Monday, March 31, 2014

I Tasted and Knew of the Goodness of Jesus

Querida Familia de mi corazón,

MOM!!!!! I am so so so so so so proud of you and the missionary experience you prayed for--and had! Taxi contacts are one of my favorites because it's a captive audience. Thank you so much for your example, for following the spirit and talking with Abdul from Afghanistan, and offering him a Book of Mormon after sharing your testimony about the reality of a loving God in heaven. Good golly, I wish I could have been there, but what Xenia said is TRUE. I am so proud of you and the missionary you are, in word, conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity (See Timothy 4:12). Onward Christian Soldiers!

There's a favorite song of mine that has come to my mind over and over and over again this week. I know you're familiar with it,

"I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason,
Leaving something we must learn. And we are lead to those
who help us most to grow if we let them, and we help them in return.
Well I don't know if I believe that's true, but I know I'm who I am today because I knew you."

Galinda sings this song in one of my favorite musicals, "Wicked." This is what I feel towards every one of you, and towards every person that I encounter in the mission field. There aren't coincidences! God plants people in our lives who shape us, help us become better, have wisdom to offer us. As we pass hundreds of people on the street and talk to hundreds of people each day in Paraná, I can't It was a joyful week. This week we had divisions with Colón, a little tourist town about 4 hours drive from Paraná, on the River Uruguay. And guess who is serving right now in Colòn . . . wait for it, drumroll . . . HERMANA ALICEA!! Oh my goodness it was such a delight to see her. There are four sisters in Colón, and I didn't have the opportunity to be her companion for a day (I had the privilege of divisions with her Companion from Ecuador, Hermana Macias) but I did have a few moments with her while I was with the other companionship of sisters, with Hermana Maza and Hermana Calderón. They have neighboring apartments and the four sisters in Colón are like a family. Hermana Alicea truly has become one of my lifelong verybest friends and seeing her and the miracles they are working in Colón gave me a new energy to keep working and loving and serving as they are ever doing. We sang our favorite hymns together "Come Thou Fount" "Be Still My Soul" "Homeward Bound" "We Thank Thee o God For A Prophet," etc. I am so blessed that she is from Las Vegas and won't be too far away when I return home. Family, I can't wait for you to meet her. You will love her so much too!

Hermana Diorio and I keep on keeping on here in Paraná, doing a lot of searching for new investigators and a lot of nurturing the recent converts. Gabriel, Eric, Soledad, Giovanni, and Stefano are all facing trials that come to many recent converts after their baptisms. It is hard to leave the world and enter the Church, they leave behind a lot of the customs and unhealthy relationships behind, having to stretch and grow to fill their new lives with the wholesome of the gospel. Pray for them, they have strong testimonies but need blessings and strength.

During 500 baptisms contacting these past weeks (see my email from the past week to know what I'm talking about) We encountered a delightful couple named Pipo and Adelma. They are in their 70s, and Hermana Diorio felt very strongly that we needed to talk to them. They were getting out of their car and entering their garage on the other side of the street at the end of the block, but we went with the prompting and scurried over to talk to them. They were just a delight, invited us into their home--Pipo held the door open for us like a classic gentleman--and had us sit in their soft chairs in their front parlor next to the garden. This is in the uptown Paraná, there`s a lot of different scales of economic status here. As we began to share our testimony of the book of Mormon, Pipo piped up and said "Tengo algo a mostrarles," and headed into his personal library for a moment. When he returned, he had two copies of the book of Mormon that looked like they were from the 70's and 80's period, one was light blue with an angel Moroni on the front. Apparently two different members gave him copies decades ago. We were flabbergasted as he began to explain he needed a little help understanding who Nephi was and why his story is important. We gladly explained that that's our job as missionaries to teach. So we gave Adelma her own copy and began to also testify of the Restoration, prophets, How we have the book of Mormon through the Prophet Joseph Smith, etc. It was incredible to see their eyes light up! We invited them to baptism and they resisted because of their Catholic roots, but we hope with General Conference this weekend that they will gain a testimony of the Priesthood and Prophets. We'll wait and see. Miracles.

Humberto showed up to church yesterday. We hadn't taught him for two weeks because he wasn't progressing, but he explained to us yesterday that he has felt different--an absence of peace--since he stopped coming and we stopped having lessons. He wants to come back and still has a desire to be baptized. We have hopes that he'll keep commitments this time and will be able to be baptized April 19th.

