Thursday, May 21, 2015

one last time

May 18, 2015

Welp, this is it.  I finally made it to this point.  I can´t believe my time is up.  It still doesn´t feel real.  I hadn´t been telling anyone here that I was leaving, I didn´t want to seem trunky, but yesterday when we were in church I started to say goodbye to people and let them know that I was going.  In branch council in the afternoon, someone announced that it was my last Sunday and everyone was really sad.  I´ve been here for four months, my longest time in any sector, and they all were sad to see me go.  The Relief Society president asked us to go to her house that night to help her with something, and when we were running late since the elders asked for our help, she was calling and calling and calling until we got there.  We were a little confused as to why she was so persistent, when supposedly she just needed help pronouncing the names of the Apostles and the First Presidency, when we got there and realized they had made me a dinner and had invited some of the members over to bid me farewell--all last minute.  I was so touched and completely surprised, because I just wasn´t expecting it.  I really love the members here, and I´m so sad to have to leave them.  I feel right at home here.  I´m so grateful for the opportunity I´ve had to be here in Catamayo, it really is a special place.  All my mission I´ve met some truly amazing people and have learned so much.  I don´t know what kind of person I would have been if I had never gone on a mission.  It´s really the best decision I´ve ever made.  

But I am excited to see my family.  I love you all, and I wanted to ask a special favor.  This Sunday I´m going to be speaking in our ward in Temecula, and those of you that will be attending to see me speak, I wanted to let you know that the church meeting is not just that first hour; there are two more hours that are special classes that they have to instruct and help us learn and grow spiritually.  After the sacrament meeting (the first hour), I was going to stay to attend for all three hours, but I´d like to invite all of you if you can to stay as well, so that you can see what they are like and so that you can learn and grow as well.  It´s just an invitation, but I would be really pleased if you could stay.  

I love you all so much, and I´ll see you this week!

Hermana Iverson

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Just Two More Weeks!

May 11, 2015

Well, this week was a little more exciting.  More traveling, again.  It was the beginning of the month, so we knew that there was going to be Consejo in Guayaquil, but normally we travel Sunday afternoon to be there Monday morning.  Saturday night we still hadn´t heard anything, so we thought they weren´t going to have it.  I was a little bummed, because I wanted to go one last time.  I was also worried that maybe they were going to release me at the last minute so that I wouldn´t have to go so soon before I´d have to be traveling to Guayaquil anyways, which is something that often happens.  So here we made some plans for things we were going to do last Monday, when at around 8amthe zone leaders call to say that we have to travel that day to Guayaquil because Consejo was going to be on Tuesday, so we just had a few hours to get our stuff together, try and buy some stuff really fast, and then travel to Loja so that we could catch the bus.  The zone leaders from the other zone almost didn´t make it; the bus had started moving to leave the terminal, and they came running up 5 minutes later.  If there hadn´t been several buses leaving at the same time and blocking our bus, they would have missed it and not made it to Consejo.  So that was intense.  But Consejo was really good, Presidente talked about the Sabbath Day and how we have to put more of an emphasis on it in every aspect--in how we teach it to our investigators as well as in our own lives.  That´s why he officially changed Consejo to Tuesday, so that we wouldn´t have to be traveling on Sunday.  I really liked it, because I´ve actually been thinking a lot about the Sabbath Day recently here in our sector.  

We ended up not getting back to our sector until about Wednesday, and we´ve just been going with our newest convert, Adela, every day.  She´s been a big help.  She´s been so excited to help us and will present us to her friends all the time, and will just share her testimony with them without us needing to ask her.  It´s been really nice to see how happy she is.  

On Saturday we had a branch activity that us as the missionaries and the mission leader put on, and it was really fun.  A lot of people came, and everyone had fun.  My companion and I were in charge of this one game where there were some donuts tied with a string and hanging in the air and they had to eat them without using their hands.  It was pretty funny.

Mother´s Day was a very, very busy day.  We almost didn´t have time to do anything.  We had church at 10am, and then afterwards we went to eat lunch, and then my companion called her family, and when she finished we had to go to branch council meeting, and then we had to leave so I could call, and then we tried to have our correlation meeting with the branch mission leader, but the elders were still calling their families so that didn´t happen, so at the end of the day we just had half an hour to go visit Adela, since she was sick and hadn´t gone to church that day, so we went to see how she was doing.  We made a few little cards for some of the sisters in the branch for Mother´s Day, and they turned out really cute.

