This Sunday we had the best family come to church all together, even the dad! The mom and her 3 kids have come before, but this time the dad came too! We went and made french toast for them at their house as a little bit of an incentive for the dad to come and it worked! They all really enjoyed church and the mom, dad, and 2 kids who are old enough to be baptized have a date in October. The only problem is that the dad works out of town for 15 days at a time (like most dads here) so that´s kinda a bummer, but they are awesome!
Monday, September 30, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Wow this week went by so much faster than last week. I think I am finally getting the whole missionary life style down and I´m getting used to all the walking. My comp and I are in the city of Chillán Viejo in the ward Copihues. The ward is pretty great and everyone is pretty willing to help us since we have a goal of reaching assistance of 100 members by the end of this year and then we can get our own ward building that is closer to the people. My companion and I live with 2 other sisters in their area and so we have about a 15 min walk just to get to our area and then we still have to walk about 20 min or more to get to our appointments and what not. We take the micro (bus) or a collectivo (a car that goes the same route as the bus) sometimes, but it´s mainly just speed walking all day! Emotionally I am exhausted, but I love it at the same time. I just love all of these people sooo much and I want them to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives right now!
So the food here is actually quite good. We eat pan like there is no tomorrow haha, although the bread is so good. I never really liked to eat just bread until now, Chileans know what´s good in the bread factory. Churascos are the best. They are basically just mexican tortas with avocado and all. Dad, I have not gotten up the courage to eat a completo yet. They are just hot dogs smothered in mayonesa and what not, but I´m sure I´ll eat one soon.We eat lots of potatoes and chicken, but overall everything is pretty good. After every lunch that the members give us I wonder how in the world I got all that food down...haha. They give us so much! I guess it´s alright though because we don´t eat dinner at all. We have lunch at 1:30 and then we have language study after till 4 and then we are out all day until 10 pm when we come back. The missionary schedule here is changed. We get up at 7:30 am and then go to bed at 11:30, which is totally fine by me!
Sunday at church was great! We had 8 investigators there! It was a miracle and simply amazing. A mom, Julia, told us afterwards that she felt so welcome and warm being in church and she´ll for sure be back. She and two of her kids now have baptismal dates!
Francisco is getting baptized this Friday!!! He´s a stud and told us all in gospel doctrine class this week that he has no doubt that the church is true. He´s pretty gangster and is 19, but he´s awesome. Mariana sadly didn´t get baptized this week because she has some things in her past she needs to clear up, but she is still solid!
On Wednesday I got to do a mini cambio to the little town of Coihueco! (Pictures attached) My comp has to do a mini cambio every week as a leader, so it´s fun for me because I get to experience different areas every week. I realized just how grateful I am for my companion and our ward. It was so great and in a tiny little town, a 6 foot gringa is a sight to see for them. Boy did I get some interesting comments and weird looks. Not to mention the creepy old man with no teeth who kissed my hand after I rejected his cheek kiss... haha but whatcha gonna do.
Also Mom, you know how I was happy that I probably wouldn´t wear makeup for 18 months? Well I was wrong. I have to wear even more now so that it´s noticeable or else we look like Evangelicas. The Evangelicas wear skirts all the time, have long hair, and don´t wear make up...bad combo for me. Haha so the only way to really differentiate in the streets is to make it look like I wear make up. Am I sorta bummed? Yes, but I guess it´s better this way.
Hna Lovell and I have been working in sort of a new area recently and are trying to come up with new ways to find people since we know no one. Anyone have any good ideas??? This week we are going to try singing, service, less active list, FHE with members, and Saturday basketball night! I´m super pumped for the last one. There is a basketball court right in the middle of the area so we are going to play with members and hopefully get some more people to come out and play.
We got a reference this week (best thing ever!!) of a less active mom, Antioneta, and her non-member daughter, Vanessa(13). We went by to see them and at first Antioneta was very reluctant to let us in. We then told her that we knew her friend and then she decided to let us in. Within about 5 min she was in tears and telling us how much she has missed the gospel in her life. Her parents are members and she went to seminary and everything but she married a non-member who is very Catholic and doesn´t like our church too much so she stopped going to keep peace in the family. She told us that she felt the spirit so strong and I did too. She hugged me for a long time and whispered that our visit was exactly what she needed. She wants to come back and have her daughter baptized, but she has to work things out with her husband first. That lesson was just what I need too. That day had been freezing and raining outside and no one wanted to let us in until we came to Antonieta. It reminded me that we really do help people and that after we have the patience to endure trials, miracles come.
