Monday, June 30, 2014

La Rica Chipa Pan

Hey Fam,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

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

Querida Familia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hermanita Boren

Monday, June 9, 2014

Querida Familia Mia,

Querida Familia Mia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 2, 2014

¡Super Verde!

Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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