Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This was a great letter to Mackay. What a blessing to have a sister give such great advice. We are so proud of both of them, they both will be great missionaries!!

Dearest Family,

Did life stop for a minute yesterday?????????????' Haha. Actually, I figured that with getting mackay ready to go that you didn´t even notice that I didn´t write. What happened is that President Gulbrandsen came for interviews and we ended up switching Pday to today. Hope that I didn´t make anyone worry. 

Well, I figure that since this is my last chance to email Mackay before he becomes Elder Shelley (WOOT), you all and the blog world wouldn´t mind if I made this one to Mackay, and the rest of you are invited to read along, of course. Kind of like those conference talks where the speaker says something like "I am going to talk to the primary children... the rest of you are invited to listen of course, but this one is directed to them..." Does that make any sense??? Here it goes!

Wow!!! You are going to be a missionary... the thing that you have waited for for your entire life. The thing that seemed so far away, but now that it is this week, it seems like there was no time at all. Let me tell you, it is all that you have hoped it would be and even more. Some things that I think you might like to read as your prepare to enter this wonderful adventure:

The Elders are AMAZING. I just can´t believe that they are 19 and 20 year old boys. Really... you are MEN and you work as the ARMY OF HELAMAN. You have been taught in your youth and you are NOW the Lord´s missionaries. You HAVE the truth and the wonderful people of the Philippines need what you have. I appreciate the Elders so much... they are always serving us and watching out for our investigators...and am so grateful that they have responded to the call to serve. You are going to be amazing.

You have no idea how much you will come to love people. You create instant eternal bonds with your companions. Hermana Malhue and I have a very special connection... I don´t know how to describe it, but this little girl from Arizona has an eternal friend in my Chilenan companion, despite culture or language differences. I still write to each of my companions and we find great joy in all that we shared in the MTC or in Congreso and look forward to an eternal friendship. I love hearing of their success and sharing the news ofUshuaia. The ward or branch becomes your second family and you truly do come to love them dearly as you eat in their houses, and serve together. The investigators take a piece of your heart. Everything you do is for THEM. It is the best chance you will ever have to serve others and you will LOVE it! Your prayers, your morning studies, your thoughts, the teachings, your conversations, literally EVERYTHING is about how you can help THEM! When someone chooses to not except, the pain is hard and REAL. When one grows and progress, the joy is indescribable. They will forever be a part of you. You will love the country. Find joy in the culture and embrace the new things that you will experience. I loveArgentina and the people and everything... maybe I love the food a bit TOO much! haha.

The gift of tongues is real, but you will have to work harder than any time in your whole life. After almost 5 months in the mission (wow... really, 5?????) I still don´t understand a lot, but I always understand ideas and when we are in lessons, I can understand almost perfectly and speak and express myself without problem. There is always more to learn, more to improve, etc. Don´t get discouraged. You will see miracles. I remember one experience in my first week when I really had no clue what was going on, but felt impressed to share Helaman 5 and the dear Sister needed exactly that. This is the Lord´s work and He will never leave you alone.

You are going to grow and change so much and you will love it. I love that the Lord mold us into the person that HE needs us to be.

This is truly the Lord´s work, and you HAVE to rely on the Spirit. Our investigator, Griselda, had been reading the Book of Mormon every day, praying, and has 3 attendances to church, but would not accept a baptismal date. We felt strongly that we needed to teach lesson 2, the plan of salvation, and so we moved forward with that. After the lesson, she accepted a baptismal date for this weekend and said "I know that this is true and I want to arrive in the Celestial Kingdom!!!" Then, two days later, she gave permission for her daughter, Fabiola to be baptized with her!!! We will have a double baptism this Sunday!!! Always, it is the Lord doing the work. The best feeling in the world is to feel the Spirit working within you and knowing that the words and scriptures that you use are not your own.

The mission is FUN!!! Lots of super funny things are going to happen and you will laugh so hard you cry. Have FUN! Yes, be 100% focused in the work... but the gospel is FUN! We have the truth and we need to proclaim it with a smile.

You will have the most wonderful and the most difficult times of your life in the mission. Embrace it!

Oh Mackaysatan get you down. It´s not worth it to waste one second. I am praying for you and I love you tons! I am SO SO SO excited to share this mission experience with you. I know that you are going to help me tons with your testimony and I can´t wait to read all about your adventures. See you in 24!!!!!!!!!!

