Thursday, February 5, 2015

Here's to a NEW beginning.



is not what you expect. 

I have been home now for 2 weeks and let me tell you… it's been a roller coaster of reality checks and emotions. Here are just a few things which have caught me by surprise:

(1) The joy of not sharing a bathroom with anyone.
(2) Did you know there are more traffic rules than just looking for the lighted, walking man to tell you when you can cross the street? Green, yellow, and red boxes that light up… what are those? 
(3) I still respond to people in Spanish. I don't think it's ever going to fix itself. 
(4) MY PHONE DRIVES ME CRAZY! It rings… and beeps… and beeps more… and vibrates… and OH MY GOSH turn it off!!! 
(5) Having to change the settings on your phone and computer so it knows how to talk 2 languages. #bilingualprobs
(6) It's sooo cold! I can wear thermal underwear, thermal tights, pants, gloves, a sweatshirt, hat, etc. and my nose, toes, and fingers still are ice. 


(7) Everything costs $$$$. What ever happened to those days when you just bought what you NEEDED and walked everywhere? Bye mission life. 
(8) Sunday: do I HAVE to wear a skirt?!?! Please no. Pretty please. NOOO.
(9) I forgot what it was like to have food storage and packed-full kitchen cupboards. #helloendlesssupplyoffood #goodbyeselfcontrol
(10) How is it possible in the past 19 months that everyone is married and/or has a baby?!?! 
(11) The lack of a fixed schedule. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with friends and family. At times, it has been overwhelming and boring… or the conversation has been, in my opinion, quite boring and meaningless... however, I try to enjoy the moment and the feeling of finally being home. I've been trying to catch up with everything that's happened in the last 19 months. I've bought a car, phone, and much more; now, all that awaits me is a job. I've had many job offers; however, I am being a little picky. Thank goodness, there's always a backup plan. 

I feel as if the emotional roller coaster is beginning to flatten out. One of my biggest worries in the mission was that I was going to be a "weird, awkward RM". Yup, well I think that's inevitable. In 19 months, I was able to see what really matters in life and my priorities have changed. Hence, I forget sometimes that everyone around me hasn't experienced the same. 

Here are some habits I learned in the mission that cannot be replaced:
(1) Praying in Spanish. It doesn't matter to me who is listening; I'm still sayin' it in Spanish. Seriously, just trust me and say AMEN at the end. 
(2) Writing the Hermanas in Chile every Monday… and multiple times during the week. #inboxfull 
(3) Calling the ward missionaries weekly to ask if they need anything.
(4) Stopping every chance you get to offer service. *Story time: After the MASSIVE snow storms we've been getting, I was driving by a few houses which hadn't been plowed out. There was one middle-aged lady who was shoveling out. The snow was up to her chest. I drove on by as I was heading for my dentist appointment and knew if I stopped, I would be late. A few hundred yards down the road, I felt guilt hit my soul… so I flipped a U-turn in the middle of the road and went back to offer my help. She declined; however, I was content with myself. 
(5) Daily exercise
(6) The skill of listening
(7) Daily scripture study. 
(8) I ♡ the Liahona
(9) Kissing people on the cheek as you go to hug them. #Chileangreeting (oh it's awkward at times)
(10) Focusing on the betterment of others and yourself in every way, especially spiritually.

I have been hoping and praying for missionary experiences here in Maine. It should be easy right? I spoke to strangers everyday in Spanish for 19 months in Chile; I can do this with my friends, in my own native tongue! And then one moment came. I was able to stay at a friend's house and had an amazing missionary moment. I don't know if it was as memorable for her as it was for me; but honestly, it was a Heaven sent blessing. It all began by her asking me questions of what I believed. I was able to offer easy answers and explain in a way that she understood (thanks to mission101). At first, when I started teaching her, my heart was pounding with excitement and, as I continued, I felt like a missionary again. It was in THAT moment that I knew it IS possible to be a member missionary!!! 

Monday, January 26, 2015


Hey everyone!!!

After 19 months of service, as a full-time missionary and full-time mission nurse specialist, in the mission Chile Santiago East, I'm here! I'm back! I made it!

