Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Brief Survey Back

First of all, I've never had my own room.

Well I guess there was that time I started sleeping in the oversized closet we used as our toy room. One night when I was nine and feeling poetic me and my stuffed pig Kelsey moved onto the extra mattress we stored in there with my sheets, blankets, and floppy, case-less pillow. I was a lone ranger for less than a week until someone tattled on me and my parents shipped me back to the bunk above my sister. 

And then there was that one time when I was ten I asked for my own room for Christmas and my mom gifted me a coupon for the privilege of one night in next-door grandma's guest room. I slept in the middle of the bed with seven tasseled toss pillows stacked up behind, legs spread to either side, and watched I Love Lucy late into the night, to regret in the groggy morning. 

And every other night for over twenty one years it's been half the closet, permission for lights-out, and never a private doze or dream. 

My point is, I don't really have much experience with quiet rooms or homes. And with a family of eleven, and now with some nieces and in-laws that bring the total to fourteen here at the house, no one here really does for that matter. 

Whenever there are fewer than seven people here at home, "where is everyone" echoes through the house, not only because it's so empty, but because the silence is so weird that everyone who is at home has to bring up the phrase at least once. 

A few nights ago was one of those quiet nights. Just me, my husband, my brother, and his wife and two kids. My sister in law was kind enough to make dinner and bring it up from their basement apartment to share, and afterward my husband cleaned the five bowls, and I walked around the uncomfortably quiet room. 

The phone rang. 

There's a thing about our home phone. We never answer it. It rings and no one even flinches. I think I've touched it five times since I've been home and four of those times were because my niece had been playing with it so I had to pick it up to put back on the hook. By this point I think we've forgotten it's a phone and have started believing it's an ambient tune that happens at random times in the week. A complementary jingle the house provides to brighten our day. Or just annoy us. 

That night, for some reason I decided to answer it. 


Some telephone survey company. "Is Emilyn Gil available?" 

"Uh...yes, this is her." 

"Would you like to take a few minutes to do a brief survey?" 

I surrendered, for three reasons. One, I was caught by surprise because he used the name that has only legally been documented as mine for less than a month. Two, what are the chances that the one time I decide to pay attention to the notoriously ignored, almost non-existent house phone, it happens to be a call directed to me? (Some math geek, do your thing. I bet it's like, a really low number.) And three, because I used to work at a telephone survey company, and I thought, why not help a poor kid out. Up his PR a little. 

He starts the survey, and I'm already regretting my choice and starting to think of different ways to bail out. But then it's about my recent visit to the doctor's office, and I start to recognize the survey. Luckily, as I remember, this "brief" survey actually is one of the brief ones. 

"In your most recent visit, was the doctor understanding of your needs? Would you say definitely yes, somewhat, or no?"

I had asked these questions a hundred times. I wanted to recite the words with him as he said them, just to confuse the guy, but I didn't remember them well enough. I'll have to brush up for next time. 

I was an A+ survey-taker. I waited until he was completely finished with the questions and answers, clearly stated my desired answer exactly as he recited it to me, went through each question, left good comments for him to record, wished him a nice night at the end, and hung up. 

It's been, let's see...a little over two years since I was on the other side of the phone giving surveys. And since I finished the survey I've been pondering back on those survey times with fondness. Waking up in the late morning, dreading for when the hour hit two thirty and I'd have to go to work, sitting in my swivel chair bored out my mind, talking to rude and swearing people on the phone, having to stay till 11 sometimes to finish the surveys we needed, and what about this is fond again? 

I envy my past a lot. It's just so hard for me to leave it behind. When the present is hard I whine and pout at the door of my memories, wishing I could thrive again and again in the familiar moments. Even the hard ones. Because although in the moment it's confusing and terrible, looking back, I know just how to deal with it and would much rather take on that challenge again than the ones I'm dealing with today. 

But this time, looking back, it wasn't so much a sporadic, tiresome run down the up escalator, tripping and crying and trying to go back. It was more of the quiet page turn back in the photo album, curled up on the couch, in a fuzzy sweater, sipping hot chocolate through smiling lips.

So I learned something from this survey. It's okay to look back. Of course it is. Remember what it was like, ask some questions, let out some sighs. But when the survey is done, you hang up the phone. Get back to the present and give it your best. The hard things slip through the gaps with time, and you'll want to make sure there's enough good moments in your now to hang up in your gallery of life so there's something left to live for. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

This Is New...lywed

So I'm married.

And with all the things that come with marriage, like trying not to elbow his face in the night, or remembering halfway through the physics quiz to tag Gil along with my other two names, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a wife and mother, and what kind of each I want to be.

