Monday, August 11, 2014

Keep On Biting the Moon

Dearest Family,

Thank you for the updates, as always. I love to hear your adventures from Bike rides to weekend movies to what you learned in Sacrament meeting. My heart and prayers are with you. And Soon, I WILL BE WITH YOU TOO! Gah! Isn't that exciting?

Two tuesdays ago we head over to Naty & Dario´s home. There is always A TON Of people there, the family situation is a complicated one. But all the neighborhood kids feel very welcomed over there, very loved, so on top of the family there are a whole bunch of Friends that are always there. Naty and Dario had traveled to Cordoba, the 20 year old daughter Belén was in charge but Had company over and was less interested in letting us stay to teach. The kids--the numerous group of 12+ kids or so--were outside jump roping. I had a flashback in my mind of the scene from the Joseph smith movie, when he has the running race with all the little pioneer boys. I felt impressed to take a moment to play with them, so sister Briggs & I placed our bags onteh side of the yard and I shouted "¡Me toca a mi!" I jumped in to the twirling rope as the kids chanted "uno, dos, tres, cuatro . . . " I got to 16 jumps or so and then hermana Briggs and the other kids took their turns. I paused a moment to think about How we could turn this moment into a teaching experience, and then made a deal--if I jumped more than 25 jumps then we would all pause and read from the Book of Mormon. They all heartily agreed and twirled the rope faster and faster to try to get me out. I prayed to just make it to 26 because at this point my wool tights were slipping down and I felt like Bert in the Mary Poppins Penguin Scene. I got to 26 and we dropped the rope. Tito, age 8, Joana, 12, and Pamela, 15 went running inside to look for the Book of Mormon copies while Ale, Milagros, Dillan, Facundo, Micaela, and other neighbor kids gathered with Hna Briggs and I on the outside carpet. We prayed and read for a while in Alma 40 about the Resurrection. Some were a little riled u from the Jump Roping but Facundo, age 9, and Micaela, age 12, were eating it up and beaming when we spoke of Christ.

This Work is SO worth it to me. Many of the Kids--I'd go to say ALL of them--come from dysfunctional families and broken homes. Many of them have said that they want to learn more and come to church with us. Hermana Briggs and I are hoping to teach them soon, in their families with their parents. There is no balm so powerful as the atoning power of Christ! I have seen families grow, heal, laugh together, cry, and start to make lasting memories as they have learned and applied the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The people, the FAMILIES of Galvez are no different. Great miracles await their families too. I pray that the Lord will soften the hearts of the parents of these cute jump-rope kids.

I wrote in my journal on August 6th, "It was an interesting day. Hermana Briggs and I have felt uner the weather, I have a bad chest cold and she has all the symptoms of the flu. We headed out after she'd gotten some rest aas we knocked in front of  a little blue house when she whispered to me, "I NEED A BATHROOM." WEll, just as she said this a little gray-haired woman mosied outside the front door and to the gate to speak with us. I was very cordial, "Somos las misioneras de la Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días . . . Oh, ¿Cree en Cristo también? Maravilloso . . . " I was trying to be formal and respectful but also knew that my Companion needed me to take action. Before the woman ended with a "Chau Chau" I asked "Podría dejar pasar mi compañera para poder usar su baño?" or "could my companion please use your bathroom?" I was so grateful when she smiled and said "Si, pasen." While Hna Briggs glede to the Lou I began to chat with this kind woman and her 30 year old daughter who is pregnant, Both are named Nelida. THey are humble, sweet women and began sharing wtih me their concern in raising well-mannered, good-valued children and grandchildren in today's world. I opened to Moroni 7:12-13 and explained about the way we can discern in order to protect our families. They enjoyed the message we shared, had a prayer, thanked them for the use of their Bathroom and wouldn't you know, we set a return appointment for Saturday. It was a tender mercy. :)

In The evening we headed to Sergio's to see how they were doing, a stop-by visit, nothing more because we didn't have any sisters that could come with us. Hermana Briggs gave Sergio and Gabriel pass along cards with Jesus on them to share with their friends and family. Sergio began to explain that the day before he had been in the Doctor's office for a bad headache and began talking with a woman in the waiting room. She began to explain to Sergio that she didn't attend any church any more. Sergio began to bear His testimony about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. She expressed that two elders had visited her years before. Sergio asked if she had felt happiness and peace when she had listened to their message. She expressed that she Had, and Sergio smiled and told her that She can feel that way again, and if we (the Sister Missionaries) could come by and visit her. She said yes! Sergio has to double check on the address but he was so excited to tell us about it. Hna Gallegas, a mini missionary that served here before us with Hna Dean, sent him a text a few days back and asked how church attendance was. He responded "Maso." (Mas o menos, or so-so). She then told HIm that within weeks the attendance should be 70+ people, and that He has a responsibility to make that Happen. HE took that invitation personally. Hes such an example to me, he isn't even a baptized member of the church yet and he's out sharing the Gospel. Then he goes on asking where he can buy a hymnbook and if we could please start teaching him about tithing, because he and his family want to start paying their tithes. Hna Briggs and I could Hardly keep up with Sergio's earnest questions and the three little ones who asked us for another time around singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." Or "I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints." They are eating up EVERYTHING we are teaching in Primary and bring us so much joy to see them already living the Gospel with such Fervor.

We are overwhelmed by the tender mercies Heavenly Father is just  POURING over our heads here in Galvez. Sergio & Gabriel & Aylén & ESteban are among the Tenderest of Mercies in my mission. Hna Briggs & I feel between them and Pichy's family, we have our own Gálvez family.

So blessed."

Friday was my last Zone meeting. Our zone leaders are absolutely sweethearts, they know that Gálvez is far away from EVERYTHING, like a land island, and so they bought us Peanut Butter in santa fe and gave us a whole container. HEAVEN. They shared incredible workshops on effective planning and how to develop Christlike attributes. At end of the meeting were the good-bye testimonies of the finishing missionaries, and it was a strange walk up to the front. I bore my testimony through smiles and with teary eyes the reality of this marvelous work. I shared that the only way we can truly love others is by asking, we have to ask God to fill us with the pure love of his son because there is no way we can create it without him. I explained that although I have to take off my missionary plaque in a few weeks, I am forever grateful for the missionary plaque that Christ has painted in my heart for me. I explained that the greatest sacrifice was leaving my family behind, but in doing so God opened my eyes ever wider to see and to love my spiritual brothers and sisters and serve them as the great big family that we are. We closed by Singing the Spirit of God, one of my favorite hymns. Hand shakes and kindly "Goodbyes" and "See-you-laters" were exchanged.

Sunday I awoke with so many attacks from Satan in my mind. Feelings of inadequacy, thinking awful things like "you're not good enough" "you've failed on your mission" "why didn't you learn that sooner?" "what kind of failure are you going home as?" and on again. It was awful. I prayed for relief and searched in my personal study for understanding and pleading to feel my Heavenly Father's love and acceptance and to cast out these unwelcome feelings of self doubt and fear. I know that faith can't abide when I feel that way! My sweet companion, Hermana Briggs, offered me words of love and support in comp study and I found some scriptures that helped me feel better. When we headed to the little chapel in the afternoon and I began teaching primary, a rush of the Savior's love washed over me as the children began singing "Amad a Otros," "Love One Another." I felt immediately relief, confidence, understanding that God loves me! And that he is proud of and pleased with everything that I have sacrificed and offered on my mission, and that I will NOT return in vain. The 4 kids in our little primary gave me smiles and laughter and wanted nothing more than to sing the primary songs--they're quite fond of Music and Sharing time, which is just fine by me, We're kindred spirits those children and I. The spirit surged in that tiny warehouse chapel primary classroom. I thank my Father in Heaven on High for the way I felt the Love of Christ in that sacred Moment in Primary yesterday.

My dear family and treasured friends, DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF. God loves you. You are his child, he knows you perfectly, and YOU ARE ENOUGH. Trust in his commandments, follow them, and you will be happy. Of this I testify!

To close, I want to share something I've been pondering in Preach my Gospel under the section "The Power and Authority of Your Calling." It states on Page 4 "Missionaries are to go in the power of the ordination wherewith they have been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel. You have the authority to preach the gospel. If you hold the priesthood, you have the authority to administer the ordinances thereof. As you prayerfully and worthily exercise that authority, you will receive spiritual power, which is evidence of the reality of your call. Do not be afraid or shy about fulfilling this commission, just as the Sons of Mosiah, you are to teach with the power and authority of God." I would like to direct this message in particular to my brothers Austin, Tyler, Jordan, Corey and my cousins Matthew, Spencer, Josh, Tanner, Devin, and Brendan--THIS PARAGRAPH APPLIES TO YOU TOO. Each of you have the Aaronic Preisthood and have been ordained to the office of a Teacher or above in the Aaronic priesthood. Did you know that it is your duty to share the Gospel, too? It says concerning the responsibilities of a Teacher in D&C 20:59 "They are, However, to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ." That is my same responsibility, there at the end, as a missionary my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. Don't forget the power in your priesthood, as I must not forget the power in my calling that was given to me by the authority of the priesthood. Boys, I love you. Carry on doing a great work and a wonder in your corners of missionary work in Utah. I love you! Don't be afraid to share the gospel.

And keep on biting the moon :) It's a Hna Briggs, Hermana Boren Phrase. It came from a night when "Bite of more than I can chew" and "shoot for the moon" got samwiched together. Keep on biting the moon!

With love, ever so much love for all of you, For the people of Argentina, and for my Savior,
Hermana Boren

Monday, August 4, 2014

Kamkwat Trees

Querida Familia,

LOVED the many pictures you sent of your staycation. You made me have quite the craving for some smores. MMMM . . . . Looks like your having some fun in the summer Sun. Give Grandma Nae my love and I hope her knee gets better soon. That countdown chain gave me a reality check and I got real excited. Just know that I love you, and I keep you all in my heart as I continue to teach others about forever families. I am grateful for our family and our efforts to live the family values of the Proclamation and Mosiah 4. Keep working hard and playing hard. I LOVE YOU¡ My prayers too are with grandpa Terry in the hospital.