The mission is so great. My testimony grows everyday and there are constantly trials and miracles. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but mainly I am just amazed at how the Lord truly loves each and everyone of us. We have a perfect plan here for us on this earth complete with the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Many of these people live in the most humble of circumstances and are addicted to drugs or have horrible family situations and I just want so much to help each one of them. We truly are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for all of his children. I´ve been here for less than two weeks and I have already seen countless times how the message of the Restoration can change people´s lives. It´s frustrating at times when people don´t want to change or are just hopeless and think that they have no chance. I feel so privileged everyday to be a representative of Jesus Christ and spread the light of his love and Atonement. I love you all and share the gospel with whoever you can!!
Con mucho amor,
P.S. This week is the 18 of September which means Chilean Independence day!!! Everyone has been celebrating already and it´s gonna be crazy here. Our taxi driver last night was drunk and almost killed us...it´s pretty great. Only problem is everyone tells us to come back after the 18th because they are busy preparing and what not. Attached is what I like to call a Chilean Nativity scene. All the dolls are dressed up in the traditional Cueca dresses. At least they have national pride.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Wow what a week! There is so much that I want everyone to know about and to express, but time is limited and this keyboard is hard to type on, so I`ll do the best I can.
So basically Chile is the best. I`m exhausted after working everyday and it sure seems like we only sleep for about 2 hours and then get right back up and go and work again, but it`s so great. The people here are so loving and possibly the most passive agressive people I have ever met. When we contact in the street they hardly come out and tell us no, but rather they just make up all kinds of excuses, rather funny ones too, but at least they are nice. It was quite cold when I got here and I use lots of layers, but today it is warming up! My first day it rained soo much; however, my comp and I`ll still got up and went running in the rain. A little water doesn`t hurt right? Luckily now, the rain has stopped for the most part and the sun is out so it´s a great day!
My companion is amazing. Her name is Hermana Lovell and I actually read her blog before coming out here to prepare myself so that was crazy, but you can look it up and read more about our area! She is so awesome and is the BEST trainer. We are super obedient and work our tails off everyday. She is one of the Sister Missionary Training Leaders (equivalent to a zone leader) and so she`s a rockstar. I`ve learned so much from her already and we are a lot alike. She says I`ll for sure be one of the sister missionary leaders too someday, but I kind of set that talk aside. Our goals we made together as companions is to work more with members to be more effective, workout everyday, eat healthy, keep our room clean and be more punctual. I couldn`t be happier with my trainer.
Our apartment is super tiny. We live with two other Hermanas named Hermana Snyder (from California) and Hermana Ayuso (from Chile). They are all-stars as well! We all sleep together in I guess you could say the living room and there is basically no room to really walk around much. In our shower you have to hold the hose up to bathe, but at least we do have hot water! It`s way different than anything I`ve ever lived in before, but it is great and I wouldn`t be anywhere else!
So before I got here I thought I understood Spanish perfectly...wrong. The Chileans are quite difficult to understand and it`s such a different accent. By now I can understand probably about 90%, but the first 2 days was hard. They say if you can understand Chilean`s speaking Spanish, then you can understand anyone speaking Spanish haha. Everyday Hermana Lovell and I have lots of "too friendly friends" as we call them. They are the men who make creepy kissing noises at us or yell "Barbie" as we walk by. We try and talk to everyone on the streets except for our "too friendly friends", we stay clear of them.
So many awesome and spiritual experiences have happened with our investigators this week! Mariana has her baptism date for this Friday the 13th and she is incredible. She is young and kind of a hipster, she just needs to leave the smoking and drinking completely behind. She reminds me a lot of my friends in Monterrey actually.
Mariela(24) and Francisco(18) should get baptized next week and they are both gems, a little bit flighte (gangsta), but amazing. We had a super spiritual experience with a 70 yr old named Carlos. We were knocking on a less active`s door and he came out of his house asking if we were looking for him, which of course we replied yes to. He invited us into his patio area and he told us that his wife had just died 3 months ago and was crying his little eyes out. We got to tell him all about the plan of salvation and baptism and he has an interest in being baptized, he just wants more time. The spirit was so strong. He was so glad that we came by and we`re going to see him again this week.
