Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas With Green Water


It was so fun to talk to everyone on Christmas!! I can't believe it's the last time I'll call my family in the mission, that's just too weird to me. The time is going way too fast and it's freaking me out.
Enough about that. On to more interesting and important things. Jeffrey was baptized this Saturday on Christmas and it was really just the most hilarious baptism I've ever had. So many things went wrong but you would all be proud of me because I kept my cool (although it appears that to some people it came off as indifference, but whatever.) First of all, we told everyone involved to be there at 6:30 so that we could start the baptism on time. We got there at 6:30 and guess who was there??? NO ONE. Okay. So we unlocked the chapel and went inside to see what was going on with the font and guess what we found?? A font full of green water. We were like . . . . . . . WHAT IS THIS??? HNA Bravo started freaking out and saying, what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do???? And I was just laughing because there was nothing we could do, so why worry about it?? He was just gonna have to get baptized in green water and that was that. So we went back to the house to call everyone but on the way we saw everyone come and turned around. Fortunately no one said anything about the green font, so Jeffrey went to change his clothes and we waited on the elders from another branch who were also going to have a baptism. We waited and waited and Jeffrey and his family started to get really anxious because I guess they had to go somewhere afterwards, but finally the elders and their investigators showed up, everyone got changed, and we took pictures. Then we realized that we had another problem-none of the members that we had invited showed up and we were going to be short a witness. Uh ohhhhhhh. We ended up starting the baptism still waiting on the guy that we frantically called and as I sat there listening to our ward mission leader, the ridiculousness of it all hit me and I started to laugh. I was just thinking-bueno, the font is green, we don't have two witnesses, we started late and we have no idea what we're going to sing for our special number. I could react to this in one of two ways-cry, or laugh. I think I'm going to laugh. And I continued to laugh throughout the baptism, even when the zone leaders showed up and I probably should have behaved myself better but I just couldn't help it (and they ended up saving us because hey, 3 worthy priesthood holders walked in the door and could be witnesses). Then we got up to sing and it sounded so bad and I started laughing even in the middle of the song. Okay it was kind of immature but really I was just dying. But despite everything, Jeffrey was baptized and confirmed the next day and we were very happy and so was he!!! And that's the most important thing of all, and the reason that I think I was so calm thoughout the whole thing. I knew, deep down, that everything was going to be just fine, that even though it wasn't the most orthodox baptism ever, that everything would work out okay. And it did!!!

So that was our baptism. The rest of the week was kind of lame-everyone left for Christmas and no one wanted to talk to us. But I'm excited for this week. The blessings always come after the trial of faith. :)

Spanish word of the week: Malcreado. It means, literally translated, badly created. But generally it's used to describe bratty children, rebellious teenagers and disobedient missionaries, also misbehaving pets. Basically it means someone who doesn't behave themself very well. I LOVE this word and I use it a lot, haha.

We're still working with Monica and Kevin. All this weekend we were trying to find her and couldn't but it turns out that she was in the hospital and they're gonna have to operate. We brought the elders to give her a blessing and then stayed with her and talked to her about the Atonement. This turned into a session of answering her questions of the soul, and it just so happened that we were able to answer them all with the Book of Mormon. We then asked her to pray right then and ask Heavenly Father if it was true. She did, and after the word Amen we all stayed there with our heads bowed and our eyes closed for a minute. HNA Bravo and I finally looked up, but Monica was still there with her eyes closed and head bowed, listening. Finally she looked up and smiled at us. We asked her how she felt and she said, tranquila. We asked her if she had received an answer and she said yes. We asked her if she believed that the Book of Mormon was true and she said yes, because it answered her questions. When we left I really felt that we had been instruments in the hands of the Lord. It was an incredible feeling!!!

I know that God lives, that He is my Father and He loves me. I know that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son and the Savior of the world. I know that there is no other way that we can return to the Father except through His Atonement. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and that he was called to be the prophet that restored the true gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. I know that the priesthood of God is here upon the earth and is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that The Book of Mormon is true, that it is another volume of sacred scriptures and if we read it every day and apply its principles, we will get closer to God and to His Son Jesus Christ and we will have happiness and joy in our lives. I know that families are forever and that the work and the glory of Heavenly Father is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children, in other words, all of us.

He wants us to live with Him forever, but it depends largely on us.

I love you all. I love this work.

Hermana Chamberlain

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Pictures

Monday, December 20, 2010

A White Christmas in Loja!


First off, Feliz CumpleaƱos a Kristen y a mi querida tia Laurie!!!!! Your birthdays were last week but I hope they were awesome all the same. Anyway, first off, the big news: we are going to have a White Christmas!!! In other words, we're having a baptism the 25th of December!!! His name is Jeffrey and he's a cute little 9 year old boy, the younger brother of one of the members in Jipiro. One day while we were practicing, Alexis called us over and said, hey sisters, do you want a baptism??? Ummmm . . . . . DUH. What kind of missionary doesn't want a baptism?? He then said that his little brother hadn't been baptized yet but had been to church a bunch of times and wanted to get baptized. Okay, we can help you with that. The permission slip is signed and all we have to do is finish teaching him and find him some white clothes. Awesome.

