Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Throwdown of Christmas

This Christmas was one of my favorites!  We did so many great things.  Not only did we enjoy it with members and missionaries, we were in the service of our Lord, and that is what makes Christmas worth it!

We thought that we weren't going to have anywhere to go Christmas Eve, but luckily the Elders are awesome and found a home for all the missionaries in Cipo 2.  All 8 of us missionaries went to a members home, made Tacos (yes, I think I cried I was so happy), had a little FHE, and then opened a little present from them.  They were so sweet!  I just love them!  In Argentina they stay up until midnight then right at midnight open all their presents.  We didn't get to stay out til midnight of course, but we were up until then and we got to watch the fireworks that were outside!  It was so fun!  The traditions here are awesome.  But, I did miss sleeping in the fort I have to admit :)

Before celebrating at the members house, we made Gingerbread cookies (thanks to the best family in the world..and yes, they were delicious..and yes, maybe I wanted to cry at how good they were).  Also, me and my companion had a feeling we had to go visit this family we don't know but saw on the street.  We threw together a little card and some little gifts and took the bus to Fernandez Oro and visited this family.  They were so happy.  The 2 girls were quick to open the CTR rings and said that they would be using the pencils in school.  It's little things like that where I can feel of the Saviors love for all people here in Argentina.  That is one thing I love.  I can feel the love for each and every child of God here.  It's such a great feeling.

Mom, thank you so so so much for the stocking and all the presents I got.  I am so blessed to have a family that is supportive.  I know I say that every email, but I mean it.  My companion was overly excited to receive a present and the PJ's.  We LOVE THEM!  We couldn't stop wearing them!  Every night we go to bed matching  But the funny thing is she is short and I am tall and they are the same size..so if you can get guessing, hers is the right length and mine is riding a little high for pictures.  HA!  So funny!  But I love it!!

Christmas morning we got to sleep in until 8.  WOOOO!  But sadly I obviously woke up at 6:30 out of habit.  Luckily I got back to sleep.  We opened our presents and just loved every minute of it!  First of all.  How incredible was my stocking?  SO incredible!  Thank you so much mom.  I was laughing so hard at the Photo Album.  You are all way too cool.  HA!  I have a recording that I will try and send.

Christmas we spent at the Church.  All the missionaries.  We had a slip n slide, water games, played soccer, and then a mix of soccer and football, and then lots of circle games!  We had such a blast!  It's a Christmas I will never forget.  Full of fun, laughter, and service!

Also, we had a little Christmas party with Hna Lovell and President.  We had a white elephant exchange and it was great because my companion came home with P90x...but sadly our DVD player is broken.  So we are praying even more earnestly so we can get our pension in Oro. Ha!

This week I was studying a little more about Jesus Christ and his life.  I was reading about the Atonement and came across a scripture that says (mom look it up because I don't have my scriptures and I can't remember the perfect wording..) but it says when Christ was full of agony, he prayed more fervently.  Or, in other words, when Christ felt like he couldn't do it any more he prayed with more power.  How beautiful is that!?  I applied this to my life and especially in my mission. When I feel like I can't do anymore or I can't give anymore, am I using more strength to overcome?  How often do give up when we feel like we can't do it anymore?  Christ is our ultimate example, and our goal is to be like Him.  So, that is one thing I am striving to work on.  When you feel like giving up, work harder.  I hope you all can apply this to your lives as well.

I know that Christ lives.  I know that He is our Savior and Redeemer.  I know that only through Him we an be saved.  And thanks to the Atonement we can feel joy and peace in our lives.  I know He is always there to comfort us and knows us all.  Remember Him every day and you will be filled with his love.

Hope you have the most amazing NEW YEAR!


Shout out to Bishop Fox and family for the Ensign and Christmas card! :)
Shout out to CREWWWWW!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY!! :)  9 years old!  WOW!
Shout out to Diane Montano for the email!  Miss you girl.  Hope all is holding up in Texas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Meaning of Christmas

I just want to say it was so good to talk with you all for Christmas.  Even though I had to call early, it was still the best Christmas present I have ever received!  I couldn't be more proud to say I am part of the most amazing family! :)

Well, Christmas is in about 2 days (totally freaking out right now).  But, it doesn't quite feel the same.  There are no Christmas lights, no snow, and no Christmas music in the stores.  But no matter what country I am in, the meaning of Christmas will always be the same.  It's not all about the lights, presents, and music.  It's about remembering the birth of the one who gave us hope.  Without our Savior Jesus Christ there would be no way possible for us to return to live in heaven again.  One thing I have learned on the mission during this Christmas season is there is no better feeling than to serve those around you.  Service is the true happiness.  Now, that is my type of fun :) Ha!

