Monday, September 24, 2012


Dearest Family,

We had a great week here in El Talar. We are dead tired, but that is how it should be, no? We had to work extra extra hard seeing as we had zero investigators coming into the transfer... so we got to work! We taught our recent converts and asked for referrals of their family and friends, and on the way to the appointments, we talked with the entire world! We found some really great investigators, and three of them went to church yesterday and have baptism dates. Not super great numbers, but we are coming up from zero, so we are happy! 

My area is a lot like San Ignacio, but a lot different too. We have all paved roads, first off! haha. Basically, it is just a lot bigger. It would be like going from old Gilbert to Chandler... something like that. We don{t have bikes, and I am loving being on foot again. Much easier to talk to the people. It is also nice to be able to look presentable and not have to have super gross helmet hair every day! haha. 

Hermana Hualpa is FANTASTIC!!! We are chugging along on the second part of her training and she is doing really well and learning really fast. She doesn't have any fear and is willing to talk with the entire world. She is a great, powerful teacher and has a really strong testimony. She is just an all around great missionary. She was born in Peru but raised in Chile. I have basically decided that the Lord has a work for me to do in Chile since all three of my Latin companions are from Santiago, Chile. haha. I figure I must be headed there some day! We work really well together and it was really neat that we just jumped right in. We teach in unity really well and we just have a ball. We like to sing "Called to Serve" as we walk down the streets. haha. 

Other fun part of the area is that HERMANA HILL is in the area right next door!!!! Today we went there (Tigre) to have our Pday together. It is a Holiday and the big street fair that is usually only open on weekends was open, It was way fun and so great to get to be with Hermana Hill again. (Mom, I bought a few things for the family in the street fair that came out to about $20 so that should have gone out... quick question... it doesn't charge us when I use my card does it? someone told me that using it internationally charges us... hope not!)

Our investigators are doing well. 

VIcky, Edison, Manuel, Nelson, and Madelin are a great family from Dominican Republic. Super cool! They are really laid back though, which can be good, but not so much when they are needing to do things like read, pray, and attend church! haha. We will help them. 

Luis is really a good guy who is going through lots of hard things. He is looking for truth. He is 25, but still lives with his mom and she says that if he gets baptized that she won{t let him live there... please pray for him! 

Ruben is an elderly man who was about to be baptized a year ago when the area was white washed and sisters came in. There was a bunch of confusion and the sisters didn't know about him and didn't visit him for about 3 weeks. He got upset and was never baptized. His son and daughter in law are strong members of the ward and they feel that it is his time. 

So we are still in the finding mode. Please pray that we can find and teach those people who really are going to progress and be baptized. 

We had interviews with President this week and they went really well... President said "I am just so happy that we are neighbors! We will be friends forever" That is true and I am so happy that the Gulbrandsens are from Mesa. They really have done so much for me and I am so happy that they live so close to us. Can{t wait to introduce them to you all!

What caught me off guard was the end of the interview... President said "how do you feel about extending?" I was so surprised and said "I didn't know that it was an option." He said that he has never had an Hermana do it, but then he said that with so many sisters leaving all together that it{s not so much that he is giving me the option as that he is asking me to and needs me to... it will only be for about 2 or 3 weeks to help with the transition. President hopes to send me traveling again soon and so that would give him more time to do it. He said that I should pray and talk to my family. If it was just an option that he was giving me, I don{t know what I would do... but since he is asking me to do it and needs me to, I have felt that it would be good to do it. That it is the Lord{s will... what do you all think?

Family, I love you all so much! I love this work! It is truly the work of the Lord, without doubt. This is the true Church. Jesus Christ lives.  He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is the only way back to our Heavenly Father. The Temple is truly the house of the Lord. Go often. The Book of Mormon is true. Read it daily. Heavenly Father answers our prayers. Listen. He will guide you. 

I love you all so much!!!
Hermana Shelley

Monday, September 17, 2012


Dearest Family,

They say that change is an opportunity for growth, and my am I excited for this new opportunity! 

