Monday, August 27, 2012


Dearest Family,

I hope that you are all doing well! We had a really great week and the work is progressing! Ezekiel Dominguez was baptized on Saturday and it was a really beautiful baptism. I have loved seeing the progress of this family, especially with the reactivation of the Grandma. Like I said, I have been blessed to see mostly baptisms of children, but the beautiful thing is that we find them by reactivating the adults in their lives. It is really special. Their grandma is so happy to be back in the church and enjoying all of the blessings of church membership after more than 20 years inactive. It truly is neat to see. I think of past families that have been reactivated and through that, finding baptisms and helping the family…
Augustin´s dad was reactivated and Augustin baptized. Familia Díaz was reactivated and Karen, Danisa, and David baptized. Familia Barroso was reactivated and Yenifer, Milagros, Marina, and Javier baptized. How special to see the families come back to church and their children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews join them in the work. Wow. The gospel really does change lives.
Anyways, back on track now… Ezekiel was baptized on Saturday. He and Florencia were to be confirmed on Sunday and the whole family woke up in the night throwing up and with fevers… that has really been going around. So the confirmations are still yet to happen, but we know that they will be better in time for this coming Sunday.
This week, we have our first “normal” week in over a month! We don´t have to travel anywhere, which will be really nice, because we have SOOOOO much work to do! It has been really amazing participating in the Temple Open House, but now we don´t have a ton of investigators. We have had very limited time, so we have focused on those we had and not found a lot of new investigators, but we have a lot of faith and a full week now to get to finding! The Lord is preparing His children and we know that we will find those who are truly prepared to receive the restored gospel. Yesterday, a brother in the ward called us and told us that he has a friend who wants to listen to the lessons and we have an appointment to go today at 7 with him, a young man of about 25. Then, our bishop´s wife called this morning to see if we can go to their family home evening where they invited some friends who aren´t members at 8! We didn´t even have to do anything... the investigators are coming to US! haha. The Lord really is preparing His children... we just have to work hard and have a lot of faith. He will prepare the way. 

So this morning, during language study, the phone rang... Hermana Gulbrandsen! She only calls when there is something important to say... so I answered it wondering what it might be. She said "Hermana Shelley, I am calling you because President asked me to." A MILLION things raced through my mind in the 2 second pause... I had NO idea what it could be. Then she started explaining that we would be having a special conference with Presiden Eyring on the 7th of September and that President Gulbrandsen had invited me to lead the music! WOW! I am so excited! I of course accepted and she explained how it would work. Hermana Smith, whom I love, with be playing the piano, and the two of us will be invited to sit on the stand! So great! With us, the West, and South missions, we will be about 700 missionaries, and who knows where we would be sitting... but now I will be able to be right there so close! What an amazing blessing! I am really excited and truly grateful... now I just have to figure out what to wear! hahahaha. 

We are definitely getting excited for all that will be happening next week. Next Friday, the 7th is the special conference with President Eyring. The 8th (Saturday) we will be in the cultural event, and the 9th is the rededication of the Temple. Wow. What a powerful weekend it will be. We are working hard to get all of our converts their interviews so that they can be in the rededication of the Temple. What a neat thing to see that these new members and the recently reactivated members who have put things in order are going to be present when a prophet of God dedicates the Temple. I love it! All those who are confirmed this Sunday will be able to be present in the rededication, so we are working hard to get those who are prepared to their baptisms and confirmations so that they can enjoy this unique opportunity. 

Two weeks ago, we had an amazing zone conference, and I forgot to mention it in last week´s crazy fast letter. President talked all about what it means to be totally dedicated. He said that our success is not measured by numbers, rather by our DEDICATION to baptize and confirm weekly, find, teach, help progress, etc. He taught us that dedication is "sacrificed devotion" (sorry if that is a bad translation... devoción sacrificada...) Basically, it is giving EVERYTHING that we have over to the Lord. Spending EVERY moment thinking of others. Spending ALL of my strength in the work. Thinking only of the work. Sacrificing even the little things. Making it sacred. Making it what the Lord would have it be. We have to accept the agency of others, but we must do everything we can, fully relying on the Lord, and He will be pleased with what we do. In the conference, President invited me to give a 5 min talk on the Temple and our vision as missionaries... seriously, in every Zone Conference where he has invited someone to give a talk, he has called me up. I guess I really need the blessings. But it was actually a really neat experience. I felt the Spirit teaching me much more than what I said and it was what I needed. 

The investigators are doing well. 

Familia Dominguez is still progressing well. I love them so much and am so happy with all of their progress! They are really applying the gospel by having family prayers and such. Neat!

