Monday, January 14, 2013

1-14-13


Dearest Family,

Well, I am not sure how, but it has come... somehow, my shoes have just about died, my skirts are just a bit tighter, and my skin is just a bit bronzer. Somehow, 18 months have passed...

I am eternally grateful to the Lord for the great blessing of being His missionary. I am so grateful for the chance that I have had to serve Him and His children here in Argentina. I love being a missionary and being able to preach the gospel each and everyday. I am going to miss so much the people, the culture, the church here, my companions, President and Hermana Gulbrandsen, etc. But I know that it is time. I have shed many tears already and I know that more will come, but I know that when I received my call, I accepted the fact that the mission would end. I accepted the 18 months gratefully.
I will miss being Hermana Shelley. I will miss putting my name tag on every day. I will miss teaching the lessons in Preach my Gospel. I will miss speaking Spanish all the time. I will more than anything miss these dear people. 

Really, I feel more like I am at the beginning of a new phase rather than at the end of an old one. I know that I have much before me to do and become and that the Lord expects a lot of me. I plan to hit the ground running in His service. I know that the gifts that I have been given in the mission are sacred trusts from the Lord and that He needs me to use each and every one of them. I know that I have much to do. I am sad to be leaving my mission, but so excited for the great things that will come. I will be a true disciple of Christ for the rest of my life. That calling is never ending and I know that I must improve daily and follow Him. I am a new person, and I must never go back. I truly feel that the changes in me are forever. I see things differently. I have a more eternal vision. I see people differently than before and I love them as never before. I understand my relationship to the Lord and I know that He is guiding my every step. I will humbly and gratefully accept any calling that He gives me. These 18 months were the best 18 months FOR my life, and I know that they will affect everything that comes. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior so much. I must be what They want and need me to be. On to the next great adventure!

We had a great week! Lucia was confirmed! It was a beautiful blessing and she is doing great.
Big news..............

MAURO IS GOING TO BE BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!! Oh man... seeing a man who 2 months ago proclaimed to be an atheist accept the invitation to be baptized is just the best thing ever! We have felt the Spirit so strongly with him. I know that he is going to be a leader in the church and that the Lord really needs him. I am so grateful for the chance to teach him and guide him. It is truly only the Spirit that has converted him.
ANA and NAYLA with also be baptized this weekend!!! On Sunday they will be baptized and they are both so excited. They are doing really well, and we are super excited to see their progress.

So this is going to be an amazing and very busy week, including my exit interview, a Temple trip with those who are going home, my despedida (farewell), three baptisms (though we have felt that we need to have 4 and someone else is prepared... pray for us!), and one confirmation! What a way to end my mission. I am really grateful for the many blessings that are ahead. Love the work!

Well family, I just want to end by expressing my GREAT love for each and every one of you. I am so grateful for the love that you show me, for the support, for the letters, for the prayers, for the tears. I am eternally grateful. I really don`t know what I would have done without you all as a part of these last 18 months. I know that leaving will not be easy, but that it is necessary. The Lord has new plans for me and I must go where He wants me to go. I am so grateful for this amazing experience. I wish that I had better words to express me deep gratitude. I will just use some of the words of the scriptures... they are better anyways.

3 Nephi 5:13
Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

Alma 26: 11-13
I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom, but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak, therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength, I can do all things, yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell, and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore, have we not great reason to rejoice?

I am trying to make this a time of rejoicing, and not a sad time. I will rejoice in my Lord. I will sing praises to Him. and I will boast of His goodness and the miracles that He has wrought in my life and in the lives of so many. If I am my only convert, I will be forever grateful.

I love you all. This is the truth. May we be disciples of Jesus Christ forever and ever. This is His work. The glory will be His. Should we not go on in so great a cause?
All my Love,
Hermana Shelley

PS- I will not be in internet next week. We spend the day with President and Hermana Gulbrandsen and then we go to the airport. We`ll just see you on Tuesday.

