Thursday, 26 May 2016

Coming Home

I'm sorry I haven't updated the blog in a while. It's pretty crazy when one comes home from the mission eh?

The last day in Chile, we went to the mission home for our "last supper." We had a fast and testimony meeting before dinner and I felt like the whole room was on fire with the spirit. It was really wonderful to see the change and growth that we had experienced in these 2 years. After dinner all the sisters decided to take advantage of the little time left we had in Chile and we left to contact people in the street and walk around the construction site of the temple (the temple grounds are right in front of the mission home)
We talked to the construction workers and shared are appreciation for their work. When we arrived at the main entrance of the site, to our surprise the elders were there! We took some pictures then had the inspiration to sing in front of the temple for the workers there. We sang "families can be together forever," "I love to see the temple" and "the spirit of God." There wasn't a dry eye I felt such a gratitude for the temple and the Plan of Salvation. Families CAN be together forever through the promises that we make in the temple with Heavenly Father.  The temple is like a light house that guides us back to His side.

Santiago Temple

There's been some pretty mixed emotions. I feel like I never left and that a lot of time has passed at the same time. I'm happy to be with my family but I left half my heart in Chile. I love the people so much. I really came to see people through the eyes of heaven.   Heavenly Father is always aware the needs and desires of his children. 
I'll miss the mountains and the forests.  I'll miss the rickety micros and the street venders.  I'll miss the caring and talkative neighbours and people in the streets.  I'll miss inviting people the follow Jesus Christ through baptism.  I'll miss my companions and all the things that they taught me.  I'll miss the joy that fills your soul when an investigator comes to church for the first time or the tears shed as we poured out are hearts in prayer. I my only desire was to help others feel the love that Heavenly Father feels for them and that is what I will continue to do.
It saddens me to say goodbye to the country that I called home and the people that I have come to love.  I know that the mission never really ends.  We should have the nametag carved on our hearts. We should always remember to invite other to come to Christ; to share the tidings of great joy as did the prophets of old:

 Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

 2 Nephi 9: 23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.

It would be a wonderful thing to be there with Heavenly Father after this life; to fall into his arms and embrace him.  It would be even better if we were there in that moment with all our family and friends.  This is what I desire. I want to see you all there in the Celestial Kingdom!
If you feel lost, or forgotten, pour your heart out in prayer to Him. He will guide you.  If you have questions, there are answers.  There are many tools that God has given us to guide our way.  The scriptures, family, church leaders, priesthood blessings, the Holy Spirit.  Seek after these good things.

I love you all. Remember who you are and the purpose of this life. Have an eternal perspective.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Happy Mother's Day... See You in 3 Days!

Mom's Note....

Hermana Jakob will not be able to write home tomorrow because she will be travelling to the mission home in Concepcion in preparation for her return home Tuesday evening.  She will be flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport before 1pm on Wednesday afternoon, if all her connecting flights go well (fingers crossed X and prayerful pleadings!).

We got to see and talk to her through Skype this afternoon with her companion for a Mother's Day treat and I said I would relay her thoughts for her as her letter home this week.  She promises once she is home, she will share more stories and pictures to her blog which she didn't have time to do previously.

Hermana Jakob was tearful as she expressed her love for the people of Chile and her gratitude for the time she has had these past 18 months to serve and share her beliefs about Jesus Christ and learn Spanish - like a pro, I might add, so much so that she has a Latin lilting to her voice when she speaks and says English feels foreign to her after all this time.

Her and her companion sang a Mother's Day song for me in Spanish which was really pretty. 

She will leave a piece of her heart behind in Chile forever as her thoughts and prayers will always return to the friends she has made and the people she has met and come to love as she has taught, prayed for and served them.  This is the hardest part of coming home for a missionary, because after all the wonderful experiences and struggles that they go through, the love they develop for what they do and the people they meet becomes like the feeling of family to them while they are away from home and it changes their lives so profoundly that they will never be the same again.  Her experiences will impact her in so many positive and sustaining ways for the rest of her life.  In many ways, this has prepared her for adulthood, independent living and how to be a good contributing citizen of the world while having learned to rely on God through faith by trusting Him in all things. 

She is excited to come home on Wednesday and see her friends and family, yet nervous to see all the changes and a little apprehensive for the big life decisions to consider for the future.  Leaving one place she has learned to call home for the past 18 months and returning to the home she's always known is bittersweet, a little sadness for things that are ending yet sweet for reunions with loved ones missed. 

