Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Homecoming Talk

Good morning brother and sisters. Even though it is so very hard for me to be away from Chile I am so very grateful to be here on this Christmas Sunday with you all. 

I want you all to think about your hands, it may seem odd but just go with my example. Analyze your hands. Notice what they say about you. Maybe a few bad habits….accidents…. scares. 

Now I want you to think of your heroes. It could be a family member, a great church leader you've had in your life. And think about their hands, they way they have reached out to you. 

Now I want you to think about the Savior, and his hands. The marks you could see and feel, the firmness, but with love. And think about all the times they have embraced you. 

When I was in the mission I was able to participate in a counsel. There we talked about past goals of the mission and new issues and would make new goals. The topic of the conference was the focus of Christ. I feel that as missionaries sometimes we may try new intense creative ways to teach the simple gospel of Christ. And the mission gave us  great reminder of how powerful this simple influence of Christ really is. 

The assistances displayed a picture of two hands with their palms facing out. And all you could see were these hands.They then asked us if recognized these hands. We all tried to guess names of mission couples from the mission but no one could get it right. 
They then showed a 2nd picture. It was of the same hands but this time they had their arms open wide, palms still facing out, and you could see the women to whom they belonged. 

They asked us again if we then recognized the hands. This time no one said a word. 
The assistances then specifically called on a Elder and we all turned to look at him. They asked him, “Elder “Brown” do you recognize these hands?”

As he was choking on his tears he replied, “They are my mothers.” 

They then asked him to come in front and then they asked him, “What have these hands done for you?”

Overwhelmed with so much emotion he had to turn around and drop his head into his hands for several minutes. As he turned around he could only whisper…..”everything..............they have done everything for me, they have taught me, loved me, and always supported me.” 

There were about 35 missionaries there and they went on to do this for about a 3rd of us all. Showing new hands and asking us if we could recognize them and then showing a picture of parents with their arms open wide and asking each one individually what these hands have done for them. The reply was always the same, “everything” usually followed by being loved by them, being forgiven, being taught, being carried by them, the sacrifices made by them, there were a few Elders who commented a few things like, “they have sent me a lot of packaged.” But everyone was so touched to see these hands that they hadn't seen for so very long but at the same were feeling the way these hands have marked their lives so profoundly.  

They then showed a picture of Christ’s hands and asked us who recognized these hands, and then what have these hands done for us. 

They went on to share a story of a giant statue of Christ. I do not remember the details of the story and my apologize but there was a natural disaster or earthquake where this statue was placed that ruined the statue. So as they were repairing it they realized they would not be able to repare the detailed hands well. As a result they left the statue without hands and just put a sign at the bottom that said, “You are my hands.” 


On my mission I met a man named Jonathan (changed name for personal reasons). Jonathan wanted to be baptized but was in no way living the commandment. And one day from the other he decided to live them all. He ended his 4 year relationship with a girl who does not believe in God and broke all of his addictions. 
It was probably the hardest weekend he ever had. He suffered abuse physically and emotionally. 
It hurt us so badly so see him that way, suffering so much but we could not be the hands that he needed to help him. We of course taught him everything about the influence of the spirit and the atonement but he needed a friends hands to answer all of his many phone calls and willing to head to his house on the fly when he needed support from someone. We did not find a relationship like that very appropriate because he was a young 24 year old guy. But there was one friend in church that could be these hands that he needed and was always there for him always. They Really marked and influence his life and he was able to be baptized. 
Jonathan told us that before he thought he knew how to be a good friend but now he knows the answer to their problems. And that he was going to bring each and everyone of his friends there even if he had to bring them in his hands. 

And that is exactly what he did. His best friend has been coming to church for about 2 months now and will be baptized at the beginning of January. 

In Helaman 10:4 and 5 the Lord tells Nephi how proud he is of him and how blessed he is. As I read it I want you all to think about what Nephi did to be blessed. 

 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

The Lord promised to bless Nephi forever for his desire to efforts to share the gospel with others. As we let our hands declare the word of God that has served us so well the Lord promises to bless us forever. 

When we are baptized we promise our Heavenly Father that we will keep his commandments and always remember his son, and take his name upon us. I feel as though most of us understand clearly the first 2 things we promise clearly. The last one we know we can keep as we partake of the sacrament but I also find a simple way to understand it by thinking of your siblings. 

When we were all little you may have heard one of your siblings say with a bit of a teasing voice something like, “who am I, who am I?” They would in a way be mocking you, doing something that you were very known to do. 