For my Christmas gift to you, I have made a list of some of my greatest Christmas memories.

---  I remember the first year we did the "Jesus Box".  I was young and didn't understand the meaning of Christmas.  After reading all the gifts that we gave to Jesus on Christmas I felt my testimony and love for Him grow.
--Traveling to Alabama for Christmas to spend with Grandma and Papa.  I remember our family taking time in the night to finish the Book of Mormon.  This moment I learned what is most important in life.
--One year I was Mary and Brent was the donkey.  I think after that year my role as Mary was taken by somebody much smaller ;)
--Making a fort every year!  And about 75% of the years, the fort fell down in the middle of the night.
--Last Christmas going sledding with the family behind our house.  Somehow it ended up bad and Dad sent Jackson home...ha!!
--Drinking orange juice in the morning before we can see all the presents.  (This tradition everyone asks, "why"?  My response is always the same:  "Because it's a tradition, I don't know why".)
--Temple Square lights with the family.  And dad trying to take 1000 pictures. ha!!
--One year waiting for Santa to come but I couldn't sleep because Dad and the uncles were busy playing Halo all night....hmmm.
--Dropping off presents to a family who didn't have much with the young men and women in the ward, and then watching watching their faces light up and cry as we sang hymns.
--Building snowmen in the front yard and trying to make it all cute with carrots, scarves, and no leaves...
--Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider, Bread Bowls, the list goes on.
--Choosing Sub-for Santa every year and then for family night going to pick out the gifts together.  I remember being so embarrassed taking pictures so we could send them to pap in the middle of the store.  Humiliation.
--Singing "Once in Royal David's City"..all seven verses with the family.
--Trying to guess the Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa Bird every year...but always knowing that the family calendar will be included :)
--Last but not least, my favorite memory has to be spending Christmas with the people I love most.  Hope you all enjoy Christmas back home in good old Highland Utah.  Enjoy the time together! :)

Well, there you have it.  A few of my greatest memories during Christmas time!  I am so lucky to have a family that knows the true meaning of Christmas and who has taught me to serve others especially during this season.  I will never forget it!

Okay, one last quick story about something I did yesterday to bring the Christmas spirit.  We were sitting on the bus at around 8:45 traveling home to our apartment.  A mom and her 2 kids sat down in front of us.  One of the little girls turned and smiled at me.  I reached into my bag and pulled out two HLJ rings.  I leaned over the bar and told her I had a gift for her.  I explained what the rings were and then had her promise she would always choose the right.  She promised, smiled, and then hurried to give her sister the other ring.  They quickly opened them up and put them on their fingers.  The mom then leaned over and asked "What does HLJ stand for?"  I explained and she thought that was so sweet.

I leaned over the bar and showed the girl that I have a ring as well, but it is in English CTR.  We said our "chaos" and our "Feliz Navidads" and then hopped off the bus with grins on our faces.  It's little things like this that make my heart happy.

This past Sunday I got to explain to 2 girls ages 6 and 8 who Jesus Christ is and why we celebrate Christmas.  I hope you all remember our Savior and what He did for us this Christmas season!

Love you all!!

Hermana McChesney

-- Cami Fox FOR GETTING ENGAGED!  Ah, your ring is stunning!
-- Lauren Eastman FOR GETTING CALLED TO SERVE IN NEW YORK, NY!! Seriously couldn't be a call more perfect for you.

                                          Yes, I drink at least 6 of these water bottles a day!

                                              The 4 leaf clover I found.  Lucky me!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spiritual High, beware. Missionary Mode.

Hope everyone is having the most amazing day today, and that you are enjoying the snow and Christmas season.  It's a solid 40 degrees here..aka 104 degrees in Fahrenheit.  Yeah.  I about die every time I walk outside, but it's great.  I'm super excited to spend my first Christmas here in Argentina.

This week flew by.  Actually, to be honest, all the weeks are flying by.  Each day I find myself thinking "there isn't enough time to do everything."  There are so many people I need to visit and there are not enough hours in a day.  I can't wait til Heaven where there is not such thing as time. HA!

