it is, because if we find the right palce we should buy it." Our mouths just dropped.  It is so amazing.

Over all here in 9 de Julio it is sunny, blazing hot, but the best place in the world.  I have an amazing companion. (Seriously my companion is amazing, especially amazing.  I love her so much! I have been blessed with many awesome companions.)  We are working so hard, and the Lord is blessing us with being able to teach the elect! 

Hermana Chloe
One of our 5 hour bus rides into Buenos Aires
that we love so much!
I am getting to be a very experienced at riding the bus.
It was worth it, though, to see Elder Holland!
President and Hermana Carter and all the missionaries of the
Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission!

Okay, I just need to mention something that  I only think about when I send pictures. I have all but quit wearing makeup, and most days I just wear sunscreen.  It is so hot and humid here that I sweat makeup off so why bother.  Like I've said before, being a missionary is not glamorous.  

Birthday Cake!

Asado for my birthday lunch!  It was delicious.
My Christmas presents. You know how impatient I am.
I may or may not have a giant Christmas tree hanging on our wall :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

This is the Week!! My Birthday and much more!


This is the week! 9 months on the mission! 21 years old! And Elder Holland is coming to talk to my mission on Saturday!!! AHH! Is that not the best birthday present ever!?!

This week we found and taught two new families, and next week on the 23rd, Florentina and Pedro take the first step toward returning to their Father in Heaven through the waters of baptism! That means of the small strong group that comes to church, we will have 4 recent converts in about 2 months.  Wahhooo! We have been having success finding families!  As we follow the counsel of Preach my Gospel and search for families, the hard work is so worth it.  The gospel of Jesus Christ has made such a difference in my life and in the lives of my family, that I am so excited to share it with other families.

We had a great District Conference yesterday!  President Carter came, and I had a chance to talk to him after the conference. He was just checking in on how I am doing; I am so blessed that he is my mission president. He is so wise and so kind.

Life is good. Sister Sanchez and I started off this week taking turns being sick, but we still had a great week. I'll admit that sometimes as we are riding our bikes through the city that I catch myself singing Michael Buble.  "It's a beautiful day, and I can't stop myself from smiling." I sing that part of the song over and over sometimes :)  It's been stuck in my head. hahaha. I know that it's not a church song, but I figure that it is okay that part of the song because that is how I feel! 

I got a lot of emails for my birthday, and I am so grateful for all of them!!! I spent a lot of time reading them, so I don't have a lot of time to write a long email. Also, I probably won't be able to get back to everyone, but I wish I had time and love you all!  I also got about 10 letters this week! That is a lot. Thanks for the letter, Marcus! I also received a really cute dearelder from Kenadee Bailey! Tell her that she looked beautiful in my dress; pulled it off just right!  I also got a letter from grandma that she said she wrote the day the sister missionaries moved in, if that helps you figure out how long it takes for me to receive letters. I loved all my letters, thank you everyone! This week is going to be crazy, but I am super excited! Love you! Bye bye!!

Think of me on Wednesday for my 9 month mark, and on Friday for my birthday, and on Saturday when I am listening to ELDER HOLLAND!!! Wahooo! I will take notes on Elder Holland's talk! 

Hermana Walker 
ps. This is the last entry by the 20 year old Sister Walker! 

One of the many beautiful plazas/parks in 9 de Julio!
Riding my bicycle through the beautiful streets of 9 de Julio!

The ice cream here: to die for! The milk is sooo much better in Argentina,
and thus we have much better ice cream! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

9 de Julio--the Boulder City of Argentina!

Hello all!

This has been one awesome week! First, we had transfers, which were a madhouse because almost everyone in the whole mission got new companions.  I was lucky enough after only one month in Argentina to get a new companion and a new area.  You know me, I just love change!!

I am in Chivicloy Sur Zone working in the 9 de Julio Rama.  We only have about 20 people in the branch who come to church, but it is amazing.  I love this place after less than one week. I have also decided that 9 de Julio is a little slice of heaven.  But seriously, it is so beautiful here.  I have been sent to the closest thing to Boulder City, Nevada, in Argentina possible.  I already love the people, the area, and the rama so much! The branch is great--soooo missionary minded, basically because they have to be.  They need more members.  They need more priesthood.  The sisters had a baptism the Saturday before I got here, and the branch president made sure the man got the priesthood yesterday, and he will have a calling next week.  Then, the elders working in the branch had a baptism on Saturday of a super cute lady.  A less active member of the ward came to the baptism, and after the baptism, the branch president called him into his office and gave him a calling.  Nothing like calling someone to be in the Young Men’s presidency to get them to come to church the next day. hahahahahaha.

