Monday, December 29, 2014

The Week of Navidad!

Hope you all had a great Christmas!  Christmas wasn´t the same here in Argentina without my fam and the summer weather, but I still had an awesome week!!!

Here is a little run down of all the fun this week: 
Wednesday= Christmas Eve!  As missionaries we had to proselyte until 6pm and then after  we had a big Mexican themed Christmas eve feast with all of the people in my zone!  It was tons fo fun and of course I loved it because we had TACOS for dinner :)  Also, we ended the night watching fireworks from the window of our pension!
Thursday=Christmas Day!  I woke up and opened a Christmas package from my fam and from Mimi and Bubba (my grandparents), THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU GUYS so much!!  You guys are amazing.  The rest of the day was a blast!  We played lots of games, played soccer, took pictures, ate lunch, played cards, all sorts of fun things but my favorite part of Christmas day was skyping my family! What a blessing that was to talk with my fam.  Best Christmas present I have ever received.
Saturday: A Christmas miracle, the baptism of Fabian Soto!!!!  Fabian is a 4 year old man that we have been teaching for the past 4 weeks.  He has a son and lives with his mom because both his father and brother died a year ago.  Fabian can´t read  or write, but he has a lot of faith and a strong testimony of our Savior!  Oh man this was one of the best days of my life.  He had the biggest smile on his face as he walked out of the baptismal font.  I feel so blessed to be apart of Fabian´s conversion and to see the joy and blessings he has already received after being baptized a member of the church.  I know I always say this but I truly love being a missionary.

Whelp, I don´t have much time left but I want to talk a little bit about New Years before I get off!  I´m sure you all have some New Years resolutions but I want to leave you with this quote from Dallin H. Oaks:
Following Christ is not an occasional practice, it is a way of life.  
I hope that before the year is over, we can all think about the things we want to leave behind this year, that will enable us to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ in the year 2015.  It isn´t easy but throught the Atonement of Jesus Christ we have the opportunity each and every day to start over and become more like him.  I love every single one of you and hope that you have a great New Years! ciao!

Hermana Van Boerum

Christmas with Hermana Perez!

Baptism of Fabian Soto
(I promise he smiles)

Skyping my Family
Love You Guys

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

He is the Gift, El es las Davi

Hola everyone!  I would love to tell you all about everything going on in Argentina, but Christmas is just around the corner! So instead, I want to share my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

First, I want to start with the words from the video, He is the Gift:

He is the Gift
The first gift was not wrapped, had no bow, wasn´t purchased online, or in a store.  The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift, a sacred gift.  It wasn´t gold, or frankincense, or myrrh.  It was a gift of love, and life, and peace, and hope.  Given by a father, to all his children.  And so loved you, and you, and every single one of us.  He gave His son.  He is the Christ, He is Christmas, He is the gift.  This Christmas season, discover the gift, embrace the gift.  John 3:16

I am so thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ.  It is hard being away from home for Christmas, but I am also thankful because I have never though about Christ and His birth this much during the Christmas season.  I feel so blessed to solely focus on my Savior and all that He has done for me.  I know that He lives, even after He died for every single one of us upon the cross of Calvary.  I know taht as He suffered and bled from every pore, He saw each and every one of our faces.  He knows how we feel no matter what we are going through.  There have definitely been two or three tough days on my mission so far, but everytime I start to doubt, I think of my Savior Jesus Christ which gives me hope and strength to continue pushing forward.  I know that through Him, we can feel clean and forgiven of our sins.  Because of Him, we can be resurrected and live in eternal glory with our Heavenly Father.  This is a gift promised to each and every one of us if we just do the best we can to be like Him.  I know that He paid the price for all of us and His grace is sufficient for everyone on this earth.  He was a man without sin in the midst of a sinful world, yet was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and be an example for all of His brothers and sisters.  He came to the earth to experience all the natural conditions of mortality, was tempted 3 times by Satan, and still never gave into temptation to those things of the natural man.  Christ had all the power in the world,  but he didn´t use this power for personal gratification.  He used it to serve others.  I know that when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He had the agency to say no.  But while on earth, He chose to only do the will of His father.  He was betrayed by His followers and sentenced to death, yet on the cross as He hung there, He asked our Father in Heaven to ¨forgive them for they know no what they do.¨  After His resurrection, His own people would ask ¨What are these wounds in thy hands?¨, the Lord would answer:¨Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.¨  His vicarious sacrifice was truly love-inspired.  We have all sinned and ¨come short of the glory of God,¨ but Christ makes up the difference for us.  He loves every single one of us and because of His grace and mercy, we can be happy in this troubled world.  Though I am miles and miles away from my family this Christmas, I am still so so happy because I know that through Jesus Christ, I will be able to live with them for all eternity.  I love my family.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I am more than grateful to have the opportunity to share His gospel and share this hope with the people of Neuquén for the following 16 months.  I know that He is the Redeemer of the world, and a light which cannot be hid in darkness.  He is the Son of God.  He is love, life, peace, and hope.  He is Christmas, He is the gift. 

