Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Bad Case of Hiccups

Dearest Family and Friends,

This week 3 of we 4 Sister missionaries have had a BAD case of hiccups on multiple days. It has been a hoot to try to share the message of the Restoration in contacts, "Testifi-CA-mos que Dios es nuestro amoroso p-A-dre celesti-Al." Oh, goodness. I had to let Hermana Martinez take the lead in testifying because I couldn't get out a sentence normally. The same thing has happened to Hermana Carlson and Hermana Rane. Oh, goodness. :)

It was HOT this week. On thursday we had 116 degrees F with 100%. I woke up at 2 in the morning with beads of sweat dripping down my forhead. Yup. Sweaty beasts.

What a week. I had a wonderful interview with President Giuliani this past tuesday, and I felt like I was in the Temple. I came to an understanding this week that the interviews we have with our Priesthood leaders is like a type for Judgement day. We are preparing and getting used to talking to someone who represents the Savior, and giving an accounting of our worthiness and the work we've done, and pleading for the help we need. President Giuliani, through guidance of the holy spirit, knew exactly what I needed to hear and it seemed as though he had been listening in on my prayers for the last 3 months.

So many miracles this week. New investigators, success in companionship unity. I love my little Hondureña with all my heart. She is loud, she is funny, she is bold, she is solid in her testimony and her love of the Scriptures. And I will miss her SO MUCH! We received transfer calls today and I will be headed to Paraná tomorrow. It is quite far, about 3.5 hours by bus from Rosario. My new companion is Hermana Diorio from Buenos Aires, so I'll be truly living Argentine life with an Argentine companion. I cannot wait and at the same time my heart is heavy. My time in Cañada has been true joy and real grief, and here I feel I have come to know my Savior as I have pleaded to God in prayer and felt the succor that I needed. I have offered all that I had, and for that I am not shamed to leave, but it still brings tears to my eyes to leave that which I love. It's hard to be a nomad as a missionary, the time we are blessed to give our all, but have to change places so frequently. I give my thanks for all I have leanred here.

I hope all is going well in the Preach my Gospel Study at home. I have my next study to contribute if I may--Charity and Love.
Paragraph 1--How do we show our love to God? We are asked to Love HIm first. One way that I can think of demonstraing our love to God is through keeping the Sabbath day Holy. We give 1 day of the week to Him, and he in turn pours out blessings upon us for remembering him and keeping the covenant we made with him at baptism  through partaking of the sacrament.

Paragraph 2--I love the line "Gods eternal love for all of his Children." This is Missionary work. We had a set of phrases we recited in the WATAC mission, part of which was "Love is the Motive." NOt only is it the Motive of Missionary work, but our motive to be obedient to our Parents, our motive to obey the commandments, our motive to provide for our famlies. It was the motive God Had fo us enough so that He gave His only Begotten son, Jesus Christ. Love is the Motive of Christ's atonement. Never forget that LOVE should be our Motive, and in the first place should always be our LOVE of God.

