Thursday, April 21, 2016

Returned with honor (April 20, 2016)

Celebratory Cheesecake Factory Lunch

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

LA ÚLTIMA: "There and Back Again... A Missionary's Tale" (April 11, 2016)

i thought that title is appropriate :)

another week down!! we kept working, contacted a few new people we will be teaching now and we found a few less actives to visit as well! 

bauti´s bday!
in terms of sabrina, this week was her sons 6th birthday, we made brownies and brought a really cool candle to sing happy birthday! he was so happy! and she was really thankful. we had an hermana from the primary come and acompany us. we had a little party with her neighbor less active who has other kids in primary so it was perfect! friendshipping at its finest! sadly, sabrina is still smoking every once in a while. its so hard because for her smoking is her only release from the trials of everyday life but we read the book of mormon with her and everything. it just is a matter of will know. but she has a work interview this week and should start to get on her feet soon. 

melani and her mom are doing great! they saw general conference last weekend and loved it! thisweek we started the new member lessons with a family named the family jadzianagnosti...haha what a name right? well he is the mission leader and we went with his wife and him. they made friends and it was great! in church on sunday melani gave a spiritual thought in releif society, (the young women were visiting for the announcements) and her mom sat by some other members who friendshipped her. tonight we have a family home evening with them. they are so wonderful!! and are progressing. the mom is fully reactivated now and we are working on getting them to the temple in time for the next temple trip in may!!

selfie with the compy!!
well im not sure what else to say! haha i was sick again for a few days and i got pretty frustrated but the stls came to help in the morning with some appointments we had so that was a huge help, something funny is that we made some flan from a little packet..well it made me get super sick in the nighttime, i threw up, then, the next day we had lunch with a member and they made us a delicious lunch. and then they brought out the dessert, what was it? flan. hahahaha i ate it thinking i would get sick but it was actually delicious and i was fine afterward hahahaha

the work goes on! and it never ends next week ill be back in the states and another sister will come here and continue the work! the cool thing about missionary service is two things. 1. it doesnt matter who you are, as long as you let the Lord work through you he will do his work. and 2. we learn more from being missionaries than we ever teach anyone. 
i guess ill start my end of the mission thought rant haha
centro during the siesta.
but this is how my area looks
except there are always tons
of cars and people haha
being a good missionary doesnt mean doing everything perfect. it means recognizing that the work has nothing to do with you. theres tons of pressure at the end of the mission, there are a lot of expectations. i always thought at the end of the mission i would be celestial, super pacient and humble, for a while i was getting pretty frustrated with myself because i thought i wasnt at the level i needed to be. then we had a zone conference with president and hermana zanni. he was very strong and bold about many things. and after the conference i felt like i had so many things to improve on and no time to do it and i honestly got really down on myself. i got sick the next day and had the whole day to just be down on myself. but then i snapped out of it on sunday. i felt really strongly in church that im not supposed to be perfect at the end of my mission. i have 21 years and i have the whole rest of my life to improve. also, who are we to think we need to be perfect. the only person in the history of the world who was perfect is Christ. He lived a perfect life so that He could save us from our imperfections. It is after all we can do that His Grace takes affect. but mind you, the scripture says all we can do. i know ive been converted and i continue to be more and more converted. i know that my life has changed becuase of the mission. i have changed my nature, and even though its not easy, everyday i try harder and harder to be better. life is a big testing period and as long as we trust in the lord and let him guide us, we will be lead by his extended hand to the places we need to be. that is Grace. doing everything we can but understanding it will never be enough. that is why our older brother paid the price for our salvation. 
I love my Savior and i know He lives. I know He is always there and never abandons us. He takes care of His sheep. and through His perfect atonement we will be able to be saved. He has provided the way for us to form eternal families, that way is through His sacred power, the priesthood, the which He has restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. Today we have that power to seal us for the eternities and i am forever grateful for the love and mercy He has shown us. Families are forever, The Atonement is real, and repentence works. We can be changed and made worthy of His kingdom as we keep trying. He makes up the difference. 