Familia Díaz is also doing well. Hugo told us that he is actually thinking about being baptized, which he has NEVER done... he is about 55 and was sort of stuck in his ways, but is really coming around. He ended up going to the Temple 3 times and it had a really powerful effect on him. 

Rodolfo (remember him? He is Vilma´s husband who didn´t get baptized with her because he can´t stop smoking) also went to the Temple open house and had a great experience. More than anything, he just doesn´t WANT to stop smoking... he likes it. We are teaching about sacrifice and eternal families... he is starting to come around more. We aren´t with him too often because he isn´s progressing a lot, but now with the Temple experience, he is doing a bit better. He never misses a Sunday. 

Matías is a new investigator. He is 23 and really a good person. We passed him outside of his house on the way to see our Bishop and felt to stop. As we talked, he told us that he has been looking for a church! Really neat. He works a ton and it is hard to find him at home, but we will keep at it. 

Stela is a new investigator who is about 55 and the mother of TEN! Wow! We have an appointment to meet her whole family on Wednesday. Our ward mission leader gave us the reference. 

Hermana Montecinos is really doing well. She is growing each day and becoming more and more comfortable. I am having her take the lead in all of the lessons, which really stretches her, but she has risen to the challenge. I know that in three more weeks when her training ends (weird!) she will be ready for whatever comes her way. I have seen so much growth in her in these last 2 months and am very proud of all that she is doing. 

The work is progressing. I love it so much! It is weird that the transfer is at the half way mark! I feel like we just started... with all this Temple stuff, it just totally got away from us. But we have seen a lot of miracles and we are happy. I know that this is truly the work of the Lord. I know that this is His church and that we are preparing ourselves for the second coming of the Savior. I know that when He comes, we can be prepared by living the gospel and applying the Atonement. I had a really special experience with my patriarchal blessing this morning. I made three columns... in one, I wrote all of the gifts that the Lord has given me, in the middle, I wrote how I am currently applying these gifts, and on the right side I wrote what I feel that the Lord wants me to do now to develop those gifts and become who He wants me to be. It was really special and I received a lot of revelation. It´s embarrassing, but their were a couple of spots in the middle blank because I am not really applying some of the gifts. I have been so blessed by the Lord, but I know that I haven´t used all of my gifts to the fullest. It is like the parable of the talents... a gift from the Lord does us no good if we don´t use it! We have to not only use it, but DOUBLE it, like in the story. I have much to do... But I know that the Lord will help me to use and magnify the gifts He has given me. I know that He expects a lot of me, but I will go and do all that He asks, and in His strength, I know that I can do it!

I love you all so much! I pray for you daily!
Hermana Shelley

pictures: 1. Kailei at the Temple
                 2. Florencia
                 3. Florencia and grandma
                 4. Dominguez family
                 5. Birthday wish to Kadon

Hermana Montecinos also has a brother that has a birthday next week, so we had a little party! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Dearest Family,

Hope you didn´t worry too much when you didn´t hear from me yesterday. We got a call late Sunday night that they needed to double the missionaries in the Temple on Monday and asked us to come. We didn´t know why they were doubling the number, but of course, responded to the call... 

Before I tell you all why, let me put it into perspective... 

On a usual week day, about one thousand people go through the Temple. It is pretty slow to be honest. Busier week days have 2 thousand or so. On Saturdays, it is CRAZY and we have about 12, 000... 

Well, yesterday was a holiday here and we had...............

27, 000 people go through the Temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Yes, you read correctly! 27 THOUSAND!!! Oh my goodness! We were EXHAUSTED by the end of the day. There were buses all over the place that different wards had brought, there was a FOUR HOUR wait to get in, and they cut the video because it was backing things up. They didn´t have the tour guides say a single word... they just walked them straight through and cut out 3 rooms. It was kinda sad that they didn´t get much of an explanation, but it was still a really powerful experience for everyone and the Spirit was felt strongly. The tour is usually about 20 min to 30 min depending on who is there and if there is time to explain more... the people were in the front door and out the back in about 7. It was seriously packed. They never thought they would see so many people. There was a 30 to 40 minute wait for the BATHROOM even! The tent was packed, the grounds were packed, etc. It was LOCO, but also a lot of fun! You all know me... the more the better, right??? The Lord truly blessed the people to be able to still feel the Spirit really strongly, even with the very limited tour. Everyone was really good sports about the wait.

