Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Everyday Is Fantastic Because I Am A Missionary!

(September 15, 2014)
Hola, hola! What a week! Man, it was rough!! But it’s all good. Hermana Gomez and I keep pressing forward. Some days are hard, but every day is fantastic because I am a missionary! I love it. I celebrated a month on the mission on the 13th! My first month in Chile literally flew by! It is still really hard to understand the people here. Haha I pray for patience every day. It’s gotten easier. I love being here in Chile! It’s so great. 
Hermana Mittleman & Hermana Gomez

We had a Zone Conference on Thursday. Elder Resek from the Seventy (I think) came and spoke to us, as well as Presidente and la Hermana Wright. Elder Resek is from Argentina, but he didn’t really have a heavy accent, and I was able to understand most of what he said. I got to sing in a little musical number with some hermanas. It was nerve racking!!! And my prayer went well!! Simple and short! Haha good times. Elder Resek spoke about how we need to teach with power as missionaries. The message we have is so important. We need to study hard and prepare well so those we teach can feel the truth of it. It was a powerful meeting. As the closing hymn, we sang Yo Se que Vive Mi Senor (I Know that my Redeemer Lives). Of course I thought of my dear abuelita Ana! I miss her, but I feel her close to me here in Chile. Especially when we teach little old ladies. I can just see her sitting next to me rolling her eyes as these little old ladies go on and on and on about their lives and what not haha. 

On Saturday there was a huge stake fiesta celebrating the 18th of Septiembre, which is a big holiday here. There was a lot of meat and empanadas. Each ward put together a little skit of dancing. It was fun to learn more about the culture of Chile. All the ladies had on these beautiful dresses. Love it!!! The traditional dances were so presh and legit! It was raining so hard! Everyone was packed into the cultural hall. After the activity Hermana Gomez and I, and Hermanas Huber and Alcantara helped clean the chapel for Sunday...it was pretty dirty. I loved being able to serve and beautify the chapel. 

Sunday was good. I have a little cold, so I woke up feeling exhausted and a little miserable. I was crying a little bit before we left for church. Stress, sickness, and homesickness.... However! Church was awesome. Sacrament meeting was awesome. I pondered on the Savior during the Sacrament, and I felt the spirit very strongly. Often the Savior does not take our problems away, but he gives us the comfort and love we need to endure!! We can always access His love and mercy. He is never far away from us. I have learned this for myself while here in Chile. I have had to rely on my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much! I know they love us. So for lunch on Sunday we went to la case de la familia Ortiz Cortes. They have this huge house! It’s so nice. And they are both so nice. They have two hijos who are probably like 10 and 8 or something. They remind me so much of my cousin Brody!! All they want to do is play and run around hahaha. They fed us lasagne (spelling?), chorizo, carne, and ensalada. Hermana Gomez and I were so full after haha! They even gave us ice cream! It made me feel like I was home in California with my dear family. Miss y’all. 

I am doing well! I love being a missionary! I am learning to be more like my Savior. Hope you all have a lovely week! Remember who you are! 

Hermana Mittleman

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Was Thinking In My Mind Like "Oh No! What Did I Do!!"

(September 8, 2014)
Hola! Love you! Happpy Birthday Mom!!! Wish I could be there tomorrow! Eat cake and enjoy the day!! I sent you a card in the mail. I hope you get it this week!! 

This week went by soooo fast. The time just flies by here! It`s so crazy! Last P Day we bought a pizza at Papa John`s haha. It was soooooo good. We had a Noche de Hogar Monday night in a home of a less active member`s home. She is older, and her mother has dementia. She takes care of her, and she is unable to come to church. We watched The Book of Mormon: How Rare a Possession. It was great! I think the Switzerland Temple is in it at the end, and it made me think of Dad (hey, Dave!). So yes, yes, I am a missionary! Sometimes it’s still so weird. I know I will continue to be a missionary even when I come home...this work is so great. The message is fantastic. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is awesome. It’s way hard to teach in Spanish, but it’s all good. It’s still cold here! But the mountains are beautiful. Sometimes in the morning a bunch of snow is on the mountains, and it is just breath taking. I will have to take a picture and send it next week. 

Well, it is still verrrry hard to understand the people here. Chilean Spanish is just something else! Haha. But I just smile. And smile. And smile. And pray! It’s weird because some Chileans look like Americans or Europeans, but then they start talking and ok yeah you’re definitely from here. I have seen Chilean versions of Chris Farley (RIP) and Colin Firth. Good times. The food is good! Lots of mashed potatoes and vegetables. Meat. And pasta. People feed us lunch here, and we usually don’t eat dinner. I’m getting used to it haha. On Wednesday we ate in a member’s home, but it was just their three daughters and one of their friends. They had the radio on when we entered the casa, and One Direction was playing...WEIRD. 

This week there was a meeting with all the new missionaries. So I got to see my MTC friends! That was great. Sometimes it’s easy to feel alone on the calle, but seeing all the other new missionaries gave me strength. Presidente Wright and la Hermana Wright were also there of course. They are amazzzing. I hope I can serve a mission with my husband one day (wow, take it easy, Hermana! lolz).