I have already gotten to invite 3 people to baptism and 2 accepted and then Carlos isn`t quite sure yet. So in our mission we are really trying to focus on baptism, retention, and reactivation all at the same time. That means we work with lots of less actives and recent converts trying to teach them and get references from them. The ideal scenario would be to teach a less active family with members who aren`t baptized yet with a member present. It`s a lot to try and do, but it has been working great so far! It`s really sad because the retention rate here is about 10%. There are about 570 members in our ward boundries, but only about 70 of them come to church. Really sad, but we are working to try and help with that.
The work is hard, but so great. D&C 24:10-12 gave me a lot of comfort to know that God is on my side and will give me strength. I want to share more, but I´m all out of time. I love this gospel sooooo much and I see the hand of the Lord everyday here. These next 17 months are going to be incredible. Love you all.
Thanks everyone for the emails!! Keep them coming!!
Hermana Brooke Danielle Romney
Chile Concepcion Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina Casilla
Hermana Brooke Danielle Romney
Chile Concepcion Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina Casilla
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Hola!! (I am pretty sure this is the most said word here at the MTC)
Welp another great week here has gone by. The classes have gotten a little longer and I look at my watch more often just counting down the days till I can finally get to Concepcion, Chile on Monday. Everyone keeps asking if I am nervous or scared, but nope, I don´t really feel that at all, basically just pure excitement and anticipation. My Spanish has improved immensely and I hardly find myself stuttering or trying to find the right word, I think it is even more smooth than it was when we were in Monterrey. This morning and last week we got to go to the temple and it was incredible. Just being in there with all missionaries had even more of a special spirit. Sports are still my daily relief and are what help me make it through the countless hours spent just sitting in class. Our district yesterday became Ultimate Frisbee Champs over another district! We´ve been playing basketball quite a bit too and that is always great! We even play with the Latinos and they are well.... funny to play with haha I love it. Yes the food is getting better and I am actually liking it a lot more than before. Overall it has been absolutely great here, but I am so ready to get to Chile and go and teach real investigators about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So last Thursday Hna Christensen and I got changed into a Latino district and they are hilarious! The picture in front of the CCM sign is with all of them. They always crack jokes and there are actually 6 Hermanas in the district and 4 Elders so that is a change, but I would rather be with more Hermanas! We have been teaching them sassy English sayings and how to pray in English, while they teach us Spanish. The Spanish 12 day program goes at a much faster pace so we teach all the time, in fact yesterday we taught 4 lessons. So we taught our normal 3 "investigators" that we have and then after our last lesson of the day after dinner we taught our "investigator" who is really our teacher, he told us we did such a great job and that he felt the spirit so strong. Apparently he was just trying to butter us up because he then asked if we would help him with something which we of course responded yes to. We walked over into another building into a class filled with Latinos and our teacher said that my companion and I were going to do a teaching demonstration for the class....whatttt... Hna Christensen and I just looked at each other with wide eyes and wondered what we had just gotten our selves in to. We were then told the situation of the investigator and then our teacher said go and we had to teach her. Luckily the one and only thing that could have gotten us through that smoothly was the spirit and boy was it strong! I felt the spirit the strongest I have yet in a lesson and it really was guiding me what to say. I still feel like I kind of take charge of the lessons maybe more than I should, but I have gotten much better at trying to make it even between my companion and I. The "investigator" had been seeing the missionaries for 10 years and still hadn´t gotten baptized yet because she was scared and didn´t want to give up her coffee. Hna Christensen is a convert and so is her mom so she told the story of how it was so hard for her mom to give up coffee, but how she was truly blessed when she did. It was powerful and then I went and shared Alma 7:11-15 (some of my favorite scriptures to use in a lesson) and I think they really spoke to her. I bore my testimony to her and then as I had a feeling to open up my scriptures and opened it up right to 1 Nephi 17:3 and I felt prompted to have her read that scripture too about how the Lord will strengthen us to be able to follow his commandments. Anyways, she ended up accepting being baptized and it turned out great. I´m sure she just said yes since it was a practice, but it truly was a testimony to me that we are the instruments in the Lord´s hands and he will guide us in our paths. I know that in the field that will be basically what it is like at least on the first visit with no prior knowledge of who these people are, but it was quite intimidating have Latinos watch us Gringas teach in Spanish. I am however so grateful for the opportunity and my teacher must have known it was what we needed.
