Oh hermanos, adiós, pues, adiós!

Hello….and goodbye!

Can you guys believe it? My time here in Bolivia is coming to a close. I honestly feel like I just got here. I don´t really know how to describe what I´m feeling because it´s just the entire color spectrum of emotions, and I think that only people who could possibly relate are all the other missionaries who have finished their missions faithfully. Although you´ve all been receiving my emails for the last year and a half, i haven´t even written the hundredth part of what I´ve experienced here. It´s just beyond words. All I cans ay isthat the mission has been more than what I had ever imagined, it has been the most worthwhile experience of my life, and I know I´m not the same persont hat I was when I first arrived here. No, I have not a an “easy mission”, as some would say, but if I had the opportunity to make that decision to leave everything behind and come and serve here, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I have seen so many miracles! We truly live in a day and age where there ARE miracles!
Quiero compartir mi testimonio con todos ustedes que yo sé que esta es la iglesia verdadera. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero, y que José Smith fue un profeta de Dios y restauró Su iglesia.   mi vida. A pesar de todas la pruebas, dificultades, y frustraciones, puedo testificar que Dios nunca me abandonó, y que he visto su mano en cada fase de la obra. Sé que ésta es la iglesia verdadera, y ha sido un privilegio de llevar el nombre de mi Salvador por un año y medio y compartir su evangelio. He visto tantos milagros y soy un testigo de la veracidad del mensaje de la restauración del evangelio. Sé que Jesucristo es mi Salvador, Redentor, el Hijo Unigénito del Dios viviente. Lo amo, y sé que Él me ama y que les ama también. Venir a la misión ha sido le mejor decisión de mi vida. Me quedo sin palabras cuando pienso en el inmenso amor que Dios tiene para nosotros. Al trabajar aquí, he podido conocer a mi Salvador y entender a Él y su sacrificio para nosotros mucho mejor.  
 
Comparto estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.
 
— Hermana Ius
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Miracles and Miracles and Miracles

March 26, 2018

Good morning my dearest friends and family,

I can´t express to you all today just how full my heart is because we have definitely seen some amazing miracles this last week! It´s been so amazing because I´ve worked so hard for my whole mission, and there´s just nothing like finally being able to see the fruits of our labors. We had two baptisms this week, and they were both giant miracles! First of all, Willy got baptized, he´s an investigator that I found my first few weeks here when I was with Hermana Astudillo. We´ve been working so hard with him and it just looked like he wasn´t going to go through with getting baptized, but let´s just say that he´s got some amazing friends in the ward who weren´t going to let him slip away from this important convenant! He got baptized on Friday, and boy, was all smiles! He was just so happy, and went it was time to share his testimony, he started crying. The spirit was so strong.
And then the very next day…Carol got baptized as well! All of the young women went to her baptism to support her and she was also just glowing from excitement. She was one of our miracles here because we only found her a few weeks ago, but was ready to get baptized — she´s been waiting six years! I guess we all jsut need to trust in the Lord´s timing, right?
This is my last week of hard work in Las Misiones, and I can´t think of a better way of going that with these miracles baptisms. I absolutely love this ward and the members and everyone! I can´t believe that so  soon i will have to go home and leave this beautiful place. Everyone here has really just become my family, and I´m going to miss them all so much.
I hope all of you take time to listen to and enjoy general conference and reflect on how the gospel has blessed your lives and how our Savior has changed you. I guarantee that there is not a person on the planet who has not been blessed by Him.
I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius
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Guess who got baptized

March 19, 2018

Hi everybody!!