On Saturday one of the AP’s called us, and he asked to speak with me. My companion gave me the phone with a confused face...I was so nervous!! I was thinking in my mind like "oh no! What did I do!!" But he just asked me to say the closing prayer in the zone conference on Thursday....I’m still nervous for that haha! 

My companion is wonderful! She is sooo patient and kind. She also speaks English pretty well. She is funny and so presh. I love her. I am sooo thankful for her! In our companionship study we read sections of the Mission Manual. I read in Spanish, and she reads in English. Her accent is soo funny haha. She probably thinks the same about mine! We get along well. We both want to serve and help the people here. United in purpose! So we are in a zone called La Reina. You can get to central Santiago in about 20 minutes by taking an underground metro. We aren’t too far out from the city. It’s different because at first I did not like the area. It was not what I was expecting (imagine that haha). But I read a quote that say’s "It’s not where you serve, but how you serve". ....Talk about humility!! Sometimes I have self centered thoughts and concerns about my speaking ability, my knowledge of the Gospel, etc...But I realized that’s not the way I should be thinking. I have been called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and help others come unto Him...not preach the Gospel in perfect Spanish. I study Spanish every day, but I try and focus on helping others feel the Spirit, rather than delivering a perfect message in perfect Spanish. 

So last Sunday a woman showed up at church with her two twin daughters (yes twin daughters who are soooooooooo presh). She said she is a member, but has not come to church in a long time. She just woke up with the desire to come to church. So Friday night we went to a member’s home who lives in the apartment above her. We had a little noche de hogar with them. The twins are nine years old, so we will start teaching them! They are just too presh, and I always think of my own precious twin when I look at them. They came to church again yesterday, and they are all excited. So in the noche de hogar we had with them, we talked about the Holy Ghost. Afterwards, we all had completos...Which is like a Chilean hot dog...yummmm!! It’s a hot dog with tomatoes, guacamole, ketchup, mayo, and it is to die for!! The members drove us home afterwards which was great. It was weird being in a car! We always walk and take the bus everywhere. 

So yes, this email is poorly ordered, but know that I am happy! Oh my gosh it’s hard, but I am happy! I love being a missionary! It’s fantastic. This work is so important. We are in the last dispensation of times....Ahhhh! Christ lives, and His Gospel is on the earth today! He loves us. He cares for us deeply. What an honor it is to wear His name with mine every day. I am a representative of Jesus Christ! I am His disciple. I love Him with my all my heart! Whenever I feel lonely or sad, I think of Him. I think of His perfection. It is easy to feel close to Him when we are obedient and willing to serve. It’s so weird being on my mission! Every day I think, wow, I will be doing this for eighteen months! I miss my family and my home country! But after all that Jesus Christ has done for me, after His suffering, it is the least I can do to sacrifice some of my time to come and serve here in Chile. 

God lives. Jesus Christ lives. I love them. I am happy to serve them. I will gladly withstand the hard days. I will withstand rejection. I will withstand humiliation and embarrassment because I love them! I will not fear what man can do to me, because I choose to stand with my Savior. May God bless you all! 

Con Mucho Amor,
Hermana Mittleman

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Am Happy! I Am So So Happy!

Hola, mi familia! Wow, like two weeks have gone by since I was able to sit down and write an email to you. So I entered the mission field last Tuesday, August, 26, 2014. That`s right - two weeks in the MTC haha. Seriously, it was craaazy. My district was amazing. They were all Latinos. Most of the time I could not understand what they were saying. It`s all good. 

One of my best friends at the MTC was another Hermana in my district. Her name is Hermana Ponce, and she is from Mexico. She was like five feet and 28 years old. She was so silly. We laughed so much together. It was like whenever Mom gets together with her sisters haha. All the misioneros in my CCM district were amazing. It was sad to say goodbye, but it was time to leave the CCM and enter the real world. 

I was able to go to the Santiago Temple....um...BEAUTIFUL. It was so nice. We did an English session. The session was packed with missionaries. The majority being missionaries from the US. I love the temple. I miss the Newport Beach Temple! But it`s all good. So I sent you a picture of a bunch of missionaries who were living in Alcantara. Every morning and night a little bus would come and pick us up, and drive us to and back from the CCM. It was about 15 minutes or so. Haha, one funny experience happened one night when we came home from the CCM. One of the gringo missionaries was asking my district if they had seen the movie "The Dark Knight". He then proceeded to act out a scene from the movie, and he impersonated the joker.... hahaha it was just so random and funny. I was thinking, maybe that`s not the best thing to do to invite the Spirit.... Good times, ya had to be there!

So yes, I am in the field now! Presidente and la Hermana Wright are AMAZING. President Wright speaks excellent Spanish, and he is so knowledgable about the Gospel. It`s crazy. He is so spiritually and temporally smart. I am so honored to work with him, and his lovely wife! They are fantastic. My trainer is awesome!!!! Her name is Hermana Gomez. She hails from Argentina, however she does not have the infamous accent. I am so thankful for that haha. She is so sweet and encouraging!  I love her. She is addicted to mate hahaha. And she says "Que linda" after just about everything. LOVE HER. Her last companion was from Uruguay, and she went home the day before I entered the field. Hermana Gomez told me her last companion is already engaged haha.... what??? A member saw it on FB. 

