Monday, May 26, 2014

Welcome to Bragado!

Dear Famalia:

Well, as you all know after seven blissful months I have been transferred to Bragado. Although it is hard to leave Lujan, I am working to put all my heart and soul into Bragado. I can tell this is a special area and I am looking forward to the many miracles we will see here. There are two Chivilcoy zones; North and South. The city Chivilcoy is in the north zone and I am in Bragado which is in the south zone. I think Chivilcoy is probably the biggest city out here and so both zones have that name. My new companion is Sariah Morales. She is great and I think we are going to get along really well together. She is from Veracruz Mexico and goes home in 4 months.
Guess what!  We got Lujan sweatshirts before I left!  Do you
 know how long it has been since I've worn a sweatshirt?
  It's sooooo great! 
My last night in Lujan was wonderful.  It rained all day, but we were pretty busy with lessons.  The last appointment we had was with the Fernandez Family and they were all waiting for us to come.  They bought a cake because we told them it was our birthdays the last week.  We played a little game to review the commandments and they are awesome and remember everything.  I told them I was leaving and they gave me a cute little key ring and Thomas wrote me the sweetest little note.  I am completely confident they will get baptized someday.  I love them with all my heart.  It was the perfect way to spend my last night in Lujan.

The Fernandez family.

This is the key ring from the Fernandez family.  Isn't it cute?
  Also, the key is the one that Hermana Castellanos
 and I had when we got locked out of our pench
 and had to redo the lock.  It's my reminder to
 always follow the Spirit key.
Bragado is great. We live in centro which is a lot bigger than Lujan. Sunday morning from about 2:00 until 7:00 we heard all the young people outside from their parties (it's pretty much the norm in Argentina to party until 7 or 8 in the morning every weekend). It is a lot further from the offices (we have to take a colectivo at 2:00 in the morning) as well as everything else. All of the areas are about an hour away and the colectivos are very sparse so we will spend more time traveling and waiting to travel for divisions. We also don't really have meetings in person with our district; they are all over the phone. Unlike my part of Lujan, most of the streets are asphalt and  the people have a lot more money. It's still a lot more calm than the other big cities of the mission though so I'm super happy. We don't get lunches hardly ever from the members so I will have to learn how to cook on a very limited budget. Our branch president is one of the senior mission couples, President and Sister Aldridge. We are here in our branch with the zone leaders. Our apartment is super small but it's really new and pretty. I'm pretty sure our bathroom is the nicest one I've been in in 7 months. We even have a tub so the water stays inside the shower. It's beautiful!

This is the view from our apartment.  We are on the fifth floor.
I was not able to go to Lachi's baptism this weekend because it is too far away and we had a lot to do in our area. At first I was sad and wanted to be a part of the great happiness and party that I knew was going on in Lujan with my baptism and my members and my Lujan. But then I remembered that it is not my baptism, it's Lachi's. I really was just a bystander to his miracle and I have no right to selfishly want to be there. That day was his and his family's and I am so grateful to know that he has changed his life and will be blessed forever. He is one of God's chosen here. One of the most humble, sweet people I have met in Argentina and I am so happy for him.

This is Lachi and the Peralta family.  Aren't the kids adorable?
The first miracle I have experienced in this new area occurred on Friday night. The branch had a noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) planned and we were in charge as missionaries. When the first family walked in the hermana came up to me and said, "Hermana Millet! I've been praying that you would come to Bragado!" I had never seen this woman in my life and was a little confused, however, she proceeded to tell me that she found my blog and she reads it every week. She had come to know me through my letters and felt a connection. This sweet sister had even been praying for my investigators. Although it was a small moment, this tender mercy touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I do not yet know why the Lord sent me here to Bragado but I know he has a plan for me.

Hermana Romina Martinez.  This is the wonderful Hermana
 who reads my blog.  I can already tell we are
 going to be best friends!
One of my challenges that I am anxious and excited to work to overcome will be with the Hermanas in our zone. Every one that I will be going on divisions with I know well. Hermana Suarez was my trainer and Hermana Redford and Alley were two of my companions in the MTC. It will be a little difficult for me to be in a situation as a leader with these hermanas in which I might have to give advice or correct behavior. I know I will need to work to humble myself and embrace the power of my calling to help these hermanas reach their potential but I have faith that the Lord qualifies whom he calls and that if I am confident and loving I can do what the Lord needs me to do.

I am so excited to see what Hermana Morales and I can do with the help of the Lord in this area. Our main goal this transfer is to find a complete family and bring them to baptism as worthy converts. Right now I do not believe obedience will be a problem but I want to make sure we are completely diligent and are using our time in the best way possible. Although our numbers this week were real, I feel that we can be using the indicators in a better way to have lessons with members with our progressing fechas and find our news from references etc. I have hope that these small changes will lead to great miracles as we strengthen our faith.