You know, I thought it was going to be smooth ride home to Maine from Chile; however, I think Brandon jinxed me. Getting to Chile was a problem-solving test. Leaving Chile was a patience builder. Oh what a trip home it was! Here's what happened.

First in Santiago in the apartment. I packed little by little, throwing stuff away left and
right. We went to the internet for my last Chilean post and President Wright calls and wants to see me before I leave, He says he's gonna stop by with the assistants and the secretaries (Elder Laurentino, Elder McGary, Elder Lopez, Elder Hansen Sr.). So we go back home and we take my bags down to the car. We had a good time talking and laughing about missionary life. Then we weighed my bags; one is underweight and one is overweight. So, I'm forced to take action in the street on the sidewalk. President said I wasn't a girl with much shame, so we got to work. I opened up my bags on the sidewalk and we start switching stuff around. I didn't have to leave anything behind! SCORE. 

Then I say goodbye to everyone (that was not an easy task) and go to the airport with Elder and Hermana Mayer. We get there, All is going well.., until we get to the baggage check and I realize the Kiosk only gave me one ticket. Not three. Are you serious? So we look into it and it's because I have to switch airlines.... Ugh. Elder Sheffield, You really did make me a one way ticket to Hong Kong didn't you? Haha. The Delta guy just tells me to at least get to the states and then I could go from there. Say what brotha? Well, I figured that was the right option. I passed customs, security, and all that jazz; I got through without too many problems, THEN I found another missionary (Elder Hubler), Come to find out, he knows some of the people in my last zone!!! Small world. We did some contacting and got on the plane. I sat on the wrong seat (my fault haha), and had my first eventful 9 hour 15 minute flight. 

Santiago, Chile to Atlanta, Georgia. I sat next to a Chilena and a Chileno. I was so thankful that I was able to sit next to Spanish speakers. I first spoke to the Chilena. After a little chit chat, I told her I was a missionary and gave her a pass-a-long card; I started explaining the card and she very frankly told me she did not want to talk to me. How rude! So I just sat there trying to not make it awkward. And then fear kicked in when I felt I needed to talk to the Chileano on the other side of me. I knew I needed to talk to him, but what if he rejected me too? Talk about an uncomfortable flight. So after a few minutes of self-battle, I decided not to be a pansy and I talked to him. He was amazing and very receptive! I ended up giving him my email address; we'll see what happens. 

THEN... the hornery lady spilt her drink all over me (on accident). Oh but hold on, it wasn't just water. It wasn't milk. It wasn't soda. It was white wine!!! How lovely right? I still have the smell of wine in my nose... Charity suffereth long. Haha. 

I get off the plane in Atlanta, try to help some Spansh speakers know where they needed to go, pass through customs, find my checked bags (man they're heavy), and then try to figure out how to do this whole change airlines business. I get some help after being referred to 5 different people, praying my checked bags got put on the right flight, and go through security. At security, the security sensors went off on my leg, they totally have to pat me down. Thankyou to the white wine all over my skirt. Ohhhh que vergüenza. I didn't say a word; I just let them think their machine was crazy. Haha. Then I had to find my connecting flight and realize that was going to be much more complicated than I thought. I had to take the "Plane Train" (last metro ride!) to another terminal, leave the airport security, check in and get my tickets, go back through security, then back onto the Plane Train to my gate. 

Por las hermanas: en Philadelphia, necesitaba tomar un bus de un lugar en el aeropuerto a un otro. Bueno, estaban anunciando en el bus a afirmarse súper bien por los movimientos y todos lo hicieron con manos blancas el final. Jaja. También la gente tomó su espacio y no hicieron espacio por los demás. Estaba riéndome mucho porque obviamente nunca han viajado a Chile en bus ni metro. Fue el viaje mas suave que he tenido en mi vida. Jajaja.

And that's not all, I keep responding to people in Spanish!! Ooops. That has got to be the weirdest thing to see this white girl walking around talking to people in Spanish. I'm still thinking in Spanish and translating what I'm saying. It sounds so foreign. Also, I found out it's really hard to teach the lessons in English. I'm just Spanglishing it. How crazy is that? Oh ya, and people here are soooo tall!!! 