One thing is for sure, this girl is amazing!  We love her a lot and know that she will excel in anything she puts her mind to.  She has an unconquerable and determined friendly spirit and will do many great things in her lifetime, whatever new path she may travel. We look forward to seeing what new adventures await our beloved Hermana Jakob.


Monday, 2 May 2016

Bouncing Baby Boys and Pounds of Apples!

WOW! I Don´t have much time to write today! There are so many things we have to do....

Porontos Granados - Chilean white bean soup with grated corn, mashed pumpkin and onion.

EL Sabado (Saturday) we went to help out a member.  She has a HUGE backyard...about 10 acres and we helped her plant beans for the next harvest.  She is 73 years old and does everything by hand, by herself!  It´s safe to say that I now know how to plant a big garden!  It´s going to be amazing!  She gave us about 8 kilos de manzanas (apples).  We´re happy because we don´t have to buy food this week. :)

Last week was a little hard.  I knew it was a test of our faith because there is always a test before the miracle occurs.  This week we found a lot of beautiful families to teach!  We decided to contact people with pictures of our families, (you guys are famous in Angol!)  and it worked well to help break the ice and show people the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for us. 

Andrea, Alex and their daughter are a joven (young) family that were very interested when they heard that families can be together forever.  I just love the Plan of Salvation and the esperanza (hope) that it brings into our lives. It helps us to understand the ¨why's?¨ of life and the role of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

This week a member named Barbara had her baby!  She asked us to be there because she doesn´t really have anyone in her family to support her. We weren't allowed to be in the room when he was born but we went in to greet little Fernando soon after.  

At the hospital

I still don´t believe that it´s all ending this week!  I feel like I still have another month left.  I know that the mission won´t end when I am done.  I´ll still be a missionary at heart even though I don´t have the nametag and official calling.  I love being a missionary!  I love sharing the gospel!  


See you soon!

<3 Hermana Jakob

With Connie... Yup!  We can still be goofy sometimes!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

I Like to Look for Rainbows Whenever There Is Rain

Hola mis queridos!  (Hello My Dear Ones!)

Bueno, this week we did a bunch of cool things.  On Friday we went to Purén to help out at a home for the Elderly.  We painted their fence white and painted cartoons from Disney and the flags of our home countries.   The viejitos (elderly) were so happy to see us. It started to rain halfway through the service project but happily, nothing happened to our paint job!   The Elders moved a HUGE pile of firewood from the backyard to a shed and others took apart a green house and harvested the potatoes that were planted there.  Everyone was dead beat tired in the end but the ride home in the bus was about and hour and a half long, so we ere well recuperated for the afternoon!

Walking along the countryside

We are currently teaching a young woman named Mariana.  She was born with...  I can´t remember the name of it but she uses a wheel chair.  She´s a really sweet girl with a big desire to help others and loves the Lord. We´re going to invite her to share some of her experiences in the Principios del Evangelio (Gospel Principles) class to help her get more involved with the church and the members.  We´ll be visiting her today with one of the YSA (Yound Single adult members) that recently moved from Santiago to Angol.

There was a lot of rain this week, with we´ve saw a lot of rainbows!  It was really beautiful.  Actually, the day the we took the picture of the rainbow, we had a ¨rescate¨(rescue) activity with all the leaders of the ward here.  We prayed over names of some of the less active members that haven´t been to church in a while and made a list of families we should visit.  Then we divided up and visited them.  The turnout was great!  It was an awesome experience for the members and for the missionaries, so that we could see the success that missionary work has when we work together.

Hermanas with some of the leaders of the ward.

Love you lots!  You´re always in my prayers and see you soon!

Hermana Jakob

Monday, 18 April 2016

Interview With a New Mission President

This week was pretty awesome. 

It rained for three days straight.  I use to hate the rain. The mission has taught me to love it.  Everything is so clean and the air is fresh afterwards.

Yup!  I'm still a little goofy and having fun!  :)

We had interviews with our new mission president.  To be honest I was a little nervous because I didn´t have the same confidence with him as I did with President Bluth. However, as we began the interview I could feel the love that he has for us and missionary work. I had a bunch of questions about what I should do these last three weeks.  I was pretty stressed out because everyone was telling me different things and all I wanted to do was focus on the work here.  He told me to pray for the strength to focus my thoughts on el campo misional (the mission field) and start making my plans for my life when I´m on the plane home. I could feel all the stress leave and I can say that I have more energy than I did before!  

