Chile, Week 29 (Talca Stake, Jardín del Valle Ward)

The mission is such a miracle every week. This week with Hermana Juárez we wanted to know more about what it feels like to be an investigator and have a deeper personal conversion so we started doing a practice every morning in companionship study where we are teaching one another all of the lessons. But we don’t pretend to be investigators…. I teach Hermana Juárez as Hermana Juárez and she teaches me as Hermana Berbert. We made registros de enseñanza [teaching records] for each other and everything. It’s been a really cool experience. I feel like my own testimony has grown a lot and I know more what it feels like to be investigating the church. I’ve also learned to be a better teacher, more sincere, and teaching more to the needs of the listener. This has helped us also have a spectacular week as we start to imagine ourselves in the place of our investigators more than we ever have before. We live what they are living. I really feel their fears and sorrows and rejoice in the changes they’re experiencing. It hurts. It helps. I love them so much.

Iris came to church for the first time and I was praying like crazy that she would feel comfortable. The father of her children was a Catholic leader and needless to say she has had some bad experiences with churches. She told us she would come to see how it was but that if she didn’t like it, she would never come back. It was a normal sacrament meeting with lots of kids screaming and punching each other as they ran around. The youth speaker was really nervous because it was his first time, then one of the missionaries gave a talk in gringo Spanish and then an older member talked a LOT. I prayed the whole time that Iris would be able to feel the Spirit. Afterwards we went to her house and she told us how much she loved her experience. She loved that it was full of families with kids, she loved that we get to hear talks from people in all walks of life. She loved everything including the emergency exit signs in case of an earthquake (which with she has also had a hard experience). What a miracle. haha. She is so special and so ready to get baptized. I have never found someone so prepared, ever before.

Paz and Alejandro are still chugging along. Paz is just dying to get baptized. She loves the church but Alejandro doesn’t want to do anything that we invite him to do. I have no idea why. He is so great and always listens to us and it’s obvious that he is changing and converting a lot. But he is afraid to get married, baptized, and go to church. I know his time will come, just not sure when or how.

Claudio is really opening up now that we are having lessons when his daughter isn’t around. He didn’t want her to lose her testimony with his doubts and now the lessons are totally different. He asked us a ton of questions about the scripture with the Stick of Judah (Bible) and the stick of Joseph (Book of Mormon). I studied up practically the entire old testament this week and learned SO MUCH!!! Wow. The Bible really talks about EVERYTHING that happened in the church and so many people have testimonies and don’t even know about all the proofs there are that the church is true. I have no idea how other churches explain all the scriptures in the Bible that talk about the Book of Mormon, the Apostasy, the Restoration, the gathering of Israel, baptisms for the dead, prophets and apostles: we are the only church in the world that has all of these things and yet so many religions claim to believe in the Bible. Have they read it??

Hermana Berbert Hearts the Rancagua Mission

Hermana Berbert Hearts the Rancagua Mission

Anyway, I’m happy. The mission is not something that can be explained to anybody who hasn’t lived it. I have never worked so hard in my life. I have never loved so many people so much. I have never hurt so much either. I have never been so close to God. I have never changed so much inside. I am not the same person who left. I never will be. I will serve the Lord every day until I die. There’s a reason the scripture says, “Oh ye that EMBARK in the service of God, see that ye serve Him with all your might, mind, heart, and strength.” When we truly serve God it’s like a boat leaving the shore, but you’ll never get anywhere if you keep what you left behind in sight. When we lose ourselves in the service of Him, nothing else matters. I can’t see the life that I left behind anymore and I’m lost in all the waves. It’s a constant storm but it’s beautiful and I never want to go back. I don’t know how to put it in words. I’m working hard but more than that, I love who I’m working for. He doesn’t mind if I don’t do the job perfectly as long as I never stop working. Sometimes it seems impossible to finish because there will always be more to do, but that doesn’t matter either. I used to think I would get home from the mission and rest for a couple years straight. Now I can’t stand the thought. I want to be in the service of the Lord every moment from now on and forever.

Love,
Hermana Berbert

Chile, Week 28 (Talca Stake, Jardín del Valle Ward)

This week flew by, as normal. This marks P-day number 3 that I have had to spend with doctors instead of having a normal preparation day. Hopefully it’s the last; I’m getting sick of tests to see if I’m sick. I didn’t react at all to the PPD test but they had to do some X rays and made me cough into little medical tubes just in case (I lived with a sister who has Tuberculosis so the mission and the government are taking a lot of precautions). The fun part is that I got to see the temple in Santiago! It’s so pretty! I couldn’t enter because it’s closed on Monday, but we walked around outside, bought a few things in the distribution center, and ate in the MTC. Santiago is like the New York of Chile and it was exciting to be in a big city after all my mission being in small towns.