I love my companion. Hermana Diorio and I have service wars--one morning I'll sneakily make her bed while she's in the shower, and the next morning, she sneakily makes my bed while I'm in the shower. When I left for Colón this week I left a note on her pillow, only to find that she had written "I LOVE YOU" in my planner a few weeks before. It makes life so MARVELOUS when we love others and are loved by others. Like Dad always chose to sing in family night, "There is beauty all around, when there's love at home." It's true! The Mission Field is no exception!

I hope you enjoy General Conference this week! Enjoy the words of the living prophets. They are true servants of our Heavenly Father with his Authority to administer his Church. I am more than just a little excited, General Conference is like a Christmas Present for me. And how special it will be to have the Sunday Sessions on April 6th, the anniversary of when the Church was Restored on April 6th in 1830.

In closing, I have been studying in Mormon this week, and was brought to tears when Mormon explains in Chapter 3 verse 12: "Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heartñ and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for themñ nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts." Mormon was truly the last line of righteousness that there was amongst the Nephites, along with his son, Moroni. He loved when it wasn't easy to love and prayed for his brethren, but they continued in wickedness. I was also touched to know that God did not abandon his faithful servant. Mormon was worthy to have a calling and administer to others, but there were none worthy to be his home teachers, bishop, priesthood leader. Mormon explains in Mormon 1:15, "And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus." When Mormon was utterly alone in righteous doing, the Savior himself visited Mormon and administered to him. We have a merciful, loving God, as you and Abdul discussed in your taxi drive, Mom. He never leaves us alone, to the point that if no one is worthy to be our home teacher, he sends his Son Jesus Christ to minister to us. I testify to that love. I have been blessed all my life by worthy, Priesthood holding servants of the Lord, and they have been his hands in my life. I taste and know of the goodness of Jesus, too.

With much love and a hug and an Argentine kiss-on-the-cheek (p.s. prepare yourselves for those!)
Hermana Mikayla Boren

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Face Plant

Dearest Family,

The weeks fly faster and faster here in the Mission Field and at the same moment, so much has happened since I last checked in, that it would take a whole week to tell you about it. Remember that time we went to Disneyland and mom took over 1,000 pictures in one week? I feel like the mission field is that way, EVERY WEEK. And we still recount memories of every trip of Disneyland that we've ever had! You will still be hearing my stories of the mission field decades after I return. And Im sure that in the year and a half I've been gone, you, too, will have stories to tell me for a long time.

I'm sorry you had a hard fall in B'ball this week, Ty. I had a rough tumble this week too. I proved, once again, my inability to walk with grace :) As we were walking home from a lesson with Soledad, Gio, and Stefano I tripped over my own feet and face planted it in the middle of the street. Yep, you betcha, I totally biffed it, and ruing a red light, thank goodness. luckily I escaped wtih only a skinned knee and hurt pride. How embarrassing! This marked my third full-body trip and fall in Argentina, the first being in front of my apartment in Venado Tuerto and the second in the terminal in Rosario. Good times . . .

This week was a lot of door knocking and a lot of searching for NEW investigators and a lot of closed doors and not interested's. But it was nevertheless SO REWARDING. The first miracle came in a letter from my recent convert Darren T. in Gig Harbor and his wife Brandi. They are doing FANTASTIC, Darren is  cub scout leader in the ward and just received the priesthood. He and Brandi are planning a Temple Sealing this year! I couldn't have been more tickled pink for them. And so filled with the Spirit. It is a supernal joy to see people grow in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love them so much and pray always for their well being.

I also received an incredible pair of letters from Corey Joseph, who told me that he recently finished reading the entire Book of Mormon! I was so delighted to hear that, Corey J! I believe last year in the MTC I issued you and the other boys a challenge to read it ALL before I get home. To Ty, Jordan, and Austin--where are you at in your reading? You've still got 5 months :) Mom and Dad, you can be in on the challenge too! We'll celebrate with something special this September. I know this book is true and living by it's principles has blessed me beyond measure. Keep up the good reading in the best book there ever was!