Yesterday we had another miracle!  We felt that we should have visited a part-member family.  They´ve been less active for a long time and we were running out of ideas and plans to help them come back.  Their daughter Connie, has had the desire to be baptized for a long time now and when she prays, she always asks that Heavenly Father can help her whole family come back to church and that He can help her be baptized.  She has such a pure spirit.  Anyways, last night we were talking with the grandmother, when Connie and her mom Karen arrived from their trip in the south.  Karen saw us in the living room, walked to the centre of the room and with tears in her eyes said, ¨I want to come back to church!" She said that their vacation was beautiful but she felt that something was missing. When she saw us, she realized what it was. We ran to her and gave her a big hug.  Connie jumped up and started dancing and yelling, ¨I won´t be going to church alone anymore!¨ We were all crying tears of joy. 

I know that Heavenly Father is always aware of us and our needs and desires, even the little children.  He hears each and everyone of our prayers.

This experience also reminded me of the talk from General Conference about spiritual rescue. Never give up!

To all the shy people out there that feel they don´t have the talents or ability to share the gospel.  I invite you to read this article and reflect on how you can overcome fear.

Thanks for everyone that has been writing me and giving me encouragement!  I wish I could write each and everyone personally! 

Love you all lots!  

Hermana Jakob

Oh yeah!  This pizza was to die for!!!  Stone oven baked, home made pizza dough.  Cheese from the farmers... yum!

Monday, 11 April 2016

So Why Would I Turn Purple?

Oh my gosh! I just received my itinerary for coming home!!!  That left me a little breathless...

Knocking doors, we found another miracle! Nielson is his name.  He is 40 years old and wants to change his life.  He´s felt that he´s in a standstill and that there´s something missing. We shared a bit of the doctrine of Jesus Christ and taught him how to pray.  After praying he shared with us that he was super agradecido (grateful) that we passed by his house because he could feel a peace that he needed.  We explained that the peace he felt was the Holy Spirit. Nielson invited himself to church and has a lot of interest in the Restuaracion (Restoration). We´ll be visiting him tomorrow with the Bishop!
I know that only through living the evangelio (gospel) we can find true happiness.  Living the Gospel isn´t always easy, but it´s easier than anything else!

This week we helped clean the backyard of a lady that the other sisters are teaching (there are 4 of us Sisters in the ward).  I love that all the people here have a lot of fruit trees and grape vines.  Gabriela gave us a TON of grapes and apricots.  I think I´m going to turn purple like the girl in Willy Wonka from all the grapes we´ve been eating!  jajaja!

We ate at a restaurant this week with a family from the ward.  It´s called El Quincho (it means BBQ shed or smokehouse).  The restaurant is really cool because it´s decorated all rustic like with a bunch of artisan madera (wood) and cosas mapuche (Mapuche made things - the Mapuche are the indigenous people of  south central Chile and south western Argentina) .  The food is to die for!  Aaaaaannd I found a Chilean cook book so we can make lots of delicious food when I get back!  

Love you all lots!  I invite you to go over some of the talks from General Conference! It was awesome!

Hermana Jakob

Monday, 4 April 2016

Sunday Evening Miracles With My New "Daughter"

Queridos! (Dear Ones!)

Guess what!  I´m training again!!!  I´m so happy that I get to train on my last transfer!  I secretly wanted to train and end with a Latin companion and Heavenly Father cumplió mis deseos! (fulfilled my desires - gave me my wish)  Hermana Peña is from Santiago.  She´s about 5 feet tall, hahah and is the sweetest girl I know! She comes from a large family of seven (lucky number!) Hermana Peña is the best friend of Hermana Fres (we lived together in the house) and Hermana Fres showed me a photo of her the week before.  Can you imagine my surprise when I was assigned to be her trainer?! xD! She is a professional cueca dancer.  If you´re not sure what the cueca is, look it up of Youtube.


There´s a Hermana in the ward that makes vestido de Huasa (Huasa dress) for the sister missionaries.  She´s going to sew one for me! Yay!  

I loved General Conference!  Why didn´t I pay more attention to conference before my mission?  It really is a time to spiritually recharge.  I love so many of the talks given but I like Elder Holland´s talk at the end.  To remember that we won´t always be able to maintain a spiritual high but we can try our best, and Heavenly Father blesses those who try with all their might to improve.  

The church building.

We had an after-conference miracle.  We met a gentleman, Mario, on the street and scheduled an appointment to visit him Sunday evening.  We passed by his house and there weren´t any lights on so we assumed that he was sleeping.  Right when we were ready to leave, he opened the door and invited us to sit on his front porch.  We learned that he took care of his sick mom for the most part of his life and that she had died about 4 years ago. This caused him mucho tristeza (sadness).  We shared a bit of the Plan of Salvation and extended the invitation to be baptized.  He accepted right away!... And invited himself to church! Heavenly Father really has prepared Mario.  The sad thing is, we realized that his house se queda (stays - is situated) in the Elder´s sector :(  

Bueno, hay sembradores y hay cosechadores. (There are sower and there are reapers - referring to harvesting and the parable of the sowers)

Love you all lots!  

