Monday, July 27, 2015

Little Lambs So White and Fair

Email from Monday, July 27, 2015

Hey there family,

I'm serious when I say that I don't know how it's possible that another week has passed by yet here I am. The time goes by soo fast. :(

But this was a good week! Hermana Monar and I were healthy and happy and working hard. I've grown to love her so much and this week, I think she finally was able to realize why I have the tendency to push her so hard to be better because during our comp study she was like "Hermana, I could never train a new missionary but I'm so glad that if I do, I can be just like you." It seriously made me so happy because I have not been anywhere close to being the perfect trainer but if nothing else, I love her to death and I just have tried my best to help her realize her potential. We're getting along really well now and I don't even want to imagine the day when I'll have to let her fly on her own. Seriously, the mission is boot-camp for life.

Right now we're teaching this girl named Socima and her husband Leo and they're seriously so wonderful. Leo is actually less-active and Socima is pretty much a member because she's received missionaries a lot and attended the church for years. She's probably one of the best people on earth and she's so excited for her baptism on the 15th of August. She's already halfway through 1 Nephi and she loves reading the pamphlets and then discussing them with her husband. Seriously, I wish you all could meet the people here, I love them so dang much. Also my pensionista who was less-active but we rescued has a date to get sealed to her husband next July. I told her I'm gonna do whatever it takes to be there so I already have my return trip plans in my head hahah. I just love Bolivia and I don't know how I'm ever going to leave but I still have a loooot of time, thankfully. :)

Yesterday, I ate lamb for the first time (and hopefully the last). It was hilarious though because we eat lunch with members on Sunday and the member was like "hermanas you eat lamb, right?" and I was like "uhhh...yeah we can" and my companion was like " that normal meat?" and I just smiled and was like "Hermana, ya know the picture on the front of the Restoration pamphlet? We gotta leave the ninety-and-nine to go find the lost we can eat it for lunch" It was hilarious until I actually had to eat 4 pieces of it while listening to the family fight over whether it was actually lamb or if the lady had sold her goat meat without knowing. It expèrience. hahaha.

Othewise all is well and I'm just happy as can be to be here every day. Life is wonderful here en Tarija la chura. :)

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger

Monday, July 20, 2015

Savior, May I Learn to Love Thee

Email from Monday, July 20, 2015

Hey there everybody,

Remember how I told y'all that Hermana Monar felt a little bit sick last week? Turns out she got some parasite and she was in bed or in the bathroom for almost the whole week. We even got to return to the clinic (thankfully for just a quick visit and not overnight) and the nurse saw me and was all "como estas Jennifer?" I'm well known in the clinic...unfortunately. But then we finally got the meds that my comp needed and she was back to normal on Friday for our multi-zone conference with President Willard.

The zone conference was amazing and I have 5 pages of revelation that I wrote during it but the most important thing that stood out to me was that he shared a part of President Nelson's talk from conference and talked about the question "What sign do I want to give to God?" and how our obedience is really a demonstration of the sign we want to give to God. And then he said something that hit me so hard and has been burned forever in my mind. "Every time we fall short, sin, or make mistakes, we really just lack love for God" and it's changed me forever. I realized that we wouldn't even need manual misional if we understood the first and great commandment and the second, If we just loved God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength and then loved everyone else around us too, we would be more Christ-like and more prepared to return to His presence.

So now my goal is more than just exact obedience to the mission standards but 100% obedience to the first and great commandment. Because I could be exactly obedient, work hard, and have success, but "if I have not charity, I am nothing".

This week, we had a visit from a not so furry but still very terrifying tarantula in our kitchen and you'll be happy to know that I've included photos of my own experience with Fear Factor:Sister Missionary Edition. My companion was so calm about it that she was even willing to sleep and leave the tarantula to eat me alive in the night. Luckily, we had a can of bug spray from when the other hermanas had cockroaches so I was able to sleep tranquilamente. :) There's no problem that doesn't have a solution! 

Anyway, I'm wishing you all a happy week with opportunities to love your neighbor, serve those in need, and help someone in your life come unto Christ. I love you, I'm praying for you always and I hope all is well.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger
 Hna Monar and I being the cutest missionaries in Progreso

 Wait...we don't sell soup in plastic bags in the states?

 The clinic advertises "atención las 24 horas" but mostly it's a lie 
because there's never anyone at reception...