Paragraph 3--A few thoughts of mine concerning what we can learn from this Paragraph.
Firstly, Read Moroni 8:16. Perfect love casts out Fear. When we are filled with the love of God, we don't have to be afraid of Anything or Anyone, we know what our priority is (our love of GOD) and he in turn fills us with the love and confidence we need to facy ANY opposition. I've seen that work in my mission.
Next, I want to share something I wrote in my Journal this week.
"Some days I remember when I got my wisdom teeth out. That was some of the severest pain I've ever had, which I know to some people is pretty wimpy, but it was bad. I felt like a little girl, I went to get my mom at 2 in the morning and she gave me the medicine I needed. She turned on the light of my little red shade lamp and laid down next to me in my queen bed. And she rubbed my back, back and forth, quietly staying the early morning with me as I cried in my pain. I think of my mother and that vigil she kept with me so often. I think of Mom and how she so reminds me of the Savior, how all her life she has given, given, given from her heart. How she has loved me and my brothers with a love unfeigned and abounding, to the point that she cried when we left on the yellow school bus when classes were in, because she missed spending time with us. I think of Her, and I know that Christ lives because I see Him in Her! Alma 5 talks about Reflecting Christ's countenance because we will be like Him. That's my Mother. I want so much to be more like her!"
What do we learn from  examples like Mom and Dad about Christlike Love? How can we be better at demonstrating that kind of love to others?
Lastly, I want to share that Christlike love CHANGES people. A few weeks ago I had the privilege to sing Christmas carols at a nursing home here in Cañada. Amongst the residents was an old woman who reminded me of Oscar the Grouch. She had nothing nice to say to anyone and complained about our singing during our miniature performance. At the end we mixed and mingled, and when I went to talk to her I expressed that It was a pleasure to have been here and spend time with her. She responded bitterly, "No fue un placer para mi!" in other words, It was NOT a pleasure for her! I asked her about her life and her children, and what she enjoyed and if she believed in Christ. She looked at me and responded with bitterness and hate emanating from her eyes. I gave her a smile as we left, and gave her a little kiss on the cheek as is the custom in Argentina to greet and say goodbye. When I pulled back I saw a change in her face, a light, a look of surprise. I don't know when the last time was that someone gave her a besito. But I realized in that moment that Christlike love, it changes people. It changes us. The Wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, goodwill to men, and LOVE.

All for now, see you next week in PARANÁ!

Love with all my heart,
Hermanita Boren

Monday, January 20, 2014

He Could Not Rest

Dear Family,

I began cracking up the other day reading the Book of Mormon during my personal study. There's a line from the Book of Mormon that tickled me pink, Alma 43:1, "And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth ammont the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth." It just made me smile to picture this Disciple of Christ sitting for a moment to enjoy retirement or a little vacation, and just not being able to stand it. He thinks of his sons in the mission field, and can't help but join them, over again. He leaves as a missionary when he's young, later leaves with two of his sons to the Zoramites, and again leaves. I don't know where these records are kept but I hope someday to read them. Alma is one of my scripture heroes, especially as I learn from his teachings and his actions while I am privileged to be a missionary.

I had a freaky moment this past week when I realized I've just about reached 7 months, and my heart began to break. I don't know how I'll ever be able to leave this, what I love! Inviting others to come unto Christ is the sweetest joy! But then I realized that, like Alma, being a missionary is a forever thing. There is no retiring once we're converted. We keep inviting, keep serving, and keep loving others the way Christ did and does. We cannot rest, and I know I'll never be able to, not now, not after the change he's worked in me. The changes he works in each us!

I love hearing that you are studying Preach my Gospel now for Family scripture study. I kind of want to be a part of it, so I wrote during part of my personal study today something I hope we can study together. Chapter 6 of PMG is one of my favorites. The Christlike Attribute I want to study with you is Faith in Jesus Christ.

Let's read the first paragraph. What does faith mean? "You accept him as your Savior and Redeemer and follow His teachings." In other words, if we truly believe in Christ, our faith is demonstrated by our obedience to the principles he taught. "You believe that your sins can be forgiven through His Atonement." What does this mean to you? Do you believe this--that every mistake we make can be made clean through our Savior? Boys, when we first started mowing the lawn, each one of us left many "bad haircuts" as Dad would say. There were many spots of grass taller than the others, crooked lines where we had gone astray in our mowing path. Dad KNEW when he first taught us that we would make mistakes, that we would mess up time and again--but he helped us correct it every time, because he loves us, wants us to grow, and wants us to gain ´life skills.´ In the end, despite all our faults (and the fact that I STILL mow bad haircuts every once in a while) everything worked out and the lawn got mowed. The atonement works this way. Christ KNOWS we are imperfect. That was part of the plan from the beginning. But his atonement helps us clean up all the "bad haircuts" of our lives. We need to have FAITH in Him as we have FAITH in Dad to help us learn, grow, and improve despite all the mistakes we make.