By the way, Hermanas, I ate my Ramitas. Haha. At like 4am on the plane and for breakfast. Sing it to the toon of "Red Robins... Yum!".... Hagalo. RAMITAS. Yum.

Other side note. My legs have never hurt so bad before. Sitting so long after walking all day long for 19 months isn't all that comfortable. I ache with muscle burn from my hips to my ankles. That sounds like an old person! What's wrong with me?

The scenery of the USA that I saw was pretty. Even though it's not green nor is there snow, it was fun to see all of the lakes frozen over. But no snow??! Why not? Inflight from Chile to Georgia, I did pass by some countries I don't know if I will ever visit. Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Cuba, etc.

So I finally arrive to Maine…boy, it is COLD! I arrived and was so excited to see my family and friends. I had no idea who was going to be there, but I was content knowing that it would be those whom I love. I was greeted with a hug, kiss, and tears by my Mom and then everyone after. (I won't attach all the crying pictures. Haha.)

My Mom gave me a beautiful rose and explained that there were more in the airport with someone; I was to go find them. I looked at her and said, "It's Brandon." She responded with a doubtful and unconvincing, "I don't know…" As I looked around, I saw this….

He had the bill of his hat down farther, though, so I could not see his eyes. Good thinking. I knew it was him… the doubt kicked in for about 3 seconds…then I was back to how I was going to unleash the young body from the old man disguise.

IT WAS HIM!!!!! What a surprise it was. I had a feeling he was going to be there when I started on my flights from Chile to Maine. I believe I needed the assurance he was going to be by my side for a few days as some of my post mission stress began.

We stayed there at the the airport, talked, took pictures (Thanks Soubanh!!), and found my luggage (miracles). I introduced those there to a Bon a Bon thanks to Hermana Alejandra Albornoz. They all loved them! We left the airport shortly after. I was released by my stake president and became a normal person again (as Hermana Tingey would say)!!!

We are now at almost a week since I have been home. I feel like it has been a tornado of experiences already. My mind swims with information of what has happened, what is happening, and what needs to happen. I have laughed. I have cried. I have been lost in my own thoughts. I have been trying to be a "normal returned missionary"…I don't even know what that is! Things are coming together. I am getting to know myself as well as others again. It feels as if everything has changed and it's like starting from ground zero in order to get to know the world around me. Adventures! I am excited and scared for the future. I am ready to move on. I am ready to live and love whatever may come my way. Chau Chile! Welcome to post-mission life!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Final pictures til we see her in the FLESH!!!!!!

Last District Class. Sad day. Can't ya tell?

Lunch with Dr. and Hermana Johnson. YUM

My gorgeous companions

Estaban at the temple... he totally went to church on Sunday. SCORE!

Face masks last night! Mine was for "tired skin".
Hahaha. I'm all refreshed and energized to come home now!

The shoes could'nt hold on any longer.... sooo I guess I'll come home

19 months completed today... =)

Hermana Villalba made us food from Columbia today!!! It was soooo good. I have been officially spoiled.
THE END! or should her momma say

This IS the LAST and final post… Really it is… Brooklyn will be boarding a plane very soon. WARNING: she is LONG winded in this one….

¡Hola Familia!

SURPRISE! I didn't think I would make it to the internet today, but I wanted to surprise you all. So here I am! =)

I'm comin' home, comin' home. Tell the world that I'm comin' home. :) I'm leaving here in an hour to go to the airport. Just wanted to write my LAST email!

So our trio, Hermana Cook, Hermana Tingey, and I, is called something special. They call us "Las 3 Nefitas". They as in whatever member of the church. Missionaries, members, etc. who don't even know eachother. It's just a natural thing to call us so amazing... um cause we are amazing! Nah, but seriously, how cute is that! Las 3 Nefitas. =) (see...

Funny missionary thing: So per the church's system, I am not a missionary any more. I have not been for at least 2 weeks. (I have served for 19 months now; it makes sense.) I try to log into my missionary account to write President Wright my weekly letter or to put numbers in for our sector... nope, can't do it. SAD DAY! I am a missionary, for right now. Pahhlease. =( CHAU!

