Chile, Week 16, (Talca Stake, Jardín del Valle Ward)

Baptisms during my mini-transfer

Baptisms during my mini-transfer

What a great week. I got to have a mini transfer in La Florida with Hermana Contreras (from Argentina) and Hermana Pineda (from Guatemala). Hermana Contreras was having some health problems and had to do therapy this week. Hermana Pineda is a newbie and super awesome. I got to do her training and I enjoyed it a lot. She’s got a super cool relaxed personality. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it was fun.

I learned something magical this week, “Smiles open doors.” It was something the assistants told us and we decided to try it. It’s not that we walk around looking grumpy or anything, but sometimes we forget, as simple as it is, to smile! So many times we’ve knocked doors (actually we usually don’t knock we stand outside and shout “halo”) and assumed nobody was home because nobody answered. I think they just saw us and didn’t want to talk to missionaries. Smiles are super powerful and we got to talk to a lot more people when we made sure we both had big huge grins every time we contacted.

We worked a lot with an investigator named Telma who is trying to quit smoking so she and her son can be baptized. She has also been battling with a lot of other things like depression and poverty. She had to break up with her boyfriend so that she could live the law of chastity and he was trying to call and get back together. She is super strong though and it was a miracle to see the change in her in only a week with the help of the gospel. We started to realize that every time we went over her son was complaining that he was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything all day. Then we realized he wasn’t just being grouchy; they really didn’t have any food! She’s been searching for work and this week was a tough one for them. We called the bishop and he immediately got people together in the ward and they all brought her a bunch of food. It was a miracle and she was crying because of the kindness of the members. She is doing a lot better, a lot more positive and has a light in her eyes. It was beautiful to witness a small part of her conversion this week. People’s conversions are so sacred. I feel so blessed to be able to participate in this work and see miracles everyday.

I also made empanadas this week. I’d only seen it done a couple times by Chileans but it’s not too hard. One morning (when I probably should have been showering and getting ready) I made empanadas! It was super fun to do something a little bit different and filled me with enthusiasm for the day. We can’t cook much in Jardín del Valle because our kitchen just has a little camping stove and a fridge, but on my mini transfer I was staying in a house that actually had a kitchen! Whoohoo!

Super awesome taco lunch

Super awesome taco lunch

Anyway love you all! Remember to smile and love people! Oh! And if you have a chance, read D&C 138!! It’s so awesome! I don’t know how I didn’t know about this chapter before! Also Carolina is getting married this Saturday and her baptism is next Saturday!! AHH I’m so excited. We are helping her finish sewing her wedding dress this week.

Love,
Hermana Berbert

Chile, Week 15 (Talca Stake, Jardín del Valle Ward)

This week I have a mini transfer with another sister. A sister missionary is sick in the hospital so I’m going to be with her companion for the week while she recovers. I’ll miss my investigators and companion but I also love changes because I learn a lot seeing how other people work. It sounds like right now there are some hard feelings between some of the missionaries from Concepción and Rancagua. They had a meeting this week to try to take the best of both missions and join them together. I never realized how different every mission is. I always thought they were the same but there are some major differences. I’m not worried. I fully trust in our new mission President and the revelation he receives to know how to direct the work and what the people need here.

I want to share something my Dad told me because I like it a lot. He was saying [quoting from a high councilor who spoke recently in his ward] that Satan tries to imitate a lot of things that God does but change them just a little bit. He can try to imitate miracles because he has power to. He can try to imitate prophecies and even a feeling of burning in the bosom. It’s kinda scary and confusing to think about BUT there are certain feelings Satan can never imitate. He can’t imitate feelings of love, peace, and true joy. These are feelings that the Gospel brings and can help us to discern between what’s true and what isn’t. I’ve never realized how powerful the devil is before the mission. He really attacks people with everything and for some reason it’s so obvious in the mission. He attacks us too as missionaries and I’m sure it’s the same with prophets and leaders of the church because they are so essential for moving the work forward. Thank you for all your prayers and please pray for the leaders too because we all need it. I never thought the mission would be hard, but that’s because I only saw the physical side of it. The physical side isn’t hard, but the spiritual battle is. Sometimes I feel like Satan is attacking not only my weaknesses but my strengths, and any little thing that could possibly work he will try.