Welp, this is officially my last week here in Catamayo, so I´m going to do everything I can to make it count.  See y´all soon!

Hermana Iverson

Monday, May 4, 2015

Some good news!

Katie with Adela and Gabriel

Well, the biggest news this week is that our investigators, Adela and Gabriel, FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!  They had a lot of obstacles to get to this point, but they were determined to follow Christ.  We were really happy to see them get baptized, because we´ve grown very close to them.  She really became truly converted.  We saw how she just trusted in God and she received a confirmation that these things are true, that the Church was restored and that the Book of Mormon is true.  She started accompanying us since last Wednesday to visit people, before she was even baptized, because she was so excited.  We would go to invite her friends to her baptism.  She faced a LOT of opposition in this time, but she remained firm.  It was a good last baptism.

And last little note, Happy Star Wars´ Day, today!  (May the Fourth be with you, tehe)

Hermana Iverson

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sorry Super Boring this Week

April 27, 2015

Not a whole lot happened this week...we did intercambios (exchanges) again, and I went to Loja in the other rama (Argelia).  I spent the day with another hermana from California, so that was cool, the two Californians.  But idk, every time I meet other people from California here in the mission, they´re always so´s cuz they´re all from Southern California...I´m the only one here representing the Bay Area. *sigh*  

...That was basically the only exciting thing.  This week we´re having baptisms!  Woooo!  Pray a lot please!!!  Sorry I don´t have much else to write today.  It´s been a pretty normal week.  Just my companion and I laughing a lot.  She´s so great.

Love you all,
Hermana Iverson

Friday, April 24, 2015

Only a month left

April 20, 2015

After straightening her hair.  Getting long again!

As for news this week on my part, it was pretty slow.  Just a lot of sun.  Oh, I wanted to send you pictures last week, but the salon was closed so we went straight to the cyber to write as we waited for it to open.  But last week we went to a salon (gabinete is what they´re called here) and I had my hair straightened!  It looked really nice, and suuuuper long!  It was the first time in my entire mission that my hair has touched my nametag (a common problem for other sister missionaries).  

Yesterday we had the District Conference here in Loja.  We traveled there with the branch in a bus that they rented.  It was really nice, there were some very good talks.  I´ve noticed that Church leaders have been talking a lot recently about the families and marriage, and also self-reliance.  Those were the two main topics that I noticed yesterday.  Makes one wonder what´s to come in the future...

Other than that, not much.  Just that I FINALLY finished reading Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (that thing has nearly 800 pages; I think I started it in August when I was stuck in the house every day with my cast) this week, and I was really happy--I had wanted to finish it before I finished my mission.  Also, I think Saturday is April 25th is the perfect date: not too hot, nor too cold, all you need is a light sweater (if you´ve seen Miss Congeniality, you understand me).  But yeah, not much else.  Same old same old, looking for investigators, teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Still haven´t had cambios, but I only have a month left, so I hope I stay here in Catamayo with my companion, so I can finish her training.

I´m so glad I came on my mission.  It´s the best thing I could have done for my life.  I wish that everyone could have this opportunity to serve a mission.

Love you all so so much,
Hermana Iverson

I still don´t have cambios and MY SISTER HAS HER MISSION CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 13, 2015