"Enchufate!" --- "Plug yourself in!". It's another saying like the one about the batteries. Hahaha. That was for you Bryan.

It's kinda cold here today in Chile. We're wearing jackets. Well let's be honest; it's not cold at all... we're just turning into Chileans. Haha. I don't mind at all though, it's at least preparing me a TINY bit before I come home.

This week has been full of emotional roller coasters and "lasts". I've cried, laughed, gotten angry and frustrated, etc. I did my last full time missionary procelyting day, last district class, last interview with President Wright, last prayers, last lessons, last emails, last talks, last .... Oh it was eventful to say the least. I couldn't have asked for a better ending as a full-time missionary and nurse in the Chile, Santiago East Mission. =)

We went to lunch with Dr. and Hermana Johnson. They took us to a Peruvian restaurant. YUM. Thankyou!!!

I know the gospel changes lives when we live it. It has mine. I have a fuller and clearer understanding of spiritual things like never before. The mission has taught me, amongst many other things, what I wasn't doing as a member and daughter of God before the mission. I lived the gospel superficially 19 months ago. Yes, I always tried to choose the right, bu that's just not enough. Also, I have seen a glimps more into knowing who my Savior is and what the Atonement really is all about. I have seen that: God knows everything, we need to trust Him, through Jesus Christ we are whole, and yes it is possible to be strictly obedient, depending on the desires of the heart and its respective actions. During these past 19 months, my spiritual eyes have been opened a little wider everyday as my soul has become more hungry for spiritual strength. I feel as though I am a sort of transplanted, spiritual tree. I left the USA with some kind of roots. I arrived to Chile with my roots dangling in the air. Not long after, those roots found soil, air, sun, water, etc. (a message of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel) and those weak roots then started to grow and support a deeper rooted spiritual tree. Now the time is coming for me to be uprooted again. However, I can't wait to see what the future has to hold!

There have been many tender prayers this past week on my behalf. Investigators who have prayed for the first time, to less actives remembering how to pray, to reactivating members, and to active members... in their prayers, they have included me, my travels, and my future life. How tender is that?! I think I might have the smoothest trip home with all these prayers here. I have received many gifts for the trip home and to share... we'll see how much of it fits in the suitcases. =)

"What Will You Choose?" is a great talk in the January 2015 Liahona by Elder Nelson. Go read it!!! I love the questions and comments it has. He states saving or exalting ourselves depends on our individual decisions and as we choose to access the power of the Lord's Atonement in our lives. Then he continues with these 8 questions and counsels. (1) Will you choose to increase in learning? - D&C 130:18-19 - Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them. (2) What manner of living will you choose? - 1 Timothy 4:12 - Choose to think and act differently than those of the world. Choose to look different, and see what an influence for good you will become. You can't be a life ever if you look like all the other swimmers on the beach. (3) Will you establish priorities to help you make your choices? - Matthew 6:33 - Your choices will not all be between good and evil. Many will be choices between two good options. Choose eternal life as your highest priority! (4) With whom will you associate? - You know that the consequences for not playing by the rules are not only temporal but also eternal. (5) Will you choose freedom or bondage? - 2 Peter 2:18-19 - Avoid bondage. None are smart enough to outwit the adversary on their own once they have been poisoned by pornography. It is as destructive as leprosy, as addictive as meth, and a corrosive as lye. (6) Will you choose to follow the Lord or the philosophies of men? - Carefully study "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" and 2 Timothy 3:15 - Your faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel will give you the courage to marry and to bring children into your family. Study the scriptures and keep doing the things thy build your faith in Jesus Christ. (7) How will you prepare for your personal interview with the Savior? - Alma 34:32 - Each day on earth gives you time and opportunity to prepare for that interview with Jesus Christ. Please know this: as you choose to live on the Lord's side, you are never alone. (8) In whom will you put your trust? - 2 Nephi 28:31 - Maintain your focus on His holy temple. Remain faithful to those covenants and return frequently. I love our prophet and apostles! They are inspired men with the power of God and a special communication with Christ for His church. May we choose to be a light to the world and always remember who we are (D&C 86:8-11).