We had a great week! Flor Dominguez, 14 years old, was baptized this Sunday! We were going to baptize all 4 of the non-baptized children, but Hermana Dominguez decided that the others are too little. We are working with her and are hoping to have those baptisms this weekend. I was thinking the other day about how my mission has gone. Most of the baptisms that I have been blessed to see have been of kids and youth. But the really cool thing is that almost all of those come from previously inactive families who have reactivated and had the previously not baptized children baptized! I love that! My mission has been a really cool balance of going to the rescue and finding those who totally don´t know the Church. I love the work! I love seeing these families in church with the recently baptized kids. It´s a powerful thing. 

Hermana Montecinos is doing much better. Each week gets better for her. I can´t imagine being such a new convert and coming on the mission. Her testimony is growing and developing, she is liking the work more, and she is happier. She is starting to open up more. I just keep loving her and trying to serve her as best as I can. 

Last week in our Temple assignment, there were not enough guides, so we got to do a Temple tour! It was really fantastic! I felt the Spirit so strongly and it was one of the most Spiritual experiences of my life. There were 5 non members in our group of 15 and each of them was in tears at the end of the tour. I felt that the words were truly from the Lord. It was not busy at all, and we were able to have a 35 min tour with them. It was really special. I love the Temple! I know that the covenants that we make there are so important. I know that we are going to be an eternal family. I know that The Lord wants us back with Him, and the way to do so is by going to the Temple. 

I have made an official decision. I talked with Hermana Gulbrandsen today and I am going to come home on my normal release date. There was a bunch of confusion, and they didn´t ever want me home any earlier. They just invited me to pray about it because the other 3 north american sisters are going home early to start school and they didn´t want me to think that I didn´t have the option. They were so happy when I told them. They are going to have to close Sister areas when my group goes home, because there are 8 Sisters that all go home together... a CRAZY high number. They told me that they were happy with the decision that I made. I made the decision with a lot of prayer and I know that it is correct. I really do need to start back up in the fall where I left off...  If I started in January, I would have to just take "whatever" classes because I can´t take my Music Therapy classes til fall, and then I would end up being in school a year and a half with only a year of scholarship left. This way, I will finish in the year that I should, and be able to take the classes that I need. It will give me time to get a good internship and time to work. I promise that I won´t become one of those return missionaries that doesn´t do anything. I will go job hunting right away! haha. I feel really at peace about it. It was really weighing me down, and now I feel totally good about it. So the official release date is January 21... now just don´t go reminding me about it! haha. 

We are doing well. The work progresses. The Temple rededication is coming up so quickly! I am so happy about it. 

I love you all so much! I love the Gospel. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love the work! I love seeing people come unto Jesus Christ. Please pray that we can find new investigators. With not being in our area hardly at all with the Temple, we have lost a few investigators and need new ones ASAP! The Lord will provide!

Hermana Shelley

Monday, August 13, 2012


Dearest Family,

What a week we have had! 

Monday, we went to drop off Hermana Dunn and send her off to Almagro. 
Tuesday, we went to a meeting for trainers. 
Wednesday and Thursday, we were in the Temple open house! 

So we did lots of traveling this week, but it was really great and we still found time to teach our investigators and get them going well. It was a really neat week, especially with being in the Temple open house. We went on Wednesday and had a really neat experience. We were assigned to work in the tent where everyone ends the tour to answer any questions, help people fill out the comment cards, and (maybe the most important) refill the cookie trays! haha. It was a really wonderful experience. Most of the people who went through were from the West mission, since the Temple is in their boundaries, but we had a good number from our mission. We really enjoyed it. I talked with many people whose very first experience with the church was that moment and it was really special. We slept there on Wednesday night and then worked til 2 on Thursday after noon. Thursday morning, a group of 60 government representatives went through and that was a really neat experience. They had a ton of questions, and they all left really impressed. There were even quite a few who invited the missionaries to visit them in their home. We are truly going to see miracles for the Temple open house. The Spirit is so strong in the Temple, you just can´t deny it. I love the Temple!!

We had quite a bit of rain this week. I am just about done with it! haha. But the great blessing is that it did not rain yesterday. About 3 months ago, I was really fed up with the rain on Sundays, because NO ONE does ANYTHING here when it rains. So, I started praying that it would not rain on Sundays, and we haven´t had rain since on Sundays... just about every Saturday it pours and it looks like we are going to have a mess on Sunday, but I keep up my faith and we haven´t had rain. The Lord is merciful and answers prayers offered in much faith. 