Favorite moments of the week included a lesson with Soledad and her Kids. We had an object lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which included putting the steps of "Faith" "Repentance" etc. in a latter, using masking tape on the table as a physical representation. After about 20 minutes Giovanni, age 9 couldn't concentrate, and began peeling the tape from the table and sticking it on his face, to the point that only his nose holes and eyes could be seen, underneath a mask of masking tape reading "Fe" "Arrepentimiento" "Bautismo," etc. It was one of those moments of absolute, rolling laughter. I love kids!

Eric is doing great, coming to church faithfully every week. He came to church wearing the red checkered tie we gave him. We will be having a Family night lesson in his home on Saturday to help share the gospel with his mom and younger Sisters.

Our mission currently has a challenge of 500 baptisms for the whole mission before the end of April. To accomplish this immense goal (it's hard to find people to baptize in Argentina!) we have a plan of action given by President Giuliani, inspired by God. We chose a region of our area each day where we will be working, and pray separately in our Companionship for forgiveness from God and then inspiration to choose the correct streets to contact. We write our own, separate lists of 10 to 15 streets where we feel inspired to go, and then compare our lists with the lists of our companions. We end up with 3 to 5 streets in common, and from those streets we pray over again to know which 1 or 2 streets we should contact. The spirit takes a huge role in this process of elimination. When we decide on 1 or two streets, we prayerfully go to that area to contact each house we have time for. And we have seen miracles! Heavenly Father knows where his prepared children are. We have had a lot of miracles finding this week. It reminds me of following the spirit with Sister Young to know where we should knock Doors. We have found 5 new investigators this week in this way. We will be praying to help them be baptized in the month of April!

Preach my Gospel Study: HOPE. "Hope is An abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to you. TI is Manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance . . . when you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good." This paragraph shouts "MOM!" to me. Anyone that knows you, Mom, knows that your glass is more than half full, ALL of the time! I know that this HOPE that shines in Christ and the covenants you've made. I was raised by a mother who KNOWS (see Alma 56:47-48). It doesn't matter how many obstacles piles up in your way, you continue with this trust and confidence that "Those are wrinkles in life . . . it's gonna be okay!" Thank you for that constant example, Mom!
"The unfailing source of our hope is that we are Sons and daughters of God and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved us from Death."
See the Hymn "Press forwards Saints" along with 2 Nephi 31:20
Also see Ether 12:4,32--We need to have Hope to get back home.

Fun fact-- Hope in spanish is ESPERANZA. Beautiful word, huh?

Hermana Boren

Monday, March 17, 2014

Humble Heart

Mis Seres Queridos,

I had a humbling experience last week. During my language study I realized that my whole mission until this point I have been pronouncing the 'e' in 'JesuCristo' like the long e we use in English. In other words, I have been pronouncing the Savior´s name and the name of the Church WRONG my entire mission. It was a humbling moment to realize no matter how many leaps and bounds I have made in my ability to testify in the Spanish Language, I'm still imperfect and have leagues to go! So I have been practicing all over again saying the Savior's name and striving to evaluate the rest of my abilities to notice the flaws and try to polish them. Not just in the language, but in my obedience as a missionary, fulfilling every aspect of my calling, etc. It has been a good excercise that is helping me learn to rely more fully on Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ, and to have patience with my human failings.

It has been a busy but marvelous week. Part of my calling here in Paraná with Hermana Diorio is "Las Hermanas Capacitadoras," known in English as Sister Training Leaders. Basically we're the visiting teachers of the Northern part of the mission, and we have the privilege of doing companion exchanges or divisions with 30 or so sisters. We have two divisions weekly, and so it involves a lot of traveling which is really neat. I have the joy of not only learning from the incredible people of Paraná, but also learning from the other Sister Missionaries and the people of La Paz, Santa Elena, Sunchales, Rafaela, Galvez, Colón, Concordia, etc. It has been a humbling but treasured experience. This week I had the joy of doing a "Choque de Fuerza" in Galvez with Hermana Aragon, Hermana Ordoñez, Hermana Dean (who was a visa waiter with me in the WATAC) and my companion. We 5 sisters spent the day in Galvez in two companion ships of 3 and 2, contacting up a storm and teaching in every home that let us enter. We saw miracles! Something I've learned during my time in this calling is that when we are united in our Missionary Purpose of inviting others to Christ, we can teach in Unity with ANY companion, even if we have only known them for a matter of hours. It was like a sleepover that night with the 5 of us under the same roof, 3 sisters on the floor and 2 in the bunk beds. A total blast.