They have Kamkwat trees in Argentina. Who knew, right?

I have such little time to write today, I hope its not a dissappointing letter. Lots more to come next week, I promise. Sergio and his family are going strong. They bring us such joy, they are the first to come to church and are on their knees praying every night together as a family and before every meal. They are noting the difference in the level of laughter, joy, and ability to perservere through their hardship. We feel so much purpose in Galvez helping their family learn these gospel truths and preparing to make covenants with God.

Hermana Pichy, pronounced PEACHY, has been one of our most loyal sisters to accompany us to lessons. She could be a Harper relative, she just has that sincere, but loud laughing party loving hard working good doing personality. I love her and we are grateful for her support and influence.

We are knocking doors, walking the dirt streets under starlit skies and winter sun and striving to talk with all of God's children that Cross our path. We love Gálvez and feel of God's tender mercy in sending us here.

That's all for now, Im sorry it's a whimpy letter we just have so much to accomplish today. You're in my prayers. God is good. He lives, I know he lives¡

Hermana Mik

Monday, July 28, 2014

Celebrating Ebelia's 74th with a Birthday Cake and Family Night

Dearest Family,

Looks like you all are the tan ones now and I'm the "pale and whitey" as Austin used to say. Hope the summer sun is just a blast! Enjoy the SOL! You brothers of mine are just handsome kids.

God is too good to me. But really, TOO GOOD. I feel spoiled with all of the miracles and joy that is bursting in my heart these days. I feel that every transfer it just can't get better, but it does. Every time. Hermana Briggs and I are kindred spirits, we have so much in common. We both love poetry and live to write, we both have desires to be exactly obedient, have the same mission backpack, crave chocolate at the same moments, etc. I feel that Heavenly Father is so good to me. She and I are working hard, we know we have such little time together and we want to take advantage of every moment to learn from each other. She gets me ready for the life ahead and I get her ready for the mission ahead. She amazes me, she gave a 20 minute talk yesterday and she's only been in Argentina for 2 weeks. She is teaching me so much and I learn all the time how God Qualifies whom he calls.

I have had a heart to heart with Mormon and Moroni again this week. Mormon explains at one point that he ceases to write about the wickedness of the people to refrain from saddening us too much by their wickedness. I think of him and his tender, considerate heart towards us and our testimonies and feelings despite the cruel and bloodthirsty world that surrounded him. And Moroni's bravery to continue living a virtuous life even when he's the ONLY ONE left of the Nephites. I admire them  both and recognize the same love, and parent-child guidance-obedience in my relationship with my parents. I hope to be like Moroni and follow the council and diligent example my parents offer me, like Mormon gave. How often I have felt like Moroni in receiving letters of love and guidance from my parents in the mission field! The Book of Mormon truly teaches us how to be HAPPY in this life, I know it.

Okay, GÁLVEZ. We have so much work to do, this area is such a blessing to us! The joy of our lives at the moment is the Acevedo Family. Sergio, a single father who has had to raise his 5 kids ALONE for the past 7 years (His wife abandoned them, I don't know the whole story since he doesn't like to talk about it in front of his Kids) has always had a faith in God and has long looked for the truth. About a month ago he saw Hermana Ordoñez and Hermana Dean, the Hermanas before us, and felt he should talk to them. A few weeks later he saw them in the same place and again felt he should talk to them, but resisted. The third time he saw them in the same place, he got off his Motorcycle and went over and talked to them of his own volition. They soon went to his house for a teaching appointment, and after some diligent prayer and reading in the book of Mormon and attending church, he chose his own baptismal date for the 16th of August. He is a ROCK, as are his children. The oldest two have recently left to live with their Mom for a little time, she apparently came back into the picture recently and they are trying to mend the parent-child relationships between the kids and Her. It's a mess, but luckily the Gospel is bringing them so much happiness. Gabriel, age 11, Ailen, age 9, and Esteban, age 7 are so attentive. When we gave them the comic style Book of Mormon Stories book they read it all in 2.5 days. Each night they kneel together as a family for family prayer. They are the first to come to the chapel on Sundays. Sergio says he knows that this is the true church, it's the help that he's been looking for for years in his Struggles as a Single Father raising his family. He delights in the happiness he sees in his Kids. At nights when he comes home tired from work and he isn't always up for reading, Gabriel--this solid, solid as a rock 11 year old boy--sits his Dad down and begins teaching him what he read from the Book of Mormon and asks him if they can read more. Esteban stood up in Primary yesterday and said that if we feel afraid we should pray that Jesus can Help us take the fear away. Needless to say this sincere family has humbled our hearts and amazes us all the time. We love them so much and are striving to help them prepare in every way for their baptism the 16th of August.

This week as an effort to get to know the branch and start getting a firmer grip on the area, we went to visit a Grandma Sister in the Branch named Ebelia. We began to chat and discovered that she has never married, has been a member of the church for 37 years, hasn't any kids nor any relatives that live in Gálvez. Also, that her Birthday was this past Tuesday and nobody remembered, nor did she celebrate. I whispered to Hermana Briggs "My Mom would not be okay with this! We have to celebrate her Birthday!" Well, On Saturday night I whipped her up a birthday cake out of the Yogurt Cake recipe Hermana Rasband taught me, decorated it with Dulce De Leche Frosting and grated coconut. Sunday we invited everyone at church to come with us to her home that night at 6 pm. We showed up with a giant candle in the middle of the cake and sang her "Que Los Cumplas Feliz!" and shared a family home evening lesson in her Home. Her smile and delight was so worth it. I thought of President Monson and how he cared for all those 80+ widows in his ward, and how he United that little ward in Salt Lake City to be a ward family, to love and care for one another. Hermana Briggs and I set a goal that our work in Gálvez must have the goal of uniting this little branch in this little outcast city to be a true branch family. That's the only way it will grow. THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS SERVICE. We also wrapped up my gospel art picture book and gave it to her. She ADORES artwork, and we figured this would be the most fitting birthday present of any.

Sundays are an adventure. Yesterday We both taught primary, I taught Gospel Principles, Hermana Briggs gave a talk, and I offered a musical number--a capella solo of medley Abide With Me and Abide with Me Tis Eventide. We had 15 souls yesterday, we're making progress. 1 more than last week! After church we rushed with our Branch President to the Hospital, we went to visit the YW President who had some type of sudden vertigo/stomache disease (I don't understand medical Spanish yet, so I didn't quite get the details) but he Gave her a blessing and we offered our love. Our Branch President is going through a personal challenge of 2 of his 4 kids that are suffering distinct forms of Cancer. He is such an example to me of serving this little branch 2 hours away from his home. Everyone has so many distinctive challenges. We must be loving and patient with those around us, we don't know what personal crosses they're carrying. But the Savior does! It brings me such comfort to know that.

I love you all. Please, oh please, never forget how much I love you!
Hermana Boren

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fourteen Souls

Querida Familia Mia,

Heavenly Father expects a lot from me these last 5 weeks.

Tuesday night after a day of saying my goodbyes and packing my suitcases, I laid down in my bed in the dark of the winter night after saying my bedtime prayer. Hermana Rasband was still praying before I got up, and a few moments later after I had already started to doze off she came over and surprised me with a hug and said, "You'll do great things in Gálvez!" I hugged her back and said thanks through a heavy sigh and keeping the tears back. It doesn't matter how many times you change areas, your heart breaks every time. I love Paraná, it´s streets will forever be sacred ground to me.

Wednesday morning I got up at 2:30 am to shower and get ready. At 3:40 we left for the terminal, and by 7:30 I was in Rosario. When I arrived I was greeted by several of my missionary friends who were there for transfer day to coordinate and receive traveling missionaries. Hermana Alicea was among them, it made me happy to see her :) Hopped in the taxi with 3 other sisters and headed to the mission home. We had a great discussion with the Taxi cab driver about his family, he has an 8 month old Daughter that he said is his world. We explained How God is his loving heavenly Father, how he wants to have a relationship with this man just as he thrives on the relationship he has with his 8 month old little girl. We shared the book of Mormon with him, the spirit was strong as we pulled up to the brick CASTLE of the mission home.

Sitting in the Mission Home Parlor with the other Trainers I was brought back to so many memories of a year ago, when I came to the mission home with Hermana Ferraez, when I played the Pump Organ and found out that Hermana Alicea would be my companion again. Can it really have been a year since those treasured memories? Soon Presidente Zanni was instructing us, my heart full of so many memories and emotions. The new missionaries entered the room, and a young Sister that dresses in the same style as Hermana Alicea, with great big blue eyes like her was among the Sisters. Her name is Hermana Briggs. And come to find out, She's my new companion! She is INCREDIBLE. She is from Holladay Utah. She's previously done Humanitarian work in Cambodia, has helped build an orphanage in Mexico, has visited Costa Rica, and has SO MUCH FAITH and SO MUCH LOVE. We've already shared some great moments and are excited to serve together in Gàlvez.

We spent the night in Paraná because Gálvez is far away . . . from EVERYTHING. It was good to hug Hermana Rasband and To hug and talk to Hermana Dean. Galvez is her previous area, and she is now serving in Paraná . . .we did a flip flop :) she gave us some good heads up info on the little branch so that we could be prepared upon arrival. She also gave us the keys and address to our Apartment. Details . . . :)

We arrived in Gálvez at about 2 pm on Thursday. I was so relieved to finally arrive and start getting to know the area. IT's a little town like Cañada de Gomez, safe and secure, nothing like the city I just came from. I'm getting used to quiet town life again! it looks like we just fell out of beauty and the beast. We took a taxi to our apartment and started settling in, then cracked open the area book and started planning, figuring out who our investigators are, finding a map, getting oriented. Gálvez is a tiny branch, about 12 or 15 people attend church every week, and the branch president is imported from Santa Fe every week to preside and conduct the ward. There is SO MUCH WORK TO DO, I don't have any time to be trunky, and that's the best part about it. There's a fantastic family we're currently teaching, a single dad and his 3 kids, his name is Sergio. More details next week, but pray for him and his family and their progression!