And I have to say, I see both titles as so superior. As if they're displayed on the highest shelf of the spice pantry, and me hands-on-hips below the counter like a little kid, looking up and wondering how in the world I'm supposed to get to them. They sound like a Nobel prize, a doctorate degree, or a couple Olympic gold medals. And at the same time, as much as I esteem the occupation of Mom, it also comes off completely alien to me. Like the opposite side of the Timpanogos mountain, the back roads on the construction detour, or the whole-foods option on the bottom shelf of the cracker isle. I just can't see myself under the umbrella of these descriptions, really.

Well, I mean, I'm getting better. "My husband" easily drips now into my stream of conversation when describing him, and the fingers on my left hand have now fully acquainted themselves with the sapphire immigrant. And all in all, exploring the married life has been enjoyable to say the least. Any words I use to explain the joy, drastically underestimate the true value of being married. But I'd say "grand" is one of my favorite explanations.

But still, thinking of wife-ing and mothering basically stresses me out. A little bit. Maybe a lot, if I really think about it.

And I know I shouldn't stress, that it will be fine, and that when I get right down to it, I'll naturally be good at it survive. So I'm okay. One step at a time.

About a month ago I went to the Orem library. See, I'm trying to do more leisure reading, so I keep checking out interesting titles from the library to get myself back into the habit. I really do enjoy reading and every time I give myself the time I love it, but I just usually spend my days doing other things. So instead of reading I'm paying late fees because the book fell under my bed forgotten for three weeks. I am a sorry, uncultured case, and I'm ashamed of myself.

So anyway, aside from my state of declining literacy, I went to the library a while ago. As I was walking across the parking lot toward the entrance, I passed a small family. A mom and two little kids under the age of six. The mom was wearing jeans and a flowery blouse, and was holding a grocery bag of books in one hand, and the chubby fingers of one of the kids in her other, giving the closing statements of a very serious lecture. "So next time we come to the library are we gonna run around crazy and sit on statues?"

And while browsing the adult section in the ominous library silence, I saw another small family. This mom was wearing cargo pants paired with a small classy leather purse. She was also accompanied by two younger-than-six kids, one little girl on her back, and a little boy following behind. The piggy-backer had a coloring page, and the little boy was intently focused on his mom's i-phone in his hands. They were playing the library's Pokemon scavenger hunt that the staff had set up for that day. The boy intently whispered some critical discovery something to his mom as she came up close to the wall so her little girl could use its hard surface to color on her page.

So in thinking about wife and mother, maybe the most helpful to me for the moment is to look at the examples of mothers around me. And I don't want to downgrade the first mom by saying that I aspire to be the second. I'm sure the second mom's kids have had their run around crazy and sit on statues days, and I'm sure every mom has the necessity to give the hilarious-if-it-weren't-for-the-seriousness-of-the-moment lectures. But as much as I can, I want to be the mom in the cargo pants, with enough pockets for every flower, paper plane, and stick preceded with "look mom!". I want to compete with my kids in the scavenger hunts, and the playground races, and put the greatest effort toward keeping mom and friend synonymous. And, well, lots of other things that I wish to be and do in motherhood, as seen in the mothering of all those around me. (Shout out to my sister and sister in law! As well as my mom friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and most importantly the amazing angel mother of my own.)

And yeah, I know that's probably what all new mothers think, and then when the children come I let out a big "Ooooooooooh" and take my list of What Mothering Is off the fridge, fold it up, and send it in the next batch to D.I. for someone else who may find it useful.

So here's to all you D.I. shoppers I guess. Take what fits. At least it's cheap, so no hard feelings if it ends up in the back of your closet after one read. Thanks for shopping! Have a nice day!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Moment from the Optimistic

I attended a baptism today. It was beautiful and joyous and lovely as always, and I was happy I had taken time from my busy life to add it to my list of life experience.

At the service, I heard a story about a the best watermelon in the world. It was large, chilled, a deep pink, and dripping with juices. But actually, it was just a regular watermelon. What made it special were the long moments beforehand sweating and struggling on a desert hike, thinking and craving just that, a great watermelon.

I really don't care too much for watermelons, but I've been thinking about this one all day.

One week from now I'll be married, and my fiance is currently outside the country. And that can only foreshadow the experience in which he, I, and our close ones have found ourselves.

So I've learned a bit about weddings. Really, you only need three things. The girl, the guy, and the temple. So we're two out of three for a bit longer. But he's getting here.