This week was so amazing. As you can already guess by the title, we had a baptism this last weekend. Vanessa got baptized! She´s eleven years old and just a giant bundle of joy. Her older brother, Baldo, got baptized two years ago and had the privilege of baptizing Vanessa. The whole experience was so beautiful, and the ward helped us out so much with the baptism service. Everything just went so great, and when Vanessa went up to bear her testimony, she started crying because she just felt the spirit so strongly. The next day, Baldo was also able to confirm her as an official member of the church!
It´s really just been such a satisfying and fulfilling week because we just wor so hard everyday and that moment when someone isfinally able to accept the gospel in their life makes it all worth it.
We´re hoping to see a lot more miracles in this area before I head out. It´s a special opportunity being a full time missionary, and I don´t want to lose a single minute of it.
I love you all so much and I´m grateful for your love and suspport everyday. I hope you guys are all doing great and are reading and praying everyday. We should never take the gospel for granted. Small things such as reading the book of mormon, praying with our families, and partaking of the sacrament every sunday can sometimes seems more routine than sacred, but we should never let it be like that!
Love,
Hermana Ius
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Jardin Botanico

March 12, 2018
This week was awesome!
As always, we worked our butts off and saw some amazing miracles. The members in this ward are just the BEST because they always want to help us out. They´ve inspired me so much because we will often see a member in the church or visit them in their houses and they always ask us when they can accompany us or how they can help us, and that´s the best attitude that one can have! Service is, at the end of the day, pure religion, and I´m so grateful that the members have realized that.
Vanessa is going to get baptized this week! I am o excited she´s absolutely adorable and so pumped for her baptism, and the members are too. It´s hard not to just love someone who´s so cute a and crazy.
And do you guys remember Carol? She´s the unbaptized little sister of a part member family. Well, we visite her again this last weekend and had an incredibly spirit – filled lesson. Carol really opened up to us and told us all about her life..and dang, for someone so young, she´s suffered a whole lot. She even confessed that for a long time, she gave up believing in God because all she  could see in the world was suffering. Then, as she began to observe the people around her, she realized that those who have faith in God are just so much happy than others, and she wants that same happiness, too. It´s really amazing how Heavenly Father prepares and cares for His children. Although sometimes we might feel like the whole world is against us, He is always there to help us. He is very aware of who we are.
So we challenged Carol to get baptized and she accepted! She even said that she´d been meditating for a long time in this, and would have gotten baptized sooner…only that she felt super awkward with Elders teaching her. HA!
And on Sunday I gave a last minute talk in the sacrament meeting about the atonement. I was super nervous but everyone told me it was wonderful.
Today we had a zone activity. We went to these gorgeous gardens and had a barbecue.
I love you all so much! Being a missionary is the absolute best.
Love,
Hermana Ius
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GINCANA

March 5, 2018
Hello family and friends!

Yes, it´s true — yesterday I offically hit my 17 month mark. It´s getting scary now with that that last month remaining, but I´m just focusing on all of our awesome investigators and how much i love them.
so for the last few months, we´ve been planning a special activity with the youths — a game night where we could invite our younger investigators to go and get to know that church. The YW president was such a great help and was super excited with the idea. Then, a few weeks ago, we met a less active part member family. The older sister, Wendy, wants to reactive herself, and her younger sister (Carol) isn´t baptized yet. For six years, missionaries have been visitng them off and on and Carol neverreally was interested, BUT we found her and invited her to the game night wew ere planning with the youth! THIS called her attention and she got really excited to go, and even brought her friend with her isn´t  a member either. The activity was a complete success! It was SO much fun and Carol and her friend loved it and the activity helped them get really interested in hearing us. When we met with them a few days later, they were very interested in the lesson and committed to go church. Boy werewe surprised whrn, Sunday morning, we arrived, and they were already seated there! It was pretty awesome. Like I always say, there are a lot of miracels happening here.
We had a lot of people attend church yesterday, so that always helps one feel good! When I first arrivedin the area, I felt like we had nobody to teach and visit, but we worked hard andit´s always nice to see the fruits of your labors.
Well, I don`´t have too much to say, justthat I love being a missionary and working hard. I can´t believe that this is really my last month in the mission field — I still feel like it was just yesterday that I arrived here! But I know i´m not the same person that i was a year and a half ago. I still have a month left but I already know that the mission has blessed me in so many ways. My perspective onlife has changed, my goals and desires are little different, too, and I´ve met so many people that have become my family. I´m so grateful everyday that I´m here and I hope to work harder than ever before this last month.
I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius
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A lot of awesome things happened this week

February 26, 2018

Hello everyone!