Saturday Night, Hermana Briggs and I found our way to the chapel. It is a warehouse that they've converted rooms in it to be a church. When we entered I was overcome by the spirit. Hermana Briggs asked if I would like to say a prayer, I said I would, we knelt and had a sacred moment with heavenly Father. We offered him our thanks to be serving in this little town and pleaded for his help, offering him our will to work with all our hearts so that we can see this little warehouse chapel full.

Sunday we had fourteen souls in sacrament meeting, Sergio and his 3 kids were the first to come to church. :) I taught gospel principles and gave a talk, Hermana Briggs taught primary for 2 hours all by her lonesome (she's a BOSS!) on her first Sunday in the mission field, her first time speaking spanish in a foreign country. I am amazed by her and know that God has a great work fo us to do.

I love you with all my heart, my dear family!
Pray for us, Pray for Gálvez. God is Good.
Hermana Boren

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Dearest Family,

I don't know where to begin. Firstly, that  I love you :)

Next, today is my last day in Paraná. I was called last night by asistant to the President, Elder Holloway. I will be training a new sister, and whitewashing a new pueblito called Galvez, about 1.5 hours away from the city Santa Fe. I've been there once before in divisions, and it's a beautiful little town. There is work still for me to do. I feel such a peace. I will miss Paraná with all my soul, I've served here the longest--6 months, the third part of my mission--but God has work enough for me to do, still. he needs me in Galvez, and instead of fear or anxiety, I am filled with faith and a passion for the Work. We will testify, we will teach, and we will baptize! Hermana Dean, who served with me visa waiting in the Watac, will be taking my place as Capacitadora and as Hermana Rasband's companion. Hermana Rasband and I have such a special quirky friendship that i know will last for a lifetime, I will miss her but knowing she's from American Fork (and the fact that I already know where she lives) brings me a lot of excitement for adventures to come.

I thought I was done being the greatest blood donor to Argentina's Pestilence Society, but the Mosquitos and Spiders somehow returned this week with the unusually warm winter weather we've been having, and I'm covered in the red bumps that are normally characteristic of summer all over again. Que cosas che.

It has been an incredible week! Tuesday we enjoyed zone meeting, which is always uplifting. It's neat to learn from my companion and the zone leaders as they give workshops, as well as from the other missionaries as they comment and share their insights. Wednesday morning we had "Meet the President" zone conference, where we got to know Presidente Zanni and his family better. Presidente Zanni is so inspired, as he spoke he answered several personal revelation questions I have debated recently. I know he has been called to be the mission president of this mission for a reason at this particular time, and I feel honored to learn from him and his sweet wife. A tender mercy came as I played the piano for prelude music, his little girls came running into the chapel and over to where I was playing, and threw their arms around me in a great big hug! After the meeting Elder Higginson asked me to do the R2D2 noise, Jordan. I did it for my district int the MTC to the best of my ability, I can't do it nearly as well as you, but now I'm renown for it amongst the Elders. It's the best :) Thanks for lighting up my life, little bro.

Wednesday I saw one of the most surreal experiences of my life. The streets were DEAD as Argentina played Holland. Not a breathing soul in the street except for a few wandering stray dogs. Hermana Rasband and I walked in absolute silence for about 5 minutes. Well, at about 7:45 the streets went beserk. The winning penalty shots of the semifinal game set the Argentine world on an emotional fire, the streets flooded all at once with men, women, and children of all ages and sizes with number 10 MESSI jerseys, blue and white flags, and blaring bugles as they horned their victory, trucks and motorcycles bustled their way through the streets with people aboard screaming at the top of their lungs while throwing their fists into the air. I felt like I was thrown into a scene from the Hunger games, I have never seen such a cultural manifestation of a soccer victory. It was hilarious, moving, scary, and patriotic all at once. The World Cup . . . kind of a big deal in Argentina.

Friday and Saturday I enjoyed serving with Hermana Sanders on divisions in Sunchales, a little town that bases its industry in making Dulce De Leche and distributing milk. It is a clean, pristine, story-book kind of village. While I was with her I felt the strongest impression that we needed to practice extending the baptismal invitation with every one of the investigators we visited. Although some of them mentioned that they didn't want to change religions during the lesson, I still invited them at the end after testifying of the importance of Baptism by Priesthood Authority. We taught a woman who is an etern-igator and has listened on and off to missionaries for 12 years, a 17 year old young lady named Eliana, and two abuelitos whos kids are members, but the wife just can't stop smoking. Each time they denied the baptismal invitation. But Saturday morning we went to the home of the Familia Villareal. There was a quiet peace about this home of a mother, father, and 5 girls. This particular lesson it was just the mom and the two littlest daughters. The mother of this family, after being invited to follow the example of Christ through baptism, accepted gladly. Hermana Sanders gave me the biggest smile, and it was such a tender mercy to be there with this Sister as she finally saw someone accept the invitation. She has been working so hard in Sunchales with her companion, and it was neat for her and I to both see someone soften their heart. There are many who reject the message of the Restoration. But those that accept it--they make all the tears and heartache and rejection SO WORTH IT!

Sunday was Supernal. Rosa came to church in a skirt with her hair and make up done beautifully. She looked like she could have been the Relief Society president already. Eric was all smiles during all of the meetings, and Brenda, Rosa's daughter and Eric's sister, CAME!!! It was a miracle to have her in Church! After Sacramente Meeting Rosa dressed in white and entered the waters of baptism. She just glowed! We had so much support from the ward, they all pitched in to bring desert and refreshments to enjoy after the baptismal service. The spirit was strong! Hermana Rasband and I were just CONTENTAS. Soledad was finally able to make it to church again, her visiting teachers went to pick her up and help her with the twin babies and the other 3 rambunctious boys. My heart was FULL.

Gabriel is doing great :) About 2 weeks back he kept canceling our follow up new convert appointments. I was worried about him dodging spiritual things, wondering if he had fallen into some of his past addictions or something. One night we called him to see how his reading was going in the Book of Mormon, and in turn shared a scripture in Helaman 5. Since this point, his latest thing has been sending us texts quoting scriptures he has particularly liked in his personal study of the Book of Mormon. He quotes the scripture and then tells us to read it, very Gabriel-like, extending his own commitments to US. Well, this past Sunday he came to church dressed up nice in a white shirt and church sweater, told us that he would like us to teach him more so that he can better prepare to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, told us he has a Reference for us named Lourdes and gave us her number, and THEN kept bugging us throughout church and the baptismal service to know when we can have a lesson to be able to teach him. To top it all off, he wrote in Rosa's baptismal book the sweetest testimony and signed it "HERMANO GABRIEL SCHMITD." I about fainted. He's using the title HERMANO. He's going places, that punk kid.

I love Paraná, I love my mission. I am overwhelmed with Gratitude for the numerous blessings God has given me in this BANGARANG Jungle City. I will miss it more than I can imagine, but the gratitude wells in me more than anything. Someday I'll come back here again. I've got to. But even if mortality keeps me away, I am comforted to know that my brothers and sisters of Paraná will be my neighbors in Heaven. We've got to be firm in the faith, and we'll take our place JUNTOS at the right hand of God.

I love you all, take a look at Chapter 4 of Preach my Gospel under The Spirit and Conversion. Let's study it together this week and then share what we learned in our next letter.
Con cariño,
Hermana Boren

p.s. Ty, Jordan, Josh, and Spencer--I hope EFY is an absolute blast and htat you are even stronger in your testimonies now. I love you guys!
p.s.s. Corey and Dad, congrats on the 15 mile bike ride! WOOHOO!
p.s.s.s. AJ, I hope work is going great and congrats on buying a new car! One of my goals before my next birthday is to learn to drive stick shift. Will you teach me? Oh, and another goal: Learn to ride ripstick. Will you teach me that too? Love you!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Forget Myself and Give it all to Him

Dearest Family,

Happy 4th of July (Late). I hope it was a great holiday, enjoying time with Grandma and Grandpa and enjoying hot weather! I had a fantastic holiday. I spent my fourth of July wearing a scarf and overcoat inviting others to come unto Christ, teaching the Word of Wisdom to Rosa, Eric's Mom, and seeing her eyes light up as she agreed to live this commandment of God. It was a great way to spend Independence Day and I'll never forget it. Last fourth of July was my 3rd day in Argentina, and I spent it moving apartments with Hermana Ferraez in Venado Tuerto. I'm excited to see what happens next year! :)

This week has been spectacular. You know life is good when one of your greatest sources of stress is finding baptismal clothes adequate for 6 foot 5 man named Sebastian. He's doing fantastic, accepted a baptismal date and is reading at least a page in the Book of Mormon each day. He loves our church meetings, especially the Hymns. We're excited for him and keep cracking up about his story. That's got to go in the Liahona someday, "I met the Sister missionaries in the street and they thought I was going to rob them until I asked them what church they were from." How embarrassing and delightfully funny at the same time!

Yesterday, I wrote in my journal the following: "This is how i wish forever to feel! Today and yesterday I have felt a joy that goes beyond description. This is my joy, my soul here, my laughter, my content. To invite others to come unto Christ and to walk by their side as they have faith, repent, enter the waters of Baptism, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am JOYFUL beyond description. Rosa accepted living the word of wisdom, tithing, and law of chastity without batting an eyelash. She came to church today even thought she and Tatiana got lost and she felt sick on the way. She will have her Baptismal interview tomorrow night and if all goes well, she will enter the waters of baptism on Sunday afternoon, July 13th. Hermana Rasband is so cutely excited in all of hte lessons and when we weekly planned she wrote a number 1 with jubilance in our goals for investigators baptized and confirmed  . . . We are FELIZ. It is neat to FEEL empathy, love, sadness, compassion, etc. at such a magnified level. So much more, now. I feel that I was somewhat under an apathetic cloud, for a time, before my mission. But now I see that Christ has changed me. I understand now that there is no limit on How much love we can feel for others, nor is there any place we should find hate in us. I love my Savior for the person He's changing me to be, and for allowing me to feel of HIs love. My deepest desire is to bring others to feel of the same, as Lehi Did in his Dream (see Nephi 8). I am just SO HAPPY! A joy beyond what I can describe, beyond words. I only hope I can remember forever what I feel in my HEART forever, right at this precious moment in time."