Church was an adventure yesterday! Soledad started having contractions in Sacrament Meeting, and 5 of the Relief Society Sisters soon had her in a classroom laid between folding chairs with pillows and ice on her forehead. Two brethren gave her a priesthood blessing and luckily the contractions stopped. Her little fraternal twins are only 7 months, and we are just hoping they make it to the 8 month mark. Many memories of my early childhood, when you were pregnant with Tyler and Jordan, Mom. :) We are delighted with the way the Ward is fellow shipping Sole and her Kids. They are well taken care of and it brings us a sigh of relief to know that they are watched over. The Relief Society Sisters held an activity to sew baby clothes for Sole's twins this past Wednesday, lots of little knitted booties and felt beanie hats and Argentine wunzies. It's gonna kill me not to be able to hold them--it's a missionary rule that we can't hold babies or kids :( But obedience brings blessings!

Eric is a rock. He was confirmed yesterday. Saturday we had a lesson with him, and when we turned to Moroni 6, we were so surprised to see verse 4 marked up. We asked him what he liked about that verse and he began to offer his testimony of the importance of coming to this Church and the way it has changed his life. His backpack was open and spilling it's contents onto the floor, I glanced down and saw the Gospel Principles book, all of the pamphlets from our missionary lessons, and--I couldn't believe it--even a copy of preach my gospel. Miracles!

Preach my Gospel study for the week: KNOWLEDGE.

Paragraph #1--Seek learning by study and also by faith. See D&C 88:118. We've got to seek learning out of the best books, and have FAITH in the principles we learn. The best books we have are the scriptures and the words of the living prophets--the conference edition of the Ensign magazine. Heavenly Father asks us to gain an education of Science, History, Math, etc. too. See D&C 88:78-80. When we fill our lives with learning, we are far more able to serve the Lord. I cannot begin to list the many skills I learned from my parents that Have been to my benefit and advantage in serving the lord on my mission. mowing lawns and weeding for service in Gig Harbor, Washington. Maintaining a clean house despite the daily hustle and bustle--always cleaning the sink as the "last dish." Handling finances in a budget--it works just as great with Pesos as it did with dollars. Even down to reading scriptures out loud, on a regular family study basis, it has helped me here learn and grow tremendously in my Spanish pronunciation and literature as I have practiced aloud in habit. We ought to take every opportunity to learn life skills, ask humbly those whom surround us to teach us what they know, and seek learning by study and by faith. Faith is an essential element of ALL learning. When I study Spanish for 30 minutes daily, I have to foster faith that Father in Heaven will Help me Remember what I've studied and apply it in order to teach His Argentine Children.

My examples of Knowledge is my Father! My Dad is always learning something new--whether it's a new software language for computers, how to create his own app, creating a new furnishing in his wood shop, reading a new book, etc. My Dad is always learning! He has so many life skills it astounds me. He knows how to frame, how to sheet rock, how to fertilize the grass just right so that it comes up greener than St. Patrick's day in the spring. My Dad is also so apt to teaching by doing, an essential attribute of a true teacher. My Dad taught me Algebra by helping me DO algebra, and giving me homework sheets in the summer to help catch me up and prepare me for the following school year. He gets up early Saturdays to get our house and yard in order, and oft times has awakened us at 7 or 8 o clock Saturdays to help us get to work. Sometimes, Dad, I loathed waking up. You know that. But I can't thank you enough for the work ethic it has given me in the mission field. We do hard things, we get up early, we work until we do a "Dad" job and we do it over when we're lacking quality--but the rewards are beyond describable. And I am forever grateful for that. The hard work paired with knowledge and learning has helped me realize that I can do it!

Paragraph 2: How can scripture study help us gain a testimony? Also see D&C 42:61, Alma 17:2-3.

"Peter Lists knowledge along with Faith, Patience, Kindness, virtue as necessary aquisitions for a divine nature." -Bible Dictionary. See 2 peter 1:3-9

I love you my family! Keep working hard at work worth doing!
Hermana Mikayla Boren

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Will Never Be the Same

Dearest Family and Friends,

I heard an EFY song for the first time this week that says the following:

"I will never be the same, I have felt his love and there's no looking back.
There's a fire that will remain, it's written in my soul, is a witness of my own
My faith is taking root and I've tasted the truth. I am forever changed,
And I will never Be the Same."