Monday, January 7, 2013

1-7-13

Dearest Family,

This is going to be a short one... we are on a bit of a schedule today! haha. Time is quickly running away from me and there is a lot that I want to do still. 

ROSANA SUAREZ was BAPTIZED and CONFIRMED this weekend! Oh man, it felt so good to see her making these sacred covenants with the Lord. Her kids were so happy. I am just so proud of the Suarez family and all the great things that they are doing. I love them so much and they have become so special to me. Maxi has a countdown to his mission and he studies every day to be able to prepare himself. I think I am going to buy him a Preach my Gospel. He is so great! The girls are really going at their personal progress and the leaders have really taken them it. Rosana´s baptism was really special and the spirit was really strong. I am so proud of her for quitting smoking and experiencing this great conversion. 

Alan was also confirmed on Sunday and it was so great! We went by in the morning to get him and he was already getting ready and he was about to head out. I love when they don´t even need us!

Lucia, Alan´s sister was baptized on Sunday and it was a really great service. Her YW leader, Vanessa has really been working with her and it was great to see so much support from the young women. 

Yes, yesterday was my 18 month mark! I cannot believe it... the time just few right by and now I am entering the end... but I like to think of it as a beginning. It is the beginning of my life as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of dedicated, consecrated service. It is the beginning of the new me. I bore my testimony yesterday since it was my last fast and testimony meeting as "Hermana Shelley" and it was really hard for me. I just can´t believe that I am getting to the moment where I will be just "Kailei" again... weird, but sort of exciting to think about all the great things that I will be able to do, knowing what I now know. The Lord has been so merciful and really taught me so much. I want to use the gifts that He has given me in these last 18 months to serve Him. In my prayers, I have felt that the Lord has a lot in store for me and that He expects a LOT from me... I am ready to give it!

This week, President called me and sent me to CONGRESO!!! haha. Third time! I don´t have time to write about it, but I know that I had to be there... my work wasn´t quite done, and now I feel at peace. 

Well, family, I have to run. Know that I love you all so much and pray for you. Thank you for your letters. Just putting it out there, that if you have any "last words" for me, this is the week! haha. I love getting the emails! I would also love any advice that you have for me in finishing strong. Please pray for Mauro, Ana, and Nayla. They are the baptisms that we have planned for these coming two weeks and they need all the prayers they can get... especially Mauro. He is such a special young man who is just lost in the knowledge of the world. 

I love this gospel! I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that we are members of HIS church! I know that He payed the price for our sins and our sicknesses, our weaknesses, and our shortcomings, and that through Him, we can do all things. I feel like Ammon. I know that I have not done much in my mission, but I have been an instrument to the miracles of the Lord, and I WILL boast in HIS strength. I cannot say the smallest part of what I feel. Yesterday, my fast was one of pure gratitude for the blessings of these last 18 months. I love my Heavenly Father and am so grateful for every moment that He has given me. I want to thank you all for being there through each of these special moments with me. I feel like you have all met the wonderful people that I have been blessed to know, that you have cried with me in my moments of weakness, rejoiced with me in the experiences of conversion, and laughed with me along the way. We have grown together. We have changed together. May it be the beginning of much to come!

I love you all!
Hermana Shelley

Monday, December 31, 2012

12-31-12

Dearest Family,

WOW!!! Can`t believe that today is the final day of 2012... And what a year it was! My year as a full time missionary of God. I will forever remember this year. It was all that I hoped and even more. I have been very blessed... more on that later. 

So... Alan was BAPTIZED yesterday! It was such a great baptism and he was so happy. The rest of his family will be baptized in the coming weeks as they keep their commitments and prepare themselves more fully. It was truly a beautiful baptism. We had a lot of ward support and the family really enjoyed it. All in all, a wonderful experience. Alan has really changed a lot and he is especially enjoying the young men`s program. We just got anew young men president who is really taking Alan in and helping him to stay strong and not give in to temptations. 

