Thursday, March 26, 2015

"streets of Macul are sacred"

I always feel like I don't have anything to say by the time Monday rolls around. I promise stuff happens here in la mision Chile Santiago Este, but it's like trying to write a Christmas list right before Christmas--there's just nothing you want in that moment, but you have to write it anyway. I'm not saying I don't want to write you all, I'm just trying to make excuses for my extremely lame emails!

This week Eduardo (a less-active member we're working with) baptized his friend, Fabian!! Fabian and Eduardo are best pals, even though there's a good 15 year age difference between the two. Fabian has been an investigator for who knows how long, but he finally made the decision to be baptized! Eduardo has been at his side the whole time and it was AWESOME to see those two in the baptismal font. They are hilariously weird and I will send pics later on. Fabian showed up in his pajamas haha it was great.

We helped Alicia get names ready to take to the temple this week! She's going to do the baptisms for her sister and her grandma. We all felt the spirit so strongly looking for those names, entering the information, and especially when we reserved them for Alicia to do the work. She was in tears as she explained the feelings of peace and joy she has. It was pretty intense and super spiritual. We're so excited to go to the temple with her this week! I'm feeling the Spirit of Elias and I want to start working in my family history! Pa, can you send me all the datos you have from mom's side of the family? Good-bye P-day naps.

We found a great new investigators named Carlos this week! We were looking for the address of a less-active member (in the shady part of town that we never work in), but couldn't find it, so we asked a guy working on his car. We got to chatting and when I asked him if he believed in God he was like "Of course, but I need more knowledge. I don't really know how to follow Him more or what He wants me to do. How do I follow Him? Do you guys know what He wants me to do?" psh, oh buddy, do we know! We talked to him a little about the plan of salvation and he is super excited for us to go back! We put a cita (I don't know what that is in English...appointment?) and we're going back this week! Prayers, por favor :) Also, in case you're wondering, we never did find the address of the less-active guy.
I went to Diego Portales to do divisions and boy was that a party. We spent like 7 hours contacting in the streets in 100 degree weather. Not that I don't LOVE Deigo Portales, but I really, really, reaaaaallllllllllyyyyyyyy LOVE Macul. Oh, there were transfers and I'm still in Macul. Surprises all around this week! I think I would love to end my mission here, if that's possible. I guess we'll see.

The day we found Carlos, I contacted a lady in the street with a pass-along card with a picture of Jesus on the front. I gave it to her and she just started laughing and is all "That's not Jesus, that's Peter!" I tried to kindly explain to her that it was, indeed, a picture of Jesus Christ, but she just kept craking up. By the end of our interaction, she was wiping tears from her eyes from laughing so hard. Silly us, handing out pictures of Peter, thinking it's Jesus the whole time. When we left, she was still laughing like maybe we're the crazy ones haha it was journal-worthy.

This week I was studying Alma 23--the chapter where the lamanites put away their weapons of rebellion. This chapter is amazing, so go study it because I don't have time to write down all the amazing things I learned! STUDY IT! 
What touched me most about this story is the complete conversion these people experience. Verse 6 says that those who were converted never again fell away (that could be a bad english translation). These people "abandoned their weapons of rebellion." They stopped doing all the things that were wrong and worked towards perfect obedience. 
We all have weapons of rebellion, but what can we do to have that type of conversion? What do I need to do to bury my weapons of rebellion and never again fall away? Verse 15 says that they experienced this conversion because they came to a knowledge of the truth and repented. Truth is "an understanding of things as they really are, were and will be." So these people understood the plan of happiness that God has for all of us--that led them to repentance. 