This week we were disappointed when our fechas who were extremely committed to come to church didn't show up. I am grateful for the fact that sacrament meeting is first here and we have ward council before hand so we can't go search for our investigators in the morning. It helps us to make better plans with our investigators beforehand and helps us to see who is really  willing to make the effort to come. I believe it is a blessing in disguise as we are able to now focus on finding families that will really progress and be worthy, lasting converts who will help the branch here in Bragado.

One of our investigators in Sacrament meeting was Evelia, the mother of Daniela, who was baptized last weekend. She attended the baptism of her 22 year old daughter the week before and said she felt something which she had never felt before. Daniela almost didn't come to church today because of a meeting she was supposed to attend but her mom said she was going to church alone and walked out the door. Daniela then realized what she needed to do and followed her mother to go to church together. Later that night we had a lesson with them and shared the restoration. Evelia felt the spirit again and told us she believes that this is Christ's true church. She is praying to really know that is is God's will for her but I am confident she will be baptized this month and it will not be long before we will be able to touch the hearts of all of Daniela's family. I am so grateful for these miracles that we are able to witness as Heavenly Father touches people's hearts. When people are prepared by Him our role is really so small and insignificant, which is how it should be.

Love, Hermana Millet

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Adios Lujan!


Hello everyone! How was your week!? I hope you had adventures. I wanted to thank you all today for your letters every week. I am so grateful for your support and love. Mom, Dad, and Nicole you have not missed one week and I cannot thank you enough. They really are what help me get through the next week.

Hermana Millet and Miller with a member Paula and the Elders

Hermanas Millet and Miller and Paula

This transfer I have been extremely humbled in so many ways. Most of all, I have learned how little I do in the work of the Lord. I have seen how every miracle that happens is a direct result of His mercy and love.

This week in particular I was stretched to my max, physically, emotional and spiritually. I really wasn't sure if I could continue on but knew there really isn't any choice. I came to a point on Thursday night when I just had to give it all over to the Lord. I told him that I was finished, I had nothing left in me and that I needed his strength to continue on. I am so grateful for his hand in my life in every moment.

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to do divisions with the Hermanas from Mercedes. I was able to work with Hermana Medeyro in her area. I knew she had high expectations for these divisions and was really hoping for help, but I wasn't sure if I could give it to her. Once again I had to call on the Lord in fervent prayer and ask him to give me the gifts/tools that I would need to help this wonderful hermana. Throughout the day I just tried to watch her example and be the best companion I could. I did my best to give words of the spirit to help her investigators but I wasn't sure if I was completing my purpose until that night in the final interview. It was a sacred experience to see how every goal that she had set in the morning were things that I also saw that she needed to improve upon, (finding more families, commitments and verification, and conquering her fear) and was able to demonstrate for her. Although I didn't feel qualified to be her example, the Lord blessed me to be an example in the way I needed and He blessed her to feel impressions from the spirit that she needed. She is a wonderful hermana with desires to do the work in the best way possible and it was an honor to work with her for the day. I have confidence that if she can really work to overcome these small weaknesses she will see much success in her area.

Our grand miracle for the week is Lachi. Lachi is the father of Hermana Monica Peralita (the wife of former branch President Gustavo Peralta). I had heard that he lived somewhere on the street but felt that the members were hesitant to give his address as a reference. I always felt that I should go by but for some reason I never went. By the merciful hand of the Lord, however, I was blessed with a wonderful companion who followed the promptings of the spirit and visited him on Wednesday during divisions. Thursday morning she couldn't wait to tell me all about him and the lesson they had. President Peralta and his family happened to be there visiting and they invited the hermanas in to teach. President Peralta has been working with Lachi since he and Monica got married and he has been to church and the temple grounds many times but never accepted baptism. President Peralta told the hermanas he felt that they should invite Lachi to be baptized. Lachi is deaf and so the hermanas taught him a little about baptism by writing down key sentences and then write out the invitation to be baptized and miraculously he accepted.

We have seen him every day since then and I can honestly say that the Lord has completely prepared this sweet man. He has accepted every single principle we teach without hesitation and understood principles in one or two written sentences that usually take lots of explanation. I am so incredibly grateful to be here to witness this wonderful miracle. President gave us permission to baptize Lachi this coming Saturday (on his granddaughter's birthday). After carefully reviewing the area book, we had absolutely no one scheduled to be baptized in May.  After praying for miracles the Lord blessed us with a true miracle.