And I'll tell ya, I'm not always an optimist, and maybe I tell my story a little more woefully than I mean to, but for the moment, I'm appreciative. And I'd like to share a few less-told details that I love. Like getting a good-morning call from yours truly at 6:00 am before I go to work.  Or living in an age where my beloved and I can see live video of each other at a large distance, speaking and hearing and everything, almost like regular conversation, and all free of charge. As much as I hate Skype, it's pretty dang awesome. Or knowing that someone exists in the world who is handsome, charismatic, funny, sweet, adorable, strong, and intelligent, and he loves me. Or family and friends who sacrifice time to get the yard reception-ready, buy 50 bags of popcorn, hang lights from the house to the tree, paint jars and blocks of wood, and a million other random things that have to do with the 17th of September. Or lying in my bed at night, closing my eyes, and hearing Jorge's voice come through my headphones telling me he loves me.

And I'd like to think that this story will end like the watermelon. That thanks to all the waiting and wishing and hoping and praying, the result of all this will be nothing but the very best. And I believe it will, for a time. But I also realize that time will pass, and as human beings, we forget, grow accustomed, and take for granted.

So this is a shout out to all those who have the luxury of looking their loved ones in the eyes, hearing their real, actual voice, and giving them a literal, physical hug. And if you please, I'll include the Emilyn and Jorge of the near future. Do those things. Look with your actual eyes into their actual eyes, and really see them. Use your actual voices to speak sweet somethings into their actual ears, and really listen. And use your actual arms to actually hug them, and hold them as close as you can for just a moment. And then another, and another, and another. Just because you can.

That's all. Now who's up for a good, sweaty hike?

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Rant on Writing Promts

I´ve come to find my most frequent blogging times fall almost precisely when I should be doing something else. And the something else is most often writing. Like now, for instance, where I have two google docs saved with titles, word counts, and scholarship essay prompts, followed by a whole lot of white. 

There´s just something so un-engaging about being told to write something. It´s like wandering through the women´s apparel section at Target with five dollars and fifty cents. I mean, why even bother? If I wanted to browse clothing I can´t buy or wear, I would have stayed at home with Pinterest. 

But then, of course, improvisation just is never quite as good as structured, deadlined, bluprinted labor. Who´s Line Is It Anyway will never be anywhere near Shakespeare´s Iambic Pentameter. A public pool in mid July isn´t quite as thrilling as the Olympic Swimming Trials. So maybe a 500 word essay on pride or ice cream flavors can beat a day-in-the-life-of-Emilyn blogpost? 

Well, let´s see what I can do with my Five-fifty. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

So, About That Guy

Regardless of whether or not this phrase has bobbed up to your personal frontal lobe in regards to my Facebook photos or some friendly engagement gossip, I'm going to address it. Mostly because Jorge shamelessly asked if I'd dedicate a blog post to him. As if a loving sentiment put to keyboard and tossed into internet traffic for anywho or hum to click and chew on is a worthy expression of amor.

Well, I'll do my best to make it worthwhile.

However, if you're looking for a front to back, step by step details of how Jorge and Emilyn came to be, I'm afraid you've taken the wrong exit. For that kind of exclusivity an appointment is required. Feel free to contact my secretary for more information in that regard.

I will graciously provide a quick outline,

as well as a picture book depiction of our happenings.

Our Great Story

Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl.


They were missionaries in Argentina.

They worked hard, shared the gospel, and served others in many ways. 

The time came for Jorge to go home, so he did. And Emilyn stayed in Argentina. 

They wrote back and forth a little, Jorge went to Canada to work, and Emilyn still stayed in Argentina. 

The time then came for Emilyn to come home, and she and Jorge got in contact. What followed was a long period of texting, calling, and skyping. 

Things started to move forward, so they planned a trip to Canada and Emilyn flew in to visit Jorge.

They spent time together, 

went sightseeing, 

and ate food. 

They decided spending an eternity together was a good idea, 

and started applying for Jorge's visa. 

Emilyn traveled back to Utah, and their long distance relationship continued. 

And then...

 unfortunately, we have now reached the current time in our story. 

Short and sweet, eh? Although yesterday marks one month since we turned in the visa petition, and I wish that whole process could be just a little shorter and sweeter if you know what I mean. Patience, patience, patience. The least popular attribute line in the premortal world, it seems. Or at least the most costly, and I must have first spent all my celestial allowance on good looks and humor. Humility however, that just came naturally. 

Anyway, thanks for listening guys. I guess we'll just end with a something a little more sentimental, mostly for Jorge. 