It is the same when we take Christ’s name upon us. We do the things we would be doing if he was here. No one would have to question who we follow, it would be very. We promise him that we will be his hands.

I remember very clearly the last things my parents told me before I left for Chile. My mom told me not to get frustrated with the language and I just laughed because we both knew that I would.

My dad told me, “You are going to cry, you are going to cry a lot, you are going to cry more for feeling sad then feeling happy. But the happy moments will out way the sad ones.” 

And it was 100 percent true. All of the pain one feels as they testify with everything they possible have to help others understand the truthfulness of the gospel and love it and their Heavely Father as much as they do but you hear avery decided……”no.”

I then think of Christ and his hands and all the pain he felt and how he was able to endure much more heart ache then I had to on my mission. Why was he able to? He was able to do so because he understood his purpose. He understood that death was only a requirement for resurrection. He understood how much hope and joy he could bring each one of us by suffering so much. 

It is the same with us. As we realize how much we can influence someone else's life the heart ache does not matter, the no's and rejection will never discourage us because we know how much of a hope in influence of Christ can have in someones life.

I have just one invitation. To have your hands reflect more those of Christ. Ponder on your past 42 hours. Have your hands been united in prayer to thank your Heavenly Father for his son? Have they been serving those less fortunate? Have they been spent with those who most matter to you. 

Yo no les puedo decir cuan feliz estoy por haber servido la misión. A pesar de todo los veces cuando pregunte porque Chile, porque español. Y ahora veo como Dios solo estaba preparando mi camino para que yo fuera la persona que El quería. Yo se que no importa que personas digan que las cosas de la iglesia no valen o no son verdaderas porque yo se que no puede existir algo falso que nos brinda tanto felicidad al seguirlo ni algo falso que nos bendice tanto al obedecerlo. Yo estoy bien agradecida por los templos y por el sacerdocio restaurado que lo hace posible que las familias sean justas para siempre al honrar nuestros convenios. Yo se que este poder es el poder que nos conecta a los cielos. Les testifico que no hay mayor felicidad que uno puede sentir al compartir el evangelio. Voy a atesorare la misión siempre en mi corazón. Les testifico que esta es la Iglesia verdadera y nuca quiero que Dios lo dude. Mi testimonio ni mi amor hacia El. Les quiero mucho y les dejo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo Amen. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's the final count down.....

The horrible reason why that song is stuck in my head is thanks to our Zone Leaders. They gave me a wonderful good morning call singing that 80's song for me. 

I really do not know how I feel. I could only sleep maybe 3 hours on Saturday night. I thought I had gotten over tearing up giving my testimony having to testify in the mission by the hour but on Sunday when I shared it and looked out over their faces I couldn't even complete the first sentence saying that it was my last Sunday in Chile with out having a hard time getting it out. 

I have been studying the Bible a lot lately and Christ's life. And I feel that there are a few verses that do a good job explaining how I feel. A pray that I have done a good work for God. A hope that I did all He sent me to do. That I found all my friends that I committed to find in the pre-existence. Maybe not all in all.....but all in Chile. And that they will always be watched over. 

John 17

 have glorified thee on the earth: 
have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own selfwitthe glory which had with thee before the world was.

 have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine thewere, and thou gavest them meand they have kept thy word.
 Now they have known that althings whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
 For have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they havbelieved that thou didst send me.
 pray for them: pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
 10 And all mine are thine, anthine are mine; and am glorified in them.
 12 While was with them in the world, kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me have kept, and none of them is lostbut the son of perdition;
 that the scripture might be fulfilled.

 15 pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, 
 but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Wonderful news.....Collao will have 2 baptisms in the next few weeks :) Which leaves so much peace in my heart knowing that my comps are left with lots of good work going for them here. 

Bueno......I love being Hermana Lance and with so much pride I get to say bye as her one last time.