It was SOOOO great to see and talk to everyone on Skype. I am so grateful that I was able to talk with Elder Shelley. It was a highlight of my Christmas. I am so proud of you, Mackay and all that you are doing. Keep up the great work! I am so proud of you. I love Skype! Can`t believe it has been a year and a half since we last talked... love you tons! It was also great to see the rest of the family. You all look really great and I am so proud of all the wonderful things that you are doing. Keep it up! 

This last week, I did a visit to Tigre and it went really well! It was fun to be with Hermana Hualpa again. I am so proud of all that she is doing and who she is becoming. I love her so much. Her new companion in Hermana Marchant and she is just amazing. She is so very obedient and has faith like no one I know. She makes miracles. I was really impressed with her and she taught me a lot. It was really fun to share ideas and learn all together. They had a baptism as well, Ariel, a boy that is part of a family that is coming back to activity in the church. You know how I am... I LOVE working with families who have strayed from the path a bit, help them feel the love of the Savior, come back to activity in the church, and help those who are not yet baptized to make that important covenant... So I was right in my zone there. 

Funny story... one day, while we were walking, Hermana Marchant said "Hermana, you walk like a Princess!!" haha. I don`t think that Hermana Gonzalez reads the blog, but I had to think of her and laugh... I guess that I CAN change... from walking like a man to walking like a princess is good progress, I would say! haha. 

We had the best Christmas EVER! It was just fantastic. The highlights were taking Christmas to the Suarez family and making a Christmas miracle for Hermana Salazar. For the Suarez family, we went with cookies, candies, some pencils (thank you Brad for the pencils... I had 4 left, so it was perfect for the kids!), and a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. It was really powerful, and really simple. They all cried, saying it was the best Christmas they had ever had... and it was just so simple! The Spirit was so strong and I was really touched. It was a wonderful experience. I am truly grateful.
The other really awesome part of our Christmas was making a Christmas miracle for Hermana Salazar. We realized after our mission conference that she hadn`t received any packages or letters... nothing. She was not too bummed about it because she said that she knew that she wouldn`t be receiving anything. Well, we couldn`t let that happen! So I called a recent convert and asked her if she would accompany me to make a Christmas miracle. Hermana Dunn went with Hermana Salazar to our lessons and I headed out with Hermana Carabajal. It was your typical Christmas Eve craziness with all the last minute shoppers and so we had a bit of a battle. Plus it was like 95 with 100% humidity... death! haha. But it worked out well and we were able to find a really pretty necklace, a watch, a journal, and some candies. It was fun getting it all hidden and then heading back with my companions. The next morning, Hermana Salazar was less than excited when we told her that we wanted to open gifts, but followed us out into the other room. She cried when she saw packages with her name on them under our make-shift tree (a branch that we ripped off a tree outside our apartment). It was so fun to see the joy on her face as she opened each gift. She told us that they don`t really do Christmas in her family, and it was the first experience that she has had with Christmas. Special. I like being Santa`s helper.

Our investigators are doing really well!
Rosana hasn`t been smoking for 2 weeks now and she is on track for her baptism this Saturday! We are so happy for her and that she will be able to follow her kids into the waters of baptism. She is such a special woman! She even took her lip piercing out without us even telling her. She studies the scriptures each day and keeps a journal of what she learns. WOW!

Luc├Ča, ALan`s sister is doing well and will be baptized this coming Sunday. The young woman are really helping her to feel a lot of love and support. The leaders are already getting her started on her personal progress.

Mauro is so great! We love him so much! I contacted him at a bus stop after having missed 3 buses (they aren`t required to stop and if they don`t feel like it, they just don`t stop... we always have to leave plenty early). He was atheist when we met him, and didn`t really have faith in anything. He is SUPER smart and was really questioning everything. He is a chemist and really likes his scientific perspective. It has been really neat seeing him gain his testimony and realized that God and science can go together. He is an awesome young adult. He already lives the word of wisdom and law of chastity, just because he always thought that it should be that way. He is so very prepared. His faith grows each and every day. He has a baptismal date for this Sunday and we know that he will make it! He is still not totally sure, but he continues reading and praying. This last month that we have been working with him has been really special.