We keep reading in the first paragraph. "Faith in Him means that you trust Him and are confident that he loves you." Sometimes we feel the weight of our imperfection and feel less than worthy of Christ's love. Something I've learned on my mission is that we have to open our hearts and feel of His love in order to Help others feel it and in order for our Faith to grow. If I don't believe that He loves me, how can I help anyone else feel it? Some ways I've learned to have FAITH through CONFIDENCE in Christ's love for me is  through the following: 1) Counting my Blessings. List out loud at least 5 blessing God has given you in your life.
2) Service. What Good have you done in the world today? (another life's lesson from Dad)
3) Reading the Scriptures. Seeing Christ's Work and love extended to others in the scriptures helps me better understand how Christ extends His love to me.
4) Prayer.

Okay, let's read paragraphs 2 and 3 now. Now that we know what faith is and how we feel it, what do we DO about it? What power does it bring? What is the opposite of faith, how can we avoid these feelings of doubt and fear? When I first came to Argentina, I was without any idea of what was going on. Before I knew it I was off on a double decker bus with my little companion from Mexico and couldn't understand a word she was saying. Driving away, looking out the windows at a world completely foreign to me, far from anything familiar and without a person in my life to talk too--I reached out in Prayer to Heavenly Father. And when I did, in that ride away from Rosario to Venado Tuerto, he filled me with his Love, and the fear left. I knew he would take care of me, and He Did. Hermana Ferraez was part of the fulfillment of that prayer, my Trainer loved me and looked after me and helped me learn Spanish. I testify as Moroni did, perfect love casts out fear. And we feel that love of the Savior, as we established before, through FAITH.

Paragraphs 4-7. How can we help our faith GROW?

Scriptures to read:
-Alma 32:41-43 (Compare with 1 Nephi 8)  Faith allows us access to the atonement of Christ.
-Ether 12:6, Faith comes after _____
-Romans 10:17, How faith GROWS
-Mosiah 5: 1-15, What Faith does to us, or why we are a peculiar people.

I love preach my Gospel and hope you feel the same uplift I do from reading and learning from it's pages.

It has been a marvelous week. The other day while contacting in the street, we contacted a man named Jesús pushing his bicycle along, going home for lunch. As soon as we introduced the Church, he immediately said "Soy Miembro de la Iglesia! Me bauticé en Carcarañá!" or "I'm a member of the Church! I got baptized in Carcarañá" which is a little town up the street from Cañada. WE went to his house for a lesson on Saturday, and he told us that when he saw us up the street, he offered up a little prayer, that if it was important for him to come back to the church at this time that we, the missionaries, would speak to him. Our contact was the answer to his prayer, and we're beginning the proccess of helping him get things back in order. This is a great and marvelous work of miracles. Never underestimate the power of prayer.

We have had new investigators coming out of the woodwork! Lots of new people to teach of many different backgrounds. I'm excited to see what comes of our lessons with each of them. One woman in particular has touched my heart, her name is Flavia, she is 20 years old or so, cannot read, and has two beautiful little kids--a little girl named Micaela, age 3, and a little boy of 18 months, Ismael. She has had a hard life but loves the Savior and wants to be closer to him.

More words to come next week. I loved seeing the pictures of ice skating, love hearing about the shannanagins of the pets at home, love hearing your words of support and love. Give Janet D. my love, I will be praying for her to get well soon. And everyone else you see that I know, tell them I love them!

Hermanita Boren
mikayla reneela

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dia de los Magos (Day of the Orient Kings)

