Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hermana Mercado's 20th Letter from Chile

What to say, what to say.... This past week was full of lots of
things. We had a sleepover in our pension. The Hermanas from the cost
came to sleep in our house last Sunday night because they had to do
things in the city the next day, and Monday night as well because we
had our mission Christmas party Tuesday! Hermana Wiltse (she's dying),
Hermana Carter (she was in my first district in the MTC), and Hermana
Grimaldi (Hermana Iroz's trainer). It was a fun time.

Our Christmas party consisted of skits from all the zones, a Christmas
song from all the zones, a talk from our President, a lunch, and a
white elephant gift exchange. I got a Chilean pen. It was a good time,
but a little formal. I wish their had been more games.

The day before the world was supposed to end, it rained. It usually
doesn't rain during this time of year. People were a little freaked

And the day the world was supposed to end, we had to go to the city to
take out Hermana Iroz's carnet. Lots of lines. And riding the metro.
Our ward had a talent show that night as well. It was really good. La
obra misional (a.k.a. us) sang "Jesus en Pesebre".

Sunday, we went out caroling with the Elderes/Sumo Sacerdotes of our
ward. It was really fun. And lots of contacts :)

Monday I talked with my beloved family through Skype. It was
wonderful. And my basement is completely different.

Then, in the evening we and the elders had dinner with Obispo's
family. People in Chile stay up till midnight (when the viejito
pascuero comes) and then immediately open their presents. We only had
permission to stay out till 11, but we opened our presents at midnight
in our house.

Yesterday, we went and sang Christmas hymns with our zone in La Plaza
de Maipu. It was a good time. And now I'm writing this while Hermana
Iroz skypes with her family.

Oh! And I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish the other day! We
were reading it together as a mission in 85 days (I'm pretty sure
that's right), the same amount of time it took Joseph Smith to
translate it. And we were marking everything to do with Jesus Christ;
one color for every reference to Jesus Christ, one color for his
attributes, one color for every time he speaks, etc. It was really
awesome. I never realized how much the Savior is referred to in the
Book of Mormon, or how many times he speaks. When it came to his
attributes, I think the attribute I marked the most was misericordia.
Reading through the Book of Mormon this time, I really learned that
the Savior never gives up on us. No matter how many times we mess up,
no matter how many times we turn away from him, his arm is extended
still. We just have to make the choice to reach out and grab it. And
life is so much easier when we rely on the Savior. He really helps to
lift our burdens.

I hope everyone's Christmas was wonderful, and I hope everyone took
some time to remember the reason for the season! And if you haven't
read the Book of Mormon yet, you really should. It's a really great

--Hermana Mercado

Hermana Mercado's 19th Letter from Chile

This past week was a little slow, and the sun didn't help. Man, does it get hot here! And earthquakes are more frequent here. I hadn't realized that earthquakes are like a daily occurence in Chile until one day we were visiting a member and her daughter pulled up a page on the internet about the earthquakes of the day. But their mostly little ones, and most of the time I'm sleeping during them. The little ones are called temblores, the big ones terremotos. It needs to be a 7 or something to count as a terremoto. 

Anyway, I don't have a lot of time, but I just want to share one story from the week. We still don't know our sector very well, and the other day we were walking around looking for the direction of a member that we had lunch with that day. We knocked at the door, and it turns out that we were at the wrong house, but another member, Carmen, lived across the street, saw us and invited us in. She offered us bebida while we made a couple of calls to find out where our lunch was supposed to be at. We got to talking, and it turns out she wasn't doing very well that day. She has various problems with her health and her daughter, and before you know it she was crying. We were able to share a scripture of comfort with her as well as a prayer. Yes, we were lost that day, but I think we were supposed to be lost. Carmen needed us, and I'm glad we were able to be there for her.

--Hermana Mercado      

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hermana Mercado and Hermana Iroz

Hermana Mercado's last Zone

 O Christmas Tree!

Hermana Mercado, Hermana Herrera and their Christmas lights!

Santiago Chile Temple

Jovenes del barrio: Eiman, Diego, Mario, David

Hermana Mercado with Rosita

Elder Mercau and Hermana Mercado

Almost the same name?!

