Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Then Sings My Soul, My God, How Great Thou Art

Email from Monday, February 23, 2015
Hello Family, Friends, and Blog-Stalkers,

It´s been so long that I´m not sure if you guys even remember who I am or what I´m doing but I´m still Hermana Gauger and I´m still loving every moment serving the Lord in Santa Cruz, Bolivia! 

I have no idea where to begin because SO MUCH has happened in these 2 weeks! Carnaval was actually not too bad, it was actually really awesome to have so much time to study, learn, and watch every single video the church has ever made......haha no but seriously, I learned so much! Not to mention that we had a conference with President and Hermana Willard the Friday before Carnaval that literally changed my life forever. I cannot even explain it but let me tell ya, personal revelation, it is so real! Heavenly Father knows us perfectly and He answers our prayers ALWAYS.

I saw some truly, truly incredible miracles this week and I honestly could hardly believe it. Heavenly Father has blessed us so much in this work and I´m so humbled by His mighty blessings. This week, we had awesome support from the members which equals miracles, pretty much because MEMBERS ARE SO IMPORTANT in this work. I´ve secretly grown to despise the phrase "missionary work" because it´s the WORK OF SALVATION! Aka we are talking about the eternal consequences of our life here and our salvation is at stake. And that alone should inspire every one of us who loves our friends and family to SHARE THE GOSPEL! Seriously, go share the gospel today with someone or call your local missionaries and ask how you can help. 

This week is going to be transfer week and I have NO IDEA what´s going to happen. All I know is that during our conference with President, he called me out of the conference, like, only me, out of all the missionaries, and he just wanted to chat with me and he gave me a lot of advice and then said "I don´t know the transfers yet but I want you to feel prepared for the responsibilities that may be coming your way next week" so yeah.......we´ll wait and see what happens this Wednesday

Gracias a Carnaval, I have about a bajillion #justBoliviathings to share with y´all this week
  • first, Carnaval = Mardi Gras...the last chance to sin and party before lent but here they celebrate by dancing, drinking, and throwing paint and water on everything and everyone in the street, there´s literally no respect....even for a poor little sister missionary like me who got a BUCKET OF WATER dumped on me in the street yesterday (yesterday is Carnavalito aka the celebration of the end of Carnaval) and then I got pelted with water balloons by jovenes...but surprisingly enough, I didn´t cry, I just kept walking with my head held high and then we took a selfie because we were soaking wet and I was just laughing so hard because this is such a #JenGaugerProb
  • We waited 40 minutes for our micro to show up the other day and in that time, I got the worst sunburn of my mission aaaaand a man showed up selling baby chicks in a bag. 
  • we saw a dead rat fully intact in the beginning of the day and by the end of the day, flies had eaten all of the insides of it-fortunately enough for you guys, Hna Mejia didn´t let me take a picture of it
  • I watched a dog eat a poopy diaper that was on the side of the road
  • here, the doctors write your prescription on a piece of paper and then the pharmacy fills it but sometimes they can´t read the handwriting and you end up with the wrong medicine....oops...but it´s all good now and my verruga is improving! 
  • I hate dogs more and more every single day

These 2 weeks were probably the most rollercoaster-type days of my mission. On one hand, I had some of the greatest moments so far but on the other hand, I also had my first night where I was just crying in my bed. The mission is like that sometimes. But it´s so comforting to know that each new day is a new chance to do our best and try to be a little better. I can testify that Christ truly is the difference in our making our efforts come to pass. I am so so so grateful for the Atonement and before my mission, I heard a lot of people tell me that I would understand the Atonement more on my mission than ever before in my life and I didn´t know what they meant. I thought they meant that I would have more time to study so I would learn more but nope, it´s so much more than that. As a representative of Jesus Christ, you truly gain additional abilities to learn and understand more. Man, I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. And I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and the chance I have to share it. 

I love you all!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger
 Raw meat, awkward lessons in the street while sitting on a rock.

Conference time!
After we "celebrated carnaval" with a member who´s headed on her mission in June

Monday, February 9, 2015

God Be With You ´Til I Write Again

Email from Monday, February 9, 2015
Dearly beloved, I will not be writing to you again until Febuary 23...I know, sad day. But it´s because of the dumbest holiday of all time....carnaval. I have to be in my house for  THREE DAYS STRAIGHT studying and trying not to die. Wish me luck. We can´t leave because it´s super dangerous and everyone´s drunk and being ridiculous in the streets. So yeah, I´ll try to make this email awesome.