With lots of love,
Hermana Lance

Monday, December 7, 2015

Going back to my first streets

I got a phone call from President on Saturday. He informed me that he and his wife had been invited to go to a big fireside of return missionaries. Supposedly it was because they were all kind of lazy return missionaries and they were not completing their responsibilities they have as returned missionaries. President and his wife were invited to go speak and they wanted me to join them. He wanted me to share experiences of the success of the work I have seen from the help of the members. It was something more motivational than anything. But I did not know it was going to be in my first ward in Lirquen until they came and picked me up on Sunday. I got to spend my 2nd to last Sunday in Chile where I had my first. It was awesome!!! I always told them at times I wished I could have gone there to serve when I had more experience with Spanish to be able to really express my love for each one of them. It was a bit overwhelming to have them all remember my name and to hug them. It is a different hug when you hug someone you never thought you would hug again in this life time. And then as I was sitting up on the stand it was overwhelming to remember all of their lives....their hardships, moments when they cried, some were fatter others skinnier, others had become parents. But what I loved the most was being able to remind them of the heroes they were in their missions and really invited them to live worthy of this title. 
I also got to see a family I taught. But now they are all members. I remembered so clearly every lessons we had together when I saw them. The husband is who we taught. Of course I was not there for his baptism. It was much after actually but it was still a joy to see them both there in the church happy with their little baby. His wife was a less active. He broke down in tears when we shook hands. I had already sent them a card with my home email hoping to stay in contact and they thought I already was home. I do not know what I did to enjoy that surprise but the thanks is constantly being given in my prayers for it. 

But this fireside really got me thinking. 
The mission really lacks couple missionaries. Like REALLY lacks couple missionaries. They are a huge influence but they are very few. To be real, serving a couples mission should be treated just as mandatory as the others, that is,if the situation permits it. It is a goal of mine just as serving a full time personal mission was. Elders specifically have treated this goal with such care. Even to where they will not let anything get in their way of completing it. Nothing distracting, no excuses, living a life so when the time comes you are ready. The task never ends :) 

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Vision In White

This weekend was pretty awesome! We had a ton of baptisms on Saturday. The services was beautiful but something happened that no one expected but that we all should have expected. I do not know how we thought that we were not going to face any problems in the baptism, baptizing so many. 

We had the baptism font all filled almost up to the tip top perfect. We started with all of the talks, prayer, and songs and then when we went to do the baptisms - there was was all gone. No one understood. Everything was double checked too just so something like that wouldnt happen. But it did. 

The font usually takes up to 2 and a half hours to fill there we were with a bunch of people waiting to be baptized and their families waiting to see them be baptized......
You would never have guessed what we did next. We got a hold of a fire hose and blasted the font with water from the fire hose.......haha it was so stinkin funny. 

But instead of waiting 2 and a half hours more we only had to wait about 30 minutes.....everyone was pretty chill though. Our Mission Leader is awesome and was saying stuff like dont count the victory until they are in the water!!! It was a trial, but we should have known that Satan was going to throw something at us. 

It was pretty cool because Gerald the convert who was baptized just in October was a witness for the baptism :) 
I love Collao. We are going to be in a trio with another Gringa now. Her name is Hermana Godown. It will be my second trio but I am excited for more hands in Collao. It looks like we are going to be doing lots of divisions. Oh and there was another investigator in church with a baptism date. She has been coming to church for a good while and will be for sure getting baptized the 26th of Dec. 

It was a bit painful inviting people to be baptized this week for dates that I wont be there. Just kind of like a knot in the throat. But I am just as happy to leave a bunch a seeds for those who follow. The harvest is ready!

Monday, November 23, 2015

There will be lots of White on Saturday!

Cristhofer is doing awesome! He dropped his girlfriend that he had had for 4 years and coffee in the same night. He even gave her his coffee to as a goodbye gift. She was not helping him keep the commandments and he prayed about it, and gave her the boot. It was pretty dang dramatic though. I got a few nasty phone calls from her. But we just ended it inviting her to church.

He understands the Book of Mormon so well! It is insane. The first part of our lessons, he teaches us  what
he learned in the Book of Mormon and then the 2nd half we teach a new principle. He always tells us how we have to endure to the end. And he studies the missionary hand book! He is always checking on us to make sure we are keeping the rules. He wants to go on a mission. And he is always making Mormon jokes as he learns the church language. It sounds so easy, but it was a painful change for him. He says he can not deny it after all of the signs he has had that it is true. He says he does not want to end up like Laman and Lemuel.  He told us that the best thing we could have taught him was the influence of the spirit and who is his real foundation, Christ. That is what has really helped him to make it through his trials. Oh and on top of everything…..he quit his job. His boss was using some bad language and he said he was not going to put up with it. 

Sorry that is my slobby update for this
week. We traveled with a family to Chillan which is way far from our sector so there was kind of a time crunch.

Hermana Lance

Friday, November 20, 2015

6 Souls in Church!!!

(This post took place the week before the previous post!!!!)  