More good news: I received FOUR packages this week!!! The whole zone looked at me like I was a spoiled brat, but I just smiled and waved. It's gonna be a Merry Christmas after all!!!!

On to more important things: we found a new family this week, Monica and her son Kevin. She answered the door when we were looking for our mamita and when I saw her I thought she was already a member. Turns out she's not yet, but she was looking for a way to get her family closer to God and we were like, how about sealed together and living with God forever?? She loved our message and although she didn't come to church this week I know she will next week. The funny thing is that she's really receptive but her son Kevin is the one that doesn't want to listen. Know how old he is??? EIGHT. It kind of makes me laugh, but we're getting in good with him little by little. They're both gonna be baptized, I just know it. One doesn't have a member face for nothing . . . . . .

So here we are in Guayaquil again, renewing my censo. I have a few commentaries to make on the trip last night: the absolute WORST road trip I have ever taken in my life, seriously. It started when we got on the bus and I was looking for our seats. I saw a couple who had their seats tilted all the way back and the wife was bothering her husband. This made me laugh until I noticed that our seats were right behind this couple and despite the fact that they both saw us struggling to get into them, they refused to raise their seats up to help us out. Finally we both managed to sit down, after much tribulation, and I figured out that even with my seat tilted back there wasn't enough room for my legs, which meant that I was incredibly uncomfortable all night. Then there was the window. HNA Bravo and I wanted it open, so I opened it. After about 15 minutes the guy behind us said, hey can you close the window?? So we closed it, waited until he was asleep and opened it again, haha. Then I fell asleep and when I woke up I realized that the guy behind us had closed the window AGAIN. Fortunately, he was asleep again, so I opened it. I realize that it was a little passive-aggressive, but we didn`t want to be throwing up the whole night. Then I fell asleep again, woke up right as we were coming into Guayaquil at 5:30 in the morning, and realized that my ears were so stopped up that I could barely hear out of the left one (remember that to get to Guayaquil from Loja you have to make a lot of altitude changes) and that no amount of yawning, swallowing or sucking on cough drops could make them pop. Just now they're starting to pop again. Fortunately this is the last time that I have to go to Guayaquil for legal stuff (I think) so we'll only be making this trip one more time-this afternoon, on the way back to Loja. You can not even imagine how happy we are about this!!!!

We're really excited about Christmas. HNA Bravo and I are going to go caroling to all the members and investigators (Spanish word of the day: Carols-villancicos.) Plus one family has already invited us to eat and I'm sure that more are on the way, if Loja is anything like Guayaquil on Christmas. Plus I get to talk to YOU GUYS!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAYY!!! The sad thing is, Loja is a lot more expensive than Guayaquil when it comes to calling the United States, so I might have you guys call me at home. But we get to make a practice call to arrange everything so I'll let you guys know. If a weird number shows up on the caller ID, it is NOT a telemarketer, it's your daughter!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nearly Arrested!


Changes were yesterday and I'm still in Loja and HNA Bravo is still my companion, but she goes home in 3 weeks so we'll see what happens when we get to that point. Enough about that. On to more interesting news. LUIS ENRIQUE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!! We were sooooooo happy and I was gonna upload photos but I forgot to bring my cable and we're kind of running on a tight schedule because we snuck out of the zone barbeque to go write to our families and if we don't go back soon there won't be any food left. But, he was baptized and confirmed and he was sooooooo excited. His testimony was amazing, he was like, at first I didn't want anything to do with this church but now I know that it's true and I'm going to go forward. He's totally gonna be a missionary some day. Believe dat. So now he and his mom are members of the true church of Jesus Christ and his grandma has NO IDEA. I love secret baptisms. The fear of being discovered is a huge adrenaline rush. lol.

This Saturday all the missionaries sang in the Christmas devotional for the district and it was lovely. HNA Bravo and I discovered that straightening hair with a clothes iron is more effective that doing it with a straigtening iron. Basically, my hair hasn't looked that good in all my life, and no, I did not burn myself, just in case anyone was wondering (although I did burn HNA Bravo and after that she decided that it would be better if she ironed her own hair instead of letting me do it. Ha.) Perhaps this is a shameless show of vanity on my part, but hey, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty-and seeing that our cute missionary clothes limit us a lot, we do what we gotta do right??

Random side note: This internet cafe is playing old school gangster rap and it is really difficult to not listen to it. I hate it when the cybers play trunky music. It's just unfair.

Anyway, this Sunday was awesome too, Lida came to church and loved it. She told us that when we called she was getting ready to go to her own church but decided to come to ours instead. She'll be baptized on Christmas day and we're totally excited. She needs a little bit of help with her testimony, but that will come as she puts in her part. Keep praying for her-if there's one thing I've figured out in the mission, it's that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.

