Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Bible

Happy Mother's Day in Argentina!  This we got to help with lots of Mother's Day activities and do service to help out some of the single mothers here in el Bolsón.  Form weeding, to feeding chickens, to cutting firewood, to cutting tress with a machete, we had lots to do!  But Hermana Lopez and I really enjoyed it and it was nice to serve some of the wonderful mothers here who do so much for us missionaries.  This week I was a lot better cutting firewood with an ax but unfortunately didn't have that same luck with the machete!  While cutting tree branches with the machete - everything was going great until a foot long piece of branch instead of flying forward when I cut it, flew back and hit me in the face haha ow it hurt a LOT.  But we all got a good laugh out of it when I stood up and realized that the left side of my face was swollen and my forehead had a bump the size of an egg haha.  Fun mission experiences!  
This week I was thinking a lot about how I can help the members, investigators, and less actives enfront their challenges and trials in life.  Lots of the people here in el Bolsón, and lots of people in general, have trials and difficulties that test their faith in the Lord.  But when we have an eternal perspective and understand the Plan of Happiness we will realize that everything that happens to us as children of God, is all apart of Heavenly Father's plan.  We will realize that we are not bodies with spirits, but that we are spirits with bodies and we are here on this earth to learn and progress.  So as the "floods and the winds beat upon us" instead of the natural man instict of asking "why is this happening to me?" - with the eternal perspective we will ask ourselves "for what is this happening to me?"  What is it that our Heavenly Father wants us to learn from this trial?  As we look back at our most difficult times we will be able to see the blessings and our very own personal growth that we have had; and instead of asking ourselves "why" we will ask "for what?"  I truly believe that when we understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the unconditional love of our Father in Heaven life is so much easier.  As Elder Uchtdorf said in the Women's General Conference, "God didn't design us to be sad, He wants us to feel joy."  God wants us to learn, progress, and be happy during our times of greatest doubt, struggle, and sadness.
I also would like to share my testimony about the Bible!  About two weeks ago I finished the New Testament which I abolutely LOVED; the stories of Christ are just so powerful.  And now I have started reading the Old Testament, reading about Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac.  Every day I read the Bible and Book of Mormon but what amazes me most is how these two books are really meant to be used together.  Before I only had a testimony of the Book of Mormon becasue I only focused on reading the Book of Mormon, but after studying the Bible a bit I have truly grown a testimony of this special book and how amazing it really is!  The other day I had just finished the story of Abraham and Jacob in the Bible and then 10 minutes later as I was reading in Alma, Captain Moroni had mentioned to his army the story of Abraham and Jacob!  So it was really cool to see the power of these two books working together and how both of them together contain the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know it is something super simple that took me a long time to realize, but I want to invite all those who only have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon to start reading the Bible in order to gain a testimony of this incredible book as well! Anyway, all is well here in el Bolsón and our investigators are just great!  We are seeing lots of blessings from our Heavenly Father and I feel so grateful to be serving the wonderful people here! :)

Quote of the week:
God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were.  He cares that we keep on trying.
Elder Dale G. Renlund

love you all soooooo much!!!!
Hermana Anika Van Boerum

Monday, October 12, 2015

Have Faith, Do your Best, and the Lord will do the Rest!

Hey how's everyone doing today?  This week was a great week and we were able to see lots of miracles with both new investigators as well as old investigators!
Bueno, to start off, I would like to share a little bit about Yenien and Elias. Yenien, 9, and Elias, 11, are brothers and they both have great desires to be baptized!  They live under super humble standards, in a home that is about ten feet wide and ten feet long, and sometimes their Mom- Silvina- doesn't have the means to even feed them!  But we do our best to help them out with the things we have and both Yenien and Elias are just darling because they never forget to thank Heavenly Father in their prayers for having a roof over their heads.  Anyway, I already love them so so much and I just know that they are going to be baptized!!
During exchanges this week I was with Hermana Bailey from Lehi, Utah and we had two really special experiences.  The first was with a less active member named Patricia who hasn't gone to church in 9 years.  She stopped going because she got offended by a few other members, but she promised that she will got to church the 25 of October!  It was great though becasue we asked her if we could do service for her and she told us that she needed help chopping firewood!  So imagine that, two gringas who have never cut firewood before, trying to swing a heavy ax!  We were all dying of laughter, including Patricia, and if I am being honest I was super super close to cutting my foot off haha. (sorry not funny Mom and Dad ;) ) I swung and completely missed the wood (what happened to my hand-eye coordination from so many years of playing tennis? haha) and then almost cut off my toes!  But we are all good so no worries there.  After, we were walking in the street and had the impression to talk to this girl named Jenifer.  We had never talked to her before but she told us to come right in and teach her!  We taught her the Restoration of the Gospel and at the end of the lesson she said, "Ya know chicas, normally I reject everyone who comes to preach something religious to us but with you guys it was different.  God told me to let you guys in and listen to your message and I'm glad I did!  Thank you so much!"  The lesson had gone really well and she even commited to being baptized in November!  So we are super excited and it was a good week :)
Saturday night I was just exhausted form the week because we had worked super hard.  Unfortunately that day I had let the tiredness get to me and I was also a little bummed because one of our most progressing investigators told us that he didn't want to listen to us anymore.  Fernando had listened to all the lessons and gone to church 8 times, but told us that he doesn't want to be baptized nor listen to us anymore.  Anyway, that night I prayed hard and asked Heavenly Father to forgive me for letting the tiredness and discouragement get to me that day.  As I was praying though, I felt the comfort of the Lord as a random phrase came to mind which said, "Have faith, do your best, and the Lord will do the rest."  It was comforting to hear that because lots of discouraging things happen in the mission, but that simple little phrase brought me the hope and confidence that if I just continue working hard and having faith, the Lord will do the rest.  So for all you reading this, don't stress out because life is hard, just have faith, do your best, and the Lord will do the rest!