i invite all of you to my homecoming talk the 24rd of april! ask my mom for more info if you want to come. 

have a wonderful week and ill see most of you very soon ;)

hna sanders

(Jessica's homecoming talk is at 1:00pm at 24443 McBean Blvd. Valencia, Ca 91355)

me and argentinaaa

"18 months (insert unsure smile)" (April 4, 2016)

yesturday i hit my 18 month mark in the mission! i was joking around with my companion and said well, now that i have 18 months the rules dont apply to me anymore :) but i was just kidding. im so thankful for these next two weeks i have to finish up giving all i have and can. "hasta el ultimo" is my motto for this week. it means until the last!

first things off, this week started out kind of rough, got a little more frustrating, and then ended with the wonderful general conference weekend. it was a life saver.

getting ice cream with sabrina and bauti
well sabrina smokes, and on tuesday she told us that she wasnt going to be able to quit in time to be baptized the 9th and its going to take a little longer...that was a really sad day. she is despereate and has no money. she cant even afford cigarettes but her neighbor who is her best friend now and also a less active....😑....always gifts her 3 to 4 a day. but she says that she isnt ready to give them up. we were very honest with her. talked about health benefits, that it not only kills her but her son as well, that she wouldnt be able to feel the spirit, and last of all we took a cigarette, and held it up horizontally, we beared testimony that the distance between her and God was this cigarrete. she felt really bad but we assured her that it would all be okay, we are here to help her come closer to christ and that this was the next big step, she prayed and asked for forgiveness and the strength to overcome this addiction. we are now going into full mode to help her quit. im just so thankful she is so sincere and understands how important it is to be worthy to make covenants. 

then i got sick for a few days. 

we taught melani some new member lessons and shes so great! she is spreading the gospel like a crazy person!! she has one friend in particular who is really interested! we taught him with her and she bore a powerful testimony and started to cry! she was just beaming with the spirit!

okay well this week we were also able to visit ñata and gino! theyre doing great, grandma! we had to repeat like 4 times that i was her cousin's granddaughter. they are very funny and nice. at the end of the visit they said you have to come and visit us...if we're still alive hahahaha but theyre really nice people!

ñata and gino
well of course as a missionary i have to share my thought about gen conf. right? very basically this is what i got out of. some commandments we need to do better at is 
1.go to the temple
2. strengthen our families
and some truths that were emphazed were 
1. our true identity is daughters and sons of God.
2. God loves us even though we are so imperfect
3. we can be rebuilt and restored as long as we reach out for him. 

describes our week in a picture haha
(not going to plan but were happy anyways)
the scriptures in alma 1:27 kept coming to mind that we need to give to the poor and the needy, nurture them physically and spiritually and also moroni 10:32-33
so basically we cant delay in helping others or following the spirit. spend less times in counsels, meetings, and get out and GO TO WORK. we cant pray for the people who arent at church that they may come next week, if we dont do anything to help them get there!! also, the lord didnt say we only serve and give one or two times and done. he doesnt put on limits. there are limits as to when we have served enough. WE CAN NEVER SERVE ENOUGH. we can never do too much we can never be good enough!! so dont make excuses saying we cant help someone. we can. we can make a few sacrifices to help those in need. of course our first responsibilty is taking care of our family, but why not serve as a family and kill two birds with one stone?? hahaha idk. i just feel like we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven unless we become a serviceful people.
so my invitation is for you all to make a reachable goal this week to go out of your comfort zone and help someone. it could be anything from sending a friendly message, or taking someone out to lunch, to donating to the new church donation fund to the refugees at

anything you can do, it. and it will be counted on earth as it is in heaven! love you all!! i hope you all have a great week! get up and do something more than dream of your mansions above, doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure. :)))) 

hna sanders

at the monument

"a week for the books!" (March 28, 2016)

in normal "week before a baptism" manner, everything that couldve went wrong went wrong and it was all crazy buttttt MELANI GOT BAPTIZED! its alwasy such a miracle. 

