Week of Miracles!

Hello family and friends!

This week has been so full of miracles, so many wonderful things have happened and I’m just so happy. We’ve really been working hard here in La Pampa to help our investigators accept the gospel, come to church, and sometimes there are days or weeks when you feel like all your efforts are futile…and other times you have a week where Heavenly Father totally delivers up on all His promises.
This week we were able to find so many wonderful families that are totally prepared to accept the gospel, and we were able to set several baptism dates. We had so many investigators attend church yesterday, it was an absolute joy to see them all there in the sacrament meeting.
The greatest miracle was yesterday, when one teenager from another ward attend our ward in order to bring two of her non-member friends there who live ion our area. They enjoyed church a lot and we set up an apoointmet with them just after church. When we went to their house, they started asking us questions all about the Book of Mormon. As it turns out, their friend had gifted them a copy because in EFY, all the youth had been given the challenge to give a BoM to one of their friends. This valient young woman accepted the challenge and was courageous enough to share her beliefs with one of her friends. In the lesson with these young women, we felt the Spirit so strongly, and my companion and I just had the overwhelming feeling that we needed to invite them to be baptized, that we could not leave the lesson with inviting them to be baptized. Well, I think we were both a little unsure how to approach the subject because it had only been a few minutes, but we asked them if they had any questions for us and the younger sister just asked “How can we become members?” I just felt so happy because I knew this was the reassurance we needed, that these two girls were ready for this covenant. We taught them about baptism and invited them get baptized the 13 of october, and they accepted so quickly, without hesitation. If everything goes well, we´ll be having a baptism just before the end of the transfer. 🙂
Well, I love you all so much and I’ve really felt your prayers this last week. I´m not gonna lie,. I’ve had a few hard weeks here in the mission where I really wondered if God was answering my prayers, but after time I can see how He really does answer our prayers — in His time. I’ve had to learn how to be patient and trust in Him unwaveringly, and I think that was what He wanted me to learn. I know that Heavenly Father never abandons us — He loves us so much. We need to trust that every experience we have — the good, the bad — is all for our good. Everything always leads back to Him, and loving and trusting His way and His will.
Love you!
Hermana Ius

First Week in Santa Cruz!

Hi friends!

My first full week here in Santa Cruz has been amazing! The culture is so different from Tarija, it would surprise you, but I absolutely love being here. There´s so much energy and it´s hot and humid, and although some people might not like that, I do feel like it energizes me and that makes me happy and excited. Or at lest during the day, because at night it´s so hot we have too sleep with our fans on full blast, and the noise makes it kind of hard to sleep! Haha oh well.
We have amazing investigators here in La Pampa. We have teenager named Jose Elias, he´s gonna get baptized at the end of the month and he´s so excited. Yesterday he went to church and he  left early so he coupld pick one of his friends to attend with him! It was so adorable because Jose Elias isn´t even a member yet and he´s already so excited to share the gospel.
The zone leaders and sister training leaders here in Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz North had a special leadership meeting with Eler Calderón, a member from the seventy. I got to attend and it was so fun to hear this guy speak, he´s crazy passionate about the gospel and was practically dancing in front os us all, so high was his enthusiasm.
My companion is amazing and I love her soooooo much! We talk and joke all day long and that´s just about the best thing anyopne can hope for in a companionship. She also respects my crazy love for dogs and ice cream.
Thanks for all your love and support!
Hermana Ius

20 Minutes Away From A Fire-Y Death

Hi friends!

