Just another week in the mission field

Hellllooooo everybody!

Haha I´m afraid I had another one of those weeks where it just went by so quickly that I don´t even remember half of it, sorry! And I was so busy that I barely took any pictures. What I do remember is that we did exchanges two times this week. On Tuesday I was with Hermana Miller and it was my first time leading my area here in La Pampa! AND I DIDN´T GET LOST ONCE!! Hehe I´m so proud of me. Then  in the night time we cooked pancakes 🙂
We also did exchanges with the Hermanas in Cotoca — Cotoca is this tiny little town just outside of Santa Cruz. They have one branch there! And when I went over there with Hermana Rojas, we took a taxi to go visit an even smaller town right outside of Cotoca, a “pueblito” called Campanero. It was pretty cool, now I can say I´ve been to: Tarija, San Lorenzo, Santa Cruz, Cotoca, and Campenero. 🙂
Hermana Rojas is Chilena and super awesome, in the nighttime we bought hamburgers. 🙂
We have a really awesome family that is progressing, Diana and Fabio. They´re brother and sister and their dad is getting reactivated in the church. When we visited them this last week, Diana told us about how her dad only just recently told them that he wants them to go to church with him and experience the gospel blessings, and her reaction was one that surprised me. When her dad told her all of this, she replied to him, “Why are you telling us all this now? Why didn´t you tell us earlier?” I think a lot about my life and all the blessing I´ve been able to receive because I was born and raised in a faithful family and I know my blessings are just too many to count. There are some people who have the mentality that it would have been better to get to know the church as an adult or teenager, but Diana´s response showed me that she doesn´t feel the same way — it´s so much better to live the gospel right from the get-go. Diana has shared some of her life experiences with us and even though she´s only 16, even she could tell that her life would have been so much better had her dad brought her to church sooner. I really hope all of you guys can reflect upon how the knowledge of the gospel and knowledge about the plan of salvation and the restoration has changed and blessed your life — I know it has!
I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius

The Ius Curse in Reverse?

Hello dear friends and family!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day today. We had a pretty fun-filled week last week where we did all sorts of things. Last Monday we had a district activity and we went to Subways where I ate my first real american food/sandwich in the entire mission! It was beautiful. Then we visited this old Cathedral in the center of the city. It was pretty cool.
It´s been a rainy week! The other night, we had the CRAZIEST lightning storm that I have experienced in my entire life! We couldn´t sleep because the entire room would just fill with light everytime there was lightning, and not even two miliseconds later BOOM. I thought I would go deaf it was so loud! The next day all the streets were mud holes haha.
We did our first exchanges of the transfer this week and I went to Abundancia with Hna. Tamaríz! That was pretty fun. She says I´ve started talking a lot slower now because of my companion, Hna. Herrera. who speaks slow and softly. Ha!
The awesome highlight for this week is the ANDRÉS GOT BAPTIZED!! Woohoo! He´s Diego´s best friend, who got baptized on my birthday. Well, we definitely saw a lot of miracles with him and Diego. But Satan is always working against us when there´s we´re about ot baptize an awesome person! Remember how we flooded the chapel when Diego got baptized? Well this time we didn´t flood the church but rather we had a FAMINE OF WATER. There wasn´t any water left in the tank to fill up the font, and the only member of the ward who could help us with the problem couldn´t come over until one hour before the baptism, and the font needs like 3 hours to fill, so the entire afternoon we had to fill the font BY HAND USING ONE BUCKET AND LIKE 10 TRASHCANS. Thankfully we have an awesome district leader and awesome zone leaders who abandoned their plans for the day in order to come help us. I ended up finding myself in the bathroom with a small bowl to fill up one big bucket. It was awfully tedious, but worth it. We filled it up halfway, then at 7 the hurch member came by and finished filling it up just in time for the baptism. Presidente and Hermana Rodríguez attended the baptism! We were so nervous but everything went well, and they told us they really enjoyed it.
Well, I love you all so much! Take care.
Hermana Ius

The First Supper

Helllllo esteemed friends and family!