Mail came this week and I got some birthday cards. Shout out thank yous to Jenny (LOVED the top 10... have an odd craving for Starburst now... too bad that they don´t exist in the end of the world! haha), Jessica T ( LOVE the picture. Thank you SO much! So good to see everyone and............... I love reading your Spanish! Now that I actually know Spanish mas o menos, I will be writing in Spanish) and Gandma Shelley! THank you for the cards! Fun that my Bday lasted a month!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving. We don´t celebrate it here, but I am eternally grateful for my wonderful family and all the support that you all give me. I am so grateful to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and for my Father in Heaven. I am eternally grateful for this chance to be a missionary.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

All my love,
Hermana Shelley

Monday, November 14, 2011


Dearest Family,

Wow, wow, wow. 

The news............................................(drumroll, please, Mackay)......................................................................................
My First Baptism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I had my first baptism on Saturday, and it was BEAUTIFUL!!!! Augustin Valle was baptized at 10:00 Saturday morning and let me tell you, it was a MIRACLE that it happened!!!

Remember how I told you all about him last week? Easy to have the baptism, right?? No, definitely not, but I am so glad that it happened the way it did, because I have an even greater testimony that this is the work of the LORD, and we just have the amazing opportunity of being instruments in the hands of the Lord. Sit back, and get ready for this story!!!

Last week, we set everything up with his Dad for the baptism and thought that it would come without problem. We went to talk with his Mom on Monday (his parents are divorced) and to our dismay, she strongly said no. We began to teach, and by the end of the lesson, she agreed that Augustin could be baptized in 3 months. Pucha. We left the lesson knowing that we had some work to do. Tuesday, she was a bit more open and agreed that he could be baptized in a month.... Wednesday she was the same. I felt the impression to ask her if we could have the interview to see if Augustin was prepared now (This 9 year old is AMAZING and has a super strong testimony and a GREAT desire to be baptized). As I began to open my mouth to ask if we could have the interview, Hermana Malhue asked exactly the same thing! I love that we received the same prompting!!! Definitely what the Lord wanted! His Mom, Pamela, agreed and we proceeded to plan the interview for Friday. She said that if Augustin really was ready and not just acting a certain way when we were around, he could be baptized. When the interview came, we felt a lot of peace, and knew that everything would be okay. Pamela was completely different and even a bit emotional. She apologized for being closed and expressed great joy that her son was making this decision. Wow! We moved forward with the baptism the next day and it was beautiful! I know that this baptism happened thanks to the Lord. We had a special musical number by the kids of the primary and it was so touching! The talk on baptism was also by one of Augustin´s friends in the primary and she did such a good job! The whole service was very spiritual and Pamela LOVED it. She cried through the whole thing and at the end, expressed great joy that her son had made this choice! The next day at the confermation, she was so happy and said that she hadn´t stopped thinking about the baptism since it happened! Wow. We feel that she too will be baptized in time!

The other investigators are coming along well, but the hard thing is getting them to church. We had 6 in church this week and it was amazing, but the hard thing is that those who don´t come have to wait longer for their baptism.

Sergio has just about stopped smoking. He is down to 2 a day, which is HUGE, but the problem is that he hasn´t come to church because of his work schedule. We are a bit worried about him, and don´t want to have to drop him, but he´s not willing to ask for the morning off to come to church, so it´s hard. He has a testimony and wants to be baptized, but he´s not doing his part to make it happed. It´s hard because we LOVE Sergio, and know that he needs to be baptized (everyone does) but if he´s not progressing, we can´t spend the sacred time that we have with him.

Alexander is doing well. He finally found a job, but it is on Sunday as well, so he didn´t come this week. Bummer. We are going to work with him so that he can come.

Did I tell you about Jorgelina and Daniel and their 3 super darling kids??? Their family is amazing and progressing well. Daniel and Jorgelina read the Book of Mormon together and say their prayer together every night and they pray as a family every night as well. WOW. They are great and they came to church on Sunday!!! They need to get married and this has always been their plan, but they don´t want to ruch into anything... we are working with them.

Beymar came to church again and he went to 2 activities during the week! He is doing great!

Isabel and Nadia are darlings. Isabel had a birthday this week, so we went with cake and everything! I think that it helped their Mom feel a bit better... They are having some major problems in the family, and we think that this is why she isn´t giving permission for the baptisms... we are praying that we can have them this week. These girls are basically members. Their older siblings and Dad are members but inactive. The two girls come to church every week with their one active sister and are just darlings. We are praying fervently to know how to do this work with them... They have GREAT desires to be baptized and we want to help dearly.