I love personal study so much everyday in the morning and I continue to learn and strengthen my testimony all the time. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most amazing thing that we have and it is the source of true happiness. I am so grateful everyday that I decided to come on a mission and don´t know why I ever thought about not going. It is an amazing time for me to grow personally and to try and help others to do the same. I love you all so much! Talk to you next time from Chile!
Con mucho amor,
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Can I just say that I love the MTC? It really is the greatest and the spirit is incredibly strong every minute. Ahh I just want to tell you guys every single little thing, but I´ll try and narrow it down. My district is hilarious and we are constantly cracking jokes every second, they are great and I love them. All of the Elders are 18 years old so they are a little immature to say the least, but so fun (there is a picture of us all infront of the CCM sign). My companion´s name is Hermana Christensen and she is the greatest (Other picture with her). We are both 19 and she went to BYU Idaho for a year before and is from Portland, Oregon. She is actually a convert to the church and her family is a little complicated and she has 8 brothers (including half brothers) so compared to that I guess 4 brothers isn´t bad at all :) She has taught me sooo much and we are perfect missionary companions for each other. The food here at the MTC is well...bareable, not the Mexican food I was hoping for at all. I haven´t even had a taco de carne asada yet... so disappointing, but it´s food and I have to get used to eating things that I don´t like. The joke is that everyone looses weight in the Mexico MTC instead of gaining weight in the Provo MTC haha. That really is the only somewhat bad thing here though oh and the fact that our casa is infested with cockroaches, everything else is wonderful! Gym time is so awesome. I usually play volleyball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, or basketball, well I guess basically anything competitive. Sometimes I get a little too into the games or spike the ball too hard and my companion has to remind me that it´s just for fun and to play nicely haha, she´s great. So since I brought some of my BYU basketball gear everyone usually asks if I play for the Y or my companion tells them I do, so I´ve got quite a few nicknames along the lines of Hermana Basketball or BYU Basketball Sister. The ones who call me Hermana Basketball are the ones who I had a fun time schooling at knockout haha. A group of about 15 elders were playing knockout and so I joined them on their last game...and showed them who was boss haha. Welcome to Division 1 basketball Elders.
Apart from that, the classes are awesome and let me just tell you I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that I can already speak Spanish. It makes everything here so much easier and now I can just concentrate on the gospel and only a little bit on continuing to learn the language. Hermana Christensen already speaks Spanish as well since she took it all throughout high school (I have no idea how she learned it so well there) but I still know quite a bit more than her, but she is very good. She was also told that she would only be here for 2 weeks, but when we got here we were put in the program for 6 weeks. We asked to be changed, but the 2 week program with all of the Latino native speakers wasn´t going to start until next week, so now we will be here for a total of 3 weeks. That means I will leave here on the 2nd of September, which makes me sad to leave everyone, but excited to get to Chile and start preaching the gospel! Hermana Christensen and I actaully had a good faith building expereince trying to get changed into the other program and everything. At first we talked with some leaders and they told us we would have to change casas and companions, which we didn´t want and so we actually considered staying the whole 6 weeks since we like our district and wanted to stay companions. We decided to pray lots about it and had much faith that everything would work out for the best and guess what, it did! We get to stay companions, be in the same casa, have almost the same schedule that we had before with gym time with our district and we even get to go to the Temple tomorrow with our district since our new group will just be doing introduction things that we have already done. We got the best of both worlds and were just soo happy! We immediately gave another prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father.
Here at the MTC we get to teach "investiagtors" who are really just teachers, but our´s is named Esmeralda and she is awesome. She is very accepting of the gospel and loves to have us teach her. She even accepted to be baptized after our second lesson! Hna Christensen and I were the only missionaries who got her to do that after the second one, so the Elders always say that we put them all to shame, but I´m pretty sure it´s only because we are the only two who can actually talk to her and make sense haha. After we had our last lesson with her since we will be changing programs, she talked to us as her real self and she said she was so impressed with me and my companion and how we were able to connect with her. She even cried twice during one of our lessons and it´s so funny since the Elders are always like, "What the heck, they are converting people who are already baptized!" It´s great.
