Merry Christmas and Skyping Home!

[From Hermana Berbert’s Dad]:

As you would expect, the best part of our Christmas Day was Skyping for an hour with our daughter. We are grateful for her service and her example, and for the service of all who are involved in missionary work. We miss having our daughter home for Christmas, but we are thankful that she can help others find the same gospel which has brought so much goodness into our own lives. May each of you who reads this blog be blessed for your love and support, and have the spirit of Christmas throughout all the year.

Chile, Week 37 (San Vicente branch with Sister Pérez and Sister Cuevas)

I got sick this week! It was the first time in the whole mission I’ve been sick. We tried to work but I felt like I was going to throw up every other second so we had to go back home for a few hours in the night time. When we got back to the house I couldn’t even relax because the whole time I lay in my bed I felt guilty for not being out working. We called someone to give me a priesthood blessing and that helped a lot. The next time my stomach still hurt, but we were still able to leave and work. I feel much much better now and with renewed energy to work hard. We had a fantastic week and brought 15 people to church this Sunday! It was awesome.

Being in a trio is fun. One day we were bored of contacting so Hermana Pérez and I just went to a plaza where there were a bunch of people passing and started singing Christmas songs. Hermana Cuevas passed out cards and talked to people that passed by. That was exciting even though Hermana Pérez was kind of embarrassed and kept laughing at first.

This week we also had the Christmas devotional with Elder Archuleta. It was so so so so beautiful. I just wanted to cry the whole time. I have a lot of respect for Elder Archuleta. He has an incredible gift and yet is one of the humblest people I’ve ever met and one of the the best missionaries out there. The Spirit was so strong in the devotional and a couple investigators (not ours) decided to get baptized as a result of the Spirit they felt. Absolutely incredible.

Can I just take a minute to tell you how important missionary work is??? Think about the atonement of Jesus Christ… the most important event that ever took place in the universe! Without the atonement, the entire plan of God would be frustrated. Pretty important, right? I personally believe that missionary work is equally necessary and important in God’s plan. Without missionary work and the work for the dead in temples, God’s plan would also be frustrated. If we don’t do ordinances for the dead who don’t have bodies, there are people who will NEVER get the chance to accept the Gospel and God would be unjust and cease to be God. If we don’t share the message of the restored Gospel, our friends and families might NEVER get their opportunity to decide if they are going to accept or reject this message. The atonement of Christ would be in vain if nobody knew about it or how to apply it in their lives.

We are living in the age of the gathering of Israel, the gathering has to be spiritual before physical, just like all things. If you are living in this age and time it’s because YOU too were chosen and preserved to come forth in this age and share the Gospel with the world. Every single person who decided to be baptized made a covenant with God to be his witness in all times and in all things and in all places. Please realize that this is the most important work you can do in the church. It is as important for the salvation of others as it is for our own salvation. Forget all the temporal things that you can spend your life doing and help us in doing the work and glory of God himself. You’ll have the rest of the eternity to spend doing whatever other thing may be of interest to you. We have a purpose during this short time of mortal life that we must fulfill and everybody has an essential part to play (D&C 84:106-110).

I love you all and I want you to know that I know without a doubt that my Savior Jesus Christ lives and loves me. I know that only by following Him will I be able to return to live with God again and my family in the Celestial kingdom. I’m grateful beyond words for His sacrifice for me and his love. I hope you all can feel it this week as we celebrate the Christmas season. I hope you all make goals to share the Gospel more this year and I promise you will have experiences that are unforgettable. LOVE YOU ALL!

Hermana Berbert

Chile, Week 36 (San Vicente branch with Sister Pérez)

This week was fun because we had the Christmas activity which was quite enjoyable. We enjoyed listening to a few spiritual thoughts, played soccer, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, and water balloons in the blazing sun for a few hours, and then we ate a yummy lunch. We even sang Rudolf the Reindeer and White Christmas in Spanish. It felt really weird cause I didn’t feel like a missionary playing sports all day and stuff but I also don’t feel like it’s Christmas cause it’s HOT. We all finished tired because we had to wake up early to travel and played hard in the sun. I’ve never fallen asleep in a lesson before but this week I really almost did. The heat is really heavy on my eyelids and sometimes they just don’t want to stay open. If I wasn’t a missionary I would just collapse on the grass. We’re gonna do something a bit more relaxed today to get our strength back. It also didn’t help that my family sent an AWESOME package full of super-delicious treats from the United States and we ate purely chocolate and candies in the morning and night. haha. My family’s not gonna believe me but, we already ate it ALL.

The sector is going well although we still don’t have anybody with a baptismal date. Everyone that is progressing isn’t married. Nicole really wants to get married and baptized too. Her husband doesn’t love the idea of getting married and ever since we mentioned it he hides when we come to teach. I seem to always find people like Nicole. For their husbands they can’t get baptized… yet.

We also have Carolina, a former Jehovah’s Witness. She’s really great and knows the church is true. She’s going to get baptized some day but I probably won’t see it either because she has to wait on her divorce papers and it takes forever here, especially for the women.

The other good news is that we found a really beautiful family. The father is less active and his wife and kids aren’t members but they are really great and like to listen. Fabiola says she’s always been Catholic and doesn’t plan on changing, but everyone says that at first. She’ll come around soon enough. They have 3 kids, Nicolas (13), Franco (10) and Sofi (3). They are really excited about the church and Nicolas started playing soccer with all the members this week and loved it. Franco doesn’t really like sports but he’s really smart and remembers EVERYTHING we teach super clearly. They are all coming to a ward Christmas activity tonight so hopefully it goes well and they feel comfortable. Then we can baptize them all. I love completing families. That seems to be my specialty haha.

It was election week here in Chile and the new president is going to authorize marijuana and homosexual marriages. Nooooooo….

This week Hermana Silva, who lives with us, is going home. We are going to finish this transfer with her companion, Hermana Cuevas, in a trio so I’ll have two companions for at least a few weeks. Hermana Cuevas is from Argentina and is really sweet. We’ll be working in both sectors so that’ll be crazy.

This week I did the attributes of Christ activity in Preach my Gospel and it was super great. I found the average of what I scored on each attribute and I could see what I need to improve most and some of my strengths and weaknesses. I’m focusing on improving in my lowest scores, patience and hope. I think they go well together. Patience is “suffering with calmness” in the bible dictionary and hope is what helps us to be calm while we suffer. I definitely don’t have much patience with myself and my own efforts. I want to do everything right and I’m used to being able to learn things fast. Usually if we don’t have good numbers or much success I feel like that’s a result of my own disobedience or because I have to be better at planning the lessons or talking to everyone we pass in the street (something that still scares me).

I’m glad we are focusing on the attributes of Christ as a mission and that I could learn this about myself. I think if I had more patience and hope I could enjoy the mission more. I still don’t feel like I can say that I love the mission and I’m more than halfway through. Do people only love the mission in retrospect? I love God and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love the Gospel and the way it changes the lives of families. The mission is definitely worth every second if it means we can save even a few people, but it’s not exactly an enjoyable experience… it’s missionary work because it’s hard hard work. Anyway, another good week has gone by and time continues to fly by super fast. 

Hermana Berbert