That paragraph pretty much sums it up for me right now. There's so much anguish, disappointment, grief, frustration, etc. that we suffer as missionaries, but when it comes to moments like these, it's all worth it. We just have to forget our griefs, our desires, our plans for the future, etc. And give it all to him!

Presidente & Hermana Giuliani honorably finished their 3-year mission this past Monday evening and are now living in Provo, Utah. I am so grateful for all that my mission President and his wife have taught me. I will most definitely be going to their home often in Provo to drink matte and talk in Castellano and ask for advice on living life in the real world again. I feel pretty lucky to have the opportunity to learn from 3 different Mission Presidents and their wives. Presidente & Hermana Zanni serve here in Rosario now, and they are a young couple! they are both about 43 or 44 years old, about your age Mom and Dad. They are from the Provincia San Juan, the Western side of Argentina.

We had Consejo de la Misión on Thursday, we woke up at 2:30 a.m. to get ready and left from the Paraná terminal to go to Rosario at 4 a.m. ¡Asi es la vida de la viajante! We arrived around 7:15 and headed straight to the mission home, were we enjoyed breakfast in the Mission Home Garage with the other Zone Leaders and Hermana Capacitadoras. Hermana Zanni came in to give us a hello, and Mom, I met your Argentine twin! She is shorter than me, but is skinny, gorgeous, and does her hair just like you do. My eyes even welled up, she just reminded me so much of you! She said hello to all the missionaries, but somehow at the end of breakfast we got to talking just she and I. She has never served a mission before but is very excited to be here with her Husband serving in Rosario. Her father found the church when she was 11 years old, the Missionaries rang their doorbell. She and Presidente Zanni have 7 kids, 3 older boys and 4 younger girls (exactly the same pattern as your family, Dad!). The oldest son is on a mission in Taiwan and the younger 6 live in the mission home. After Breakfast we headed to the Fisherton Chapel and enjoyed learning from Presidente Zanni, His Wife, Elder Eliosoff and Elder Higginson about how to work better with the members, what Christ expects of us as leaders and how we should follow his example, etc. There was a powerful spirit as our new Mission President addressed us. I just love him and his wife already and look forward to the work we have to do together. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch, Presidente brought his kids to the chapel and they are just a hoot. Ana, age 4, Carolina, age 8, Julieta, age 10, Laura, age 15, Santiago, age 17, Leonardo, age 18. We ended up playing with the little girls outside for a small while later on and I was in Heaven, I miss kids!

So much more to tell you and so little time--I want to end by sharing something I've learned from Preach My Gospel recently. I'm sorry I've been a slacker at including this part of our Family study recently, forgive me for that. Page 198 of PMG, Bear Testimony Frequently in Chapter 11 KEEP COMMITTMENTS. We learn the following:

"To bear testimony is to give a simple, direct declaration of belief--a feeling, an assurance, a conviction of gospel truth. Sharing your testimony often is one fo the most powerful ways of inviting the Spirit and helping others feel the spirit.

Bear testimony several times in each lesson, not just at the end. Bear testimony that what your companion has taught is from God.

People may sometimes intellectually question what you teach, but it is difficult to question a sincere, heartfelt testimony."

I love this quote from preach my gospel. We must share what we know, we must declare it from the Heart. And whatever the world may say to rock our logic or reject our words, we must stand unashamed.

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. "

With Love,
Hermana Boren

Monday, June 30, 2014

La Rica Chipa Pan

Hey Fam,

So good to hear about Girl's camp, Mom. It sounds like it was a memorable one! I only had time to do a quick skim of the letter but I printed it out so that I can do a real, thorough read after cyber time of the wonderful spiritual experiences of Girl's camp.

The Title of the email: One of my favorite Argentine foods that there is. It is absolutely DELICIOUS! Chipa Pan is a little ball-shaped bread that has cheese cooked into the bread dough. They are apparently originally a Paraguayan recipe that bled over from Paraguay to Corrientes & Entre Rios Argentina. They are delicious and I try hard not to eat too many.

Today we went to Argentine Walmart, we didn't have time last week. And let me tell ya, it blew my mind to be in a walmart again. It was so big and so clean and so American, Hermana Rasband and I just looked at each other with a grin so wide with surprise! It was as thought we had been dropped onto American soil! We hurried up and down the aisles and soon realized that although it is big and clean, it is still very much Argentina. No peanut butter, Cheetos, Seedless Grapes, Chex cereal, or flip flops to be found. But we did find microwave popcorn, which made us really excited until we realized that we don't have a microwave. We started to laugh and count our blessings and buy our favorite Argentine things that were there instead--dulce de leche filled donuts, alfajores, etc. We had fun :)

Tomorrow marks 14 years that I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and 1 year since I left Tacoma Washington to come to Argentina. Both anniversaries have been blessings beyond wordly description! I reflect on my life as a member of the church and my 1-year life now as a missionary in Argentina, and all I feel is just a heart full of love, spilling over with Gratitude. God is so good to me, I don't feel deserving of all of the blessings he's poured upon me all my life. My deepest desire is to share that love with others!

Yesterday, Sebastian (yeah, that really tall guy that we thought was going to rob us but turns out to be really nice) came to Church again. We hadn't been able to get ahold of him during the week until Saturday night, when we invited him once again to come. He was grinning all of sacrament meeting, and made several comments in Gospel principles, where we learned about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The ward has been great, Hermano Alarcón and Juan Pablo Montenegro are both Priesthood Brethren that have really reached out to him and both offered to come to lessons with us this week. They are good member missionaries too because they started talking to him about baptism, and how the sacrament is the renewing our baptismal covenant. It was supernal! We have a lesson with him tonight!

Rosa, Eric's mom, also came to church! She made it to church even before we did, and Eric--in every class and meeting--was at her side helping her find the scriptures and learn how to sing the hymns. He leaned over to her during the sacrament and began explaining that the bread and water represent Jesus Christ's Body and Blood, his Atoning sacrifice for us. I offered a little prayer of great thanks during that quiet moment of Sacrament Meeting, as I sat on Rosa's other side, listening to Eric's gentle remarks, explaining everything to his Mother with such love and testimony. The Gospel Blesses Families. She still has a baptismal date for the 12th of July, this weekend if all goes well she'll have her Baptismal Interview. Thank you for your prayers!

This week I enjoyed divisions with Hermana Galán from Mexico, she is beautiful, tiny tiny tiny, sincere, but a spitfire all at once. Mexican Tinkerbell is the only way I can think to describe her. During my division with her, Priscila Mansilla, a 17-year-old Laurel from the ward, accompanied us. She wants to serve a mission in two years and is so prepared, she brought her scriptures with her to the lessons. We picked up teaching Humberto again, we crossed paths in the street the other day and he told us how much he's missed the spirit since we stopped teaching. We taught Humberto with Priscila and between her and Hermana Galán, the Spirit was surging in the room. They bore pure testimony about the power of Prayer, Priscila shared the scripture "Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you" and Hermana Galán shared that Heavenly Father wants Humberto to have this goal and miracle of being baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I am so grateful for these two women and the power of their testimonies. I love divisions because these Sisters teach me every day how to be a better missionary and where I need to improve in the language, work, faith, in discipleship.

I wanted to give an accounting for where I'm at in my summer Goals--I'm almost 3/4 way through my journal so I will be finishing that goal soon and starting yet another journal! As far as memorizing words, I'm a little behind and have only memorized 200. As for the Book of Mormon in Spanish, I'm in Helaman now, going strong. Thank you notes I've only written 4, so I've got some repenting to do. How are all of you doing in the Summer Goals you've set?

I am out of time, But know always that I love you very much!
Hermanita Boren

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm Feeling 22, Juggling Fire, and Being Interviewed by the Paraná News

Querida Familia,

Thank you for your birthday wishes. I love you all more than you know! Thank you for the 22 beautiful years of life that I've been able to spend with you! And though I've had all of my 21st year apart from you physically, I have felt you near spiritually on so many occasions. ¡LA BENDICIÓN MAS LINDA DE MI VIDA ES LA FAMILIA QUE TENGO! I thank my Father in Heaven every day for all of you.

It has already been a marvelous day. Firstly, it's my first and only time to have a Winter Birthday, which I think is pretty cool :) also, Because we are Sister Training Leaders (o Capacitadoras), my comp and I each have our own phones. Hermana Rasband has been scheming this past week with Hermana Sainsbury and Hermana Shotwell of 5 Esquinas B through text, and this morning while I was in the shower Hermana Rasband sneakily let both of them in. They had gotten up a little early to make me breakfast and get ready, and came over from their apartment at about 7:15 and waited outside our apartment til the "coast was clear" from Hna Rasband. When I came out of the shower they were standing with a giant pink sign that says "FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS" and started singing while I stood there in my towel. I was so surprised I even screamed, how embarassing! It was really sweet of them. We enjoyed crepes with peaches and syrup, and the sisters stayed for Personal and Comp study. They're just the sweetest. My phone began blowing up with phone calls this morning from President Giuliani, Hermana Alicea, Hermana Van Wagnen, Virginia (a ward Member), My District Leader and the Elders that live with him, and Hermana Martinez all calling to wish me a happy Birthday. I feel so loved! Later today we're getting together to eat Authentic Argentine Pizza and take a field trip as a zone to Walmart to celebrate (who knew! There's a WALMART in Paraná! I'll tell you how it compares next week.)

The street jugglers in Paraná have kicked it up a notch. It's nice because the big cities always have the most skilled street jugglers. With the cold weather, they've kicked it up a notch and light some of their juggling bars on fire. It's kind of intimidating to cross the street sometimes because in the middle of the crosswalk there's a man with dreadlocks down to his knees juggling fire, but we always find a safe way to mosie around him. I wish I could describe how neat it is to see them dance and juggle at the stoplights. Like live magicians that just poured out of the novel INKHEART onto Argentine Pavement.