This song explains exactly what I feel in the mission field. I love the Savior. I have tasted of his love, and it is sweeter than I ever imagined!  And I will never be the same. I've got to keep strong and keep on in my faith and Testimony. I know that reading the scriptures and prayer and continual discipleship MUST be part of me forever!

Some wonderful letters from home this week. Thank you to all who support me and love me and write me your miracles and adventures from home. The Thackers, Sister Ashley Brown, Sister & Brother Holiday, The Gurney Family, and my Family--I love you! Also, Mia Sandberg, I got your letter a few weeks back and I am sure excited to meet you too! Thank you for thinking of me, my sweet new neighbor!

Argentine moments: Yogurt comes in a liquid form here. Almost as liquidy as milk. When it spills you feel you've just had a Klingon war and when you drink it in a mug it looks like you're going to majorly overdose on PeptoBismol. But it's delicious, and is my typical breakfast. Hermana Diorio has had some Kidney problems lately and to help her feel better the Doctor recommended that she eat flour and sugar sparingly. I have been trying to be the supportive companion and accompany her in avoiding anything with gluten or sugar, and have lost 8 pounds during my time in Paraná. WOOHOO!

It has been a rewarding week. Gabriel has done a complete 180 degree turn. This week we were on a street corner at night trying to call down a taxi after a Family Home Evening with the Coria family, and when we couldn't get a ride, he began walking taxi to taxi in the pouring rain at the stop light, asking if they were free, and when the cars were rushing by he was whistling and trying to call them down and saying he would accompany us home if we couldn't get a taxi. Hermana Diorio and I just kept looking at each other like "Is this really Gabriel?" He has become a gentleman all at once. This week he came to church for the first time in a white shirt and tie and we were absolutely delighted. He is making leaps and bounds of changes. I so hope he can make it to the temple trip they're doing this month in April so he can be baptized for his deceased father. It's quite a pretty penny and so I hope he can make it to Buenos Aires with the ward. Take advantage of having temples so close to home! I am jealous, I wish we had one close in Argentina!

We have had quite a miracle in Eric Martinez as well. I wrote in my journal March 9, 2014 "Today Eric Martinez entered the waters of Baptism. He is such a miracle. We met Him 3 weeks ago today, when Tatiana first brought him with her. Tatiana Coria is a young lady of 17 years in our ward, the reserved and lovely daughter of the Coria Family. She is 30th of my 33 redhead count. Eric is her 23 year old boyfriend. In our 2nd lesson he interrupted when Hermana Diorio began to invite Tati to pray, and said that he wanted to say the prayer. It was startling because He is such a quiet guy. But he offered a beautiful prayer, thanking father in Heaven for the oportunity he has to be baptized. It was one of those moments when the spirit REIGNS. Strong and present. The same lesson he explained he was reading in 1 Nephi 17, and during the week he had been confused in one of the chapters he read. he sent Tatiana a text and she invited Him to say a prayer asking for more understanding. He read the next chapter and it cleared up all of His questions. He explained that He felt that was a definite answer to His prayer. Oh, it was an incredible moment. The Book of Mormon is True!"  Eric was Baptized this past Sunday and will be confirmed this coming Sunday. We have people coming out of the woodwork wanting to be baptized. Have I mentioned how much I love Paraná!?

Hermana Diorio and I are RE FELIZ because we will be staying together another transfer. I don't know what I'll do when I'm without her. Throughout the mission It is just depressing to have to say goodbye to a companion you have grown to love (I have been lucky to have loved all my companions by the end of our time together) and each time it becomes harder to change companions. It makes me relieved that someday when I get married I can just keep the same eternal Husband companion forever and not have to change for any transfer :) We are staying here in Paraná!

I am short on time so I will save my preach my gospel study for the next week. know that I love you and pray for each of you. I'm going to have an E.T. moment here, BE GOOD! Do the righteous things and keep loving the Lord, and you will do as the People of Nephi and "Live after the manner of Happiness."

