Monday, September 28, 2015

Peace and Love *** Paz y Amor

I had such an awesome week and I seriously love it here so much!! El Bolsón is such a special place and it is absolutely beautiful here.  My "title" of this email is peace and love becasue lots of people her are hippies and granolas and I just love it!  El Bolsón is a major tourist area but it is easy to distinguish the people who live her becasue they will usually have dreads, long hair, hiking clothes with hippy style, and they always talk about God being an "energy force within us" haha-it is the best!  Besides that though, I am surrounded by huge mountains, beautiful rivers, log cabins, and lots and lots of pine tress so what more could I ask for? I absolutely love El Bolsón.
The members here are great and we actually have a ward with about 120 people going to church each week!  A lot different than Chos malal!  Unfortunately we aren't going to have lunches every day here either though because lots of the members when they found out that I had celiac disease apparently decided that they just don't want to deal with that by having to cook a little differently haha but it is okay and we will see how things go!  Anyway, it is funny though becasue instead of the ward members asking me- "What part are you from in the US?"- they now ask me- "What country are you from?"- because they all say that my Castellano is really good and that I talk like a Latina!  My comp even though that I was from Columbia when she first met me!  Speaking of my comp, Hermana Lopez is just wonderful to work with!  Like I said last time she is from Argentina, and she is a great missionary!  She has a strong testimony, works super hard, and tries to talk to everyone!  I already love her so much and I kow that with our hard work, great desires, and the help of the Lord, we are going to see lots of miracles here. 
Being in a new area in the mission has made me want to recommit myself as a missionary in order to become more obedient, have the Spirit with me more, and do all I can to take advantage of the 7 months I have left here.  There are lots of things I am trying to do in order to accomplish these 3 things, but one thing I am trying to be better at is praying.  Everyday I pray about 18 times a day, but even as missionaries who pray a ton, we slack a little bit with our prayers and this is something that I've wanted to be better with!  So this week I have been making a big effort to have better prayers and actually talk to my Heavenly Father with more love and respect, and let me tell ya, we have seen lots of miracles!! New investigators, finding old investigators, and people just coming out of the wood work!  It has truly strengthened my testimony of the power of prayer and I know that the apostles were inspired when they put a big focus on prayer in the Liahona Magazine of last month.  I know that Heavenly Father loves us SO much and loves to hear our prayers.  And I know that he listens to every single one of you as you kneel down to pray at night :)
I hope you all have a wonderful week!!! I will now be emailing around this time from here on out but thank you for all your love and support!! I am so so happy here and I love being a missionary soooo much :) LOVE YOU ALL!
Hermana Anika Van Boerum

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Frozen Leaves Chos Malal!

Alrighty well I really don't have much time today and I couldn't write all day yesterday because I was traveling for about 15 hours to get to my new area in el Bolsón!!! Anyway, it is beautiful here and I am SO SO happy and excited to be here.  A new chapter in the mission and I am also super excited to work with my new comp Hermana Lopez from Mendoza! I will send pics of her next week :)

To fill you all in on my last week in Chos Malal: Okay starting with birthday!! The only thing we did to celebrate was buy ice cream which was fun but my favorite part of the day was when I opened my birthday box that my family sent me!! Mom, Dad, Jake, Toshy, Britty, and Torby I LOVE YOU!!! Seriously. So much.  Reading all the letters and seeing all the pictures you sent me of course brought me lots of tears (happy tears), but I am SO very grateful for all the love I could feel from you guys through your darling words.  Each and everyone one of you are in my heart always.  Wednesday night though Dante and his sweet family visited me with a few treats which was really sweet of them.  Thursday night we showed the movie Meet the Mormons in the movie theatre after spending the entire week passing out 500 invitations and inviting everyone in Chos Malal! Unfortunately only 10 people came in the entire city haha but I sure enjoyed the movie! Friday night was the night of Mica's baptism but sadly she called us the night before and said that she just isn't ready to keep all the commitments of being a member, so we canceled the baptism.  Saturday we had a talent show and I beatboxed while Elder Feulien and Elder Baldovino rapped haha.  It was super funny.  And I also sang Only Exception by Paramore and Wake Me Up When September Ends with Elder Sanchez! So fun.  Sunday was full of lots of tears and goodbyes but it was a good day and I sure am thankful to have known such wonderful people in Chos Malal.  After being there for half a year, I am never going to forget the people and all the happiness they brought me.  The definitely will be a part of me and my family for the rest of my life.