This week was fantastic.  Truly so many miracles.  We changed our schedule this week and we are keeping President updated so we can see if we are going to change it for the whole mission.  As of only changing it for one week, we saw so many miracles.  Let me explain a couple:

Remember the family we found?  We had a lesson with her and her children.  Somehow we got on the topic of Examples, and Jesus Christ, and Baptism.  We invited her to be baptized with her daughter and she said, "That is something I would like to do one day"...she felt as if the date was a little soon..but would like to work towards baptism.  Miracle! Miracle! Miracle!!  Can't wait to see where things will go with them.

Thursday we had a "tsunami" with members and missionaries.  They were so nice to help us out and find references and then pass out Book of Mormons.  We passed out around 7 copies.  Yeah!    We also were able to locate a less active family and had a great meeting with them and then invited them to church.

Sunday comes around and guess what?  We get a message from one of the  24 year old sons.  He said he wanted to come to church but doesn't want to feel uncomfortable, so he wanted to know when we would be there.  We set arrangements so we could meet him outside of the church.  We were just ecstatic all morning waiting for church!  It was just the happiest moment ever!!!  It doesn't matter if it is an new investigator or a less active coming back.  It feels the same!  (Total missionary I know...ha!  Truly, though, it's so exciting..I hope you all have the same excitement as me.)

So, we were waiting for him and the collectivo didn't pass until after sacrament meeting started, so we were scared he wouldn't make it for the sacrament.  He ended up coming off the collectivo, without a shirt on, walking towards the chapel with his sunglasses on.  I was so worried he didn't have a shirt and he was going to sit in church shirtless.  Me and my companion just stared and said..."I can't believe this" or in Spanish, "No puedo creer".  Luckily he whipped out a shirt and put it on just seconds before walking into church.  Ha!  Seriously died.  He stayed for the whole block though!  YAY! :)  Miracles!  He is going to be the best example for his family!

I have been reading from the Liahona all of the General Conference talks.  I realize that I now understand about 90% of what I am reading.  YAY!  One thing I had been thinking about applies to all of you.  During your FHE you could try and focus on one of the points in Preach My Gospel.  Just one heading each week.  It will help all of you (especially my little brothers) feel comfortable with the doctrine of the church and also with sharing messages with friends.  Just an idea :)

We sometimes don't know what we are doing or where we are going, or how we are going to share a gospel principle with a friend.  But, we need to take the steps and know that we will be guided by the Lord.  I invite you all, whoever you may be, to remember that the Lord is our guide.  I have seen Him guide me each day and I can testify that He, too, will guide you if you allow Him!

Hermana McChesney

--Shout out to Jean Smith for the letter and book.  Truly made my whole day!  I loved the Christmas story of Christ and also the photo of your little grandchild.  She is absolutely ADORABLE!
--Shout out to Dillon and Emma this week.  Wedding!! YAY!! :)  Hope somebody sends me pictures...
--Shout out to Tommy Nelson for the letter, too.  Good to see he is serving a mission in Argentina, also!!
--Shout out to Stephy Cat for the letter and Kendal7Steph for the email!  Miss you cats!
--Shout out to Taylor Swift for turning 24 on December 13.  I found a 4 leaf clover this day..so that was probably the best thing ever! ha!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Finding in Oro

Good morning everybody.  The fact is that it's afternoon here, but I still know it's morning there, so, like stated previously...GOOD MORNING! :)

This week was great!  I love this work, can I just say that?  Things have been so great!  I don't really know why...I think it's because we have this desire to work hard and with this desire we are being blessed with blessings that I never thought were possible!

This week we didn't place any baptismal dates and we didn't have anyone at church.  Still, I would like to say that this week was probably our most successful week in Fernandez Oro. We had the goal and desire to find a family on Tuesday.  We had this desire and took the steps to make this desire come true.  We prayed hard to find a family to teach because that is something that we really want.  As we traveled to Fernandez Oro...we not only found 1 family, but THREE FAMILIES!  This is no lie.  I wouldn't lie about this, actually, I wouldn't like about anything, but not the point.  We really found 3 families.  Each of them are so prepared!

