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

Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm Getting Old, Rees!

Dearest Family,

I often heard my Grandpa Phil say to my Grandma Reesa, "I'm Getting Old, Rees!" on treasured Sunday Afternoons in their Highland Hours. As the years rolled by I think I heard it more and more often. This week I felt the need to say to someone, "I'm getting old, Rees!" My companion, who has almost the same time as I do in the mission, and I often lament that we're just not as young and sprightly as we once were in the mission. We get sick easier, our backs start to feel achy breaky from a year of carrying scriptures and pamphlets and water bottles to stay hydrated, and feet sore from walking miles and miles every day. Yet we have NEVER been happier in the mission field than we are right now! I think with our steadily tiring bodies, our spirits get ever stronger, and that's the best part. It's worth it. And someday we'll be resurrected anyways, right? One of my favorite scriptures I think of on days when we're really tired is found in Doctrine and Covenants, that we should waste and wear out our lives beating down Satan and his works and bringing our brothers and sisters to the light. Every sacrifice and tiresome day is SO WORTH it when its for this cause.

A couple Argentine things for you to enjoy:

Here they say "Principe Azul," or "Blue Prince" instead of Prince Charming.

A common term of endearment amongst older couples is "Media Naranja," or "Half an Orange." This means basically my half of self, my other half, or like Keith Urban says "My better half." I think It's darling.

"Macenudo." Its a word that means "Superb" and just hearing it makes me smile. Also used amongst people of an older generation. I just love old things!

Here in Argentina, when someone wants to sell a car, they don't go out to buy window paints or make a sign to post saying "For Sale." Nope, nothing like that. They simply fill an old water jug or 2 liter soda bottle with water and put it on top of there car. It's a universal symbol here that means "For Sale."

The weather here is much more liveable now :) The heat wave is finally leaving and we are beginning to enjoy autumn. I am so glad to stop being a sweaty hippopotamus. The tropical trees are changing colors and their leaves are falling, and the days get darker faster. I feel like it should be halloween time but it's only April . . . silly me!

Yesterday was General Conference! And also the 184th Birthday of the Restored Church. Yesterday Morning there was an absolute DOWNPOUR of rain, and because of that the broadcast connection was down. We couldn't listen to or watch conference until 10:30, and even then it was a last resort--they pulled the secretary office computer into the hallway and put the speakers on full blast. It was moving to see 60 plus Argentine latter day saints watch a tiny screen in absolute silence, sitting on folding chairs in a cramped church hallway listening to the words of the living prophets. Every day that passes here I realize more and more how blessed I am and have been my whole life. Never forget to count your blessings!

General Conference was like Christmas for us as missionaries. So much Spiritual enlightenment! Saturday Morning we went tracting in our 500 baptisms prayer sector of the day, and while walking back to the apartment and Evangelical preacher stopped us and began angrily shouting at us, saying that we were respecters of persons, that we didn't help the poor and needy like we should, that we were false prophets and that God would condemn us for our works at judgement day. It was just uncomfortable and kind of sad. Elder Holland's first talk on Saturday could not have had more perfect timing. We sometimes go through ugly experiences to defend what we know. But when we have the Savior on our side, we have no need to fear. All of our Recent Converts made it to conference except Sole and her kids (the twins might be coming this week!) and Humberto our investigator also came. It was an absolute delight to see so many new members--Dora, Rocio, Gabriel, Eric--Listen for the first time to General Conference and gain a testimony of living prophets. Good golly, I love being a missionary!

Preach My Gospel Study--OBEDIENCE. My dear Brothers Austin, Tyler, Jordan, and Corey, if there is anything I have tried to be an example of as the oldest kid in the family, it is Obedience to God and Obedience to our Mother and Father. As it states in page 122 of Preach my Gospel, "Obedience is the first law of heaven. IT is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand." I want to ear my testimony to you that it truly is the first law of Heaven. Heavenly Father has asked us to believe in him and his Son, and obey his commandments. I promise that happiness in this life comes from obedience to God. It leads us to have all of the other Christlike attributes if we obey with Faith in God and His Promises. "As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom." Obedience makes us free. Remember that when Mom and Dad ask you to do something. Halfway across the world I want to tell you that Mom and Dad know what they're doing! Follow their teachings, follow God's teachings, and you'll be truly happy and truly free.
All of the Scriptures on obedience are fantastic, but Make sure you read 1 Nephi 3:7. God Doesn't ask us to do anything impossible. With him, we can do anything and we can accomplish anything he asks. When we are obedient, we are worthy of his help.

Love you Mom, Dad, Austin, Tyler, Jordan, and Corey! GROUUUUUUUUUP HUG!
Sister Mikayla Boren