Much, much, much love,
Hermana Boren

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dr. Francisco Soler

Dear Mom and Dad and Austin, Tyler, Jordan, and Corey,

Our Street name is Dr. Francisco Soler. I feel like we should be in a scary story book living on a street with this kind of name. It makes me smile, and I can just picture you Dad reading a story in a pale-green-pants accent about a young girl who lives in a village of bizzare people, off a big river in South America. ;) Love you!

It's been a rewarding week. I can't explain how much I love my companion, Hermana Diorio. She is an absolute "Amor" as we would say here in Argentina.  Who was your favorite companion, Dad?  I know you had some rough ones, like Positive Mental Attitude, but who was your favorite? I feel so silly for having never asked you more about your mission, Dad. What Advice do you have for me in my last stretch of the mission field? Advice for living in a foreign country? For patiently perservering? I would love to hear some of your mission stories again now that I'm in the field, and I can relate so much more! I think often of your cockroach lint-ball when I see a cockroach in our apartment and frantically look for the broom to attack it. So many stories we'll have to share when I can return, so many I have to hear from you and so many to tell. Write me a few Japan Stories if you have the time.

My Preach my Gospel study for this week is on Virtue. Paragraph #1--"Virtue originates in your innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards." Virtue, from what we see here, is the Good that we do and are in our inner selves. We learn in the scriptures that we will be judged someday according to our works and the desires of our hearts--not just our outward expressions of discipleship, but our inward expressions as well. I believe this falls in line with the way we think about other people in our minds, too. If we outwardly serve someone but inwardly retain a resentment or frustration towards them, that kind of makes our thoughts like a worm eating away at an outwardly pleasing apple, isn't it? We need to maintain virtue of thought in many ways, but kind thoughts to others--and kind thoughts of self/being patient with ourselves too, are so necessary, so we can have pure white insides to match our outsides. See D&C 38:24. My favorite line is the last one of this paragraph-- "What you choose to think & do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue."

Corey Joseph, you are my example of Virtue. There is no question in my heart or mind that you are thinking pure thoughts! You are far too busy thinking of constellations or your next homemade board game or the rotation of planets or a story premises from your latest book to entertain impure thoughts. And when you are alone, you are far too busy writing thoughtful heartfelt letters to me or to other people, jumping on the trampoline, etc. to entertain any kind of impure action. I hope you know that your kindness, your desire to learn from the best books, and follow what the Savior would have you do is an example of Virtue for everyone you meet. I want to be more virtuous as you are, and my earnest prayer is that you will never loose this attitude of Virtue in your life. Guard it, keep it, and let your light so shine with Virtue to the world forever and always! Staying firm in the gospel and following the counsels Mom and Dad give you will keep you clean and white and virtuous.

Paragraph #2--"Virtuous people are clean and pure spiritually." How do we clean ourselves up spiritually? The repentance process--and our opportunity to be baptized and to partake of the sacrament--gives us the chance to be clean again. That's why going to church each Sunday is so important. We put our faith and agency in God's hands as we repent and partake of the bread and water. In doing so, God makes us clean again and helps us have the strength we need to protect our Virtue throughout the week. But we make mistakes, from   Monday to Saturday, and in order to protect our virtue we must return again and receive divine help through the Sacrament. Without it, we are more and more vulnerable to fall into temptation. What other suggestions does this paragraph offer about virtue and being a virtuous person?

Paragraph #3--How do we protect our minds stage? Hum your favorite hymn is a good way to start.

We live in a terribly wicked world. I see the effects of sin and the lack of virtue that comes from lives straying from the gospel and desperate searching for happiness amidst wickedness. My dear family, I want to testify of the miraculous power of the atonement as I have seen Men and women of Argentina and Washington cast the world aside and become Virtuous as they have kept the law of chastity for the first time, left behind coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol to keep the word of wisdom, taken off work to attend Sunday meetings & keep the sabbath day holy, read the Book of Mormon, and become fully clean through the waters of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Repentance is real. Virtue is real. It is my prayer that we can be a standard of virtue for all those that come in contact with our family.

2 peter 1:3-7 -- what does virtue ultimately lead to?
D&C 25:2 -- What rewards come from virtuous living?
Article of Faith #3--What should we seek?
D & C 121:45-46 Where does true confidence come from?