A small list of things I enjoy about That Guy: 

His positivity. Every time I mope or groan, he always comes up with some way to look at the blessings. 
His fearless view of the world and its challenges. When I hold back and worry, I find he's already jumped in head first and begun taking action. 
His pure and simple faith. I didn't know I had complicated faith so much till I met Jorge and saw just how simply he believes in every aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
His humor. Can't help but love a guy who laughs just as ridiculously at your same kind of funny. 
His ideas. Sometimes they end up on the corner of crazy and impossible, but more often than not they're found making life just a little more enjoyable and interesting. 
And that's what you do for me Jorge. You make my life just a little more enjoyable. 

And, just in case that's too sentimental, let's turn the time over to Jorge. 

Love ya babs. :*

Friday, March 4, 2016

Twenty One Thoughts

Before we get into the real deep nitty gritty, let's just...

Aaaaaand we're back! Thanks for joining us ladies and gentlemen once again, for another episode of Emily add n. It's been a great 18 months of mission emails and pictures, and I really feel like we've been through a lot together. I mean, remember that one time when that cat gave birth during a lesson? 

...Did I not send that story into the blogging universe? Hmm. True story though. 

So, FAQs, blah blah blah, I feel like I'm adjusting well, yes I miss the mission, I'm working, planning on school in the fall, and I'm not allergic to peach fuzz. 

GREAT! On to the good stuff. First, an official notice. 

Please take a moment to breath in deeply and let the celebration relax from your system as the mood of this blog is about to change drastically, and we'll need your full and deep attention. Thank you. ~Blog Mood Safety Committee

Four years ago on the eve of my sixteenth birthday, I sat on my bed contemplating the meaning of this great event. Sixteen. What an accomplishment. What excitement. What exotic adventures lay ahead. Driving, dating, and...I guess that's basically it. But wow, was I excited. I felt like Samwise Gamgee, passing the farthest stalk in the cornfield of my life and leaving my childhood Shire behind. I felt the need to do something. Like Neil Armstrong, place my flag down before taking this small step and simultaneously giant leap. So, like in all important moments of inspiration, I snatched up a paper and pen, and started to write. 

I wrote myself a letter. I included thoughts, goals, fears, habits, pet peeves, advice, drawings, jokes, whatever tickled my fancy. Then I signed it, folded it into thirds, labeled it, and threw it in the box under my bed to open up the following year on my seventeenth birthday. 

The following year in I want to say late March or early April I just so happened to clean out the box under my bed, and I came across the letter labeled, "Do not open until at least 2012, February the sixteenth! Thank you." I remember reading the label over like five times before realizing that the date had past, and I was allowed to open it. I couldn't believe that in the course of just one year, I had forgotten not only that I had written the letter, but half the stuff that I even had said, and how much I really had changed during the year. There were opinions I had changed, worries that had long faded away, and excitements that had long since downgraded on my importance list. Probably much less due to the metaphorical cornfield I had left behind, and more due to the fact that a year is actually a long time. Sure it's full of months, days, hours, and seconds. But more importantly it's full of experiences, feelings, lessons, and moments.

So I wrote myself another letter, as I had promised myself in the first, to open up the next year. Then I've done it every year since so that today I have five letters, plus the sixth that I'll seal up for next year. #gettingaroundtoit

So as I, twenty one year old Emilyn, sit down with a few leftover pages from an old college notebook to write personal epistle number six, I'll share twenty one points from my past letters.