Another thought from my super profound papá. He sent this in his email and I wanted to share it with y’all:
The speaker [a high councilor who spoke yesterday in a ward near Lake Tahoe] has a 12-year-old daughter who plays the piano, and he asked her if she thought he could learn to play as well as her if he practiced for 12 hours every day for a month. She said “No,” so then he asked her if she thought he could learn to play as well as her if he practiced 16 hours every day for two months, and she still said “No.” That didn’t make sense to him, because she only practices for 15 minutes per day, so if you add up all the time that she has spent practicing over the past few years it would add up to less than 2 months of 16-hour days. The father considered himself intelligent enough to be able to learn new things and catch on quickly, so he asked his daughter to explain how only 15 minutes per day was better than two months of 16-hour days. She replied, “I only practice the piano for 15 minutes, but I think about it the rest of the day.” The speaker went on to compare his daughter’s 15 minutes of piano practice to reading the scriptures, and he emphasized the importance of reading each day, even if only for a few minutes, because we can think about what we read during the rest of the day and it has a chance to sink in and make a big difference.

Isn’t that great!? So true. I LOVE studying the scriptures. One of my favorite parts of every day. I also LOVE the people here. I’ve only known them a month but I’m pretty sure we were friends before this life or I could never feel such deep love for them in such little time. More than anything, I LOVE my Heavenly Father. He’s the reason I’m here more than anything.

Love,
Hermana Berbert

Chile, Week 14 (Talca Stake, Jardín del Valle Ward)

Las Hermanas de Jardín del Valle

Las Hermanas de Jardín del Valle

It was so great to meet my new mission president and his wife this week! I’m so excited to be in the mission Rancagua. Honestly when my mission changed to Rancagua, it just felt right. President Warne visited us in Talca this week and I felt the Spirit so strongly. Everything they said related to experiences I’ve had in my life. I feel like everything that’s EVER happened to me was preparing me to be where I am right now. The Lord knew what was going to happen and He knows where I need to be. The Lord`s hand was so obvious this week in all the work that we did. We saw so many miracles–so many situations that worked out so perfectly that only God could have planned them.

Chile chili peppers

Chile chili peppers

Things are progressing really well. We had tons of new investigators that we invited to baptism! Not all of them accepted, but they all agreed to keep learning and we’ll help them get there. We also had some investigators come to church for the first time. A cute little old man named Tomas. He’s from the South and so funny. When we showed up at his house to pick him up for church he opened the door before we could finish knocking. Everyone was super friendly and loved him to death. He was super happy with his adventure. We also brought a Mom named Paz (her name means peace) and her two kids. They are twins and they are both 7 years old. Although they started punching each other in the middle of sacrament, Paz still really enjoyed it and we are hoping her husband can come with her next Sunday. We are still working with Carolina. She has been investigating the church for YEARS and finally decided to act. She is living with a member who was less active. Now he is active again and they are going to get married and she is going to get baptized right after. Everyone in the ward is helping us plan the wedding. She’s going to sew her own dress so it can be modest and yesterday I helped her sketch out some ideas of how she wants it to look.

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My companion and I are super grateful we will stay together for another transfer (Rancagua had transfers this week). We work really well together and learn a lot from each other. I love Hermana Mendoza!!! We are also super excited that 2 more sisters are coming to Jardín del Valle. Before we got here, this ward hadn’t seen a baptism for over a year. We already had one baptism in the last few weeks and are planning more. Everyone in the ward is getting excited about missionary work and helping us out a ton.

Sister Mendoza and I with our trusty umbrellas

Sister Mendoza and I with our trusty umbrellas

It rained and rained and rained and rained this week. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t have my umbrella I would have drowned standing on the ground. They say that Talca is like Paris and London because it rains like Paris and it’s foggy like London. It’s a good thing I like the rain. Also, I haven’t been sick the whole mission, but they gave us a vaccine for the flu and I got sick. )-: We worked anyway. I choked out my testimony until my voice was gone and my poor companion had to explain everything. All I could do was nod fervently beside her. I felt like when I started the mission all over again because I couldn’t talk. At least this time I could understand! Haha

"Talca, Paris, & London," a common phrase in Talca

“Talca, Paris, & London,” a common phrase in Talca

Honestly, starting out the mission was pretty hard. Satan was attacking me with everything, it seemed like. The mission wasn’t exactly what I expected and sometimes I wondered why I was sacrificing so much for such hard work. What I’m learning is that God literally can change hearts when we ask with faith. He is making me into someone new, someone better, and gives me the strength to do whatever it is He needs at the time. All I have to be is ready, willing, and obedient. I started praying that God could help me love the mission. It was something that I thought would come naturally, but for me it didn’t. I can literally feel my heart change. I LOVE the mission. I love being here in Chile. I love serving. Although I love my family and friends and look forward to being with them again, I don’t want to be anywhere else right now. I know the church is true. I know it without a single doubt. I know that God is a God of miracles. I know He is my Heavenly Father and loves me enough to give me what I ask for in faith. I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do right now.

The beginnings of a beautiful sunset

The beginnings of a beautiful sunset

LOVE you all!

P.S. I’m gonna have even less time to write now because the Rancagua mission has a shorter time limit for writing, but I still love you even if I don’t have time to express it!

Hermana Berbert