we had a totally awesome week. We´re definitely seeing a lot of miracles here in our area, and it´s just been such a blast!
On wendesday there was a strike so we had instructions to just go hide in the house all day long. According my knowledge, nothing really dangerous ended up happening, but it´s better to be safe than sorry!
There´s a new sister missinary n the ward…and she´s from Brazil!! Hermana Avelino from Sao Paulo. She´s such a doll! Everybody isin love with her because it´s been such a long time since there´s been a brazilian sister missionary here in Bolivia.
Friday morning we had an INVASION which basically means that our district came to our area to help us contact for like 2 hours straight and it was super successful, we got some new investigators and like 30 references.
We have one investigator that is preogressing a lot — Vanessa! I mentioned her in my last email. We stressed very much the importance of her going to church so that she could be baptized, and yesterday she went — and brought her entire family with her! I guess it helps a lot that her older brother is also a recent convert. The whole ward was so pumped to see this new family enter and fill iup a whole row. Vanessa is sooooo cute, and saturday night she also was able to attend a baptism service to see how we get baptized in the church, and she´s just so pumped to become a member! Her mom has officially approved that we baptize Vanessa — as long as Vanessa behaves herself these next few weeks!
We visited Claudia as well this week and challenged her to a baptism date. We asked her what she would ask God if she had the chance to talk to him face to face, and she told us that she would ask him two things: Why are we here, and if she´s in the right path in life? We could really see her desires to know the truth and and do the right thing. She´s been doing a great job with reading and praying and attending church, now she just needs to get her answer that everything we´ve taught her is true!
I´m very grateful to be a missionary. As I´ve been studying the scriptures everyday, I´ve been able to feel the great need and urgency to bring the gospel to all of God´s children, and I´m just so grateful to be apart of that!
I love you!
Hermana Ius
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Post-Carnaval Awesomeness

February 19, 2018

 

Hi friends and family!!

This week was so awesome! We started off with Carnaval so we weren´t actually able to leave the house, but we sure took advantage of those three days locked in to snooze, study, and eat.
On Thursday, Presidente and Hermana Rodríguez attended our district meeting, so that was cool, and then afterwards our zone leaders gave us cake — yay!
We found some awesome new people to teach this week, one of whom is the little sister of this recent convert. She is 11 years old and so cute, when we went to visit her, and she very excitedly declared to us “I WANT TO GET BAPTIZED!” ha ha! She´s very cute and very willing, and the awesome news is that her older brother can also baptize her! We jsut hope that her mom gives her permission to keep attending church.
Then on Sunday, we had a stake conference and we were really worried that none of our investigators would be able to make it because the church building was a little far away, so we were utterly shocked and overjoyed when our investigator Claudi arrived! She sat next to us for the whole conference and took notes on everything as well, and afterwards we were able to present her to Presidente and Hermana Rodríguez! That was so awesome and Hna. Rodríguez was like, “theses hermanas are just the best” and we felt so happy and special inside. 🙂
We have now officially started a new transfer, and Hermana Hartline and I will be staying together! I cannot BELIEVE that it is my last transfer — I was just getting good at being a misisonary! But I´m so grateful to be a missionary and I love my area, I love my companion, I love everything here and I plan to 100% work hard and leave this place a whole lot better than how I found it. I love being a missionary, there is nothing greater than being a missionary.
I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius
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Carnaval Craziness

February 10, 2018

 

Good morning dear friends and family!!

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, there is the national holiday known as CARNAVAL, and because of Carnaval, we will all be locked up tight in our homes for our protection. I love being a missionary and working hard every day, but i  can´t lie — I´m looking forward to taking a nap these next few days!
We{re planning a special activity this next month with the young men and women all about missionary work, so on Monday night we were able to make there cute invitations for them with the title “A better way to use your phalanges”, and then we took pictures of our thumbs and put them on the invitation. HA! That part was NOT my idea, but rather the idea of Daniela, the president of the young women. That was pretty hilarious.
We also had exchanges this week! So I was with the sister training leader and we had a total blast. While she was here, somebody in the ward received thier mission call! So we were able to go see Sthefany open up her calling and that was so sweet. I still remember so clearly the memory of opening my call to see where i would serve for the next year and half. It{s a special moment and I{m so glad that I got to see Sthefany have that moment, too.
We had a special activity this week where we gave away food and pamphlets outside of the local ghigh school — we contacted so many people! And a bunch of members came by to help us out. That was such a sweet experience!
I don´t have much time to write but I want you all to know that I love being a missionary and we have so many miracles eevryday here. We have some great investigators that are progressing towards baptism, and I have a strong testimony of this church. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and that His gospel has been restored to us in these latter days. I love you all so much!
Love,
Hermana Ius
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16 Month Mark