So the majority of you guys probably haven´t heard anything, but Bolivia, specifically Tarija, just experienced a major forest fire this past weekend. Now I know what you´re thinking: “But Utah gets a forest fire like every other year, it´s not that big a deal”. Well, I thought that too! But here´s the thing — Utah is a state in a fancy first world country where we have the means and supplies to knock out a forest fire, while Bolivia is the poorerst country in South America that doesnt have a profesional Firemen unit in, like, the entire city.
See the difference here?
So the fire was a pretty big deal here, only twenty minutes away from where we are in the city. At night, we could see the flames with the naked eye! All of the bolivians were being asked to volunteer to help put out the fie, and Bolivia was receiving help from their neighboring countries –Argentina, Perú, etc. We got pretty scared Friday morning when we got the call that we needed to buy fresh water immediately because the fire was about to destroy the water tanks kept out in the forest, and that we also needed to prep our emergency backpacks. Saturday, the smoke was so think that we literally couldn´t see the mountains. It definitely didn´t help that the wind was blowing hard that day!
However, they were finally able to put the fire out that very night. So I´ll be living for the next little while!
The forest fire would really be the biggest news for this week. I forgot to mention last time that the 6th of August is Bolivia´s Indepenedence Day! So we made a Llama Shrine to celebrate.
Thanks everybody for your love and support.
Hna. Ius

Just being super busy down here….

Hi friends!

Well, we´ve been told that the winter should be lightening up from here on out, and by the middle of August it should be getting warmer, but who knows? We´ll just have to see how it all plays out. I´m a little scared to hope for anything when it comes to the weather because it could all very quickly turn south and I don´t want to be responsible for jynxing everything! This past week it hsan´t been too cold, but poor Hna. Jara just arrived from the city of eternal sunshine so she´s been shivering fairly constantly. I hope for her sake that we don´t get another cold spell!
We were super busy this week with contacting references and setting up visiting our investigtors. We have a bunch of people who are progressing rather nicely, and we´re hoping that we can see a baptism this transfer! We had a funny experience yesterday when we were eating lunch with some members. I made the comment “we need baptisms” and the husband in the family just pointed right at his little nephew who was with us and was like “baptize him! I´ve already talked to his parents that he needs to get baptized. He´s gonna get baptized!” and we just looked at this 12-year-old kid and asked “Do you want to get baptized?” and he just shrugged and was all like “I guess so.” Haha! He´s a really good kid and we have plans to visit him this week, so we´ll see what happens.
We got to attend the Pioneer Festival that the stake organized this past Friday. Every ward/branch had to prepare a dance, and it was definitely interesting to see the Bolivian interpretation of “pioneer/cowboy square dancing”. The outfits were pretty funny too — some totally accurate, and others the glitzed-up version of what a pioneer would have worn. All in all, it was a ton of fun!
Well. I love you all so much and I¨m grateful for all of your love and support.
Hermana Ius

Week of Miracles

Hello friends!

this week was absolutely full of miracles and tender mercies. My heart is so full with all of the love my Heavenly Father has for me and every single one of us.
To start off, this week had splits with our sister-training leaders, and for the first time in 6 months I was paired up with another gringa! Hna. Wheeler is from Arizona and it was a lot of fun hanging out with her. I learned so much.
The next day, we had our zone conference and it was so wonderful. I learned so much and felt the spirit very strongly. Haha, sometimes Presidente and Hna. Rodríguez scare us because they can be very direct and chastise us, but they really do love us and I felt that very strongly in the conference.
The next day we had interviews with Presidente, and he appears to be satisfied with our work! While waiting for my companion, the hermanas from barrio central, my first area, arrived and told me the good news: One of my investigators from Central ws getting baptized the next day! Not only that, but my investigators girlfriend, whom we taught along with him, already got baptized the week before! I was absolutely overjoyed. I remember that the way we found this couple was that I was walking down the street with Hna. Gonzales on a day when all of our appointments fell through and someone called out to us from across the street. It was a member from another ward and she told us she had references for us. She introduced us to Daniel and at first we were a little timid about visiting him because we could only ever visit him in his workplace, but we felt time and time again to go and he really understood the doctrine so well. We gotpermission from Presiednte to go attend his baptism and one of our investigators howed up with us to see the service, and presidente was there as well! It was really such a blessing to go there because when I left Barrio Centrtal, I felt unsure about whether or not I had done much good in that area, but it´s all in the Lord´s time, right?
The last miracle for the week was that 6 investigators attended church. Woohoo! We´ve never had so many attend, and we were a little overwhelmed, but it was so exciting and a great miracle.
I love you all and I hope you are all doing great.
Hermana Ius
PS I also ate Sopa Poderosa for the first time in my life (“powerful soup”). The meat it contains would be the testicles/penis of a bull. I cannot believe I actually ate it.
Note from Savannnah: Amanda said she would love to get more emails and hear from you. Her email address is amanda.ius@myldsmail.net .