Transfers are Wednesday and President told me the other day on the phone to prepare for a change. So it's about as official as it will get that my days here in Lujan are coming to an end. I am sad to leave Lujan where I have learned so much and had so many wonderful experiences. I pray that I have done all that the Lord sent me here to do. I wish I could have helped more people and found more of the Lord's chosen here, but once again I know that through the atonement I can be forgiven of any shortcomings I had here and improve each day. I am praying to be at peace and have the strength to accept whatever new challenge the Lord has planned for me, to learn from my new companion and new area and become what He needs me to be in this new area.

I am completely exhausted but so full of love and gratitude for my Savior today. I know that the Lord's hand is in every part of His work. His grace gives us power to overcome any trial and do all things.

Love your favorite Lujanite for life, Hermana Millet

PS. We watched an amazing video in the Hermanas Confernce last week called "Because of Him". If you haven't watched it you should. (Have a tissue nearby).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Birthday Week.

My wonderful family,

All the Hermanas in the mission.
It was so great to see you and talk to you yesterday. I'm sorry I wasn't able to hear more about your lives. It's so hard to catch up on five months in 40 minutes. I want you all to know how much I love you and appreciate your love and support. I don't think I expressed well enough how grateful I am for such a wonderful family. There really is no greater blessing. I don't know what kind of person I would be if I hadn't been surrounded by such wonderful examples throughout my whole life. Not all people are so lucky. I love you all so much.

This week was full of miracles. I was so humbled to see how aware the Lord is of our individual circumstances. Although we had limited time in our area this week He blessed us to find some of His children that are ready to hear the gospel.

One lesson Hermana Miller and I have been learning together is to have more love and patience with our investigators. We found that we were being a little too judgmental of some of the people we found and if they weren't complying with all of the commandments we were being a little too harsh on them.  Two of the families in which we are focusing on right now are not exactly the kind of people that look like members of the church the first time you meet them. They are young, juntato, poor, have tattoos, but they have really accepted our teachings and begun progressing.

One of these families came as a reference from our recent convert Marcelo. We went by his mom's house and ended up teaching his mother, two sisters and one of their maridos (they use the same word for husband and live in boyfriend here), two brothers, and a nephew, who all live in this house. On Saturday we passed by for our return appointment and they had visitors and wouldn't let us in. By Saturday night we were not confident that any of our new investigators we had found this week would be coming to church. However, the Lord blessed us with miracles Sunday morning. When we called their house the mother said that she had back pain and couldn`t come, then she said it was raining but we told her we would be stopping by anyway. When we went by she and her daughters and grandson were all ready to go! We were esctatic! The icing on the cake, however, was when the marido of one of the daughters, full of tattoos and piercings, (whom to be honest we had the least confidence in) came right before sacrament meeting on his own after getting off work. All during church they participated, smiled, learned, asked questions, and began making plans for activities with the branch.

Lujan Hermanas
Another wonderful miracle this week occurred in one of the capacitaciones (trainings). We were working with a companionship of hermanas, one of whom has had some great challenges with pride in the mission. They did well in the first practice and then we evaluated and gave a few suggestions for them to improve the second time. I believe she had a hard time taking advice and when we asked her to begin again she refused. She told us she couldn't and wouldn't. She began to cry and we sat talking and waiting for her to start for about 10-20 minutes. There was no way I was going to let her get out of there without doing the second practice because she would just learn than when things are hard she can give up. After kind of forcing her to say a prayer together she finally began to teach the second practice. As they began to teach about baptism she explained some of the covenants we make when we are baptized. In that moment the spirit completely took over and He began to teach her as well as us through her own words. It was absolutely amazing. I could see the spirit softening her heart and helping her to learn as she taught and bore testimony. Afterward we just sat still for a moment and then told her how grateful we were to be a part of such a sacred experience. It was amazing to feel the spirit edifying and teaching each one of us, as I know He can do when we are prepared.

I am so grateful for how the Lord works to teach us the lessons we need to learn and help us to see each one of his children as He sees them. This family has a long way to go in their repentance and progression process but they are no more imperfect than I am. Our Heavenly Father loves us all equally and wants to give us each the chance to repent and return to him.

Today for my birthday we are in Ramos after doing tramites (paperwork). We are going to try to buy a few clothes if we can find anything that is not too expensive. The assistants were great and gave me a loaf of chocolate bread and sang to me in Portuguese and Hermana Miller is being super cute and reminding everyone it is my birthday. (I will get to do the same for her next Monday when she turns 22!)

Tomorrow we head to Chivilcoy for our last capacitaciones and then we hope to do divisions with the Hermanas from Mercedes, another busy week ahead which I'm sure will be filled with more miracles!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary and learn and grow so much. It really is such a blessing. Thank you all for your love and prayers!