Speaking of light... we finally ran into Martin after a month absence! We talked about light, true light, in this life. He states it is difficult for him to want a 24/7 light in his life (the joy, happiness, and blessings which come by living the gospel principles) because fireworks seem more appealing and more fun. Understandable right? We talked about how fireworks don't last and usually leave you in darkness; however, a turned on light with electricity attached is always there. We talked about how we always need the constant light in our lives and that fireworks are not bad as long as we are keeping the commandments. By the end of the lesson, he stated he needs to stop looking for and wanting so many fireworks because he can't see the constant light in his life. He expressed concerns that he is losing his faith because he has recently inplugged his light from the electricty socket. There is truly something special about that kid. I pray he will see the worth of this gospel and of himself, as well as remember to doubt his doubts before he doubts his faith. That 15 year old is like a little brother to me. On Wednesday after my last lesson with him, he attacked me with the biggest, most sincere bear hug in the world. As he laid his head on my shoulder for a second, said goodbye and that we'd see eachother again, and left extremely fast right after, I felt as though I was leaving a brother behind. I know my work with him is not over; I love him too much to give up on him from Maine. Thank goodness for technology. I wrote him a letter this past Thursday; I hope it will be something he likes.

After 19 months in Chile, two days before I come home, I totally heard a Mariachi Band!! We were contacting this really nice lady and all the sudden 3 guys all dressed up with HUGE sombreros and instruments (there was this massive guitar that sat on this guy's big belly, a regular guitar, and a trumpet) came walking up to the house across the street. And then they began... singing and playing till their hearts were content with the people dancing. They even made my toes start tappin'. =) It was a fun experience out in the middle of the street.

Speaking of Chile. I'm gonna miss something else. All of the people who sing terribly, but sing anyway. Sometimes it just hurts the ears. But with time, you get used to singing over the top of it. Haha.

Another young man story: Esteban. 16 years old. We're at the temple last week, Hermana Tingey and me, and are waiting for the other Hermanas to come so we can have Hermana Cook back from divisions. Immediately as we come out of the door, I see a kid standing over across from the temple just looking at the building. I had no idea what he was doing. I thought maybe he was thinking about entering and I realized he didn't have dress clothes on. I thought maybe he wanted to know more about the temple, but was shy. I thought... a lot... and after ignoring the thought of going to see him for a few minutes, I just went for it. Weird or not I just walked up to him and asked what he was doing. He said he was waiting for his grandmother to come out of the temple for the past hour and a half. I talked with him about why he had never been able to enter the temple. He stated that he doesn't go to church every Sunday because he doesn't have a way to get there. He lives 7 kilometers from the chapel on dirt roads and has no way to get there other than by foot. He said he has a motorcycle, but it's nonfunctional. So we set some goals for him to go to church on Sunday, to fix his motorcycle, to get himself to the temple this year, 2015. It was the coolest contact I've had in a long time. To have just come out of the temple, see him standing there looking at the temple, to feel the need to talk to him, to testify of the importance of going to the temple, and tell him of the feelings I had just felt ... It was a precious moment for me. I gave him my name for Facebook and also my email. I hope to hear from him and to know he's achieved his goal.

I had my last district class! Wow. I feel like I honestly just got into the routine and now I'm leaving it all. Ya anyway, it was a fun district class. Elder Silva said being that it was my last class that I was to lead it. And I totally had a part of the class to teach. I thought about faith, rectitude vs. obedience, and how to prepare ourselves for the promptings of the Spirit. It was a fun class to teach. I love teaching! Also, before I left the chapel, the entire zone sang me a goodbye hymn. :) Ahhh.

I read this in the Gospel Principles Manual this past week.
"The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith that missionaries would receive great blessings. Speaking to elders who were returning from their missions, the Lord said, “Ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you” (D&C 62:3). He has also said that those who work for the salvation of others will have their sins forgiven and will bring salvation to their own souls (see D&C 4:4; 31:5; 84:61)."
Like Elder Rasmussen said I hope my name and testimony are written on a bigscreen in the heavens, not just a small one.

I have three words to describe how I am feeling right now... content, hopeful, and scared. I think that covers it all. Haha.