This week Hermana Rasband and I both traveled to Esperanza in the Provincia of Santa Fe. Usually one of us stays behind and the other travels, but this week we had the privilege of both going to work with the Sisters in Esperanza for another CHOQUE DE FUERZA. While We waited in line to board the Colectivo, Two random folks from the Paraná News, with a news camera, light, microphone, and everything rushed to us and shoved the microphone in my face and began spurting the question, "HOLA, COMO TE LLAMÁS VOS?" And I responded that I'm Hermana Boren, and I'm from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They began asking If I was traveling for the long weekend (This past Friday was Dia de la Bandera, or Argentine Flag Day), and we explained that we're headed to Esperanza to preach the Gospel of Christ with other Missionaries there. They looked a little miffed that this was our response, but I just smiled and they walked away, looking to flash interview other people. I have no idea if it actually made television but it was a fun chance to share at least the name of the church with the news caster and camera man. Every day is literally a new adventure!

Esperanza was so much fun. Hermana Rasband served there before for 6 months, so it was like going to Disneyland with a little kid she was so excited. The other Sisters, Hermana Haynes & Hermana Wilde, only have 2 beds in their apartment, so I set up camp on the tile floor with a few blankets. As the little bear kid says in Brother Bear, "It was the fifth or sixth most coldest day of my entire life!" It was a fun mission sleepover, filled with laughter, hard work, and spiritual experiences. It's amazing to see what 4 determined sister missionaries can accomplish in an evening. We found several new investigators, Contacted A FUL, Invited many to baptism (many declined, pero no importa). My favorite part was singing hymns and Comp study. The spirit filled the room as we had a 4 part harmony to Joseph Smith's First Prayer.

Saturday Morning we were Back in Paraná and had a miracle. Rosa, Eric's mom, was FINALLY home. We taught her the Restoration with Eric and Tatiana there, and the best part was that Eric taught half the lesson. He explained the first vision in his own words, offering his sincere testimony to his smiling mother, explaining how he's come to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that this is the Restored church of Christ. His words were simple but so sincere, and the light that filled Rosa's face was without words to describe it. She accepted our invitation to baptism without hesitation. Now the struggle is helping her come to church, But I know that the changes she's seen come to her son's life through his Church Membership will help her feel that desire. Thank you for your prayers for this family! We're still teaching Brenda but she is having a real struggle with the word of Wisdom.

Gloria, our beautiful, 57 year old investigator who lives right on the River Paraná is doing Great. She also has accepted a baptismal date and she is always excited to learn more when we go to her home.

Paco, a homeless reference we received from Hermano Coria our ward mission leader, 1) EXISTS (we have had the hardest time finding him because he's a homeless person. We began thinking he was Hermano Coria's imaginary friend or something, we were told that sometimes he hangs around a certain Meat shop or in front of this house. Well, we finally found him!) 2)Had a great family night lesson in the Coria home with him this past Monday 3) CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! 4)Told us he's been reading the book of mormon and sharing passages with his Sister, with whom he sometimes stays the night. We are so excited for him and know that the Gospel will get him sober, change his life, and help him learn to be self-reliant and have self confidence.

Last story--Sebastian is a 6 foot 5 man that we thought was going to rob us a few weeks back, it was during the quiet time of the siesta and he walked up to us REALLY fast, we were a little afraid. When we saw him smiling we were a little less afraid. First he asked if we were Jehovas Witnesess, and we explained that we're actually from La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días. We explained where the church was and at what time and gave him a pamphlet of the Restoration. He said he'd come to Church the next Sunday and walked off. We were both so surprised we forgot to even ask him for his address or number! We felt so stupid afterwards and felt like we'd lost out on a big miracle. This is about 3 weeks ago. But, HE CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! And we're going to teach him this week!

God is Good. He loves us. I trust him and I know that I must always trust him and keep His commandments in order to be happy.

Thanks for the best 22 years :) Sepan que los amo con todo mi corazón y que mando un abrazo gigante. Sé que Dios me ama porque me mandó a ustedes!

Hermanita Boren

Monday, June 9, 2014

Querida Familia Mia,

Querida Familia Mia,

Every week brings new adventures. This week 6 companionships from our Zone banded together at 8:30 am on Thursday morning, dressed in Jeans and T shirts, and began helping an Argentine family in Parque Gazzano of Paraná build their home. We shoveled cement into buckets, passed the buckets along a human assembly line, which included Elder Allendes on a ladder, where other Elders and Men were waiting on the roof to pour into the ceiling frames they had made with 2 x 4s to complete the cement ceiling. It was so much fun! We got the Roof done in 5 hours, which is pretty darn fast as far as Cement Argentine roofs go down, and the family was so grateful. They cooked us choripanes for lunch (it's like a bratwurst sausage in a sandwich) and of course gave us Coke to drink (another Argentine favorite) and kept saying "Gracias! Gracias!" for our help. It was service, but it was so much fun that I hardly felt worthy of their thanks. They are currently investigating the Church and are in Elder Alderetes and Elder Watkins´area, which is also part of our Ward. We are hoping they continue to listen and progress. We were SO SORE the next day that it hurt to kneel down every time we prayed, our legs, backs, and arms were spent. But it was good to have worked out so hard. Dad, please, leave me the lawn and the weeding and cleaning the car when I get home. I know you'd never thought I'd say it but I miss Saturday jobs!

This week I have discovered all over again how fantastic the Book of Alma is! I have always found light from the Book of Mormon, but I feel that my mission has taught me to truly feast. This week I was blessed by the example of Alma. During their time in Ammonihah, Amulek and Alma suffered the bribes and persecution of men opposed to the church, were thrown into prison, smitten on their cheeks, had their clothes taken away from them, and suffered hunger and thirst. The most heart wrenching is when Amulek and Alma had to watch Amulek's people--all those that had listened and been baptized members of the church, including, I believe, Amulek's family--burn alive in a fire. I cannot imagine the personal gethsemanes these men had to suffer in this area of their mission. But after fleeing Ammonihah and organizing the church in Sidom, Alma 15:18 says the following: "Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therfore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zaraheml, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord." What an example Alma and Amulek are to me. Amulek is who first invited Alma to his home and ministered to him, gave him food and drink and a place to stay. Then, after their mission and trials together, Alma took Amulek to his own home to help him in his need. Alma was all the family Amulek had left. This scripture teaches me the importance of serving our family and our friends in their moments of need, but also to accept that service. Alma and Amulek not only preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they lived it, and they ministered it one to another.

We have some fantastic Investigators right now! Emi is one of my favorites (oops, we're not supposed to have favorites! My bad!) She is a young, MARRIED mom (the marriage part is a miracle in Argentina!) 26 years old. She and her Husband live in a humble home with their two kids, Dulcinea age 4, and Giovanni, 8 months. They are a loving little family and Emi has such a hunger to understand the Book of Mormon. We shared the paragraph from the Introduction of the Book of Mormon that states "The Book of Mormon . . . tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come." She especially liked that part. She is considerate, kept asking us if we needed anything. Somehow in the conversation we found out that she was short on lemons, and she likes to make a hot maté with Lemons when she has a cold to help her feel better. Well, seeing as she had a cold for all of her sniffles, we hurried to a nearby verduleria after the lesson and scrambled back to her house with 4 lemons to give her. I love finding small ways to serve the people we teach, the Sisters and Elders we serve with, and the Members in our ward. Like President Giuliani said last week, The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Service.

Last week we were really bummed because we had given our all to help our investigators come to church and no one showed. We had even walked clear to the Río Paraná to look for one of our Investigators that same morning, and in the end didn´t come. We were downhearted because we want so much for these people to be able to grow and change through the repentance process and coming to know Jesus Christ. When we arrived at church there was a young couple that came into Gospel Principles that I'd never seen before. I thought they were investigators of the other Elders or Sisters, but I felt during Sacrament meeting that I should sit with them. It was Hermana Rasband´s turn to play the piano so I mosied over to where they were sitting and asked if I could sit with them too. They smiled and said of course! Come to find out the Young man is named Adrian, he's from Concordia and is a member of the Church. The young lady is named Maria Ines, she lives in our area and was interested in learning more from what her Boyfriend had shared with her. We began to talk, later they invited us to lunch on Friday and she is now a new investigator. They are both Studying Crime and Discipline (or something . . . its basically detective and police school) here in Paraná, are 21 years old, and are both the nicest people. Heavenly Father taught me in that moment that we're not in control, we can only do our best. His mercy is HIS MERCY, and we need to be patient about that. Our surprise miracle, Maria Ines, taught me that Heavenly Father is aware of us and our efforts and even though things don't always turn out as we have planned or hoped, we will always have reason to rejoice.

Yesterday I had another adventure of leading the 5 Esquinas Choir in Stake Conference. It was so much fun and I'm so happy for how it turned out. We had about 12 Sisters and 12 Brothers that Participated. Hermana Rasband and Shotwell Sang, also Elders Alderetes and Watkins who serve also in the same ward, and Hermana Sainsbury played the Piano. We make a great team. We've seen some fantastic support from the Ward Members now with wanting to accompany us to lessons which also Makes us Ecstatic, of course. Woohoo! This work can only move forward if we work unitedly as Members and Missionaries together.

Love you my dear family. May your week be full of Laughter, Spiritual Experiences, new adventures, good food, summer sun, and Feeling God's love for you.
Con amor gigante,
Hermana Boren

Monday, June 2, 2014

¡Super Verde!

Dearest Family,

I am happily and delightfully overcome thinking about Casey and Austin and Bridger and Michael and their graduations from high School! I hope you know, all of you, Austin's buddies included, How much I love you! I am excited for you and glad to hear of the success of such a big step. Keep working hard, and keep your goals now fixed on the University Graduation!