New Record!

Hi everybody!

Happy late 4th of July! We didn´t do much to celebrate this day, but on the 5th of July, my pensionista made us hamburgers! And not just any type of hamburger, but the recipe that my mom sent me (thanks mom, you da best). It tasted so good! Just like home! Ain´t gonna lie, I got a little trunky there for a moment, I haven´t had such a delicious hamburger in 9 months. It was kind of funny though because this day, Silvia, our pensionista, still insisted on giving us soup first, then she gave us two giant hamburgers and homemade fries. I was so stuffed that I couldn´t eat anything for the rest of the day — and that´s saying something, because usually I get hungry after an hour or so.
I also taught Silvia how to cook potato soup! It turned out super well, but she kept wanting to add chicken or beef to my soup to add flavor. Haha, it was pretty funny, but it turned out well in the end. Here, a soup isn´t a soup if it doesn´t include somesort of animal element in it.
This week, we hit a new record for finding new investigators — 18! I used to think finding 7 was asking too much, and now we never find less than 10. We´re definitely working our tails off here in Bolivia.
Our District leader told us that currently, our district is responsable for finding half of all the new investigators in the entire zone, so we´re feeling pretty good about all of our efforts.
This week, we started attending a different church building! It seems that the church has grpwn so much here in Bolivia that it´s time we build another chapel, but land is hard to find, so right now we´re attending house-church, which is basically this three level house that the church is renting right now for our use. They renovated the entire building, so it´s real pretty. It is a little different attening sacrament meeting in a garage though, but it´s a pretty garage, so it´s okay.
Well, I love you all so much and I´m so grateful for your support everyday. Have a great week!
Hermana Ius



Hi everyone!

I hope you´re all enjoying your holiday weekend. We didn´t do anything for Canada Day (though I made a cute little canadian flag and hund it in my room). We probably   won´t do anything special for 4th of July either, but I did  just get a hamburger recipe from my mom (thank you!), s o we´ll see if I can cook something up this week .
This upcoming week, I complete 9 months in the mission! I am absolutely in chock that half of my mission could pass by so quickly. I sure hope these next 9 months are  a little slower. However, the nice news is that now my sister, if she so choses, can get pregnant and it will be okay because I will b e home in time to welcome my new little niec e/nephew into the world. (But don´t get pregnant yet, okay?)
I recently got my hands on a couple of LDS movies, and in our downtime in the night, I´ve been introducing Hna. Acevedo to the likes of “The Best Two Years” and “The Errand of Angels”. It´s been very fun.
As the weeks pass by quicker and qui ck er, it gets harder and harder to remember everything that happens everyday! So I´m sorry if this email is a little short. I need to  get  better at remembering everything, but I guess you could say that I´ve just really lost myself in the work. 😉
I love you all! See you next week.
Hermana Ius

Feliz Cumpleaños, Hermana Acevedo! And Happy Father´s Day, Dad!