My new companion Hermana Sanchez is also amazing; she is beautiful and kind and hard working. She is from Santiago, Chile. Grandma Sue, I also love the Chilean people--everything but the accent! I couldn’t understand a word she said the first few days! Hermana Sanchez has been in this area her whole mission, and she has been out for 5 months! So I have a lot to learn from her because the odds are I will be here for about two transfers with her, and then one or two with someone else.  We are able to teach and work with so much unity after only one week.  I know it is hard for a Latina to get a North American companion, and Hermana Sanchez even told me she thought she would be doing all the work.  So, my goal this week was to share the responsibility.  Deciding where to go and talking to members to come to lessons were things we did together.  The only place were the language is a problem is in lessons, but as we prepare well during studies that will get better, too.  

On Thursday we got to go to the Hermanas meeting! Wow, that Hermanas meeting!  What a treat!  It totally raised my vision to what is possible here.  Lots of work to be done in the next 9 months.  I am so grateful for President Carter and Hermana Carter for all of their hard work to make the meeting so awesome. When I read talks from the apostles they all say that we need to step it up on missionary work.  The church, members, and missionary work are going places they have never gone before with a force of Sister Missionaries like never before!  

I have learned a lot from Hermana Sanchez about working hard and not stressing.  We found some great families this week.  One day when we had no where to go we said a prayer in the street.  As we were walking our bikes along the dirt road I looked down one of the streets and saw a woman sitting on the wall of a house.  We continued walking down our street.  After a couple of minutes, I asked Hermana Sanchez if we could go back but couldn’t really explain why in Spanish.  When we got to the street the woman was gone, but we clapped the house she was sitting in front of anyways.  When a guy came to the door Hermana Sanchez said that she knew him.  They had contacted him in the street but hadn’t talked since.  It turns out one of his good friends is a member of our Branch, and now his whole family is listening to us and he and his mom have accepted baptismal dates.  And then yesterday we had a cute old couple come to church together and accept baptismal dates for this month.  It was great especially after how in the first lesson they tried to convince us of how Catholic there are and how they never want to change.  

We have set a goal to find three more families this week.  And have also set a goal to invite everyone to accept a baptismal date in the first lesson.  For some reason it hasn’t been happening until the second lesson so we are going to change that! I love my area so much, and I know that President Carter is inspired, because only a man of revelation would send me to the countryside, hours away from the mission office. I mean let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly the picture of emotional stability this first month in Argentina :) I was scared last week when I found out how far away I was going, but I just had to have faith that President Carter and the Lord want me to succeed.  And now I couldn't imagine a better place and companion for me.

Also cute story, we were teaching a family with two little girls 5 and 6.  When we started teaching the restoration we showed them a picture of Jesus and asked who he was.  Turns out they didn’t know who he was so we talked about him a little.  They just listened quietly.  We finished by telling them that the bad people didn’t want to do the right thing, and they killed Jesus by hanging him on a cross.  Then after about 5 seconds of silence, the cute little 5 year old looked so sad and said, “Pobre Jesus”-wisdom from the mouth of babes, my friends.  The 5 year old also asked us if we could come to her preschool class to teach her friends about Jesus, too.  So cute! I almost died at this point. I love these little girls! They are so excited for us to come back and teach them more about Jesus.  They also we so happy when we told them that they could keep the pamphlet with the pictures of Jesus.

This week is my one year mark with my mission call.  It is hard to believe that it has been a year, but then I look at pictures of myself from a year ago, and wow it is obvious that I am on a mission. haha.  The month of November has always been one of my favorites and this one is turning out to be no different.  It is going to be so fun! I am going to learn so much Spanish! And I am going to talk to my family in a month and a half!

Marc and Nick look so cute playing soccer! I haven't replied to many people lately, but thanks Nick for the funny Zoolander quotes.  Thanks Marcus for...the email that you are going to send me this week that I promise to write back to. Thanks everyone for all the emails and letters.  I will try to be better at writing back. Thanks dad for the pictures! 

Love you,
Hermana Chloe

ps. I was really weird, but the first day I was showing Hermana Sanchez pictures, and she said, “We must have friends in common on facebook, because I have seen this exact picture before!”  It was one of Bryce and I.

Hermana Sanchez y yo
 Yes, that is my bike outfit :)
MTC roommates reunited at the Hermanas' Meeting!

Trees and parks and beauty! 
9 de Julio is like the Boulder City of Argentina
Also, if you were wondering if I walk a lot, check this out.