the baptism with melani
so to explain a little, this week we had visa stuff for hna ritchie, divisions with the stls and just craziness. 

in terms of the baptism, it was the holy week and everyone started to travel. we called the relief society president to look for the baptismal clothes for her (she has the key to the closet) and we called her mon, tues, and wed. on thursday she says she lost the keys but i was in divisiones in another area so when i got back i found out on friday in the afternoon! we scrambled and got the clothes from another ward! (thank goodness we are in rosario it would be a mess in ramallo haha) then that same morning melanis grandmother steps on her foot bad and she cant walk. so now we have to look for a wheelchair, on top of cleaning the font and the church building and in between running to grab the keys, cleaning, and going to other lessons with other investigators, we didnt have time to study on saturday! :( then we tried to make brownies in the church but the rack is crooked so the brownies came out all lopsided and half was cooked half was not so we adjusted and they ended up supér yummy either way.
cool fact, hna ritchie had her first baptism
around the same time in her mission that i did!
so we took a pic similar to the one
i took with my trainer hna moberly!
so the night time comes, everything is ready and about 40 people show up to support her. a few people brought treats and the bishop buys pizzas, it turned out really nice in the end and melani was so content! after the ordinance was performed, we were waiting for her to help and i asked how she felt and she said with a huge smile, "i feel different, i feel light" :) it was a special moment!
that was the highlight of the week! and well now her gma, carlota returns to peru and we said bye to her this morning. she reminds me so much of grandma nydia so it made me really sentimental!

well in terms of updates with sabrina, she came to church yet again!!! by her own will as in we didnt have to go and walk her to church! she came with friends to so shes always a missionary. she has desires to share what shes learning! this week on tuesday we found out she has a small addiction to smoking but nothing she cant handle. she will have to stop smoking if she will be able to get baptized on the 9th. we know she can do it. she continues in reading and praying. she is really super special. the other day we also dropped off a backpack for her son because his broke and she didnt have money to replace it. the member who gave it to us also included some clothing. it was a huge blessing. im learning alot about serving and caring for others :) its easy when the people you are surronded by are so loving and amazing sons and daughters of God. :)

well yesterday for easter my compy the wonderful hna ritchie has a super fun tradicion. she empties out egg shells and colors them, fills them with confetti then breaks them on the heads of her fam! she we did that in between the two of us! it was dying eggs but it may or may not have been super fun! haha

at this time in my mission ive done alot of reflecting on how ive done as a missionary. all the work ive done, the miracles ive seen and the conversion ive been able to experience. this week i want to share one of my favorite quotes. its from boyd k packer. he talks about the truth most worth knowing is that we can be forgiven.

saying bye to carlota 💔
 "I promise that the brilliant morning of forgiveness can come. Then ´the peace of God which passeth all understanding´comes into your life once again, something like a sunrise, and you and He ´will remember your sins no more´How will you know? You will know!"
so many times we make mistakes in life. sometimes bigger, sometimes not so serious. i believe the most beautiful feeling anyone can feel is that of forgiveness from our Father in Heaven. after we repent and try every day a little bit more to be more faithful to him, we can experience this feeling. as packer says it may come like a sunrise. little by little until you realize you are in the noon day sun. little by little we feel better until we realize we have been completely forgiven. i know that Christ has paid the price for every sin. im not sure how it worked but i know that as long as we use the atonement in our lives we can experience this beautiful feeling frequently. i know He loves me, i know He loves each and every one of you. 
lets prepare ourselves to hear his message this next weekend for general conference. put on your church clothes even if you are staying at home and i promise you it will be easier to pay attention and you will feel the spirit testify to you with more ease. 