Sister Missionaries at Santiago Temple

Sister Missionaries at the Santiago Temple

I forgot to mention that we changed houses a few weeks ago. I was really hoping the new house would have a normal working shower. That’s something I haven’t enjoyed my entire mission. I think I just have bad luck cause this house only has an ice cold shower and I almost cry every morning cause it’s so cold. Also our new neighbor is an Evangelical church so that’s fun. We get to hear them singing and shouting things in the mornings during our studies. haha.

We dropped a lot of people who just aren’t progressing and found a bunch of new families to teach. We’re really excited about the new people we found because I was getting depressed with people who say they want to be baptized but don’t want to do the preparation required.

We had a beautiful lesson with Alejandro. He’s the one who always acts like he’s so tough and doesn’t believe anything. He broke down and cried and it was all thanks to the powerful testimony of a member that came with us. The family also invited his family to a BBQ at their house and we are so grateful that he finally has a friend he feels comfortable with.

Iris continues progressing steadily and surely. She went to conference and liked it and couldn’t come to church this week but she is definitely reading the Book of Mormon and marking it and is determined to read and analyze the whole thing. I love her so much. She’s a professor and I like the ways she thinks about everything really thoroughly.

We almost dropped Claudio this week because he wasn’t progressing. It broke my heart to explain to him that we weren’t sure if we could keep teaching because it wouldn’t make any difference if he didn’t do his part. He explained that he has a lot of doubts every time that we teach him and he wants to ask but not in front of his daughter (she’s a member, 14 years old). She’s still forming her testimony and he is grateful for the way the Gospel blesses his family and doesn’t want HIS doubts to get in the way of that. It was really good that we could have an honest chat about everything. Now we know how to help him better and we’ll plan times to visit when his daughter isn’t around.

Something I love about the mission is that I get to convert to the Gospel all over again. I’ve always had a strong testimony and loved living the Gospel, but nobody ever attacked what I believed. Here, my beliefs are constantly attacked or made fun of and people have doubts about things I’ve never doubted before. When I study I have to imagine what it would be like to investigate the church if I didn’t trust in the Book of Mormon or the prophets or already have a testimony. I’m starting from the ground up again and studying everything. Never in my life have I studied the Bible so much. My conversion grows stronger and stronger as my testimony becomes more intellectual and not only spiritual. The Gospel is so perfect and I love going on the same journey as my investigators and gaining a new testimony with them principle-by-principle and one spiritual experience after another.

This church is true and I have no doubt about it. I feel so humbled to be part of God’s work and His glory. The work of salvation isn’t easy. If it wasn’t easy for Jesus Christ, being perfect, we can never expect it to be easy for us, being far from perfect. But it’s possible and it’s worth it, and it’s fulfilling. This is the most important thing you can be doing these days, so stop reading about it and start doing it! You’ll love it, I know!

Love,
Hermana Berbert

Chile, Week 27 (Talca Stake, Jardín del Valle Ward)

Sorry, this week’s gonna be a short letter. We’re in Santiago right now to have the PPD test  Hopefully I don’t have tuberculosis! Haha, but I’m not worried. Christ has already healed me in other ways and I have no doubt He can heal me again if it’s necessary. I have a testimony that Christ really heals all who come to him and need healing spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc.

[Editor’s note: One of the sister missionaries was found to have tuberculosis, and as a safety precaution all missionaries who may have been exposed are being tested for TB.]

This week was really great. Paz accepted baptism and Alejandro said he was going to think about it…. which is a big step for him. Iris is reading the Book of Mormon and really starting to make changes in her life. Carolina bore her testimony for the first time ever in church and I was so grateful that two months later she is still progressing so strong. This week a TON of less active members came to the sacrament meeting and I was so happy. Hermana Marta, one of the ward missionaries and my celestial friend forever, taught the class in Relief Society about missionary work. It’s been really hard for us to get support from the ward to help us have lessons with members, references, and all that. She straight-out told them that we need their help, that they aren’t doing enough, and bore powerful testimony of all the ways her life has been blessed by helping out with the missionaries. She mentioned experiences we’ve had and her two sisters who were less active but both went to church with her that week. I think she had everyone in tears (or at least all of us sister missionaries). It was a lesson I’ll never forget and I love seeing the ward really start to wake up and realize they are part of the great ushering of the last days that’s happening right now.
I love being a missionary! 
Hermana Berbert