Hermana Mercado with Angelina

Hermana Mercado's 18th letter from Chile

What can I say.... I'm tired. A little stressed, but happy. Whitewashing a sector is interesting. We have no basis to go off of, so we are just doing the best we can. The first thing has been to try and pass by all the members in our ward that live in our sector. We are also trying to find some of the investigators that the Elders were teaching before. As it is, we don't have a lot of set citas, but when all else fails, we contact. 

It's only been the first week, but we've had a few miracles already. There are like 6 or 7 condiminiums here, so we're not allowed to contact the houses in those. The houses that are outside are really nice as well, and one day we were contacting one street and I swear, we could tell people were home, but no one came to the door. Near the end of the street, one door finally opened and a twenty-something year old girl came out. Tammi, who is Catolica and studying in the University (I forget what exactly). We were able to testify about the Book of Mormon and about living prophets, and shared a prayer with her on her doorstep. She seems a little skeptical, but nonetheless interested and accepted our invitation to learn more. We're going to be meeting with her this week; she had to finish taking her tests last week.

One day we were looking up members that lived in the street Filodendros, and when we couldn't find one member we knocked at the house across the street to see if the neighbor knew where they were. The neighbor turned out to be a member as well, Juana, but she wasn't on our list of members. Anyway, she invited us in and we were able to chat a bit, get to know her, and share a spiritual thought before heading on our way. And then we saw her at church on Sunday. The Elders told us that was the first time they'd seen her in church since they'd been here. 

And then there's Maria Cristina. She's a menos activa that we've seen like every other day since we've gotten here. The first time we met her in the street, she told us she was a member, but she doesn't go to church because she smokes, but everytime we saw her she told us that we had to meet her grandaughter because she still goes to our ward with her daughter. We did actually meet her grandaughter during the week, because the father of Maria Cristina's grandaughter is our Ward Mission Leader, Marcos Contreras. The third time we saw Maria Cristina, we told her we had met her grandaughter and that she had to go to church on Sunday because it was going to be in the primary program. She didn't come on Sunday, but we decided to pass by her house to visit her. And she let us in. She told us that she usually doesn't answer the door when she sees that it's someone from the church. She also told us that she had had a dream that her grandaughter had called her in the morning to tell her to get ready for church because they were going to come by to pick her up. She had intended to go to see the primary program, but she had stayed asleep. She told us that maybe it's time for her to come back.

At the moment, I still feel like I'm walking around with my head cut off, but I know that the Lord's hand is in this work. We are just the instruments and we have to be willing to be guided.   

Hermana Mercado's 17th letter from Chile

Don't have a lot of time to write this week. We have changes today. Yep, they let us know Saturday night that I have changes this week. And the assistants called us yesterday to let Hermana Herrera know that she is training and I'm going to be senior companion in my new sector. WHAT?! I might have more time to write later. Love you all!

Since our P-day was cut short yesterday due to changes, they gave us time to do email today as well. 

Yes, I have been made senior companion. And I'm with Hermana Iroz, my first companion in the MTC! And on top of that, we are doing a whitewash; opening a new sector. We are in Cuidad Satelite in Maipu. The sector just belonged to elders, but now it's been split between the two of us. So, we are serving in the same ward as the elders, but we're in charge of half the ward boundaries. It's interesting working with elders. We are working with Elder Rivera (who also happens to be our district leader) and Elder Nelson. They've been showing us around and orienting us to our sector. I think we'll be walking around with a map for a while.

But the ward is really amazing. And they are really excited to have Sisters as well. We just met Hermana Isabel yesterday (a member who lives close to our house) and that night she came by to drop off dinner for us! 

President King told us that our area is basically like a ward in the United States. It's a ward full of return missionaries and an asistance of at least 120 every week. And we are definitely working in a richer sector. We met with the bishop last night, and he told us that it's a little challenging to get baptisms here. We'll have to see what we can do to help with that.

I have no idea why I've been given this responsibility so quickly. I don't know if I'm ready. But I do know that the Lord will never give us anything that we can't handle, and if we just trust in him he will help us through anything. I just have to replace my fears with faith. Hermana Iroz is super animada, so that helps. 

I have lots of pictures to send, mainly from the despedidos that I did, but this computer doesn't recognize my camera. I'll try to send pictures next week. 

--Hermana Mercado