First and foremost: I'M STAYING IN PARANÁ! The transfer calls always give me a little anxiety, but I will be staying. I love this crazy jungle city and the people in it so much, it was comforting to know that my time here won't end (for now). I will have the blessing of continuing in the work in my beloved Paraná. Hermana Rasband and I are just the best of friends so we're delighted to have another transfer together. But Elder Vergara is leaving, and I feel like He's my brother, so I'm sad! We've served 8 months in the same district and seeing my Chilean friend leave to another zone is hard, but I'm grateful for many life-long Friendships God has blessed me with on my mission. Hermana Reyes and Hermana Aragon, also dearest friends from Chile and Mexico, recently finished their missions and I miss their wisdom and company. I'm striving to learn to just love and accept the time I'm blessed with each of these powerful children of God.

It has been one of the best weeks of my mission. Last Tuesday we had a "Choqe de Fuerza," which basically means several companionships from the zone band together (under the direction of the zone leaders) to contact and teach up a zone in just one area of missionaries, for a few hours. Well, we had the blessing of getting our Area picked for the choque de fuerza. Hermana Rasband and I made sure to prepare, we copied our area map and labled the green-colored section of the map "SUPER VERDE" so that each of the companionships would have a proper guide. In this particular region we have very few investigators and few members and less actives . . . we don't have much of anything and feel that the church has some need of growth here! We assigned a few former investigator adresses to each companionships to give them some basis. At 5pm we 6 companionships of missionaries set off into The area and began our work! It gave me such an excitement to know that we were all working diligently at the same time in our area, raising our voices and sharing the gospel. When we regrouped the majority of the missionaries had contacted a couple good call-backs (people that asked us to return), but our Zone Leaders Elders Topham and Vergara had a downright miracle. They encountered Susana and her 5 kids. Susana recently separated from her Husband and is living in a tiny home her Mother formerly lived in, it had been partially burned in a fire beforehand. She and her children listened eagerly. Susana and 3 of her Kids accepted a baptismal date for 28 June. We are delighted to be able to teach them and are grateful for this miracle from our SUPER VERDE choque de fuerza.

Thursday was Consejo de la Misión, We always have consejo at the beginning of the month for all of the zone leaders, assistants to the president, and Sister Training Leaders. This one was particularly special because it was President & Hermana Giulianis' last Consejo.We will miss them so much!  Hermana Giuliani offered a beautiful testimony about  how her responsibility as Mission President´s wife, as told her by Sister Nelson, was to make us, the young missionaries, Disciples of Jesus Christ. She expressed that the only way to do so was becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ herself, and how the mission field has taught her to lose all fear and trust in the Lord. He never left her alone, she was always protected and always in good company, no matter how much work or service she has been required to offer. President offered a fantastic talk about Sacrifice in order to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. He shared a line that I hope to have engrained in my mind forever and ever. "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Service." He then went on to say that God gives us each callings at different times, and our responsibilities change with every calling, but our Obedience is always required 100%. That brought me such peace. I will not have to arise at 6:30 every day for the rest of my life to be a good Disciple of Christ. I need to obey the commandments and stick to my responsibilities in whatever Calling God Gives me, and I'm gonna stay FIRM IN THE FAITH. I appreciate the counsel President always gives, every Consejo answers my prayers in my different concerns and needs of my heart. Whether I'm concerned about how to help the Hermanas of the Mission, how to help my investigators, how to better work wtih the Ward Members in Paraná, President always offers me counsel that allows me to find the answers I seek. Revelation is real!

I wish ever to have more time to tell you the miracles and tell you all how much I love you. Please know that you are in my heart always, that I think of you and pray for you often, and know that God is keeping you well while I'm away. Thank you for the examples you are to me. Boys, keep strong in your Summer Goals. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. I hope you'll each add to your summer goals reading the Book of Mormon in Entirety. It is one of my summer goals to read it completely in 3 months, I hope you'll join me, Mom, Dad, Austin, Tyler, Jordan, and Corey.

Con amor que no quepa en mi corazón, y un abrazo gigante de SudAmerica,
Hermana Boren

Monday, May 26, 2014

For Unto Us a Child is Born

Dearest Family,

Austin James, remember that one Christmas we were driving through Provo Canyon, Dad was Driving us someplace--I think we were on our way to take the "Polar Express" (Heber Creeper) and Handel's Messiah came on the Radio. "For Unto Us a Child is Born . . . Unto Us . . . a son is given  . . . " You and I had a miniature obsession with that song and used to echo call it back and forth to each other while we were cleaning around the house. This week I was thinking of you as I was in Rosario for Tramites, or Visa Paperwork. Elder Hill, from my MTC district, is the current Mission secretary and runs all of the Passport Visa Paperwork stuff. He was driving, and Elder Topham and Elder Higginson (also from my MTC district) were in our group of 7 that had Tramites that day. I think all of us Yankies are feeling a little bit of the Christmas Spirit with how cold the weather is turning here in the middle of May, and Elder Hill put "Handel's Messiah" in the CD player of the Mission Van. I missed your voice echoing it back to me, Austin. But the Tramites were quite an adventure, Driving in Argentina is like the Indiana Jones ride and a part of me never stops praying until we are safely parked again. We had to take our fingerprints all over again (they had us clean our hands from the ink afterwards with an oobleck-looking gritty putty) and wait 5 hours in a line for migrations. The 4 of us had plenty of time to catch up, we recounted all of our crazy stories together from the MTC and the miracles we've seen since then.  Hermana Shotwell, who has been in the field 5 weeks, was my travel buddy during this time (she is also from the Zona Paraná, we had to leave our companions behind to go to Rosario) and I loved getting to know her. She was a Cheerleader in High School and is from Saint George, and is SO CHRISTLIKE. It is such a neat privilege to come to know so many young people who love the Lord.

What a fantastic week, La Verdad! I've been enjoying my miniature calling as the Choir Director and I'm coming to realize that no matter what happens to us or what calling he extends to us, Heavenly Father gives us the capacity to do it. The Ward members are so excited, I don't know that they've had a choir in a real long time. Pray for us! Stake Conference is the 8th of June and Presidente Giuliani will be listening! We hope to invite the Spirit as we sing "Loor al Profeta" (Praise to the Man.)

Funny stories--I already mentioned this at the beginning of my mission, but the men here cat call at the women sometimes. At first it scared me because I couldnt understand what they were saying,  but now that I can understand it's just downright funny. The best recent cat call has been "SHAKIRA!" LIke the Pop singer of "WakaWaka".  Hermana Rasband and I just started cracking up this past Monday. Que Cosas Che.

Recent Convert Eric Martinez´ 19 Year old sister Brenda began meeting with us this past week. She didn't even hesitate to accept a baptismal date, and she's preparing to enter the waters of baptism the 14th of June. She is so shy and soft spoken, just like Eric, but so sincere. Eric had her all prepared, he already told her about Joseph Smith and the first vision and they had read in the Book of Mormon together and Everything. She explained to us that she has seen a real difference in Eric since his baptism and she wants the same for her life. She also mentioned that when they read the Book of Mormon together as a family, they are far more united and have much more peace and love in their home. We are hoping to teach Eric's 15 year old Brother Gaston and his Mom, Rosa, soon.

We've also had all kinds of Tracting miracles this past week! We have Investigators just "coming out of the woodwork" as Elder Christensen says in the District. We have more than 17 investigators right now and are finding new ones almost every day. We are supplicating the Lord for help to be able to teach all of them and to have discernment to know whom we should focus on, whom is prepared to make covenants with him, and if all of them are prepared, we hope to know where to find time to teach them with our crazy schedules between trips to training meetings and divisions with the Sisters. It is a delight to have so many people eager to listen to the Message of the Restoration and with desires to change their lives. A broken heart and a contrite spirit are truly essential to change and come unto Christ.

I have a true testimony that God knows us individually. This past Saturday I was having a really off day. I was down about my imperfections and my incapacity to help everyone that I see when they don't want to listen. I was frustrated with agency, human weakness, and my own human frailty. We went to Ward Correlation meeting, where Hermana Shotwell, (who serves with Her companion Hermana Sainsbury in another region in Paraná but within the same ward boundaries), came up to me and gave me a great big hug. "Are you okay?" She asked. "I know that somethings up. You're just not yourself today. I just want you to know that I love you and while you are the ones calling the sisters to see how they're doing, you need someone to ask how you're doing too." I hugged her again and about cried in gratitude. I don't have a lot of really hard days, don't worry Mom :) But when I do have them, Heavenly Father never fails to send me an angel. Saturday night it was Hermana Shotwell. There are such simple ways we need to serve and love those around us! I am so grateful to have been raised in a home and a ward where expressions of love like this one are offered so freely. Kindness is our Religion.

I love the Work, I love my mission. I love the Lord and it is His name that I carry on my name tag and in my Heart! I pray to worthily carry his name always as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I Know he lives and loves me! And I know he lives and Loves you, Mom, Dad, Tyler, Austin, Corey, and Jordan!

With Love,
Hermana Boren

Monday, May 19, 2014

Today I Ate Octupus

Querida Familia Mia,

You'd better believe it. We went to an all-you-can-eat buffet today for P day. We live right off the river Paraná and I thought, well, it's now or never to try the weird water-creature food. My last Birthday I decided I wanted to have 25 adventures before my next birthday. This week I have completed many new adventures--Principally eating an octopus tentacle, but also included is becoming the ward choir director, teaching music in a foreign language, teaching a 14 year old Argentine boy named Elías English, and wearing a Grandma Shirt to church from an Invesitgator in Santa Fe, her name is Sunilda. I am so grateful for the mission field! It actually wasn't too bad. Tasted like chicken.

Miracles, miracles, miracles. It doesn't matter how long I've been in the field, they never get old. Recent Convert Soledad had her twins two weeks ago, and the Relief Society has completely taken over offering the best help! I have been so relieved, especially because as Missionaries there's not a lot of help we can offer--we aren't allowed to hold or pick up children as part of the Legality rules as missionaries. The Relief Society President, Bibiana Moretto, spent an over-nighter with Sole her first night. Nancy and Virginia, her recently called Visiting Teachers, have also taken shifts helping her out at the Hospital. Soledad's family has really stepped up as well--she had formerly been estranged by her parents, but after Sole was baptized, then began apologizing and offering to help watch the other 3 boys, etc. While Sole was recovering in the Hospital, they completely repainted, organized, and Cleaned Sole's small home and built an additional room for 11year old Stefano and 9 year old Giovanni to share. This is truly a miracle and I have seen how Soledad's relationship with her family, her self confidence, etc.Has completely taken a turn for the better since her decision to be baptized. I love her dearly and am so grateful for this shining example of a Single Mom leading her Children in the ways of the Gospel. I have a fervent hope that a widower member of the church will move to Paraná and will come into her life and they'll be married and sealed in the temple . . . .