i love you all so much take care. im praying for all of you. sending my love, stay strong and see you all soon.
hna sanders

power outage so we had to take the stairs that day
...but we took a pic of the elevator shaft. that ones for you dad!
 (Here is an experience Jessica shared from a private email last week) :
hey crazy story, last night we saw someone get kidnapped....we were walking down a street thats usually pretty busy but we were the only ones, we were looking for a less active when my comp said "whats going on." we see three people walking across the street, a lady with a hood on with her hands tied behind her back and they push her into the car, they see us and we turn around and walk swiftly away...we went to the apartment and called president to see what to do, he called the lawyer for us and we went to the police department and reported it, and all that jazz. when we were being interviewed we were describing the car, what everyone was wearing and then out of nowhere i said that the car was a ford escort of the year 2005 or 2006.....(like what) and sure enough that night the police started investigating, just around the corner of the incident, they found a ford escort of the year 2005 abandoned............... i hope they find out what really happened! they gave us a copy of the report haha so i have it as a souvenir lol 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

"smite them with the word of God" (March 21, 2016)

divisions with hna bushman y hna cerna.
so this week was a pretty decent week. i dont have much to write. it was a week like pretty much every other week, seeing tons of miracles, learning, having spiritual experiences and such!

the new celiac life is pretty yummy
(but also very expensive)
this week was pretty much spent preparing melani for her baptismal interview and visiting with sabrina, other than that just working like normal, getting to know the wonderful members here and yeah! on thursday i was sick and we had an appt with sabrina, so right when we were talking about what to do, the stls (sister trainer leaders)called, they ended up coming to help us and we did splits!! it was great! and super special to have such great stls that listen to the spirit to know when and how to help us! :)

on saturday melani had her baptismal interview and she passed! haha so now she is really excited for her baptism! this week we will see her pretty much every day. we love their family so much and its truly been so wonderful to get to know them! i love the people here so much!! melani shared her testimony that she knows joseph smith is the prophet of the restoration and that she knows this is the true church! meaning it is the one church led by God through a living prophet! so that was wonderful!

sabrina also in a lesson this week, shared that she recieved her answer that joseph smith was a prophet, that the book of mormon is true and that the plan of salvation is the plan of God for his children. she was really thankful to know she will be born again spiritually in her baptism!she invited two families to church with her!! and one came! her neighbor is a less active and has 3 small kids and is living with her boyfriend. on sunday morning it was raining and pretty cold, but we went to walk with sabrina to church, we got there pretty late already and would have to book it to church to make it on time, well she wasnt ready we waited another ten minutes and sabrina told us to go on to church but that shed make it with all the a little skeptical and sad we ran to church and made it just in time. when we stood up to sing in the choir, we looked and saw sabrina and her friend with their kids sitting in the back! i almost fainted of relief and happiness!! haha they stayed for the first two hours but then the friend wanted to go home, sabrina wanted to stay but had to help the friend with her kids. so she had to leave but sabrina said to me "i really wanted to stay but she wants to go...the important thing is we came even though its really cold and its raining!" that shows perseverance and diligence!! shes so great!!

when youre celiac but you want cake,
so you make banana pancakes with
dulce de leche and stack em!
well heres the funny thought! remember a few weeks ago i said how my comp was super funny? well this week we were walking and we were on our way to a sketchy area, we decided not to bring our bags or anything but we walked with our hard cover book of mormons and a few folletos (pamphlets) haha as we were walking we were talking about what we would do if anything or anyone wanted to jump us, we said we would just hit them with our hard cover book of mormons and run, hna ritchie laughed and said "and behold they smote them with the word of god and they fell to the floor as if they were dead" hahahahahha i laughed tooo hard
okay and now for the spiritual ;)
well this week is a VERY special week. this week we celebrate the most important event in our history and our lives. it was an event but even today we can experience the effects of the marvelous atonement of jesus christ. i just want to share with you all that i know that christ lived a perfect life and he was the only one worthy to take our sins and suffer for us. his love and devotion for his father was so pure and strong that he stayed faithful and drank the bitter cup. and after the third day he rose up from the dead to give us eternal life. im not sure how everything works out. but i do know that as long as we accept him, repent, and make and keep sacred covenants, we will be able to participate in the wonderful gift of eternal life and exaltation. i hope you all look at this website and watch the few videos.