Hermana Jakob

Burros in the street.

An upper view in Angol

Monday, 28 March 2016

My Last Transfer and "Heightened" Contemplation!

Hola mis queridos!  (Hello my dear ones!)

Sorry for not writing last week.  We took a trip to a national park and we didn´t have time to write afterwards.  It was really cool!  The national park is called ¨Nahuelbuta.¨ There´s is a breath taking look out called ¨The Eagle´s Rock. The day was so clear that we could see a panoramic view from la Cordillera (the mountains) to the sea!  It was so silent and tranquillo (still) that we just sat on the rock for about an hour meditating and taking in the view.

In the park there are araucaria trees that are over 1000 years old! 

The weird thing about the park is that it was deadly silent.  There aren´t a lot of animals or birds and most of the animals that do live there hide when humans pass by.  All the trees there are covered in hanging moss, like in the southern states.  It was kind of cool to walk through the park and think of all the Lamanites and Nephites that could have walked through these parts of the world!

We also had an amazing conference for the mission.  Un setenta (a member of the Seventy) spoke about the importance of being a PMG (Preach My Gospel - the manual missionaries use to help them teach and serve people) missionary and the role of the Holy Ghost when we are sharing the message of the gospel.  I invite you all to read the talk by Elder Bednar ¨Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary,¨ because it not only applies to missionaries but to whoever has a calling as a teacher, (mother, father, seminary teacher, primary teacher, etc...)

Today we have transfers! Hermana Stone is leaving El Mirador to finish the training of a sister in Lebu.  Hermana Stone is a machine!  She feels a little overwhelmed but I know she´ll do a great job!  I´ll be training again!  YAYAY!   I am SO happy!  I secretly wanted to train again because it is such a beautiful experience to receive a new missionary full of light and hope and help them begin the missionary experience.  

The sign reads "Welcome Dear Sisters"

One of my best friends in the mission, Hermana Gallegos, finished her mission this week too.  It´s hard to say goodbye.  We´ve passed through so much together and she taught me how to love unconditionally, without judging.  I hope we can see each other again. 

That´s all the news for this week!  I´ll keep you posted and send you pics of my new hija! (daughter - what they called a newbie straight out on the mission)

Love you all!  

Hermana Jakob

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Sorry... No Letter Home this Week

Mom's Note:

We didn't hear from Hermana Jakob on Monday.  As a mom it was a little unnerving but we assumed that no news is good news.  However, she did contact us with a one line email the next day telling us that all is well and that she and her companion had to travel for a zone conference and did not have any time to email home.  She said she will catch us up to speed next Monday..... I'm holding her to it!  It is now a sprint to the finish! 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Eating' and Singin' It Up!

Hola Queridos!

This week was a whirlwind of events but it feels like all the work we are doing is starting to fall into place.  

This week we were asked to sing at a funeral.  A sister in the ward works for a cemetery selling plots and hosting burial ceremonies. Nacy is really cool.  Every day she has to opportunity to share the gospel because of the nature of her work.  Anyway, the funeral was for the previous bishop of El Mirador.  His baby died about 5 months ago in Concé and they were moving the casket closer to home. He and his wife are angry with God right now and don´t want anything to do with religion but Hermana Nacy was very bold in inviting us. We sang "Where Can I Turn For Peace" and it felt like the whole park was filled with a tranquilidad (tranquility). The mom gave us a big hug after and thanked us.  It was terribly sad but I´m so happy that we have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and that families can perpetuate beyond the grave and know that their baby is in peace. How wonderful it is, that the Atonement of Jesus makes this possible. 

This week, a family in the ward invited us to a festival of the culinary arts - Chileno style.  It was DELICIOUS!!!  We ate empanadas, anticucho (shish-kabobs), and Mote con huesillo (?). We got a chance to get to know some of the workers there and the bomberos (firemen).  

On Saturday the other companionship here had a baptism. We sang ¨Joseph Smith´s First Prayer.¨ and Elder Walker accompanied us.  We sing a lot in the ward, Hermana Stone and I, but it´s interesting to see that it changes the setting and creates an atmosphere where the Holy Ghost can dwell.  Bishop was very wise when he gave us the suggestion to use our talents as much as we can.  