Now they're playing reggaeton. Hableme en serio.

Funny story time!!! This week we went to Cuenca and I had to come back Thursday night while my companion stayed for a capacitation. We were having a killer time, telling jokes, laughing, when all of a sudden the bus stopped in the middle of the road and a policewoman got on. She said, good evening everyone, I`m here to make sure that you're all legal. At this point I remembered that my censo had expired the week before. Great. I got it out anyway and prayed that she wouldn't check the date on the back, but my prayers were in vain. She took my censo, flipped it over, frowned at me and said, you're only legal until November 23, 2010. I was like, yeah I know but the thing is that we have to go to Guayaquil to renew it and we can't go until they call us. She was like, sorry, but you're gonna have to get off the bus with me. I was like . . . . . they're gonna take me to jail, this cannot be happening. Fortunately Elder Arevalo and Elder Chicaiza were sitting right behind me and they're both from Ecuador. Elder Arevalo was like, is it really necessary for you to take her off the bus, she's gonna go renew it really soon, look we're missionaries (missionary seems to be a magic word here, lol). The policewoman was like okay, I`ll let her pass this time but you need to go get it taken care of as soon as possible, yeah?? We all breathed a huge sigh of relief and I asked, hey, if she had taken me to jail you guys would have come with me right??? They all said OF COURSE!!! True friendship right there-in fact I'm remembering a facebook bumper sticker right now that says, a friend will come bail you out of jail. A best friend will be sitting in the cell with you saying dang we messed up!!!! Haha. But I didn't go to jail, fortunately. And just so everyone knows, I'm going to Guayaquil next week to get my censo renewed.

Annnndddd . . . . . that's about it. The elders are all probably dying to eat, so chao until next week!!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

This week was really interesting . . . . . I have learned that not only is the Spirit with us, it really does guide us to Heavenly Father's prepared children. On Tuesday we were calling all the people we had planned to visit and none of them could receive us. I was looking at my planner and saw the name Lida, a lady that we had contacted the week before. I thought, we need to call her. So I said hey HNA Bravo, let's call Lida. She was like, I already am!!! Lida picked up the phone, asked who it was and when we said we were the missionaries she said, come right now!!!! We got a little lost trying to find her house but finally we found it. She let us in and started telling us that she was struggling a lot, her husband and son were in Spain and she was alone with her daughter and that she was facing a lot of temptations and every time she thought she was strong enough to overcome them she fell again. I thought, we should teach her lesson 3 (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) just as HNA Bravo pulled out a pamphlet of lesson 3. The lesson was incredible-I have never felt the Spirit so strong in my whole life, I'm pretty sure. Lida accepted a baptismal date and when we went back and taught about the Restoration and asked if she thought Joseph Smith was a prophet she said yes, and that the Book of Mormon was true too. We want her to be baptized in December but she says that she wants to wait until her husband comes in February. I'm praying hard that her husband comes in December for Christmas so that he can be in her baptism, because that way we'll all be happy!!! You guys should pray for that too!!!!

Luis Enrique is getting baptized this Saturday and we're sooooooo excited!!!! We've been having to teach him at 6:30 in the morning because his schedule is really weird, so we've been a little tired these days (don't worry, we had permission to do it!!!) but I'm willing to do pretty much anything for the investigators, as long as it doesn't break laws or mission rules or commandments. He also had his baptismal interview today at 6:30 in the morning, and will be baptized at 4:30 on Saturday. Pray for him pleeeaaaaasssseeee!!!!!!

Plus the Flia Ushca came to church yesterday all 3 of them, and to the Christmas devotional. And I LOOOOOOOOOVED Henry B. Eyring's talk because he said something to the effect of, I know there are people watching this that haven't made covenants with God yet and I would advise you to do it while you still can. BOOOOM!!!!! We're hoping they'll be baptized this Saturday too . . . . . . PRAY FOR THEM PLEASE!!!!

I've been reading Doctrine and Covenants a lot lately and I looooooooove it!!!! The Lord has such a love and appreciation for His missionaries and it really shows in the Doctrine and Covenants. Plus Parley P. Pratt has his own revelation in there-yes, a member of my family has his own personal shoutout from the Lord Himself. And no, I will not be ashamed of my pride concerning this. I've also noticed a lot more that the Spirit is helping me in my teaching-my whole mission I've felt like I don't teach very well, but now I'm figuring out that when you don't know what to say, you just have to start talking and the words will come. I'm really grateful to the Lord for His help in this work-I know He's interested in it and that we really are finding His prepared children and bringing them back to His fold.

Christmas is here in Loja and I am really excited. The first Christmas in the mission field was a little difficult, but now I've been here for over a year, I can speak Spanish, and I'm in love with missionary work. That's like a recipe for a perfect Christmas in Ecuador. And you know what?? I completely forgot that I'm allowed to talk to you guys on Christmas . . . . . does that mean something??? I dunno, but at least I'm not trunky, haha!!!!


Hermana Chamberlain