Our investigators are doing well. We are teaching a family of 7 and if all goes well, the 4 of baptizing age should be baptized this week. We are really happy to see their progress. Familia Dominguez is a family that was investigating the church before, but never attended, and were eventually dropped. A month ago, we ran into their daughter and she had just become good friends with a good little member, and wanted to start listening again. Through her, the family has started progressing. Awesome!

Diego and Silvana are a young married couple with a baby of 3 who are both wonderful. Silvana has received her answer and has a great testimony, but Diego doesn´t really want anything to do with the Church. Silvana won´t go alone... we are working with them. 

Malena, Cristina´s daughter is really progressing. She reads the Book of Mormon each day and prays daily, but still doesn´t want to be baptized. She is SUPER shy and that is what is mainly holding her back. 

Familia Díaz is a part member family that we have been working with. The mom is a really faithful member. They all went to the Temple open house last week and loved it. They are starting to progress a bit more now. Before, they didn´t really want anything, but they all went to church yesterday and we have an FHE tonight. It should go well!

Hermana Montecinos is doing well. She is getting more used to missionary life and seems to be happier. It has been hard for her. I try to get her to open up a bit, but she doesn´t really like to talk about it. I think that the mission norms are becoming more natural. She is a great missionary and I see a lot of progress in her every day. We had a good talk yesterday and things are going well. 

I love you all so much! I have to run... Hermana Montecinos is having computer problems, so she is going to use mine and we are going to trade off. 

I love the gospel! I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary and seeing all the miracles that the Gospel brings. I love the Temple. I know that it is God´s house. I know that we can follow Him as we follow His prophets. 

The Temple Rededication is quickly approaching (yes Jenny, re...) and we are getting really excited. The 7th we have a special meeting with Pesident Eyring, the 8th we will all be in the cultural event, and the 9th is the rededication. WOW!

I love you all!
Hermana Shelley

Pictures are all of Kailei and Sister Montecinos at the temple

Monday, August 6, 2012


OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mackay!!!! You are going to be Elder Shelley in TWO DAYS!!!! And wow! California Oakland/San Fran Mission!!! I am so very happy for you and for your faith and patience and diligence. I can´t believe that you are already on your way. The Lord truly answers prayers. I can´t wait to hear all about it and how you are doing. I can´t wait to see what language you end up speaking, where you will serve, what the work is like, etc. I am so proud of you! Thank you for your amazing example. You are truly a disciple of Jesus Christ and I know that you are going to hit the ground running out there. Keep relying on the Lord.  I know that you are going to be in the exact place that you should be at the exact time that you should be. There are people waiting for YOU right now. I love you man!!! 

So I just received the best emails ever! My brother is heading back out on his mission, I got to see the BEST engagement pictures (Jenny, I am SO happy for you... you look fantastic, by the way! And so happy! Thank you for keeping me in the loop... it makes me feel like a part of things ;), and it sounds like everyone is just doing wonderfully. I can´t believe that my little man is all grown up and going to high school! So weird. I hope that things ended up how you wanted with band camp. I keep you in my prayers always. Know that I love you tons. You are going to do so well in high school. It is a whole new ball game, but so fun. Study lots and enjoy every moment. You are going to be great! 

Well, we had a great week! Estefanía was BAPTIZED and Brenda was CONFIRMED. So great! We had quite the experience with Estefi´s baptism... she got all dress and was just so very embarrassed about the clothes that she wouldn´t leave the bathroom! We tried everything. We even offered waiting, but she was determined to be baptized, which was great. We offered having her in her own clothes and then changing right before, but no. We offered to put my big, long rain coat over it, but no... finally, she decided that it would be best to empty out the entire room, have the baptism with just her family watching, and then let everyone come back for the talks! haha. A little bit backwards, but it ended up working out in the end and was a beautiful baptism. All of the YW in the ward had stayed to support her, and they were really good sports about waiting in the chapel until Estefi had been baptized. haha. It all worked out! Sadly, no pictures. She was just too embarrassed. The Elders also had a baptism on Saturday and it was also quite the doosy... we have an Hermano who is in charge of filling the font when there are baptisms and he is really great about it. The Elders called him and he was even already in the church and so they worked it out so that he could fill it. Well... we had the entire baptismal service and then they opened the doors to the font as the little boy and Elder Carvajal entered from the back... and the font was EMPTY!!! oh no!! We, (the Hermanas) went looking for buckets and starting filling it up as the Elders started the water in the font... but the water comes out REALLY slow... you need a good 4 hours to fill it... So after 30 minutes we had water up to the little boy´s mid calf... and the water was FREEZING! Well... they tried to baptize him, but there just wasn´t quite enough water and his feet kept slipping out from under him and popping out of the water. The poor thing was trembling something terrible! After 3 tries, they ended up baptizing him face first! It was quite the sight, but he got all the way under. Sadly, because of the water he got sick and wasn´t able to go to church to be confirmed yesterday... next week. The poor thing! He was a good sport about it, and at least he was baptized. The Hermano had gotten busy with his things and forgot completely about the water. Oops.