While teaching Esmeralda I actaully had a really good humbling and learning experience. Since my comp is a convert, she isn´t super knowledgeable about the doctrine that we have to teach so I manly would take over teaching that. Actually this whole week I had been putting so much importance into learning what we have to teach and trying to prepare myself to be able to answer any questions that they might have and that became a overwhelming. I felt like I didn´t know near as much as I needed to and that I still had a far way to go. However in one of our lessons, Hna Christensen was sharing a personal experience with Esmeralda and it really got to her and that was one of the main things she remembered about our lesson. I don´t know how to describe it, but it brought such a powerful spirit to the room and that was when we really connected with her. After the lesson I realized I had been so caught up in trying to teach her everything that I forgot about connecting with her and sharing personal things with her so she would open up to us. I forgot that we really are teaching people and not just lessons. After the lesson I had such a peaceful feeling that it´s okay if I don´t know everything and Hna Christensen was able to help me with that. At the beginning of the week I felt like I was the one who was really helping her since she missed home a lot and her boyfriend, but that day I realized she is the one helping me. It was humbling and I am so gratetful for her and everyone who I have had in my life, especially you Mom and Dad. I feel soooo prepared being here after interacting a lot with missionaries. And Mama you will be happy to know that I have already used my sewing kit. Crazy I know. I doubted I would ever need it, but an Elder in our district had a button fall off his jacket so I was able to sew it back on for him and he was very grateful, so thanks Mama.
Okay almost done, but yesterday we had a devotional here with Elder Johnson of the Seventy. I was like whoa he came to our house and ate dinner in Monterrey, but I doubted he would remember me. However, to my surprise, both him and Hermana Johnson remembered me very well and they said Mom and Dad had been with them the night before and so that was a very cool experience. They both gave great talks and I still can´t get over how strong I feel the spirit here. I love it! I just have so many stories and growing experiences I want to share with you guys, but sadly there just isn´t time.
One last thing, it´s super long, but Elder Chidester in our district loves to write stories as if they are scripture passages so here is one that he wrote about my companion and I (my comp typed it up and sent it to me):
The First Book of Romnensen Chapter 3
And it came to pass in the second day of the first week in the land of CCM, that the cockroaches did gather together and they did come to battle against the city of Casa 13. And it came to pass that the Hermanas were excedingly fearful. Never the less, the were girded about with the shoes of faith. And they did slay many of the roaches and did drive them back, yea even unto outside. And the Hermanas did surround the roaches and did offer to spare their lives if they would enter into a covenant that they should never again come up against the Hermanas. And the leader of the roaches whos name was Cockroachihor, did say unto them: We shall not enter into a covenant that we know we cannot keep. Yea we shall again come into your casa and eat your food. And the Hermanas did squish him. And thus were the end of the days of Cockroachihor. And the roaches did flee. And it came to pass that the Lord did fumigate them from the face of the earth. And we do see at this time that the Lord is with those who serve him and have shoes.
The First Book of Romnensen Chapter 6
1 And it came to pass in the fourth day of the first week in the reign of District Leader Skelton that the second lesson did come to pass.
2 And the Elderes did meet together to consult one with another what they should say unto Esmeralda. Yea they did discuss a great many things in the tongue of Newb-Spanish.
3 And they did go forth in pairs to preach unto her. And it came to pass that they did say a great many things unto her, yea even: ummmm...and even: Tenemos...un,uh....mensaje....
por tú *I mean* Usted.
4 And Esmeralda did become exceedingly confused and embarassed to associate with the Elders that she did hide her face from them in the lunch line. And they did leave her presence.
5 And it came to pass that the Hermanas did come unto her and did teach to her. And they were so powerful that they did cause her to weep, yea even unto two times. And they did convert her, yea and her children.
6 Yea they did cause the entire MTC to be baptised even though they were already baptised.
7 And it came to pass that the Elderes were exceedingly sorrowful, for they knew in their hearts that they were newbs in the eyes of the Lord.
8 And we do see at this time that the Hermanas doth reveal the truth that the Elderes are Newbs, yea even newbs of the highest caliber.
Thank you Mom and Dad for the package!! It was wonderful and I LOVE getting mail or emails...hint hint, wink wink :) Anyways, I love you all and I am doing great! I have even gotten to see like 5 good friends from back at BYU so that is always fun. I haven´t felt home sick once yet, but don´t worry I do miss everyone, just not near as much as I love being on a mission. I love you all so much and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is incredible and changes lives. It has changed mine immensly and continues to do so everyday.
Love, Hermana Romney
P.S. Sorry everyone that this is so long, I am sure that it won´t be this long once I get out into the field, so just bare with me for a little bit :)