Monday, April 14, 2014

FIRST Lesson in English!! - Sister Hannah Avery

Written by Sister Hannah Avery, serving in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

(Note to reader: Clicking on highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them. Some names are omitted for privacy.)

Hey family and friends!

We had a crazy week this week! Well, busy at least. We had a lot of crazy things happen for sure.... I mean I am in Chile... what DOESN'T happen here?! hahaha!

To start off, we have M and M's baptisms this Saturday the 19th! They are SOOO cute, and SOOO excited! They have a goal to be sealed in a year from their baptism date <3 SO SWEET! AH! And, they are just the cutest couple and family ever. When you see the pictures, hopefully you will be able to tell! Nothing compares to them in real life though :)

If you have not read this book, READ IT! If you're short on time,
 start at 3 Nephi! Start somewhere! It will change your life!
So.... I taught my FIRST lesson in English this week! Yeah, right?? I was SOOO excited! haha! It was so much easier to teach the gospel in English, that is for sure! It was a boy who is 17 years old, who we contacted in the street, and he just started talking in English...yes! We were like, "WOAH! WHAT?! Where did you come from?!" haha! We are so used to the normal, "Hi! ONE, TWO, THREE! Playstation!" that people say here (those are the only English words they know, haha!) that we thought there was no hope of finding someone who literally speaks English! haha! It was awesome. He taught himself English by listening to music in English and reading it! What?! How smart is this kid?!  We have another lesson with him this Thursday. He said he wasn't looking for God in his life, but he is willing to give it a try! We were like, OKAY! Here is the Book of Mormon! Read it! haha! I hope he gets baptized. He is a really cool kid!

There was a REALLY bad fire in Valparaiso (about 20 minutes away) this week, and it STILL isn't out! Over 2000 homes have been completely burned to the ground and people don't have anything. It's super sad! But, the silver lining is that now there are TONS of people listening to us and telling us to go visit their friends to give them a "message of Christ and peace." Okay! We are ON IT! haha! But, keep these people in your prayers. Remember that the people here don't really have anything in the first place, so to lose the few things they DO have is really hard.

One of the recent converts in our ward found a pamphlet from a anti-Mormon church that said a whole bunch of lies and nonsense about our church, the missionaries, etc. It was like a comic book, and told a story of two Elders who were teaching a lady about the gospel, and then they ran out of her house regretting their faith and what they were doing. There was A LOT of information in it, including inaccuracies about the temple, etc. Sadly, I believe that whoever wrote that used to be a member of our church at one point, but somehow they lost their faith and were led away.

We also ran into a really angry lady this week. We were contacting her husband in the street and she came out of the store and started yelling at us and waving her hands around in the air, telling us that we were "too young to be deceived by Satan and this religion," that the "Book of Mormon is a lie and is leading us to dark paths," and that we "need to repent and leave this mission"... and a WHOLE LOT more. But the words of Elder Holland from Conference came to mind (while listening to this woman screaming at us), "Stand up for what you believe in." So that is what we did. We listened to her with love and respect, then responded simply, "We know that this book is true and is the word of God. You are a daughter of Heavenly Father and He loves you." And then, we walked away. I hope that one day, she can soften her heart and listen to the message of the restored gospel. It broke my heart, of course, to hear her talk about the church in such a negative way. But my faith is firm. I will never be shaken from the foundation of Christ upon which I am built.

So, big lesson of the week is that no matter what storms and trials come your way, whatever things are said against the church or your beliefs, stand tall, and never deny or doubt your faith. The Lord will lift you above all, and will bless you for defending His beautiful gospel. I know with all of my heart that this church is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that He is my Savior and brother, and more than ever, my friend. I know that I am standing shoulder to shoulder with the best person that ever lived, and that if I continue to stand for the truth, He will help me too. I love you all so much and hope that you all have a wonderful week! Know that you are all in my every thought and prayer. I will talk to you next week! Love you!

xoxoxoxo Hermana Avery

PS: Here is a photo of a sign that was posted outside of our condo this week. It is a lost dog named "Niko" who literally looks nothing like a dog, LOL! I about peed my pants when I saw this picture. I hope you all get as big a kick out of it as I did :) Ciao!

Trust in His Ways (April 7, 2014)

Happy Easter from Chile (April 21, 2014)