have a wonderul week!! love you all!
hna sanders
my compy making rice and my very own
storehouse of rice cakes and such. haha

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"happy pi day" 3.14 2016

when you need to open a can
but you only have knives
well it was a cool week i guess
everyday i love this area more. being in the centro is super fun, kind of frustrating but i love city life. its always different. and you see a little bit of everything!
well this week we had alot of success! we didnt find new people to teach but we taught those we have with members and they came to church!! being in a ward is so different but so fun! im happy im ending here because its just great! 
so melani is on track to be baptized the 26th of this month! please pray so she can have the faith to pull on through! the weeks before a baptism can be very difficult! she told us this week she is so excited and even though she doesnt have a concrete answer about the book of mormon, she feels better each time she reads it and has less questions and doubts. she said shes basically sure and shes stoked for her baptism! its the last weekend her grandma will be here in argentina and her gma is really thankful, its her first grandchild that has decided to get baptized so its really special for her. we just have a few more commandments and shes ready! when we taught the word of wisdom, -which is the law of health revealed by joseph smith for our days that prohibits drinking alcohol, using tobacco, coffee, tea, and drugs,- melani was really pleased with it and new it was pure revelation. she is also attending seminary and mutual and reading and praying everynight!
quick start on easter!
and with sabrina, this week as we were teaching the gospel of jesus christ, we spoke about baptism and explained the covenant and how when we are baptized worthily we are born again, no sin, a new start, a new life. as we taught that i felt for myself that the spirit was testifying it was true to everyone of us in the small house. tears started to fill my eyes and sabrinas too. after we explained that, my awesome companion invited her to be baptized and sabrina replied without hesitation "si, si! sin duda, yo quiero ser nuevo, quiero ser perdonada" which means roughly-yes, yes, i want that, i want to be forgiven.- it was such a great moment and she has a date for the 9 of april. she came to church on sunday with her son and they loved it! she was asking tons of questions and the memebrs were so welcoming!
im just super grateful i have the oppurtunity to be part of these peoples progression as they come unto christ. its the most gratifying thing i have been a part of. this week as i was crocheting (i finished my scarf i was making btw) at the end of the night i just felt really grateful for the time ive had to serve the lord and i just felt really peaceful and love.
last zone meeting!
on wednesday we had zone meeting which my last zone meeting of my life, so that was weird but i was able to bear my testimony at the end and i just felt again this feeling of peace and love that ive been able to do the right thing and although im not perfect ive grown alot and i know god is happy with the person i am becoming. the conversion isnt an event, its an eternal process. :)
well in terms of funny moments i didnt see any funny shirts, but on our way to zone meeting we took a taxi right? becuase idk the bus routes here in rosario and theres like 28763g4 different busses. so we asked 3 different elders to give us the dirrection. well they were all wrong. on our way we got lost and we asked the zone leader and he gave us the wrong direccion again! well then he corrected himself so we spent so much money on taxis and got to my last zone meeting late...elders....
and for my spiritual thought, i have to give a taller or like teach part of the district meeting tomorrow so i have to talk about finding faith to find new investigators...heres my thought process this morning. well, if we have to find news, we shouldnt just find whatever person to be able count them but we should find the elect of god...well in order to find the elect of god we need to be the elect missionaries of god. 
how bout that! well, if we are going to teach with power and authority we need to be converted and follow the spirit. so this week, thinkn about how this applies to each and everyone of you. what can we change this week to help us becuase the elect of god. its something we have to constantly work for. well i love you all!
hope you have a great week! read your scriptures and follow the commandments of God! "si me amais, guardais mis mandamientos" (if you love me, keep my commandments)
hna sanders

getting in for the night *bars door *sets alarm 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Holly'what'" (March 7, 2016)