February 5, 2018

 

Hi friends and family!

I hope you are all having a good day today. Last week we had a TON of rain, so that helped to cool the weather down a little bit for a few days, but now all the rain is gone and the heat has spiked once again! Oh well, I guess that´s just about all the aone can expect in the land of eternal sunshine.
This week while proselyting, we met this sweet girl named Adabely. she is 11 years old and vary smart and has a big personality. As we were finishing our first lesson with her, I told her that if at any moment she has a question or a doubt, she can ask us it and we´ll do our best to answer. Well THAT was a BAD idea, because you know what was the next thing she asked us? “How are babies made?” Oh boy, we sure had an interesting time avoiding answering that question. Well, that sure taught me to be careful with the type of questions i ask 11 year olds.
The other day, we checked our savings and realized that we had anough money to go buy a pizza for our dinner! That we pretty awesome.
So YESTERDAY I hit my 16 month mark…so yeah, I guess you could say that I´m officially freaking out. Where did all the time go?? It´s so weird knowing that I´m one of the “oldest” missionaries here but I still feel like such a baby sometimes! I know that I´m still far from being perfect but I am so grateful to be here andI know the mission has helped me to becomea better person. I´m trying not to think to much about how many weeks I have left here in Bolivia because there are still so many things that I want to do here andI´m still hoping to see some big miracles!
I love you all so much and I know my emails aren´t always very long but hey, you can all be satisfied with the knowledge that in just a few short weeks I´ll be home to be able to talk to you all in person! Hahaha!
Love you all so much!
Hermana Ius
PS Nect week is CARNAVAL so you know what that means…I will be locked up in the house for three whole days! So I will be getting on Saturday to talk to you all. 🙂
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Another awesome week down

January 29, 2018

Hello and good day to my sweet friends and family!

This last week was so awesome! Everyday we were able to see so many miracles and I know without a doubt that when we out in all our effort to be obedient and work hard, Heavenly Father multiplies the fruits of our labors.
Hna. Hartline and I worked our tails off this week. We had a special activity in the ara of the other hermanas where we gave away jello snacks and folletos! It was a great success and so much fun.
We had so many miracles in finding new people to teach this week! I´ve learned that the key to finding really is just in being SO SO DILIGENT! There area people who want to hear us but finding them at times might be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but if we dedicate our time we WILL find them!
I think the highlight of the week by far is that HERMANA SILVIA FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED!! It was such a wonderful experience and she bore such a beautful testmony at the end of the service thanking her children for helping her to make the choice to get baptized. For those of you who care, Silvia´s son, Daniel, is the convert of my trainer, Hna. Knighton, when she was serving here! And it just so happens that it was Daniel who baptized his mom. So very sweet, right?
In our district meeting, the zone leaders bought a cake just to welcome Hna. Hartline to the zone. It was so funny because it´s not her birthday or anything and there was absolutely no reason to buy a cake, but they wrote “welcome hna hartline” on it and invited het to go up front and blow out the candles! I got a picture nof her just standing awkwardly up front there hahaha.
Some people in our ward asked us to visit them so that they could practice speaking english with us and so we went and thought it would be all easy and stuff but DANG I have honestly forgotten english. Hna. Hartline as well! The family could speak to us but we both just automatically replied in spanish to them! It was so hard just changing the mindset back to english. It´s definitely gonna be interesting when I get back home…
Sorry that this letter is so short but I am so happy to be here in the mission field and I love the mission more and more everyday! I love you all so nmuch!
Love,
Hermana Ius
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