The Shortest Companionship EVER

Hello my lovely friends and family,

This last week was pretty awesome! Our investigator, Hna. Silvia, got interviewed for her baptism and she is still just as excited as ever! Last night we went to visit her and she told us that now, she wants to bring her husband into the church as well. Now with her getting baptized and all, the husband will be the only person in the house who´s not a member! It´s been amazing working with this family because we´ve been able to see so many miracles with them.
We had a special conference this week with Elder Falabella, the first counselor in the area seventy. He and his wife are so adorable, and I enjoyed listening to them so much. He taught me a new and much better way to take notes — at the beginning of his talk , he asked us to write at the top of one page “spiritual impressions”, and on the top of another page “my commitments”. I really like this idea because, well, what´s the use of attending church and all those meetings and such ifwe don´t commit to change and apply what we´ve learned on our lives? That conference was probably the most impactful conference that I´ve had so far in my mission because I left with so many new goals and ideas.
On Saturday night, Hna. Brown and I received a special call from the assistents informing us that we were going to have emergency transfers. It wasn´t that big of a surprise because we already knew that one sister in the mission was going home early in order to study, and presidente had already promised Hna. Brown that she wouldn´t stay in las misiones for very long. still, it was a little sad because Hna. Brown and I just got a long so great! It was a great companionship…and my shortest companionship. Now, I´m with Hna. Hartline — another gringa! Two grings in one transfer, crazy right? And she´s from UTAH!! Haha it´s pretty awesome. She arrived late last night from Tarija, so we´re still getting to know each other.
I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week! Thank you for your prayers.
Love,
Hermana Ius
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Weird Bugs

Good morning my dear friends and family!

This week we worked our tails off! I don´t believe I mentioned this in my last email but my companion, Hna. Brown, actually started her mission out in this exact same area where we are  right now, and she was here for about seven and a half months, so when she arrived she was a little confused as to why she was here, but since themoment she stopped off the plane we´ve been able to see so many miracles! On Monday night, we visited a family that Hna. Brown had found almost a year ago. This family has progressed so much in just so little time, but they couldn´tget baptized because they weren´t married, and before they could get married, the wife had to get divorced! So it has definitely been a process getting them to the waters of baptism. However, on Monday night, they announced that they were finally getting married and baptized! They chose their wedding date and baptism date right there. They´re very adamant on getting it all done before we finish our missions, so they´ll be getting married the 31  of March and baptized the fourth of april — my exact 18 month date. How special! without a doubt this is all thanks to Hna. Brown and the wonderful faith and diligence she has shown in the area.
It is a little weird being with another gringa after having been with so many peruvians, but it´s also pretty awesome because we share so many things in common that are just so “basic white girl” — like an unnatural love for peanut butter. We also are both into the same type of foreign films! So now I can finally fangirl about books andmovies with someone who understands.
Annnnnnd the only other thing we did that is notable is that we took pictures of some weird bugs we found. Like, I know i already sent a photo ofthis one time, but there are some giant snails here and nobody has any idea where they come from!!
Yesterday it rained so hard that we almost didnñt make it church on time! The entire city floods everytime it rains because the land iscompletely flat here, so all the roads basically were converted to rivers. It was pretty cool though, and refreshing!
I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius
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So many miracles I don’t even know where to begin!

HELLO my beloved friends and family!!

This week has been so BUSY and FULL OF MIRACLES! Seriously, just the craziest things have happened and I don´t even know where to begin!!
Well actually the first thing we did this week was move. Haha we got a new house and it is SO PRETTY. Our district came in the morning and helped us move everything, and the Elders loved the house so much that they wanted to moce there themselves!
We worked so much with the members this last week! Seriously we had people accompanying us everyday which has never happened in any of my other areas. The young adults here are just the best and I love them so much!!
And now, one of the craziest miracles this week: Jorge. He´s this guy who has been investigating the church FOREVER. His mom is a member but Jorge, as much as he likes the church, has just never been able to pass his baptism interview!  He was honestly just burning the missionaries out here, and I didn´t think we were going to progress with him either until one of his dear friends returned from the mission field and was like ” HERMANAS WE NEED TO BAPTIZE JORGE”. SO MANY MIRACLES HAPPENED! We had him write his answers to the baptism interview questions so that we could iddentify his needs, his friends and family supported him, we talked to our district leader and was in agreement that NOW is Jorge´s time to get baptized. We read and reread the requirements for baptism, and it was clear that even though Jorge has his doubts, his worthy of getting baptized. EVERYBODY IN THE WARD WAS FERAKING OUT WHEN THEY FOUND OUT HE PASSED THE INTERVIEW!!! Seriously you guys have no idea how crazy this miracles is for us.
ALSO I think I might have told you all about Hna Silvia, she´s this lovely little old lady we visit. Her two kids are converts to the church and hna Silvia was wanting to get baptized too but had some duobts that always prevented her from getting baptized at the very vlast moment. Finally she was open withus a few days ago that yes, she wants to get baptized,  but wants to get a stronger testimony first. We were a little sad, but I asked her how she hoped to receive and answer to her prayers and she told us that the only thing she wants is a little more clarity because she´s so confused. We set goals with her for how she could receive a testimony — keep praying, read the Book of Mormon, and go to church. I admit, we left her house that day kind of sad, but then on sunday she came to church. Right after the sacrament meeting, she came right up to us with this giant smile and told us that the night before, she was praying…AND WANTS TO GET BAPTIZED! I almost started crying! Only three days had passed but just like that shereceived her answer. When we visited her again in the night, she told us that everything just suddenly became so clear.
I know that Heavenñy Father answers our prayers. He loves us SOOOO much.
Today we had TRANSFERS and Hna Astudillo has gona to tarija! I will miss her so much! I´m now with hna Brown — my first gringa since my trainer! She´s from California and is a total sweet heart.
I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hello dear friends and family!