We had 6 investigators in church on Sunday with baptism dates programmed! Not only that but Chile finally is off of strike and is marring people! They started today! :) Mariela and Luis will get married on the 12th and we are invited :) They have to wait however to be baptized on the 28th because this weekend is stake conference and then the next weekend our ward has a trip to the temple. The same thing happened with Claudio's baptism but they are both all very committed to get to the 28th :) 
Okay before I get to the other investigators I have to brag about Geraldcito the convert from Hermana Parkin and I. HE IS GOING TO THE TEMPLE. He had beaten us to it. We were having a lesson in the church Friday night and a member from the Bishopric came in and started giving him more details about the trip and we were so surprised and happy and he told us he was the first one to sign his name up on the list to go. 
Okay so the other 3 investigators that came to church are:
Andrea: 18 years old single mom
Cristhofer: (yes that is how you spell his name) 24 years old 
Roldolfo: 23 years old
They are all pretty dang young but they are all way awesome. I wish I could say we did something way cool to find Cristhofer but we did not. He actually contacted us. We were just being diligent and obedient. We were following our plans and were we were suppose to be at the hour. I was actually doing a mini exchange with a missionary in her training still and we were contacting a guy when Cristhofer came up to us. He asked if we were Mormon missionaries and we told him yes and he asked if we could talk to him after we finished with the other guy. So after we finished talking to this guy who wanted nothing to do with us we went looking for Cristhofer and we could not find him I even asked my comp just to be sure that she saw him too. But then he got out of his car and waved us over.....a bit creepy. Plus he had a skull on his shirt and he was pretty dirty. I kept asking him comp how she was feeling to see if she had a bad impression about going and talking to him. 
We went and he had just finished working and that is why he was so dirty. He told us that his friend (who was waiting for him in the car) and him were new in town and that they are catolica but that were not happy there and that they were always interested in what we share. 
So here is the cool part. During the day I had been making calls and setting up appointments and we had a productive activity set for every hour except for 6 o clock. So every contact I was trying so hard to commit someone to having us over at 6 o clock and no one would accept. And it is a good thing they didn't because Cristhofer asked us if we could come over around 6 to visit them. 
We had the whole missionary movie of when two elders in Russia got kidnapped playing in our head but nahhh nothing like that. 
He accepted baptism a week ago but did not come to church because he said that he needed to work.....he is his own boss though so he can control that. Also he did not read or say his prayer that we committed him to do. We we met up with him the 2nd time and checked to see if he completed with his commitments and when he told us that he hadnt we got on to him pretty hard. And he even said that he knows that is why his day was horrible in work because he chose not to go to church. But the next time we met with him and checked his commitments he completed them AND MORE. And he was so excited to tell us too. We called him on Saturday to see how he was doing for church the next day and he said there was no way he was going to work because he was so blessed during the week for doing his reading that he was not going to risk any more blessings. He asked us to come visit his friend. Which is Roldolfo. He told us that he is going to bring all of his friends to church. 
This is a fruit of the spirit. Wanting to share the gospel with others. 
There is so much more great things to say about them all but time has run out like always.....chauito!

We had a BODA!!!!!!

(This post happened a week after the following post!!!!)

Mariela and Luis got married. They got married at 9:30am Thursday morning. We were invited and it was so great to be able to be there for them on this great day. They invited us all out to lunch afterwards where they invited all of their non member family members to their baptism on the 28th. I was so stinkin happy I can not even explain it. I woke up so excited and could not stop smiling for even a second. I had sweaty palms during the whole ceramony. They were so happy. Of course it was nothing compared to a temple sealing but they already know that that is where they will be this time next year. 
So that definitely wins the most exciting news for the week. I know I have always been a bit bummed for having all of my sectors being so stinkin close to one another and not seeing much of Chile. But it has been a huge blessings. I see at least one person from an old sector if not every day, every other day. And being the neighbor to Nonguen and living with the Sisters there. They are always bringing me goodies and cards from the members there to pass on to me.
I am not blind to the time I have left in the mission. I know it is ending quicker than I think and usually towards the end of the mission everyone starts to measure how well did they do....did they do enough....number wise....talent wise. But I have found that there is one question that really rises above the rest. 

How well did I love? Did I leave the world any better than it was before?
These are the questions I like to ponder. And I invite you all to ponder daily. They invite us and drive us to be better disciples of Christ. Something that will never have a time can not count down the days to the end of this glorious title.
Les quiero harto,
Hermana Lance