I love you 6 people with all my soul! Never forget that. There are reminders of you everywhere, and it keeps me strong remembering the solid, Virtuous people that you are. Never lose sight of the real goal of this life, we are here to prepare to return to live with Heavenly Father. Death isn't it. There's a lot more to go after this life, and we need to be ready for it. If you don't know if the things I'm telling you are true, or if they seem nothing more than just a good idea, I want you to take a chance and read the Book of Mormon again. Think about what it teaches and compare it with the world and what the world teaches. And I invite you, too, to offer up a silent, but sincere prayer, to ask God if it is true. I promise he will answer. It might take a lot of reading, and a lot of pondering, and a lot of battling--but you will receive an answer! I know the Church is true. I am a Mormon--I know it, I live it, I love it.

Love, forever, Mik!

Crocodile Patties

Wow, i don't know why but this letter didn't send, it was just chilling in the drafts. Happy reading!!

Dearest Family and Esteemed Friends,

There's a little town up the Paraná river called Santa Elena. I had the privelege of doing divisions with one of the Sisters from Peru, Hermana Siapo, in this little town this week, and discovered that they make milanesas de crocodilo, in other words, crocodile patties there--cooked like chicken fried steak. I didn't even know crocodiles live in the Paraná. Argentina. New things to be seen and learned every day. I love serving a mission in a foreign country because it's really taught me to CHILL OUT. We see so many strange things every day that it's just taught me to go with the flow and just rejoice in the oddities of life, like street jugglers that juggle in between red and green lights to earn a little money, the greasy shirtless tire-changing man who we pass every day, horse drawn wagons that pull up next to a corolla in the street. All kinds of everyday adventures! :)

This week was truly a miracle. Every day I have woken up so much more excited to be awake than to be asleep, and gone to bed wanting to hurry up and wake up again to see more miracles. I wish I could describe it. Life in Paraná is like living a storybook. It's far from easy, but it is so much fun! I love how the gospel makes life not just livable, but full of joy and adventure and memories and lots of love. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY, and I love Paraná, and I love my companion. I have a desperate, hopeless wish that I can just serve here for the rest of my mission. We'll wait and see.

Saturday was the baptism of Giovanni, Soledad, Stefano, and Gabriel. Words can't describe the joy. It was a wild day, full of looking for keys to fill up the baptismal font, later cleaning out crickets and cockroaches and spiders from the font, filling it up, talking with the stake members who had a stake-wide youth activity the whole day before the baptism and trying to convince many of them to stay and offer support, running back and forth between the church and our apartment getting white clothes organized for 4 people of various sizes, cooking pizzas and cake and banana bread for refreshments, making phone calls because many people canceled on us to give talks, etc. Needless to say there was a LOT of opposition, and we had even been planning and preparing all these things for the whole week! Mom, I don't know how you did it for our baptisms. So beautiful, so organized, with marvelous music and talks and books for people to write us notes in, etc. THANK YOU! But it all worked out. At 6 o clock, everyone began arriving at the church. Gabriel was first, and he just grinned. He has changed so much, and the punk in him is turning soft. He got changed into his baptismal clothes, and when he came out all in white instead of his torn up jeans and polo shirt, my heart rejoiced! I felt the spirit so strong and sent up a prayer of gratitude and mutual rejoicing with my Heavenly father. He had taken out his eyebrow piercing and everything. He looks really serious from the pictures, I wish you could just see him smile.

Mario B., my recent convert from Venado Tuerto, ended up giving the talk on Baptism. Another moment of happiness :) To see this miracle of my early months of the mission standing strong in his Faith.

Soledad--What an ALEGRÌA filled my heart to see her in white with her large, round pregnant tummy of twins. Her little boys were so excited to enter the waters of baptism to, we had to all but hold them back so their mom could go first. She was all smiles as she walked in to the warm water, and so calm. Her little 4 year old Adriano wanted to climb in, too! The spirit was strong, there was a peace amongst all who watched This mother enter the gate. Her two sons followed, and Giovanni is still so little that the water came up to his neck. They were all smiles. Gabriel was baptized last, and the joy that filled me to see my Spirit Brother be washed clean--there aren't words supernal enough to describe it. He had truly repented, and left his old self behind to become a new creature through the atonement of Christ. After the baptismal service, Elder Vergara gave him a hug and asked, "Como se Sintió? Bien?" or "How did you feel? Good?"  Gabriel smiled and said "Mas que bien." "More than good." We got talking about learning languages, and Gabriel told me I'm getting better and better in my Spanish. I told him it'll be the same for him with a language if He goes on a mission to another country someday. Elder Vergara asked him "Servirá la misión?" "Are you going to serve a mission?"  and Gabriel responded "Si, por que no!" "OF course!" I about fainted again of happiness. The Ammon effect has had a real hold on my lately!