Dearest Family,

Four packages came this week! I hope you take this as a testimony of prayer, because your prayers have been answered rather favorably. This week I received another package from Jan Holiday, a lovely Christmas package from Dan and Jena, Your own Christmas goodies and treats (you just know me so well. Tapioca? Ties to give to the recent converts? Thanks for having me for Christmas this year, Jordan! I love you!) and a little fun package you sent clear back in august with all sorts of funness from the Pioneer party store. Oh, it was a delight. I received them at zone meeting and my companion and I opened them on the colectivo ride back to Cañada de Gomez. I think my favorite part about receiving packages is sharing what's inside with the other missionaries. It's like I can finally explain to them in something beyond words the kind of love you offer me, my sweet family and friends. I get to share with them a little bit of Boren and Harper and Jan Holiday kind of caring :) I began handing out the chocolate and sour candies and pixie sticks, and you would have loved the look on these missionaries' faces. Elder Quispe from Peru, Elder Sanchez from Mexico, Hermana Martinez my companion from Honduras, and Hermanas Rane and Carlson from the States all looked like little children on Christmas morning! When I handed Hermana Carlson a stick of zebra stripe gum, she exclaimed "I haven't eaten this since I was five!" And mom, the little individually packed peanut butter jiff things were perfect. It made is so easy to share, give each person a little container of peanutty goodness that we've been craving for months. Everyone was laughing and smiling and enjoying the stickers and wanting to see the pictures Corey drew for me. I am so grateful for all you sent, thank you for your love and letting me share it with these good, faithful missionary soldiers I care about so much. The packages didn't come for Christmas, but they came just in time for dia de los magos (day of the orient kings.) It's celebrated on January 6th here, a tradition they have is that the kids put their shoes out at night and in the morning the three kings that brought baby Jesus frankincinse, mhyrhh, and gold also bring little treasures for the children. Thank you for filling to bursting every pair of shoes I have! :)

There's two dogs of Cañada I've grown particularly attached too. The first is named Pirata, spanish for pirate, whom our neighbors own. He is always sitting outside, mosying about, every day--and is such a sweetheart of a dog. I always have to tell him "Hola Pirata!" And it makes his owners laugh. There's a stray dog that's a dark brown collie and reminds me so much of my puppy Captain Jack. He seems to find us on a daily basis and follows us for hours, he's even to the point where he nuzzles my leg and has waited outside  all 3 hours of church for us. I love him, and have named him "Roberts" for the Dread pirate roberts in Princess Bride. I figured I needed to stick with a pirate theme for all three. How is my dog doing at home? I get homesick for him with Roberts following us around.

I like to think God had me in mind when he created the animals. They are just a delight! All creatures of our God and king, lift up your voice and praises sing! Aleluia, aleluia.

This week was brilliant. I have loved every day, despite the challenges. Wednesday was Zone meeting, and our Zone leaders are so driven. They have such a wonderful balance between setting goals and improvement, with being grateful and cheering of the work we've been able to accomplish. We watched a short movie approved by President Giuliani called "The Butterfly Circus." I would encourage you to look for it on youtube family, it has so much heart. We talked afterwards about our worth as children of God and that truly with God, nothing is impossible. We also need to see the potential and worth of the rest of God's children, especially as we are teaching them, Members and Investigators alike. It was an uplifting meeting, and every time I am in a chapel filled with missionaries I just can't help but rejoice and think of how glorious this work is. The gospel is filling the earth, and I am humbled to be a part of it. We are preparing the earth for the Savior's coming.

This week we stopped by one of the nursing homes we had sung at for Christmas (we had some major christmas caroling service appointments in December) and enjoyed visiting with a man named Aldo whom we have talked with about the gospel on several occasions. On this visit we shared about the plan of Salvation, and he was so edified thjingking about life after death--he has lost a brother, son, and his spouse. After we offered the prayer he insisted to say a prayer as well. He began offering his praise to God to be able to hear his word and for the great hope we have to live with our families again after death. It is a glory and a wonder to hear these good Argentine people pray. Prayer is my favorite thing to teach and the sweetest communion with God, we are so privileged to pray! Whenever we are happy, troubled, sad, or excited--I just want to up and pray and share it all with our Father in Heaven.

We're still working with jimena and Jaun and their family. They didn't come to Chruch, but we're not letting that get us down. We've just got to reestablish the blessings they'll receive if they continue in the faith and help them to continue to read, pray, and progress.

There's so much more to say and no time :) So I'll just have to send another letter. I love you more than you know and pray for you every day. I am also going to be sending a little letter about Preach my gospel, I want to be part of family scripture study and love this book so much I thought maybe I'd send some of my insights. I'm not sure where you're starting to study, but I thought I'd send a few letters about my experiences with the Christlike attributes chapter.