Juan and his kids are doing great. He has been really busy, but still finds time to receive us. He and the 4 kids went to the ward Christmas party and really had a great time. They weren`t able to go to church on Sunday, but will this coming week. Our goal for them is to be baptized on the 19th.

Ana and Nayla went on vacation, but will be getting back this week. We have had contact with them for phone and they are still doing really well. They are reading together every day and are on 1Nephi 20. Good stuff! They have dates for the 13th.

We have definitely been very blessed with amazing investigators.

Hermana Hill goes home today so that she can start school next week. That is so weird. I can`t believe that it`s coming to an end. When I saw her last week, we just sat and cried for a minute. I will miss having her here...

2012 was quite the year! I can`t even begin to thank the Lord enough for all the amazing blessings that I was able to receive and the miracles that I participated in. I can literally say that every single day I experienced a miracle. I can say that every single day, I testified of Christ. I can say that every day, I put my name tag on, and left with a smile. The people I met are forever in my heart. The companions I have had have changed me forever. I have had the most difficult and the most wonderful moments of my life. I have changed. I am a different person than I was. My vision is different. My desires are more righteous. I am far from perfect, but I have learned what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I know Him now in a way that I did not before. I see things in the eternities. I look beyond myself. I have learned to want what God wants.

So, I hope that you have a very happy New Year. I can`t believe all the things that are in store for our family this year. Many people have invited us to make goals and it has been strange thinking of my goals, since most of them don`t have to do with how many investigators we will have in church, how many people will be baptized, etc... I guess all has it`s time and place. But I will say that 2013 is going to be an amazing year. I have made some pretty specific goals with a Spirit of prayer, and I am actually pretty excited for all that is before me. I am so sad to be leaving my dear Argentina, but I will not be leaving my mission. All that I am is thanks to these last 18 months and I know that the Lord expects a lot of me now. My mission will stay with me because it really determines who I am and will be. Something that Hermana Dunn and I have been talking about a lot is just completely eliminating "grey area," since really it doesn`t exist. Everything is black and white, and we want to be on the white side. Small things like burnt CDs, replacer words for bad words, gossip even if it is true or "nice," movies or TV with only "one bad spot," books that I probably wouldn`t see if they were movies, etc. We are disciples of Jesus Christ and He called us FOREVER... at ALL times, and in ALL things, and in ALL places... basically, I am not going to do, say, think, or be anything that I would not in the presence of my Savior. It is going to be an amazing year! I also have formed goals about who I will BE and then formed plans for what I have to DO in order to BE what I want to be... I am pretty excited about all that the Lord wants me to become based on the many blessings that He has given me. In Dad`s words... "this is gonna be cool!" I invite you all to think about who you want to BE this year and then form plans to become that person. Let`s do it together!

I love this gospel! I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary. I love testifying of Jesus Christ. I love doing it without apology and standing strong for what I believe. I love Argentina and these dear people. This is God`s
work and He will receive the glory... He has blessed us to be able to participate.

I love you all dearly. Thank you all for your love and support. Thank you for the wonderful Christmas gifts. I loved them all so much! I wish I could send pictures of me in my new clothes... the camera isn`t loading. Sorry. But thank you! We have enjoyed all of the things. You are the best!
Love you!
Hermana Shelley

pictures: 1. Alan's baptism
                2-4. Christmas (Sisters: Dunn, Shelley, and Salazar)










Monday, December 24, 2012

12-24-12

Dearest Family,

I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas! I am so grateful this Christmas for all of you and for all that you do. 