Soledad gave Hermana Diorio and I a gift yesterday, two pencils. She began to get a emotional as she explained that they are two pencils with erasers on it, and she thought before she found the gospel that once something was done and written and said in life, there was no erasing it. She expressed her gratitude to have learned from us that there was a way for her to be clean again and erase the mistakes of the past, and start new. It was another supernal moment.

God is Good! We have challenges, we have moments of weaknesses, and we have personal Gethsemanes. I want you to know, I want to testify, that God also gives us moments of Celestial glory in this life. They are his tender mercies to us, to help have the joy as promised as a result of Adam`s fall. I experienced a little piece of Celestial Glory this past weekend.

Study on Preach My Gospel-- DILIGENCE. Paragraph 1--What type of work is diligent work? This paragraph expresses later that diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. My current calling in the church is to be a missionary, so this applies to me. But if you take out missionary and put in any other calling, it means the very same. Diligence in your work as priest`s quorum president or passing or blessing the sacrament or young women`s leader or nursery teacher or webelo´s leader in scouts or home teacher or visiting teacher or Bishop or organist--diligence in every calling in God´s church demonstrates our love for Him, and each is highly important, because in each calling we are serving, directly, one or more of God`s children. And when we are in the service of our fellow beings . . . I know you can finish this line with me . . . we are only in the service of our God. The last part of the paragraph states that "when you are diligent, you find joy and satisfaction in your work." This goes with any work, but especially on the Lord´s errand. My high school choir teacher, Ms. Lois Johnson, once taught me "doing something really hard and doing it really well, that's real fun." I feel that this line describes perfectly the work in the Lord´s kingdom. It's hard, but when we do it well--we do so diligently--that's true fun.

Paragraph 2--LEts take a look at D and C 58:27. This goes for not only the Lord's kingdom, but our little kingdom of the Boren bunch on C. Drive, doesn't it? We do and should do many good things of our own free will to glorify God & bless others. We must also work when we are tired. Sometimes I am BEAT when we come home at night, having walked at times 11 or 12 miles in the day with hours without sitting down and talking with dozens of people. And when we come home there are still clothes to fold and phone calls to make to investigators and dishes to wash. I have come to accept that If I want to be a diligent servant of God, I will NEVER stop being tired. But we can pray for guidance /strength in all things, all our righteous efforts. And we WILL receive it.

My example of diligence is JORDAN PHILLIP, my Brother. Jordan, remember the Basketball season of 2012-2013, right before I left on my mission!? Your poor team was getting creamed when you started. And I remember you initiating practice after practice with Ty, Jordan, Jake, Josh, and the rest of the Gang in the church. You would go after school, on the weekends, Saturday afternoons at times for 3 or 4 hours at a time. Your Diligence in bettering your game was a serious drive for you and for the other boys. You kept practicing and kept going, and though you lost every game before I left, you won almost every game after I left. You were killing it out there! I was sad to miss seeing your hard work pay off, but so proud of you and the work you and your team did, the diligence and hard work and HEART you offered. You didn't give up or get discouraged, you saw the goal and you went for it. I hope you will guard this Diligence in your heart always, bud. Keep being diligent in making us smile with your marvelous jokes, your incredible comics that I treasure in the letters you send, diligence in your church callings and your responsibilities as a Teacher, diligence in your school work, diligence in your work and love in our home. You are my dear brother, my friend, and my Diligent example.

Scriptures: D&C 123:12-13 Why diligence in God's work is so crucial. Save our brethren and ourselves from the bonds of sin.
D&C 123:14-17 Why we CAN be diligent, why we MUST be diligent.
D&C 10:4 For when we are tired
D&C 127:4 For your diligence in Temple Work :)
Mosiah 4:26-27 How diligence relates to Agency.

I love you ALL! Giant group hug from real far away. In 3 days I will have had 1 year entirely of the greatest adventure and blessing in my life. Thank you for your support and love during my mission, lets make the next 6 months the best yet!

Hermanita Boren