Monday, January 28, 2013

Hermana Mercado's 25th Letter from Chile

This past week has been wonderful! The noche de hogar that we had with some members and their vecina/amiga, Jael, went amazing!  We are teaching her now and she has accepted a baptismal date! I love teaching the first lesson, about the restoration, especially saying the first vision. The spirit is always so strong!

We also had an amazing lesson with an inactive member this week, Gabriela, about the gift of the holy ghost and the importance of attending church and partaking of the sacrament so that we might have this gift to be with us always. One of those lessons that pierces your heart. She came to church this week! As well as Hermana Villalonga and her children, Rafael, and Oscar! (Other inactives we've been teaching!) And Ogla made it to church this week! Hermana Munoz was able to pass by and pick her up in the morning, and she stayed for all three hours! 

It was a great sacrament meeting as well. The jovenes had just gotten back from a week at EFY (this is the first time they've had EFY in Chile) and four of the jovenes were asked to bear their testimonies. They shared that many of the jovenes wanted to leave in the beginning because of the strict schedule and no cellphones, but by the end no one wanted to leave. One jovencita shared that she went to EFY believing that the things the church teaches are true, but after EFY, she came back knowing. EFY is awesome. 

Everything this week has been pretty amazing, expect Hermana Iroz and I have taken turns being sick. She had a stomach bug or something, and now I have some sort of illness going on (headache, sore throat). I woke up Sunday morning with a puffy right eye. I have no idea what happened! It was fine when I had gone to bed the night before! But don't worry, I'm recooperating. We took some time yesterday for me to rest, and today is P-day, so I'll be resting some more. The puffy eye has gone down so I should be better in no time!

--Hermana Mercado

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hermana Iroz y Hermana Mercado with their last zone.

Hermana Mercado y Hermana Iroz with their last district.

Hermana Mercado y Hermana Iroz with La Familia Vergara.

Yes!  Be careful of Jovenes jugando futbol!

Hermana Iroz hugging the Vilalonga Christmas tree before "disarming" it!

Hermana Vilalonga's kitten

La Familia Henriquez

Hermana Iroz y Hermana Mercado with La Familia Gonzalez

Hermana Mercado with her first Churrasco!  Delicioso!

Hermana Mercado's 24th Letter from Chile!

This past week has been pretty good. We have picked 3 families from our ward to work with to help us find people to teach. In these past couple of weeks,  we've had a noche de hogar with each of them, taught them the restoration and asked them to think about the blessings they've received in their lives because of the restoration. Then we ask them 10 questions to help them think about family and friends that they can share the gospel with who also deserve those blessings. Then we ask them to pray as a family and pick one of the names/families they wrote down to focus on. We also share a paper with them that the mission put together called "Como Puedo Compartir el Evangelio" to give them ideas about how to get started. They are excited about it, and eager to help. We've actually been invited to a noche de hogar tonight with one of the families. They're inviting one of their friends, a friend who has interest in learning more about the church. 

We also had a great lesson with Olga this past week in which a member from our ward accompanied us. She had already met Olga at a ward activity, so a friendship has already started to form there. And  we had everything set up for the member to pick her up on Sunday to go to church. Olga was going to call her Saturday just to make sure. But the member's cell phone died, and neither of us could get a hold of her to remind her. We'll get her to church this week though. And for our next cita with Olga, her daughter Erica, plans to participate as well! 

And this week, Oscar Nunez came to church! He's an inactive we found knocking doors a couple of weeks back. He's an elderly man, and from what he tells us, he was among the first members in Chile. But he stopped going as a joven. So we've been reteaching him the gospel, helping him to remember, and he promised us he would come to church with us this week. When we went by to pick him up, he was ready and waiting. He's really animado to be coming back to church. We even shared his testimony in Sunday school! I'm so happy for him! 

It's hard to find new people to teach in our sector, especially now that the majority of them are gone on vacation (the streets are literally dead when we go out to work), but we know that the greater miracles will come as we continue to work with the members, help to strengthen their testmionies, and help them to share to gospel. When the members of the church begin to take a more active role in missionary work, that's when the real growth will happen. Missionary work isn't just for missionaries; everyone can participate and share in the blessings! So invite your friends to a church activity, to a family home evening, to listen to the missionaries! Just invite them to come and see. 