quote of the week:
"No, God does not need us to love Him.  But oh, how we need to love God!  For what we love determines what we week.  What we seek determines what we think and do.  What we think and do determines who we are - and who we will become."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Mommy good luck in Haiti this week!!! You are such an incredible example to me and I look up to you more than you know :) LOVE YOU!! Also, Mimi, I hope your surgery goes well today!! Feel better, love you!! Oh, and thank you for the amazing package you and Bubba sent me!! Made my day!
Comp with ice cream

This guy paints on tile with just his finger
and painted the following pictures for me!
He did it in 3 Minutes!!!
One with my Comp and Me
One with my Family :) Love you Fam!!

Sometimes I think I am pretty funny and everyone was looking
at me when I took this pic  Ha Ha
Cool Statue though, carved out of wood.

Pic of me and the birthday gift mimi and Bubba sent me!
I Love you Both!!!
Thank You!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Best Weekend of the Year!

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful General Conference weekend and I hope you are all enjoying the wonderful fall weather and the beautiful color changing leaves! This week for me was great and I am so full of gratitude for our Heavenly Father and the blessing He has given us to have such incredible leaders in our church!
Some of my favorite talks this weekend were by Robert D. Hales, Dale G. Renlund, Russell M. Nelson, D. Todd Cristofferson, and David A. Bednar!  The main themes I took out of the words from God, given by these wonderful leaders, were the divinity of women in the church and that our leaders are truly called by our loving Heavenly Father.  It really was such a neat experience for me to see our 3 new apostles walk up to take their new seats in the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and as I watched them I could truly feel the Spirit so strong.  I just know with all my heart that they are the 3 worthy men who God wants leading our church alongside the prophet.  I sure am going to miss L. Tom Perry, Boyd K. Packer, and Richard G. Scott, but I know that they are now again with our Heavenly Father in a much brighter and happier place.  I would like to point something out though which is that in each of these apostle's last General Conference talks, they talked about eternal families.  For those of you who know me super well, you know that my family is the most important thing in my entire life, so it really is something special to me that the last few words of these 3 great men were about eternal families :)  I love it!  Overall though my favorite talk of this weekend was given by Jeffrey R. Holland about the love of a mother for her children and how it is the closest thing to the pure love of Christ.  I loved this talk so so much and I gotta be honest that I cried a little bit as it made me think of the wonderful motherly love that my mom has always given me.  It is truly a special love that I have seen in my grandmothers as well, and I feel so humbled and blessed knowing that this great love my very own mother shows me is the closest thing I can feel to the love of my Savior Jesus Christ.  Thank you Mom :)  
Everything is going great here in el Bolsón and our investigators are doing well! I will explain more about them next week when I have more time but for now our investigators are Silvina and her children, Fernando, the Conrado family, José, Sara, and Andrés!  They are all such great people and I have loved helping them my first few weeks here!
This weeks "quote of the week" comes from my good friend Elder Fuga who was in my MTC district about a year ago!  This week he wrote me a letter and he added in a quote that I really liked and I think it applies to all of us as we are all on the journey to return to our Father in Heaven.  Elder Fuga plays football for BYU (sorry Dad but go cougs!) so the quote is referring to a football player and how winning is done, or a missionary and how success is achieved, but we can also look at it as a child of God trying to make it through all his/her trials in life in order to make it back to their Heavenly home :) 
Elder Fuga said, "Remember, it ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.  That's how winning (success) is done (achieved)!"

Alright y'all, have a great week and I love you all so much!!! 
Hermana Anika Van Boerum
All my pics are from our pday last week when we went to Bariloche! Fun times filled with cotton candy, hiking, mountains, and handstands ;)