Update on Skype-
I will be calling around 1 and I am SO happy that I will be able to see Mackay. The family that invited us is pretty high tech, so I imagine that they already have the latest version of skype, but if not, I will see what I can do. I am pretty sure that it´s free to update. We are going to get there about 20 min early to get Hermana Salazar all set up and to make sure that skype is good to go. 

I don´t have much time, so I will leave you all with a Christmas thought-

When Nephi received the vision of the tree of life, he asked for the interpretation of the dream. When he was given the interpretation of the fruit, which is the love of God, he is shown the birth of the Savior. I have been meditating sobre this and I was pondering why he was shown the birth of the Savior to represent the love of God. It could have been the resurrection, it could have been the suffering, it could have been the dedicated life of Christ, but no. It was the birth. Then I though of the scripture in Juan 3;16 "For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." 
Nephi was shown the Savior´s birth to demonstrate the love of God, because there is no greater demonstration of love. God gave us His son, Jesus Christ. He sent Him to the world as a baby to save us all. Imagine, giving up your only son. How hard it must have been. What pain our loving Father in Heaven must have felt, giving up His only begotten Son to save the rest of us. Wow. That is real love. Do we understand that love in a way that will allow us to GIVE that love? Do we feel that love in our every day lives?

Family, I love you all so much! We had the best activity today for Christmas and something that President said is so true. Christmas is about FAMILIES! We have the eternities to be together. We are giving up this one Christmas so that we can hep others have THEIR eternal families. 

Christmas is a time for giving. May we do as President Monson counsels and give the very best of ourselves this Christmas through giving the Lord the gift of obedience, serving others, and forgetting ourselves. There are so many people that we can love and lift. May we all remember the Savior in these days and the whole year. 

"Wise Men Still Seek Him"

May we be wise. 

All my love,
Hermana Shelley

ps:This next part is too funny! You may not know, but Kailei was a blog stalker before she left! She followed Sis Gonzalez (who ended up being her trainer!).

I have a blog stalker!!!!! haha. Best news ever! She sent me a Dear Elder.... she did the same thing i did... got her mission call and google it and found my blog. I feel like I have now gone full circle! 

The best part? She lives in Chandler, so we will be able to be friends! She goes out in Feb, so we will have a month in between. FUN! I feel bad, because with the holidays, the post offices are closed this Monday and next, so I won´t be able to get a letter off to her... 

So maybe you could add this little part to the blog so that she knows that I am so happy that she will be part of the grand mission Buenos Aires Norte and that I will answer all her questions when I get home. But that she should start buying stuff because President Gulbrandsen doesn´t send a letter out before. 

SO FUN! I loved getting her letter... basically awesome! 

Love you all!
Hermana Shelley

Monday, December 17, 2012

12-17-12

Dearest Family,

I am so very happy! It just hit me today! I just love being a missionary so much and I love the work and my Savior so much. I am just always happy! Not that I was ever unhappy before... it´s just that I am so so happy. The work is such a joy!

Ok... first off, Skype info. I will be calling on Christmas at 5 PM Argentina time... I think if I remember right, that is 1 PM Arizona time. If it is a little late, don´t worry, because we have to try to get Hermana Salazar set up first. Her family doesn`t have a computer or a house phone, so we are trying to figure out everything with calling cards to a cell phone and if it will connect well. It will work out fine, I am sure. So be there at 1 and if it´s a bit later, don´t start worrying :)

This week was awesome! I visited Vincente Lopez and it was a lot of fun! Hermana Erikson and Hermana Escobar are doing really great things. The area really struggles and has only had 5 baptisms all year. But it has SO much potential. I just felt the Spirit super strongly while we were there. We found 7 new investigators in 2 days and when I called last night to verify the goals that we left, 3 of them had been to church and 2 more couldn´t go but want to next week! All 5 of those have baptismal dates. So awesome! One that we met was Juan, a man who had just moved there from Peru and lives alone. He told us that he has been searching for  a church, but doesn´t like how they all say different things when Christ established one church! WOW! When we taught him about the restoration, he happily accepted a baptismal date! Love it! 