Maria, Juaquin, Familia Torres, Marianna, Omar, Yelka, and a few others are struggling to keep commitments and we had to make some hard decisions to leave them, but when we pass by we check in. Preach my Gospel says that it is actually an act of love to leave an investigator if they aren´t progressing. We have to invite and do EVERYTHING that we can, and then these people have their agency.

I can´t believe that we are entering the 5th week of the transfer! This week and one more and changes come again!!! We can´t decide if we are going to have changes or if we will both stay here... I am not even going to think about it. Whatever the Lord wants... It´s always hard to leave an area because I really put my whole self into the work and then the time comes to go and it´s like leaving your home and family with all the people that you come to love SO MUCH!!!

We made brownies twice this week and they turned out great without problems! haha.

I love Hermana Malhue! We have a great connection and it is really special to be working together. I love learning and growing with her and I love that we are truly sisters. She is wonderful and I learn so much from her. She is really really special for me. We have a lot of fun together, but also work so hard. We teach between 55 and 65 lessons a week and I love that we strive to follow the spirit. This mission has been the most humbling experience of my whole life. It´s really true that we can´t do a thing on our own. Everything depends on the Lord. Literally EVERYTHING.

 I love you all TONS and love getting your letters and reading all about how you are all doing!!! I PROMISE that I will comment on everything next week. SO SORRY. I love you all TONS!!!!!!!

Hermana Shelley

Pictures: 1 and 2- Augustin's baptism
               3- spring in Ushasia
               4- Sergio's birthday