HAPPPY 2018!! Can you believe it? Another year has gone by so quickly!
This past year, I:
  • Lived the entire year in Bolivia, away from my family
  • Learned Spanish
  • Ate the intimate parts of a bull
  • Shared the gospel with so many wonderful people!
  • Made so many new friends
….and a lot more crazy stuff haha!
This last week we et the goal to be SO CRAZY DILLIGENT and BUSY all day long, and let me tell you that we started seeing so many miracles right away. We found some AMAZING PEOPLE !! We found one family, sooooo adorable! They have two little kids and we contacted this family Christmas night, then we visited three more times just during the week — something that never happens! We broke the ice right away with them, and by the third lesson they were already cooking us special food haha! They´re so awesome…
I think the BIG highlight of the week is that I HAD MY FIRST DREAM IN SPANISH!!! and it was such a cute dream too. Haha wow ,i guess i´ve been out of the country now for a very long time.
I love you all so much and I can´t belive that I only have three more months left here in Bolivia! I hope you all take care and stick to your new year goals.
Love,
Hermana Ius
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MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

MERRY CHRISTMAS MERRY CHRISTMAS MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

What a wonderful time of year it is indeed! I´m so grateful to be blessed with the opportunity of spending two Christmases here en Bolivia as a missionary because it is, without a doubt, the greatest way one can serve the Lord — by serving others. We have been so crazy busy this week, what with activites and conferences, and we´ve had some disappointments but also a lot of wonderful, wonderful miracles.
The highlight of all this craziness was our multi-zone conference, which was specially themed for the Christmas season. The conference this year included a talent show and that was just so much fun! My district did a sketch comedy, others sang, and dang we´ve got some pretty talented people here in the mission. However, the part I liked best was how Presidente and Hermana Rodríguz told us their conversion stories. My mission presidentes are both converts to the church and being able to hear about the miracles that happened in order to help them and their family members get baptized inspired me so much. Presidente said something that helped me a lot — NEVER LOSE HOPE!! It doesn´t matter if we´re in the mission, in school, in work, in home, we should never, ever lose hope.
We ended the conference with a giant dinner and we were finally able to pig! WOohoo! It´s tradition to have a big Christmas eve dinner here and to eat a roasted pig, so Presidente and Hna. Rodríguez brought in a special roasted pig just for us, yay!
We had a lot of ward activities and some members were ablse to accompany us while we went out working this last week, so that was super wonderful and it makes such a difference when the ward can support you so much! I´m so grateful to be here 🙂
AND THEN YESTERDAY PRESIDENTE APPROVED A SLEEPOVER FOR THE HERMANAS SO WE ALL GOT TOGETHER AND WERE ABLE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS EVE TOGETHER AND IT WAS SO AWESOME! We did a secret santa, we watched the fireworks, ate a lot of food, and then fell asleep. 🙂
I love you all so much! I hope you have the greatet Christmas ever and that we can all take time to remember what is the REAL reason for the season.
Love,
Hermana Ius
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Christmas is right around the corner!

Hello dear friends and family!