I was transferred this morning and I am now in El Talar, which is part of Tigre. I am training again, Hermana Hualpa from Chile (well, she was born in Peru but grew up in Chile), but this is her second transfer. With the new program, the training program is two transfers, so I will be doing her final training... basically, the hard part is already done, and I get to have all the fun! haha. But really, it is going to be a great transfer. I really like the looks of the area. I have only been here 3 hours, but it just feels good. I really like the things that have been going on here. Hermana Smith who was here before is a great friend of mine, and she is an amazing missionary. You might remember the name El Talar... yes, it is one of the areas that I visited! haha. Fun. I remember a few things, but my two short days here were a whirlwind and so I don´t remember all that much. But it is fun to have this be my new area. Hermana Hualpa is truly wonderful and I feel strongly that we are going to work really well together. It was hard leaving San Ignacio after 6 months... they really become your family! But it also felt right. It was time. Here I go on my next adventure! Everyone says that it will be my final area since I only have three more transfers (can NOT believe that) and I figure they are probably right... but you never know, I suppose :)

The area has a few weak points right now, but we have set goals and made plans and we will be getting to work, work, work. They haven´t had an investigator in church in 3 weeks, so that is a major need. Without investigators in church, you can´t have baptisms since if they don´t go to church they can´t make this sacred covenant with the Lord. So our focus is going to be on finding new investigators and getting them to church. I know that the Lord is going to bless us for our righteous desires, constant prayers, and HARD WORK! Like Mackay said, you can work like crazy and only teach a tiny bit, but I also know that after the trial of the faith comes the great blessing. Hang in there, Elder Shelley! Sounds like you have an awesome area and a Rock Star companion, so things will pick up soon. Pray like crazy... I have been thinking of starting to forward you the letters that we get each week from President Gulbrandsen... only if you want though. I think that I will send you this week´s letter. It is about consecration. From there you can decide if you still want them or not. 

This past week was really good in San Ignacio. We were able to find a lot of new investigators and complete families, which is such a huge blessing. We have been praying so much to find families, and I know that the Lord is going to keep blessing Hermana Montecinos and Hermana Smith... ya... we just made a switch! Crazy, but I came here and she went there! haha. Good times. 

This morning in our studies, Hermana Montecinos and I were able to do a little reflecting and see where we were, how far we have come and where we are going. It was a really neat experience. I am so very proud of her and her progress. She is a wonderful missionary and I saw so much growth in her in our three months together. She is going to do amazing things in her mission. 

So funny and super awkward story... yesterday, I told the bishop that I was pretty sure that I was going to be transferred. He surprised me a lot when he got really emotional and talked about all the miracles that we have seen together in our time serving together and thanked me for some things, and I for that got kinda emotional and thanked him for everything. I put my hand out to shake his, and he gave he a hug! I just about died! He realized quickly and said with his awesome Chinese accent "oh no! I can´t do that, can I??" haha. It was really funny because we were both super embarrassed. Of course it was in front of the Elders too so they made sure to give me a hard time. haha. I felt really embarrassed. I always thought that I would not be an awkward returned missionary until that moment... I think I will be pretty awkward. 

This Friday we have interviews with President and that will be really nice. I always look forward to those interviews and the revelation that I know that we will receive. President Gulbrandsen is so awesome and I am so grateful for all that he does for us. He has a very much elevated vision and I love the challenge. He knows what the Lord expects of us. It is a LOT and I am willing to get out there and do the work. I know that the Lord will bless us. I am so excited for this new area. Change is so good for me. It gives me a breath of fresh area and the desire to meet the new challenge. It will be a great transfer, I am sure. 

I love you all so much! I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that He is the head of the Church. I know that He lives. I know that He suffered for each of us individually. The price has already been paid. We have to choose to do our part and apply His atoning blood. That His sacrifice may not be in vain is my great prayer. He is the Savior of the World. He is your and my personal Savior. He is the Son of God. 

General Conference is quickly approaching. Prepare yourselves now. Make sure that you have that weekend free. Do everything to be in every session. Prophets of God will be speaking to us. They truly have the road map to our lives for these next 6 months. Prepare some questions that you have. I promise you that you will find the answers. 

I love you all so much! Please pray that we might find the people who are truly prepared to receive the Gospel and that they will have a wonderful experience in Church on Sunday. 