We had a conference for all of Chile this Sunday and they talked a lot about keeping the commandments and finding joy in the journey of life even when things get tough.  It reminded me a lot of the Book of Mormon and the experiences of the Nephites and Lamanites.  We really aren´t all that different from them.  They had  problems in their families too.  They had wars, they had corrupt governments, they had fears and hopes and dreams.  One promise rings trues for us as it did for them.  If you keep the commandments of God, you will prosper in the land.  

Love you lots!

Hermana Jakob

Monday, 7 March 2016

Singing Like Phantom of the Opera!

Buenas tardes!  (Good afternoon!)

I am so happy for all the creations that Heavenly Father has made for us!  Chile right now is FULL of fresh fruit trees. When we´re walking in the street and feel a little hungry, all we have to do is pull a fresh peach or fig from a nearby tree.  It´s the best!  I think I´m addicted figs!

My companion this week contacted a man on the street.  She asked where he lived and he said that lived in the prison.  Hermana Stone didn´t understand so she responded, ¨Oh perfect! Can we visit you and your family?¨ LOL!... the look on the guys face was priceless and he began to laugh! 

A night view from the top of a street in town... beautiful with the lights!

Brother Salvador came to church!  He´s from Panama and has been living here in Chile for 12 years. He´s a bit of an eternal investigator and we were trying to think of a way that would help him have a spiritual experience.  Hermana Stone felt inspired to sing a hymn for him (just so you know she´s trained classically and sings like the lead star of Phantom of the Opera!). We sang ¨Where Can I Turn For Peace" and after the second word, he started to cry and the room was filled with the Spirit.  Then we read 3 Nephi, chapter 11 when Jesus visits the Americas and again his eyes began to get all teary and he said that he knew that the Book of Mormon was true. He recognized the whisperings of the Holy Ghost and we´ve seen a change in him!  I know there is a converting power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon.  It helps us come to know Jesus Christ and understand the Atonement. I also know that God has given us talents and we should use them in sharing the gospel.

This week, I have been focusing on being more grateful. Sometimes, when things don´t go as we planned we get upset and start questioning ¿Why?  Sometimes we feel that we don´t have any success with our plans and goals.
A greater faith in Jesus Christ and more gratitude for the things that we have will help us see how we are already beginning to have success. The world will seem brighter and we will be more aware of the little daily miracles in our path.  I challenge you all to give a prayer of gratitude at the end of each day.

Love you all lots!

Hermana Jakob

Doesn't this Twinkie look a lot like this Elder?  ...LOL!

Monday, 29 February 2016

Seriously... Soda Pop Will Rot Your Teeth!

Familia y amigos!  (Family and friends!)

Today we travelled to Los Angeles.  I had some cavities that I needed to have filled and all the other Hermanas from our house had doctors appointments.  Los Angeles is really cool.  I kind of miss living in a big city. Angol is really pretty but it´s a little more tranquillo (quiet). I´m currently writing as I drool (from the freezing)... LOL!  

We walked up the mountain to look for some less active members and part member families.  We found a family and they have a HUGE garden full of fruit trees. One of the daughters ran into the house and came back with plastic bags and told us to take all the fruit that we wanted!  We brought back fresh peaches, plums, tomatoes, chile peppers, and cabbage.  We'll be eating well this week!  We took a picture with their Grandpa (he´s the pioneer of his family) He´ll be turning 99 years old!  

We had an amazing conference with Elder Bednar this week.  WOW!  He talked about how we need to learn with faith and teach with the Spirit.  Our job is to create an atmosphere where we can invite the Spirit.  We are not the real teachers.  What we say cannot get inside of a person and inspire them to change.  Only the Holy Ghost can bring the message to their hearts.  Elder Bednar has a way to teach that helps open up the hearts of people and get them involved.  He always asks questions that give people the oportunidad de compartir (opportunity to share) their testimonies and listen to the Holy Ghost.  Hermana Stone and I have made it our goal to develop this way of teaching.  It´s the way Jesus taught! :) 

A little wispy on the hair... LOL!

The Bishopric is so cool here!  They got together and made all the missionary lunch for after la obra misional (missionary work) meeting.  They´re always supporting us and giving us suggestions on how we can help our investigators.  There is a lot of unity between the members and the missionaries here that I have never seen before.  I wish that all the wards could work in the same way!  We would see a great increase in success .

We are currently teaching a girl named Christina.  She is very smart and asks deep and profound questions.  She also reminds me a lot of Grace because she loves watching anime and listening to K-Pop.  I guess all the K-pop stuff that Grace introduced to the family to served me for good!  I have something to relate to Christina and her sister! 

Take care this week,

Hermana Jakob <3

I really want to drive it off road!!!