Emilyn at 15: Sixteenth Birthday, for Emilyn at 17
1. Ideas of things to do while breathing helium: Tell stories, try to go really low and see what happens, stand on your head and talk, rap Justin Bieber.
2. I think about boys too much, though perhaps that is normal. 
3. I get up in the mornings at 5:45 to read scriptures
4. Spend time with God by serving Him, reading his holy word, and speaking to Him. 
Emilyn at 16: Seventeenth Birthday, for Emilyn at 18
5. I like pencils more than pens
6. I LOVE how straight my teeth are now that I've had braces for a while and HATE how I can't floss them every day.
7. Personal goal: try to talk to other people by asking them about themselves. 
8. I enjoy driving everywhere but the freeway. 
9. I have a bruise on my chin from when Joe and Tage were spinning James around by his hands and feet, then I tried to jump over him when Charity came running around and we slammed into each other. 
Emilyn at 17: Eighteenth Birthday, For Emilyn at 19
10. Being aggressive is necessary and sometimes the best answer. Working at Wendys definitely taught me that. Although being gentle is great, things get done more efficiently when you are aggressive. 
11. Be prepared and don't blow off the stuff that isn't staring you in the face. you'll never get anywhere without preparing first and getting things done on time. 
12. You got your braces off this past year and pearly whites suit you quite well if you do say so yourself. 
13. Remember, you need food more than clothes.
Emilyn at 18: Nineteenth Birthday, For Emilyn at 20
14. You love english and writing. Especially on your blog. And it's dang good and dang funny. 
15. You just took a long break to play Jet-Pack Joyride because, frankly, this letter is HARD WORK.
16. You know, they say at 19 you know just about everything about the world. So have you learned something about the universe, or anything that I won't know in a week from now? Most likely. 
17. Humility. It's pretty essential for important relationship aspects including listening, being aware of others' feelings, being aware of others' problems/needs, and being thoughtful and kind. 
18. To be serving a mission and focusing my whole life on Christ's church and building Zion... It's going to be amazing. I can't even imagine the good it will do for my life, for my future family. I am so excited! 
Emilyn at 19: 20th Birthday, For Emilyn at 21
19. So I hear it's pretty hard to be home the first little while. How ya doin kid? Ya got a job? A boy? A plan for your life? You using your agenda? Daily prayers? Scripture study? Hey, don't you forget all those little things. Ever. You got to stay spiritually in shape. You've finished the marathon, but that doesn't mean you stop practicing, or you'll lose that manso spiritual six-pack you spent a year and a half working on.
20. You're gonna make mistakes. The mission didn't make you perfect. 
21. And for point number twenty on, I found some returned missionary advice I had given myself, which I will share with all of you. 
    1. Watch the RM. It happens to everyone. There are other RMs out there going through the same...whatever it is you're going through. It's a process!
    2. Chill out. That doesn't mean sit around on your behind playing candy crush and taking siestas. Go find someone to watch a movie with. Play a game. Read a book. Go sight seeing in Salt Lake. To the Zoo. To the temple. Call up your buddies and have a party! Forget yourself and go have a day! Make happiness happen. 
    3. Be spiritual. Just cuz you're home doesn't mean you have to stop being spiritual. In fact, please don't.You can't. Can't afford to. read your scriptures! Pray for like 25 minutes! Go to the temple! Attend institute, church, get a calling. I don't know. Oh, and don't pack Preach my Gospel away. Keep livin' it bro! 
    4. Get busy. Get a job, figure out schooling, try out for a play, sing a song, play the guitar, but mostly GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Don't sit around idle letting Satan in. 
    5. Enjoy it. Yes, you worked your whole mission to find joy in every moment, don't stop now! There's plenty to be grateful for, to work for, to live, and to love there with your family, friends, and even strangers. Don't let those moments pass by! Ether 7:27 "And there were no more wars in the days of Shule; and he remembered the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land; wherefore he did execute judgment in righteousness all his days." Remember the great things God helped you do in Argentina. He continues on in that work, the work of you. So you stick to him, okay? 
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this little moment spent in the thoughts of my past. It's been a blast. A past blast. 

...Okay, we're getting punny, so that's my cue to wrap things up. 

I'll just end with a quote that I composed in my study journal. Yes, I am going to quote myself. Actually it will be an edited paraphrase because I wrote it about this mission, but I'm going to edit it to be about just life in general, also I don't remember the exact wording. But I guess if i'm saying it now it's still technically a quote and not a paraphrase since it's still me saying it. But then again I'm paraphrasing a former quote... *drowns in the sea of political correctness and technicalities.  

"The more times you say that [life] goes fast, the faster [life] will go. But cherish and fill every moment, and [life] will last you to the eternity."

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Last Melon

Dearest Family: 

If I´m not mistaken, this will be my last email. I might have a little time next monday to write, but I´m not sure. This Sunday afternoon I´ll be saying goodbye to my hermosa Justo Daract and treking the 6 hour bus ride to Mendoza. Then Monday we´ll have a mini p-day and then a couple workshops for the after-misison life, and finish off with the cena with the president and his wife. Then Teusday morning it´s the plane! It still doesn´t feel real. I´m really going to be focusing this week in making use of every minute, so it doesn´t go by too fast. 

So, back to work while the work´s there to do! 

This week we met with Juan a couple times. What happened is that apparently the whole time he was coming to chruch and taking the lessons without letting his mom know, but last week his mom found out. He´s 45, so he can make his own decisions for his life, it´s fine, but it´s still hard for him to go against his mom. He keeps coming to church and taking the lessons, but it´s just a little concern he has that might be effecting his decision to be baptized. We keep plugging along. Really, once he recognizes that he has his answer everything else will come so easily. So we just have to keep teaching him and giving him situations in which the spirit can testify that this is true until he recognizes it. It´s a slow process, but we just have to trust in God and encourage Juan to keep going. 