Hermana Shelley

Monday, September 10, 2012


Dearest Family,

WOW! What an amazing weekend we had! I want to tell you all EVERYTHING, but don´t seem to find the words to tell you even the mitad of what happened. I feel so happy and grateful to the Lord for the MANY blessings that I received this weekend. I will try to express a little bit of what happened. I will tell you all the details, but it will be hard to express the feelings and the Spirit that was felt. 

Friday, we left nice and early to go to a pre-meeting with President and Sister Gulbrandsen in the mission office. It was a really neat meeting where they talked about exactly what we would be experiencing. They talked a lot about having "ears to hear" and letting this weekend truly change our lives. I loved something that Hermana Gulbrandsen said: "Great and wonderful are the blessings that come when we listen to and head the counsel of the living prophets. Our reaction should be quick and sure." Wow. Really great, no? I think that we can all apply that counsel as General Conference is fast approaching. 

After that brief meeting, we all loaded up the buses and headed out to the meeting. There was a palpable Spirit of excitement and anticipation on the way. We all arrived there about 4:30 and the meeting was to start at 6:00. Once we all got through and organized with so many missionaries, we were seated around 5:00 and had an hour for quite study and reflection. It was really a neat thing to be up on the stand and see about 800 missionaries all preparing themselves to listed to the Prophets of God. I really did love it. Five til 6, President Eyring, Elder Christofferson, and Elder Ballard all entered. As we stood, there was a distinct change in the Spirit in the room. I truly felt in that instant that Prophets of God were entering. They were all so happy and smiling and it was really special to see their faces and feel their spirit and power. Leading the music was a really neat experience. I love music so much and it really helped me to feel the Spirit even stronger. The open hymn was "Called to Serve" and man was it powerful with 800 missionaries! I was really moved by the sight. As the meeting started, we were all just beaming with joy. Elder Christofferson spoke first. He served his mission here in Argentina (Elder Scott was even his mission President!) and his Spanish is really great! It made me want to keep my Spanish up all of my life... back with Hermana Dunn, we had already decided that we have to marry someone who speaks Spanish! haha. Elder Christofferson talked about D&C 63: 60-64 about how the things that come from above are sacred and how we must use them carefully. He talked about our right as missionaries to receive revelation from God for every one of our investigators and to then be able to help them enter into the Celestial Kingdom. He talked about how we have to make sure to be careful with this sacred revelation and responsibility. He said "I hope you NEVER do anything, say anything, wear anything, etc. that would make others doubt your sacred calling." It was really powerful. That is so true! We have to be representatives of Jesus Christ at all times, in all things, and in all places. And not just as missionaries. Something that I learned on institute counsel keeps coming back to my mind... I serve not because I am under call, but because I am under covenant. The Lord called us not for 18 or 24 months, but for our entire lives. 

Next, Elder Ballard spoke. He has a really neat connection to the Temple here because it was his Grandfather, Melvin J. Ballard who dedicated the lands for the work here in South America... Side note, I really want to figure out where in Buenos Aires and see if it would be possible to go there on a Pday... Anyways, he told us the whole story about his grandfather dedicating these lands and it was amazing to hear the entire story. In the first sacrament meeting they had, there were 4 members in ALL of South America, and none of them was South American (two from Germany and two from I don´t know where). Today, there are 3,400,000 members in all of South America! What growth since that first Sacrament meeting in 1925! What a blessing to be part of making that growth happen. I love being a missionary! He also talked about all the hardships that his grandfather faced while for 9 months he walked the streets every day handing out pamphlets and handbills. Then he said "Do NOT allow yourself to get discouraged in this work!" The way he said it was so powerful. He invited us to give "constant, steady, wonderful service to God." 

