Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello my dear family and friends,

I just want to start off this email by saying that I have never been more thankful for the strength and courage that my family and friends provide me. This past week has been the hardest week of my life, no doubt. Its been full of ups and downs, but I dont think I would trade it for anything. Its already taught me so much about myself, and I just cant believe it. Before you leave on a mission, people who have been on missions tell you that its the hardest thing you will ever do, but that its so worth it. Honestly, none of that advice really prepared me for what I would feel out here. 
LDS Temple in Santiago, Chile--This is what I see out of my bedroom window!
The first day I arrived here, was COMPLETELY overwhelming. That night as I was laying in bed in a room full of girls I didn't know, I thought about my friends and family. I have never ever felt so homesick in my life. For the first time I thought "Oh my gosh, I cant do this. Theres no way I can do this." It was really scary, honestly. BUT then I had to stop and think, why am I here? Why did I choose to serve a mission in the first place? I prayed and prayed that night that the pain in my heart would go away, that I would be able to at least FUNCTION the next day! The next morning when I woke up, I cant really fully explain how I felt, but it was the deepest feeling of love and appreciation from my Father in Heaven. I know that He is watching over me constantly, and I know that He understands how much I miss my amazing parents and sweet brothers. God knows me, and He knows every one of you!!

My companion Hermana Phelps from AZ
After I was able to get over the homesickness, its been a process to try and NOT be so hard on myself. The Spanish language is so hard!  Okay, its hard when youre trying to TEACH in it, and you only really have a vocabulary of 30 words!!!!! haha. Our teachers here at the CCM are incredible. Theyre native Chileans who have all recently returned from missions and all can speak pretty decent English. Ive never really felt this deep of a love for people that I dont know very well. I feel like I have a very strong connection with not only my teachers, but with my District! My district is made up of 5 companionships--3 girl companioships, and 2 boy companionships. Weve all gotten really really close in these past 6 days because were all struggling with the language together and were all trying to learn how to teach others better! 
Fellow hermanas in my District...Love them already!

One thing that Ive really learned since Ive been here is that the Spirit NEEDS to be present at all times. Before we plan a lesson, read our scriptures, teach investigators (really teachers acting like investigators), we PRAY! Pray to have the Spirit with us to teach and guide us. And let me tell you, the Holy Ghost is real. The Spirit makes the most incredible diffference in your focus, in your thinking, in your conversations. Having the Spirit in your life as much as you can makes the BIGGEST difference, and it just blows my mind. I love it! 

Santiago is beautiful. The weather is absolutely incredible--warm, but not too warm, breezy but not too windy, and very dry. The area that the CCM is in is absolutely gorgeous. There are palm trees everywhere and all the streets are lined with lights at night. People are always out and about. Every morning, everyone at the CCM goes down the street a couple miles to this BEAUTIFUL park. There are native Chileans everywhere that we get to talk to and sometimes we play kickball or basketball or futbol. It definitely makes these long days much much much more bearable. I will send you pictures! 

I dont have much more time to write today because Im going to try and email everyone back that wrote me! But I just want you all to know that I KNOW that Jesus Christ lives. I know that more and more every day. He is our Savior and our Brother, who loves us more than we could ever comprehend. I love being a missionary!!!! Its the toughest thing ever, but I wouldnt trade it for the world!! I love my family and friends so so so much. Thank you all for being so supportive! YOURE THE BEST! Talk to you next week :)

Lots of love, 
Hermana Randall

Park in Santiago

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