First, happy birthday shout outs to Danielle Clark and Breanna Scott! Go party it up and eat a cupcake for me! 

Second, I think I could talk about this week of my mission for the rest of my life because so much happened!  #justBoliviathings
  • I went to the hospital! And yes, Mom, I am totally fine now. I didn´t want to admit it but you people need to know the real facts of mission life....I had.....a....beruga....which being translated means....a wart.... que verqüenza, no ve? but it´s true.  they´re super normal in the mission (so they say) so I went to get it removed and the doctor was just texting while he explained stuff to me in Spanish that I didn´t understand while I was sitting on a hospital bed in the emergency room in Bolvia. But yeah, he didn´t have the stuff to do it that day so I have to go to the dermatologist this week for my wart. Ew. I know.
  • I was attacked by a dog! Luckily it only bit my skirt and would have completely yanked it off but even more luckily I had just eaten 2 pieces of pan con harina so my skirt was a little snug in that moment *tender mercy*
  • I was attacked by a drunk man....okay not attacked but this morning when we were walking to take a micro to come write our lovely families, a drunk man had like a pole/stick thing in his hand and he totally whacked me with it while I was crossing the street, it was just my arm though and  it hardly left a mark
  • we had the worst thunderstorm of my life this week and I couldn´t even sleep because it was so loud so I was just laying in my bed  from 2-3am, it was the worst
  • we´re teaching a lady that has 2 little boys and we visited them this week and one asked us if we live in heaven. When we said no, he was very confused because he said he thought we were angels. It was so sweet! 

But on the spiritual side of things, this week I fell in love with the Book of Mormon again...okay that happens every d ay I guess. But seriously, I  am learning SO MUCH. My soul delights in the words of the Book of Mormon :)

This week, I read  2 Nephi 9 and found  53 references to Jesus Christ. There might be more, but still! It seriously is another testament of Jesus Christ and through it , we can know more about Him and His teachings and truly have a relationship with Him. I´ve seen so many miracles in my short time out here and I´ve already lost count of how many prayers have been answered, even the small and simple  desires of my heart have been answered before I even had a chance to pray. God knows us perfectly and loves us individually. He is waiting to bless us.

I won´t be able to write next week so I want to leave you with something special, and the most special thing I have here with me is my testimony.
I know that God lives and loves us. I know He hears and answers our prayers. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and that it is only in and through His Atoning sacrifice that we can be made clean and whole. I know He under stands us perfectly. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of God with the fulness of His gospel. I know that Joseph Smith really saw God the Father and His son. Jesus Christ and that through the prophet Joseph Smith, the gospel was restored for our day. I know we have a living prophet today to guide us and help us know what God wants for us. I know that Thomas S Monson is that prophet on the earth today. I know with all my heart that this gospel is true and that it is taught simply and perfectly through the Book of Mormon which is the word of God just like the Bible. I know miracles happen according to our faith and that evidence of God´s love is everywhere. I testify of all these things as a representative of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger

P.S. I got the cutest Christmas card ever from my adorable family! And a package came today that was sent at the beginning of January (box from Dad, haven´t opened it yet) and the Antelope Stake Juniors will be getting a letter from me soon (and by soon I mean 7 weeks because this is Bolivia) but I´m going to write my reply during my jail time-err..I mean my p-day in the house during carnaval )
 Family Photo of me with Hna Hall, Hna Mejia, and Hna Zapata 
-Hna Zapata trained Hna Mejia and then Hna Mejia trained Hna Hall and now me technically...so we´re one big family!
 Lots of juices and drinks come in bags. We just bite off the corner and bam! The most delicious chocolate milk ever

 I was walking and a caterpillar fell on me after I hit my head on a tree branch.... #tallgirlprobs
 Hna Crandall and I during our exchanges this week. 
We got lost and some stories need to be told in person in 14.5 months....

 We celebrated Hna Mejia´s one year in the mission with some french fries. 
It´s a cumple mes thing and then the other hermanas got mini pizzas for us!