Then came President Eyring... well, I have four pages of notes on his talk, so I will do my best to try to relate a bit of it. Let me just say that it was POWERFUL! His whole subject was how important it is to truly know that God is our Heavenly Father, knows us perfectly, and loves us perfectly. He started by saying that if he were to succeed that it would change our lives. I am here to testify that he succeeded. He talked about how we all say that we know that God is our Heavenly Father, knows us, and loves us... but do we REALLY believe that. He talked about assigning missionaries to their missions and only receiving slight impressions on where to send them... he said that it has to be SO REAL to him that God knows His children. President Eyring said "you look at that face. You see that name. You have one second to decide. I know how you feel when you get to the end of the day and wonder if you listed to every thought, acted on every prompting, did all." He said that if he didn´t have it as a true part of him that God knows and loves us that he would not be able to do this work. He paused then said "Don´t you EVER think ´what am I doing here?´ The Lord knows YOU. He knows your future. I don´t know how, but the Lord can and does know your future and He has sent you out on HIS errand based on what will come." Then he talked about how all the gifts that we have been given are to complete this errand from the Lord. He then invited us to remember the love of the Lord. He said that he knows that we have all had many experiences where we KNEW that God truly knows us. He told stories about receiving his patriarchal blessing from an uncle that he had never met, but receiving the words and blessings based on the dreams of his heart that only he and God knew. President Eyring promised us that when we truly know that God knew us perfectly before we came to earth that it will truly change our lives. I am taking his invitation and each night, I write in my journal a memory of a time that I felt certainly that God knew ME. It has been a powerful experience and I invite you all to reflect on these special moments. President Eyring talked about finding joy in the work. He promised us that YES, our missions and lives will be difficult, but if we will just smile, we will see a bright future ahead. He said that when he entered, we all looked so solmon and it would do us good to smile more. He chuckled and said that no one will want to listen to our message and change to be like us if we are so sad... he said "show the light in your eyes!" I had to laugh a little when he said "now, you are going to tell me, ´But Brother Eyring, I am tired... and I am supposed to be happy?´ to which I say, yes!" haha. Story of my life, no? Tired to the point of exhaustion, but oh so happy! He talked about how President Monson has to pass through more difficult things that anyone, how he never has good night´s rest, how everyone tries to tell him just how bad things are... yet he is always the most happy person you will meet. What an example we have in our dear Prophet. President Eyring promised us ´glorious happiness´as we have faith, be humble, and have integrity. I think we can all apply that! He ended by bearing his testimony and saying "you will never forget this night." I know that is true. It has truly changed my mission and my life. What an experience it was. I felt the Spirit so strongly and as I took notes, I made many goals and plans. It was a really amazing evening. I know that I need to truly come to know my Father in Heaven. My goal for these last few months of the mission is to really gain a true and personal relationship with Him, more than ever before.

Saturday was SO FUN! We headed out nice and early to go to capital to meet up with the rest of the mission and head out to the Stadium for the practice before the cultural event. We got to run through our part two times and it was really disorganized. But, when the moment came, it all turned out just great! The program started at 7 with a welcome from President Eyring and then they jumped right in to the program. There were SO many youth! They demonstrated dances from many parts of South America and really did a great job. At the end came our part. We marched out onto the field, 800 missionaries, all singing "Called to Serve." It was so powerful and really an unforgettable moment. Before singing the last verse, they put an arrangement of "I Want to be a Missionary Now" in the middle that about 100 primary children sang. It was so neat and then at the end we came back in and sang the last verse of called to serve. It was really special. We had a lot of fun the whole day and really enjoyed celebrating the Argentine culture and singing and dancing praises unto the Lord before the rededication of the Temple. 

Yesterday was fantastic! After three long years, Argentina once again has a dedicated Temple. WOW! The rededication was so wonderful and powerful. I haven´t felt the Spirit like I did in a very long time, and I realized just how much I have missed the Temple. What was really special is that we went with the Dominguez Family and Vilma Ponce, all recent converts. When it was all over, Ezequiel tapped my shoulder and said "Hermana, I felt something different today. I want to go to the Temple and then serve a mission." Wow! That is what this is all about! Something from the dedication that I loved was that President Eyring talked about how we may not actually SEE with our eyes the Savior in this life, but that like Joseph Smith, the eyes of our UNDERSTANDING can be opened and we can know of His reality through the Spirit. He invited us to do two things:
- Exercise faith in Christ sufficiently to have a repentant heart each time we go to the Temple
- Be worthy of a Temple recommend: he said "choose to reject satan! You can. You have that power!"