Have a wonderful week!

Love your favorite ancient 23 year old hermana, Jen

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tender Mercies!


Hermana Training Leaders
This week has been a little bit more difficult for us after a wonderful, successful month of April.  We have been really struggling to find prepared investigators in the past two or three weeks and we are now seeing big changes in our numbers as we don't have many progressing investigators or families coming to church. This past week we had 17 new investigators the majority of which were juntados (unmarried couples living together) and/or children with whom we couldn't set baptismal dates. Right now we are basically starting from ground zero to find God's elect and help them progress until June. We have a few possibilities for this month and I am working to have more faith but right now we are not looking great to reach our goal for May.

I am still searching in my heart and in our work to find what we need to improve. We evaluated our companionship yesterday and set new goals to help us improve in becoming more exactly obedient, using our time in more effective ways and in becoming better teachers. I am still continuing to learn and develop more faith and humility personally as well.

Hermanas Millet and Miller
Despite our difficulties this week we did have some wonderful tender mercies. Two of these experiences came with less actives. On Sunday we were on our way to contact a few references when we passed the home of a woman that I knew was less active with a non member husband. I didn't know her very well but felt that we should stop by and try to talk to her and her husband. Her husband wasn't home so I knew we only had 15 minutes to get to know her and find out how to help her family. As we asked her about her history and why she became inactive, I began telling her how we had felt prompted to come to her because Heavenly Father knows her and loves her and wants her to come back. She took my hand and began to cry and told me how she has had the desire for months to come back to church and how grateful she was that we had come by. Those words were not mine and I know it was the spirit who spoke directly to her heart. It was such a miraculous little moment to be a part of the answer to her prayer. We have an appointment to meet with her and her husband, who has expressed interest in the church to her, this week.

Another of these experiences occurred one morning as we were looking for a few other references. We didn't have plans to visit this area until later but found ourselves nearby. We stopped by one home to ask if they knew the reference and after talking to this woman for a few minutes she told us that she is a member. We asked if we could share a message with her and her two children who are not members. As we began talking something similar happened again. She began to cry and told us how she has felt so alone and needed the help of her Heavenly Father. She told us that she had seen us before and said she knew in seeing us in the street that I was going to help her. I don't ever remember seeing her but I know that the Lord does. He leads us to those who need us.

As President Monson once said, "The best feeling in the world is to follow the promptings of the spirit and later learn that it was the answer to someone's prayer." This week I was disappointed and saddened by our results but as I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday contemplating our week I realized that despite our lack of success we have had wonderful spiritual experiences in which we were able to help God`s children. I am still devoted to improving and finding more success but I am not going to dwell on what we didn't accomplish. Instead, I am going to be grateful for each sacred experience and enjoy the small moments of joy I experience each day.

One more wonderful experience I wanted to share about following the spirit occurred on Tuesday afternoon. Our plans changed a little during the day and we found ourselves in the street trying to decide where Heavenly Father needed us to go. We said a prayer and both of us felt two different directions so after looking at our planner we decided to pray one more time. Trying to look at both options equally I thought of two different names, a member reference named Stella in Ameghino and a contact named Eduardo in Lanusse. We decided to head to Ameghino and found Stella at home. We had a wonderful lesson about repentance and set a baptismal date with her! After working a little more we headed back to Lanusse and miraculously found Eduardo's wife just pulling into the driveway. She invited us in and we taught them both. Later that night I realized that both of the names I had in my head during our prayer were the two lessons which we had that evening.

I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who guides our lives if we are just willing to ask and listen. I know he will continue to guide us to find prepared people this week as I strive to be worthy of and listen to his spirit in every moment.

Please keep praying for me to have more faith and to find out what I need to improve this week. We have a pretty stressful week this week with divisions Tuesday and Wednesday, more training on Thursday and an Hermanas Conference on Saturday in which we have been asked to talk to all the Hermanas about obedience, so I won't be in my area to work from Tuesday until Friday. We also have been assigned to teach Relief Society on Sunday. Needless to say we're both a little stressed and need lots of faith and prayers.

Also, please pray for Hermana Castellanos. She hasn't taken the change from Lujan very well and two weeks ago she ended up fainting and having a hard time breathing two days in a row. The doctors think it is stress. She changed companions and has spent lots of time in the mission home. I have been able to talk to her on the phone and in person and Hermana Carter is keeping me updated but more prayers are always welcome.

I hope you are all doing well! I love you soo much!  I am so excited to talk to you this upcoming week and see your beautiful faces.


Love your favorite mosquito hating missionary, Hermana Millet