Whelp, I gotta go but I love you all and hope you all have the best week!!! Thanks again for more birthday wishes this week!! :)
p.s. Emi, Dante's darling daughter, calls me Frozen after the ice princess from the movie Frozen!!  that is why it says "Frozen" in the subject line of this email :) All of Dante's family call me Frozen and it always makes me smile.

love youuuu!!
Hermana Anika Van Boerum
My 20th Birthday

Dante and his Family.
Emi calls me Frozen

Talent Show

Hermana Huisar

My New Area

Monday, September 14, 2015

25th of May....and my favorite week of the year!!!

Hello hello everyoneeee!!!! :)

Well this was quite the interesting week!! Chos Malal is taking a hard hit from Satan right now but as Hermana Leal says, "Satan sure is going to fall soon."  Lately we have been dealing with lots of doubt from the members here and it has been really sad to see some fo these strong members giving up on what they truly believe and know.  Hermana Agustina, who has been a member for over a year now, told us this week that she isn't going to go to church or read the Book of Mormon anymore.  Both of her sons have been in huge accidents this past month where one fell off a roof and broke both his legs, while the other was in a car accident that threw him 30 feet from the car and he has had about 4 big operations on both his broken arms and his now disfigured face.  So now, Hermana Agustina doesn't believe that God is protecting her anymore and she has given up.  Another member, Gladis, is struggling as well because her teenagers (after being members all their lives) decided that they are sick of church and aren't going to go to church anymore.  On top of all that, we have one member who has already left the church this week and many other members/investigators who are doubting the gospel due to the false information being given to them from a church called the "25 of May."  The 25 of May is the "most popular" church here in Chos Malal and over half of the people here attend this church every Sunday.  I don't know how they do it but recently they have found almost all of our investigators as well as members, and filled them with lies about the Mormon Chruch.  Literally we show up for appointments that we have made with investigators, and leaders from the 25 of May are already inside the homes teaching them their beliefs, as well as telling them that the Mormon church is a sect and us missionaries steal basically it is quite the struggle!! We are doing our best not to get discouraged, but at the end of the day we invite everyone to pray and ask God about what all the churches have to say about us.  Not only that, God has given us our agency to act according to our will and desires.  Hermana Vilca and I are doing our very best and I have faith that in time the Lord and His work will be triumphant here in Chos Malal!  It truly is such a special place and I know that the Lord is going to bless the members of the church here in Chos Malal very soon.  

This week we started talking to this 18 year old kid in the park named Javier.  Turns out he is an old investigator of the hermanas, but we talked to him for a bit and he really needs a lot of help right now.  About a week ago he spent the night in prison because his best friend had left Javier with a stolen cell phone when the cops came, so Javier was framed and sent to prison!  He got let out the next day but he told us that he never wants to experience something so awful ever again.  Now he is living in the streets because his dad has a restraining order against him and now Javier doesn't have food, a job, or a place to live!  After hearing his story, we formed a plan on how we are going to help him learn the gospel and be baptized.  And then I bout him lunch because the poor guy hadn't eaten for two days.  Javier was our miracle of the week and I look forward to helping him change his life through this amazing gospel!