I CAN´T BELIEVE CHRISTMAS IS NEXT WEEK. Seriously!
Well, the weather here recently has been skyrocketing hot. I´ve accustomed to not sleeping under my bedsheets anymore because it´s just to hot. I already wake up in the morning with a sweatstache (sorry if that´s too much information but it´s the truth!).
This last week passed by so quickly, and we had some pretty awesome miracles. For the past five weeks, there´s been a nonmember who has consistenly attended church and we were only just able to meet with him this last week! He´s pretty awesome, his name isWilly, and his brother was baptized a few years ago. In our very first lesson with Willy, he told us that he had received all the lessons when he lived in Cochambamba and wanted to get baptized but for whatever reason was never able to, but he knows that this iswhat he wants to do, that it´s important, and that it will bless his family. Needless to say, we were pretty shocked! We challenged him to a baptism date and he accepted right away. I´m honestly blown away by this experience, but it really just testifies to me that Heavenly Father knows His children and He is helping them and preparing them! Missionary work is not easy, the mejority of the time it feels like we´re just beating our heads against a brick wall. But we do it all in faith, and Heavenly Father in return gives us miracles.
I found out just today that one of my investigators in La Pampa got baptized last week! Remember Fabio? He was this 12 year old kid that we taught, his dad was just getting reactivated in the church. Well, Fabio was pretty excited about the church and everythign right from the get go and now he´s baptized. I´m so proud of him! He´s a really special kid.
YESTERDAY I GAVE MY VERY FIRST TALK IN CHURCH. Believe it or not, I´ve never been asked to give a talk in church since I´ve been in the mission! And then Saturday night at 10:30 pm, they called me and asked me to give a five minute talk about charity. Gosh was a I nervous! Especially because jsut that morning ni ward council we talked about how everyone needs to give well-prepared talks in sacrament meeting. Well, I prepared some quick notes a scirptures and I guess it all turned out alright because some people came up to me afterwards to thank me and my comp said I didn´t look nearly half as nervous as i felt (which was a LOT).
Shout out to the Aspen 8th ward Young Women and the awesome christmas care package they sent me! You girls are THE BEST and have made my Christmas so much more amazing!! I love you all so much!
I hope you all h ave a great Christmas this year and that it snows wherever you are!
Love,
Hermana Ius
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I finally took pictures….but they aren’t loading

Hello dearest friends and family!

This week went by so quickly, we´ve been busy everyday and honestly that´s just the best thing that anyone can ask for in the mission.
On Tuesday we had a BAPTISM!  Génesis Belen got baptized on her birthday, December 5th. Her parents are both members but went in active for some time, and her mom is now getting reactivated and wants her dear daughters to get baptized. It was really special because Génesis has a lot of family members that are already members, so they all came to her baptism to support her.
Last P-Day, we went to the plaza 24 de Septiembre and bought souvenirs and ice cream. It was pretty awesome.
I don´t think I mentioned this but in the ward here there are two pairs of sister missionaries — AND NO ELDERS. I was a little weirded out at first by that idea because I´m so used to sharing the ward with Elders, but honestly it´s so much better without them because we can always hang out with the other sisters now and we work together a lot better! And guess who the other sisters are? My old companioin Hna. Acevedo and Hna. Felix! So yeah, it´s a party because I love and missed Hna. Acevedo so much and now we´re together again! Yay!
Christmas is right around the corner again and I can´t believe it! It feels like just yesterday I was in Tarija with my trainer, and now it´s been more than a year and I´m waaaaaay too close to finishing my mission. But I´m so grateful to be here everyday and I love our investigators and the members and I know that serving a mission was the greatest choice I´ve ever made.
I love you all!
Hna. Ius
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It’s been a slow week

hello friends and family!

I don´t really have much to report this week I´m afraid. It´s been a rather slow week for me. Before anyone freaks out, I am perfectly alright and healthy, but last Monday I came down with an extremely high fever — hot enough that we did not need thermometer to know that i was burning up! But thank goodness that my comp is a nurse and mothered me back to health — that, plus Hermana Rodríguez wouldn´t let me leave the house for three days just to be sure i was completely recovered, so for those three days we did divisions with the hermanas capacitadoras.
So then after three days i finally got to leave the house and see what my new area is like!! aaaaaand then two days afterwards all the missionaries were sent to their houses because here in Bolivia they had their elections. For those of you interested in BOlivian politics, voting here is MANDATORY, so in order to insure that everyone votes, all businesses and churches area closed for three days, and all public transportation is, too. You can only drive a car if you have received permission from the Police, and there are Policemen outside on the street all day checking your documents and stuff. It´s kind of weird, so we all received instructions to just stay inside and not leave unless we had set appointments. All church services were also closed, but our bishop gave our pensionista permission for her husband to bless the Sacrament inside their home, so we went to their place and sat a round a table and sang hymns and we were able to participate of the sacrament. It was so special, just eight of us there, but it helped remind me that this isreally what we need to do every Sunday — renew our baptism covenants and remember our Savior and His atonement. Though there was only eight of us there, we felt the Spirit so strongly and I really felt so much better just being able to take the sacrament.
Well, I love you all so much. Sorry I don´t have pics this wekk, that´s kind of what happens when someone is sick all week. BUT NEXT WEEK I´LL HAVE PHOTOS
okay love you
Hermana Ius

Unexpected Transfers

Hello everybody!