 We also had  the birthday of our investigator this week and they invited us for cake 
and of course....it was strawberry....we can´t eat strawberries...so I ate around them and it was so delicious! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

And I am Grateful Love is Spoken Here

Email from Monday, February 2, 2015

I feel like it´s been years since I was last here writing you but I guess it´s only been a week. Warning ya now, this email might be full of spelling errors because this keyboard is broken. Oh Bolivia, siempre hay algo :)

But this week was really good! I´m feeling a lot better and motivated this week because I think I discovered the source of all my problems and I´m so grateful that Heavenly Father shows us our weaknesses so that they can become strengths. It´s so helpful. I´m excited to see  the miracles come to pass  this week.

This week, I finished 1 Nephi in Spanish and now I´m starting the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi....hahaha....it´s actually making more sense in Spanish because I have to really study and compare in my English scriptures and I´m learning so much. I studied 2 Nephi 4 this week and it pretty much was the greatest thing ever.  10/10 would recommend. (Actually all of the Book of Mormon is 10/10 and I recommend it every single day to all people everywhere ;)) 

This week, I reached a new level in my Spanish abilities because I have now adapted certain Bolivian phrases or ways of saying things and people have noticed how much my Spanish has improved. I´ve  noticed too that I´m more willing to try to explain things differently rather than using the same old memorized words. But I still have a ton of embarrassing Spanish moments including...when I said ¨me gusta su caballo" to a little girl....caballo is horse... .I meant to say hair which is "cabello"...oops.  nimodo. :) 

 I´ve also seen the Spirit work in marvelous ways to have me say something different than what I planned. Like this week, I started to share a story but then the spirit totally took over and I ended up sharing  the experience of  my family´s various attempts at morning scripture study and how I can´t remember learning anything at all from the Book of Mormon when Dad woke us all up at 6am and made us come sit on the couch and read  BUT I do remember how determined my parents were to have this habit in our family and to this day, that memory remains with me. I shared that with a family that´s been struggling lately to incorporate the gospel teachings in their homes. It  made me really grateful for all the lessons my parents taught me even when that wasn´t exactly their intent. :)

This weekend was our stake conference and we had Elder Carlos Soliz from the Seventy. And I got to shake his hand afterwards. That makes 2 stake conferences in a row that I had a Seventy present and I got to meet him! It was about The Work of Salvation and Traditions of a Latter-Day Saint and I honestly cried during it because a lady spoke that has 2 sons on missions right now and she said ¨the new MTC is the home¨ and it hit me so hard because Dad said that EXACT same thing when he spoke in our stake conference in August. I´m so glad that I was blessed to be raised in an awesome MTC with the best teachers I could ever ask for and that I now have the chance to teach other people how to teach their children the gospel so that they can shape the future of their family for generations.  

  • dead things-I don´t know why but there´s just always dead animals...I´ll send a picture, don´t worry.
  •  anyone who knows me knows that I´m always lying when I say I like dogs but here my dislike has grown into a full blown hatred of them. I have to admit it...I hate dogs-sorry dog lovers.
  • jello-every one is obsessed with jello and I´ve actually acquired a liking of it now.

I don´t usually share specific details of people that we´re teaching because I could spend hours describing them or experiences I´ve had with them and it wouldn´t do justice to them and I could never express how great they are or how much they mean to me. It´s been such a gift of the spirit that I can sincerely feel a portion of the Savior´s love for every person that we teach . I love the mission so much and I can´t express enough gratitude for the privilege it is to be here and give my all to the Lord so that He can help me reach my full divine potential and become the person He wants.

I love you all more than I love the fact that I can buy fresh warm bread on every other street corner! Have a great week and go out with the missionaries for an hour or two this week! :)

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger

 Hermana Mejia. She´s a doll! :)
Our first Sunday together.

Hermanassss. Hna Crandall is the other giant american here and Hna Cabaña is still here with me. They live in the room above us and serve in our ward too. It´s such a blast. :)
 oh Bolivia... when we  got stuck in the POURING rain and I was soaked to the bone....

...and then a fun sight on the side of the road :)

 My Cumple Mes. I hit 3 months in the mission and celebrated with a new 
toothbrush and french fries :) 

 Why I'm gaining weight....darn empañadas con queso and sometimes our
pensionista gives us dinner at 10 at night.

 Hna Crandall had me cut her hair! 

Me being the cutest sister missionary ever from the Gauger family