So this week went by fast.... it is just so weird to think I am a legit missionary!! Every time I put my little placa (missionary tag) on I just smile. What an honor it is to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and of His restored church. Happy, happy. It is chilly here, yes. But I am keeping warm!! We are right by the mountains.... it is so beautiful!!! My area is cool. Santiago is a huge city. It`s like Los Angeles..... very big. Some parts are really nice, and other parts are sketchy, shady, and poor.... let`s just say I`m not in the nice part haha. It`s all good though! It`s only a little scary at night. The other night we were walking down a dark street and no one else was out except for a group of men huddled in a circle smoking. Fun, fun.

So...I`m not going to lie..... I am very happy.... BUT IT IS SO HARD. Like, wow. A few days before I left California, Elder Tommy Webber sent me a letter and shared a quote: "On your mission you will be at your highest highs, and your lowest lows." OH MY HECK NEVER BEFORE HAS ANY GROUP OF WORDS RANG SO TRUE TO ME. It is so hard. I am away from my family. Away from my friends. I am a stranger in a strange land. It is sooooo hard to understand people when they talk. Chilean Spanish is very different from the Spanish I learned in high school and BYU haha. It`s just hard because I was already a grammar stickler with my native language, and it`s frustrating because people use different words and they leave off the ends of words.....

NEVERTHELESS.... I am happy. I am so, so, so happy. My testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has grown so much. I know God lives. I know it! I can feel it in my heart! Jesus Christ is my Savior. He lives. I have decided to just say NO to feelings of frustration and hopelessness. I was reading a talk from the last General Conference last night. I can`t remember who wrote it, but he talked about how we should Dare to Declare our Discipleship. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I choose to follow Him. This week I am trying to talk to more people. Who cares if I can´t speak Spanish very well, or if I can`t really understand them.... these 18 months are so precious....Already three weeks have gone by sooo fast. There have been times this week where I have asked myself, "what am I doing here?" Whenever I feel lonely or discouraged, I pray. I pray and I smile. My Heavenly Father always comforts me. I love Him. 

Sunday was great! I went to church for the first time in Chile! (Not counting the two Sundays whilst in the CCM lolz) It was great. I was able to bear my testimony after the sacrament. It was tender! I told the members I was so happy to be serving in their ward, and how grateful I was for Jesus Christ. There are not too many people in the ward. At least, there are not too many people who come on Sundays. It made me long for my big ward back in sunny, Southern California. Haha. I now realize how lucky I was to be raised in wonderful and strong wards. 
Last night we went to an investigator`s house. A woman from the ward came with us. The woman who we visited is Constanza. She is like 70 years old. She lives alone. She`s five feet tall, and super presh. My companion did most of the talking because I really could not understand what this little lady was saying. However, towards the end of the lesson I was able to bear my testimony of el Libro de Mormon, and invite her to read and ask God if it was true. I testified to her that the Book of Mormon is truly from God. I felt the Spirit in my heart. Even if she was not able to feel it, I am glad for that experience. 

Ahhh, so Madison is gone! YAAYYYY! I think about her all the time. I have been praying fervently for her this past week. She is amazing. She will be a fantastic missionary. I love her. I miss her. But hey, what`s 18 months next to eternity? 

This morning we cleaned our little house. There are two other hermanas who live with us. They are in our ward too! Only the area we have is split in two, so they have the Eastern part of the section, and Hermana Gomez and I have the western part..... I think. Anyway, one of them is a hermana from my CCM district! It`s nice to have her around.  We are both new and excited to be in the same ward. Her companion is from the US. Sometimes I speak a little English to her, but she`s been out about a year so her Spanish is reallllyyyy good. It`s hard not to compare myself to her. It`s hard to remember she`s been out a year, and I `ve only been here a little less than a month. Oh well! It´s all good. This morning as we were cleaning we played some music. A Christmas song came on and David Archuleta was singing! Love him. hahaaha. It made me a little homesick. But honestly, I just keep reminding myself that this time in Chile is very special. Sure it`s hard to be away from home, but it`s great to be a missionary and serve my Heavenly Father. I love Him! 

I miss you all! Thanks to those who emailed me!!! It really means so much!!!!! Sorry this email was a little whack...it was hard to remember what happened during the past two weeks. Know that I am well! I love my Savior. Christ has restored His church on the earth. What a blessing it is to be a member. How grateful I am to know of His mercy, His love, and His life. Every day is a gift. Smile every day. Life is so good! Recognize the blessings God has given you. 

Love you all so much!!!! xoxoxxoxooooo

Hermana Mittleman

I Am In the Field Now!

(Megan entered the mission field on August 26, 2014)
Hola mi familia!  I am in the field now!  My two weeks in the CCM were amazing.  Presidente and Hermana Wright are fantastic.  Don’t have much time- Madison, You can do it!  I love you!  Isaiah 41:10.  Stay strong- it’s the best choice I’ve ever made.  Love you all.
Hermana Mittleman