When I read that, I thought of a story in Luke 7, when the woman washes Jesus's feet with her tears, then wipes them with her hair. For me, she is an amazing example of a repentant heart. This woman was a sinner, so when Simon saw that she was at the Master's feet, he murmured in his heart. Christ tells him that this woman's sins are forgiven because she has loved Him. He goes on to say that Simon didn't even offer Jesus water for His feet, but the woman bathed His feet in her tears, ect.
Now, Simon is the one who invited the Savior to His house. This woman found Jesus there, but Simon was the one who let Him in. But, when this woman found Christ, she adored Him and loved Him and worshipped Him. Simon let him in, but this woman served Him and recognized the power He had to forgive her sins and heal her.
I think that is the difference between believing and being converted. It's easy to "invite" Christ in, but how many of us are showing our love like that woman? How often are we completely humbling ourselves before Him and giving Him everything, recognizing who He is? When we understand that Christ is our Savior and exactly what His Atonement does for us, we experience the repentance of this woman and the conversion of the lamanites. When we recognize who He is, we are ready to give Him all of our might, mind, heart, and strength and abandon our weapons of rebellion to follow Him. That is my invitation to you all: Find your weapons of rebellion and bury them for the love you have for the Savior. Study His Atonement and what it means for you. It means everything.

The streets of Macul are sacred to me because they are where I have come to the knowledge of Christ as my Redeemer. His Atonement is everything. The conversion comes when we use His Atonement in our lives. The Church is true.


Hermana Aponster

P.S. Letters in the mail for the following individuals: Ella, Sam, Liv, Abe, and Jac. BESOS.

Monday, March 9, 2015

If Aponte's don't know how to live it up, who does?

My dearest sweetest Aponte's,

Oh how I love you all!!!! I would like to apologize 5000 times because this email is going to be SUPER short. I wrote Jaz a novel for her birthday, so blame it on her! It's now "beat up Jazmin day," except you will all have to wait until tomorrow when it's not her birthday.

Well, you guys are all SUPER busy playing Narnia and living it up while mom and pa are in New York, changing the world. Meanwhile, everyone's favorite sister is sweating down in Chile where there is lightning striking our apartment building at 2 in the morning (that really happened) and volcanoes erupting and earthquakes disturbing the peace. If Aponte's don't know how to live it up, who does?

This week I have some AWESOME news: Carolina is getting baptized on the 22 of March!!!! This is a beautiful miracle and this woman is SO READY! Seriously, I feel like we didn't even have to do anything with her. We just found her and she was already awesome and ready to be baptized into the true church. Peace and blessings. Seriously, the overwhelming feeling I have on my mission is that God is so dang GOOD! He really doesn't need me to do this, but he just lets little-ole weirdo Nahiomi meet these awesome people and direct them to the nearest chapel. There are so many people who are so ready to accept the message of the restored gospel. It is the greatest blessing of my life being able to watch the happiness it brings them when they realize that this is what they've been searching for; this is what they've been missing.

I've been thinking a lot about Mom and Pa's conversion story this week. I've been especially pondering the roles of the missionaries and members in their amazing story. Who are the missionaries that baptized our lovely parents? Does anyone know? Can someone go find them and THANK them? Everyday I testify 10'0 times about how the gospel blesses families and bring happiness. That message that the missionaries shared with mom and pa in that first lesson changed much more than just the lives of mom and pa. Find them and thank them, por favor. Also, Titi Emma. If it were not for the new convert, Titi Emma, mom and pa proabbly wouldn't have found the missionaries for some time. Share what you know and the blessings it has brought you. There is a power in that, which I can't even being to describe. Muchas gracias, Titi Emma :) 

Also, Hermana Erin Allred (my favorite mission mom ever) is coming to visit this week! Need I say more? Yes, I think so. I love that kid.

Jacqueline, have you heard the scripture that it is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do? Look up scriptures that have to do with grace and let me know what you learn! I will send you a letter next week, letting you know what I learn about grace this week!

Ella, Sam, and Liv, I LOVE YOU GUYS and I am so happy that you are having so much fun in the snow! Have you guys drawn me any pictures lately? Send them! You know I love them! Be good and listen to Jaz!!