Love forever and always, con MUCHISIMO amor,
Hermana Boren
Mickey Moo!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

24 Redhead Count

Dear Family and Sweet Friends,

It has been an awesome week. Firstly, my Redhead count got up to 24 this week. When I came to Argetina I started counting every Pelirojo that I saw, and I'm up to 24. Red hair isn't all that common in Argentina, and so of course I had to start counting. Everytime I see one I think of my sweet roomate Sarah McKneely. Love you, Sar.

I must offer my absolute congratulations and heartfelt love to Kelsey Jenson as well for her wedding!!! And congrats to the groom, Jason Pope! Oh, I love you Kelsey and I wish you the happiest of ever afters. I'm sending you a letter soon! Anyone have her address???

It was a beautiful week in Cañada. The sun was a little more forgiving and for the first time in 2 months  I wasn't a wet, sweaty hippopotamus when we arrived at appointments. I finally know what all the Pendragon books mean when Bobby talks about sweat falling and stinging his eyes, that's how much water happens when it's Argentina hot. But this week was rather cooler, a tender mercy! We have been contacting and tracting like crazy, at least an hour of tracting every day (I feel like I'm in Washington again and I love it!) and we're seeing some fruits. New investigators and follow up appointments. We're hoping to help this little town to fill the chapel with true converts to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To all of you who accompany missionaries to lesson, I hope you know that you mean the world to those missionaries. We're working to help the branch feel confidence and adequate to come with us to lessons, for some reason they just feel so afraid. We've started visiting the members in their home, put up a bulletin board in the church with pictures of lessons that we've had and activities we've put on, and are doing everything possible to gain their trust and help build their confidence. I was very intimidated when I started my mission--I had never accompanied a non member to church before in my life, and hardly knew what to say or how much to explain to my investigators--but the only remedy was practice. Now it feels like riding a bike when investigators come to church. It is always a lot of fun and we are filled with true happiness, but I know how to ride without training wheels. As soon as we start practicing with what we know, God blesses, consecrates our efforts. It's his work, not ours. But as we strive to build his kingdom, really, he's building us. (P.s., that was from the Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration movie. Not a Sister Boren original)

We are continually working with Jimena and her Family. Her novio Juan wanted to hear the lessons too, and so now we're teaching the whole family. They just need to get married and then they can be baptized! There is SO MUCH LOVE in this family, it is inspiring. Every time we teach a lesson I feel I am the one more edified than they. Jimena came to church yesterday and stayed for all three hours! She laughed during sunday school and cried during the testimonies of the primary children during Fast and Testimony meeting. She was full of questions after church and I'm sure she'll have more during our lesson this wednesday.

Other wonderful news: A 92 year old less active man came to church, his name is Hermano Coloccini.

Hermanas Rane and Carlson have a baptism this Saturday of 9 year old Uriel, son of parents who are members who don't come to church. He rides his bike every Sunday by himself, and rode himself on over for his Baptismal interview as well. He is such a rock and such an example to me, and bore his testimony yesterday too. I love the goodness of Children. Hermana Martinez and I are hoping to bring Jimena and her family to the Baptism, too. There is always a special and strong spirit at baptisms.

Keep the faith! Keep loving, serving, and pressing on, even when life gets hard. That's when we need to press forward the most. Missions aren't easy, but neither is life! We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we wanted this test--we wanted to prove to our God that we can do it! He loves me, and by golly I know he loves you!
Onward, ever onward!
Love, forever and always,
Hermana Boren

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Plato's Cave, Second Breakfasts, and How I Waltzed through Downtown Cañada with a Fan

Hello my Dearest Family,

Firstly let me thank each and every one of you that has sent me an email for Christmas. I wish I could respond but the hour and 15 minutes we get weekly at the computer just doens't give me the time. Know that I love you equally and receive so much strength from your words. I love you my dear friends and family!

Secondly, WHAT A JOY IT WAS TO SEE YOUR FACES ON CHRISTMAS!!! By golly, I don't know why it's taken me this long to realize how inspired and wonderful SKype is! Yes, Kylie Mae, I know you're laughing right now. But It was a beautiful thing to see your faces, hear your voices, and imagine a group hug. Knowing how the time flies for me know, I'll be there before you know it to hug you in person. I don't expect to ever stop wanting to listen to your voices and hear your stories. Yes, Mom, be rest assured that I will be wanting to live home in the fall. I can't imagine being away from you, my family, any longer! I love you very much! It was the sweetest Christmas. i could not fall asleep at night until 1 in the morning, i kept replaying every word each of you said. How blessed I am to have a family of Christlike people who love one another.