Christmas is only 3 days away and I invite all of you to think of this question during this Holiday season:  What will you give to Christ this Christmas season?  Matthew 25:40 says: Verily sayunto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethrenye have done it unto me.
I hope you all have an incredible Christmas and take the time to think a little more about all of the blessings we have been given.  On Christmas Day, look around at all those you love and be grateful :)  Mom, Dad, Toshy, Britt, and Torb, I can´t wait to talk to you this week.  I love you guys so much.  
Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad.

Hermana Van Boerum

We were angels for the Ward Nativity
ha ha
Yes, I am wearing a baptismal dress!


Me & My Beautiful Christmas Tree
My Mom sent Me 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lovin Life in Argentina!

Okay first things first, I have the biggest smile on my face right now because I have been singing to Bob Marley and Ariana Grande for the past 50 minutes haha.  Oh man I am THANKFUL for the internet cafe´s music!! Family, Ariana Grande´s song came on (One Less Problem) and I got a little teary-eyed because it reminded me of when we saw her in New York!! But man, I am so so happy right now!

I only have about 10 minutes so I will try and fit in as much as I can!!!! So sorry!  

TOSHY!!!! Happy Birthday in 3 days!!!! WOOHOO pic for you attached to this email!! I love you and hope you have the best day ever!!  Do something crazy to celebrate!  Just kidding, read your scriptures to celebrate :) haha I love you!

This week has been so awesome!! I have worked my tail off but it has been a blast!! We had intercambios which is when you switch companions with other hermanas in the district and go with them for a day!! I went with Hermana Moreno and it was a blast!  I learned a lot from her and I am excited to use the things I learned to improve my area here in Godoy A!  I also gave my first talk in the mission fiel at the baptism for a girl named, Angie!  I talked about baptism and then at the end I gave her a bracelet (yes the bracelets you gave me mom) and attached a little paper to it that said ¨ancle su fe en Jesucristo!¨ which means anchor your faith in Christ!  Yes I take after my super creative, incredible, darling, mother!Anway, I was super nervous during the talk but I hope it went well!  

The language is coming along as well, I can understand most of the people and I am contributing a lot more in lessons and conversations with people!  I love Spanish!! 

This week we got to teach our two new investigators Diana and Nicolas.  Wow they are so awesome and so interested in the church!  We taught them with the elders on Thursday and the lesson was so awesome.  The Spirit was so strong and we answered tons of their questions.  We ended by singing Nearer My God to Thee and they absolutely loved it.  Wow I feel so grateful to be a missionary and enjoy the Spirit every single day I am serving.  

I am out of time but I hope you all are full of Christmas Spirit and having a blast!!  Right now in Argentina we are passing out cards that have the website for the video ¨He is the gift¨ and I hope you have all had the chance to see it! Yesterday when I handed out a card to this woman, it made me think about how my brother, my missionary cousins, and all my missionary friends are teaching about the same thing this Christmas, the gift of our Savior Jesus Christ.  My brother is in the Philippines sharing the importance of Christ this Christmas,just like I am. So cool.  I love it and I am thankful. 

Anyway, I am still SO SO happy and finally feel comfortable here!  I see the hands of Heavenly Father in my life daily.  Family and friends, I miss you all so much but I love you and I invite you all to think a little more about our Savior Jesus Christ this Christmas season.  Have an awesome week!

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! I love being a missionary!! Fam, LOVE YOU.
Happy Birthday Toshy Girl!!!
Love You!
Britty and Torb I Love You Too!!

Me and My Companion Hermana Perez
after a Huge Spring Rain Storm

The Beautiful Sunset I get to see Every Night.
I feel so Blessed Every Day.
I love Argentina!

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Am Alive Hallelujah

Okay so here´s the scoop:  This has been the craziest most difficult week of my entire life...for real...but, I am happy and I did some P90X this morning so what more could I ask for?  

Where to start where to start....I don´t even know.  P.s. for future reference, the keyboards in Argentina are super confusing and my spelling is probably awful now so no judgements!!

Anyway, yes I made it to Argentina! Wohoo.  I love it here.  This email is going to be so scattered but I will try and explain most things!!!