Eating after church with Sandra and others
im having a great time with all these shirts with english sayings here in argentina. this week we saw one with the hollywood sign but instead of saying hollwood it said hollywhat haha and another one said "shake your grass" and had a picture of popeye drinking his spinach....#what...that one took the cake hahahaha

well let me just say, this has been a great week with a ton of miracles! ill just list them becuase honestly it was amazing
1. we found news(new investigators) this week and the way we found them was each a miracle. 
2. hna ritchie taught me how to crochet and ive stuck with it so far and im making a rad looking scarf!haha 
3. the members are feeding us
4. we were making phone calls and i went to call someone but then i thought nah, we will call later its too early, set down the phone and randomly it starting calling the person and the person answered! haha and...
making brownies with
melani, ruth, and carlota
5. so first off on thursday we were pretty frustrated because we had been talking to sooo many people in the streets trying to find news and we were finding 0 success. so we were talking about how we could find news when we get a phone call, a member called us and told us to pass by her friend, we talked on the phone with her friend named sabrina. she told us to pass by the next day at 11. so we go she lives on the main street but al fondo de un pasillo...idk how to explain it in english sorry but we went called and she came to the main door to let us in. we start walking back to her house and she is explaining to us that she is in a really bad situation. we get to a gate and then a staircase...a rod iron spiral staircase that looks like it was built in the 1800s becuase it was so tiny, i had to turn sideways so my big hips could fit haha and it was all wobbly...we get up and her house is literally like a 5 by 5 room. its smaller than our kitchen mom...and they only had an empty fridge, a twin size mattress, without sheets or anything, and a tiny table. they DIDNT even have glass for the window or even a door! like, ive seen house with a cloth for a door but she didnt even have anything...come to find out that she had to quit her job because the nanny she had taking care of her 5 yr old son went crazy so she had to fire her. it was pretty devastating seeing someone live in a place like that. we chatted and shared things with her but on our way down (we saw the stairs were only held up by a few cables stapled into the wall). right after that we talked to the bishop about what we could do for her. he is so awesome and said that the next day we would go by her house with some groceries. well we go and he is in an interview. its 745 and we have to be in the aprtment at 830, so we were thinking what we could do. we couldnt bare that sabrina and her son go without food another few days so we decided to go shopping ourselves without the bishop. we went by her house and she was super grateful...well we are meeting with her pretty much every day to make sure shes fine and has food and also teaching her the gospel, she loves the book of mormon so far. she didnt make it to church this week becuase her son was sick but thats understandable. so we are working with the bishop and the relief society president so we can really help her out. shes a very strong girl whos been through alot but still has a positive attitude! 
making brownies with
melani, ruth, and carlota
6. we were contacting a reference from the internet. shes from haiti and is pretty awesom, she gave me a pocketsized bible! but she shared how she wanted to learned more about the word of god and she was exciting to meet with us. then she invited us to talk to a friend of hers. he speaks english so we spoke to him in english. we spoke about the gospel and he and she accepted to listen to us! 

alot of other things happened this week but pretty much it was a week full of miracles. i know every week isnt like this especially in this area becuase its very hard to find news and teach but we were able to do a lot of things this week. alot of service and forming good relationships with the members. they are wonderful here!!

so quick spiritual thought, 
we were teaching melani (the chica who is progressing as an investigator)  the plan of salvation. we were speaking about the life after this one and how important it is that we live well here so we can return to the presence of our loving heavenly father.  i felt in that moment that Heavenly father misses us. he wants to welcome us warmly and lovingly into is glory and all we must do is follow his teachings. he knows each one of us and love us. i love this mormon message so much and hope you enjoy! love you all so much!!!

hna sanders

cool building here