To explain the title. Hermana Rane and I have decided that the Gospel and our life on earth is exactly like Plato's allegory of the cave. The people inside the cave watching the shadows are the people in this world who don't know about the gospel. And the person that goes outside and sees the world, that's the person that finds the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and benefits from the blessings of the covenant of baptism and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We have a responsibility as people who have been oust side the cave and seen the beautiful world to share it with those of our brothers and sisters who are still inside the cave, inside the world. Hermana Rane and I, We have many philosophical and psychological discussions together, and I love it. She is a scholar and one of my dearest friends from the mission field. She is not my companion, but we live in the same apartment and work in the same branch, so it affords us many opportunities to talk and laugh.

Second Breakfasts. The other day I found my inner hobbit. I had my morning peach and yogurt while my comp was in the shower, and when she came out she prepared her signature oatmeal. I couldn't bring myself so say no when she came in to our room holding a steaming bowl of her delicious recipe. Companions are the best.

The third item of business. The other day Hermana Martinez and I had to look for one more piece of furniture, a fan to help us combat the incessant heat. So we went around town again, 3 months after our original adventure, and found an appropriate model. When the store manager asked if I wanted the display fan or the fan in a box, I misunderstood, and just pointed to the display fan like "This is the one I bought, right?" And as a result ended up walking through all of downtown Cañada carrying an upright fan til we got to our apartment. Hermana Martinez about died of laughter and embarassment while many people commented jokingly, "Tienen Calor?" "Are you hot?"  Oh, the adventures.

But for spiritual matters--Yesterday we encountered a man sitting outside on his porch, as many of the viejitos do to pass the time. He had a rather large bandage on his fore head and over his right ear. As we began talking and testifying of Christ, we invited him (Julio is his name) to join with us in a prayer. I asked if there was anything he would like to  thank God for in his life. He began to weep and told us, "I am grateful that I have facial cancer instead of body cancer. If I had had cancer of the body, I'd probably be dead. They had to amputate my right ear, but that's alright. I'm an old man. I feel bad for the young ones that suffer like I do. Thank him that I have cancer of the face, not cancer of the Body." I began to weep with him. What gratitude. I prayed, amazed, filled with love for this man and his optimism and his Faith in God. We testified of the resurrection.

Another few days back--we met a woman named Aidé, sitting outside in her wheelchair. She`s in her early 80s and in the past three years has had both of her legs amputated. She told us, "Aren't I so lucky that destiny touched me to lose my legs in the last part of my life, not at the first? I lost my husband when my children were small, and I couldn't have raised them if I had lost my legs then." Gratitude. I have so much to learn about gratitude. I feel so very often that Cañada de Gomez is like the waters of Bethseda, in the times of Christ's mortal life. So many people here, with hope to be healed, and faith in Christ, and enduring to the end. I am filled with light that through the atonement and the Resurrection, every unfair misfortune, every pain, every disability, every sorrow that we face, will be made up wholly and perfectly. Of This I testify.

Finally, I want to say that the Book of Mormon teaches us how to do missionary work. King Lamoni, after his conversion, takes Ammon to meet his father and the have a lesson. Right there is a member with lesosn and a member referral as well! How amazing! Not to mention where it talks about Abish running house to house, door to door to explain the good tidings of the gospel and invite the lamanites to come listen to Ammon and see the wonder of what happened to the King and Queen. There's a sister missionary going tracting!

I know that this is the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth. No other church upon the earth is so organized, so focused on serving the one, centered in the Savior of the world. No other gospel preaches to the ends of the earth, changing lives that were hopeless and frustrated, to filling them with redeaming and liberating light and redeeming love as does the Restored Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I don't just believe it, I know it, and to deny it would be a blaspheme before my God. I see his hand each and Every Day. I delight in plainness, I delight in truth, I delight in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from Hell. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hermana Boren