It was also a really neat meeting full of the Spirit. I know and testify that the Temple is truly the house of the Lord. He is there. May we all prepare ourselves before entering each time so that we might feel and know that is asi. I am so grateful for my Temple covenants and blessings. I think of them each morning. I know that the Lord has a plan for each and every one of us. I know that He sent us here to this earth to learn and grow and become like Him. I know that we can only do so as we make and keep sacred covenants in the Temple. 

This weekend was truly one to be remembered. I will never forget what happened. I am truly grateful to the Lord for letting me be here in this place at this time. I don´t have any doubt that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. 

I don´t have much more time... our investigators are doing well! I love them all. We have transfers coming and don´t know what will happen. I have been here almost 6 months now, so I think I will be headed out, but you never know. We are getting 4 new Sisters this transfer and only 2 leaving, so we will also be opening areas which always means lots of Sister changes... we will see what happens, I suppose. 

Hermana Montecinos is doing wonderfully! This weekend was also really powerful for her. I have seen so much growth in her in these three months and I am really proud of her. She is ready for anything that will come her way. Her testimony has really grown and she is happy. We have become good friends and she has taught me a lot. I think that I have grown more in this transfer than others with all that I have understood through our time together. 

Sounds like you all had a great week! I am glad that your bday was so fun, Kadon. I am so happy for Landon and Shawna. Sounds like it was really beautiful. Thank you friends, for writing, I am sorry that I don´t write more. Jenny, your dress is GORGEOUS!!! I am so happy for you. Tell Scott that he is one lucky man! Mackay, I hope that you like your new area and comp. It should be a great adventure for you! I love and pray for you. Mom, thank you for the recipes. I will let you know how the activity goes. Grandma and Grandpa, so glad that the computer is fixed! Now it will be easier to keep in contact. Sorry that I don´t write much. Dad, I didn´t hear from you this week. Hope all is well. 

I love you all. Go to the Temple. Go often. Prepare yourself to receive the revelation that awaits you there. 

With much love,
Hermana Shelley

pictures: 1. Dominguez kids getting ready to go to the rededication
                2. Barroso family
                3. Handkerchiefs for the Buenos Aires rededication
                4. Griselda an investigator

Monday, September 3, 2012


Dearest Family,

Well, the year long anticipation is just about over! We have finally made it to the rededication of the Temple! We could not be happier! This will prove to be a really amazing week full of all sorts of miracles. We will have the special meeting with President Eyring on Friday, the cultural event on Saturday, and the rededication on Sunday. What an amazing time to be a missionary in Buenos Aires! We are really trying to prepare ourselves well for this Spiritual feast. I could not be happier! What blessings we are seeing. I was really hit by something that Hermana Montecinos told me the other day... we were talking about something and out of the blue she said "Hermana, you are SO blessed... I don´t ever want to be split up so I can keep receiving these blessings!" I kind of just chuckled and told her that we are all very blessed, but as I was thinking about it, I had to say a prayer of gratitude... it is really true. I have been so blessed by the Lord and I am not grateful enough. We as a family have seen so many blessings and all of us personally as well are very blessed. I need to learn to be more grateful. The Lord is good to us. 

Nahuel Dominguez was baptized this Saturday and all three of the Dominguez siblings were confirmed on Sunday! I am sorry that there was some confusion... Flor is short for Florencia... she is the oldest of 7 (soon to be 8 with one on the way) kids. Ezequiel and Nahuel are her younger siblings. Elena is the grandma and by helping her return to church, we found her grandkids. The parents are also really great but need to get married to be able to be baptized and don´t really want to get married. But I know that as they continue to receive all of the blessings of the Gospel that they will be able to make this important decision. 

We worked like CRAZY this week! It was really good to have a full week in the area after a month without a "normal" week... Though I have pretty much decided that normal weeks do not exist in the mission! haha. We taught so many lessons and were able to find a bunch of new investigators which is really great. To top it all off, the baptism and the three confirmations made for a very happy week. And now the Temple rededication is coming! Love it! 