I hope you are all having a lovely fall time in Utah right now (or enjoying what ever weather you´re getting because not all of you are in Utah haha). It´s technically spring here in Santa Cruz and I totally forgot that Springtime actually means Alllergy time. Seriously, I was walking with my companion, wondering why my nose was itching and why I kept sneezing when it finally hit  me that it was spring! The thing about Santa Cruz is that it´s always hot so I´d kind of given the weather the general “always summer” title but that´s not true, there are seasons here, and spingtime in Santa Cruz will still affect an incredibly allergic Hna. Ius just as much as it does in Utah. Urrrrrrgh but I guess that it´s a good thing I brought a giant bottle of pills!
I think I´ve told you all before that lunch here is considered the big fancy meal of the day, so people always invite us to lunch with them but never to dinner. Well, I think this last week was the first time someone actually prepared a small dinner for us! Haha, it was very sweet of our investigator to do that. Then three days later, another investigator wanted me to teach her how to cook something, so we planned a small dinner with her as well and I made adobo chicken! Again! Haha but she loved it and my comp too and it was sooooo yummy. Hna. Herrera prepared peruvian prepped rice to accompany it and I do believe that is the best combination one can eat. 🙂
It rained again this week! So we got totally soaked all over again. Our neigborhood actually blacked out for about 2 miliseconds, but other parts of the city went completely black for several minutes it appears. I guess we were lucky. 😉
I had to go to the immigrations office again! Although I have my offical Bolivian ID I guess I´m still considered a foreigner whaaaaaaat but yeah, bascially we woke up at 5 to go the immigrations office and we thought the WE had woken up early but there were people over there that had been waiting in line sinc 4 in the morning! I guess Bolivia is enforcing a new law in November that all foreigners have to get their papers in order or they will be considered illegal and will be charged 27 bolivianos daily…that´s not ideal. So yeah, we had to wait in line for like 5 hours but then i got all my papers done so I hope that´s the last time I go there for a while now!
Yesterday we visited our convert José Elias and he told us he wants to serve a mission! Ahhhhh I´m so proud of him, he´s definitely a very special person to me and I know that he´s going to bless a lot of people.
I love you all so much, thanks for being the greatest friends and family a girl could ask for!
Hermana Ius

When it Rains in Bolivia….

Hello dearest family and friends!

We had another wonderful week here in Santa Cruz. I´m not sure if I ever told you, but the full name of the city here is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which translates to be Holy Cross of the desert. It´s kind of funny because Santa Cruz really is just in the middle of nowhere! When we travel by plane, we cross through a ton of wasteland and then POOF the city just arrives out of nowhere. Pretty cool, right?
Well, this week we had a TON of rain! It rained cats and dogs and lizards and giraffes and all kinds of weird animals down here! It rained so hard that we got flooeded again in the house — and we live on the second floor! There´s the Ius curse for ya. Luckily it didn´t flood the entire house, but we spent a fair amount of time cleaning everything up. When we finally left the house, the streets had turned into rivers. We left in our boots, raincoats, and umbrellas, but we were still completely soaked by the time we arrived to our appointment. Thankfully our investigator was a total sweetheart and lent us flipflops so we could change our boots and dry off a little bit, then she gave us yummy food. 🙂
JOSÉ ELIAS GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!! It was so awesome. He´s the teenager that we made the poster for, counting down the days until his baptism. Looks like it was a good idea because his mom didn´t forget and she came and supported him at his baptism. It was so special, and he was so excited. When the time came for him to share his testimony, he started crying because he was just so happy — and that´s coming from a tall 15 year old kid. We felt so proud of him and just wanted to give him a giant hug (but we didn´t cause that ain´t appropriate for sister missionaries haha). He arrived at church 30 minutes early so he could be confirmed. He´s definitely a special kid, and I know that he´s gonna stay strong in the church and be a great example to all his family so that they too can get baptized someday.
Well everybody, I love you so much and I´m always grateful for the prayers offered on me behalf. I pray for all of you guys too! I want to encourage you all to deepen your knowledge of Jesus Christ. These last few days I´ve been dedicating my time to reading the scriptures and also reading Jesus the Christ, and my knowledge and appreciation of my Savior has increased so much. I know He loves me and I know He loves you. I love being a misisonary! I love having His name on my nametag and being able to declare His gospel to all the crazy Bolivians. 🙂
Love you all!
Hermana Ius

Transfers….or Not

Hello dearest family and friends!