Other than that, not a whole lot happened this week. It´s interesting how the weeks change from one to the other. Last week we found a ton of new people, with lots of potential. This week we found very few. But the most important thing is that we can teach and testify in every situation. Even if they don´t accept the gospel, hearing a truth of the gospel, even if it´s just a few sentences, is God showing His love for His children. It´s still a win. And that´s the love that God has. Even in the face of those who reject Him, who don´t believe, who won´t come to Him, he sends little examples of His love. Every effort in the work of the Lord is a successful one. 

Well, I don´t really know what to say, I don´t feel too inspired right now... but if this is my last letter I should probably write something inspiring. Luckily, this week I wrote my Carta de Mayordomia for my last interview with the president. So I´ll share some parts from that. :) 

What I had hoped to achieve on the mission is explained quite nicely to Joseph Smith Sr. in Doctrine and Covenants section four which is to fully and completely dedicate every part of me to each area, companion, ward, and investigator. And although I can comfortably say there were many instances in which I felt I served God well and made him proud, I would say even perfect missionaries are described more accurately by King Benjamin in Mosiah 2:21 as "unprofitable servants". Although my intent was to give, I have not room enough to receive the blessings and achievements the mission has allowed me. The missionary life in Argentina taught me to how plan and how to set goals, added a second language to my vocabulary, and gave me an undying love for another country and culture. Working with companions, investigators, and church leaders, I was able to practice speaking boldly, turning outward more often than inward, not becoming as quickly frustrated with the simple things, and expressing love and care in more than just my way. The countless spiritual experiences provided many moments of self reflection in which I discovered who I am, who I want to be, and how far I have to go to become the sculpture God has had in mind from the beginning. The mission strengthened in enormous amounts my knowledge of and relationship with my Heavenly Father by teaching me to really converse in prayer, to recognize and follow the Holy Ghost, to keep my covenants, to find the balance in my love and fear of God, and to pay my spiritual debts. And finally, the most dear, the mission gave me a greater appreciation for my Savior and a new vision of how to more fully follow Him. I was given eighteen months to serve God, and in the end the mission will serve me every day and on into eternity.

My testimony, of course, matured drastically on the mission, not only in the "what" but in the "why" and the "how" of what I know. I know that God is our Father in Heaven. He loves. He listens. He watches. He cares. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who not only taught and lived the one true gospel, but with His blood He paved the path to exaltation. And He lives. His work continues. He is with us every step of the way to understand, to forgive, to teach, to comfort, to cheer, to rescue, and to save. I know that this is His church and its simple fullness. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet called and lead by God to bring these truths to us, God´s children. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It testifies of Christ, and contains the answers to the soul. I know that God has a plan for us—a plan in action. I know that through this plan Satan is defeated and exaltation is possible. I know it is the only possible way to God, and if we accept Christ´s invitation to follow Him in faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, it is possible. I know God leads us today through our living and beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, in every aspect. I don't doubt because I can´t afford to doubt, and everything I learn in life, all I hear and see and experience only adds to this testimony of faith until that day when I can stand face to face with my Savior Jesus Christ and bear my witness that I know. 

And as I pass the eighteen-month goal line of this spiritual marathon and savor my last sister missionary breaths, I´ve decided what I would wish as a heading for my RM gravestone, "Invited others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end". Not to say I did so perfectly, nor that my going home marks the end of my efforts in this purpose, but only because I hope the sum total of these months in which God allowed me a fulltime part in his work and glory have had some miniscule effect in the eternal life of at least one soul aside from my own. I´m really going to miss not just being able to teach, but also to show, to love, to experience, to tutor, guide, and to accompany these of God´s children on their journey to Christ. And even in this short year and a half my merciful God has showed me countless joyous fruits as evidence of what He has done with me as a tool in His hands, of which I savor, and in which I glory. And in the words of a fellow missionary (shout out to Hermana Millett!), simple and profound, "The mission has truly saved me."

Love you all! Can´t wait to see you next week! 

Hermana Cannon 

The Last Melon

More pictures!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Here I am, This is me

Dear Family:

Don´t know why that Spirit song came into my head... but there you go. 

So this week! It was super great. The worldwide missionary meeting was incredible! We got to hear from various speakers, and my favorite was Elder Bednar. He talked about how as missionaries we can teach more with the spirit. Because as missionaries we can´t take the spirit into the hearts of the investigators, we can only bring it unto the heart. And if we can get it as close as we can to them, then their choice is whether or not to open their heart and let it in. Lots of good stuff. Super cool, and I was super glad to have been able to participate in it! 

