Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hermana Mercado's #8 letter from Chile!

One funny thing about Chile, that I wasn't really expecting, is that they listen to a lot of American music. A lot of 70's music. We hear the Beatles quite frequently. But then there have been a few occasions when I hear the Backstreet Boys. And they have a lot of just plain American words for things. For example, they go to the "mall" to do "shopping". And a few weeks ago, one sister in our ward who is pregnant had a "baby shower". Yes, they say all these words as they are said in English, just imagine them being said with a Spanish accent. It's interesting.

Anyway, this week was interesting because of the holiday. We didn't have a lot of set lessons, so we did a lot of contacting, looking up old investigators and references, etc. And the day of the 18th was crazy! We ate so much! We got fed lunch twice because we got invited by two different investigators and we didn't want to offend anyone. We ate soup and empanadas de pino in both cases. Then in the evening, we visited a inactive sister we met contacting in the street. She fed us cake and empanadas de queso. I think we ate enough empanadas that day to last me through the week!

Not a lot much else to report on except that Patricia, Viktor, and Felipe are doing well. Patricia says Viktor has changed a lot. He's a lot more loving now and willing to help around the house. They're just so great!

And General Conference is coming up! I don't think I've ever been so excited for General Conference in my life. As President King said, "For missionaries, General Conference is better than Christmas!" And it's true! It's going to be amazing!  I can't wait to hear what they have to say!

--Hermana Mercado

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hermana Mercado's #6 Letter from Chile

I miss milk. Hermana Nelson and I love eating chocolate, but we don't have any milk to drink with it. They have milk here, but it comes in a cardboard box and it doesn't need to be refrigerated. I'm fine having it with my cereal, but I can't drink it straight. It tastes funny. 

Anyway, things this past week have been good. We were able to teach Viktor this week about the restoration and we watched the restoration movie with him. Oh man, the spirit was so strong. This is a 16 year old boy, and after the movie and us bearing testimony of the things Joseph Smith had seen, he looked like he was on the verge of tears! He said it had never occurred to him to ask God before. So, we've committed him to reading the Book of Mormon and praying. I feel like he could progress a lot! And I know he will as ling as he takes the time to do the things we've invited him to do. Because we can teach investigators all day long about the gospel, but if they don't take the time to act, to find out for themselves, to exercise a little faith, it won't go anywhere. But it is amazing what happens when they do! 

Well, it's offical. I've been here for one change (6 weeks). Hermana Nelson and I are staying together for this next change, but our district leader's companion is moving to another sector, and our district leader, Elder Johnson, is no longer going to be our district leader. We're getting new missionaries coming to the mission tomorrow (the elders ans sisters from my first district in the MTC!) and Elder Johnson is training! Hopefully he's training an Elder I know. We shall see!

--Hermana Mercado

Hermana Mercado's #7 Letter from Chile

Well, spring is upon us. The trees here are now blooming with a bunch of beautiful pink flowers! I'll have to take a picture to send. And this week is also exciting because tomorrow, the 18th, is Chile's independence day! Needless to say, we don't have a lots of set citas this week because a lot of people are going out of town for the holiday, but we plan on doing a lot of contacting!

Our stake had a huge all day activity this past Saturday to celebrate the coming holiday. We were allowed to stay for 4 hours as  long as we had investigators there, and I'm telling you, we invited everyone that we saw, and a few of them did actually show up! The activity had a bunch of games for the kids in the morning, but in the evening, during the time that we went, they had a show of skits and dances native to Chilean culture. It was amazing! Our ward had the best skit by far. And President King and Hermana King we there as well. A couple of people in our ward even got them to stand up and dance the cueka, a chilean dance. It kind of looks like the dance they do in Bolivia too, with handkerchiefs. And of course, there was a lot of food. Asado and empanadas!

But the best news of all was that this past week, Viktor, Felipe, and Patricia all accepted the inviation to be baptized! 
Needless to say, things here are going wonderfully. The gospel is true. It brings peace and joy. And that's why I'm here sharing it. 

--Hermana Mercado 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hermana Mercado's #5 Letter from Chile

Well, I feel like I'm finally getting into the groove of things now. There's still a lot I have to learn, but I feel like I now know how to progress to be the missionary that I want to be; and I'm not so scared anymore. I feel like I'm contributing.
Like on Sunday, we were going to have lunch with one of the Hermana's in the ward, but we hadn't picked a scripture to share yet (we always share a spiritual thought at lunch). Immediately, a scripture came to my mind, one I had been reading the other day. Hermana Nelson asked me why I thought we should share that scripture, and I said, "I don't know, it's just a good scripture!" But when we shared it after lunch, it turned out to be exactly what this Hermana needed to hear. Hermana Nelson explained that I had been the one to think of the scripture to share, and I hadn't known why we needed to share it. When this Hermana hugged me good-bye, she whispered in my ear "Thank you for listening to the spirit." I can't even describe the joy I felt in that moment, that I was able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to bring some comfort to this Hermana. I'm glad I listened too.
The weather has suddenly got warmer. It seems that we are heading into spring now, although the other day it felt like summer. Man, was it hot!
Anyway, things are going well! Last Monday night we had a noche de hogar with Patricia, an investigator we've been teaching for a while, as well her two sons, Victor y Felipe. This was the first time we've been able to teach them all together, and the first time we've been able to teach Victor, and they were all very receptive. I'm just so happy to be teaching another family who can all find the joy that the gospel brings together! Afterwards, we played the game where you have a word on your forehead and you have to guess what it is by asking for clues from everyone else. And then of course we had refreshments! Hermana Nelson and I made oatmeal cookies, and Victor couldn't get over how "rico" they were! It was a good lesson.
And we helped a couple of people this last week with their English. Emerson, a 12 year old recent convert, needed help with a English book he had to read for school. It was one of these "pick your own mystery" books where you decide what clues to follow which takes you to different pages in the book. It was fun! We also "taught" a little English class to Paulina and Claudia, a couple of members in our ward (Paulina is less-active at the moment). They just want to improve their English, especially Paulina, who is having a friend from New York coming to visit.
So many more things to share and so little time! Just now things are going well and I know that things are only going to get better.
--Hermana Mercado

Pictures From Week 4 in Chile

Hermana Mercado's mission pins

Even stray dogs get sweaters

Hermana Mercado and Hermana Nelson with Patricia and sons Victor and Felipe

Taking out the trash