One day, as we were walking the streets in Oro, I had to use the bathroom, again.  It's a usual thing that happens in Oro.  There are no public bathrooms so the only way to go is to ask somebody if they know where we can find a bathroom and usually they let us into their home :)  We asked this lady we saw on the street, and she kindly walked us back to her home.  She told us that her son was in jail and that she was looking for the best for her family.  We bore testimony of the family, and how one of the reasons I am on the mission is to bring others the same happiness that I have in my family.  She loved it!  She invited us over to learn more.  We have also seen her 3 times this week.  We haven't had time to have a lesson with her yet, just to stop by and invite her to activities.  However, Wednesday morning we have a set lesson.  YAY!  She is so excited!  She also has a daughter that wants to listen in on the lessons.  AH!  I'm just dying.  These people are so awesome!!

Oh, good news.  Me and my companion are the guinea pigs for President.  We are the experiment for ALL the mission.  Yeah, pressure!  AHH!  We are changing our study schedule so we can work in the morning, study in the afternoon during siesta hours, and then work again in the evening.  We are so excited!  If we have success, President is going to change it for the WHOLE mission.  So, we are excited to see how things go!  Wish us luck!!

Love you all :)  Best wishes to you!

Hermana McChesney

                                                       Happy 6 months to me!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Conference with Elder Romeo de la Sesenta

Estaba pensando, "you quiero escribir TODO de esta carta en Castillano", pero, I don't think you'd like that very much ;)

So this week was great.  A lot of great things happened actually!  We are still unfortunately living in Cipolletti, and have not yet moved into our apartment in Fernandez Oro.  We have been using a lot of money traveling every day.  Luckily, I talked to President and it is all reintegros.

We had some great lessons in Fernandez Oro this week.  We had a referral from the one member there.  The investigator was a little hesitant at firs but sure enough she let us in and as I said the opening prayer and began teaching, she started to cry the whole time.  She has had a lot of hurt and we talked about the love of Jesus Christ, his Atonement, Prayer, and pretty much everything that she needed to hear.  She was such a sweetheart.  We are hoping for good things from her. We also talked to her husband and he wants to listen, too.  YAY!  Miracles truly happen every day.

Also, NOTE TO SELF:  Always bring toilet paper.  I didn't realize that people here don't have any.

We had interviews this week and a conference with Elder Romeo de la Sesenta (member or the 2nd quorum of the seventy).  Elder Romeo did a great job.  We learned a lot about convincing to convert and convert to convince.  I never liked the word "convince"...but I love how he described it!  We do need to convince our investigators, but only through the Holy Ghost can we.  He also talked about using the Book of Mormon more.  That is one thing I have been stressing in my study.  KNOW THE BOOK OF MORMON!

Another great lesson I learned was from President Lovell:  Sometimes we aren't going to know what we are doing or where we are supposed to go, but we can compare this story to Nephi.  Nephi went to try and get the plates 2 times, and on the 3rd time he had no idea what he was going to do, but he kept on taking the steps.  We need to have faith to take the steps.  As long as we take the first step and show to our Heavenly Father that we are dedicated and have faith, he will lead us.

Through taking the steps, we found many more people that are prepared for the gospel.  While waiting for the collectivo, this lady just asked us to come to her home and teach her because one day missionaries served her and she would like to hear what we have to say.  She said, "I know that you are here to teach people and so I need to listen."  Crazy, no?  We had many other experiences like that this week.  WOO!!  Can't wait to just live in the area now!

I am so lucky to have a companion who wants to work and wants to find those people who are ready and prepared.  Its' so great!  We have a lot of great ideas.

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving.  My Thanksgiving was the Conference, and then afterwards, our Almuerzo fell through so we went to a church and cooked Milanesas and Papas (just like every other day..)  It was good, but I must say that I missed my stuffing. ;)

Look for opportunities to serve.  I invite you all to invite a non-member friend to the Church Christmas activity.  I promise.  You won't regret it :)

Dream big and don't forget to pray!!

Con amor,
Hermana McChesney

Shout out to Kayla Dollar..I am serving in the same mission as one of your friends.  Last name is Agee. What a small world!
Shout out to Zach Mortensen for writing me a letter all in Castellano.  BUENISIMO!

There was a talent show and I had to act..yeah, in Spanish, remember that.  I was just a joke!  I guess I'm just a weirdo or something, but that's not the point.  Elder Pontelli and I made this awesome camera that I had to use, so we laughed so hard.  Yes, this is a pretty dumb story.  Enjoy!  I'm done...HA!