This week we taught a ton of lessons, and found lots of new people, so that was great. My favorite parts of this week was a lesson with had with a less active who has been through the temple, Graciela. It was just after the missionary meeting, so we were super spiritually pumped. And the lesson just happened to be the first vision. It was super powerful. It´s just the best feeling when as a missionary you can really open your heart and mouth and just let God fill it. Miricles always happen, and it´s a lot less stressful because you don´t have to worry about messing up, since God is in control. Super neat. 

Also this week we were finally able to meet with Juan. It was a great lesson, and we made some interesting discoveries. He has his answer! But he still doesn´t recognize it. He was able to kneel and pray, asking all the specific questions we gave him, (was joseph smith a prophet? Should I be baptized?) and he said, he felt the Holy Ghost very strongly. Peace, surity, strength. Sent from God. So, isn´t that your answer? we told him. But he doesn´t think so. He´s still waiting for something else. Sigh. Sometimes it´s frustrating, because he´s so close! He even bore his testimony in the lesson about how the book of mormon and the bible go togther, and should be one. But he doesn´t seem to know that he knows it. 

One thing I did learn, is that God really has patience for his children. Because even though Juan doesn´t recognize it, God keeps sending him peace, and communicating with him. In the lessons, God is always there guiding the lessons. And it´s comforting to know that even when I may loose my patience with him sometimes, God never does and never will. 

Welp, I guess that´s about it. The work hastens forward! Have a great week! 

Hermana Cannon

p.s. we went bike riding last p-day. super fun! 

Here I am, This is me


More pictures

Some more pics! 

More pictures

Some more pics! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Nothing New Much

Dear Family: 

Things are going great! Nothing super extraño happened. Todo lo mismo! :) 

We weren´t able to see juan at all this week, because his mom had to go to the hospital multiple times, so it was a hard week for him. He didn´t come to chruch this sunday either, which was a bummer. We´re going to plan a Family Home Evening with him hopefully this sunday with the branch president and a couple other families, so we´ll see how that goes. 

More than that, we were just finding a TON this week. We went out one day with P-day clothes, a broom, and a list of household chores, offering free service. It always surprises me how much the argentines don´t really go for that. "Nah, it´s okay, I´ll do it later" is usually how they respond. But, it was still good, we were able to find a few people, and sweep a few driveways. 

We also went out and shared the video "gracias a el" a bunch of times. And it actually turned out really effective. Mormon messages are always really inspired, and it´s a great way to bring the spirit. Always after showing the video we have a great discussion with people, and it´s really noticeable how much there hearts soften after watching. 

Anyway, things are going really great. I´m so grateful to be serving a mission at this time, and these weeks I´ve just been focusing as much as I can to share with as many people as possible. Trying to really be a FULL-TIME missionary. :) This wednesday we have a world-wide missionary meeting. Apparently it´s the first time it´s ever happened in the history of the world, so that´s exciting. I´ll let you know how it goes! 

Sorry for the short letter, I really don´t know what to say, nor do I have any exciting pictures. ...but, that´s just how it goes this week. Love you tons! Hope you´re all keeping up with your goals! I´ll be following up with you! haha 

Hermana Cannon

Monday, January 11, 2016

Once Upon a January

Dear Family: 

Hmmm, that would have been a good title to use for December. Missed that opportunity. 

Well, now that the funny comment about the clever title is over, we can get to business. 

Crazy week! I guess every week is crazy, so that´s nothing new. We had our zone meeting this week, then we stayed an extra day in San Luis for intercambios with the hermanas Matheson and Tuiá. I was on intercambios with Hermana Tuiá from Samoa, so that was fun. She´s really great! Super nice and tri-lengual and all, so it´s fine. 

Then coming back from San Luis we stopped in Villa Mercedes for a baptism in the Elder´s ward. We had invited Juan, and he showed up twenty minutes early, as usual. :) It was really great, although Juan still doesn´t quite understand perfectly. For example after the baptism while walking to the sacrament room, he comments to me, "yep. That´s just how we do it in my church." So we may need to explain the preisthood again I guess. 

