Monday, March 30, 2015

Finishing the Book of Mormon

We are just finishing reading the Book of Mormon as a mission before General Conference.  It has been a great blessing to each of us here.
I received this message from Sister Vanderwerken (Elder Vanderwerken's mom) today.  She had invited ward members and fellow seminary teachers to join us as we read the Book of Mormon!
"I forgot to mention, a sister in our Ward was bearing her testimony yesterday and said she would be completing the Book of Mormon challenge and what an impact it had had on her these past few months. Thank you from the both of us for the challenge." 
I also received this message from my wonderful Aunt Lillian last week. 

"I took your challenge and read the Book of Mormon from start to finish again. It's done by Conference. Thank You. Always see something new."

We would love to hear from any of you who have read the Book of Mormon with us!  Just write in the comment section of this post! 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The beautiful Sky in the Argentina Neuquén Mission!

One thing I love about the sky here is that it changes so quickly.  We were on a walk down by the river.  I took three pictures of the sky in the same place about every ten minutes.  You can see how quickly is does change!


Here are some other random pictures of the sky as we have been traveling.  Maybe it is because we are in the car so much and have more time to notice the beautiful sky but we love how different it can be! 


Sometimes it is just a beautiful bright blue!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Learning the Language!

As a new missionary there are so many things to learn.  For some it is the first time away from home.  For some it is the first time to leave the country where they have grown up. For most of those that come from the United States it means learning a new language!
    Learning to speak the language is such an important part of adjusting to this new mission experience!  It is exciting and stressful all at the same time.  I have asked Hermana Crowley, one of our wonderful Hermana's that has returned home, to share her experience of learning the language! 

 Thank you Hermana Crowley!

When I arrived Argentine MTC I didn’t speak Spanish.  I came in faith that God would bless me to quickly learn the language.  I the MTC I learned some of the basics I felt ready to go out and fill the world with the message of the Gospel.  Then I arrived in the field and I realized that though I could say a few things I couldn’t understand a thing anyone said.  However I trusted that in a matter of days I would be blessed with the gift of tongues and would be able to understand what people were saying and would continue to rapidly become fluent.

               However God had other plans for me, plans that didn’t include miraculous language skills. Each days as I studied Spanish I prayed that God would bless me with the gift of tongues, but I continued in a world of gibberish to my ears.  It was during this time of great frustration, and even greater disappointment, that I learned the true meaning of Charity.  Never in my life had I experienced unconditional love from people who didn’t know me.
 During the time I couldn’t express even a complete thought I was shown the love of God, love that he shared with the sweet wonderful members of my ward who took the time to talk with me, to listen to me and try to carry on a conversation with me never judging me for what I still had to learn rather being loving for all that I had learned.  I knew that I was important to the work of the Lord because I was important to these people who probably didn’t know if I was asking for cheese or asking what something was, or who laughed when her husband taught me to say that the food was garbage without telling me that that’s what it meant.
               These were the people who knew that an American girl probably couldn’t manage to find where to buy Tylenol for a head ache, or how to stay warm in an argentine winter.  They were the ones who fed and prayed and went with us to our appointments.  I knew that they wanted to be a part of the Lord’s work and wanted to love those who were dedicated to this special work.  I learned that God prepares those who will be in our paths to help us accomplish the work that we have been given.

               Half way through my mission I could finally communicate with those that the Lord had sent me to teach, though I still struggled at times to share some thoughts.  But I had learned that I didn’t need to worry about what I would say, because God knew what I needed to say and I could always count on that blessing.  I saw it day by day as I was given words to say that I didn’t know that I knew, and then later forgot again. 

Now I have finished my time as a missionary in Argentina and I can testify that I was indeed given the Gift of Tongues, though not in the moment or way that I imagined when I left my home.  Granted I still have so much I can still learn but I know that God will help me because he has done it once.  More important that learning Spanish was learning the language of love.  I learned that where word can’t reach love finds a way.  In fact God’s love never fails to reach, even if people later choose to reject it.  

               There is a primary song that says “I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you. That’s how I’ll show my love for you.”  I can testify that this is true.  God walks with each missionary and He talks with each missionary as we go about his work.  It isn’t easy but it is so worth it.  Learning a language is a small price to pay to come to know God that much better.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mission President's Seminar in Santiago Chile

We got up early to catch the 6:00 flight so that we would get to Chile in time to be able to go to the temple.  We have a new appreciation of the privilege of being able to go to the temple.
It was a beautiful day and it was wonderful to attend the temple with many of the other Mission President's and their wives from the South America South Area.
As we finished our session we met Elder Jorquera in the lobby. He was just finishing a session also!   He came to the mission right before it was divided.  After the division he was in the Comodoro Mission so it was so good to see him again!

Then it was wonderful to meet Elder Arriagada and his beautiful new wife as we came out of the temple.

As we were visiting with them I decided to run over and take a picture of the CCM which is right by the temple.  As I took the picture I heard someone say, "Hermana Lovell!!!" 
It was Hermana Rivera!  She had served with us until the division of our mission and then she finished her mission in the new Comodoro Mission.  I knew it was inspiration that I thought to take that photo of the CCM so we could see her!

She was with her friend who has recently been called to the Comodoro Mission! 

We spent the next two days with the other Mission President's and their wives learning from the Area Presidency and a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Suarez.  As we were looking at the PowerPoint during the conference President Lovell and I both looked at each other to see if we saw right!   There was a picture of Hermana McChesney and Hermana Hafen, two of our Hermanas,  in the corner of every slide. 

They are Hermanas that have finished their missions and have returned home. It was so good to see their photos.  They have always had such a glow in their faces and are great examples of wonderful missionaries!

Elder Salinas and his new wife came to the hotel to meet us!  It was so good to spend some time with them.

One of the blessings of being with the other Mission Presidents and their wives was to ask questions and share ideas with them.

This is the group of Mission Presidents who were there who came to this area at the same time we came.
President and Sister Wright, President and Sister Kahnlein, us,  and President and Sister Parreño.   President and Sister Agazzani also came at the same time we did but were unable to attend the seminar.

We feel a special connection to President and Sister Rogers.  They are in the Comodoro Mission and arrived as our mission was split.  It is fun to talk about missionaries that served with both of us and that both of us love!

There are also other connections with other Mission Presidents and their wives.  President and Sister Cook are from Black Foot Idaho.  That is very close to where President and I grew up.

President Zanni served a mission in the Argentina Neuquén Mission as a young Elder! 
President Goats was the mission president of one of our Hermana's and wanted to say "Hello" to her!
President and Sister Arrington were our daughter Ashley's Mission President in Chile!

We learned so much at the conference and loved being with these wonderful other Mission Presidents and their wives.