As a district we went to this grandma's house to offer service.  As we were cleaning, she tried giving us money but of course we as missionaries don't accept money! So we kindly said no and then she started stuffing pesos in the sweater of one elder, and in the back pocket of his companion's pants! We all were laughing super hard, but the funniest part for me was that it totally reminded me of something my grandma, Mimi, would do!!  Mimi I met your Argentine twin! :)

Happy Anniversary (tomorrow) to the BEST parents in the world!! I love you Mom and Dad!!!  And Happy Birthday to my big bro Jake on Friday :) I LOVE YOU! Wish I were home to celebrate our birthdays together Jake but make sure to eat an extra sushi roll for me :)  I hope you all have the best day ever and do something super fun to celebrate!!

quote of the week:
Do your duty and leave the rest to Heaven.
-Pierre Cornielle

Hermana Anika Van Boerum

LOVE YOU ALL!!! and p.s. thank you for all the birthday wishes this week, you are all amazing!! 

ps....WE HAVE RATS IN THE CEILING OF OUR PENSION!!!! I can't sleep at night sometimes because they talk to each other...and they are trying to dig a hole right above my bed hahaha AHHHH it makes me want to throw up a little just thinking about it.  My comp and I were dying last night because she saw one of the rat's eyes hahahaha oh my gosh it is super funny.  So basically the best birthday gift I could ask for is that all the rats in our ceiling die hahahaha..
okay gotta go but I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!! :)
Dante and Annabella this Sunday.
They are the best!!

Happy Birthday to Dante!!
We cracked a dozen eggs on him and then threw a bunch of flour
 all over him as well. So funny!! But to make up for it we had also made tacos
for him and his family as a surprise lunch.
As everyone was eating birthday cake, I was able to quickly shove a piece of cake
in Dante's face as well!!! It was a super fun day :)

Just a cute pic my mom sent to me for my birthday.
I love you Mom!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Elder Texeira from the Quorum of the Seventies

This Wednesday over half of the missionareis in the Mission Neuquén went to Neuquén City for a conference with Elder Texeira from the Quorum of the Seventy!! We were able to ask him whatever question we had, and through his stories and experiences he shared with us, he taught all of us the things we need to do in order to be better missionaries.  It was a really neat experience and he inspired me to do all I can to talk to every single person around me!  Some other things I really like that he said is that during our missons, we will always have highs and lows.  But if we learn from the lows to have great highs, our mission will be successful and will always be an "uphill experience."  I loved that because I think that it applies to life as well!! He also told all of us missionaries that of all the amazing things he has done in his life, (just so you know he was a mission president in Brazil, lived in Germany, can speak 7 languages, became one of the Seventy in the church, has talked to international government leaders, was the leader of the church missions in all of Europe, and much more!) the best thing he did was learn English!  Elder Texeira is from Portugal and he said that without knowing English, he couldn't have been able to accomplish all the amazing things he has done because not only is it an international language, but it is the central language of the church as well!  Super interesting and it helped a lot of the Latins to understand how helpful it will be for them if they study English in their mission!

His darling wife Hermana Texeira shared the scripture John 8:29 which says "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him."  She reminded us that we truly are never alone although sometimes we may feel that way, even in the mission!  Our Heavenly Father is always there.  And because our Father loves us, we should always do those things that please Him through our obedience as missionaries and members of the church :)

At the conference I got to see lots of good missionary friends and my old comp Hermana Huisar!! I also met a sister missionary who is now in my old area in Villa Regina and she updated me on Fabian who was baptized when I was there!  She said that he is doing great and still going to church which made me SO happy.  She also told me that all the members in Villa Regina have the photos up that I sent them of their families and I!! Definitely one of the best days ever :)

Whelp I hope you are all doing well and I love every single one of you!! My investigators are doing pretty well but we haven't seen much progression since they aren't completing the committments we leave them, but I will fill you in more on how they are doing next week!  I love being here in the mission and I couldn't be happier.  Keep being disciples of Christ and serving those around you, talk to y'all next week!

Fav scripture of the week:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God...
Romans 8:28

Quote of the week:
They do not love, that do not show their love.
William Shakespeare

Make sure to alwasy show those you love how much your truly love them!! I love you Mom, Dad, Jake, Toshy, Britt, and Torb!!!!! :)

Hermana Anika Van Boerum
Hermana Huisar, Hermana Christensen and Me

Hermana Eppley and Hermana Parris
Part of the group that got here with me in December

Elder Herrara, Hermana Huisar
From my old Chos Malal District

Missionary Friends

Selfie with my favorite Spring Flowers.
Happy almost Spring here!

Hermana Husiar and Me

I made Mom's sugar cookies to celebrate Spring!