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Wow! This week was full of miracles! No baptisms... I have to remind myself sometimes that agency is a good thing! haha (thank you for the reminder, Aunt Lissa!!!) but I know that we are going to see baptisms. We were talking last night and really, when I got here, there weren´t any investigators with baptismal dates (those who had them were baptized and they didn´t have any new investigators) and in the 4 weeks that Hermana Malhue and I have been here, we have found a ton of new investigators and 15 have baptismal dates. We also know that it is so important to find new investigators every day because if not, we will eventually baptize those we have or they will choose (SAD) to stop learning more, and we won´t have anyone. We have been so blessed to be able to do that and to have TONS of AMAZING investigators. Wow!!!
So the miracles:
We found TWO FAMILIES who have both had 3 lessons, have prayed to know the truth, and have felt that the gospel is true!!! They both have to get married, but it is way faster here inUshuaia because there are fewer people waiting for an appointment. Wow. So awesome. We have had some amazing experiences with them. One family has a baptismal date for the 27th and the other will have a date tonight (had one, but lost it because they didn´t come to church... we found out when we passed by yesterday that their kids are super sick, which is why they didn´t come).
A young man, Beymar, who we met on the street, came to church yesterday and we found out that pretty much the entire young men´s class know him and have been inviting him for ages, and he finally came. He has a baptismal date for the 26th! Also, we found out yesterday that his parents are MARRIED and he has SEVEN siblings!!! We are definitely headed to visit the family tomorrow!!!!
Tuesday, we were in a lesson with Sergio when our branch mission leader called and told us that there was a man in the church who wanted to meet with us! He had recently moved from Peru and had been taking the lessons with Elders there. We had a lesson with him on Wednesday and the Spirit was super strong and he accepted a baptismal date for the 19th!
Yesterday, one of the companionships of Elders had a baptism, and we went with some of our investigators. When we got there, they asked me to play the piano, so I sat down and started to play. A family came in and they seemed familiar, but I shrugged it off and kept playing. The service started and it was beautiful and SO good for our investigators to see. While the YM changed, I played while everyone wrote notes of encouragement. The son of the family that looked familiar passed me a note that said he wanted to be baptized!!! I called Hermana Malhue over since I was playing and we talked to him together with his Dad. Turns out, the reason that he looked familiar is because we taught him once!!! His Dad is a member, Mom no. His parents are divorced and he, Augustin lives with his mom. We had his name as a referral and taught him and his mom once, but then every time after that we passed by, they weren´t home and when we called, they didn´t answer... So eventually we had to drop them. Well... he has been at his Dad´s on the weekends and going to church every week for quite some time (before this first lesson with him), but since his mom lives in our area, he is our investigator again! He has learned pretty much everything from his dad and this week we are going to teach him all the lessons once more to make sure and he will be baptized SATURDAY!!! Wow... how awesome!!! His Dad didn´t want to force him, so he has just been teaching and waiting and he was so happy when Augustin wrote that note! There is seriously power in a baptismal service.
So yes, MANY miracles!!! Wow! I love seeing the change in people. Now we are just working working working to have the BAPTISMS, because we know that it is so important for the salvation of these people. I really do feel a great love for them and want to do all I can to help them receive the gospel and ultimately salvation. We are striving to really become nothing but instruments in the hands of the Lord to do this work and are striving to follow the Spirit more fully every day. I love that we work so hard and are so tired by the end of the day!! This really is the Lord´s work. As you can see from these stories, the Lord is doing the work here in Ushuaia, and we have the amazing blessing of seeing the miracles occur. Wow.
So a couple of funny things before I sign off:
There is a province here in Argentina called Misiona. So when we introduce ourselves (Hola, somos Misioneras de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Días...) people often say "oh ya, I have a friend from Misiona!" haha. It´s pretty funny... maybe they just don´t hear the part about the Church... haha. Good times.
I think I am learning Spanish!!! The other night, we were ESPECIALLY exhausted and we were so happy to get to bed! Well, I must have been bone tired, because Hermana MalhueHOO!!! Por fin!!! haha. I definitely have TONS to learn, but every day is better. Please keep praying for my Spanish.
One of the recent converts requested brownies the other day. We went to buy a mix, and there weren´t any. (Since we live at the end of the world, every now and then we don´t have certain things... sometimes things like eggs!haha). Well, I decided that I could probably just make them. How hard could it be??? What´s in the mix, any way... flower, sugar, and chocolate and then you add the egg, water and oil! So we got to work (after nightly planning, of course, when we have about 40 minutes to prep for the next day or whatever). The batter turned out good and it looked like brownies, but since I was guessing on the amounts, it was  a TON of batter! So, I said that I thought we should just use half of it... Hermana Maluhue said that she thought it would be okay, so I went with it and we put it all in the pan (it looked pretty full, but I trusted in my comp...) So we started getting ready for bed while they cooked. Hermana Maluhue was writing in her journal and so I went to the bathroom really quickly. Pretty soon, I start to smell something that smells very burnt. "Hermana....?" I call out, and pretty soon I hear AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I hurry and finish and run out to find the room filled with smoke!!! The brownies had more than overflowed and there was tons of burnt mix at the bottom of our oven! haha. We scrape it out, and pray that they will keep cooking since we had the door open so long. We open a window (burrrr!) and keep writing in our journal... about 5 minutes later, the same thing! haha. So we scrape again and contemplate taking the brownies out, but don´t want to start all over. ONE MORE time of scraping about 5 minutes later and then I had the idea to turn the pan (they only overflowed on one side and the other side was pretty much cooked... so we turned it and they didn´t overflow again, but we had a house full of smoke that smelled like burnt food and old oven! haha. The brownies finally finished cooking around 11:45 (we are supposed to be in bed by 11... we need to work on that) and they were actually super delish but made for a really funny story. Our house still smells funny! The good thing is that the family loved them. HA! It seems that our adventures always involve baking....
Well, got to run! I love you all! I know that the Church is true. I know that this is the work of the Lord. I love the people of Ushuaia and I am so happy to be here! Please pray for our investigators and specifically that they can come to church... this is something that we are struggling with. They have testimonies, most are reading and praying, but not coming to church. If you could keep that in your prayers, it would be great!
Darn! Forgot my camera chord... awesome pictures to come next week!
I love you all tons! Can´t believe that I have 4 months in the mission. Feels like I entered the MTC yesterday! Wow.
Hermana Shelley

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Dearest Family,

Wow... I can´t believe that another week has gone by! I feel like I just came out into the field and I have almost FOUR MONTHS!!!!! Yikes! Time really does fly!

No baptisms again this week. The Torres Family didn´t come to church, so they have to wait another week until they have their 3 assistencias, María wants more time to prepare, but she is SOOOOOOOOOOO ready, Isabel and Nadie are amazing 11 and 12 year olds from a part member family who want so badly to be baptized (they come to church every week) but their Mom (not a member) won´t give her permission, Elías worries that if he is baptized a second time (was baptized Evangelical), he will be mocking God even though he KNOWS that the church is true... Sigh. We need your prayers!!! Not going to lie, I was getting a little down on myself... what am I doing wrong? How can I change? Etc etc. However, this morning, Hermana Malhue (have I mentioned how much I LOVE her) and I had a really great study together. I had studied Elder Oak´s talk from April about Desires and we discussed it together. We need to have righteous desires and it takes a LOT of work to obtain righteous desires but we CAN do it. We realized that we have been worried about what President would think since he put a lot of confidence in us, 2 new missionaries at the end of the world, what the Zone Leaders would think, how many baptisms we have, etc. We have refocused and remembered why we are here... We are here to help people come unto Christ!!! Through baptism, YES, of course. But we need to make sure that we are relying on the Spirit and not worried about what other people think or about numbers. We really do feel that all of our investigators will be baptized. We just need to help them and work to teach with power and authority! We are going to do it!!! I know that when we "forget ourselves and go to work" that we will find success. What I have a lot of peace with is that we work SO hard! I love it! We come home every night completely exhausted and we wouldn´t want it any other way! haha. We really do as Preach my Gospel says and "find when we teach and teach when we find" I love it! We taught so many lessons this week! 63 total lessons! I am so grateful for the strength of the Lord to be able to do it and I know that it is only for Him that we can do so. We have AMAZING members here in the Branch and so we have a ton of member present lessons. I love love love it! 