I was reading the other day in Alma 29:14 and thinking about how true it is! I am so very grateful for the success that the Lord has blessed me with, but I am even MORE happy when I hear about Mackay´s great successes. I loved hearing about Marlin, about Tyler, about the new investigators, etc. I pray for you, Elder Shelley, and I pray for your investigators. Love you! I hope that you have a very merry Christmas. 

We are really excited for Christmas. We are going to have a mission activity in the offices next Monday, the 24th (I don´t know if I will have time to write home, so don´t worry if you don´t get an email. We will be going to internet to print President´s letter, but I don´t know how much time we´ll have after the activity... I will try to send a quick Christmas hello). And then that night, we are going to surprise the Suarez family and have a Christmas dinner with them and the Bishop. We are really excited about it and preparing some little gifts and things. Then, on the 25th, we will be eating lunch with a family in our ward and then going around to do visits to all of our investigators, new members, and less actives to take them cookies and sing them a Christmas hymn. We are really looking forward to it! I think that we will really feel the Spirit of Christmas and be able to bless many lives. I love Christmas so much. Not going to lie... it´s hard to feel Christmasy when it is so hot! haha. But I am getting used to it. 

I love you all so much! I love this gospel. May we all reflect on the gifts that we can give to our Savior this Christmas. Our Heavenly Father gave us the greatest gift of His Son. Jesus Christ gave us His life and the opportunity to live with Them again. What will we give them this year? They ask for a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We must give them all. We just have to change. What can we give up or start doing that would make us more fully disciples of Jesus Christ? I know that we all have things to change and improve and that we will be able to as we rely on the Savior and His teachings. 

I LOVE YOU! See you by Skype next week :)
Hermana Shelley

ps:Tell Jenny that I love her and that I am so glad that she had a good time in Disneyland.
Tell Brad that I am really happy for him with the opportunity to student teach.
Tell Ryan good luck with his auditions and sorry that I never write. 
Tell Alison that I am so glad that she will be going to EAC. 
Tell everyone I love them so much and that I am sorry that I never write

pictures:  1. Sisters Dunn, Monticenos, Shelley and Salazar
                 2. 12-12-12 party
                 3. Modeling Sister Dunn's new glasses



























Sunday, December 16, 2012

12-16-12

I haven't been able to post pictures for a while (computer problems?), so I called our sweet friend-Jenny Guthrie and had her help me fix the problem. She sat down at the computer and the problem magically disappeared! Was the problem the computer or the operater?! Here are pictures from the last few weeks.

Enjoy!
pictures 1. cakes made for Marcela and Jona's baptism
             2. Marcela and Jona's baptism- El Tigre
             3. Thanksgiving apple crisp
             4. Pday in Capital












Monday, December 10, 2012

12-10-12

Dearest Family,

My final transfer phone call came last night, and... NO CHANGES!!
Woot! This officially makes for 5 complete transfers with Hermana
Dunn!! Crazy! She arrived 2 weeks into the transfer last transfer, but
we make up for that with the 2 weeks in Congreso when we started!
HAHA. I never thought that we would be so blessed. Even though I am
not actually HERE all that often, it is still really fun to be
together and we have a great time! Hermana Salazar is also doing
wonderfully. She is growing so much and we are really proud of all of
her progress.

Last night, we went to the farewell of the missionaries who go home
today, and it was WEIRD! It was strange to think that I am now the
next group to go. Yikes! There is so much more that I want to do and
be before the end comes, so I best be getting to work! I don`t even
think about the end and that helps. Just so that you know, I will most
likely be home on January 22... my flight leaves here on the 21st, but
it is a loooong trip! But don´t remind me about it, ok? If you want to
do a countdown, ok... but I don´t need to know! haha.