LAUREN GOT HER CALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I´m so excited for her!!!!!!  This is such an exciting time for her.  I can´t believe she´s going to Ohio!  I was convinced she was going to Germany, or Europe in general.  But then again, I was also convinced that Nathan was going to go to Canada, and then he went to Colorado.  Guessing people´s missions is not a skill I have.  Good thing I´m not in charge of assigning missions to future missionaries, I´d make a mess of things.
Well, so far we haven´t had cambios!  I´m still here in Catamayo with my hija, Hermana Quispe.  I really really really hope I get to stay more time and that we don´t get cambios today, because I really really really want to be here when our investigators, Adela and Gabriel, get baptized, and that should (hopefully) be this week.  Last week, we couldn´t find them nor get in contact with them on Sunday, but the next day we found them in their house, and it turned out that Adela´s health/vision had gotten so bad that she had to go to Loja for an emergency doctor´s visit.  Her vision won´t get better until she gets glasses, but they´re really expensive for her circumstances, and she´d have to pay a lot for a pair just to use them for a trial period of 3 months.  It´s rough.  That wasn´t the only trial they´ve had this week.  They needed one more church attendance to get baptized on their original baptismal date, April 18 (aka this Saturday), but another emergency came up, but this time with her other son (she has three children in total, but only the youngest, Gabriel, lives with her for the time being).  He was born with a certain medical condition, and in his 10 years of age, has already had four surgeries, and was about to have another one, but it was going to be a 50/50 chance that he would survive the surgery.  Since he´s having the surgery up in Quito, she traveled there as soon as she could so she and Gabriel could be with him before his surgery.  BUT, with the help of the members here and a returned missionary there, she and Gabriel found a chapel there and got to go to church!!  I´m really hoping our leaders count that as an attendance even though it wasn´t here, because honestly it shows their desire.  They´re traveling back today, so they should arrive in the early morning.  We´ll see them tomorrow.
Other than that, I got another card from Miho Poelman!  I think I´ve received about 8 or 9 cards from her throughout my whole mission.  I´m going to be there in the Judgment Day vouching for her when she goes up.  But really though, I just feel immensely grateful and full of love for her every time I receive mail from her.  I´m excited to see her to give her a big hug.
I think this week is Olivia´s 2nd birthday, no?  It´s Friday if I´m not mistaken.  Give her a big hug and a kiss from me!
Not really much else going on here, just praying I don´t have cambios--I HAVE to be here for this baptism, both of us. *fingers crossed super duper tight*  Love you all a lot!
Hermana Iverson

Happy (post) Easter!

April 6, 2015

From the top of La Cruz

Well the biggest news this week: this past weekend was General Conference!!  It was also the first time in my entire mission that I was able to attend all four sessions.  My first, I was only able to go to the Saturday morning session, the second time I only missed the Saturday morning session, and this time I saw all four; and they were AMAZING.  I don´t know if the messages are getting better over the years or if I´ve just learned to appreciate them more as I´ve gotten older.  I think it´s a bit of both.  

They talked a lot about the family and marriage on Saturday (my companion and I were just like "que bestia, how trunky").  The connection was still a little iffy, and it was pausing so much that we finished watching the morning session 35 minutes late.  That was awkward.  It improved greatly after that, when the members figured out that when they moved the tv closer to the door and the open hallway that the connection improved a lot.  We had our investigators, a single mom and her 9-year-old son (Adela and Gabriel) in the morning and the afternoon.  Well, Adela came alone in the afternoon because Gabriel was still eating his lunch.  They kind of disappeared Sunday morning and we haven´t been able to find them since, so we´ll see what happens.

Other than the super awesome talks that we got to hear, we also did an intercambio (divisions/splits, I still don´t know what you call them in English) with the other hermanas in Loja this past Wednesday.  So I got to spend the whole day there in Loja and I found a convert of my trainer (Hermana Herrera)!  She was going to tell Hna. Herrera to write me since she hasn´t written me ONCE since she went home almost four months ago (and she has my email address, no excuse), but still no email.  *sigh*

Welp, this week would have been my last if I hadn´t gone home last summer.  This Thursday is April 9, and would have been my 18-month mark.  I can´t believe that I already would have had a year and a half in the mission!  I´m just glad that I still have more time.  Well, not that much.  I officially started my last cambio (transfer) today.  I don´t know what date I´m going home, but it should roughly be in six weeks from now.  Roughly.  If they don´t send me home early or extend me, two very probable options in this mission.  Today there are cambios, so three things could happen: 1) My companion and I both stay here and I finish her training before going home, 2) she has cambios and I go to train one last time before I die (something quite common that happens here), or 3) I have cambios, since I already have 2 cambios here in Catamayo (roughly three months).  I really hope I finish my mission here.  I don´t want to start over in a new area, and I really love it here in Catamayo.  

Only time will tell all these things. Love you lots, and hope everyone´s doing well.  Until next week,

Hermana Iverson