Rodolfo formed a plan to quit smoking!!!!! He has never WANTED to stop smoking, but now with the Temple in mind, he has finally formed a plan... he is down to about 10 a day, which seems like a lot, but coming from 40 or more, it is big time progress. We are really proud of him. We had a family home evening with their family and the Bishop´s family and it went REALLY well. The Bishop told him that he felt to promise him that if he prayed to know if God really exists that he would be able to stop smoking, that he felt that he just laked a testimony of the existence of God. The next day, he formed a plan! Bishop Chen is so great!

Hugo and his 2 non member daughters came to church yesterday! They are starting to progress a bit more. Still not a lot, but doing better. We aren´t totally focused on them because they still aren´t really progressing investigators, but we see them about once a week. More than anything, they need to read the Book of Mormon. That´s the key!

Griselda is a new investigator that we met this week who is awesome! She is coming out of some problems with drugs and really making a great effort. She lived in another ward before and was attending there. Since the first lesson that we taught her, she hasn´t had any drugs and is doing well. She loved Church yesterday and really felt the Spirit in testimony meeting. Then, Relief Society was all about the power of forgiveness and she cried through most of it. We gave her a CTR ring so that every time she thinks about doing drugs, she sees her ring as she goes to accept it. She says that really helped! 

Stela is REALLY busy and it has been hard to visit her and her family. She says that this week should be a bit more calm. 

Nicolas is the youngest of the Dominguez family (he is 8) and still doesn´t quite want to be baptized. He likes going to church, but says he doesn´t want to have to go every week and so he doesn´t want to be baptized. We are still working with him and hope that he can be baptized this week. 

Nacho is the friend of the member that I mentioned last week. He is SUPER Evangelical and doesn´t really want to change, but is reading the Book of Mormon and praying, so we know that he will get his answer. 

I want to share a thought from my scripture study... 
( I only have my Spanish scriptures with me, so we will see how the translation comes out...)
2 Nephi 31:12
To those who are baptized, Heavenly Father gives the Holy Ghost, as He did to Jesus Christ
As I thought pondering, it really hit me that we receive the EXACT same gift that Jesus Christ received... the Holy Ghost. It is through the same Spirit that is given to US that the SAVIOR received revelation, followed the Father, healed the sick, worked miracles, and lived the perfect life. WE are given the exact same guidance that the Savior had... we just have to choose to listen. We have to choose to live worthily to receive that direction. We have to ACT when the direction comes in faith, knowing that we will see the miracle. Our Heavenly Father trusts us enough to give us the same gift of the Holy Ghost that He gave to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We must choose to live worthy of that gift!

Funny story for the week... 
Last week, it rained a TON like I mentioned... our area was just one huge mud pit, so we chose to always go the long way around and stay on the few paved roads with the bikes to avoid problems. Well, we had some investigators that were avoiding us all week, and usually saw us coming from a distance and ran inside so that we couldn´t see them. So, Hermana Montecinos said "why don´t we just go up this road so they don´t see us?" It was muddy, but we figured it wasn´t too bad. She went first, nice and slow, and just about fell, so she yelled back to me "fast and with lots of strength!" So, I listened, and pushed hard to go fast and strong... well, my tire hit the mud and my bike went one way and my body the other! hahahah. I was COVERED in mud! My arms, legs, skirt, scarf, jacket, EVERYTHING! It was hilarious. Then, to top it all off, as I tried to get up, my shoes were stuck deep in the mud. A nice man came and pulled the bike out, helped me up, grabbed my shoes and walked me through it all. hahaha. Justo, we didn´t have a camera so I had to wait to take pictures when we got home and it doesn´t do any justice to the damage. BUT; the investigators let us in because they felt really bad for me! haha. We didn´t have time to go home because it was almost the end of the day and we needed daily contact with the Dominguez family, so we made that last visit before getting me to a shower! haha. So funny. Like I always say, good times, good times!

Well family, I have to run. I love you all SOOOOO much! Thank you all for your support and prayers. I feel each one of them. Know that I love and pray for you. Know that I am well and happy. Know that I know without a doubt that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ in the world today. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we will be an eternal family as we keep doing the small and simple things that will lead us to Eternal Life. 

I love you all!!!
Hermana Shelley

pictures: 1 & 2-Nahuel Dominguez baptism
                 3-Dominguez family
                 4 & 5- MUD pictures!!