THANK YOU for the packages! I am so excited! I am going to buy a kilo
of grapefruit today... not going to lie, my secret hope was a
grapefruit spoon! THANKS! Also, we are on rations with the Milk Duds.
They are just so good! But they will go way too fast... especially
with three... so we made rations and they will last. And of course the
Peanut Butter and granola are ALWAYS welcome. The granola is so good!
It´s been a long time. And I love the sticky notes. They are so
perfect. Thank you for everything. And for the presents. I will wait
on those till Christmas.

Things went really well in San Ignacio 2. I was there for 3 days and
we really saw a lot of miracles. The Sisters wanted to find lots of
new investigators, so we got to work and hit the ground running. We
found a great young married couple who both accepted baptismal dates,
a part member family (Dad and 2 kids members, Mom and 1 not), who have
been to church in another city and recently moved to San Ignacio. They
had been wanting to find the church! We also found a young woman who
is the friend of one of the young women in the ward. It was a really
productive 3 days and the Sisters realized just how much you can
accomplish in a short time when you are totally obedient and
completely focused on the work. I was also able to see quite a few of
the members, and that was really special. I cried with a few of them.
It is amazing how much you can come to love the people! I am going to
miss them so much!

The investigators are doing so well! We had stake conference this week
and it was really good. We had 5 investigators there, and we were
really happy with that.

ROSANA SUAREZ changed her job and now has Sundays off!!!!! It is a
miracle! She has a baptismal date for the 29th and is so happy that
she can finally follow her kids. The Suarez family is doing so great!
The girls recited from memory the young woman`s theme the other day
and it was perfect! I felt so much joy! Rosana is trying so hard to
quit smoking and is down to about 5 a day... we have to get her
totally clean by the 19th, so please pray for her!

Ana and Nayla (mom and daughter) also went to conference. We met them
about 2 weeks ago when the little boy, Alex, threw a soccer ball over
their fence and it crossed our path. We went to return it and met Ana.
She told us that her mom is a member in Zarate and that she has been
trying to convince Ana to learn more. WOW! She is really progressing
well. They both have baptismal dates for the 23rd.

Alex is a 25 year old nephew of some recent converts. He is really
great, but it is hard for him to really believe and have faith. I know
that he will get his answer though. He just has to read the Book of
Mormon and pray to know that it is true. It will come out just fine!
He is a really good man and likes what we teach him. Now he just needs
to let it in his heart.

Alan is a 14 year old that the hermanas met while I was gone. He is
really great and has a lot of faith. He has enjoyed getting to know
the young men of the ward and he is really finding his place. His
parents are divorced and he doesn´t get very much attention at home
and was wondering if God really exists and loves him. We have seen a
lot of growth in him in these last couple of days.

We are so very blessed! I couldn´t be happier about how everything is
going and how everyone is doing. I love this work and I am going to
give my 100% every day hasta el fin. In this Christmas season, it is
my desire to gift to the Lord all that I am, give Him my entire heart,
might, mind, and strength. I want to be the best missionary that I can
be. I want to come to truly know my Savior and become like Him. I want
to do His work in His way.

Another great miracle of this week...
Christian was BAPTIZED!!! He was a contact that we made in the street
and we taught him for about a week until we realized that he lives
outside of our area. He said El Talar, but he really lives in Troncos
del Talar which is part of Pacheco. Well, he continued progressing
really well and he made the important covenant of baptism yesterday.
We were able to be in his baptism and it was really spiritual. Hermana
Dunn and I were asked to do a musical number and it was great! I am so
happy for Christian. Miracles!

Well family, I love you all so much! Thank you for your letters and
your prayers. I love hearing how you are all doing and seeing your
great progress. I love that we are all learning and growing and
sharing these great experiences. Our family has grown so much in this
year and a half! I can´t believe it. The Lord is so good to us. I hope
that we can always recognize His hand.

I love you all! Keep up the good work! Keep doing the small and simple
things. May we never weary in well doing!

LOVE YOU!
Hermana Shelley