Last Monday we left the MTC, had three flights, and landed in Nequen, Argentina.  Lots of traveling. During my first flight I had the opportunity to talk to a Lutheran man about the church.  We talked for the full 3.5 hours and I asked him all of his thoughts on the LDS church!  It was really fun to hear his thoughts and bear my testimony to him.  He told me how even though he doesn´t believe in our church, he thinks that I am going to change lives and that he is proud of me. Of course I gave him a pass along card and he was so sweet about it.  This experience made me realize how awesome it is to just share your testimony about the things you love.

 I was able to talk to my parents on the phone in the SLC airport and then Torby and my mom in the Atlanta airport.  Wow.  I bawled the entire time!  Fam, I love you so much.  Seriously.  Please send Torben in a package for my Christmas present.

The mission home is awesome.  We were there for two days and President and Sister Lovell are amazing!! If you ever want to read more about the mish, google their blog, it is awesome!  Okay so Thursday night, we received our new companions and headed out to our new zones.  This was crazyyyyyy.  I had to say goodbye to my MTC companion, Hermana Houston, and it was just as hard as saying goodbye to my family before the MTC.  After she left, I bawled and my new companion didn´t even know what to do haha.  I felt bad but DANG.  It was so hard saying goodbye to my best friend Hermana Housty.  

My new companion´s name is Hermana Perez.  She is from Mexico, only speaks spanish, and she is awesome!  She has taught me lots of Espanol and we have already had tons of fun.  I will explain more about her later but I am thankful for her and she is great!

Okay, some fun things about Argentina.  I was my clothes in my kitchen sink. (no I do not think they are clean after I washed them today. ugh.)  Men are always whistling and honking at me but I just pretend not to notice. (MOM I AM SAFE I PROMISE!) The other day I was eating lunch at a member´s house andddd I found a yummy hair in my food.  Argentina has a totally different level of cleanliness and that level of cleanliness doesn´t exist because all of Argentina is dirty.  Seriously.  But, I love it and I am slowly but surely adjusting wahoo!  There are lots of dogs.  Most of the roads are dirt.  I get called ¨ flaquita,¨  which means skinny, all the time. I am in the Villa Regina zone and I love it!

Since I arrived in Argentina, I have seen miracles.  Truly.  We have been able to find a couple new investigators who are interested to hear more about the church and it is awesome.  The daughters of two different members both want to learn more about the church and are now our new investigators! Hermana Perez told me that they have always avoided the missionaries and that it is a true miracle that they are willing to talk to us.  Last night we stayed up talking for an hour and she told me how she feels the Spirit when she is around me and she thinks that is why she is seeing so many miracles, because the people here can feel it too.  She doesn´t know why, but she says that my presence and when I try to talk to people, that it brings the Spirit.  I don´t know if that is the reason, but I definitely have a true desire to share the Gospel with everyone in Neuquen.  My Spanish isn´t great, but I pray every day for the people of Argentina to see the light of Christ when we are talking to them.  I am so so grateful to be here and serve the Lord.  Best decision <i have ever made.  It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, and so so hard, but I am happy and I know that through my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can be better each day and get through those tough times.  

I truly am happy here in Villa Regina. 

Shoutout to the best companion in the entire world: Hermana Houston, I love you.  One thing I have realized on my mission is that I have found an eternal best friend and eternal sister.  You have been my family and will be my family for the next 17 months.  And you will be part of my family forever.  You have a special place in my heart Housty and thank you for everything!  Thank you for making me a better missionary and a better person.  Hardest thing saying goodbye to you, and I think about you every day.  But, you are AMAZING and I am so grateful that I was able to see you at Stake Conference.  Definitely a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father.  I love you Housty!

Okay peeps, I need to go now!  Hope y'all are doing so awesome and I hope you all are HAPPY. Be happy because Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that plan is the Plan of Happiness.  

Always remember: You is kind, you is smart, and you is important (from the movie The Help, not from me ha!)  I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  MOM, DAD, JAKE, TOSHY, BRITTA, TORBEN, I love you. I miss you guys so much.Christmas is soon and I can´t wait to Skype!

Hermana Van Boerum (ps no one can say my name here...not even my new companion...the other night our investigator who might get baptized soon prayed at the end of the lesson and said ¨¨please bless Hermana Perez and her companion that I don´t know how to say her name¨ hahahaha.  wow.  life is good in the Villa Regina hood. peace out!)
Me and My Best Friend Hermana Houston

My New Companion Hermana Perez

Cool Wall Photo Ha ha "More Love Please"