 Fear Factor:Sister Missionary Edition

 Does this exist in the states? It's not a pumpkin, but it's similar. 
It's called camoté and it's really yummy. I don't really remember food from the states...oops. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

I Always Want to Be with My Own Family

Email from Monday, July 13, 2015
Dear Family, Friends, and Strangers,
Hope all is well back home. Things are great here. We truly had a week of miracles and I'm feeling happy, healthy, and humble. I've also been away far too long because this week, I kept coming up with great invention ideas but they're all things that exist that I just haven't seen in almost 9 months (ew don't remind me, I know, I'm officially old in the mission). But I thought I invented a dishwasher, a hair dryer, and a can opener. Ah the luxeries you all enjoy back home, haha just kidding, I don't miss any of those (although I do miss American cake...I hate cake here....)

Hermana Monar started feeling un poco enfermita yesterday and today tambièn so I'm playing the role of Dr. Hermana Gauger and serving her lots and lots. One of the greatest miracles that I witnessed this week is how much we've been able to strengthen our companionship and friendship ever since I started putting in real effort to develop patience. I didn't realize how bad it was but I'm happy that my companion loved me enough to tell me I needed to improve and that she's been so understanding of me as I strive to be a little better each day.

This week was Boston's birthday and as I was studying and reading this week about the Atonement, my mind reflected a lot on how I first gained my understanding and testimony of the Atonement and it began July 7, 2011. That day changed my life and anyone who knows me and my family well knows that it was a difficult time for us all. But it was the time I grew the most and I'm grateful every day for that experience and the experience of watching my family grow closer and stronger after losing Boston. I thought about an experience I had a year ago when I went to the temple alone and then I went and visted Boston's grave and I sat and talked for a while and I left with a firm commitment to serve my mission with all my heart, might, mind, and strength because I promised Boston that I would make him proud. I take the role of being an aunt very seriously and even though I can't be there singing Frozen songs with Annabelle, high-fiving Lincoln, rolling around with Petey, and I can't even see Boston in this earthly life, I'm doing something even more important and I pray each day that I can be a good example for them and for my own future children. I'll miss out on a lot of family pictures but the testimony that my family will be able to share will make a much bigger impact than my presence in these 18 months. I'm grateful that my plaque says Hermana Gauger because it means I represent my family and not myself. I also made a promise to my parents to give it my all and nothing less. And most important, I covenanted with my Heavenly Father in His holy house that I would sacrifice everything I have and am to serve Him. 

It's not always as easy as it seems but it's worth it every single day. It's worth it when you see your recent convert passing the sacrament for the first time to his mom who recently returned to activity in the church. It's worth it when you hear someone say that they received an answer to their prayer and they know that the Book of Mormon is true. It's worth it when your companion tears up and tells you "what we're doing is changing lives forever". It's worth it when you just feel that the Lord is smiling down on you and the Spirit testifies that this is God's work. I love every single day. I love this gospel. I love the family that taught me so much and helped me get to this point in my life and that writes me (almost) every week to encourage me. I just love this work and I love my Father in Heaven.

I couldn't be happier and I just pray each day that whoever reads this, wherever they may be can recognize that this happiness is within reach for everyone. I promise that. 

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger :)
 Our pensionista's perrito tan chiquitito
  "Dog Days of Invierno"-Hermana Gauger Photography, todos los derechos reservados

 I had to teach the new gringa how to wash her clothes by hand :)

 Our pensionista made lasagna por my companion's birthday

 Hermana Monar's birthday with the other Hermanas 

(Gracias por ser tan guapos ;))

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

God Gave Us Families to Help Us Become What He Wants Us to Be

Email from Monday, July 6, 2015

Dear family and friends,

Yesterday marked one year since I went through the temple and as I thought yesterday during Sacrament Meeting about the month of July and all the special anniversaries that the Gauger family celebrates in July and how each one of them directly relates to the temple. I’m just so grateful for temple blessings and the power that comes from keeping the covenants we make there. The most important blessing we receive in the temple is that families can be together forever and I know that that’s true and I’m grateful every single day that I get to have such a wonderful family for all of eternity and that one day, I’ll have the privilege of forming my own forever family as well.

I had written out a whole beautiful email for you all this week but then the power went out in the internet place so I lost it all and now I only have time to write you a Little bit. But things are well here. This week was a bit rough but I’m just praying a lot to finally develop the heavenly virtue of patience.

This week, I met a lot of the new gringas who just arrived this transfer and one of them even delivered me a note from Hermana Wilson who just got to the Cochabamba misión! It was so special because Natalie said that whenever she met someone in the MTC going to Bolivia Santa Cruz, she told them about me and she said that all of them already knew who I was from Reading my blog. So it’s oficial. I’m famous. Hopefully these words I write actually go out and help someone.

Anyway, I love you all so much! Hope you had an awesome 4th of July. I ate s’mores, hamburgers, forced Hermana Monar to wear red, White, and blue and sang the Star Spangled Banner alllllll day long.

Con mucho amor, Hermana Gauger :)