Other Miracles--the reality of Revelation. I was on Divisions with Sister Van Wagnen from my MTC District. That morning in my Personal Study I read about Nephi and the scriptures that relate his marriage and later when he has children. Both scriptures are followed by how blessed he felt of the Lord. During Companionship study, Hermana Van Wagnen began relating how concerned she is about a few of her Investigators who are co-habitating without being married, and her desire to teach them the importance of Marriage and the law of chastity. I shared with her what I had just read in Nephi and she excitedly thanked me, excited to be able to share what the Book of Mormon has to say about this God given law with her Investigators. It was a miniature miracle of Divisions. The following two divisions we had similar miracles on both ends--Hermana Gudiel from Honduras taught me that we need to be WORTHY in order to be able to teach the Gospel to our investigators, if we aren't worthy the spirit won't testify of our words. Hermana Hawkes from Texas taught me that real Charity is an understanding of the Atonement of  Jesus Christ. I am learning so much about companionships by serving with many different temporary companions--at times 2 or 3 different sisters in one week, aside from Hermana Rasband--who teach me from their own experiences and spiritual strength. I feel as though I have 32+ sisters!

Another Miracle: Finding Elías! Hermana Rasband and I were in Paraná on different days this past week doing divisions with Different Sisters, trading off the area and traveling to be with other Sisters in Santa Fé and Entre Ríos. It's always an adventure in Divisions because we don't know exactly where our companion went with the other sisters the day before, etc. Well, I was with Hermana Gudiel on Thursday in Paraná. When we prayed about where to contact, we both felt very strongly that we should go to the street named Tacuarí. We contacted and found the home of a 14year old boy named Elías, I had met him in the street 2 times before with Hermana Diorio but had no way to contact him again. He is an English student and wants to learn to speak fluently. It was a miracle to find him and we told him about the English Classes we'd be starting in the church on Saturdays. The very next day at the very same hour, Hermana Rasband was in Paraná with Hermana Contreras from Chile. They both felt very strongly impressed to contact the street Tacuarí. And would you guess who they met? ELÍAS. The very next day. This time they got his phone number, too. We've started teaching him English and are hoping to teach him and his Family about Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel soon. I have a testimony that God is concerned about the One, and He is very aware of his son Elías. Paraná is a city of more than 380,000 people. He directed us to the same door two days in a row, without any communication between my companion and I. Miracles!

Emiliana is another young woman we began teaching this week. She is 27 or so, is a lawyer, and was fascinated by the idea of another Testament of Jesus Christ. We invited her to baptism but she said she'd need to think about it first.

Recent Convert Dora who was baptized in Hermana Diorio's and Hermana Aragon's time is doing fantastic. She is a little forgetful, we think she has early stages of Alzheimer´s (she's only 63!). She came to a lesson at the church way too early this week, we were still in District meeting. She came with her non-member son Damian who has a few learning Disabilities, and our District Leader Elder Alderetes invited them on in to our meeting to be part of our practice. We set up the chairs to be like a colectivo bus and had Dora and Damian be people on the bus we had to contact. It was so much fun and out of the box! Dora forgot it was a practice and began bearing her testimony to me on the imaginary colectivo, and how she came to a knowlege that this is the true church. It was a divine, supernal moment. Damian told Elder Alderetes and I that he knows this is the true Church, he's just not ready for the committment yet. He's getting there. Afterwards we went to the Family History Center and Damian and Dora loved it, they began telling the members there all kinds of stories about their grandparents and the history of Paraná, etc.

One of our latest favorite friends in the Ward is Priscila, a 17 year old laurel who accompanies us one evening of each week to our lessons. She wants to serve a mission in two years and is doing fantastic testifying and even contacting a few doors. We're proud of her, she's like our little sister.

Hermana Rasband is just one of my bestest friends. We started singing Hope of America songs the other day during breakfast and began cracking up because we're from the EXACT SAME CULTURE. "We're the hope of AMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERICA. Rise and shout for AMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERICA. We're the brave we're the strong where the dreams belong!" During morning excercises we sometimes share our childhood crushes. I told her about Cody who bought me a christmas present with his own money when I was 5 and she told me about Reese whom she fondly watched on the elementary School playground from afar. This is probably way too much information, excuse me. But I just wanted you to feel how real the friendship is :) She has taught me to make Yogurt cake and I have made her her first tapioca pudding. Thanks for the Tapioca, Mom. We are a united, hard working team striving to show the Sisters their Worth and to value exact obedience in the mission field. Companionship studies are my favorite time of day because we both share our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and answer each other´s prayers with the truths we share.

I made NO bake cookies for the Elders this past District Meeting with the Peanut Butter Aunt Kristen sent me and they have since declared war, they want to make cookies that beat mine in quality. They're still working on their secret recipe. :)

I love you forever, my family. I like you for always. As long as I'm living your MIKSTER I'll be. This is God's Church. He lives, and he loves you! He hears your prayers! Never forget this truth.
Con muchisimo amor y cariño de todo mi corazoncito,
Hermanita Boren

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Dear Family,

Such a Joy to see you Yesterday! You are a Gorgeous group of people. GUAPO, Like I told you, Dad. You all look Healthy, Happy, Handsome (beautiful for Mom and Grandma) and Well. I couldn't stop replaying our conversations in my mind after we had to finish our skype call. Hermana Rasband asked me later about the Saloon Doors and the Pitstop . . . I cracked up and couldn't believe our conversation took us to that memory. Oh, it's good to know that while we've grown and changed on both ends of the Hemisphere, we are still family. We'll never stop being fluent in Our love languages and ability to laugh and communicate and enjoy time together. I'm really looking forward to that again :) But I'm not getting too trunky, don't worry! We are working hard and giving our All to the Lord.

When I was a little girl I had a friend in 4th grade named Alexis who had many freckles. She told me once that they were Kisses from the Sun, and then proceeded to tell me that I didn't have any. I remember searching in the mirror one day for freckles, looking between my nose and cheeks to see if maybe the Sun had Kissed me yet. And they never came, and I felt a little bit of envy, wishing for a moment to be something that I wasn't, and wondering why the Sun had kissed other people and why it didn't like me enough to kiss me. As I grew older I had other friends who lamented their freckles and wished to be freed of them. We all lamented gifts or traits that we didn't have and were frustrated with the reality of who we are. I've thought this week about freckles as I have talked with some of the Sisters in the mission who struggle with depression, self confidence, and comparing themselves with others. We all have different talents, traits, and beauties. We must never forget that while the world shouts that we will never, ever, be good enough--there is a God on High that is our Father and sees us for the Beauty of our creation. We are precious in his sight. I am grateful that my time in the mission field has helped me come to a clear understanding of how the Savior sees me as I have carried his name. The other day we were walking down a lamplit sidewalk after a long night of knocking doors and appointments that fell through. I was feeling less than adequate when I felt, out of nowhere, an overwhelming warmth swell in my heart. I felt like I do when I open a letter from Mom from home or when Dad used to put Farside Comics in my lunches and I just knew that he loved me and was thinking about me. In this moment as we returned to our apartment,  I felt as though the Savior was hugging me, Spiritually, and expressing his love for me and the work I am offering to bring God's Children to a knowledge of their redeemer. I felt beautiful, confident, loved, and worth it. I felt comfort that while I am imperfect, the work that I do is consecrated by the Atonement. When I give my all and it isn't enough, it's okay, because He's more than enough. How I wish for all of you to feel that way that I did this past Tuesday, too. You are beloved. You are worth it. You are more than you think you are. Those of you With Freckles are Beautiful, and those of you Without are Beautiful, too.

Much love and More Letters to come next week,
Hermana Boren
Mik :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Santa Fe, Are you there?

Hola Familia!

This week as I rode to Santa Fe to meet my new companion, Hermana Rasband, Jack Kelly's voice from Newsies kept playing in my mind over and over. "Santa Fe, are you there? Do you swear you won't forget me!? If I found you would you let me come and stay?" That song has a whole new meaning now, seeing as Santa Fe is an entire province (or "state" we call it in the US) where I have spent the majority of my mission. Santa Fe is also the capital city of Santa Fe, Province. Santa Fe, my mission, do you swear you won't forget me? I have thought often about the influence we make upon the people God places in my life. My deepest desire and greatest hope is to bring others closer to Christ, and if there's anything I don't want Santa Fe and the dear people in it to forget, is the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ that we've brought them.

Everything has been going FANTASTIC with Hermana Rasband. She is an absolute DOLL and is such a hard worker. This week we have been bombarded by MILAGROS (miracles). About two months ago we had a special Pday on the banks of the Paraná, and when we got to cooking choripanes, we realized we forgot the parilla (grill iron). So a few of the Elders went around to the local houses asking if they could borrow or rent one. They stopped by a closeby kiosco painted bright sherbet orange and the couple that live there kindly let us borrow their parilla, the Elders also asked if they could return to share a message of Jesus Christ another day. This family accepted, and this part of the banks of the Paraná happen to be our area. The elders passed us the reference and we stopped by a few weeks ago. The Mom of the family answered the door and had us sit down, and before we knew it she began to cry uncontrollably. She explained that her 17 year old son, Kevin, while he was washing his motorcycle outside 2 months ago an electric line broke, he was electrocuted and he died immediately. She was inconsolable and overcome with grief. Hermana Diorio and I began with a prayer petitioning for her comfort and immediately felt impressed to share scriptures about the Resurrection and the Spirit World. Marta (this sweet Argentine Mom) began to calm down a little. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and set an appointment to return. Hermana Rasband and I went back to her home this past Thursday with 17 year old member Priscila Mansilla, and to our surprise, Marta was a lot happier, a lot more composed, a lot more relieved. She brought out her Book of Mormon and began to explain that ever since she began reading she has felt such peace, and has been able to better deal with the loss of her son and have hope again. She told us she read all of Alma 40 and then began saying that she was fascinated about an account of a man who had to leave all his riches behind and travel with his family accross the sea in order to save them spiritually. We recognized by the end that she had read all of 1 Nephi and had begun 2 Nephi in the short time we had left her the book. She said she has a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon, and also expressed her gratitude to have originally met those missionaries who borrowed the grill iron. She expressed that ever since she first met missionaries she has felt more hope and that she believes the message that we're sharing. She isn't married so we couldn't put her on date for baptism, but we did invite her to pray to know if the church is true and if she and her family should be a part of it. She is such a rock! She said gladly that she would. MIRACLES.