What a lovely last week we had. It was the end of the transfer so we didn´t have to do anymore exchanges, woohoo! I like being the sister training leader and everything, but I also like spending time in my own area with my own companion any my own investigators. I´ve loved every single one of my areas, but there´s definitely something special about La Pampa! We have such wonderful miracles everyday and I´m so grateful to be here.
We had our multi-zone conference this last week and it was super good! We learned all about the Sabbath Day. Haha Bolivians are REALLY GOOD at coming up with excuses as for why they don´t keep their committments to go to church, so we tackled all the excuses that we´ve ever heard, from having to wash their laundry to buying food to having rooster fights in their house sunday mornings! Haha it was a pretty great conference though, we really do need a lot of help with getting our Bolivians to church on time!
So this week we´re hoping to finally get José Elias baptized. He´s been waiting for a month now! He´s so excited to get baptized and just hasn´t been able to because his mom keeps forgetting about his baptismal date, so this week we made this cute little reminder to paste on his wall to remind everyone that he is getting baptized THIS SATURDAY and THIS TIME and they have to arrive THIRTY MINUTES EARLY  haha! José Elias was pretty thrilled when he saw it, We hope it all works out!
We had another awesome miracle this week. Last Sunday, somebody told us they had a golden referral for us! We set up an appointment and met this referral, a 20 year old girl and she really is quite wonderful! We felt the spirit so strongly and were impressed to invite her to be baptized, and she accepted! I´m pretty sure she´s gonna make it there too because she has an awesome friend in the church who´s willing to help her with everything….I hope they get married HAHAA!
Well I love you all soooo much! I hope you´re enjoying the fall weather. Right now, spring has just begun! I´m grateful for all your prayers in my behalf. Take care! Read your scriptures!
Hermana Ius

One Year in the Mission!

Hi family and friends!

This last week I completed one year in the mission. How crazy is that? I can´t believe that time has passed by so quickly, but I´m so grateful that I´m here. Serving a mission has been the greatest choice of my entire life, and I´m heartbroken to know that I only have 6 more months out here in Bolivia. I thought when I signed up to serve a mission, it would be my way to show Heavenly Father how much I love Him and that dedicating 1 1/2 years of service would be my way to repay him for all the blessings he has given me, but one learns so quickly that youcan never give the Lord more than He can give you.  He has helped me so much this last year that I continue to be in debt to his unending love and grace. I had so many doubts that I would actually be ale to learn spanish, but after year out here, it´s sometimes difficult to revert back to my first language! And Heavenly Father has helped increase my knowledge and appreciation of the gospel and my Savior. I have come to know My Savior so much greater here in the mission.
Outside of turning one year old in the mission, I also got a bad stomach bacteria this week — what a way to celebrate, right? I think it´s because I ate lettuce that wasn´t properly washed. The mission rule is that we can´t eat lettuce unless it´s been disinfected, and our pensionistas know this so normally it´s trusted that when they give us lettuce, it´s been cleaned, but this week we had our last intercambio and I went to a different pension and she gave us lettuce and the next day the stomach pains started and yeah…let´s just say the bathroom reveals all secrets.  💩 After a week of being sick and then a minor fever, we called the nurse, who told us to call the doc, who gave me a GIANT prescrption. I´m now taking some heavy pills for the rest of the week in order to “purify me” haha!
WE ALSO HAD A BAPTISM! We baptized this little kid called Fakundo, he just turned 8 a few months ago. His whole family has been investigators for a year now, but his parents aren´t married so that can´t get baptized but they always go to church. His older sisters were baptized a few months ago, and his mom is really supportive and wants to be a member, so we´re just waiting for her to get married so that we can baptize her as well. Meanwhile, we´re just gonna baptize all their little children as converts! Haha. But sadly <fakundo didn´t go to church the nexzt day to get confirmed so he´s not technically a member yet! Right now it only counts as a half baptism haha but yeah, it was a great week.
I made it my foal this last week to improve my scripture study everyday by keeping a scripture study journal, and buy was that an inspired idea. Just after one week, my understanding of the scriptures and of Gos and the gospel and how it applies to ME has oncreased so much. If any of you guys are struggling with your faith, if you have questions, doubts, or your relationship with God isweakening, I encourage you all to READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! I know it´s true and it was written for YOU. Take up the challenge to read it everyday, pour over it´s words and stories, and see if it doesn´t make a difference in your life. I know it will.
I love you all so much and I´m eternally thankful for all your love and support everyday. Take care!
Hermana Ius

Happy Post General Conference Weekend!

Hello friends and family!