My companion is amazing. She is such a sweetheart and we are really learning a lot together. The only problem is that we are both so similar in how we are SO hard on ourselves. We know that we need to change that and have more faith and not worry so much... just get out and work. She is really great though and I am SO grateful for the opportunity that I have to work with her. She is really an angel. I learn from her every day and my Spanish is WAY better since there isn´t the option of speaking English! ha. Hermana Malhue is also learning English, so we help each other. She is super adorable and learning really fast.

We had a training with President this week. It´s kind of weird here in the south, because we obviously can´t go to the training in the mission offices, so we were Skyped in! haha. Kind of different, but still awesome. We learned a lot. President told us that we need to focus on our recent converts to teach them the lessons of retention so that they stay active. He talked about how President Hinckley has said that if we are not retaining our members, missionary work is in vain! Wow. That was powerful. We are really excited to work with our converts. We have some great recent converts and many of them come out with us and accompany us to the lessons, so that is wonderful! Not only do they get the lessons, they are participating and helping to teach, which definitely helps with their testimony. A testimony always grows when we share it! Love it, love it! We are also going to ask for more references. President said that references are the key and that we are going to create trees of converts... people who came into the church thanks to a reference from a reference from a reference, etc. Cool, no? Not sure that makes sense... but seriously, references are everything. Please give the missionaries references! They love it, and seriously EVERYONE has SOMEONE who they can share the gospel with. I promise that if you pray about it, a name will come to your mind. 

The investigators are moving along. 
Sergio is doing great still, but he got called into work last minute yesterday, so we had to push his baptism back a week. Bummer. He is really great though and down to 1 cigarette a day, and said that he will be totally off them by the end of the week. He has a plan to stop, and while we wish that he wasn´t smoking at all, he is really trying hard and progressing and relying on the Lord. So great!

The Torres Family we worry about. They are great, but their Grandma came into town and she doesn´t quite love the church, so they haven´t been reading or praying for a week. That is dangerous, because that is how we get and keep our answers... They will be okay. They just need to remember how important it is. We haven´t been able to teach them much this week, because every day when we go by (EVERY DAY) they don´t let us in because the grandma is there and we have to teach a quick principle to whoever answered the door. 

The others are doing well and progressing. Our struggle is to get them to church. The branch starts at 10:00, which seems really late, right??? Well, you would think it was 2AM. haha. People like to sleep! We will keep working though. Once they come once, it´s easier to keep coming. 

I learned this week that I am relatively handy in the kitchen! haha. The other day, our lunch appointment canceled, and we didn´t have much non-breakfast food in the house. I looked at what we had and thought "I think I could make some sort of sauce with this" and decided to experiment... We had milk, some kind of cheese, similar to cream cheese, chicken bouillon, mixed veggies, and pasta (and a couple other things, but they wouldn´t go... stuff like canned peaches). I put the milk and cheese in a pan to melt the cheese and added some spices that seemed right, then chicken bullion and mixed veggies, and done! It was actually super delish!!! haha. Not as good as yours, Mom, but good. We actually don´t have to cook that often, but we do bake a lot! haha. I think that there is an unwritten rule that the Hermana´s always have to bring treats to the District meetings... I think the Elders need a turn! ha. But I have taught Hermana Malhue to make a few things, and I learned how to make merange! 

I am loving the work and the people and the culture and Ushuaia! I am grateful to be here and I know that we are on the verge of exploding with success! haha. It will all come. 

I love you all tons! Thank you so much for all of your love and support. I hope that everyone is doing well!!!

Hermana Shelley

Picture: Boats in the harbor-Ushuaia, Argentina