Love you all.
See you all tomorrow! Can you believe it? Cause I can't.
Hermana Talbot (Hermana...for the last time)

P.S. Remember Hyman's Seafood Motto: "The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have ... and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our ATTITUDE." - Chuck Swindoll.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Last and final post of this old momma of Hermana Talbot

This is an insert from a letter written by Hermana Wright. President and Hermana Wright was lets just say Brooklyn's 2nd parents while she was in Chile. I am so grateful for them and their tender care of my daughter… <3 <3 

President and Hermana Wright and Brooklyn

"In our mission we have a wonderful full time sister missionary who is also our mission nurse, Hermana Talbot. I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing she has been here. In addition to all of the regular work a missionary does, she takes all of the initial health issue calls, finds local doctors and dentists, locates pharmacies and medications that are hard to find, and then checks up on missionaries with health problems to see how they are doing. She arrived here about a year into our mission and is now preparing to go home. I had no idea how much I needed her untilshe came and began to work her magic, and the whole mission is better for it. We have been assigned a new mission nurse whom she is now training. They recently came up to the house for a teleconference to receive training on a new insurance plan. (picture attached) Our new nurse worked with Nikita in Ecuador in the orphanages. It is such a privilege to work with these amazing young people! They make my health management responsibilities so much easier!"

81st pictures

Me and Hermana Bohman... gotta love crazy, missionary selfies

Violeta (what a reunion it was!), me, and Hermana Bohman

Carlos, Isabela, Jadiel, Dayana, me, Hermana Tingey, Hermana Cook

Vania with her mission call!

Church this Sunday!! Fernando (less active), Alejandro (recent convert), Juan and Flor (less actives), me, Hermana Parodi (reactivating member), Hermana Tingey, and Hermana Cook

81st and l-a-s-t Blog for Hermana Talbot


Last email??? Last B-Day? Who knows.... As Hermana Cook said, "You're gonna be a RN and a RM." Cheesy my dear friend. Haha.

Hermana Tingey moment: an investigator asked us about the church's stand on Euthanasia. So we got talking about it after in the street and Hermana Tingey says, "Youth-in-Asia?" I do not understand what that has to do with anything. Hahahahahaha. Love her.

Bold moment: so there's this homeless drunk that has his eye on Hermana Cook. We were sitting in a park a week ago, he came to us sober and told us how he believes in God and that he thinks Hermana Cook should be his girl. Bahaha. So every time we walk by he always whistles at her, makes a comment, or offers her something (this week it was a Barbie doll hahaha). She just kindly walks on and says no thanks. Hahaha. Well, I got sick and tired of the comments and the whistles. So, imagine this... I said something to him as we were walking by. "You know what? If you had more respect, we'd probably talk more." Later that night we passed by him again... he didn't say a word until I said hi. WIN!

This next week is going to be CRAZY! We have District Class (of the which I am teaching 15 minutes of it), lunch with Dr. and Hermana Johnson (what a treat!!), an extra temple day with Hermana Tingey (I really am spoiled here. Thanks President!), divisions with Hermana Bohman again, a special 24 hour divisions with Vania (she's coming to sleep at our house and be a missionary for 24 hours... how cool is that?), once with some members, my last interview with President, packing, etc... I don't think I will have any time to think about home or pack... PHEW! Better to be busy than bored huh?

We ran into this amazing, coolest guy ever. He's a science/math teacher and he is sooo creative! He wanted to teach his students about forest fires. So he created this experiment with different sized PVC pipes and a grid. The point was to show that fire excelerates with wind and always goes uphill. He showed us a video and I wanted to go to his class to learn more! People are so creative and so smart when they put effort into it!