Love you all! 

--Hermana Mercado 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hermana Mercado's 23rd letter from Chile

This week, the sector has mainly been dead. Not only because the majority of the people have left on vacation, but also because it was the hottest it has ever been this past week. Someone told us it reached the highest temperature it has ever been here in the past 4 or 5 years! Needless to say, many people that happened to be home didn't feel a lot of motivation to come to the door when we "knocked".

But all is well. We are starting to focus more on working with our members and less actives; strengthening them and helping them to share the gospel with their family and friends is more effective in finding people to teach than just randomly knocking doors anyway. We've chosen a few families to work with specifically, and so far it has been going well. They are excited to share the gospel with their neighbors and we're excited too! We'll see how things progress!

But, miracle of the week, one of our investigators, Olga, accepted a baptismal date! She says she believes that our messge is true and she understands the need to be baptized. We hope we can get her ready. Her testimony is still young and needs to be strengthened. And it's a little difficult to help her progress at the moment because she hasn't been able to attend church yet and she can't read the Book of Mormon on her own (she lost her glasses). But we've started to read the Book of Mormon with her and this week, a member, Hermana Munoz, is going to visit her with us. Hopefully we can arrange for Hermana Munoz to pass by and pick Olga up for church on Sunday. 

I know this church is true, that it contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and living by its principles will bring us immeasurable happiness with our families in this life and in the life to come. 

Love you all!!!

--Hemana Mercado 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How many dogs do you see?


Big, beautiful bush!
Hermana Mercado's birthday cake!

Hermana Iroz helps Hermana Mercado with a Chilean Birthday Tradition!

The ward sings Happy Birthday to Hermana Mercado

Yum!  Birthday Cake!

Birthday Sushi!

Hermana Iroz 

Hermana Mercado's 22nd Letter from Chile

We found a lot of new people to teach this week. Some from knocking doors, others from references. One day, all our citas fell through so we started looking up people in our ward directory that we didn't know yet. Well, we were debating whether to start contacting or to work with the ward directory. We were right across the street from one address, so we decided to check it quick before moving on, just to see if the person existed. She did, she was home, and she invited us in. She's been inactive for a while, but has always recieved the missionaries. It seems they have a special place in her heart. She shared with us that she's going through a tough transitional situation at the moment, and that she really appreciated our visit. She also said she would do all she could to come to church this past week. She didn't make it, but we're going to visit her tomorrow. I know if we keep working with her she'll come back. 
Oh, less actives. They have a special place in my heart. They need our help, if not more than the investigators. They know the path, but for one reason or another, they've lost their way. Their faith is weak, but they can come back with a little help.

--Hermana Mercado

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hermana Iroz, caroling with the Elders

Zone Christmas caroloing

Hermana Iroz and World Biggest Reeses!

Bishop's Family

Bishop's Casa

Hermana Iroz wants to open her presents NOW!

Christmas Dinner

Hermana Mercado y Hermana Iroz

Hermana Mercado, Carolina Torrejon and Hermana Iroz

Hermana Iroz sad to go out in the rain.

Hermana Mercado, Hermana Carter, Hermana Iroz

Sara's Christmas tree

New Hermana (baby)  Hermana Nelson, Hermana Mercado

Hermana Mercado, Hermana Iroz

Missionary Christmas Party, President King as Santa!

Hermana Mercado's 21st Letter from Chile

First Christmas without the family, and first birthday on the mission. I tried not to tell anyone, but people seemed to find out anyway. We had lunch with la familia Pavez and they had a cake for me, which Hermana Iroz happily smashed my face into. Don't worry, it's a tradition. Our ward also had an end of the year party that night, and I ended up being sung too. It was a good birthday, accompanied by sushi which Hermana Iroz bought for me since I couldn't be eating Habachi with my family. 

Many things... so little time. I'll write more next week. I promise!

--Hermana Mercado