Hermana Rasband and I also taught Sylvia this week, a woman that 8-month-pregnant Recent Convert Soledad met in the street a few weeks ago (her twins STILL aren't born!), and by coincidence we also passed by in the same moment they were talking and got her address. She is a Philosophy teacher and mother of 2 young children. When we discussed the gift of the Spirit and the Fruits that it brings (Galatians 5) she looked at us with a longing in her green eyes and said, "Que maravilloso sería sentir así," or "How wonderful it would be to feel that!" We told her that she could, but she needed to fulfill her part in the promise by asking God if the Book of Mormon was true, and reading it with real intent. She also accepted and we're hoping she's another Marta :)

We have found several new investigators as well through the prayer tracting system that Presidente Giuliani has given us. It is amazing to see the difference when we put our faith in prayer and asking Father in Heaven where HIS children are prepared. He knows them far more perfectly than we do.

Preach My Gospel study this week can be found in the roman numeral page V of PMG. This part is the first presidency message. It states that there is no more compelling work than missionary work, nor any that rings greater satisfaction. It also states "Every missionary has an important role in helping to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Missionary work makes us one with God and His work. Heavenly Father´s work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and etrnal life. When we work to bring about the same, or Missionary Service, we become more like God. Our will becomes His, our Joys become His. Isn't it amazing? It concludes stating "More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children." I testify to that! My mission is the hardest thing I have ever done. But it wouldn't be fair not to tell you that it is by far the greatest fun I have ever had, and the sweetest and purest and sublimest joy to see My Argentine and WaTac brothers and sisters come unto Christ.

Remember always that "The most important of the Lord's work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes." Harold B. Lee.
The greatest missionaries I know are my parents, for that reason :)

I love you all! I will be talking to you in only 2 short weeks for Mother's day, AHHH! :) Details to come next week. Love you, love you, love you more than you know.
Con amor mas grande que los cielos y un abrazo mas fuerte que el poder de un oso,
Hermana Boren

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

His Will, Not Mine

Dearest Family,

Firstly, thank you for the magnificent pictures and the more magnificent Easter eggs in them. All I have to say is WHAT TALENT! What artwork put into those hard boiled eggs. Here in Argentina all of the Easter Eggs are homemade hollow eggs of CHOCOLATE with frosting that seal the edges together. They are delicious, and I will have to make some when I come home for you to try!

BIG NEWS From Paraná. Hermana Diorio is being taken from me to open an area, whitewash, and train a new sister in ROSARIO. Words don't explain how depressing it is to say goodbye to a companion who you just LOVE. Hermana Diorio has been an absolute doll and sister to me, to see her go is more than a tough one. But, Hermana Rasband will be my next companion. And you know what? She is Justin Rasband´s little sister. Justin Rasband is my friend from AF who I went with to Prom my Senior Year :) Small, small world, right? Sister Rasband is wonderful, an absolute hoot, and I look forward to learning from her. Just sad to say goodbye to Hermana Diorio knowing that she is from Argentina and it will be hard to ever see her again in person. But thank goodness for Skype. On top of that, she received news this morning that her Grandpa passed away this morning. She began to cry and hugged me for a long, long time when President Giuliani called. I held her tight and she said she knows that Heavenly Father couldn't leave her with me as a companion because I'm her family now, and it would be too easy to face this trial if I was with her. That she needs to press forward alone, helping another new sister focus on missionary work. She amazes me. She is so strong and so selfless and so involved in serving others. She helped me stitch myself up in some of the wounds, emotionally, I had after Cañada de Gomez. Oh, it makes me emotional to type right now. I will most certainly bawl as she heads away on the cole for Rosario tomorrow. I love her so much! But I know that this time, this transfer, this change is due to God's will, not mine. and his plan is always perfect, not mine. So it will all be okay, and I know he'll take care of Hermana Diorio when I can't be there physically for her.

GOOD NEWS too is that Hermana Alicea was just called to be the Sister Training leader of the Southern half of the mission! She is SO STRONG and talented and I will be blessed to see her every month in Mission Leadership Council! WAHOOOOOOOOOO!

There's not much time for me this week, but I wanted to finish with a thought from this past week about Easter. My favorite Easter Hymn is not translated into Spanish and can´t be found in the Spanish Hymnbook, but I snuck my english hymnbook with me to Church on Sunday. I am one of hte 2 pianists for now, and as postlude I played this hymn in honor of the Easter Sabbath Sacrament Meetings of years past:

 That Easter morn, a grave that burst
Proclaimed to man that "Last and First"
Had ris'n again
And conquered pain.
.This morn renews for us that day
When Jesus cast the bonds away,
Took living breath
And conquered death.
3. Thus we in gratitude recall
And give our love and pledge our all,
Shed grateful tear
And conquer fear.
My favorite verse is the last one. Christ, through his Atonement, Death, and glorious resurrection gave us the strength, knowledge, and power to overcome all fear.

All my love, and more news and spiritual experiences to share next week (I hope to hear from yours as well!)

Love forever, for always,
Hermana Boren

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shore, Lights, and Troubled Waters

Dearest Family,

I was 10 or 11 years old. Aunt Kristen, Devin, Corey and I were relaxing in a gray raft in the middle of Mirror Lake, fishing. I was hoping to catch an albino trout--something about a fish being albino just made them more exciting. Tall mountain peaks, principally Bald Mountain, towered up into the sky blocking the skies around us. Without any warning, a storm rushed over the lake and a downpour of rain and lightning began to rage around us. Aunt Kristen, bless your heart, began paddling with all her might towards the shore amidst the stormy waves. Corey and Devin began to cry a little, and I said a little silent prayer, a child's plea for safety. All my lessons about electricity in Mrs. Beckstrand's 3rd grade class began rushing back to my mind and I remembered strongly that lightning and water don't get along. Amidst wind, storm, rain, and lighting we made it safely to shore, my blessed Aunt paddling we 3 little ones all the way. When we arrived, our families were anxiously awaiting. They helped us out of the water and on to safe shores, where we quickly changed into warm clothes and cuddled up in our sleeping bags in the warm safety of our tents. I didn't find out till after I was in the warm safety of shelter that I had, amidst the storm, caught an albino trout at the end of my pole.

I have reflected upon this experience from my childhood this week as we have encountered hundreds of people truly lost in the sins of the world, lost in the tempests of temptation that rage recklessly around us. My heart breaks for every pregnant teenage mother, every smoker, every youth with gaged ears, every drunkard in the street, people that we pass by and try to teach daily. My heart breaks to see the sins of the world and the confusion that the Adversary invokes in the hearts of the people. I want them, so desperately, to stop and listen to the message we have to share! They are lost amidst a storm that will not stop until the Savior comes, in a relentless sea with winds and beasts of men and devils.Where is their pilot? Where is their lighthouse?

I have also been reflecting this week upon the story that we read in Ether about the Brother of Jared and his people. Under the direction of Father in Heaven, they build 8 barges to cross the sea to the Americas. The Brother of Jared supplicates the Lord for the light that his family needs during the journey by touching the 16 stones that he forms out of ore. The Lord grants his request, and the 16 stones shine to light their way during their year-long journey. In Ether 6:3 it says, "And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness." Although they were many times "Buried in the depths of the sea," they had light during the storms. Verse 7 we read "And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah, therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters." Finally, after a journey of wind, hail, storm, they finally land in the promised land. It states  in verse 8 "It came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters, and thus they were driven forth before the wind." The winds NEVER ceased for them. But they were lighted and guided along their way. They made it safely to shore, and once there, they sang praises of thanks to the Lord.

My dear family, Where is our lighted stones of our day, to guide us amidst the troubled waters where we find ourselves? I want to testify that they are the scriptures, they are the words of the living prophets, our light comes from family values and choosing only to watch clean media and choosing to share the gospel with other people. Where is our light? I KNOW that as we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his servants we will be strong, we will have the power to make it to Shore as Aunt Kristen did and the people of the Brother of Jared. It does not matter what faces us. If we hold fast to that which we know, we will not fear however wicked this world becomes. We will not only be guided by light, but will also become lights for others to follow during the storm. See "Brightly Beams our Father´s Mercy" in the hymnbook for more details. "Master, the Tempest is Raging" and "Jesus Savior, Pilot me."

Sometimes we may think that we can go a day without reading the book of Mormon, or why we should have to listen to old folks talk about food storage in general conference. DONT LISTEN TO THOSE THOUGHTS! Remember the Titanic? Nobody thought it could be sunk. And then this giant ship, this unbreakable, unbeatable, great artwork of a Ship got Sunk by the piercing of an iceberg. Remember the song? "It was sad . . . SO SAD! It was Sad . . . SO SAD! It was sad when the great ship went down, to the bottom of the SEA . . . " (I have Dad's voice singing it in my mind right now.) We cannot afford to sink. Never forsake your light, never forsake the lighthouses on the shore--the Apostles and Prophets. And never forget the master who calmed the storms of Galilee and gave Peter the power to walk on Water. Our Savior does the same for us in the latter days. But we can never afford to take our eyes off him, or we will lose our faith and sink among the waves.

I love you. Keep the faith. Keep your light! And other seamen will be saved by your example as you shine. I love you all with all my heart!

Con todo mi alma,
Hermana Boren