What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to hear our church leaders every 6 months. Being here in the missin has really helped me to gain a testimony of how important it is to have a living prophet and living apostles who can guide us in these latter days. This past conference, I decided to take up the challenge of writing down some questions to learn about God´s will concerning me and see if the apostles would really answer these things in their talks. Well, after those two days of conference, there is no doubt in my mind that these men and women are inspired and called of God. I received an answer to every single one of my questions, and I feel stronger and surer that God is real, that He answers our questions, and that He loves us!
I hope that for the next conference you all take up this challenge and write down a few questions for the Lord. I know that before, I usually just took notes because I didn´t feel like I needed specific help with anything, but what a loss it is to think that! Though it might be a “general” conference, it is for all of our “specific” needs.
By the way I blew some of my birthday funds on this super gorgeous scripture case! There is this brother in the ward that makes these awesome cases for scriptures, hymn books, etc, and I designed this case that I wanted and he made it for me! It´s soooo beautiful! Definitely one of the best buys I´ve made here in Bolivia. And it was only about $25!
Well, I love you all so much and I´m eternally grateful for your prayers and support. Always remember how much Heavenly Father loves you!
Hermana Ius

WE FLOODED THE CHURCH – proof of the Ius Curse!

Hi friends!

This last week has been so amazing! We were able to see so many miracles and have sucha a great time, I don´t even know where to begin with my stories so I gues I´ll just start from the beginning. On Monday, we went to visit one of our investigators, Diego, who issuper awesome and has such great desires to floow Christ. We set up a baptism date for him the week before but he wasn´t very sure about it because he still hadn´t eally read the BOok of Mormon or prayed, but in our lesson he told us that he wantedto see if the Book of Mormon also contained the 10 commandments, so we lefft him Mosiah 13 to read and he told us “alright hermanas, I´m going to read this tonight and pray about it and tomorrow I´ll tell you if I´m ging ot get baptized.” Well, that sure got us a little nervous! BUT if I know anything, it´s that the Lord asks us to read and to pray to find out the truth, and He promises to answer anyone who does this with faith and true intention, so you can always put your money on the Lord because He´s always gonna keep his promises.
So the very next day, we passed by Diego´s house and he was with one of his friends nd Diego was just so excited, it was written all over his face. We didn´t even have a chance to ask him any questions, he just started telling us how he read the book and the commandments were exactly the same and he prayed and felt so strongly that he needed to get baptized that he wanted to change his baptism date that very Saturday night! We were so excited, though teaching him the rest of the lessons in one week was certainly stressful. However, he passed his baptismal interview and Saturday night arrived a whole hour early for his baptism.
Saturday also happened to be my 20th birthday! So it was a pretty awesome way to celebrate by having a baptism. The day i was born physically will also be the day when Diego was born spiritually haha! We´d talked to the Elders that day asking them to help usfill up the baptismal font, and they told us that we needed to start filling it as soon as possible because it takes hours to get filled. Trusting their advice, we started filling the font in the late morning, then left and went to eat lunch and visit some members for my bithday. BAD IDEA! On the way back to the church, we get a call telling us that the font is overflowing with water! We ran back as soon as we could and indeed, we found a lake sitting in the middle of the church. I guess that the water that day was flowing super fast! It must have been overflowing for some time because the water had filled the entire hallway, the kitchen, two classrooms, and two offices….and there were only two sister missionaries to clean it all up. I have to admit, it´s a pretty funny experience, because all of you guiys know that the Ius family is cursed with flooding! It seemed like such a classic incident to happen to me, i couildn´t even be frustrated beause it was just so funny. We spent the rest of the day cleaning and by the time of the baptism, everything was all dry and clean.
Sadly, with the extremely crazy events of the day, we totally forgot to take pictures with Diego! So you´ll all just have to take my word for it that it happened!
In the mission, we have something alled “metas de excelencia”  that are the ideal key indicators to show us what we should be striving to achieve every week. Ideally, we´d have one baptism and confirmation, 6 investigators in church, 6 investigators with a baptism date, and 15 new investigators for the week…and this last week was the first time that I managed to achieve all the goals! Hna. Herrera had already gotten them before, but this was my first time and i was so happy. It fills so good to know that you can do so many things, but we didn´t achieve those numbers by ourselves, Heavenly Father absolutely helped and blessed us to meet our goals.
My heart is so full this week! I love you all so much!
Hermana Ius

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