But anways, after the baptism, we had a lesson with him, the plan of salvation. When we got to earth life, we kind of just started talking about baptism again, and Juan shared some thoughts he´s been having. He said he kind of feels left out when he comes to these church reunions. Not really left out, but just that something´s missing. "I´m missing something, and I think it´s baptism." WHAT? Yes! So we talked a little more about that, and more about the gift of the holy ghost, and invited him to be baptized. But he still doesn´t recognize his answer. The holy ghost is always present so strong in the lessons, and he recognizes that, and he loves coming to chruch and reading the Book of Mormon, but he says he´s still waiting for his sign. We´ve explained many times that, well, what he´s feeling IS the sign, but he still doesn´t recognize it. So we invited him to pray again, and ask specific questions. We even wrote out all the questions on a sticky note like, "was Joseph Smith a prophet? Should I be baptized?" That kind of thing. So we´ll see how it went. He keeps progressing little by little, which is great. He´s awesome. 

Also this week we had a cool experience. We found this young couple a while ago, and have gone back lots of times looking for them, but only ever find her mom, who every time kindly insists that she doesn´t want anything to do with us. Yesterday we passed by and it was the same story. But this time hermana gonzales asked for a drink of water. She let us in and gave her some water, and we started talking, and, like good missionaries, we somehow turned the conversation to the topic of religion. And finally her doubt came out. "But no one´s seen Jesus, right? He never really lived on earth, did he?" It was definitely a first for me. All the argentine´s I´ve talked to are either catholic, or some other Christian religion, so they all believe in Christ. Or they say, "I´m athiest" and close the door. So I had never heard anyone openly share that they didn´t believe Christ came to earth. We explained that christ had indeed been born on earth, and had lived and died for us. It was really neat. I mean, I´ve always born testimony of Jesus Christ, but I had never had the opportunity to share with someone my bear-bone testimony that I know that he existed on the earth. That he was born, he lived, people saw him and heard him, and followed him. She was surprised, and the spirit was definitely present. "Oh. I didn´t know. I had heard the storries, and I know that he´s in heaven, but I didn´t know that he had actually come and lived on earth." It was really neat. 

I know that Christ lives. I know he came to earth. He was born in Bethlehem, and grew up, and lived a perfect life. He chose to follow the will of God fully and completely, even to gethsemane and to the cross. He was laid in the tomb, and rose again. He lives, I know he lives. I know he´s real, and his love for each of us is real. You can feel it. He is our savior, our guide, our brother, and our friend. There is no other way to God but through Him, and I know that through Him, it´s possible. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Hermana Cannon

Monday, January 4, 2016

Crazy Holidays

Hey Family!  

Firstly, sorry I didn´t know what day p-day was. We did have our p-day on the first, but there wasn´t anything open on that day, which is why they gave us a few hours today to do our shopping and cyber time. So, yes. 

So Christmas was great. Feliz Navidad everyone! ...yep, that´s about it. 

Transfers! Hermana Sandau went to Mendoza, and I´m sticking around here in good old Justo! It was sad to see another hijita leave the nest, so we ate some ice cream on the bus. (see pic) It was a little crazy because they told us on sunday night, and she had to leave teusday morning at 6. so we left monday night to stay with the hermana Masoner and Hermana Tevez in Villa Mercedes where her bus would be leaving from. So monday we just packed her up and cleaned the pench, said goodbye to a few families, and left. Then hermana Tevez had her bus leaving at 3 in the morning, so we took her to the terminal, came back and slept, took hermana sandau (see pic), came back and slept, got up and did some studdies and ate lunch, then at 3 went to pick up Hermana Masoner´s companion coming in at three, but didn´t get there till 4:30, took her back to the appartment to unpack, then went back to the terminal for my companion who came in at 7, and took the bus at 8 to Justo and got to the area at 9, did some planning, and slept. Crazy day! 

But now we´re all settled in. And my companion´s the best! Hermana Gonzales from Lima Peru. She´s really funny, and a super hard worker. It´s been really great to teach with her. Here´s a picture of her on new years when we played ping-pong at the church with the district.  

Juan is doing okay. He´s a faithful member of the sunday congregation, which is great. He´s also still a faithful member of his evangalist chruch, which is okay... we keep working on him. :) We haven´t seen him this week any more than that because his mom´s been a little bad with her health, so he´s been taking care of her. But hopefully we can visit him this week. 

More than that we´ve met some new investigators this week, which was also nice. 

More than anything, we´re just thinking of some things we can do to strengthen the branch. We´re planning on doing weekly visits to all the members who miss church on suday to let them know we´re thinking of them, and encourage them to come the next week. Mostly just doing lots of member and less active work. There´s always lots of work to do. Lots of testimony to share and strengthen, people to support and serve, and a marvelous gospel to spread. Every little act is a part of the Lord´s work. 

Love you all, and hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Cannon

Feliz Navidad!

Hey All! 

Before I write, here´s a picture of a Christmas tree Argentina style! Made me laugh.