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! Be good :)


Monday, March 2, 2015

My heart was crushed...

Holita to everyone!!

We visited the public library 
I hope the floors are brand-spanking-new and that you're all home, enjoying your own beds. I know mom is probably super happy, but not Sam. He loves staying in hotels too much. 
Ricky, congrats on your team making it to state this year!! You have to write me and tell me all about it! What did you swim and how did it go?
Jake, I'm anxiously awaiting the e-mail and pictures about your eagle project in Guatemala! Send it to me! Just do it.
Jamie, I LOVE YOU. That's all.
Jaz, how can it be that you are turning 18 next week?! I tell everyone and they all feel the pain with me. It just can't be. I hope it's great!! You will hear more from me next week :)
Mom and Pa, GOOD LUCK speaking at the U.N!!! I am praying that you guys will have the guidance of the Spirit to do so. Remember, He knows all things. You can count on Him to help you in this, too! I am so proud of my beautiful family! You guys are great! How lucky am I to be an Aponte?!

Everyone is starting to come back from vacation, so the angels are high-fiving in the heavens. I'm 100% sure of it! This week we started teaching Eduardo and Cataleena, again! THEY ARE GREAT! I told you guys about them; the young couple with 2 kids who remind me of mom and pa. They are looking for a way to come closer to God and really feel like the gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer! YAY! We are going to see them again tonight, so just keep praying for them!

Things are going really well with Carolina, the new investigator from last week! She went to church againthis sunday and her daughter, Valeska, sang in the Primary Choir during Stake Conference. She even took the liberty of taking her brother and his son (who are our old investigators), so that's just great! She is progressing nicely and we're going to invite her to accept a baptismal date this week!

Hermana Rivadeneira de Columbia
This week was Stake Conference and that kind of blew my mind. This is my second Stake Conference in the stake of Alicahue, which made me realize that it will probably be my last. I love working in Macul! I love it with all my heart! The people here have become my family and the streets have become my home. I can't imagine serving somewhere else. But, I've still got time! I'm counting on having at least 9 months here :) I will make it count!

This week, we saw a lot of miracles. I don't have too much time, so here is my favorite: I called a family in our ward to confirm lunch for the next day. This is an older lady who takes care of her husband, who has Alzheimer's. They are PRECIOUS! Anyway, she hesitated in answering, then was like "Hermana, we don't have much to give you, but we will give you what we have." My heart was crushed and I told her not to worry about it, that we have food, but she insisted! So, we went the next day. When we got there, she hugged us tightly and said "You bring blessings!" She proceeded to tell us that she looked and looked for something to give to us, but she found very little. Then, her son (who lives like 2 hours away) stopped by for a surprise visit to leave them a turkey! She was overcome and thanked US for bringing the blessings of our loving Father in Heaven. I was touched by her example of faith. When we left the lunch, I started tearing up a little. My companion asked me what was happening and I asked her "Who are we that the living God blesses people for wanting to serve us?" Who are we? I know how little my part is and how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of this life. I know how little I am, yet to Him I am important. In that moment, I realized that we are nothing, but we are EVERYTHING to Him. We are everything to our loving Heavenly Father. He loves us. Not just the missionaries; He loves each and every one of His children. He is just WAITING to pour out blessings! I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He lives. Have I ever mentioned how extremely grateful I am to have the privilegio (how to you say that in English?) of serving the Lord? I love being a missionary!

I love you guys oh so very much! Keep on keeping on. I know this Church is true and I know my Savior lives! I would NOT be here if I didn't know that was true. Live the gospel and I promise the blessings will be poured out :) I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Hermanita Aponster

P.S. Ella, Sam, Liv, Jac, and Abe: Keep sending me your beautiful drawings and letters! I LOVE GETTING THEM! Also, I got the package with the pictures and that made my whole month!!! I LOVE GETTING PICTURES! You all look great :) I especially loved the Plan of Happiness pictures :) This gospel is happiness.