Happy belated Father´s Day, Dad! I hope you had an awesome day and ate a lot of cake.
Guess what? TODAY IS HERMANA ACEVEDO´S B IRTHDAY! So what does that mean? WE´RE GONNA EAT A LOT OF YUMMY CAKE!!! I´m so excited. I love Bolivian cake. It´s the best.
We had a bunch of interesting experiences this past week. We did a lot of contacting and in total, found 13 new investigators.  two times this week, we knocked on the door of someone and a middle-aged man answered…in a towel! This happened two different times and with two different people  and we just happened to knock on their doors as they were leaving the shower. It was kind of awkward both times.
I had the opportunity to act as a translator for one of our investigators this week. This family is starting their own business where they make roofing for houses, but they needed help ordering their machines from china. The only person they could speak with china only spoke   english and chinese, and I happen to speak english, so they act me to help them order their stuff. It was pretty interesting to say the least, because I don´t really know business words in spanish or english, and  this chinese marketer doesn´t really know english 100%, so i had to translate his chinglish to english, then  my english to spanish, then vice versa. In then end though, it all  ended up working out, so that´s good!
I hope you all enjoy your summer weather because  winter in Bolivia starts TODAY and it is COLD. Count your blessings and read your scriptures.
Hermana Ius

Almost died again and caught it all on camera!

Hi everybody!

How are you all doing? Enjoying the great summer weather? I hope so! Because we are one week away from full-on WINTER here. Right now we´re experiencing Utah-weather where it´s suuuuuuper hot in the afternoon and then life-threateningly cold as soon as the sunsets. I guess Utah weather isn´t very unique to just Utah…
So the other day we had this CRAZY wind storm. It started off as a light breeze in the afternoon, but by evening it was just blowing like nothing else. And the weird thing is that the wind was super warm, too, which is incredibly unusual because it is WINTER. So there we were, being attacked by this weird warm wind and all the dirt it carried with it when I decided to take out my camera and snap a video of this weird weather (because why not?). Then, just a few minutes after I´ve started filming, I catch on video the moment we almost died (more or less). You see, the wind was SUPER STRONG, and we were walking right under this tin-balcony thing when the wind roared and TORE OFF THE TIN ROOF and then this tin roof LANDED RIGHT IN FRONT US!
I might have screamed a little bit.
Anyway we´re actually totally okay but if we had been standing just a few feet closer….pucha. So we have some little things to be grateful for this week!
We committed two perople to a baptism date this week and I´m super hopeful for them. They´re both single women and when we invited them to be baptized, the spirit was so strong and they both expressed to us their desire to change. I´m especially hopeful for Anarosa. She was so sincere with us about how she´s already been hinting towards her family that she would like to attend our church and be baptized. She was very hesitant towards accepting a baptism date, but the spirit was so strong as we taught that I felt prompted to share a scripture with her, and that scripture, along with our testimonies, helped resolve her fears and she accepted a baptism date. Now we need to get her to attend church with us! haha
Well, I love you all and I hope you´re doing great. I´m grateful for all your support from far away.
Hermana Ius

When fishing, drink water

Hi everyone!

I hope you´re all doing great. We had a b usy week last week. Presidente Rodríguez is really putting a lot of emphasis in the need to find new investigators every week, or as he likes to  call it, “fishing”, so we did a whole lot of that the past few days. We had a lot of success and found 12 new people to teach, so we´ll see if anything comes about out of that. The weather here is still super weird. It´s incredibly hot in the afternoon…but freezing when the sun goes down. And the sun is super strong…I didn´t understand what people meant when they said the sun was gross, but now I do, because what happens when you´re out fishing all day, everyday for a week? The sun fries your brain, that´s what. You get sunstroke, that´s what. BEFORE YOU FREAK OUT MOM, it´s really m ild sunstroke and we called the mission nurse and she´s helping us get better. We just got a lot of headaches and nausea and  stomach problems and Hna. Acevedo threw up haha. BUT WE´RE GONNA LIVE!  And we´re drinking a lot more water. It´s super weird, thinking tha t it´s possible to get sunstroke  when winter is starting, but hey! Welcome to Bolivia.
We had our first official English class this week, and we had so much success! The ward was super supportive and a bunch of members came, as well as investigators and some strnagers off the streets! We had a lot of fun teaching, and I think they we´re able to learn a little bit of English, too.
Well, I love you all so much and I hope you enjoy your new warm weather. Stay cool — literally– and don´t get sunstroke.
Hermana Ius