It is soo hot!!! 90-100 degrees for the past while. I have never sweated so much in my life. Last Sunday, I'd never been so hot an dehydrated in all my life. And just so you all know, it's really hard to fast as a missionary, walking in the streets enjoying the hotness of a Chilean summer. Now that's a real fast! I now know fasting after the mission will be easy as I sit in my house in the coolness of wintertime. =)

Speaking of wintertime. So I got thinking about what I want to do when I get home. Obviously I'm gonna hug and kiss my family (cause Chileans kiss everyone), get released, eat something, etc; but I got thinking about after. Sit and talk to my family? Sleep? Get online? Visit friends? What...? Then I had this brilliant idea. I said to myself, "Self, tell Mom to pack a picnic lunch and go talk for hours outside in the lovely summery day." THEN I REALIZED IT'S WINTER THERE! Fail fail fail. My dreams totally destroyed. Snow shoeing maybe? Mom, we need a plan... and it definitely needs to be a warm one.

Something funny: President Wright was talking about his son being up with their little grandson during the night. Then it hit! I realized all of the medical calls received during the night, even though I was tired and needed to worry about someone else, was a great preparation...for children! As you can see mom, I am thinking in the future. You may get grandkids before your 60. :)

Two testimony strengthening experiences: (1) it was late one night; we needed to get back to the house. However, I felt the need to contact one last lady who was watering her "dirt" in front of her house. I signaled to Hermana Cook to contact her and she did. Claudia. But oh did it not turn out the way I had expected. She had very abrupt and hard mannerisms. She told us she had no desire to talk to us, that she new all about the Mormons, and she wasn't convinced of anything we taught. She bashed everything we believed for about 20 ear-aching minutes; we just stood there and listened. Honestly, it was a terrible feeling. I tried to focus on the beautiful moon, coolness of the night, etc... but it was impossible to escape the sick feeling. Then she took a breath and I jumped in. She immediately cut me off; well, my patience was running thin and so I kindly asked her to listen to me because I had just listened to her 20 minute speech. I bore her my testimony; I felt the spirit testifying of my words. It was a heart burning and tear jerking moment for me. I felt edified as I shared. She listened... but not for long. THEN she said, "And this is exactly what I didn't want to do, talk to you..." Excuse me? Where's the loveand respect? Ya anyway, I put my hands in the air and told her she was not obligated to listen nor to talk. And she walked away offended... (2) Ramon, slightly weird... It's the 30 year old Chilean "wow kid". Ya well, we had our last lesson with him a few weeks ago. We taught him about the Book of Mormon; he immediately rejected it saying it was written by a man, refused to read it because it wasn't part of the Bible, and told us we were absolutely wrong. I can't even tell you how much we tried to testify to him; he just still had his wall up. We told him we wanted to teach him more and told us that we could visit again if we taught from the Bible only. I informed him I couldn't do that... and he went his own little merry way. Well, I hope something I said touched their hearts. I hope they felt something. And if not, that's okay; I think those lessons were just for my own benefit. My testimony of the restored church of Jesus Christ, the priesthood, prophets, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the plan of salvation, the commandants, and so much more has been beat to death here in the mission; but it's only gotten stronger. I know I am here teaching and testifying of the truth; it's changed my life and it can for everyone else as well.

Carlos, Dayana, Jadiel, and Isabela are truly a ray of sunshine and hope! I don't think I've told you all about them. They live next to a member family...which is perfect! The members invited them over continually for Family Home Evenings and such for the past 2 months or so; they always came and loved their time in the FHEs. Then, when the member family gave us the reference, we came into the picture and started teaching them the lessons. They're absolutely amazing! They always read and pray; in fact, they've seen a difference in their lives with just praying and reading as a family for 2 days. The gospel is powerful! The sad part: they're going to leave Santiago until March for work. However, we are going to send the reference to other missionaries; they can followup and teach them more. :)

I went on divisions with Hermana Bohman last week and we saw the famous Violeta! From when I taught her 10 months ago, you wouldn't think she has changed much; however, going back to see her, I saw a huge change. The gospel truly does changes lives if we live it. Violeta was in Viña del Mar when Hermana Bohman told her I was coming (what trickery!) and so she specifically came back to Santiago to see me. It was fun to see her face and see her tears when she saw me. Ahhhh. We taught her about having the goal to get to the temple and the plan of salvation. It was interestingly weird and yet fun to be in my old sector again. A lot has changed for the better!