Happy late Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you ate a lot of turkey and pumpkin pie. Like I´ve said before, Thanksgiving doesn´t exist here, but my pensionista was super awesome and let me play around in her kitchen a little bit! Turkey is CRAZY EXPENSIVE so we just ate the typical chicken but then she also made mashed potatoes and i made a chicken gravy and it all came out sooooo yummy so yeah that was my mini Thanksgiving here 🙂
On Saturday night we got “The Phone Call” informing us about the transfers… and we got the very, VERY unexpected news that Hermana Herrera would be staying in La Pampa and that I would be leaving and going to Las Misiones! Ain´t gonna lie, I was pretty shocked, and i maybe cried all night long haha. But really, we thought we would both be staying the La pampa because Hna. Herrera is going home in two weeks so that she can be with her family for Christmas, and I´d only had two transfers in La Pampa. Now Hna. Herrera has to show the whole area to another sister and teach her everything in just TWO WEEKS — and I needed at least a month to learn everything. Well, I just hope everything goes alright for them!
Although I´m really sad to leave La Pampa, I´m also happy to be in Las Misiones now. I´ve heard a lot of really great things about this ward, and I feel really blessed to be able to some here and serve. Unless Presidente pulls another fast one on me, this will probably be my last area…because now I only have three transfers left. AH. Where did all the time go??
So Yesterday I went to say goodbye to all of our investigators and converts, and we visited Paulina for just a little bit. Ha, she´s so sweet, and when we were chatting with her, she told me that some missionaries from the evangelical church visited her and started bashing on the Book of Mormon, and Paulina was all like ” ummm okay you guys can say what you want BUT I LOVE THIS BOOK MORE THAN THE BIBLE” HAHA that certainly surprised us! Most of our investigators have a dificult time accepting anything but the Bible, but Paulina certainly surprises us with her love for the BoM. She´s not even a convert and yet was willing to defend our book! How sweet 🙂
Well I love you all A TON and I´hope you can all have an awesome week. Thank you so much for your love and support.
Love,
Hermana Ius
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Happy Early Thanksgiving

Hello dear friends and family!

For those of you in the United States, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and eat a ton of turkey and pumpkin pie for me — because I won´t be doing any of that stuff haha! Seriously, like, the only thing Bolivianos eat is like, fried chicken or steak, and pumpkins don´t grow here at all! But I will still be happy and remembering all of my wonderful blessings all day long, so don´t you guys worry about me.
I BOUGHT NEW SHOES THIS WEEK! Ok so I know that one of you guys probably care about that but just so youi know I have worn literally the same pair of shoes for over a year now and that´s fine because they´re super comfy but they are also incredibly dirty and have left my feet with these incredible “Z” tan lines…I´ll send a pic. SO I´m trying to heal the awful tan lines but also just try and hide them cause they´re super embarrassing. 🙂
Annnnd we have officially finished all our exchanges for the transfer! We did exchanges with the other sisters in Abundancia and I was with a newbie, Hna. Pérez from Ecuador! It was pretty awesome, she´s a total sweetheart and for only having 5 weeks in the mission is already such a great teacher.
Next week we will have TRANSFERS and we have no idea what to expect! Because Hna. Herrera, my compie, is gong home a few weeks so that she can spend Christmas with her family, but will stilll be in the misison for two more weeks afters transfers, so we don´t know if she´s gonna stay here with me for those two weeks or WHAT but I´ll let you all know next week 🙂
I found 200 false dollars on the ground. I almost got excited.
This week we found a lot of awesome new people to teach! It was really a miracle. Something I´ve learned is that there really are people out here that are waiting to here and accept the gospel, and we´ll never find them iof we don´t talk to everyone! Heavenly Father is preparing people to hear and accept this gospel.
Hermana Herrera told me that now she wants to study beauty. I had my doubts, so we did each others make up the other night (note: We did NOT leave the house all made up!). I´ll attatch a pic and y´all can decide who has better make up skills. 😉
I love you all so much and I hope this Thanksgiving you can all remember how much the gospel and blessed and changed your lives! It´s the greatest thing we have to be thankful for.
Love,
Hermana Ius
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