Well..... Transfers happened! 
Hermana Dunn left us! She is now in Almagro, which is right next door to Congreso! haha. We couldn´t believe it! We are back to an even number of Hermanas (one left and 2 came) so it looks like I will be staying in place for a little while. So I am finishing Hermana Montecino´s training by myself (the new training program is 12 weeks...). I will definitely miss Hermana Dunn! We had the last 4 months together and it´s really weird that she´s not here... I suppose that I will get used to it!  Hermana Dunn did so much for me and taught me so much, and I will be forever grateful. She is an amazing missionary. I really do love her dearly and we will be the best of friends for the rest of forever! She got me through a lot and we went through a lot together. Love her tons! 

I don´t know if Hermana Gonzalez reads the blog, but I just want to tell you how much I love and appreciate you even MORE now (don´t know if it´s possible...) through this training experience. Training is DIFFICULT! It means having someone question your every move, trying to teach by example while still learning yourself, helping make the difficult transition into mission life... and my "hija" even speaks SPANISH! haha. I can´t even imagine what it must have been having to deal with me. Know that I love you DEARLY! You changed my life and laid the foundation for my mission. Thank you. 

We don´t really have any details about the Temple. What we do know is that we will be called and given the info at some point. haha. Basically, we will go one day and do an afternoon shift from 3 to 9, sleep at the MTC, and then do a morning shift the next day from 9 to 3 and then go home from there. It will mean missing 2 days in the area, but it will be so worth it. We know that we are going to see absolute MIRACLES for the rededication. We are getting really excited for all of the events. From what we understand, we will have a special conference of missionaries with President Eyring on the 8th and then be able to participate in the cultural event. Then the rededication will be on the 9th! What an amazing time to be in the mission! I love the Temple and I want to prepare the entire world to enter. The ward is really excited about all that is going on and so we know that we are going to work well with them to see the miracles. 

I love you all so much! I love being a missionary. It is surely the most difficult thing that I have ever done, and with that, the most wonderful. President has received revelation that we should each be baptizing and confirming weekly. It is a lot, but I have no doubt that when the Lord calls, He qualifies, and when he commands, He prepares the way. There are so very many people prepared to receive us... we just have to FIND them! Please pray that we will be able to find the FAMILIES that are truly going to progress in the gospel. I know that they are waiting to be found. 

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have loved the change that I have seen in my Sacrament preparation and have truly felt more fully the power of the Atonement as I have prepared myself to partake. Each week, the Lord is inviting us to His house, to partake of His supper. Would we not prepare ourselves well for such an invitation? Would we not ponder and reflect? Pray and repent? Search our souls and seek forgiveness? Would we not wake early and prepare our minds and bodies? Would we not go through the day reverently? I am so grateful for the Sabbath day. There is a quote in Preach my Gospel about how when a nation dwindles in their Sabbath day observance, all aspects of their life suffers. That is also so true for individuals. I like to think of the Sabbath day as a gift. The Lord has given us one day to get away from the worries and things of the world. Let us use this sacred day in the way that The Lord intended. If He were in our home, what would we choose to be doing? I love the Sabbath. I know that as we change how we prepare for the Sacrament and truly make the ENTIRE day a holy experience, our lives will be transformed. 

I love you all so much! I could only put a few pictures on because they loaded really slow... Sorry!

I love you all dearly! Thank you for your great faith and constant prayers. 

Know that I love and pray for you!
Hermana Shelley

PS- I am really trying to prepare myself well for the rededication of the Temple, and in so doing, I have decided that I don´t want to think about school quite yet. When it is over, I know that it will be time that I have to. For now, I think that I am going to wait. All of the classes that I need to take are fall classes, and it would be almost impossible to get an override to take the spring ones first since I wouldn´t have learned how to play the instruments in the fall that I will need for the classes! haha. Or, I might do the late start that is in March and get going on a Spanish minor... but for now, I don´t want to focus on it to much. My release date is January 21... so weird to think about! Just so you know, but don´t go reminding me about it ;) haha. LOVE YOU!!! 

pictures: Brenda's baptism
                Buenos Aires, Argentina temple
                Sisters Dunn, Shelley, and Montecino at the Buenos Aires temple