This past Monday, I received an email from Hermana Berthelson, well from here on out to be named Berthelson. It was a hilarious email! It was also a reality check as I realized all of what she said will happen to me too. I have always had a fear that I will come home, changed, to an unchanged environment. I am ready to come home, but hope that at the same time I will be able to continue on this spiritual progression. I hope my "wake up to reality moments" will be things that I can positively change from my "before the mission life" and not be a shock to those around me. I am a better person for the time I have dedicated here in Chile as a missionary and I hope to continue the same things I have lived and preached here in order to become a more dedicated disciple of Christ.

I have been making a list of things in the mission and in Chile that I will miss and also that I won't miss. It's quite the interesting mix. Here it is. I'll explain more when I get home.

Going to Miss:
Ferias. Little and big.
Mini-supermarkets in houses.
Random guys in street selling stuff. (ie: garbage bags).
Metro people singing. BIP.
Nasty, smelly meat markets.
City life. Living so close to everything.
Friendly people.
Saying "HOLA" with a smile to everyone you pass.
Buses that drive so crazily that you almost fall over.
Different colored houses.
Dogs in street and metro.
"Halo" in the ghetto.
Besito y abrazo.
Beautiful sunsets and rises in a 14th story appartment building.
Shooing flies outside.
Fresh fruit all year round.
Gym buddies.
Nursing calls.
Name tag.

Not Going to Miss:
Continual PDA.
Cigarette/drug smoke.
Hourly changing, extreme climates.
Drunk and high people in the streets yelling at us.
Whistles and kissing sounds by men.
Fatty food.
Soda. Coke.
Powdered milk.
Dogs everywhere barking and pooping.
The skirt.
Not having Internet or a phone.
Not having $. =)
Going to Miss of the Mission:
President and Hermana Wright
Always having the scriptures and willing to learn.
Studying for someone else.

Companion 24/7.
Conferences with President, the Apostles, and 70s.
Not having to cook.
Strict schedule.
Study time everyday.
Less distractions.
Condtant impressions of the Spirit.
Teaching the gospel daily.
AM exercise daily and all-day walking. (okay, maybe I won't miss the last part.)
Calls for numbers and announcements.

The joy of seeing a life change and feeling you made a difference.
Name tag.

QUITE THE LIST HUH? I'm sure I'll get home and it'll grow even more. Reality checks, here I come!

Axa. Almost 20 year old. She's amazing! I honestly love that girl. It was friendship at first sight. She's just so stinking cute. I met her with Hermana Tax one day and ever since we've been trying to find her. Finally she finished her first semester of law school and we've been able to teach her during her vacations. She loves learning, has a ton of questions, and honestly believes many of the things we believe. I am excited to talk to her after the mission and see how her journey with Hermana Tingey and Hermana Cook continues. :)

Light. We all need light in our lives. The sun, candles, electricity, etc. It's something we absorb and use to our own benefit. However, I am recently realizing that people can shine. We have had random people from the street and also members tell us that they wished they had the same light in their faces as we do. I've been thinking a lot about this and just happened on a talk which said this about missionaries:

Their countances exuded light. Why? We eventually concluded that there were a number of reasons for the faith and power displayed by the missionaries: the mission president was an effective teacher, the missionaries were obedient and responded to his teachings, and like Ammon and the sons of Mosiah, they studies the scriptures, they fasted and prayed, they worked hard, and they "taught with power and authority" (Alma 17:2-3).

Soooo. It doesn't sound like missionaries are the only ones who can have such a light in their countances!!! The requisites... faith, obedience, scriptures, prayer, fasting, and teaching with power and authority... are available to all. It just might take a little spiritual effort. May we shine so the light can be seen an shared with others. Look up Luke 8:16 and Doctrine and Covenants 50:24. =)

Obedience is the price.
Faith is the power.
Love is the motive.
The spirit is the key
Christ is the reason.

I will be home soon... I feel it's time...and as Berthelson said, "I'm single, bilingual, and ready to mingle.". =)

For the last time..... Maybe...

Love Love Love
Hermana Talbot

P.S. Hermana Tingey moment: just so you all know, Hermana Tingey is not a "freakin' hecky riggy wooz". Her off the top of the head word for a person who watches weird YouTube videos all day long. Hahahaha.